The Healing Nature of Going Outdoors: Reflections on Quarantine and The Secret Garden

At dusk I walk fast. So fast I can feel my circulation buzzing in my lips when I return home. My family is in quarantine after returning from our spring break in March. After being entirely at home, I’m struck by the smells. The smell of an engine as a car passes me, of dryer sheets […]

Why I Don’t Want My Daughter to Be My Best Friend

Searching my university library’s database, I come across an article associating enmeshment—that what a lack of boundaries with my kids is called—with adolescent depression.

5 Things I Learned From an Immigrant Church

It’s been over a decade since I completed my dissertation, but I still have fond memories of my research project. I observed a Slavic church community, which supplied translators  for me and U.S.-born spouses of church members. I studied the ways in which the participants experienced a collective sense of identity through their interactions with […]

To My High-Spirited Daughter This Epiphany

This isn’t the way the world’s supposed to be. You feel that. It’s Epiphany but you’re still saying “Maranatha” like it’s Advent. You want Jesus to come back and make things right. Make math as easy to perceive as your classmates do. Make your body able to control your emotions. Epiphany for you is a […]

Naming Your Longing, Not Always Getting It: A Lesson from Advent

My daughters vie each night to flick the BIC lighter for our Advent candles. They know it may be another twelve months before they’re allowed to touch it again. Likely, next year, we’ll also spend four weeks reading Bible stories and proclaiming “Come, Lord Jesus, come!” Each Advent, we name our longing for Jesus’ second […]

Letting Go of My Expectations, But Not of God

A pastor friend prayed for me a few weeks ago, reminding me of what Jacob said when he wrestled with God: “I’m not letting go until you bless me.” I’ve cradled those words, sensing their meaningfulness but wondering if God would apply them more. He did. I’m letting go of some of the expectations I’ve […]

Praying in Bed With You

My arms wrapped around your waist, your arms holding me. My head nestled against one of your broad shoulders. Something I didn’t pray for in a husband, but that I’m glad I got. The sheet is half yanked down our reclined bodies because one of us, usually you but sometimes me, gets hot when we […]

How the Enneagram Affirmed My Desire to Lead

I’ve jumped aboard the Enneagram train, and I’m pulling the chain to make it whistle. “This again?” my husband asks, when I tell him I’m going to discuss it with my boss in regards to my professional development. To my younger self, I say: The Enneagram test I took, one I was assured was statistically […]

5 Don’ts for Authentic Talk with Kids

I’m not always authentic with my kids when it comes to saying what I really think or feel about them. Or what I want from them in the moment. But I do try to be true to myself as the kind of parent I believe they need. I realized this lack of “authenticity” when I […]

Forget “The Talk”: Focus on Chastity Rather Than Purity

“You see those two grasshoppers on top of each other over there?” I asked my daughters when they were preschoolers. “What do you think they are doing?” Biology I started early teaching my kids about sex by focusing on biology. My husband and I don’t believe in the concept of a “big talk” where primary […]

Can a Christian Woman Be Hot for Sex?

My junior year in high school, my mom lent me my parents’ bedroom for me to do my homework. I sat at a little desk facing fake-wood paneling, but if I turned around, walked to the other side of the bed with its green JCPenney bedspread, and turned to the top of a chest, I […]

Christian Fiction Permitted Me to Desire

My twin brother and I survived high school by reading. Home life was fundamentalist and chaotic: a father recovering from once-secret chemical abuse and a mother undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Some of the books were my father’s books. I read all of the Sherlock Holme’s mysteries. Some of the books were my brother’s: science […]