When I first met my husband I was 16 years old. I would have said I fell in love with him immediately. We stood in the darkness of an October night and talked and talked. Two months later we exchanged those words—I love you—also whispered in the dark of night. But it took five more years before we were married, and in that time, that intense emotion that had carried us through the early months became more measured. I still felt giddy when I saw him. I still wanted to spend my life with him. I still counted him as my best friend. But true love, I learned, is slower than that initial emotional and physical connection led me to believe.
Loving our kids was similar. I felt a surge of affection (hormones?) after they were born. I felt fierce protective instincts. I was willing to sacrifice sleep and energy. But building that base of love with them took years. it went slowly. (more…)
“Mindfulness” is a buzzword these days. As a recent article in the Sunday New York Times points out:
. . . mindfulness has come to comprise a dizzying range of meanings for popular audiences. It’s an intimately attentive frame of mind. It’s a relaxed-alert frame of mind. It’s equanimity. It’s a form of the rigorous Buddhist meditation called vipassana(“insight”), or a form of another kind of Buddhist meditation known asanapanasmrti (“awareness of the breath”). It’s M.B.S.R. therapy (mindfulness-based stress reduction). It’s just kind of stopping to smell the roses. And last, it’s a lifestyle trend, a social movement and — as a Time magazine cover had it last year — a revolution.
Many Christians will be skeptical of mindfulness simply due to its Buddhist roots, and yet at first glance, there’s something attractive about it. In the midst of an overworked, consumerist culture or production and competition, couldn’t mindfulness offer us all something true and good? Awareness of the present moment—my own emotions, the states of being of those around me, the possibilities inherent in right now—aren’t those all good? (more…)
When I was in high school, I learned about this practice of many evangelical Christians called quiet times. Quiet times didn’t only involve an absence of distracting noise, but also a Bible and a journal and maybe a book about something spiritual. I read through the New Testament during my quiet times one summer. I wrote down my prayers and filled a bookshelf with those pleas and confessions in one spiral bound notebook after another. I learned a lot about God, I soaked in a lot of Scripture, and I grew as a Christian.
I don’t mean to imply that I did this every single day for years, but a methodical and disciplined walk through the Bible, with some time for prayer and reflection built in, did become a part of most of my days.
Then I had children, and what had been a life-giving regular practice became first a task, and then an area of failure. First, I was tired. Not just one morning, but every morning. For years. Second, I was often feeling somewhat angry with God for my situation. (more…)
Lots of headline news swirling around in our world these weeks.
Difficult stories, political battles, wars with words, suffering, unrest, uncertainty, terrorist threats, disaster, violence, and evil.
The images and stories can often leave us feeling overwhelmed with fear and worry, for our children, for the future, for believers, and for our nation.
Yet God’s Truth breaks through all that mess. He breathes peace and assurance that no matter what, He still holds all things in His hands. He’s not anxiously pacing Heaven’s floors. He’s not thinking up a Plan B since Plan A didn’t work. He reminds us that He’s still in control, and is the security of our days. (more…)