Category Archives: writings

sarah’s laughter.

and sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. all who hear about this will laugh with me. who would have said to abraham that sarah would nurse a baby? yet i have given abraham a son in his old age! // genesis 21: 6-7, NLT

laughter typified both sarah and abraham‘s first responses upon learning of God’s promise to finally bless them with a son. likewise, in the days following isaac’s birth, sarah laughed over these long expected and unusual events in her later years.

have you ever wondered why she laughed?

perhaps she was reflecting on the incomprehensibility and irony of her situation, an event that could only be a product of God making good on His sweet promise. maybe it was sparked by a secret fear that they wouldn’t be capable of raising a child at an elderly age, or at the very least would pass on before he was old enough to himself become a father. what if it was a bittersweet amusement, a chuckle at the fact that it seemed His promise was seemingly being completed too late? did she have an inkling of the rivalry that would result between her future heir and the child abraham had already fathered with hagar? she could have just been filled with joy like any soon-to-be mother, who no one ever envisioned actually giving birth. or maybe she simply anticipated the gossip and doubt among those who would soon hear that she was to carry and bear a child at an elderly age.

how many times do we share in this facetious laughter at the unimaginable things God has at work? so often, our joy at His promises or plans for us is robbed – when we pause to think how others will react at something that sounds and looks proposterous, when we’re embittered that it took Him so long to fulfill our desires, when we allow fear to overshadow possibility.

let’s work on laughing out of pure delight and expectation at the things He’s appointed for us, shall we?



Filed under hope, scripture, writings

these three remain.

on the days when it looks and feels as if everything else has abandoned us – reason, success, security-, these three remain: faith, hope, and love. they’re pretty words, these capstones of a passage of scripture that is read at almost every wedding and quoted on valentine’s day. but they’re messy words too, especially if one is genuinely attempting to put them into action in our generation. faith, hope, and love in this century has got to take on a radically different connotation if we are to ever work as the true hands and feet of Christ on Earth. i don’t pretend to know all of the solutions to achieving this, but i want to at least offer up some of what He’s revealed on this subject to me.

faith as a complete trust – not contingent upon circumstances or emotions on any given day, but in truth. faith, for this day and time we’ve been placed in, that He will make all things work together for good. faith that He is unchanging, that He hasn’t forgotten us even when He seems silent. what mountains we can move with just a speck of this!

hope is, to me, one of the greatest needs of the nations today. it is a deep desire or expectation that things will change or improve, and being confident in the fulfillment of that prayer. give hope. be hope for someone. i firmly believe that He calls us to bring hope to others, to show the oppressed and hungry what the kingdom of God is. we can never begin to fulfill this task if our eyes are forced shut to needs around us and our hearts are hardened toward being generous without want of reward. hope changes things. offer His hope to someone, and i can assure you that you’ll be given hope of your own tenfold.

the greatest of these, paul said, is love. love is an embrace, a passion for something or someone, an overwhelming need to care for the most unlovely creatures. the kind of love i believe God desires us to have for Him and one another isn’t always pretty or easy or without hurt. but it is worth it, and it does change things. in this century, let’s love dangerously. read the gospels and learn to love in action as Jesus did; hunger for justice; do something without bothering to consider how it benefits you; and show love to the unlovable. i can think of no greater gift.

what are others saying about faith, hope, and love in the 21st century?

jeff goins — Faith, Hope, and Love in the 21st Century: a Manifesto?

matt snyder — Faith, Hope, and Love: Expressed in Simplicity

jesse medina – Faith, Hope, and Love in the 21st Century

kiel spelts – Faith, Hope and Live in the 21st Century

john sylvest – I’ve Already Got Truth, Beauty, & Goodness! Why Bother with Faith, Hope & Love?

what do you think?


Filed under authentic faith, hope, love,, writings

comforting without talking.

i’m published. :0

okay, so i don’t have a new york times bestseller on the shelves just yet, but yours truly does have an article featured on the front page of relevant magazine’s website today! remember my blog post from earlier this month, on being quietly present? many of you contributed to that post in a variety of ways, and an extended and more polished version of it is featured in the life/relationships section of relevant’s online edition. go here to read the article in full! please feel free to share your feedback either here or on the article’s page itself.

so many of you have given me boatloads of encouragement since learning of my feature today, and have even promoted my article on twitter and facebook – THANK YOU! y’all are the best. :)


Filed under grief, publications, silence, writings


i’ve been thinking a ton about the ability to rejoice, regardless of circumstances. it’s a sign of spiritual maturity, it’s an indicator of where one’s trust truly lies. and it’s hard. this past sunday morning at church, it was genuinely difficult to celebrate during worship. i found myself begrudgingly clapping during certain songs, and simply wanting to cry during others. i didn’t feel good about it whatsoever. i began to wonder if this was the moment i was beginning to shift into a state of miserable bitterness based on what stage of the journey i’m currently in. but someone reassured me that it wasn’t false worship, that it would eventually pass. and i know she’s spot-on.

last night at switch, our student pastor gave us an illustration that mirrored what i’ve felt and wondered in these past few days. he instructed us to close one eye, place our index finger over the eye we still had open, and look at him on the stage. “which one looks bigger – me or your finger?” he asked. compared to what was right in front of us, he seemed so small. our circumstances, tragedies, and unexpected speedbumps so often appear to be bigger than the God we abide in, but clarity eventually will show its face.

