Out of My Comfort Zone

IMG_6524I have never been abused or molested. I have not been mistreated by men close to me, or put in a position that made someone else’s sin feel like my own and haunt me like a shadow for years. But I want to write to those of you who are victims, who do carry this kind of shame or anger or guilt or fear with you every day.

I know that I am walking into a subject that is full of emotions that I do not know personally, and honestly, that is the reason that I do not usually talk about them. All that said, it is on my heart to write about this right now, and I hope that you may find it helpful.  Give me some grace here as I try to bring the beauty of the Gospel into a dark and difficult part of some of your lives. Continue reading ‘Out of My Comfort Zone’

The Oxen Are In

IMG_6735I don’t have a life verse, but if I did, this might be it:  “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox” (Proverbs 14:4).

I have an ongoing relationship with messes, a relationship that I do not keep a secret. My children are busy and active. They color about nine times a day at the dining room table, and by “color” I mean scissors, glue, duct tape, foil, and whatever else they rummage up. They play games all over our house. They leave socks in places that make no sense. They shed clothing. They come home full of things that they can’t wait to show me and dioramas that must be made. And all of this is not even any of the mess that comes from the food prep and clean up. Six small children bathing and showering and leaving towels everywhere.

Continue reading ‘The Oxen Are In’

Flowers on the Table

another flower

You may have noticed that nine times out of ten, if we put a picture up with a post, it’s a picture of flowers. We are in danger of being redundant. But what could be prettier than  flowers?  (Okay, pictures of the kids are stiff competition, I grant.) But I confess that I am completely taken with the glory of flowers.

When I was first married, Bessie (my mother-in-law) showed me how to make a Japanese flower arrangement. Her own mother had passed away when Bessie was just five years old, and her brothers did not teach her much in the way of domesticity. But when she was in Japan as a missionary many years later, she loved the beauty and simplicity of their flower arrangements, and she learned to be quite good at arranging them herself. She told me early on that flowers should always be included in the weekly food budget, and I happily applied her good teaching!

Though I had been a plant lover, I had not really spent much time with fresh flowers. In fact, when Doug and I got married, I brought about thirty Continue reading ‘Flowers on the Table’

He is Risen!

photo(19)May your Resurrection Sunday celebrations be blessed!

On not being a victim

bouquetI know that everyone in the world right now is freaking out about the Doug Philips scandal, and to be honest, the whole thing grosses me out so much that I don’t even want to read about it. And given that I don’t even want to read about it, I’m certainly not going to pull up my socks and start writing about it. But the whole situation has given me some food for thought, and that is on the question of how to raise our daughters so that they don’t fall prey to the manipulations of that kind of man – because those kind of men are found the world over, not merely in patriarchal conservative groups. Is your daughter ever likely to encounter more than three men in the course of her life? Then she will encounter this kind of man. So how do we teach our daughters to be submissive but also strong? To be gracious but also quick to say no?

I have three daughters, all of whom are are now closer to “young lady” than “little girl,” so this isn’t a hypothetical question for me! Here are some of the things that have been bouncing around in my head on this question, in no particular order – things that are very much at the front of my mind as I watch these lovely girls grow up. Continue reading ‘On not being a victim’

Busy Bible Reading

When I was a young mom, reading the Bible regularly was always a challenge for me. I went in spurts and starts. I always loved reading the Bible, but not enough to make it happen every day. I remember I used to wonder what it was that hindered me. After all, I made dinner every day even though I didn’t always feel like it. I showered. I brushed my teeth. I did countless other duties day in and day out. Why was Bible reading so hard to fit it? Actually,  I  made it way too hard on myself and set up ridiculous and unrealistic standards and hurdles.

First of all, I was tempted to stop and analyze my problem. “Why don’t I read my Bible more? I wonder what the problem is?” What  I should have done instead was say to myself, “I know! Rather than trying to figure out why I don’t read my Bible more, why don’t I just pick it up and read it right now?” If only I had thought of that back then. Even if I had only read a verse or two, it would have been much better than contemplating the causes of my erratic Bible reading.

Second, I think I was coming to the Bible trying to be a super-Bible-reader. I was going to the Bible looking for a “devotional experience,” and I seldom had one. So I figured that I must not be reading deeply enough or thoughtfully Continue reading ‘Busy Bible Reading’