Category archives: Practicing His Presence

How God speaks to us personally, in our ordinary existence

In Bonne Terre, Missouri, God communicated to me through nearly everything. Through the parking lot sign that spoke of thirst and Son-light. Just across the street was a cemetery--a great green field where dead people lay, gravestones marking their one ordinary or extraordinary life. I stood on the edge of that field and thought about the brevity of our bodies and our days. What did those people do with their thirst, while they lived their days under the sun?And what of them now? All those tombs pointing toward the dawn. As if they were eagerly waiting for some Son from another Kingdom somewhere to come rattle their dry bones back to life. God spoke to me through the delicate wings of a butterfly. I sat on my camp chair, there on the pavement next to my trailer, hushed in [...]

Why You Don't Have to Escape from Your Normal Humdrum Life

I have this kitchen floor. The other day, I sat down on it and leaned my back against the fridge and just thanked God for that space. I thanked Him for the grit and the grime. The way that linoleum, even though it's not my favorite and I'd really like to update it someday, has held me up as I've prepared food for my babes. It's been a cool place for my feet to rest as I've sat down beside them at the table and nourished their minds with library books and their souls with Scripture over a peanut butter and honey toast breakfast. That floor has kept me humble. All the times I've bent over it, to sweep up the crusty ramen noodles and the smashed cheerios and have had to scrub away at the sticky syrup smears and popsicle drips. The other night, Brent and I got to do one of my m[...]

Good News for Sore Hearts

Dear friend, I don't know where today finds you. Maybe you woke up this morning and found out your spouse hasn't exactly been faithful to you. Or maybe you haven't been feeling well, and you've got a check-up soon and you're afraid it's cancer. Or maybe your life is a little more "normal" and you just woke up to a wrecky house and loud kids and a long to-do list and not very much energy. Probably, if you're like me, you've got some struggles of some sort. There are things that bug you and things that nag at your heart and there are unanswered questions and hard relationships and fluctuating emotions. Probably, if you're like me, you keep meaning to get all the pine needles in the yard raked up, from last year, but who has time to rake pine needles? And you keep wanting to be a[...]

What to do on the hard days

Some days start out pretty hard. Well, not hard compared to the friend who is battling cancer, or the neighbor who just lost their job. And not hard compared to the folks who don’t have enough to eat or the ones on the other side of the world who are being kidnapped and murdered by that terrorist group. Not that kind of hard. But hard to you, because there are just things that are difficult in the day to day where you are actually living. You know, with the kids who keep fighting and that one room you had resolved you would for sure finally clean today but for the life of you, you can’t seem to make any progress…on anything. Because soon as you get to work, someone gets whacked with a toy truck and another gets into the treats in the pantry and someone just made a big ol[...]

The One Thing That Can Keep You Stable Today

Isn’t it strange how you can be going along in life, just plugging away at all your regular things you do, like sweeping cheerios and dried peanut butter toast up off the floor, and loving your kids and trying to stay connected to your spouse, all the while this anxious stuff is quietly piling up there inside your chest? At first you're blissfully unaware. Because you’re busy and so you think you’re doing just fine. Meanwhile, you skim headlines on the news and your friend writes to tell you her world is falling apart, and a few friends ask you to do them a favor, and the kids keep making messes and you can’t find that one bill, and you’re laying there in bed at night, tired as can be, but for the life of you, you just can’t fall asleep. And this happens more frequently until one[...]

God Still Speaks

There’s this old, old story about a bush that once caught on fire, and burned, a crimson blaze but it didn’t burn up. (Exodus 3) And as the flames crackled and sparked, that bush caught someone’s attention. And so this curious shepherd, who was just minding his own business, taking care of his sheep out in the rocky desert, went over to check out the amazing sight. And when he came close, he heard a voice. God Himself was calling that raggedy old shepherd, right out of that blazing bush! Moses! Moses! God hollered out. And a baffled Moses replied, “Yes? I’m right here!” And then the Maker of that bush, who chose to show up like a blazing fire just kept on talking, “Don’t get too close. Take your shoes off. You’re standing on holy ground.” I have this burning bush and c[...]

The Reason I Cry At Least Once a Day

Today I walked across the yard and cried. Not because I was sad, but because I was heart-achingly happy. Happy because my yard is full of a thousand leaves that crunched beneath my moccasin feet. Happy because I felt the wind again across my face. Intensely happy because even though Gideon had crushed his finger in the door, he’d ran, fast as those legs of his could carry him across the yard, and I had the incredible privilege of opening my arms up so big and wide and pulling him into my comforting embrace. I was happy because he got to have a Lightening McQueen band-aid and it immediately made him smile again. A few minutes later, he came tromping in, requesting a band-aid for his sister and there he tore out across the yard again, just to tape a little bit of happiness on[...]

Why God Hides Himself and How to Change the World

I wake up early in the morning to feed Samuel. And when he's done nursing and tucked back into his little bed, I have this internal debate. I could sleep some more, which always sounds appealing, or I could go ahead and stumble to the coffee pot and sit and read my Bible and go hunting for God. I really want to sleep, of course, but there's this promise God makes. He says that when we go looking and searching and hunting for Him, hungry to find Him, that He'll be found.  (Jeremiah 29:13) You might wonder why I speak of God in this way. As if He hides Himself and yet wants to be found. The prophet Isaiah wrote about God like this when he exclaimed, "Truly, you are a God who hides himself." (Isaiah 45:15) And Dallas Willard, my favorite philosopher explains: And why would God hide hims[...]

On Making Your Life a Prayer

Jesus tells us to pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) And His followers wonder how in the world we’re supposed to do that. Doesn’t God know we have things to do? We’ve got meals to make and laundry to fold and a job to hold down and a family to tend to and friends to keep. Nobody has time to tuck themselves away quietly in a corner all day and talk to God. Well, maybe monks do, but most of us aren’t monks. So, what did Jesus actually mean when He said that? I’m reminded of the story in the New Testament when Jesus went to visit the Temple. Now, I’m no scholar and I haven’t spent hours studying the Temple a whole lot, but I just know the Temple was an important place because it was where people were supposed to meet with God. It was where they were supposed to talk to Him and[...]

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