Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

When I was a little girl and the thunder would crash outside my window rattling the panes and wooden shutters, I would pull my covers up over my head, tightly squeeze my eyes shut and try to imagine that it wasn’t storming. I hated night and I hated storms, and both were closing in around me. No matter how hard I tried, the storms wouldn’t go away with even my most earnest imagining, so I would lay there in the dark listening to the skies bellow and roar, and I’d sing to myself, Jesus loves me, this I know.

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What Isn’t Can’t Change What Is

I was suppose to be at my Mimi’s house tonight. My Aunt and Momma would be leaning on the counter in the kitchen talking about their kids. My Dad and Uncle would be in the living room with my brothers and sisters and cousin catching up and laughing. My Mimi and Nana would be laying out the final plans for tomorrow, when to put the ham in and take the rolls out, etc. Place cards and table linens would be set aside and ready to lay out before we left for church tomorrow so that when guests started to arrive for lunch, everything would be ready. Poppy would be doing dishes and I’d be drying. We’d be talking about books and theology. He’d say something like, “You sure are pretty” and I’d tell him he was a blind old man. We’d laugh. We’d all be together, and it would be wonderful. It would feel like home. It would feel right.

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Monthly Treasures

March Treasures 2020

I’ve wanted to do this for awhile now. I absolutely love short lists of fun, helpful, (and sometimes purely delightful) things from other writers, and thought it would be fun to start my own. Maybe you’ll enjoy them as much as I do, or maybe, it’ll just be a fun way for me to find joy in crazy seasons and intentionally take note of them. Either way, here are some treasures I found helpful, smile-inducing, and delightful in March. (A few weeks late, because that’s how I roll.) This month’s edition consists of one of my favorite authors reading me his books each night, laughter in suffering, a tool for more intentional prayer, a recipe for a s’more/Oreo treat that will change your life, a movie to watch, an article reminding us where we ought to focus our minds and hearts, and more.

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I Love You From Over Here

The door bell rang yesterday afternoon, which startled me, because as with most of you I’m certain, it’s been weeks since anyone came over. On the front step, there was a package addressed to me. I didn’t remember ordering anything or winning any giveaways, so I was puzzled. When I opened the box (after Clorox wiping it down of course), I cried a few tears of joy. The packing slip inside listed my address as the delivery, but my sweet friend as the one who ordered it. There was a box of sleepy time tea, a candle, a chocolate bar, and a face mask.

My friend who sent this knew that I struggled with anxiety and sleeping most of the time, and also knew it had gotten worse with all of the uncertainty in the air the last few weeks. She knew that I’d been at an emotional low before any of this started and was well aware of the things heavy on my heart and mind. She’s the kind of friend that brings you flowers and has you over to watch a funny movie when life’s tough, because loving people for her is second nature. She sees the need in your eyes, and then sets aside her own desires and needs to help you. She’s really good at loving people, and not just when it’s easy.

When there’s a pandemic and she can’t come hug you and bring chocolate and flowers like she usually does, she mails you a little treat in a box and texts you pictures of yellow tulips every morning instead. She doesn’t let the social distancing and difficult circumstances get in the way of loving people. She just replaces her normal “I love you” with “I love you from over here.”

And we all should be doing the same thing.

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Of Wonder & Gratitude

The window beside my desk is open just now and the spring breeze rustles in. The soundtrack from Little Women is playing in the background and combined with the song of the birds just outside, it is a rather magical atmosphere. It’s easy to be thankful in this moment, where beauty and peace seem to swirl around me canceling the chaos and confusion of the broken world. It is in moments like these where my heart responds with glee to the command in 1 Thessalonians, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

But it was not easy last week when I was frantically reading the headlines. It was not easy when my job was canceled, several trips I’d been anticipating were delayed, and the question mark was placed on the calendar for the next time I would see my church family in person. It was not easy when my Mom got sick and was quarantined in her room for five days (just to make sure whatever she had wasn’t serious and it didn’t spread, she is better now). It was not easy last week. It will not be easy in the future. But all things considered, it should be. Because, as a Christian, I’ve been given so much. But I forget it so often. I think many of us do.

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When He Becomes All Our Hope & Stay

Panic attacks, nightmares, and anxieties surrounding conflict or change have long been large parts of my life. I remember when I was little, I would dream that my Dad would be mortally wounded by an escaped evil warrior with an undetectable poison disguised as a Reese’s cup while traveling. (I’d like to take this moment and thank my vivid and rather eccentric imagination for that.) I would wake up sweating and seek to find comfort in the normalcy of life. My little brother would be sleeping beside me, his steady breath and toddler hands clutching his blue blankie brought me comfort.

Everything is okay. Dad is okay, because life is still the same. Evil warriors with Reese’s poison aren’t real.

I’d roll over and go back to sleep, comforted by steadiness that was found externally when internally I was overcome with a dreadful sense of chaos and confusion.

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Hope for Broken Hearts & Pandemics

Life is short, it’s true. But boy, it can be hard sometimes. We are living in strange and confusing times. Universities are closing, borders are locking down, and everyone seems to have the answer to all questions regarding the pandemic. The confusing part is that everyone’s answers are different and while we all think we’re experts, the truth is that none of us are. We haven’t ever dealt with something like this, and can’t pretend that we have. What we can do is the same thing we ought to be doing in any uncertainty or trial: praise God and make Him known among the nations.

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It’s Like in the Great Stories, Mr. Frodo

We were watching The Two Towers last night, and I cried. I don’t think crying in that movie is uncommon, especially for my fellow women, but last night was different. I didn’t cry for Frodo and Sam, I cried for myself. My tears were for this real world, not for Middle-Earth. I was the one who said, “I can’t do this, Sam.” It wasn’t Frodo who was wavering and wondering if the end really could be happy, it was me. It was my weak faith I saw on that television, not Tolkien’s magical universe.

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Dear Memaw: A Letter I Wish My Great-Grandmother Could Read

Dear Memaw,

I wish you were here right now, sitting across from me. I wish I could have known your laughter and smile or your humor that I’ve heard so much about. I wish I could’ve seen you in person, with your short stature and realize that my 5’3″ body is a little picture of who you were. Everyone says I look like you. I wish I could’ve told you all about the books I read, my friends, or my dreams.

But I can’t do those things, not yet. One day I will though, one day when I reach Immanuel’s land, I’m going to tell you all about it. But of all the things I wish I could tell you right now, there is one in particular that drove me to write this letter.

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