Culture

Coming to Terms With Our Exile

Coming to Terms With Our Exile

Whether we like it or not, Election Day is coming. Soon we will know the outcome of this long political season, and we will all have to come to terms with the leader the people have chosen. This has been a hard election cycle for everyone, and in many ways I wonder how our country (and more importantly the church) will recover from the fighting, the insults, and the hostility over one another’s choices. But regardless of what Tuesday’s results mean for the nation as a whole, they mean something absolutely clear for God’s people—the church.

This is not our home.

When Darkness is Brought To Light: On the Benefits of Social Media

When Darkness is Brought To Light: On the Benefits of Social Media

Part of growing up is a growing awareness of the difficulties that life brings us. For most of my life I was pretty shielded from death, loss, and suffering. My parents loved us, cared for us, and pointed us to Jesus. As I stepped into adulthood the ground I walked on didn’t seem so stable any longer, and the world didn’t look as bright. Now with each passing year I am confronted with the brokenness that life in a fallen world brings all of us, and there are days that I miss the innocence of my youth. But then there are days where I feel a sense of responsibility for what I now know.

When I read The Warmth of Other Suns a few months ago I kept thinking to myself: “How did I never know about things like this?” How did I not know of the broad scope of the atrocities committed against African-Americans in this country? How did I not know that even though Jim Crow ended or people moved north, the systemic effects of such heinous sins still linger? How did I not know?

Where Were You On September 10?

Where Were You On September 10?

I remember where I was on September 10, 2001. Do you? 

Of course, I remember where I was on September 11, but September 10 is etched in my mind as clearly as the dark day that followed it. I remember what I wore (black turtleneck sleeveless shirt and jeans). I remember what I did (bowling with friends from work). And I remember the blissful ignorance that characterized my life that I spent the better part of the last fifteen years trying to recreate.

God's Sovereignty and the Election

God's Sovereignty and the Election

We live in troubling political times in America. I think I can speak for many Christians when I say that this has been a confusing and grieving election cycle. I’m not a political expert by any means, but I enjoy the process. It’s quite the privilege to be able to have a voice in how our country operates, a privilege many throughout the world don’t have. It’s a gift to us that we have access to information about our leaders, that we can vote without fear of being killed or harmed for our views, and that we can engage with others in the process—even those we disagree with. This election season is different than any I’ve experienced—and I’m young—so I’m not speaking from a wealth of experience here. I’ve had my moments of panic, fear, anger, frustration, and every other emotion in between throughout this long cycle. As we inch towards Election Day, I want none of those to rule my thoughts. Rather, I want to trust, not fear. I want to listen, not spout off my view. I want to have peace, not anger in my heart over the outcome.

As I’ve reflected on all of this, the reality of God’s sovereignty keeps coming back to my mind. I must ask myself: Do I really believe that God is sovereign? If I do, then I must believe he is not surprised by our political process anymore than he is surprised by the political processes of any other nation that has been in existence since the beginning of time. While it might be news to me, it’s not news to him.

On the Olympics, Parenting, and Our Identity

On the Olympics, Parenting, and Our Identity

The Olympics are over now and I’m a bit aimless, wondering what I’m going to do with myself now that I don’t have a high intensity sporting event to watch every night of the week. My husband reminds me that college football is coming, but to me, it’s just not the same. The Olympics are my thing, as you probably already can tell.

Daniel likened my post-Olympics letdown to coming home from the high of church camp. We all had a good couple of weeks, watching with friends, texting about results, interacting on social media, and now we have to go back to real life, with real bedtimes, and even worse, a real election that is coming whether we like it or not.

The Olympics and all they brought with them were not real life, but they allowed us to forget real life for a moment. They allowed us to enter a world where the nations gather together, excellence is prized, and people finish and win the race. One former Olympian said it feels a little bit like heaven. Maybe it does, I don’t know. But I do know that while I am not alone in my post-Olympic hangover, it’s actually much harder, and much more serious for the athletes.

If Women Can't Have it All, Can Men?

If Women Can't Have it All, Can Men?

We talk a lot about whether or not women can have it all in our culture. Can a mom have a successful career and a thriving home life? Can she throw in volunteering, too? Even in our Christian subculture we might not talk as much about women having it all, but we have our own ways of continuing the having it all discussion even among stay-at-home moms. Can a mom homeschool, volunteer at church, keep a side business of selling essential oils, and successfully save hundreds a month by couponing? Is it possible? Can women have it all?

Others, both in Christian culture and the broader culture, have answered these questions for us with a resounding “no”. Something usually has to give when we are attempting to have it all or do it all. 

I’ve been thinking more about the whole “having it all” thing as I’ve watched the Olympics these past couple of weeks (I know. Another Olympics post. I just can’t help myself!). Often we frame the discussion as a female one, as if women are the only ones having to ask themselves whether the demands on their lives are more than are humanly possible. But I would argue that it’s actually a human dilemma, not just a female one. Men and women are both regularly confronted with the reality of their humanness when it comes up against their ambition, their capacity, or their season of life.

The Olympics and Celebrating Strong Women

The Olympics and Celebrating Strong Women

Like many of you, I’ve spent the better part of the last week glued to my television and losing way too much sleep over the Olympics. I love the Olympics. I love watching sports I don’t get to see regularly. I love learning about new athletes. I love the dedication and talent that permeates the games. I love the human interest stories that tell us more about the athletes. I love it all.

This Olympics, the American team is majority female, which means we have the highest percentage of female athletes of any competing country. There is no denying women have come very far in sports. What I love about the coverage of the athletes (male and female) is how we learn not only about their sport, but their life.

Will You Subscribe to My Blog?

Will You Subscribe to My Blog?

It's summer. Summer is for slower schedules and later bedtimes. Summer is for days at the pool and nights eating ice cream. Summer is also for spending more time relaxing and enjoying life. So if you don't want to visit the internet every day wondering if I've posted (which is so scattered these days), I have good news! You can now subscribe to my blog through the handy, dandy "subscribe" button on the right side of my blog. I'm all for efficiency and time-saving devices, and my hope is that this new button will do just that for you, my readers. Instead of having to visit my website, wondering when I will post (hopefully I will post more!), you can have my posts delivered to your inbox by 2 PM the day I post them. So there you go, subscribe away, friends!

What Cooking and a Book Taught Me About Racial Injustice

What Cooking and a Book Taught Me About Racial Injustice

Last week I spent the better part of my Monday afternoon looking at recipe websites in an attempt to get out of a cooking rut. Even though I’ve been largely dissatisfied with the meals I’ve made for the past few months, I haven’t been able to shake the boring meals I keep making for our family. So I set out to find some new recipes. But I also learned something about myself. 

If I don’t understand what the ingredient is for, I won’t buy it. If I can’t pronounce the recipe name, I won’t make it. If it seems unfamiliar to me, foreign to me, or too new to me, I will pass over it. As a result, we continue to eat the same types of foods and never expand beyond what is familiar to us. As a result, we miss out on a world of food combinations and ingredients that are probably really good if only I would take the time to branch out a little more to make things that I can’t fully wrap my mind around.

I think that’s often what we do with people who are different than us.

Summer Reading and Favorite Podcasts

Summer Reading and Favorite Podcasts

Since my kids aren't in school yet, I don't really have the summer to break up our normal routine of life. But I did just turn in my book manuscript, so in some ways it feels like I am on summer break as I wait for edits to start. Also, because I am not working on my book right now, I am able to read things that have been on my list for a while now. Here is my summer reading list and some favorite podcasts I am enjoying right now. I'd love to hear what's on your list, too!