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On Getting Some Soul Rest

Each of us walks around each day, with quite a bit going on inside our chests. We relentlessly criticize ourselves for the things we haven't managed well. (Our home, our marriage, our kids, our relationships, our work, our spiritual life, our finances....it's exhausting.) We have these pestering fears that go everywhere with us, and these regrets that linger long after the lights are out. We feel the daily demands of life pressing in, and the steady expectations of others. We wake up with maybe a smidgen of hope and open up the blinds to let the light in, but before we've gotten too far along in the day, we're already worn out. Somewhere, we have to find some peace and rest. We go looking for this in food and sports and sex and tv shows, in beverages and the beach--there [...]

On Jesus and Marriage and Hard Things

I have to tell you something about Jesus and marriage. There will be nights when you will go to bed and you will think that your spouse is your enemy. They'll do something stupid (or you'll do something stupid) and man, it'll be hard and one of you will want to scratch the other's eyes out. You'll feel your heart callous up and fortify itself in some kind of concrete barricade. You will think that change is not even possible. Even if you're a Christian, you'll start to question if there's enough power in Jesus to really help you, or them, overcome this particular sin and selfishness. Listen, my loves. Jesus is a very present Help in time of trouble. It's true. I know because I felt Him last night and this morning after Brent and I had a massively hard time working through some[...]

It's Hard To Be A Human--Why You Can Reach Out For Help

I'm gonna say something to us, because it's sort of important. And it doesn't get said often enough, especially in Christian circles. If you're a human being, then at some point, you're most likely gonna need some counseling. Some of you have been fed this notion and you've believed it. (I used to believe it, too.) Goes like this: "You have Jesus. He's enough. You don't need counseling. You don't need meds, ever. Pretty much, you can't possibly need anything because HELLO. You've got JESUS! Now, just be a good enough Christian and it'll all work out." My friends. This just isn't at all good or true. Life is ridiculously hard. Sometimes we get these sore hearts that don't seem to heal. That's why God made people. Lots of people. We need each other. It doesn't mean you're[...]

Cheetahs, Laser beams, And Jesus (A Bed-time Theology)

Gideon, (my seven year old) asked if I'd lay by him tonight. I'm always super tired at the end of the day and I just want to go to my own bed, but humans need a lot of comfort, so I curled up next to him and pat his back. He still had lots of words left, and I found myself being ministered to by his little boy thoughts and the way he processes life, "Momma, Jesus didn't want to hurt people. I've probably hurt people about 5,000 times, but there wasn't anything in Jesus that wanted to ever hurt someone. Even when mean bad guys were hurting Him, He STILL didn't hurt them back. I mean, He could have called all the cheetahs to come and attack the bad guys but He didn't. He could even have made laser beams come out of His eyes or turned His eyes so bright that people would just pass[...]

On A Summery Day In June

On a summery day in June, we found a toad. This momma taught her boy how to hold it--not upside down, not too squeezy around the tummy--but just like this so as not to traumatize the critter. And the momma taught the boy that you have to let the toad go if you want it to live. Toads are not so happy in your pocket or in a bucket for a week, though it's hard for you to let them go. You might tell your momma afterwards, "I miss that toad." On a summery night in June, we all looked for fireflies. We smelled the honeysuckle. We found a nest of baby bunnies. This momma prayed and she asked God lots of things like, "Please help us. How are we supposed to live this hard life?" On a brand new morning in June, this momma looked up at the sky. She caught a glimpse of God-glory, shouti[...]

When You Wake Up With A Rebel's Heart

This morning I woke up with a rebel's heart. Does that ever happen to you? As a Christ-follower, I want to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. And I want to love my neighbor as much as I love myself. According to Jesus, these are the two greatest commandments. But, some days temptation comes and I go all rogue on Him. Temptation is very tricky. I know you already knew that. But, temptation dangles the thing we crave out in front, without showing us the hook that will catch in the back of our throat. There are a million different ways to run away from God and rebel against Him, bringing death--the spiritual kind-- every time.  But it sure feels good at the moment. This morning, when I was struggling along, and realizing this particular temptation could easil[...]

