That dreaded name in your Bible-in-a-year plan.
“In the beginning” of January, you start off just fine. The Creation of existence, the Garden of Eden, the ark of Noah — we’ve heard these stories since Sunday School, and comfortably sail through our two or three chapters every day. Then comes Exodus, and it’s full of adventure and intrigue. Burning bushes, massive plagues, attempted coups within the camp of Israel — you can almost hear the echoes of The Prince of Egypt soundtrack playing as your read.
But January turns into February, and the white of winter turns into slushy brown, and you start to drag. Because all of a sudden you begin to read every detail about how the tabernacle was built. And I mean every detail. Use this many rings on the left wall. Use this many rings on the right wall. Use this many rings on the front wall. Use this many rings on the back wall. Put this many pomegranates on the left curtain. Put this many pomegranates on the right curtain. Put this many pomegranates on the front curtain… And so you trudge through these last few chapters of Exodus, convinced you can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Then you’re hit by the train of Leviticus.
I’m honored to share on the lovely Moriah’s blog, Delighting In Him, talking about singleness, joy, and Valentine’s Day. Go take a look, and while your there read Moriah’s wonderful blog, and subscribe to catch her new upcoming series on delight!
“Valentine’s Day used to really hurt.
Not because I have anything traumatic that ever happened around it, nor because anyone was ever unkind to me, and not even because I hate chocolate or red and pink wrappers. (As if such a thing could be.)
No, Valentine’s hurt, because it was a reminder. Because all around me people were getting flowers and buying cards and posting photos of them and their significant other. And there’s nothing wrong with them doing that. But to me it was a reminder. A reminder that there are the Have’s and the Have-not’s of relationships, and I was well and firmly in the latter…”
via Valentine’s Day Doesn’t Have to Hurt | Isabelle Ingalls
One moment. Everything hangs upon it.
My family has been watching the Olympics together this week, tensing as a figure skater gets tossed several feet into the air until she lands safely again, holding our breath as the hockey player takes the shot, cheering as the skier lands that fantastical flip. It’s incredible the feats these athletes can do. But what’s even more impressive is the labor these athletes have put into their sport.
They’ve trained since they were ten. They’ve given all their attention to this one thing. They lift those weights, just one more time, so that they can get here. They hit that alarm, just one more time, so that they can get here. Thousands of pushups and crunches, and hundreds of thousands of hours out on the snow, out on the ice — they dedicate the whole of their lives to training.
And yet some of them only compete for 38 seconds. That’s the whole of their race, that’s how long their track is.
But for many more, the outcome is decided in one single moment. Continue reading
I almost did it. I came so close. And yet, as the year died, defeat looked me in the eye.
Yes, I had many challenges fighting against me — several months rendered useless because my time was monopolized by ministry, and three months not even being home. But I had overcome them, I made up for what was lost, I was almost there, I almost made it — but didn’t. I didn’t complete my reading challenge. I only read 45 out of the 52-book goal that I attempted.
But all dramatics aside, my reading challenge wasn’t a failure in any sense. There’s never not a good time to read, and my commitment gave me a goal and accountability to be intentional about picking up heavy tome. Or slim e-reader, as the case may be.
Looking back now, I ran into some interesting adventures in Literary land. I had a hurdle initially trying to even organize and label all the titles I read. Where do I file The Great Divorce? As fiction, or Christian living? How do I define The Story of Reality?
I also read many things I didn’t enjoy this year (I’m looking at you, Steinbeck), things read solely because they are on the List-Of-Things-You-Are-Supposed-To-Read. I wonder if the List-Writers have ever read anything themselves. Yet, I also gave myself rein to read some light things solely for enjoyment. I found some new favorites. Good Christian dystopian fiction does actually exist. (There’s a sentence I truly believed I would never see.) I even read a book that hasn’t been published yet, as an alpha reader for a friend.
But the easy part of being a reader is the actual reading. The impossible part is answering the inevitable question. “Which was your favorite?” And I have forty-five to choose from. So, instead of attempting the impossible, I shall instead pick the cream of the crop, making both my task and my suggestions a bit more manageable.
So without further ado, here are my top 10 books from 2017. Continue reading
This should come as no surprise to anyone, but at risk of repeating the obvious: We’re living in the internet age. We communicate through emojis, learn through videos, and keep up through pictures. We have surmounted the limitations of space, breaking her hold on us, as we can communicate just as easily with those who live across the country as with those who live across the street. But we’re not just inhabitants of the internet age. We’re Christian inhabitants of the internet age.
And we want our online identity to reflect that. We ask ourselves “If someone looked solely at my profile, would they think I’m a Christian?”
So we saturate our online selves with spirituality. We post inspirational verses edited over sunrise stock-photos. We share the coffee-and-Jesus picture. We tweet a quote from today’s devotional; we make sure we pray a nice, theological, long prayers in our group. And everyone can see very well how much we love Jesus and what good Christians we are.
Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong for us to share online so others can see our good works.
Jesus is. Continue reading
I’m delighted to share an article from Katherine Forster! She’s a great friend and example, and I’m honored to let her share about the delicate and yet beautiful balance of adulthood today. Leave her a comment to let her know what you think, and then head on over to her blog to find more weekly wisdom and loveliness!
My mom tells me that when I was just a toddler she would go for walks with me, pushing the stroller down the sidewalk of a street down the road from our development. The other day I was biking down that same road, like I do so often now, and I passed a woman pushing a toddler in a stroller.
It was a little girl, blond like I was at that age. I waved to the mom, and as I coasted past I saw her daughter pointing at something excitedly. I didn’t notice anything of particular interest in that direction, but the little girl was laughing in obvious delight.
So much has changed since I was that little girl—and at the same time, so little. Continue reading
A new post? On a Monday? What madness is this? Is all the world gone amiss?
Nonsense. Never fear my good readers, we’ll get back to the regularly-scheduled programming soon, I just wanted to keep you in the loop of some new developments!
We’re officially closer to 2030 than we are to 2000. That’s disconcerting.
Happy New Year! (*balloons, confetti*) Here at the beginning of this new year, I wanted to take a quick break from our regular seriousness to chat with you guys. Because it’s been a while since we’ve talked. So let’s sit down together on the couch with our coffee (and me with my hot chocolate) and reminisce about our year together.
(Actually, how about you sit on your couch and I’ll sit on mine, not because of the limits of technology, but because I am currently quarantined to my room coughing my lungs out. Hence the lighter tone of this, because I start spouting nonsense when I’m tired. But somehow very logical nonsense. Anyways.)
2017 was a big writing year for me. I became a regular contributor for the Rebelution. I was asked to join TCB’s writing team. I wrote 52 articles in 52 weeks. (Though being honest, that number was made by doing several in one week and none for two months.) But perhaps the one accomplishment that makes me inordinately happy is the fact that I just realized that Seeing Everything Else has a very suitable acronym, which I shall now use to make my life easier in so many ways. Because Seeing Everything Else is a mouthful, but SEE is nice and manageable. And ties in really well. And was completely unplanned. So yes, it makes me happy.
There’s also a lot of new faces. And when I say a lot, I mean SEE just hit over 200 followers before 2018. (Thank you guys, you’re amazing!) So I don’t know as many of you as well as I’d like. But I want to. What are you learning right now? How are you growing? What’s God been teaching you? Who do you think is the best Avenger? (It’s Cap, by the way.) Comment, shoot me an email, let me know!
2017 was just a very big year for me generally too. I thought this would be a year of quietness, a year of waiting. So I was prepared for that. But God surprised me. I had some massive events and privileges, such as Continue reading