For years now I've been wrestling with the Church. In the early months of that struggle, I thought I was struggling with my faith, but over time I've come to realize that my struggle has never been with whether God exists, whether I believe that, or whether that should affect me. (He does, I do, and it does, to be clear.) My struggle has been with the Church. And I've struggled with it for a long time. I've kicked around this proverbial can for years, vacillating between various versions of my own coping mechanisms, trying to avoid the pain I've
I think some of you are going to be a bit taken aback by this next book. There are reasons for that, namely that the content is a lot darker, the subject matter is a lot heavier, and the imagery is a bit bleaker. No, I'm not going through an existential crisis that I projected onto these pages. The truth is, I pushed myself to write something more honest than I've ever written. I took off some of the dampers I had self-inflicted and allowed myself to explore some of the darkest themes I have personally faced. Abuse. Neglect. Fear.
Dear Mom, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. Sex has never been a comfortable topic for me. Partly because of my upbringing, and partly because of my faith, sex has been, for the majority of my life, somewhat of a taboo. Even after marriage, there were aspects of my sexuality that I could not bring myself to terms with (because God forbid a woman should not only enjoy it but... you know... want it). But here I am, writing this, knowing that people I know will read it. Knowing my MOM will read it (good lord in heaven). Maybe even
It is not great faith to demand something of God. Let me repeat that. It is not great faith to demand God to do anything. But that's what's happening today. And the #WakeUpOlive movement is only a symptom of a much bigger, and much more terrifying problem in the modern Church. A Worldwide Movement A few days ago, my Instagram feed started to fill with post after post from prominent Christian leaders. All of them cried out in great faith, and all of them were asking one thing: for God to resurrect a little girl from the dead. Immediately, my
I see this a lot in my reader groups: people (particularly girls) asking for recommendations of novels with strong female leads. And then inevitably, fifty people comment with various novels they love and recommend. And almost exclusively, the novels feature ass-kicking women with hyper-masculine tendencies and abilities that somehow mark them as “strong.” And inevitably, I roll my eyes. Now let me just say that I will be the first to admit that I’m a Sarah J. Maas fan, and she is the queen of writing ass-kicking female leads. And I am fully aware of the hypocrisy of my own
Shallow art does not equal good theology. Let me say that again. Shallow art does not equal good theology. If art isn't authentic to the human experience, it's not art. There. I said it. *breathes* This topic can be...touchy, to say the least. For Christians, anyway. I think we're scared... I've avoided it, to be honest. I thought to myself, "If someone brings it up, then talk about it. But don't open that Pandora's Box. It's not worth it." People have brought it up in my inner circle. But I can tell that they, like me, weren't sure what to
Last week, Twitter blew up with the hashtag #MisandryInPublishing. Apparently some poor, hapless (male) soul posted that he believed it to be a real problem and women. went. nuts. Oh man, the hate on Twitter. It’s mind-blowing how nasty people can be sometimes. But I digress... The poor soul was obliterated by one cat-scratch after another—women on the man hate rant about how the entire concept of misandry in publishing is laughable at best. I read through the banter. I wondered as to the fate of humanity for a moment. And then I stated my peace and moved on. Yes,
I am a perfectionist. There. I said it. I like to wrap things up in a pretty box, tie a bow on them, and call them accomplished. I like to explain things. I like to categorize my life into snippets of theology. "Oh this? I learned ____________ from this. And that over there? That was the time I learned _____________." I think being able to define the incidents in my life has given me a sense of purpose. It has certainly given me a sense of sanity. So when I was faced with something I couldn't define, I was lost.
Today, my heart is truly broken. Today, I mourn. Today, I feel betrayed. Flummoxed. Bamboozled. Duped. I didn't see this coming. Not for a thousand miles. Today the world found out that Josh Duggar is not quite the repented soul he had purported himself to be. I am going to step up to the plate here and admit that I was one of the first to jump on the defensive for the Duggar family, Josh being no exception. I believed him when he said he had made mistakes as a kid and had repented. I believed it because I believe
I hear this a lot these days: "I can love Jesus without going to church." I suppose you can. But you won't get very far. If you're one of those people, don't tune out. There's something you need to hear. When I was in college, I saw a tshirt that said, "Jesus is not a religion." I loved it. I thought it was so perfect. That's right, Jesus not a religion! What a revolutionary thought!! It was that mindset that set me down the path to the version of Christian "spirituality" I sported for many years. I loved to say
It has been a busy season of life, to say the least. Between kiddos, husband, family, work, worship, church groups, songwriting, and trying to do all of that while keeping the house from looking like a disaster area, I am little tired. Okay, really tired. I used to never take naps because I knew that if I napped, I wouldn't sleep that night. The other day, I took two long naps and STILL slept like a baby that night. Now THAT is what I call a sabbath. It was bliss. But it showed me just how tired I really am.
