When I was a little girl, I loved stories. My mom used to read to me all the time, and I learned to read at a pretty young age just by sitting with her and absorbing as she read to me. She read me a lot of stories from the Grimm brothers’ giant book of collected fairy tales, and the copy she had was so old and worn that it no longer had any covers. These stories didn’t always have happy endings, but the best ones did. The prince would show up, the princess would be rescued, the land would be healed, and all would be well. I don’t think the desire for a happy ending is limited to little kids. I think all of us secretly want and hope for a happy ending for ourselves, too – but if I’m being honest, I just don’t think happy endings exist. Let me explain. (more…)
A couple of years ago, I got into an intense theological fight with my closest friend. We are both Jesus girls with big bleeding hearts, and though we have a lot in common, we don’t share exactly the same passions and callings (which is perfectly okay!). We were discussing helping and serving others, but the conversation shifted when we started drawing lines between fellow believers and those outside the church. My friend mentioned that she thought it was more important to take care of other Christians than it was to take care of others outside the church, and that the church should be our priority. I totally disagreed with her, saying that those without Jesus to rely on needed our help more. I imagine Jesus looking in on our disagreement and facepalming. Here we were, arguing over how best to love others – instead of just doing it, just loving whomever was in reach as often as we could and in whatever ways we were able. We eventually realized that it’s okay for us to have different passions in this area – my calling might be to reach beyond the walls of the church to those who are suffering and introduce them to my friend Jesus, and my friend’s calling might be to build up the church from the inside so that we will have a healthy home to bring those hurting ones into. Both are needed, both are important. Neither is greater than the other. Both the believer and the unbeliever are precious to Jesus. He still leaves 99 to find the one, but the 99 are still just as important to Him. And as someone who has been both the 99 and the one, I am so grateful.
What if we can even take this a step further? In addition to acknowledging both needs as valid – reaching out to welcome people into Jesus, and making a welcoming place for them to come home to – what if we could blend these actions together? What if the church as a whole began intentionally and radically welcoming those who have historically felt pushed away or marginalized in our society? (more…)
Like many women who live a life on planet earth, I have questions. Why do people want to eat every day? Like, I just made dinner last night, and now you’re telling me you’re hungry again today? Calm down. Also, why does my apartment hate me and refuse to stay clean? I JUST mopped the floor like three months ago. CAN I LIVE? The worst part is the shame. Social media, I’m looking at you. It can be really easy to feel like my life is a pile of garbage when I have my eyes on a constant feed of lovely homes that look like Joanna Gaines comes over every day to tidy up and put muffins in the oven. I have spent so many days looking around at my space thinking about what a failure I am at this whole cooking/cleaning/home/life thing. I know I’m not alone in this, either, because I’ve heard the exact same thing from so many women. But – just guessing here – I’m reasonably sure a spirit of defeat and failure is not what God wants for us.
The secret truth is that just about everyone struggles with keeping their home to some degree, even if it doesn’t look like it on Instagram. Lack of time, lack of motivation, the presence of other people who share our space and mess it up again once it’s clean (we love them, though, just keep repeating to ourselves that we LOVE THEM)…all of these can easily derail us and make us feel like we’ll never have a nice home or have our ish together. (more…)