Health

When “I” is in the Wrong Place

Eighth grade was a pivotal moment in my educational career. It was when I learned that I wasn’t a big deal. I was a good student and I worked hard, especially in my Honors English class. My teacher was sophisticated, regal, and poised. She challenged me to be more clear and articulate in my communication […]

New Life Starts in the Dark

Ok, God. I’m ready. I’ve been in the tomb for a while now and, FYI, as I lie here, struck down by chronic illness, unable to get out of bed for hour after hour, day after day, week after week . . . year after year . . . I am MORE than ready to […]

Breakthrough After Breakdown

This was my resurrection day. The day when all the pain would be redeemed. The day when I would stand and proclaim to the world what God has done. To release my pain to God’s will, for His use. Rewind to the previous night. I was on the bathroom floor, pen and journal in hand, […]

Peace in the Time of My Storms

“I trusted God as much as I believed possible, trusting more in my misplaced confidence in my own capacity to have cost me dearly.

What did I learn? God is sovereign; I am an idiot.” 

When a New Diagnosis Brings a Storm

If I had ever been skydiving, I would know about the wind having its way with you. I could tell you, no problem, that when you’re turned topsy-turvy in an earth-less void, up and down become abstractions, not facts to orient yourself by. You lose your bearings. But I am the last person on earth […]

Feeling Cheated Before My Mastectomy

Three nights before my double mastectomy, I cry about it. I’ve had moments of anger, wanting to stomp the old wicker chairs in our sun porch to hear them crunch like giant Wheaties. Other moments I go catatonic in my bedroom on a Sunday afternoon. But I hadn’t really cried yet. My husband and I […]

Oxygen for the Soul

All day and night I’ve had a hard time breathing—barely able to catch my breath. My best non-expert, but been-down-this-road-before guess is that it has to do with anemia. I’ve had bouts of anemia with these same symptoms throughout my life. My body doesn’t absorb iron well (and we don’t eat a lot of meat […]

The Hope & Fear Cycle of Chronic Illness

I’m a healthy-looking person with a chronic health problem. It sprung up as a result of some very traumatic and stressful years in overseas ministry. I’m trying really hard to help my body right itself, but I have a condition that is generally considered by Western medicine to be incurable. This is distressing, mostly grueling.   […]

When You’re Afraid of Dying

“If you want Elita to throw anything away, just tell her it causes cancer.” This was the advice a friend gave my husband, Mark, when we first got married. It was true. I had once thrown away a whole box of scented candles and a series of scratched Teflon frying pans because someone had told […]

He Is with Us

As my brain was being scanned to rule out any spread of the breast cancer I was working so hard to eliminate, I struggled with claustrophobia and fear. I shifted my thoughts and began to pray. Almost immediately, I felt the unmistakeable peace and calm of God’s presence. It was nearly palpable, as if Jesus […]

Dear Portia: How Do I Stop Desiring Bad Stuff?

Dear Portia, How do you stop wanting what you REALLY want, when what you want isn’t good for you? How do you create desire for something you should want, when really you are craving the opposite thing? Craving Dear Craving, When I was in my teens and twenties, I drank at least a can of […]

When Other People Think Your Kids Are Apples

Today my kids got these . . . I don’t know . . . lip spreaders at church. You know the ones I mean? The plastic thingies that pull your lips away from your gums and make you talk funny like you’re at the dentist? As we walked out of church, my kids start chanting […]