Hope

When Houseplants Are Zombies of the Apocalypse

Last night, after I finished packing for a long trip, I decided to move all my succulents outside for the duration of our weeklong vacation. I have nine pots of various sizes on the bookshelves in our front room: one tiny barrel cacti, four plants that look like desert seaweed, and assorted echeveria in dark […]

Solitude: To Hear God I Have to Get Past My Own Junk

“Solitude is a crucible” my friend preaches. She’s paraphrasing Henri Nouwen from Way of the Heart, who calls solitude a “furnace of transformation.” The kind of solitude I imagine, a span of time spent outdoors, is compelling. But I’m about to realize that another kind of solitude I experience every day I often avoid. Finishing […]

Where Faith and Fear Collide

For a long time I thought that faith was the absence of fear. That if I had faith, I wouldn’t ever be afraid. That in my faith, my anxiety would be gone, my uncertainty would disappear and my crooked paths would all be made straight. But that has not been my experience. I look at […]

Finding Freedom from My Fears

I first read about the angel Gabriel’s exhortation to Fear Not! when I was in my early twenties. My initial thought was, Not fearing is an option? I didn’t know I had a choice. As far back as I have memory, I have memory of being afraid.  My fears did not attach to tangible objects […]

A Good Like That

I love to re-read books. Familiar stories refresh my tired soul like a cool stream. So when I picked up C. S. Lewis’s Perelandra once again, I expected comfort. I hoped the book would distract my mind from the knifelike pains that endometriosis has been delivering to my pelvis since January. Instead, Perelandra bowled me […]

Restoration After Exile

“This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! […]

Murder, Jesus and Me

The summer I was seventeen, I gave my life to Agatha Christie. Curling on the floor of my room, I read a book a day.  I liked Hercule Poirot best, then Miss Marple, then Harley Quin. I did not care for Tommy and Tuppence. At the beginning of the summer, I felt as though I […]

The Second Journey: A Call at Midlife

“I have been seized by the power of a great affection.” ~Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-up, and Burnt Out   Midlife crisis. It’s like a version of adolescence, only older. As my 50th birthday quickly approaches, I can attest to the unpredictable hormone changes, body shifts and mooood swwiiinnggs. […]

Small Acts of Encouragement

If I could choose one word to summarize my emotional state for the past year, it would be discouraged. On any number of metrics, from the environment to immigration to race relations, I see progress not only stalled but going in reverse.  This affects me on multiple levels. Instead of finding comfort in Scripture, I […]