A Reading Girl’s Guide to Falling in Love with Jesus (Book #1)

I know, I know. If you need a “guide” for falling in love, it’s probably not true love. But falling in love with Jesus is different. It often feels like Jesus is far away. Somewhere up there. If we could just get to Him. If we could really know — to our bones — His world-overturning Love, it would change everything. It’s a mountain to get to Jesus, but something in us knows that to climb is to live. It’s a mountain to get to Jesus, but something in us knows that to climb is to live. If you’re a reader like me, books are one of your favorite ways to make the climb. The next few posts will be recommendations of books that have played a central role in shaping the journey for me.   Book #1: The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge In the best possible way, The Sacred Romance is written in an almost apologetic style. The co-authors build a foundation for their message and, layer by layer, build their case. The result is that the text immerses you in a startling, hopeful message: The ache inside you isn’t lying. You’re not imagining it. You were made for more — a great Story that is more than just the span and scope of your life. There is a Romance that has been wooing your heart since you first laid eyes on something beautiful and felt that lurch of wanting to be pulled up into the Larger Story that our hearts all ache and clamor for.   A FAVORITE EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK:      Each of us has a geography where...

Triumphant Hope

Countless people have commented on what a wretched beast 2016 was. Here in East Tennessee, wildfires swept through the Smoky Mountains, taking lives and homes all too abruptly. This came near the end of a year fraught with so many deaths and other various types of loss. I stand with those who were glad to say goodbye to 2016. We lost my Daddy very suddenly to cancer at the end of September. But 2017 has dawned with a Hope I can’t really explain except to tie it to the answer I’ve been struggling to find to a nagging question: How am I able to be okay? How am I able to be okay? My first guess was my busy schedule. Teaching keeps me on my toes and keeps my mind occupied. Whether it’s a good thing or not, I don’t really have that much time to grieve. When I do, it’s in my car on the way to work or during worship at church or home. And when I do, I’m grateful to say that the grieving feels deep — if only dosed out in brief spurts. This goes along with something my mom and sister and I read together: that it is natural to grieve in “small doses” because sometimes you just can’t handle it all at once. Then something happened that really changed everything for me. It made all the answers to that question I could have come up with pointless. I was reading the story of when, just before Jesus died on the cross, one of the men being crucified next to Him asked Jesus to remember...

Water: A Modern Legend

There was a girl who would steal away to meet God under star-cloud skies, passing hours on the frozen ground with nothing but a sparkling veil between them. And when the stars were not out, the girl would find that her Friend walked with her anyway, as constant as her breath, even when her running took her far from home, even when she ran faster than she should. God chased along with her and constantly caught her when she fell. Then one day, God asked His girl, “Why are you running so?” “I don’t know,” she answered with weary tears. “I just want to bring Your goodness to all this broken world around me. I want to heal and comfort and give life. I just don’t know where to go or what to do.” The Good God smiled, and it lit up the girl’s heart like the first time she met Him. “Aye, my girl, this is the work for which I have made you. But don’t you know that doing work like this apart from Me is in vain? It will only deplete you of strength and achieve nothing that lasts.” It took time to convince the girl to trust Him. She saw the truth in His words every time her striving yielded emptiness. Her God patiently waited until she ran out of breath and stopped. She didn’t know what to do with her feet or legs or hands, or self. So she lifted her face to the sky. The stars crackled dazzling in clusters right above her head, stretching out to the fringes of the horizon — she had...

An Easter Realization for Those of Us Who are Just Plain Exhausted

I feel heavy-laden with all this busy-ness. I have run out of gas from all this zipping around, back and forth. “Just rest” are the words I’ve been hearing since January or February. I’m not even sure of the month because life has been such a mad dash. Life can be demanding of, if not so much our energy, at the very least our time. Good things need to be done, necessary things. Our loved ones’ needs and quality-time visits and housework. All the hoops for school and work will keep lining themselves up. And the good work we feel called to do — the unpaid or underpaid labor of the heart — is just one more thing we must add to the list because we feel so much purpose brimming behind the door. But if there ever was a time in my life when I needed rest (I think this is the first time I’ve ever felt like the exact kind of person Jesus described when He said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest”) this is the time. This Easter weekend in the midst of our fun and rushing. This Friday dark with the curse of the cross. These devastated nights hopeless because of what we all thought to the the finality of the grave. This Sunday dawn bursting forth to abolish all that we believed about our fates: We don’t have to die and suffer the hell away from Love. We don’t even have to die and just cease to exist. We don’t have to keep messing...

De carros atiborrados y de saber qué es bueno para tí

¡Cómo quisiera tener las alas de una paloma y volar hasta encontrar reposo!  Me iría muy lejos de aquí; me quedaría a vivir en el desierto. Presuroso volaría a mi refugio, para librarme del viento borrascoso y de la tempestad. – Psalm 55:6-8 El lunes, el 8 de junio de 2015, yo atiborré mi carrito Sofía y empecé mi viaje. Estaba volviendo a Knoxville, mi ciudad de residencia, después de lo que ha empezado a sentir como un exilio de siete años. Hay tantas cosas de Texas (mayormente la gente profundamente amada… y canchas de maíz… y el Café 1418) que voy a extrañar; pero todo en mi interior clama a gritos que éste es mi Hogar, y que el tiempo ha llegado de estar aquí. Es probablamente una confirmación que he estado en Knoxville para alrededor de tres días, y todos los problemas de salud que he tenido para más de un año han desaparecido. Subí de peso unas 15 libras desde el enero, y ésta es una cosa buena. Para un rato, los números en la escala y el tamaño de mi ropa eran una obsesión. Entonces el año de mal-aventura trajo tanto estrés que perder peso resultó en ser simplemente una consecuencia natural. Sintió maravillosa alcanzar una meta que yo previamente había considerado imposible… y después sobrepasarla. Sin embargo, ése es cuando los problemas de salud empezaron. Sentía débil constantemente y no podía correr en mi manera normal. Las síntomas extrañas del Fenómeno Raynaud me asustaron: dedos extremamente blancos cuando tenía frío o estaba estresada. Ésta es una de las razones más importantes que supe que el suelo de Tennessee sería...