Belief in a personal and faithful God who loves us unconditionally; a source of hope and confidence when you feel there is none; the assurance that there is someone greater than you who not only cares but wants to be part of your life


5 Reasons to Thank Your Prodigal

As our friends get older, which unavoidably means we’re getting older too, we find we’re welcoming many of them into the Hurting Parents Club. “You’re late,” we sometimes want to say, or “What took you so long?” We don’t say these things out loud because we know that would do absolutely nothing to ease anyone’s pain. And they would never consider they would one day thank their prodigal. But this state of affairs among our more seasoned friends has caused me to want to formally thank our very own “prodigal”, Matt, for rebelling early and vigorously (I’ll get to why I’m grateful for the vigorous part in a minute). I use quotations around Prodigal because even now, Matt wears this label on […]

5 Reasons to Thank Your Prodigal Read More »

God's Strength is Found in the Hard Places

God’s Strength is Found in the Hard Places

The surgeries started in her early 20s, and for the next 10 years, 12 would follow. The scars on her abdomen ran from a few inches above her belly button to pelvic bone and from hip to hip. She often joked that it looked like a ship’s anchor. The surgeries had taken away her most precious dream, having a baby, and it left her confused about her future and purpose. Some 20 years later, another surgery. This time leaving scars that traced the outline of her breastbone and two, one that resembled a cross and the other appeared as a lopsided “X” just below her left rib cage. The scars from her past and these new additions were separated by a three-inch

God’s Strength is Found in the Hard Places Read More »

Why Do I Trust God with My Life but Still Worry About My Children?

Why Do I Trust God with My Life but Still Worry About My Children?

Last month we hit a milestone in our house and my oldest daughter got her license. And not the drive-in-the-car-with-your-mom-while-she-yells-and-hangs-on-for-dear-life kind of license. It’s the “Mom, I am taking your car to the movies and then to McDonald’s with all my friends” kind of license. And I have to be honest with you, while part of me was super excited that I could now make her drive to get all my groceries (don’t judge me), the other part of me was absolutely terrified. Like, every horrible car accident you’ve ever seen in the movies terrified. And not because she can’t drive. Trust me, I’ve got $2000 worth of Deans Defensive Driving School invested in this kid and I feel totally confident in

Why Do I Trust God with My Life but Still Worry About My Children? Read More »

Bible Verses From the Grit and Grace Team on Self Worth

Bible Verses on Self-Worth From the Grit and Grace Team

From where do you derive your self-worth? Is it in the busyness of your job, where you clock up to 60 hours a week? Maybe it’s in your doting husband and your three smart, well-mannered children. Or, on the other side of the spectrum, maybe your self-worth is at rock bottom and you feel useless, as though your life holds no value. We’ll stop you right there to say that’s not true, friend. Here are some Bible Verses on Self-Worth that will help you: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter

Bible Verses on Self-Worth From the Grit and Grace Team Read More »

a mailman walking down a city sidewalk holding packages and the secret to a wonderful life

A Mailman’s Secret to a Wonderful Life: J.O.Y.

When you are 22, you underestimate the post office man. High on the aurora of your independence, you don’t realize you’re forging a lifelong bond with an elderly man who calls his office “The Pickle Jar.” Roger ran the post office at my seminary. I had arrived in love with Martin Luther and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, young in Jesus’ unconditional arms, confidently expecting the three best years of my life. I was correct. But I had no concept of great littleness, of God’s preference for bread over flourish. I had imagined that moments came in vestments and goblets, hymns and heights. They did, of course, and they filled my table until the legs collapsed in laughter. Lectures lit my canyon. Conversations flooded my

A Mailman’s Secret to a Wonderful Life: J.O.Y. Read More »

Truths About Work and Faith That Will Encourage You

Finding God’s Purpose in a Job You Don’t Like

Each day, we wake up and set out to do some sort of work. For many, we spend from 8ish to 5ish doing our assigned duties to earn a living. Some may find a deeper purpose and a calling in the position that they are in than others. Upon exiting college and entering a full-time position, I thought I had scored my dream job working administratively for a Christian missions organization. As I experienced the office culture and breakdown of what I wanted adult life to look like, a sort of sadness came from losing my expectations. I wanted to have more time with my friends. I wanted to enjoy my job and co-workers. I wanted to feel like I belonged there

