Encouragement

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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Encouragement

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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Encouragement

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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Encouragement

He’s Still Enough

It’s the warmest winter in our small town since the 80’s and my southern heart is not complaining. There is no snow on the ground, no ice scrapers being pulled out when we leave the house, and the sun is shining brightly. The weather outdoors mirrors that inside of me. Warm, bright, and hopeful.

All around the world, people seem to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s in a sense of reflection. It makes sense that as another year closes and is slid onto the shelves of memory that we take one last moment to flip back through it’s pages and remember with bittersweet fondness the stories that ended and the ones that have just begun. That is just what I have sat down to do.

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Encouragement

A Baby Sleeping & Fearless Rest

There is something incredibly natural and soothing about a baby sleeping peacefully in the arms of the one caring for him, and this morning something very convicting.

He does not raise his head to question whether my grip is strong enough to hold him if he squirms. He does not hold onto me as if I’m going to let go of him. He does not keep his eyes open to see what dangers or dilemmas may creep up on him as he sleeps.

He closes his eyes.
He relaxes his body.
He looks into my eyes before he closes his one final time with a look not born of question, but of trust.

And then he rests in my arms.

Yet here I am, as he sleeps peacefully in my grasp, internally struggling and fighting, questioning and doubting, keeping my eyes stretched open on the lookout for potential sorrow or danger, while the Father holds me in His arms.

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Encouragement

He Holds Us Fast

The morning light was still hours away from creeping through our windows yesterday morning when I woke up and stumbled downstairs to the coffee pot at five o’clock. Rubbing my eyes thoroughly and rummaging through the fridge to find the creamer helped wake me up and by the time I curled up in my usual spot on the couch with my coffee, Bible, and journal, I was well awake and alert. It was the day before my birthday and just as I always do, I read through the last year of my journal.

Every year before it’s been a very enjoyable thing to do. Memories that made me smile, ones that made me laugh, and always a few that brought on a cringe. But this year was different. This year was hard to read through.

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Encouragement

When Feeble Senses Blind

Our backyard is full of trees that seem to burst with life and greenery in the summertime. There is a little cove in the back right corner where the branches seem to envelop two teal lawn chairs and when you sit up there, watching the sun fade behind the house, it’s pure magic. The squirrels and birds dance around in the mornings, often fighting over the many bird feeders provided for their pleasure. It’s a display of breathtaking ordinary beauty, and it’s dying now.

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Encouragement

Keeper of the Books: Why Mundane Work Matters

When you walk into my room, the five shelf book case on the wall across from my doorway is the first thing you’ll see. It used to be organized by color. The blue section was the largest of course, because I feel that blue books are just a wee bit more magical than any other color. (Aren’t all things better in blue?) Over time though, as books have been pulled down and shared with young readers, or I’ve flipped through pages in search of that one quote I loved, the organized beauty has dissipated and left behind are slanted stacks of bookmarked volumes, loose papers of notes, and a coffee mug or two that has gotten left behind during one of my “word search” endeavors. It isn’t a pretty sight. I don’t plan on making it out to be some sort of messy beautiful. Because it isn’t.

It’s just messy. Someone should clean it up.

But while it shouldn’t stay in the condition it is now, there’s something to be said for the disarray.

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Encouragement

Dear Authors, Some Books Take You Home

The breeze blew softly as I sat on the porch and turned the page of captivating novel. Page after page detailed a land I had never set foot on, never seen, never even considered. I saw the rivers come into view, felt the cool wind, and smelled the plants that were entirely foreign to me, save the descriptions I read in this book. Bit by bit, I became familiar with a place I had never laid eyes on, all within roughly four hundred pages of a story. Books have the power to take us on adventures, they capture us entirely and carry us away.

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