He peered over the rim at the churning waves below. Gripping the side of the boat, Peter steadied himself as it fiercely rocked to and fro.
Violent winds had stirred the waters into a foaming frenzy. Despite their rowing efforts, the disciples had made little headway. Six hours of unrelenting stress, exhaustion and willpower had produced only a few miles at best. Their finite strength had paled in comparison to the unpredictable power of nature.
Thunder rippled across the sea and echoed off the mountains in the distance. Peter wiped the salty water from his eyes as he squinted to see the man on the waves. Exhaustion and excitement quickened his heart as he mulled over what he had just heard above the raging wind.
“Come.” Continue reading
From the very beginning, things did not go as planned. What had started out as a normal day quickly spiraled into a nightmare. Cloaked in darkness and gripped by fear, the promise of death seemed imminent.
The disciples were seamen. This was their lake. As professionals, they were used to navigating the changing waters and unforeseen circumstances.
But this storm was different.
Violent winds had stirred the waves into a foaming frenzy. Despite their best rowing efforts, they had made little headway. Six hours of unrelenting stress, exhaustion and willpower had produced only a few miles at best. Continue reading
It has been a year. For all of us.
We’ve had a lot of experiences over the last twelve months.
We baked bread. Binged watched tv shows. Learned a tik tok dance. Took a mask selfie. Rearranged furniture and made home improvements. Parents became homeschool teachers. We all got a crash course on this thing called Zoom. We worked from home. Neighbors bought blow up pools for the backyard. We hosted socially distanced hangouts in the garage. I ordered online groceries for the first time. We witnessed historic events and scientific achievements. We deeply felt the many waves of suffering and chaos that swept over the world. And we survived a global pandemic and national election with most of our sanity intact.
As we approach the new year, reflecting on all we endured can feel sobering and perhaps a little overwhelming. To many of us this year has felt like a desert season – one full of difficulty, isolation and strife. We are ready for it to end as soon as possible and for good reason. Continue reading
I still remember all the firsts. The first vacation. First birthday. Our first Christmas without Dad. That feeling of trying to celebrate the holidays while a piece of our heart and home was missing.
Holidays are naturally a big deal and loss can feel even deeper during those times that magnify our togetherness.
This year, over 300,000 families will wake up Christmas morning without their loved one. Our family will once again experience another first Christmas without someone one we love. This year, the celebration may feel a little less merry and bright.
Grief can be challenging and confusing. Sometimes it feels like you’re drowning, other times like you’re being hollowed out from the inside. Overstimulated, yet numb at the same time. The stages of grief can feel cyclical and repetitive, causing you to wonder if life will ever feel normal again.
After surviving a year like this one, I thought the Christmas season would redeem all the mess. I looked forward to gazing at lights, drinking hot cocoa, cheerfully decking the halls, and lining my countertops with cookies shaped like snowmen and snowflakes. I envisioned feeling refreshed.
Instead, I spent the month stress-shopping online, complaining about the mail and snapping at my husband as he walked by.
This year there would be no travel plans, no family to see, no church service to attend. And because our normal had been uprooted, I felt pressured to do more this Christmas, not less. Continue reading
The last few weeks I’ve been preparing for the holidays. Mentally, that is.
Just this week my state registered a 39% positivity rate for COVID-19. Illness in my community is so widespread that the Department of Health developed an entirely new category of measurement.
As our cases surged, my heart sank. A “critically high” spread meant I would be home for the holidays. It meant more confinement. Less gathering.
Maybe you can relate. Across the country, cities are mandating that families forgo the festivities and guests this season. For most of us, this holiday promises to be different. Complex. Confusing and discouraging. Continue reading
When you think about the future, what emotions bubble to the surface?
I’m pretty sure all my thoughts about the future have resulted in permanent worry lines etched across my forehead. On most occasions the unknown creates anxiety, concern, stress and a host of pleading prayers. Flashes of what could happen combined with a gazillion what if questions flood my mind and threaten to sweep my emotions away with them.
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future…Proverbs 31:25
Enter, Proverbs 31 woman. She fascinates me, mostly because of this verse. You can bet this woman has seen her fair share of hardship, disease, war and death. But when it comes to the future and her unknowns, she smiles. She can laugh, untroubled. Her brow does not stay furrowed over what may or may not come.
How is she able to do this? We get a sneak peek at the answer only a few verses later: Continue reading
With prying eyes, I watched as my ballot joined hundreds of voices in the locked blue box. Safely secured in the vault, it waits for Election Day. As I exited the polling station into the frigid October air, my sigh of relief mingled with the uneasiness in my heart.
This time, the future of our country, constitution and liberties could very well be at stake. If certain politicians have their way, this could be the last election where my vote counts in a flyover state.
How easy it is to forget the privileges we all share. The blessings we reap from the many lives who have gone before our time.
Clutching the wool scarf around my neck, I thought of my grandfathers before me. The one who sailed the Mayflower in search of a better life. Another who, fleeing religious persecution, came to America to freely worship God and till his own land. Still other grandfathers bravely fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars so that we could be free and equal. Their legacies weigh heavy on my mind as I ponder the next four years.
As a Jesus follower, it is challenging to know how to respond to the mixed bag of emotions this bitter campaign evokes and the uncertainty that lies ahead.