Finding God’s Purpose in a Job You Don’t Like Read More »

Names Matter—Here’s How they Define You

Names Matter—Here’s How they Define You

A few years ago, my husband joined a men’s group called “F3.” The “Fs” stand for faith, fellowship and fitness. Each time a new guy joins the group, the rest of the men ask some questions to get to know him a bit, and then they give him a fun nickname. The name choice usually reflects something that they have learned about him. It might sound a little like a fraternity, but I promise it’s not. From that point on, the guys go by their nicknames when they work out together. So much so, that when Dan refers to his F3 friends, I don’t even know their real names. He may be talking about Macaroni, Ragnar, Fulcrum, Crosscheck, Straightedge, Overeasy, Goetta or

Names Matter—Here’s How they Define You Read More »

woman sitting on couch crying and looking out the window, wondering how to read the Bible when sorrow overwhelms you

How to Read the Bible When Sorrow Overwhelms You

On a recent Sunday night, I collected a few weekend photos, hoping to post about the needed fusion of fun and rest, community and solitude. Really, I thought it was charming. But then, in the blink of an eye, a phone call shattered this neatly curated carousel of social media photos. As I have tenderly held onto grief these past few days, the words from a familiar hymn came to mind: When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. Horatio Spafford’s poetic words about grief remain unparalleled. Many of you are probably familiar with the heartbreaking story. After losing

How to Read the Bible When Sorrow Overwhelms You Read More »

woman with leather pants and red heels sitting crossed-legged and confident on stairs because she learned how to say good riddance to shame

How to Say “Good Riddance” to that Pesky Shadow: Shame

I did not have an imaginary friend when I was a little girl, but I had something else that followed me around for as far back as I can remember: shame. Shame has been along for the ride for as long as I have had my shadow back there. Only in the last few years am I realizing it has never been a friend. I can remember as far as back as elementary school feeling ashamed of my alcoholic father. I loved my dad and was a total daddy’s girl, but I knew then my dad was different from other dads. Not knowing it was shame, of course, until now. Until looking back. Then the shame from being the girl with the

How to Say “Good Riddance” to that Pesky Shadow: Shame Read More »

a Bible on a desk surrounded by colored pencils

Would You Give Your Bible Away? I Do—Here’s Why

Do you remember how old you were when you received your first Bible? What color was it? Who gave it to you? Many might remember having a children’s Bible when they were young. Maybe it was the small Bible handed out later in Sunday school. Some received a teen or adult Bible when they were confirmed. What if you never experienced any of those gifts? My earliest and only memory of a childhood Bible was the large leather-bound one my grandma inherited from her mother. My great grandmother came to the United States from Sweden at the age of 18. The Bible sat, opened somewhere in the middle, atop a wooden pedestal in my grandma’s living room. As a kid with a

Would You Give Your Bible Away? I Do—Here’s Why Read More »

God Treasures His Keepsakes: Us

My father sold space when I was small. I couldn’t comprehend pharmaceutical advertising, and I told my little friends he was a “space man.” What mattered was that his calling carried him great distances. He came home with love offerings: a San Diego Zoo sweatshirt with a bear that squeaked when squeezed, or an otter mother-and-baby made from the ash of Mt. St. Helens. No bauble was more exotic than Turtle Bull. A Lifelong Love for Turtle Bull Crossing the universe in Dad’s pocket, Turtle Bull was an ivory individual the size of a walnut, all the more exquisite for arriving in a red silk pouch. Dad found him in Chinatown and chose him for his smile, a gaudy grin familiar to

God Treasures His Keepsakes: Us Read More »

porcelain tea cup and tea pot on a wooden tray

Watch for Warnings Signs So You’re Not Left with Broken Pieces

Whoever said a watched pot never boils has no clue about the world of making Chai tea. No matter how I watch the pot, it has a way of turning from a few bubbles forming along the rim of the cup to an active volcano in seconds—well, probably not even that long. It happens fast, leaving me with the golden liquid covering the cooktop and forming little charred blobs on the burner. I’m telling you, I stand at the stove watching for that very first bubble, hand ready to turn off the burner, and wham, tea spews from the pot to the stove. Believe me when I tell you I was watching it. Well, except for that split second when I turned

