When a Blessing Breaks your Heart

“Blessed are you among women, ” Elizabeth ecstatically exclaimed to Mary, but I wonder. In the run up to Christmas this year, I’ve been thinking about Mary, about her experience of motherhood, about what it means to say that she was “blessed among women.” How could a mother who would one day witness the suffering …

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When Wedding Gifts Become Wedding Blessings: Memory and Presence

Sixteen years ago today I was staring out a window in Texas watching torrential rains flood the garden where I was supposed to be married later in the day. I learned then, what I’ve learned many times since, that a marriage takes improvisation and the willingness to change course, sometimes at a moment’s notice. We …

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From Curse to Blessing: How Grace Gets the Last Word

“The last word of the Old Testament is ‘curse’ (Mal. 4:6), and it is meaningful that the opening sermon of our Lord’s ministry commences with the word ‘Blessed.’” —Charles Spurgeon   “What have you got in here?” I ask my son, slinging his backpack over my shoulder. “Did you fill your bag with rocks?” He’s …

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A Blessing for Resting and Waking

May you sleep in the shelter of the shadow of God’s wings, May you wake in the light of his love For a little more than a year I’ve been praying this blessing over my kids just before they drift off to sleep. I turn out the lights, sit on the edge of the bed, …

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Too many Goodbyes: Turning Leaving into Blessing

Lately I’ve been saying goodbye too often. I’m nearly at the point where I’d rather skip over goodbye entirely and shift from one reality to another without acknowledging the pain of loss. But I know there are no shortcuts to joy. Skipping goodbye would only allow the emotion to pool in my heart acidic and …

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