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Refiner’s Fire

  • When You’re Looking for a Christmas Miracle {Pt. 1}

    On Friday, November 30 th, 2012

    They say that the most glorious mess is the foot of the tree on Christmas Day. But there are frank people who will just straight out tell you that the whole thing can be a bit of a mess. The kids’ uncle lies in a hospital bed waiting for a surgeon to cut into his chest wall and slice a tumor out of the center of his heart. Lights twinkle in a Christmas tree across the...

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  • When Thanksgiving & the Holidays Just Seem Hard

    On Wednesday, November 21 st, 2012

    ‘Whatever.” The Wednesday morning before turkey and pie and black Friday flyers, I wake up to this smothering of fog and this teen muttering it through the kitchen: “Whatever.” And what do you say but that’s not quite the way to start off the day, and he shrugs his shoulders and slams the bathroom door behind him, and I get it. It’s there ...

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  • What We All Need to Really Breathe

    On Tuesday, November 13 th, 2012

    Six times my mama lies in ER this past week, waiting news. Good doctors can have degrees and no answers. My sister gives up long days and advocates on knees and in waiting rooms and Mama and her, they sing hymns and drown out clocks and fears. I rub Mama’s feet during the short nights and the late watches. I massage the bare weary arch of her feet and I tell her that I...

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  • 3 lines that are lifelines in any storm

    On Tuesday, October 30 th, 2012

    And on the morning after the brunt of the hurricane, it comes down to just three. Those three that Jonathan Edwards said one had to know about real Christian joy, that no wind should ever tear away from the knowing. And I look out the kitchen window at the corn still standing and I take and make the old preacher’s words real simple and I murmur it quiet, like a song, li...

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  • When You Feel Like You’re Battling Hard {Crazy Joy: 9}

    On Tuesday, October 09 th, 2012

    It’s when one of the boys pulls his hoodie up and slumps over Scripture like it’s some vanilla page of Dick and Jane. The dining room window frames this skirmish of October sky and summer hanging on. The tissue-thin pages I’m holding onto, they’re open to Paul writing to the Ephesians to put on their armor. And some kid detonated the words moron and lose...

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  • Because We All Have These Days: When We’re Just Hanging on by a String

    On Wednesday, September 26 th, 2012

    I crack the eggs and the pan sizzles and there’s a kid hanging upside down off the couch, trying to knit a scarf. “Remember to use the plastic spatula and not the steel one, Mama? Remember what Dad said?” And her curls are all hanging down touching the floor and she’s doing a row of pearl with the blood all running way too fast to her face. I switch spat...

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  • When You’re Broken & Don’t Know Where to Go:

    On Thursday, August 30 th, 2012

    When she was standing there in the spring, under the blaze of the blooming trees, I could remember 13. I could remember the burn of the unfurl, and how the becoming sears, and how does a mother help a daughter light? How does a woman be a light? We had walked down to the water’s edge. The sky smothered like a grey blanket and I could feel her struggling flail, al...

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  • Because if Us Christians Really Care……. And We Really Do — right?

    On Thursday, August 02 nd, 2012

    It comes right when we’re at day 11 of praying our way through Ramadan. Us the the family living next door to Mennonites not Muslims, the women who wear bonnets not hijabs. The neighbors around here taking their horse and buggy to make a 4 mile pilgrimage to Sunday meeting, not any annual five thousand mile pirimage to Saudi’s Mecca. But distance doesn’t...

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  • The Light We Need to See Everyone In

    On Friday, July 27 th, 2012

    Been praying this week for Amber and Seth Haines and their little Titus. I’ve been memorizing Sermon on the Mount, all of Matthew 5-7, with these earnest folks (and a whole community of memorizers!), and God’s got us on a journey.  Seth, a lawyer, a mighty fine writer, good husband and praying father to four future men — he guest posts here with a few needful...

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  • When You feel like Pulling Your Hair Out…

    On Thursday, July 26 th, 2012

    “This is the order of love: First love is patient. And patience is first a willingness to say thanks in suffering.  Patience in the moment only comes from gratefulness for the moment. …. ”  continue reading  . . Feeling the pressure of life? Struggling to be patient when it’s all just pressing real hard? We’re over here today being real...

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  • When All Hope Feels Like a Drought

    On Wednesday, July 25 th, 2012

    Aman can watch the sky like a plea. “And we didn’t get nothing — not one drop.” That’s what the farmer’s wife said to me before breakfast. How she headed home from town in a flat-out gully washer of a rain, thinking this was finally it — the whole dark sky like the ocean coming to find dry land, and she was just certain of it, the ra...

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  • weekends are for the best worship

    On Saturday, July 14 th, 2012

    Coming to you live from our drive through Port Au Prince this morning…. {Please consider clicking off music slider just below top nav bar to hear the best kind of worship — right in the midst. RSS readers can view video here… } and what song’s on repeat in my heart Caleb and sweet Kechnaider who needs a sponsor {b: June 25, 2008)… Cale hanging...

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