On My Grandmother’s 95th Birthday: A Blessing for the Dawn

My grandmother was born in 1924, the same year the lilting melody of “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin was first performed to a packed house in New York City. She is a member of the generation affectionately, nostalgically, deemed “the Greatest.” And indeed, she is great—great at loving long, great at making a life that is stable and meaningful. This is a blessing to mark her 95th birthday.

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A Portrait of Mary You’ve Never Seen

The first time I saw this portrait of Mary at Chora church in Istanbul, I had no idea what to make of it. Questions flooded my mind: What did it mean? Was there any significance in it’s placement over the door exiting the church? And most confounding: Why was Jesus holding a baby swaddled in white? Who was the infant in the Savior’s arms?

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How the Meaning of the Hagia Sophia Made Me Rethink My New Year’s Resolution

What relevance could a 6th-century cathedral possibly have for the life of a 21st-century girl? That’s a fair question. But a visit to the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey taught me that Christians from the past can speak into our present.

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Feeling Frayed? Me too. That’s Why We Need Advent

We still wander awed, says Annie Dillard, because this world is dear. And the people in it are beloved. We were made for this word, even in its splintered state. As we take in the ravages of our frayed and nibbled state, we don’t long for an ending. No, we long for renewal.

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Perfect Age in an Imperfect World: 7 blessings for my son

The first seven years of childhood are an intriguing mix of energetic exploration and tenderness, stubborn outbursts and loving affection, curiosity and innocence. And if there’s one thing I don’t want my son to lose as he steps into the next seven-year stretch, it’s his innocence. But I know that it’s the thing the culture is most likely to take from him. Here are 7 ways I’m praying for my son.

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A View from Way Up High: Summer with Ezekiel & Jeremiah

I’ve been reading back and forth between Ezekiel and Jeremiah—two prophets that I’m pretty sure had the most unenviable jobs in the world. God called them to speak words that no one in their day really wanted to hear. Worse still, he called them to deliver divine messages in ways that were bound to offend pretty much everyone. But God also gave them something extraordinary—he gave them a birds-eye view, or more precisely, he gave them a heavenly view.

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Sketches of Love: Postcards from My Father

Before we meet God as a sovereign, law giver, and judge, we meet him as Maker. Our very first impression of God in Genesis is as a creative, as a visionary. God sees formless chaos, and he envisions the world in all its organic wild gorgeousness. He takes the void and shapes it into something magnificent, something essentially good.

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The Inestimable Value of Unintentional Mothering

I’ve had a lot of spiritual mothers—women who reflected the character of Christ in a way that drew me to him. Some of those women had biological children of their own, and some didn’t. But the wonder of the church is that any woman in the family of faith can mother in meaningful ways, encouraging and inspiring growth in younger women.

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The Arena of Wonder…and Laughter

Some people may have the impression that mirth doesn’t mix well with faith. But the Bible doesn’t eschew laughter; in fact, there are a few places where it’s essential to the story line. When God tells Abraham and Sarah that they’re going to have a baby in their exceedingly old age, their response is identical: they both laugh.

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A Flame in the Desert

The way we pray shapes who we become. Our prayers reflect our understanding of God’s work in the past and our hopes about the way God will interact with us in the future. This Egyptian Coptic prayer testifies to the expectation that God walks with believers through the storm, that His presence is a sustaining force and source of joy. And it reflects their desire to become a flame of love.

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