My parents gave me the gift of an authentic, homespun heritage. I treasure it, but I didn't always feel this way. As a child, I often felt we were dull and unrefined, perhaps even a bit too "backwoods."
I walked into my Hebrew class not knowing what to expect and not imagining the diversity that I would find there. It was still one of my first weeks in Jerusalem and I didn’t have a clue about what life was like in a city filled with so many extremes! Glancing around the room, I was surprised at the mix of people, cultures, religions and skin colors. Over the course of the next few weeks people came and went, but the way our lives brushed up against each other in a stuffy classroom in Jerusalem left an impact on me that will last forever. I learned so much more than language in that classroom.
Who can resist a golden stack of freshly made waffles? We are excited to share these fantastic old-fashioned waffles bursting with fresh berry goodness. Round off your Saturday morning breakfast with a side of bacon and eggs for the perfect way to start your weekend!
We've probably all heard it at one time or another. Something new or exciting would come along and we would get swept up into it. With much enthusiasm we’d tell our parents about this new thing or new idea. Then, with the wisdom granted them through many more years of experience, they would see right to the end of this “new fad” and try to dissuade us from jumping on board too quickly.
There are a lot of reasons why a person would want to stay in the world. Entertainment, wealth, and independence entice some people, but not me. At a young age I knew I was different from other children. Their petty games and ideas didn't interest me. I spent my time trying to convert my friends and asking my school's principal if we could wear school uniforms. I think I longed for structure. As I grew up I lost some of that nagging desire and moved on to a normal childhood of normal interests. I loved movies and would frequently memorize every word. After school a friend and I would spend hours acting the scenes out in her front yard.
International travel. The very phrase holds connotations of adventure and excitement and respite from routine. Planning it can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve never done it before. There are the obvious things to consider, like checking into visas and shots. But after that, the list of choices you have to make turns into a web and it’s hard to know where to start first. I’m no professional traveler, but I am one of those nerdy people who likes to write down the things I’ve learned. So here’s a starting point if you’re looking for one.
There was the possibility of a tornado dropping down out of those amazing, blue-green, billowing clouds, but it was still incredible! The storm suddenly came ripping across the local park where we were gathered for VBS, bringing sheets of rain and winds so strong that it sent everyone running for the nearest four-sided, solid structure (which was the now crowded bathrooms). There’s papers flying and everything’s in chaos, but for a fleeting moment, I spread arms wide and broad-side the gusts and pricking rain, letting the forces of nature swirl out of control around me.
March 1671 Eggiwil, Switzerland
The early morning fog hung like a wet cold blanket around the Shank’s farm. Christian hurried along the steep gravel path towards the house. His foot skidded and the milk in his pail sloshed over the edges of the bucket. “Really?” His little brother Peter muttered. “Like we didn’t need that milk.”
In the last few months, God has asked me to surrender some pretty big dreams and desires. I struggled for weeks about one dream.I did not want to surrender it. I allowed myself to be miserable for days until I realized i would not know true peace until I was willing to surrender. Just as God promised, peace flooded my soul when I finally gave in and surrendered my dream.
Honestly, I was pitying myself. Not throwing a big pity party, but definitely feeling bad for myself and for our family.
A brand new nephew had just been born and we were all absolutely delighted. We’d been looking forward to this day for so long! A cousin for our children, a new baby in the family; what could possibly be more exciting?!
"In this world, ye will have trouble. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 33:16
In March of 2008 I stood in a little bathroom in Honduras, the white light stark and harsh on my features as I stared at my face in the mirror, baffled by how normal I looked. I expected something to be different. Something to show that my world was falling apart and the happy future I had taken for granted had warped and then vanished into a void of unknown fear and pain. My eyes looked darker than usual. Slightly puffy from crying. But now, I had moved to a place beyond tears. My main emotion was horror. And yet, the sadness in my eyes was almost unnoticeable, even to me. I braced myself and left the bathroom, trying to settle my mask even more firmly so the sadness didn't show because my siblings didn't know yet what was going on.
What is it about the coming of Spring that makes us throw open all the windows in the house and commence to scrubbing everything from the ceiling down? We become invigorated by the notion of a spotless house and we're spurred on by the warm scented breezes flowing through the trees. We can't wait to purge our belongings to eliminate unwanted or unused junk. Cabinets get organized, the windows are washed sparkling clean, and the refrigerator no longer has science experiments lurking in the depths. We collapse onto the sofa, clutching our favorite coffee drink, and we breathe a deep sigh of relief and contentment. Finally, our home is purified. We can relax and enjoy life.
I don't really remember learning to read; I only remember loving it. I devoured the Elsie Dinsmore books and the Nancy Drew series and as for Anne of Green Gables, oh, how she spoke to my soul. Books old and new, fiction and non-fiction, fantasy, mystery, Christian fiction, poetry—I read them all. Eventually, I became an English major and read still more and still more widely. However, my discernment lagged behind. As I learned to treasure excellent writing, it became my main criteria in choosing a book. I reveled in all the new reading possibilities open to me without thinking much about controlling my thoughts or how those books might be influencing me. I looked down on those who consumed only ‘mediocre Christian fiction’ and thought they were better for it.
In the second half of this two-part series, Dorcas guides women to the root of the issue of control. Where does it come from? How does it manifest in our lives? Sharing her own experiences and wisdom from years of seeking the Lord, Dorcas identifies the matriarchal spirit that is devastating the lives of so many women and their families, and provides answers for healing through Jesus Christ.
Years ago in a distant land lived a young family. This family was probably very similar in many ways to my family or yours, just a husband and a wife and several children living together in a cozy house. One day a visitor came to see them and shared with them the beautiful plan of salvation. Although it was the first time they had ever heard this message, both the husband and the wife received it and invited Christ into their hearts and lives.
I approached a tall metal gate with my sister, who showed her ID to a guard. Dust swirled around us.
“Can my sister come in with me?” she asked him. “Just for 10 minutes?”
“Just for 2 minutes?” I tried to make it easier for him to say yes.
“No. No ID, no entry.”
I Kings 19 tells the incredible story of a man who did amazing things for God. Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal, proving to everyone watching who the True God is. As a result of that victory, Jezebel vowed to kill him. All of that part of the story is familiar to me, told to me often in my childhood. Look at the awesome power of God shown through a Godly man! But there is more to the story, a part often left out. After Jezebel threatened him, Elijah fled. He ran to mountains, and then he prayed to die. This holy man of God, used to show God’s power, was so full of despair he asked God to take his life. This is the part of the story I was so rarely told, but has become vitally important to me.
“It’s cancer.” Those awful words that no one ever wants to hear. My mom’s voice came through my phone as she spoke of the diagnosis the doctor had just given my dad. My dad. He was my strong rock, my hero, my protector. I could not begin to imagine life without him. My world rocked and tilted and was forever changed from that moment on.
When the Romans in the first century were trying to figure out magnification through glass, they probably had no idea how popular that concept would eventually become. But they should have figured it would become popular because we, as humans, are born with the desire to magnify something.
The must-do’s, should-do’s, try-to-do’s, and can’t-do’s crowd our lives. I feel the push and pull every day. From the tug of little ones on my arms and sweet voices that beckon me to sit with them, to the nagging feelings that I should leave the house and help the least of these.