23 Billion Miles

Today is my 40th birthday. 
Cue the, “No way! You only look 29!” comments! Just kidding. Mostly. 🤣 
But really, I’ve officially made this circuit around the sun f.o.r.t.y. times. Google tells me that in that amount of time, our planet has traveled 23 billion miles and my point on the globe is moving at 1,000 miles per hour as we rotate and spin. Do I really expect to accumulate that kind of mileage looking as fresh-faced and new as I did at the beginning of this ride?
Getting older is a privilege, the gift of each new day stacking on the ones that came before, growing into a dizzying tower of grace. There is a confidence that comes from reaching this milestone. A confidence that I have found Jesus to be faithful and present through all my foibles and stumblings and victories and joys and losses and wrestlings. He has been with me for 23 billion miles and whatever happens in however many miles I have ahead of me, I know I won’t be alone. 
So, let’s face these next years and days with conf…

One mind

Last night I got more direct with my Bible study than I often do. Sometimes as a teacher, it’s hard to speak on things that we know are areas where we also frequently fall short, where God continues to do the hard heart-level work that makes the spot tender to the touch. But it has to be said- and said to my heart, as well. 
We are studying Philippians together this summer (over Zoom, because... 2020.) One of the themes that we just cannot get around is unity in the church, and the deep tie between unity and humility.
In Philippians 2:2, Paul exhorts the believers to “be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” 
Note that this is not a call to uniformity of thought. The early church was no less divided than we are today. Slaves and slaveowners, zealots and former tax collectors, groups of mixed culture, race, social class, political stance... and yet, Paul tells them to be of the same mind. How?!
I think verses 5 and 6 clue us in to the answer- “Have …

A 2020 homeschool peptalk

It’s time for a homeschool peptalk.I see you, feeling all the stress of 2020 somehow piling up and making planning for the new school year feel extra daunting. I see you, fielding questions from friends considering crisis homeschooling for the coming year, feeling excited for them, or fearful of legal ramifications, or conflicted about whether it’s even a good idea for them to homeschool in the first place. Maybe you haven’t been inside your church for four months. Maybe you haven’t left your house in two. Maybe your schedule is somehow returning to pre-COVID levels but with extra stress heaped up and a face mask strapped on top.God has not changed. The mission has not changed. We have been given the privilege of raising our kids with a wider view of the world and a deeper appreciation for what is true and good and beautiful. It is a worthwhile calling.We cannot control tomorrow. We cannot control how this next school year will go. What we CAN do is be faithful. Right now. Today. We c…

‘Twil Soon Be Past

I got my black dress out of the closet this morning. We have a gathering today, a time to mark the homegoing of a beloved man in our church family. I also have been talking with family members this weekend as we anticipate one of our membership going to see his King very soon. Last week I had a hard conversation with a friend as we wrestled with the fragility of our days. 
This is hard. This season is hard. 
The Bible says our days are like a vapor. Like a flower in the field. There, and gone. 
Today as I prepare my heart for the hours ahead this verse is on my mind. 
“It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart.” Ecclesiastes 7:2
This is the end of all mankind. 
I’ve been listening to John Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life. What a poignant reminder in times like these. What will I present to my King at the end of my days here under the sun? Will I give Him my seashell collection? My well…

The righteous will live (and school) by faith

Planning has begun for Stephens Academy 2020-2021. With the next year looking so uncertain in classrooms around the country, I know many are considering homeschool for the first time. May I offer a word of advice?

Fear isn’t a good reason to do, or not do, anything.

Are you considering homeschooling out of fear? Or are you considering homeschooling because you believe God is leading your family in that direction? He is big enough to be with your kids and guide your family and their teachers through the possibly tumultuous year ahead.

Are you ignoring a prompting to homeschool out of fear? Or are you choosing traditional schooling because you believe God is leading your family in that direction? He is big enough to give you everything you need to do what He has called you to do.

I’m a firm believer that there is no one way to educate our kids. Homeschool, private school, public school... this truth is still the same:

The righteous will live (and school) by faith. Not by fear.

Whatever we do,…

Choose to rejoice. On a Monday in 2020.

