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Powerful, Remarkable, and Beautiful Truth About Easter

Apr

20

Posted by on Apr 20, 2019 |

Today is Easter Eve, though I’ve never heard it called such a thing, and I’m finding myself on a sweet stroll down memory lane. Won’t you join me?

What characterized the Easters of your childhood? What made this cherished church holiday special for you? A brand new outfit? Waking up to an Easter basket brimming with goodies? A sunrise service or Sunday afternoon feast with your family, close and extended? A city-wide egg hunt ablaze in color and chaos? Day-by-day deconstructing a Resurrection egg set to examine tiny symbols that represented the life of Christ?

With a big grin and a bit of horror, I recall the coordinating pastel dresses my sister and I wore when I was about four, complete with crunchy crinoline skirts, white bowler hats, and shiny patent leather shoes. “Fancy” is relative, yes? I also remember being a beast when it came to hunting for Easter eggs. Never was I more fierce or competitive than when a contest for most eggs found or a golden egg was at stake. It was in your best interest not to get in my way because you just might come face to face with a 35-pound steamroller determined to win a prize.

Are your earliest Easter memories similar or something entirely different?

Fast forward many years to when I became a mother with three children of my own. It never occurred to me until right now how closely the practices of my own childhood inspired Easter traditions for our family. New, coordinating outfits for our daughter and two sons; maybe not crinoline for Rachel, but all three matchy-matchy (until I finally learned that didn’t actually have to be a thing). Baskets filled and waiting right outside their bedroom doors. Attending church somewhere, wherever we happened to be that morning. A glorious lunch with our extended family (or friends when we had to be apart), anchored by glazed ham, potato salad, deviled eggs, and way too many sweets. And an egg hunt — always an egg hunt — except now my competitive beast mode for finding the prized or most eggs was proffered for my babies.

Memories are golden when they connect our present to happy or special moments from our past, aren’t they? While it’s unhealthy to live in the past or to become stuck in a rut of longing for the “good ol’ days,” telling and re-telling the stories of our lives can build unity, familiarity, and identity among family members. These are good things.

Easter traditions, in terms of norm and practice, vary from family to family, church to church, denomination to denomination, and even culture to culture. How we commemorate this holy holiday doesn’t matter a bit, but why we celebrate Easter is essential. 

Please continue reading The Powerful, Remarkable, Beautiful Truth About Easter over at (in)courage. And, please, do share your thoughts in comments!

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A New Month, A Special Opportunity! #1000Mercies #OYTO

Nov

01

Posted by on Nov 1, 2018 | 4 comments

 

Soon enough I’ll share some thoughts about what I learned by writing a book (surprising lessons, by the way), but for now, I’m coming out of my deep, deep book-writing hole to share something that well may be one of those “thousand points of light” President Bush spoke of three decades ago: (in)courage and Mercy House Global are “linking arms to provide a brighter, dignified future for God’s daughters in need.” 

We’re looking for 1,000 women to join (in)courage in partnership with Mercy House Global. Please say you’ll join us?

 

Our goal between November 1st and November 16th is for 1,000 women to donate $15 or more to Mercy House to help provide sustainable, dignified jobs for women in poverty around the world. This is one tiny, practical thing we can each do — in Jesus’ name — to make a huge difference in a woman’s life.

If you aren’t familiar with Mercy House Global founded by Kristen Welch, please, please take time to read Changing a Life, Changing the World by one of my oldest blog friends, Mary Carver. You’ll understand why it’s a no-brainer to ask for your support; this is important work making a tangible difference in the lives of those who are impacted. 

I’ll have a post up at incourage on Tuesday that tells you a little more about Kristen’s story, but until then I really, really hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn more about the #1000mercies Movement. The first 1,000 friends who make a minimum $15 donation to this initiative will receive a darling Christmas ornament as a thank you gift, hand-stitched by a beautiful Kenya woman who is part of the Street Hope artisan group. What a lovely token of remembrance. Don’t think you have to wait to put up your Christmas tree to display it, either. To keep Mercy House Global and its important work present in my thoughts, I’ve hung my little ornament on my desk lamp; if I’m not mistaken, my miniature disco ball is casting a thousand points of light in its direction.

 

 

This is an OYTO moment, Lovies, it’s time to seize an opportunity! DO let me know if you take part, and regardless, would you consider sharing about #1000mercies with your friends and family? I’m hoping we’ll shatter that $15,000 goal and need to come up with an alternative thank you gift because so many of you say “yes” to this special cause.

 

 

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Preorder Your (in)courage Devotional Bible & Receive A Free Leather Journal!

Sep

28

Posted by on Sep 28, 2018 |

 

Hello darlings.

 

While I’m anchored to my writing desk racing to complete the rough draft of my manuscript for For All Who Wander (praypraypray!), I wanted to let you know the beautiful (in)courage Devotional Bible is available for preorder now! Order by Sunday and in addition to a 20% savings, you’ll receive a leather journal as your preorder gift.

 

There is nothing else out there quite like the (in)courage Devotional Bible. Here’s why:

 

There are four cover types to choose from; each is beautiful in its own way on the outside, but it’s the inside that counts, right?  God’s word (CSB version) is the only thing that has the power to transform your heart, but there are extras that make this Bible special:

  • 312 devotions by 122 (in)courage community writers
  • 10 distinct thematic reading plans
  • 66 book introductions connecting each book of the Bible to the whole biblical narrative
  • stories of courage from 50 women of the Bible
  • Journaling space
  • Plus – FREE (in)courage leather journal
  • and so much more

They’re also competitively priced on Amazon but you won’t receive the preorder incentive.

