Finding Grace When the Waves Keep Crashing

Finding Grace When the Waves Keep Crashing

I live near Chicago and, thus, Lake Michigan. Our lakeshore is one of the most beautiful in the world, according to me. It extends for miles and miles and boasts beautiful parks and beaches juxtaposed against one of the greatest city skylines in the world.

If you’ve ever flown into Chicago, you’ve probably flown over Lake Michigan and thought it looked lovely, almost serene—it is, after all, a lake, not an ocean. And at times it is serene.

But at other times, standing next to the shore, Lake Michigan can feel very much like the ocean, its waves cresting well above your head, sometimes crashing so violently that the spray covers Lake Shore Drive several feet away.

I’ve seen those violent waves and they are no joke. One after one they come, relentless, pounding, hammering, threatening. You sure wouldn’t want to be caught out on the water with waves like that. All you can do is wait for the weather to calm and return to normal.

This past year, the past six months especially, has felt like I’ve been rooted on the shore of Lake Michigan, unable to move, while enormous waves came crashing over me, one after one.

Relentless. Pounding. Hammering. Threatening.

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Letters to My Daughters: God's Word

Letters to My Daughters: God's Word

Dear Daughters,

From the day each of you was born, I felt a deep responsibility to prepare you for the world in which you will live. I’ve tried to model for you what I believed to be best for your life, but, on occasion (OK, many occasions), I have failed. Oh boy, have I failed. If you were to rely on me as your sole model and guide for your lives, you would be in a sad place indeed.

I know my failings, and yet, I also know God. I know that God, who loves you more than I ever could, who sacrificed His only son so that he could have a relationship with us, has given us the best guide for our lives: his word.

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Easter Monday for the Rest of Us

Easter Monday for the Rest of Us

The day after Easter leaves me wondering: How did Mary (either one) and the disciples handle all of the emotion of the week prior? One day, Jesus is being welcomed into Jerusalem as a hero, yet only a few days later he is being crucified, handed over by those same people as a criminal.

Mary and the others had witnessed the cheers of Palm Sunday, then watched, horrified, as Jesus died a gruesome death the following Friday. They buried him with their tears, and then they walked away from his tomb, devastated, on Saturday.

But on Easter morning, Christ’s followers encountered an empty tomb and experienced yet another range of emotions that Scripture tells us moved them from total devastation, to fear and confusion, and finally to immense joy.

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But God . . . {A fun, exciting, crazy announcement!}

But God . . . {A fun, exciting, crazy announcement!}

Sometimes you wait for something for such a long time that you think it may never happen.

Sometimes you hope and dream for so long that you almost decide to give up.

Sometimes you wonder if your dreams are just crazy or that you’re not up to the dream after all or that you’re getting too old to actually accomplish it.

Sometimes you doubt. A lot.

But then God does something so entirely unexpected that you just have to believe He was in it all along, just waiting to gift you with your dream when the timing was just right.

That’s my story these days.

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Welcome to My New Home!

Welcome to My New Home!

Welcome to my new digs!

You guys. This is so long overdue that I feel like a dinosaur just launching a new website and blog now, but hey, at least it’s done. I hope you’ll take some time to look around and make yourself at home. As I said on my “About” page, I want this to be a place that feels warm and inviting, a place that brings value to you, and a place where you can feel free to interact with me and with other readers.

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My Favorite Books of 2016

My Favorite Books of 2016

In the past, I’ve enjoyed sharing highlights with you at the end of the year—fun events, travels, milestones. But this year, at least the second half of it, I’ve mainly sat behind a desk or in a library carrel, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be interested in the hours upon hours that I’ve spent just sitting still, staring at a screen, trying to create something meaningful and interesting.

 

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I'm Guest Posting for Jen Michel this week!

I'm Guest Posting for Jen Michel this week!

Hi there! This week I'm guest posting over at Jen Michele's blog. If you haven't yet read Jen's book, Teach Us to Want, you really need to get it, read it, and soak it in. It was selected as the Christianity Today Book of the Year for 2015--need I say more?

