Devotions (Page 2)

Jesus Welcomes Sinners

Over time, the connotations behind certain words and phrases can change. When I was in school, “nerd” was largely seen as an insult, meant to tear down someone who enjoyed math, science, reading, computers, or some other subject. I was often called a nerd—and it hurt. But today, “nerd” has a less pejorative context and is often seen as a good thing. What was once seen as an insult has become a badge or honor or a matter of pride.…

Scattered

I recently ran into an acquaintance, someone I had been in a moms’ group with three years ago. Johanna was a leader in the group and had always been kind to me. I’d always admired the classy wool sweaters, capes, and scarves she wore, and I even considered asking her to help me shop for such items but ended up concluding she would think I was too weird if I did that. I decided that by the time you’re in…

Supernaturalcuts

My husband comes home early on Tuesdays so that I can go to the gym. But over time my “gym time” has morphed simply into “relaxation time.” Most Tuesdays I lace up my sneakers and spend a half hour on the stationery bike, and the rush of endorphins brings relaxation in the midst of a busy week taking care of my kids. But sometimes, maybe once a month, I’ll do something else I find relaxing: go for a walk, get…

Good Work

I was yelling at my kids again. It was 2 pm, the beginning of the more difficult half of my day as a stay-at-home mom. Mid-July, ninety degrees, stifling, humid indoor air choking me. I thought of my days as a child in tropical Hong Kong, coming inside from hours playing Four Square and Capture the Flag with my friends, drenched in sweat. My siblings and I would crowd around the tiny air conditioner in the front room of our…

Benzos in Buffalo

It had been an exhausting summer. It started with a surprise pregnancy that was very difficult and eventually ended in a miscarriage at 18 weeks gestation. But in early August I had no idea that the baby I carried would have such a short life. I was simply putting one foot in front of the other, and though I didn’t feel well, I loved the baby and was glad to be pregnant. Our family of six-going-on-seven embarked on our last…

Where Are You From?

My heart raced and my throat tightened, two of my trademark anxiety symptoms. I had no appetite for breakfast, so I downed an instant breakfast protein shake. No, I wasn’t getting ready to go skydiving. I was driving my kids to school, and I was thinking again, “I just don’t like this place.” My discontent festered in my stomach, making me nauseous. My daughter whined from the back seat, “How come the heat’s not on?” I don’t like this place…

Choose Joy

You may have noticed that in many Advent wreaths, the candle marking the third Sunday of Advent is pink (sometimes called “rose-colored”) instead of purple. This is because the third Sunday is called “Gaudete” or “Joy” Sunday, translated from Latin. The change in color represents a lightening of the mood of Advent. While Advent is a time of expectancy and anticipation, it is also a time of waiting. And waiting is hard. Joy Sunday tells us “you’re over halfway there,”…

Beyond the Wilderness: Where is God When Dreams are Broken?

It was a normal early summer evening, cicadas chirping as dusk settled over my neighborhood. I would graduate from high school in one week, and after that I would start packing for college and whatever lay beyond. For the past ten years I had spent every summer in the wilderness of northern Wisconsin, first at a summer camp and then on increasingly rustic expeditions into Michigan, Minnesota, and Canada. Just the previous summer I had canoed and hiked 250 miles…

I Am the Vine

When I was in confirmation many moons ago, our Pastor would choose confirmation verses for the students. I don’t remember much about the process other than receiving the verse shortly before confirmation Sunday. I’m not certain I really understood the significance of a confirmation verse at the time. I ended up with John 15:5, our “I Am” statement for this week: I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is…

I Am the Resurrection and the Life

  Rumors are destructive. I wonder if you’ve had this happen to you: Someone asks you about a topic because they “heard” something about you from others and want to find out if it’s true or not. I’m thankful for that person because I can correct the rumors, but I worry about the 99 others who never bother to check the truth behind the rumors. People say all kinds of things about Jesus and His followers. People think they know…