Would you please consider ordering through one of my links?
As an affiliate, I’ll receive a small referral fee,
which I plan to pass right along to Compassion International. 
(Invite your friends to order through my links, too–please and thank you)

DO check out the video below to learn more, and if you click around the (in)courage Bible website, you’ll get to hear from a few authors about why they think this Bible is special. But, please, pop back over here to order your own copy, and a few more for gifts while they’re on sale and come with your preorder gift.

 

 

 

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Doing The Thing You Already Know To Do

Feb

23

Posted by on Feb 23, 2018 |

 

It was the first time my small group would meet her, this dear friend of our dear friend. On more than one occasion Monica had shared wisdom and insight she had gained from Sandra, and we were eager to know her, too. Proverbs 27:17 tells us that “iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” and Sandra had that ability even when her “iron” came through another person.

 

Jesus knit us together in no time, and small talk went deep. We were sisters, in it together, sharing so many things in common, understanding from the inside out the Holy wrestle. The way of Christ is simple but it’s rarely easy. He invites us to a kinship of suffering, and I find myself wondering sometimes is that so we can better know Him, or did He slip on skin and fill that earth suit with bone and blood just to feel the way we feel?

 

Sometimes I see Jesus as a circle and it tells me, “Always.”  And, that’s (beyond) enough.

 

On this morning, we made space for important things. This group will put their ugly out there and remain safe; we love each other to healing, we lift each sister’s chin toward Hope. Though Sandra wasn’t a “regular,” we knew she could handle the ugly and wouldn’t hold it against us, the way we’ve all experienced with other women at some point in our lives. We learn and relearn that some women thought to be safe, aren’t, so when we find a few who are, we hold tight.

We meandered our way onto the topic of forgiveness; it was me exposing one of my scars, how I had been wounded by someone I thought I could trust. I explained I had forgiven her but hadn’t forgotten, and then what Sandra said next I wasn’t expecting.

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Please continue reading A Hopeful Thought About Forgiveness over at (in)courage.
(I’d love to hear your thoughts in comments – here or there – and as always, 
thank you in advance for sharing this post!

 

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What Runs Through Your Mind When You Wake Up At Night?

Jan

28

Posted by on Jan 28, 2018 | 1 comment

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 NIV

 

As We Think, So We Do

For years I’ve battled insomnia, trouble with both going to and staying asleep. Over the past six months I’ve seriously addressed it every way I know how–medically, physically, holistically, alternatively, and spiritually (prayers welcome), and while my sleep quality has improved slightly, it’s still an issue. It’s not a question of whether or not I’ll wake up between Bedtime and Rise and Shine, it’s how many times will I awaken.
On good nights I’m able to fall back to sleep relatively quickly, but the roughest nights have me tossing and turning for hours (yes, I know I should get up for a change of scenery, but apparently knowing what I should do doesn’t necessarily translate into doing it–a whole ‘nother post for another time.).

When I’m wide awake at two in the morning it usually goes like this:

  1. Relax and try to keep the dream you were just dreaming going, to fool yourself into thinking you’re still asleep.
  2. Get mad because you can’t even remember the dream, but you know it was a good one and you want to know how it ends.
  3. Become increasingly irritated that you’re awake.
  4. Decide to take advantage of being awake by praying for every person on your prayer list, and even a few more who come to mind…

and it is right about there my mind begins to wander off track (anyone relate…?).

Recently I’ve been convicted about the direction my thoughts were taking. A new series I discovered on Netflix offered a steady diet of…

 

Click here to continue reading As We Think, So We Do over at {in}courage today.
I think most of us can relate…

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Our Beautiful Beginning

Dec

29

Posted by on Dec 29, 2017 | 1 comment

 

I want to push you, gently but sure.

Not in the way that bruises knees and pride but in the way a mama bird nudges her lovies out of the nest. She knows they’re capable of doing so much more, that they only need a little encouragement. Mama knows they’ll soon find out she wasn’t being mean after all, that she just wanted them to experience Great Things, Wide Open Spaces . . . and what they were designed to do.

And it hits me, that in this nudging, mothers share a kinship with God (though mamas push and God “pulls”). Isn’t it when we seek God and walk in obedience that we discover our calling and begin to live with passion and purpose?

It slays me to know I’m created in the image of God; I can barely think on it. I don’t think it’s possible to comprehend fully all it means.

If we’re called to be imitators of Christ, to look like the One whose image we bear, what does that mean? What are the first qualities that come to your mind? To love lavishly and without condition? To forgive freely even when you’ve been wronged? To serve sacrificially and to consider others’ preferences above your own?

There’s another attribute of God I’d like us to consider together: creativity.

Your potential to create.

God’s creative nature is revealed from the moment we open a Bible.

 

“In the beginning God created . . .” (Genesis 1:1)

Then, a few verses later, He describes the creation of man: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . . ” and then how He fulfills it: “So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God . . .” (Genesis 1:26-27). 

Because we’re created in the image of God Himself, we’re inherently creative. 

 

Our Beautiful Beginning continues at {in}courage.
I hope you’ll add your thoughts to the comment thread–
I can hear bravery and boldness stirring…. 🙂

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