Timeless truth in a changing world

Thirsty No More


It happened with no prior warning. We came home from some out of town errands to find the fire hydrant across the street shooting out water. Not long after that, we discovered that our own water had taken on a nasty brown hue. It didn’t look safe to drink, and indeed, shortly thereafter the town issued a boil water notice. This sort of put a damper on normal household activities. I didn’t want to wash clothes in water that had dirt in it. Same thing for dishes. There was no way I was going to give the kids a bath in brown water. And drinking it was out of the question. Even after I boiled a pot of water, there was sediment in the bottom of the pot. I resorted to filtering the water, boiling the filtered water, and then filtering it again just to be safe. As one might imagine, this was a tedious process. Doing this to get enough water for doing dishes by hand (and rinsing them!) was laborious. But the thing I noticed most was how thirsty I was without an unlimited safe water source.

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A Letter to My Teenage Son


Dear Son,

This weekend you turned 14. Congratulations! You are turning into a young man right before my eyes. You are a bright and talented individual with your own unique personality. I am proud of the young man you are now, and excited to see the man you will become. I suppose it’s only natural at a birthday for a mom to stop and reflect on the passage of time, so indulge me for a few minutes and allow me to impart some wisdom from one generation to the next.

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Are We Failing Our Kids?


“There seems to be a general sense that the current generation of parents in America is failing their children. We aren’t preparing our kids for adulthood or teaching them the life and social skills they need to know. Kids are in something of a crisis, growing up not knowing how to be grown up.”

Do you ever worry that you’re failing your children? I do. And sadly, many parents are failing their kids, but not necessarily in the way you might expect. Read more about it in this article I wrote for Raising Godly Children, Are We Failing Our Kids?

Wrestling with God


Have you ever wrestled with God? Jacob did. Literally. He wrestled with God all night long the night before he met Esau again after years away. In the morning, the man (God) touched Jacob’s hip socket and put it out of joint, showing how powerful He really was. He could easily have disabled Jacob from the beginning, yet He chose to engage the patriarch in a familiar and personal way. We see that God’s ultimate purpose of struggling with Jacob was not to defeat him, but to bless him. Now, I doubt you’ve wrestled with God quite like that, but perhaps you’ve wrestled with Him in a different way—in prayer.

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Humans have an innate need to feel good about ourselves. We want desperately to believe that other people make mistakes; other people need to change, but not us.

The Gospel is a wonderful, freeing thing. But is there such a thing as too much Gospel? I explore that in The Law We Don’t Like Hearing from the Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife blog.

Growing Out of Faith


This morning I dropped my daughters off at school and they both walked in without looking back. This is quite a change from the beginning of the year, when my kindergartner would cling to me for dear life before I left. I had to walk her down to her classroom, help her put her backpack in her cubby, and give her a dozen hugs before leaving. After a few days of that routine, we shortened it so that her big sister walked her to the classroom, so long as I stood in the entryway where she could see me until she got to her classroom. Then when she got more comfortable with school and more self-reliant, I was able to wave at her from the doorway when she turned the corner to go to her classroom. And now she doesn’t even bother to look back. She’s on her own.

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What Does This Mean? (Beyond Confirmation Class)


I can practically sing “Phantom of the Opera” in my sleep. My son is in the marching band, and their program was “Phantom” this year. Besides the fact that he practiced it at home, we also have the advantage of living but two blocks from the school, and therefore we can hear the band when they practice outside. We heard “Phantom” every school morning, every Monday night when they had three-hour clinics, every halftime show for home games, and every weekend in October for competition.

But here’s the thing–the harder the competitions got, the more they practiced. You’d think by the time they’d done it a few times, they had the thing pretty well under their belts, but no. They worked on fine tuning the performance, sometimes quite literally. They held chords to figure out which instrument was out of tune. They played the same sixteen measures over and over to make sure everyone was stepping exactly where they ought. They needed to know every single detail about their part, and know it well. It was inspiring to observe their focus and dedication. And it’s a good lesson on what it means to live as Christians in the world.

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Exposed by the Light


It is a beautiful sunny morning today; a welcome relief from the gray days we’ve had recently. So I opened the blinds to let in the light. That was a mistake. We have tile floors through much of the house, and the natural light that brightened the day also illuminated the dirt and crumbs on the floor. Every. Single. Particle. It looked awful. Without the natural light, I could almost fool myself into believing that the floor was clean enough, but once the light was shining on it, that illusion was gone. There was no other way around it. My floor was dirty.

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How do You Smell?


Every house has a unique smell, and ours is no different. Most of the time you don’t notice the particular scent of your own house, but the past few days that hasn’t been the case here. I noticed a distinctly awful smell that wasn’t going away. At first I tried my usual tricks. I pulled out my air purifier, I sprayed air freshener, I washed towels and washcloths, all to no avail. The smell was still there, underneath it all. So I decided to sniff out the source. Shockingly, it wasn’t the bathroom this time. It was definitely emanating from the kitchen. My journey took me to many exotic places until I came to a remote one I’d never before visited—under the oven. I tugged the thing slowly out of its place and was shocked at the abject squalor I found there. Months (or years…) of neglect had taken its toll. Who knows what had long since spilled and been forgotten? Even the sides of the oven were dirty from food drippings and crumbs brushed aside. It was disgusting and humbling, but once it was scrubbed squeaky clean and everything put back into its place, I realized the smell was gone. I’d gotten to the source.

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