Can studying the Bible be a delight?

I always figured that anything that required study couldn’t possibly be delightful. But one of my Bible Study mentors has challenged me to see it differently with his book, Delights and Disciplines of Bible Study.  Listen in on our conversation HERE on Faith Radio. Delights and Disciplines large photo

Why do they call them dust bunnies?

My son came home from school one day and grabbed the dust pan and broom. I had wondered if this boy who rarely jumps into chores without my prompting had suddenly become responsible and independent during the course of the school day.  As I was getting ready to sit down and congratulate myself for training him right, I heard him say, “Got it!” With that declaration, he grabbed a Ziploc bag from his pocket and carefully poured in the dust bunnies he had collected from under our couch. 

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By the expression on my face, he could see that I was quite confused. “It’s for science,” he said. “We are studying what kind of stuff makes up dust. We’re dissecting it!”

I didn’t know if I should be proud or offended that he knew just where to find these suspicious little dust-globs.  I thought that I’d been successful at keeping those little buggers hidden. When it was time to host a party or even just a friend or two, I would take great pains to go through the house collecting and eliminating these pesky little reminders that people actually live in my home. I much prefer creating the impression that my family so squeaky clean and happy that even the dust bunnies don’t gather here. 

But my son knew better. He knew just where to find the shady characters. And now, he was going to dissect the very dirt that can expose me for what I am… a hider, a fake, a person who needed help. By literally sweeping the dust under the rug, my house appeared clean and free from people who might want to dissect it.

Dust is not something we want on display. It’s not something we proudly hold up as a prize to be earned. Rather, dust is unwanted, something to hide. Dust is, well… dirty.

Sometimes I clean up my life the same way I clean up my house. I polish, sweep, and scrub away anything that might give the impression that I am somehow less than. I sweep some things under the rug like failures, mistakes, and shame. My “dust” could be the argument I had with my brother, the anger that sometimes takes over, or the regret that still plagues me from my childhood.  Polish up. Sweep away. Buff and shine. Yes, I clean up quite well.

But on Ash Wednesday, we enter into that sanctuary buffed and shined only to kneel before the altar and receive the sign of the cross with the dust of the earth. We allow ourselves, our whole selves, to be seen. We put it all out there. We walk back down that aisle exposed for who we really are. And we see the dust on others too. 

In that dusty cross placed on our foreheads, we are reminded where we came from. We are reminded that we were once just dust, but in the hands of our creator, we became something beautiful. We became sons and daughters. And even in our dirty, broken state, we are still deeply loved. And because of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf, we are clean.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in
Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)

Dust is a public testimony to who we really are—broken people in need of a Savior. The dust removes the façade that Christians are somehow cleaner or brighter or better than others.  Rather, the ash on our foreheads reminds us that from dust we first came and to dust we will return.  There is a richness in that dirt… a transparency to our condition. The dust levels the playing field and points instead to Christ.

So this Lenten season, consider gathering those dust bunnies in a Ziploc bag, not to dissect but to acknowledge that even dust can be beautiful when touched by the hand of God who loves us. 

*Lent begins this Wednesday, February 14th

Scribbles of Love

As I strolled through the greeting card aisle at my favorite Hallmark store, I perused the choices for a Valentines card for my hubby.  I repeat the same diatribe in my head each year. Do I go silly or serious? I seem to have many choices… fun and flirty, or sentimental and romantic. Which way will I tell my husband that I love him? And which card will he pick for me? My mind is a flurry, not to mention my heart.

I am grateful to report that no matter what card my husband chooses for me, it’s the words he writes by hand that always speak to my heart.  He has a way of reflecting on our current valentines cardsituation, noting both challenging and uplifting events from the previous year, and always concluding that we, he and I, are in this life together, that the seal on this relationship remains firmly stuck in place.

I am thankful for those words.  I do not take for granted that he takes the time to write them.  But I am especially thankful that he considers each year an opportunity to walk together down this road called marriage. And each time I read the words scribbled on the card, I am reminded of the importance of telling my husband how I truly feel, especially as it applies to love. Read More

Do you love your kids more than your spouse?

Sometimes our spouses take a back seat to our kids. Come on… I can’t be the only one. Author Becky Thompson challenged me to rediscover marriage in the midst of motherhood.  A good reminder as Valentine’s Day approaches. Click HERE for my podcast with Becky Thompson on her book, Love Unending.

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Parenting teens is not for the weak at heart

Staying up late when my teen wants to talk is just one thing I’ve learned I MUST do.  Great conversation today with Dr. Jim Burns today on Understanding Your Teen.  Want to understand yours? CLICK HERE for the podcast.

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Let’s face it, I’m sometimes selfish

I make a living telling other people’s stories.  But I tend to be a little stingy when it comes to sharing my own.  Holley Gerth speaks to the power of sharing our stories with others, and how to love fully and live bravely. Click HERE for the podcast of my conversation with Holley Gerth on her book, FierceHearted.

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Holley Gerth is a best-selling writer, licensed counselor, certified life coach and speaker. She is co-founder of (in)courage, an online destination for women, which received more than one million page views in its first six months. She also reaches out to readers through her popular blog, Heart to Heart with Holley and through a partnership with DaySpring. She is author of Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely.

Ever prayed that God would break your legs?

That’s what Crystal Evans Hurst prayed for when life felt out of control. She just wanted a break from her life!  Listen in as Crystal shares her journey of missteps and mistakes, all while learning to trust God with her future.  Click HERE for the podcast on She’s Still There: Rescuing the Girl in You.CrystalEvansDUO

Are You in Hiding?

Our culture applauds what we can produce, what we can show, and what we can upload to social media. But God notices us even when we are tucked away in hidden places.  I loved talking with author Sara Hagerty about how sometimes being hidden is a good thing and that God still enjoys us, even if we’re living what the world might consider an unproductive life.

Click HERE for a podcast of my radio conversation with Sara Hagerty.

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Does God have a dream for me?

Sometimes we allow the negative labels of others shape our identities. But God has His own dream for our lives, and it’s worth discovering.  Ministry leader and fabulous woman of God Jo Saxton (I like her name!) shares her journey of broken identity in hopes that we will find the courage to discover our own.  God is in the business of restoration, as pointed out in Jo’s new book, The Dream of You. Click HERE to listen to the podcast of our interview on Faith Radio.

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Finding beauty in the midst of brokenness

From the bright lights of Hollywood to the Playboy mansion to the horrors of anorexia, actress Andrea Logan White had what seemed to be a charmed life, but she felt empty.  How she discovered that being perfectly unfinished is a good thing.  Click HERE for my interview with Andrea Logan White.

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