December reads

This month's reads are a little different. They're not all books. Some are articles, some blogs, and some are audio sermon files. But all are words from other people that encouraged me to bravely look at grief. All of these words compelled me to learn to lament in a way that is hopeful and glorifying to God.

The Growth in Grief – a guest post

A guest post by Myra Dempsey... "She stomps snow off her boots; an audible shiver escapes her lips as she hangs her coat. Mallory glances again at the photo as she passes. A beautiful beach sunset. Some days when she sees it, the emotions of last summer’s vacation swell quickly. The picturesque moments of the trip overshadowed by the fear of her brother dying soon..."

on rest

I've come to wonder...what does my incessant striving say about what I believe about myself? About the Gospel? What does your striving say about you? Where can we find rest?

on the shifting of seasons

In fall the aspens' tiny leaves turn an unbelievably brilliant yellow, fluttering like a thousand little coins. Stripes of gold and orange flash by the window as you drive. Splotches of yellow splashed across the sides of mountains, making the mountainside look like it’s on fire. I've always loved the changing of seasons; the shift in temperature signaling that something new is coming.

gratitude lately

I'm realizing that gratitude starts with a small shift of the mind. It starts with a shift towards noticing. It starts with clearing out space in your mind and in your schedule for slowness and stillness.

It starts with seeing, really seeing, and recognizing the gifts around you for what they are. 

on open-handedness and letting go of dreams

As I consider my own treasured desires and dreams, my heart longs for God to tell me that I can keep them. That I can wrap them up in my hands and hold them tightly. That I can count on the assurance that these hopes will come to pass, that these gifts will stay in my hands forever…

But is that ever promised?

Has God promised to keep me safe? To keep my reputation clear and untarnished? Has he promised me children and a home and financial stability? To make my hopes and dreams come to fruition?

God is good… all the time?

We serve a God who is in the business of redeeming every single painful and heartbreaking moment for a grand and glorious and eternal purpose.

And what a beautiful thing it is to be able to trust in the fruit that He is growing in us because of this light and momentary suffering.

sexual sin

I know this is a topic that we don't really talk about. It's a topic that I, even though I have been a regular church-goer for all 26 years of my life, didn't hear mentioned in the church even once until a few years ago. It seems that in most churches, sexual sin is considered one of the "darker" or "worse" sins, so we don't talk about it, we keep it in the dark.

But I'm going to talk about it here because I believe that Satan works in the darkness.

Regarding the future (when it’s a big blank unknown)

You know that feeling when you literally have no idea how something is going to work out? When you know there's a "next step" that's coming but you have no idea what it is? When the deadline to have things figured out is just a month (or a week) away? When people ask you "what's next" and you can't answer because it feels like there's just this big black empty void of a black hole ahead of you that will swallow you if you get too close?