How I'm Blessing My Baby (Before I Know Their Name)

When I found out I was expecting a fourth child, (and even though we were planning and hoping for another little one) I still groaned. I groaned because I don't like having a big belly. I just don't like the way I look or feel, at all, with a big-o belly. A couple weeks went by, and every time I looked in the mirror, I felt disappointed. Disappointed in myself for never losing the weight from the second kiddo. And somehow I let that disappointment turn into regret for this new life. There's something in our culture that seeps into our thought process, without us being aware that it's happening. It's this notion that children are an inconvenience. An unwanted burden. It pervades our society and even when we don't want to buy into it, even when we know better, somehow we still l[...]

Dear Tired, Wandering Heart

Dear tired, wandering heart, Jesus is your Refuge. When you wake up in the night, with the weight of the world on your chest, you can make your way to Him. He's not too far. When you've sinned, again, and your heart condemns you, you can make your way to Jesus. He isn't crossing His arms and scowling at you. He's waiting for you to come running. When you're confused about some things, and you need answers or direction, you can make your way to Jesus. In Him, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge can be found. Whatever your day demands of you, Jesus is your Strength. When your knees are wobbly, He'll help you to stand. Whatever troubles are just up ahead, Jesus is already there. Remember how He got you through those last turbulent waters and He kept you from sinkin[...]

What All The Green and Growing Things Are Really Saying

The other day, I slid open the glass door, stared out into the backyard and cried a little. I cried because the winter had felt long and cold and bleak but it was clearly over now and I was overcome by all the green and growing things. I was overcome by a God who could wake sleeping things back up again. And make seemingly dead things burst back to life. I'm daily moved by a Kingdom that is full of light. And love. And vibrant life. Our days here can be awfully hard. We've got these pestering fears. Our hearts fracture. Our hopes get trampled on. There are difficult relationships to work through. Questions that we don't have answers for. And sometimes we're moving along just fine, and then someone else interjects their fears and we feel like we should just go ahead and be sc[...]

How to Feel (And Give) Jesus' Love

You know the way I feel most loved by Jesus? It's through people. I mean, I know Jesus loves me. I feel it when I'm reading His Word. And when I'm looking at the sky. Or a wildflower. Or a tree frog clinging to my kitchen window late at night. But, when I'm with people, and we're all laughing by a fire, or praying together, or telling each other about our day or some random thing that happened--that's when I most feel profoundly loved by Jesus.   Now, I'm not necessarily fully aware of it in the moment. But, later, when I'm by myself or awake in the night, I remember what it was like to be with those people that I loved and that loved me and that's when I sense Him most. I feel Jesus. As if, He was standing right there with me all along and I could see the fi[...]

When You Just Need Time to Heal

Today it rains. The yard is undergoing this slow and steady transformation from its sleepy subdued self, to its verdant green, waking up, alive self. We’ve been sick but we’re all better now. The stomach bug took every last one of us out. At one point, I was laying on a sleeping bag in the yard, watching the kids play when I realized that all you can do with sickness is get better. You can’t worry about the laundry. Or dishes. Or muster up enough energy to clean all the messes up. You just have to be okay with making messes and sitting still and listening to the life around you until you heal. I told God that it was funny how much I must get my worth and value from all my “doing.” Because when I couldn’t do anything, I found it necessary to have these chats with myself that th[...]

Questions for My Birth Mom (And What To Do With Our Hard Things)

There are a hundred things I want to tell you these days. But, it’s hard for me to get my fanny over here to this quiet place to scribble it down for you. Because I figure out what I want to tell you when I’m driving down the highway, or when I’m taking a shower, or mopping the floor or standing in the check-out line. And how do I save it up and tell it to you later? Sometimes words have a way of flying away. Or they’re just not at all sufficient. Some things I want to tell you aren’t words at all. They are feelings. They are colors. They are memories full of meaning. They are deep, deep things that are hard for me to reach up and take hold of and pin them down. But, I’ll try it anyways. Because it’s worth it. Because you’re over there, doing your life. You’re running to the store. [...]

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