Watch for Warnings Signs So You’re Not Left with Broken Pieces Read More »

an illustration of Jesus' bed of hay beneath the star of Bethlehem, the start of the everlasting presence of God

Celebrating Immanuel: The Everlasting Presence of God

The presence of God upon the earth did not begin with Jesus’ birth. Like fingertips brushing a page of braille, we can trace the presence of God from the very beginning. God, walking in the Garden in the cool of the night. God, speaking to Moses through a fiery bush. God, leading His people by cloud and by fire. God, abiding in the nomadic wilderness Tabernacle. God, speaking His words through the prophets. Present, yet not fully seen. Immanuel: God With Us That is, until Immanuel arrived through the cries of childbirth; a baby, whose tiny fingers and chocolate eyes were a marvel. God with us, come to abide in our sin-choked world. Turning the tide, Jesus’ arrival opened a way for

Celebrating Immanuel: The Everlasting Presence of God Read More »

Mary, a Woman of Honor, Grit and Grace

Mary: A Woman of Honor, Grit, and Grace

Honor is the respect, trust, and confidence given to a person, earned by the character exhibited through the life they lived—the outgrowth of living a life of grace. Not easily gained nor easily bestowed. There is one lady that exhibited these qualities in life, one that holds a place of honor in every Christmas Nativity. Sitting calmly aside an infant in a manger placed in a stable filled with animals, I’m not really sure today’s depiction is realistic. If you had birthed a baby in essentially a barn, amidst straw and animals, you probably would not be perfectly coiffed. Joyous but weary, not only from the long trip you made nine months pregnant abreast a donkey, but also suffering through a natural

Mary: A Woman of Honor, Grit, and Grace Read More »

God's Christmas gifts: new life (part 1)

What God Wants to Give Us for Christmas: New Life (Part 1)

​​Christmas is days away and I am so excited about sharing this special day with my husband and family. The year started as the previous. A time of anticipation, yet each day filled with the comfortable routine of the past. Until a burning pain in my chest turned my normal into a test of trust.  I had felt the pain before and knew I needed to get to the hospital. Physicians quickly realized the stent placed to repair a blockage in my heart had failed. Surgery was required.  I kissed my husband, climbed onto the gurney, and was whisked away to the surgical suite. Life Is a Gift! Several hours later, I woke to the chirping and pinging of machines. One was

What God Wants to Give Us for Christmas: New Life (Part 1) Read More »

mom holding infant in her lap while working at her computer and wondering "who am I?"

Who Am I Beneath My Titles, Roles, and Labels?

Sometimes you’ve got to tell yourself what you’re made for. Because you forgot. Or it got lost in the loads of unfolded laundry, dishes stacked in the sink, papers from school in a messy stack of come-back-to-it-later. If you’re like me, you forget that your roles aren’t you. Sure, you’re part mom, part wife, part daughter and sister, aunt and writer. But the way you fill your roles and the way they expose your lack says what you do, not who you are. They define you in relation to others. Tell you how to show up. Who to love best. They’re important. Who Am I? You’re More Than a Title But your biggest purpose isn’t a title, a label, or a role.

Who Am I Beneath My Titles, Roles, and Labels? Read More »

Marriage is Not a Hallmark Movie

Marriage is Not a Hallmark Movie—But it Can Be Better

Marriage is not a Hallmark movie. If you’ve been married for more than 5 minutes, you were probably like, “Duh.” But do you have single friends? Do you remember all the lofty ideas you had before you got married? Last Christmas, I went to a Hallmark movie party. Think leggings, chocolate, and Christmas Hallmark movies. It was glorious. However, I was one of the only married women there. As I watched these precious women take in the love stories, I wanted to stand up in front of the screen and say, “It’s not like this! It’s really hard! There’s a reason God made it a covenant because, at some point, you will probably want out!” This seemed a little heavy for the

Marriage is Not a Hallmark Movie—But it Can Be Better Read More »

Scroll to Top