Jen has a new book coming out next spring titled, Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home. I'm honored to be sharing some thoughts on home with Jen's readers this week. Here's the beginning of my post, but click here to read the whole thing.

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When You Need to Remember: Seasons Change, God Does Not

When You Need to Remember: Seasons Change, God Does Not

Seasons change quickly around here.

I don’t know about you, but the sudden onset of fall temperatures usually has me scrambling for jackets and jeans after a summer of shorts and t-shirts. And I was NEVER ready with my kids’ wardrobes! I remember many a fall day when my girls went to school completely underdressed because I hadn’t pulled out the sweaters or jackets yet.

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End of Summer Wrap-Up

End of Summer Wrap-Up

Hi Friends!

I've written here exactly five times this summer. Five! That must be some kind of worst-ever record for me. But it isn't because I haven't been writing--

I have

. Just not here.

I thought I'd take a few minutes to catch up today since I haven't been around much lately. Our summer was great, and even though I haven't documented much of it, I've enjoyed every minute.

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Letter to My Daughters :: About the –isms

Letter to My Daughters :: About the –isms

Dear Daughters,

Racism.

Feminism.

Terrorism.

The –isms. Words that have become part of our everyday language. Issues that scream for our attention, our compassion, our consideration. Issues different from one another, but important just the same.

And that’s not to mention so many others we talk about.

Atheism.

Capitalism.

Socialism.

Ageism. (I’m kinda sensitive to this one.)

A quick online search for a “list of isms” will produce over 200 words that have become their own distinct belief systems. But, more than that, they are ways of categorizing people or keeping them apart from one another. Worse yet, they become ways of discriminating against people who aren’t like us.

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But God . . . {A fun, exciting, crazy announcement!}

But God . . . {A fun, exciting, crazy announcement!}

Sometimes you wait for something for such a long time that you think it may never happen.

Sometimes you hope and dream for so long that you almost decide to give up.

Sometimes you wonder if your dreams are just crazy or that you’re not up to the dream after all or that you’re getting too old to actually accomplish it.

Sometimes you doubt. A lot.

But then God does something so entirely unexpected that you just have to believe He was in it all along, just waiting to gift you with your dream when the timing was just right.

That’s my story these days.

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Intentional Parenting :: Reprise :: Intentional Service

Intentional Parenting :: Reprise :: Intentional Service

When I wrote about teaching our kids about service a few years back, I talked about the benefits of service and how we can model service for our kids. I still think those points are valid. I still think serving others is fulfilling, joyful work. I still think there is so much to gain by serving others.

But as I’ve been thinking about this post since my last parenting post, I’ve been convinced that there is and should be something more to our thoughts about serving others and to what we teach our kids about service.

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Catching Up and a Book Review

Catching Up and a Book Review

Well hello there! As much as I hate having to do a "catching up" post, it seems like one is warranted today because I realize I've been AWOL lately.

The past two months, frankly, have been crazy. It's a wonder I've been able to write here at all with all of the commotion of end-of-school activities, graduation, a quick trip to PA, a family vacation, and a couple of birthdays thrown in for good measure. I hate to recap like that because everyone has busy lives and everyone can say that things have been crazy and everyone has an excuse as to why they haven't done what needed to be done.

Still, I want to catch up with you!

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On Dying Trees, Retiring Chefs, and Graduating Daughters

On Dying Trees, Retiring Chefs, and Graduating Daughters

As I write this, I’m watching history being cut down. A large maple tree, which has probably stood in the middle of my back yard as long as this house has stood on our street, is being removed. The upper branches, still bright with new, green leaves, floating to the ground like blades of grass blown in the wind. The larger branches dropped, one by one, onto the plantings below.

And the main trunk, which from the outside still looked strong and sturdy, sawn in half and brought down with a *thud* that shook the whole house.

Problem is, that trunk was half dead. Full of rotting wood that crumbled at the touch.

This tree, the one that turned golden-orange in the fall and had been the source of many a jumping pile when my girls were younger, the one that held memories of high-soaring branches against winter skies, the one surrounded by hostas planted by previous owners, had become a hazard.

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