It’s Monday. We are still in 2020. The news is full of coronavirus spikes and protests and politics and madness. Pause with me for a moment, will you?

In Philippians 4:4-9, Paul has a lot to say to us about finding God’s peace today, right now, in the midst of this year when the world seems to be quickly derailing into crazytown. Let’s walk through the flow of what he has to say together.

Rejoice in the Lord- ALWAYS. It’s a choice. Even on a Monday in 2020.

Be reasonable - and let it shine.

Remember the Lord is near, so:
*Do not be anxious
*Instead, bring your prayer and needs AND thanksgiving to God.

There is a connection between turning to Him with our needs and concerns (instead of internet news and social media), and having our hearts and minds guarded by the PEACE OF GOD. Even when it doesn’t make sense.

We can’t choose the news, or what articles come across our feed, or what conversation is happening between coworkers today. But we CAN choose what we fix our minds on- what we meditate o…

Sincere and blameless

“In Ancient Rome fine pottery was relatively thin and fragile and often developed cracks while being fired. Unscrupulous shops would fill the cracks with a hard, dark wax, which would be concealed when the object was painted or glazed but would melt when the pottery was filled with something hot.
In ordinary light, the deception was usually undetectable, but when held up to the sunlight it was clearly exposed, because the wax appeared darker.
Reputable dealers would often stamp their products ‘sine cera’ (“without wax”) as a guarantee of high quality.” -John MacArthur
Our Christian life can look good, glazed over with church attendance and fine sounding sentiments and all manner of good things. It’s the hot and fiery seasons of life that will reveal our cracks. What are others seeing as we are being held up to the light in the pressures of 2020?
“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things tha…

Like grass

There is beauty everywhere this time of year. I find myself wanting to capture it, to savor it because this fresh bloom of early summer is so fleeting.

It’s interesting how often the Scriptures link the beauty of flowers with the fleeting nature of our lives.

“As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.”
Psalm 103:15-16

“The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass.”
Isaiah 40:7

“For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.”
James 1:11

There are no romantic poems in Scripture glorying in the beauty or fragrance of these magnificent creations. Rather, we are constantly reminded, “This won’t last. Your life won’t last.”

Depressing? It will be if we fix our eyes on the here and now.

Rather, these Scrip…

May we look like You live here

Doing some weeding this morning and thinking about sanctification.

We bought our house seven years ago. It required eyes of faith. The house itself was outdated and neglected - if it had been on a HGTV show it would have been labeled a “total gut job.” We will just say it had good bones.

The property hadn’t been truly cared for in years. Broken and irregularly placed pavers were the only “front sidewalk” we had. Hip-high (sometimes shoulder-high) weeds and brush surrounded the house. Attempts at flower beds from years past were now fields of thistles.

But it was ours. I remember telling my husband in that first year that my biggest goal was that the house wouldn’t look vacant and abandoned!

Many home projects and seven summers later, hours and hours and hours of weeding and planting and truckloads of mulch and more weeding... and more weeding... it’s beautiful. It not only doesn’t feel abandoned- it feels loved. It feels like we live here.

But it still requires hours of weeding. We will ge…

You are not alone. Let's show them they aren't either.

Tonight, T and I read the story of blind Bartimaeus in her story Bible. She kept pointing to the picture and saying, “He’s screaming! He’s screaming!”... which does give some insight on a common behavior issue for miss T. 😂

“No, he’s not screaming. He’s shouting, ‘Jesus, help me! Jesus, help me!’ Do you think Jesus will help him?”

She looked at me and very solemnly nodded yes.

She had no doubt Jesus would help him. Why? She hadn’t heard this story before. She doesn’t yet know Jesus. I’m not even sure how much she understands with her limited two-year-old speech. But yes- she was sure. Why?

Because she knows what it is to be loved. And when she cries for help, someone helps her.

She doesn’t know Jesus yet or understand His love, but she knows us. She knows she is loved and safe and someone comes when she cries for help.

Parents of young children, these years are hard. Little ones are so sweet and say funny things and look precious in pictures, but these years are hard. I hear you. There’s a…