Category Archives: Christianity

If The Boo-Boo Bunny Still Worked

Not too long ago I remember putting bandaids on my children’s fingers and handing them the “boo-boo bunny” to miraculously make everything better. Back then I always knew where they were, who they were with, what they were doing, and that they were safe. Every night I tucked them into bed tight.

But slowly, very quickly actually, things changed.

No longer can I make everything better. I don’t always know where they are, who they are with, what they are doing, or if they are safe. And with one in college, I can’t even always be present to take care of things.

This of course is a normal, natural reality. As kids grow up they become less dependent. It is meant to be this way. But as any parent with grown up (or semi-grown up) kids will attest, they will never not still be our babies, which means our hearts will always, forever still long to protect, rescue and care for. Knowing we can’t is hard. Some days – some seasons – harder than others.

It’s not that I want to roll back time to when boo-boo bunny saved the day; I love having older kids. But being able to heal their hurt with a bandaid and bunny sounds really nice right now.

Instead my only option is to trust God as the ultimate and perfect parent to my kids. Interesting isn’t that as our kids become less dependent on us, we have to become more dependent on him. But when he doesn’t do what this parent thinks he should, my struggle is with him.

He promises to be our rock, our fortress and deliverer. Our shield and our stronghold. To lead us beside still waters and to restore our souls. We need this since his word also tells us to not be surprised by trials that come our way.  But how long we sometimes endure without seeing him be all these things for our child is excruciating.

Congnitively still, I know God is always there in the boat, steering. But visibly when waters are rising, my heart yells out for God to hurry. I know he can, so why isn’t he?

If the boo-boo bunny still worked I wouldn’t have to wrestle with these tough questions that are hard to ask. But thankfully King David shows us in the Psalms that we can.  So I will keep crying out to him to “give ear to my prayer.” In this tension of calling to him and out against him, I trust he’s using the very same circumstances of my child to show me too his “grace abounds in deepest waters.”

And isn’t this what we need to know with utmost certainty when we can’t protect, rescue or care for our child ourselves?

Mending Broken Branches: A Book Review

As an author and pastor’s wife, I read alot of books. Some I read because I personally love the author and/or am interested in the subject matter.  But many others I read simply to gain knowledge (and an opinion) about popular books others are reading, to learn about a topic, or to be better equipped to enter in with people facing various issues. To that end, on my nightstand currently I have a book on addiction, privileged kids, technology’s effects on relationships, shame, vulnerability, friendship/belonging in an age of judgment and divorce and dysfuncional families

Almost always, reading for any reason stimulates ideas that often find their way into a blog post. Such is the case with Mending Broken Branches.

The subtitle for this book is “When God Reclaims your Dysfunctional Family Tree.”  It is written primarily for married women who have come from broken homes and carried with them into their marriages and parenting the baggage of divorce, addiction, abuse, mental illness and unhealthy boundaries that marred their upbringing. By God’s grace, I do not fall into the target audience; however, I found great value in the content and would recommend to several other sub-set audiences. Here’s who and why…

Parents Who Are Divorced or Whose Children Have Experienced Distress in the Family

Part One of the book focuses on identifying the feelings, fears and idolatry that have developed due to the shaping influences of past circumstances. Therefore, for those parents who are divorced, or whose children have witnessed addiction or been victim of abuse, reading through this section will help you better understand what your child may be feeling (as hard as that may be). But you can also use the material to help them deal honestly with their feelings instead of suppressing it into adulthood.  While you may say they are seeing a counselor for that, I think by you opening up the dialogue and entering into their pain – from their perspective – will serve to grow (and heal if necessary) your relationship with them.

Married and Engaged Couples

Part Two and Three of this book serve as a marriage tune-up (or pre-marital counseling). The idea behind them is for the reader to see how their past affects their marriage, and what changes can be made to build a healthier relationship and curtail the pattern of divorce and dysfunction. But even for those like me who do not carry dysfunctional baggage, relationships are still hard and messy, because we are sinners.

My husband likes to say, “Marriage is death.” This may make you laugh, thinking he’s got that right! But what he means is in marriage we are meant to die to self and live for the good of the other. Not just in marriage actually, but to truly love our neighbor as ourself this is what is required! But this does not come naturally to us, nor is it how we think.

As self-centered sinners we tend to filter everything through the grid of self- looking to have our own needs and desires met. And it sure doesn’t help that our culture tells us that our happiness is what’s most important and what we deserve. So I love that this book seeks to reorient us back to the idea of marriage as a covenant and how that should influence our mindset as we seek to love our spouse, for better or worse. And teach our children what marriage should be.

The Broader Church Body

Considering the two aspects brought out in this book, it’s like you get a two-for-one! And both are worth contemplating simply as a believer called to walk alongside others. When we are more aware of how someone’s past shapes their current and future realities and behaviors we can better enter in with compassion and grace – whether that be a spouse, a friend, a parent or fellow church member.

But this book also reminds us that God is in the business of rewriting our stories. We are not defined by our past or our sins, but in who Jesus is for us. As the author said, “God showed up more in my scars than in my stars.” In him, there is always hope (there’s my word again if you read my last post). In him, all things work together for good.

“Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5  

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Hope That Sprouts Peace

I’ve never been one to pick a word of the year. Not that I have a problem with it, but my tendency would be to feel like I had to stay camped out on that word even if God was moving me toward something else. If that makes sense.

What I have been doing though is using alphabet building blocks to spell out a word or phrase as a visual reminder of a specific truth. I’ll call these “here and now words,” since they are simply whatever God is impressing on me for now. It’s amazing since paying attention how frequently in Bible study and everyday life the present word or theme crops up.

My first word, after being given the set of blocks was “weakness.” If you read this blog regularly, or follow me on Instagram, you may remember I wrote a couple posts about God showing me weakness is strength since it is in our inability and need that we see his power and might. Well, I’ve seen my need alot lately. And seeing who he is for me in my weakness, it is now “hope” that I’ve adopted as my “here and now word.”

I first encountered “hope” as a recurring word at Christy Nockel’s Night of Hope Christmas Concert. She likened her story (and song) of the Amaryllis, a flower that blooms in the winter when everything is cold and dark, to God’s love breaking into the sin and darkness of this world in the person of Jesus. The Light of the World who came to give hope.

After the concert I listened to the Amaryllis song over and over again so it’s no surprise really that when the handmade Christmas card (pictured above) arrived, “Hope” jumped out at me, There it is again. Ever since clinging to hope seems indirectly related to what I’m reading, my conversations and circumstances. Like I said, “It’s amazing since paying attention how frequently… the same word or theme keeps cropping up.”

So to realize in picking back up 1 Peter (which I literally started reading in September, but put down for a couple months until last week) that it’s all about living hope is not random.  In fact it seems the reason I never fully got through it in the fall is because this message is what God wanted for me now! How cool is that!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus ChristThough you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

This hope is not found here, but assures us of something so much greater. This hope reminding us to keep an eternal perspective can change the way we view things now. This hope we are called to by the God of all grace and is met in Christ who himself will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish. This hope does not disappoint!

Therefore, as Peter concluded his letter, “Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” Peace. Perhaps my next “here and now word.” What about you? What’s your word, or what inexhaustible truths are you seeing in his word?

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