Last week I had one of those amazing evenings with two of my favorite girlfriends where we opened up about our past experiences and current challenges, provided mutual encouragement, and simply gloried in the strength and solidarity of each other’s sisterly presence.
At one point, specific difficulties faced by one of us were addressed with reassurances she accepted, not quite reluctantly, but with the slightest tinge of skepticism. But later, when she brought up her own encouragement toward another friend, I stopped her and said that she needed to record those words and replay them for herself. They were so applicable to the situation we’d discussed earlier that I was struck anew with how often we tend to believe all the best about others and only the worst about ourselves.
[ . . . ]
This was one of my own biggest struggles for the first 19 years of my walk with Christ. Because it didn’t really affect me prior to that, I truly believe this battle came from a place of spiritual attack – which may explain why so many of us are susceptible to this dynamic once we find ourselves in God’s grace.
[ . . . ]
[T]he harder we try to compete with the grace we’ve received, the more unworthy we feel . . . and sometimes, as in my case, it takes one or more powerful encounters with the presence of God to forever end . . . READ ON
The first time I shared my testimony in the recovery ministry at church, I asked God for a takeaway I could leave people with so it wasn’t just all about me. In His lavish provision, He immediately gave me three – using personally significant art forms, no less. Here is the first:
You could say that photography was my second love (behind Star Wars, of course).
[ . . . ]
In principle, all photography is simply “writing” (my third love) with light by permanently capturing it on a photo-sensitive medium such as film and then transferring it to a displayable format.
[ . . . ]
Spiritually speaking, God showed me that these . . . READ ON
Two weekends ago, I had one of the most surreal experiences I've ever had while flying . . . and given how much time I've spent on airplanes in my life, that's no small statement.
On the way back home from New Mexico, the sight of small high desert towns and cities set against the inky blackness of an entirely contourless new-moon landscape caught my eyes and held them captive nearly the entire way to my stopover in Las Vegas.
[ . . . ]
Unfortunately, that inky blackness surrounding Sin City was experienced in a whole different context the following weekend . . . READ ON
Going home is always an experience. Now the “home” I just came back to visit is not the city I grew up in, nor the town in which I currently live, but the place of my deepest and most resonant friendships.
A few weeks of hanging out with so many of my very favorite “peeps” has filled my soul like hardly anything else can.
I have laughed, and cried, and laughed until I cried. I have joyfully celebrated great victories and tearfully mourned great struggles – many of which I am, regretfully, just learning about. I have met the children of close friends for the first time and caught up with these amazing parents until my heart overflowed. My peeps have even helped me make a few new friends who are already kindred spirits (apparently the peeps of my peeps are also my peeps, lol).
I don’t know how to express it other than this: I have LIVED . . . outside of my own headspace . . . for the first time in way too long . . .
Funny thing is, all this living I’m suddenly doing has made me look back at the last season of my life and wonder . . . READ ON
I do believe; help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).
That verse was always confusing until I went through an experience that made it come alive for me. I was praying one night and my thoughts wandered to my financial situation – which had improved tremendously over the course of the prior year, but was still somewhat tenuous at the time.
Gradually, I became gripped with fear that I would end up back where I had been and that potential shattered me. I began . . . READ ON