God is bigger than cancer. He’s bigger than my fears. He’s bigger than the trust i have trouble placing in Him when it comes to my parents’ health. He’s bigger than my bad days.

whatever’s in front of me, i’ll choose to sing hallelujah.

do you have a similar story?


Filed under authentic faith, switch, writings

summers’ thirsty acres.

we would usually hit up the akers’ in-n-out convenience store first thing as we pulled into the tiny town of dougherty. it’s where i was first introduced to moonpies and the stars on tootsie pop wrappers. we’d weave through town and take big canyon road out to the country, and i’d get such a fluttery feeling when we’d round the corner closest to the farm. we’d unlock the cattle guard and roll down the long driveway. the neighbor’s black dog, creatively named blackie, would follow us the entire way and wait impatiently outside of the car door to offer his sloppy kisses.

we were home.

my grandparents’ farm in southeastern oklahoma is where i spent weekends and holidays and summer breaks, where i drove a car for the first time and bottle-fed calves in the early mornings. on our 450 or so acres, we raised beef cattle and hay, and picked pecans from the grove just for us. it wasn’t out of the ordinary for a cow to poke his head in the window of the bathroom as i sat in the tub – or for us to name our most beloved hefers and calves (red and junebug were always my favorites). there was an entire closet filled with games, toys, and books that belonged to our mom and her siblings when they were our ages. when we weren’t engrossed with those novelties, we could be found in the kitchen eating granny’s homemade biscuits off of her beautiful pfaltzgraph dishes. papa would sit at the table and read his newspaper when he wasn’t working outside. he always said that farming was the closest to God anyone could get. and when i think about it really hard, i can remember what his sweet voice sounded like.

that beautiful, maize-colored home was taken from us when i was just five. the house caught fire, and my papa got my granny and aunt out safely. they crawled on their hands and knees down that long, gravel driveway to the neighbor’s home. papa wanted to get one of the vehicles out of the garage, so that he’d have something to take his wife to the doctor and his daughter to dialysis in. he was always thinking of someone other than himself. the smoke and flames were too powerful. i miss him so much. 

going to the farm was never the same journey it was before the fire. i picked through the remnants of the house and collected anything i possibly could that the flames didn’t consume – pages from my aunt’s old louis l’amour books, broken bits of granny’s dishes, old medicine jars and pieces of the porcelain tub i sat and talked to the cows in. aunt vivian passed away in 1997, and granny followed two years later. we go to the farm these days to tell stories from the past, pick pecans in the fall, and check on how that beloved piece of land is doing. summers’ thirsty acres – it’s my absolute favorite place in the world.

where is your favorite place? 


Filed under country life, family, favorite things, writings

streams in the wasteland.

forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. see, I am doing a new thing! now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. // isaiah 43:18-19

these beautiful words were penned by a prophet thousands of years before i would flip open my leather bound bible and find them. this passage promises that the same power the Father employed to deliver His people across the red sea will again be used in our redemption and release from captivity. this scripture is one i will likely find myself clinging to in this season, holding to the promise that His wellspring will refresh and renew. this blessed assurance is mine to claim and proclaim.

and it’s yours too.


Filed under authentic faith, scripture, writings

just one.

several of y’all have selected one word to meditate on – a term which will influence your everyday actions and the not-so-simple ones alike, a thought or goal to strive toward – in the first year of this brand new decade. i’ve combed through blog posts and tweets about the concept, surprised and inspired by your chosen words.

got me thinkin’.

out of the thousands of words in my language, which one will adequately convey what i want for myself in 2010?


i want to reflect on servitude and allow it to spur me to act differently this year. serving others, serving the least of these, and in turn serving Christ as His bride. the textbook definition of servitude is vitally important to this year as well: a condition in which one lacks liberty, especially to determine one’s cause of action or way of life. while i certainly bear responsibility for which paths cruise down and what i choose to do with His provisions, i’ve also got to learn how to relinquish my white-knuckled grip on my dear and often selfish desires and visions. hmph. this is going to be quite the experiment, y’all.

within the words we speak are life and death. a grouping of letters and sounds has power. let’s speak life this year, to ourselves and to one another. speak life into your plans and to your family, speak life over the most terrifying and sorrowful situations in your world. speak life into the next 365 days. what one word do you want to characterize your 2010?


Filed under servitude, writings