Category archives: Forgiveness

The Lady With the Trampled Heart: A Story From the Road

I met this one lady. She made me coffee and I asked her about her life. She's had a hard one. Her parents were alcoholics. They never were really there for her, growing up. They eventually got a divorce. But, then when her daddy grew old, he got sick and her momma decided to take care of him. Her momma, who came to know Jesus later in life, overcame all the crud that her daddy had dished out, and she drove to his house everyday and took care of her ex-husband. But, then one day, that momma got sick. And this lady I met, she overcame all the hurts from her momma not really being there for her, when she was growing up, and she took care of her momma. Of all the siblings, she was the only one. She took care of her momma in that hospital bed, till eventually her momma wore plu[...]

When You're Having a Bad Day (And You Want to Have a Good One)

Sometimes you might wake up to a bad day. Well, it might be a good day outside. There might be light everywhere and flowers bloomin' and birds singin', but there on your insides, everything feels overwhelming. And it might not be your fault entirely. It might have even started the night before when things didn't go as you had hoped or planned. And so you went to bed not quite at peace with God and the world and you woke up with some internal struggles right from the get-go. Yep, the sunlight could be streaming in that window and you might feel like a train wreck before the cereal is even poured. The world does its own thing, and you can't change what's going on around you, but there are some things that you can do to help your insides. To get your day back on track. For on[...]

The Boy Who Left Home (And the Daddy Who Couldn't Stop Missing Him)

Hopey and I go for a walk in a cornfield. And as we trudge along, stepping between the puddles and bending down to pick up husks of last year's corn, I'm reminded of a story. So, I tell her one. Once upon a time there was this daddy and a son. And the son decided that he was tired of living at home. He'd had enough of curfews and family meals and sharing stuff with his brother, so he asked his dad for all his allowance so he could go away and see the world. His dad, being a good dad that he was, sat down with his boy and had a little chat. "Now son," he said, "You can have your allowance but I was hoping you'd save up so you could buy your own house or start your own business someday." "Nah, that's alright," replied the boy, "I don't need a house. I just need to get away f[...]

When You Find It Hard to Love

Someday you might wake up and find it hard to love. You know, hard to love those folks right there in your life. In your lap. Or the ones from your past that are miles away. And you may not know what to do about that. Because you know you ought to love. And you know that love heals things and transforms circumstances and love can change people, but you might look inside that heart of yours and notice that the tank is dry. And you may not know where to go for replenishing. There is a well where you can draw from endless springs. There is a God with a heart so full that it overflows and He knows how to pour love into empty, dried up places. But, you'll have to go to Him. And it'll do you good to tell Him that you just don't have what it takes to love. Or to forgive. Or to forbea[...]

Why You Really Can Cease Striving (And Get Some Soul-Rest)

I see you there, crumpling up that sheet of paper, tossing it into the waste basket and wondering if anything good will come out of your life. Or if there will just be this broken record, repeating "failure" and "you don't measure up" and "you don't deserve anything good." I see the way you try. The way you keep getting up and dressing up and showing up and hoping that things don't screw up, again. You get so tired. You're running out of energy and it's had for you to enjoy your life. Do you mind to sit down for just a minute and let me tell you some things? Some true things? Some things that could perhaps restore your soul and give you some hope? Some things that could help you keep going and maybe even set you free? You really can cease your striving. You need soul-rest.[...]

Why We Need Never Despair (And the Tale of Two Mommas)

When I was born, I had a different momma. And I don't know the circumstances of her life, exactly, when she first conceived me and then carried me around in her tummy before I was birthed out and into her arms. I just know that she was broken. Painfully so. But, still, she gave me life and she kept giving me life as she held me close and let me nurse, my eyes blinking awake in that hospital room, adjusting to all the light. I remember her well. The last time I saw her, I was five, and I can still vividly recall her giving me the white birthday cake with the blue roses made out of icing. She had her problems and her addictions, but when she was sober, she was gentle and loving and kind. When she wasn't sober, she was angry and cried a lot so I sat on the floor and cried, too. I re[...]

When Mercy Wins

He asks me, with his big blue eyes and those long eye-lashes, while he’s laying there on his pillow, about my first mommy and daddy. “You know, your bad mom and dad?” And I don’t like to call them bad, because they did some stupid things and some wrong things, but I just don’t believe they ever intentionally meant to hurt me. I have all this compassion for them, so I try to explain that they just didn’t take care of me very well.“Oh,” he says quietly, “they just left you alone.” I cry a little and try not to let him see. Because years have passed and now that I have a little boy and a little girl, I can see how a mama or a daddy has to be pretty messed up, and pretty darn wrecked-up to ever leave their babes alone. “But why did they not take very good care of you, Mama?” Now, I’ve got all [...]

When It Doesn't Make Sense to Sing Peace on Earth or Goodwill Toward Men

I stand in this wreaking barn, with the manure splattered on the wall and the dust swirling in the air while the radio blares. They're telling me that there's been another shooter at a school in Connecticut. This guy has killed more than twenty people, mostly little kids. My gut groans. There's something terribly the matter with the world.Hours later, the sadness doesn't lift. Just this heavy weight pressing in, for everything twisted and painfully broken. I look over at my kids and listen to their little cheerful voices as they help Grandpa feed the cows. What sort of world will they grow up in? Can't I keep them safe? Their lives only knowing sweet things like newborn calves and kitties? Growing corn and wheat? Long walks down an old lane in the security of a family farm? I would spare [...]

When It's Hard to Put Your Wounds Away

I dreamed a dream.My friend was in a prison cell. She stood there, eyes looking down, face against the wall, and she was all alone. All her growing up years, her mama was a yeller and when she did something wrong, her mama screamed and came running with those angry eyes and she hit, fists pounding. And this friend, she'd just brace herself, while the blows came, bruising up her back and etching scars into her soul. And my friend's heart grew tough like leather, so she sewed it up to keep the pain from leaking out and the rage from seeping in. Or so she thought. I loved my friend and I missed her so I went down to that prison cell to see if perhaps I could get her out. I found the door was open, just barely open, but there she stayed. So, I went in to that cell and I took her hand. I gently[...]

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