“Trim them as low as possible. You’ve got to be courageous.” I imagined Grandma Vera’s voice pep-talking me. “It’s for their own good.” I was preparing my garden for winter, and there were tears in my eyes. Our last several years have been thick with stress and loss, and this small garden was where I often process my grief and connect with God. The end of the growing season usually feels poetic to me. By late autumn, I’m ready for a ... Read More about For the Person Walking Through a Long, Hard Season
by Bekah Bowman "Those who plant in tears will harvest with great joy. They weep as they go plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest." (Psalm 126:5-6) My Broken Narrative I begin my broken-story narrative on February 10, 2014--the day my son, Titus, had a seizure. What followed was a massive and swift wave that rocked our lives hard between fear, anger, mystery and defeat. April 7, 2015, Titus was diagnosed with a ... Read More about How to Bloom with Joy in the Midst of Brokenness
by Elisabeth Elliot Every one of us who loves Jesus Christ is meant to reveal that love in the way we live. Missionaries are meant to be people who love Him enough to carry that message to others, whether they must cross an ocean or simply cross a street. When Jesus lived here on earth, His life witnessed to the truth, every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year. He did always those things that pleased the ... Read More about For Whom Do You Carry Your Stone?
The story of the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 has always been a favorite of mine. Perhaps because our first meetings with Jesus were so similar: a thirsty and hopeless heart living an ordinary day suddenly transformed by an extraordinary encounter with the Savior of the world. Jesus went out of His way to pass through Samaria. Most Jews of His day avoided the land because the Samaritans weren’t considered “true” Jews. This is why the ... Read More about She Left Her Water Jar
by Lora Hattendorf “To shine, we must keep in his light, sunning our souls in it by thinking of what he said and did, and would have us think and do. So shall we drink the light like some diamonds, keep it, and shine in the dark.” (George MacDonald, The Hope of the Gospel) Diamonds draw me. Christmas lights mesmerize me. Anything spangled, sparkly, sequined, “who knows how,” anything glittered or glowing has an unmitigated effect on my ... Read More about How to Reflect the Light of Jesus Like Diamonds
Anatomy and physiology was fascinating to me, until the day we walked into the lab and had to dissect a cat. I remember thinking, “Nope.” I sat shamefully and watched my lab team in horror, as they slowly peeled back the layers of that cat and pulled out its insides. My apologies to the friends who did all of the work while I sat there--nose wrinkled and mouth dropped open in disbelief, trying not to gag. In the next lab class we had a test to ... Read More about How to Open Up the Bible and Take it Apart
by Patricia Alderman My four-year-old niece was spending the weekend with me. Whatever I did, she wanted to help. Including when I began loading several large tote bags into my car. She wrapped her arms around one tote in a bear hug and grunted loudly as she picked it up. She had to peer around the bag to see where she was going, and she huffed and puffed as she struggled to carry the load. When I asked if she needed help, she gasped, “No, I ... Read More about The True Meaning Of Casting Your Cares On Him
It was somewhere around my third anniversary that reality hit hard enough to make me gasp for breath. I really couldn’t have babies. Not without a miracle. I had so many dreams that involved motherhood and they all crumbled around me. I found myself standing there with dying dreams and agony ripping my heart to shreds. I spent a whole season of my life shoveling dirt over dead dreams. And I learned something new in that season: God does ... Read More about The God Who Breathes Life into Dry Bones
“Tell me, do you like stories about things that really happened? Wonderful things that the Lord did?” I grew up listening to Allegra McBirney’s stories. Not fairy tales or even parables, but true stories about real little girls and boys all around the world. Our radio didn’t carry her program, “A Time for Sharing”, but she sent me cassette tapes of some of her programs. I treasured those tapes alongside my collection of Ethel Barrett and ... Read More about Heaven is my home, earth is my business address.
The year I turned twelve years old we moved into the upstairs of my grandparent's house in Northern New York. Until this point my family had been living in far off Homer, Alaska where my father taught at a Bible School. Our interactions with my mom's parents included a handful of visits, many phone calls, and handwritten letters that flew back and forth. But this year things were different. We were going to live with my grandparents for a ... Read More about Found Treasure: A Love Story in Books and Memories
One of my earliest memories of my mother is an image of her doing many things at once. She would rock my baby sister to sleep while giving me instructions (in song) on folding socks. I realize now that she was soothing, singing, rocking, supervising, entertaining and teaching all in that one moment, and I can still hear her voice crooning something like, "Those socks are Daddy's, that sock is Joey's" to the tune of "Lavender's Blue." Today I ... Read More about She Laughed at the Days to Come
Our son came home on a rainy November day. Instead of a hospital room, we gathered him to us from an airport waiting area. We knelt and talked to him by the luggage carousel and bonded over dinner at Cracker Barrel. My heart cracked with the glory of the Lord’s redemption in my life. While my body was barren, my life wasn’t barren at all, and this child coming home was the settling of another layer of God’s incredible grace into me. This ... Read More about for the one who feels empty and weak