Is it just me or does your inner self ever ask questions like this? "But I thought as a Christian, I wouldn't have any problems...?" "Why am I still struggling? Shouldn't faith eliminate the struggle?" "I thought Jesus would get rid of my problems. Is there something wrong with me?" Maybe you don't literally ask yourself those questions. But maybe it silently nags at you from time to time. Maybe you, like me, find yourself beating yourself up when things aren't as easy as you felt they should have been. Maybe you are your own worst enemy. I know I
I have a question today. It's simple, really. But I've been pondering it a lot lately. Do you love Jesus? Do I love Jesus? To clarify, in the context of this post, this is not a question for non-believers. Certainly if you don't believe in your need for Jesus, if you're not a believer, I am praying that your eyes will be opened. Certainly if you don't have Jesus, you need Him. But that's for another post. Today's question is for believers - do we love Jesus? I'm not asking this question as some sort of ploy to get us
Bold humility. Humble boldness. No matter how you word it, those two words don't go together. They are counter-intuitive. One should cancel out the other. To the world, that is. But I've learned something pretty profound about God as I've walked with Him - He's all about surprising us with opposite, counter-intuitive, seemingly impossible thinking. When we say, "Stay. It's not going to work," He says, "Go. I've got this." When we think it's crazy, He says it's His plan. When the world says, "Your life has to look a certain way," God says, "Let me show you what real
Above: Stacy (left) with her beautiful daughter (right) with my husband on our wedding day It was five years ago today. We lost a friend that was one of the most selfless, kind, truly honest persons I've ever met. Her name was Stacy. She was a wife, a mother, a friend, a lover of Jesus. And to me, she was a rock. I miss her every time I have a funny story to tell. I think of her every time I pass by the places we frequented together. I miss her every time something happens in my life
When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we
I used to be a good little Christian. I knew all the Christian-ese. I had a few key scriptures memorized. I did all the things good Christians do - I read my Bible pretty regularly, I went to church every Sunday, I listened to worship music in my spare time, I memorized popular Bible verses. I was really good at acting like a good Christian. And I counted it all as merits in my honor. I was doing a God a favor, I guess. I used to think that there were levels of Christianity. Growing up in church, I was
One of the many random courses that I was required to study in my otherwise useless degree was Inter-Personal Communications. Although it had little to do with the direction I had planned to take my Communications Degree of Radio / TV / Film, this class was one of my favorites. It was taught by an atheist professor that didn't like me and my "preachiness" (as he put it) very much. But, oddly, I really liked him. He fascinated me. He looked almost exactly like Christopher Walken, but somehow, with an even surlier demeanor. He was dry and slightly bitter. But
I was too tired to read the Bible. It put me to sleep. I struggled for a long time. I felt like a failure. I looked around me and saw my Christian friends reading the Bible, growing, learning, praying, in what seemed like a perfectly disciplined faith. I felt like I couldn't live up to that anymore because I was a mother. What little time I had to myself, I was too tired to read the Bible. It put me to sleep. I felt so guilty that reading the Word of God put me to sleep, but it did. I
When you can't feel God, believe He's there anyway. When you can't see God's hand, believe it's there anyway. When you can't understand God's plan, trust it anyway. That's faith, friends. It's easy to see a person of faith and assume they just walk on a bed of roses, perhaps blissfully unaware of the issues around them. It's easy to look at someone else's life and say, "Yeah, good for them, but they have no idea what real suffering is. They have no idea how hard my life or situation is." But they do. How do I know? Because they're
It's a new year, and while most of us are probably wrestling with our resolutions and how we are going to finally execute them this year, I have a challenge for you. Instead of a resolution, how about you have a revelation? Scientifically, you can't be an atheist. My pastor told a story once about sitting on a plane next to an atheist. He challenged the man by telling him that he thought atheism was scientifically impossible. You can hear his witty banter here, if you want. Or you can read my summary. My pastor challenged the man by pointing
It has been fascinating reading the comments you are writing on the posts I've made about Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty debacle. I love reading all the different perspectives, yes, even the ones I don't agree with. But I have seen a recurring theme among many of the comments as well as other articles I am reading, whether they are from Christians or non-Christians - and it's a problem that needs to be addressed. We play dangerous games when it comes to Christianity. In my view, there are two main games we play that are both destructive and damning.
I fear we need to gain a little perspective on the subject of Phil Robertson vs. the entire homosexual community. I've heard a lot of people clarify their stance on the subject with phrases along the lines of, "it's not what he said, it's how he said it." Perhaps we need to have a little reality check. Phil Robertson is an uncouth, backwoods redneck (self-proclaimed). His beard is longer than my hair. His idea of comfortable clothes includes camouflage pants and a camouflage shirt. His idea of Sunday fancies includes camouflage pants and a black shirt. His idea of interior
Wow, the web seems to have blown up in the last 24 hours over the whole A&E Networks vs. Phil Robertson debacle! It seems everyone has a distinct and polarizing opinion on the subject. In case you're unaware entirely, Phil Robertson, the father of the family starring in the A&E show Duck Dynasty, said (in a nutshell) in an interview with GQ magazine that he believes homosexuality is wrong because the Bible teaches that it's wrong. And what a hullabaloo that created! People are shouting from their virtual mountain tops on either side of the debate. "Christians are haters!" "Stand
It's that time of year. When elves are being mischievous on shelves. When reindeer are flying around shopping center rooftops. When an old man can somehow see when I'm sleeping. He knows when I'm awake. He knows if I've been bad or good, so be good for goodness' sake. (That's the only reason to be good, after all.) I don't ever want my kids to grow up thinking Christmas is all about Santa, or Santa's birthday (thank you, Bart Simpson). I know lots of families who wrestle with faith versus culture this time of year. I've read many blogs on