I live in a wonderful piney woods town in Texas with my husband Eli. We've been married for 30 years, and have served in university ministry since we graduated from college. Eli is an amazing person with an incredible story, and has been my best friend in the world since I was 17. We have two wonderful daughters who are both married now, meaning we have gained two sons-in-law, and are now blessed with several delightful grandchildren. It is such a joy to watch our family grow, and to see God's gracious hand in all of our lives.
Just to share some of my perspective, I want you to know that I grew up in a Christian home. I was born in 1972 - right in the middle of the crazy years! - but to two godly, Christian people who were pretty much the opposite of hippies and are still happily married and serving God to this day. To me, the 70’s were idyllic, and my childhood was very safe and happy and wholesome. However, I managed to leave their home and enter college without a clue of what “being a Christian” really meant. I would have told anyone who asked that I was a Christian, and I even still went to church sometimes, but the rest of the week I was my own god and did whatever I pleased. I suffered from a terrible malady called selfishness, a sickness every person is born with, and I did not realize that being a Christian doesn’t have anything to do with being born in America or even born to Christian parents. Being a Christian means an active surrender of my own will and life to the very one Christianity is named for - Jesus Christ. Jesus isn’t just a great historical person who was a good teacher of morality and ethics - He is God, and can revolutionize your existence.
So, all of you who are new to the faith of Christianity and all of you who are seeking truth, please forgive us for such wild misrepresentations of what being a Christian means. You have probably seen some of the meanest and most horrid people on the planet call themselves Christian, or you might have been seriously hurt by someone that said they were a Christian. The thing is, everyone is welcome - no one is excluded, and this accounts for the vastly different “examples of a Christian” that you may have seen. But, you see, there are some pretty real steps to take to actually be a true Christian, and so many people never take them. God wants everyone to come to Himself, and is so kind that He has chosen people as His method to spread the Good News, even though people blow it all the time. All of that to say, let’s look into what real Christianity is and is not. Please never give up on seeking God because of the actions of any person - He is real and He loves you. He created you on purpose, and knowing Him can change your life forever.
Why this blog exists...
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit - I am so glad that you did, The heart behind this site is really the culmination of 32 years (so far) in ministry, and comes from Psalm 145. Please read the entire psalm when you get a chance, but the piece that I was most struck by as I thought about this endeavor are verses 3-8:
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty-- and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works-- and I will proclaim your great deeds. They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
I truly love to read. I think I would read all day if I could - I was that kid that read under the covers with a flashlight past my bedtime, and even as an adult I have been known to trip or bump into a wall reading and walking down the hallway at the same time. I love books so much! The way they feel, the way they smell, and the wonders they can hold are all so meaningful to me. WIth that said, I have been surprised how much I find myself reading online sources in the last few years. Many of you who are much younger than I am (no secret - I’ve already passed 50) are laughing to yourself about that, as you are online much of the day and always have been. The fact is that lots of us grew up with very different habits than you - reading morning newspapers made of actual paper, watching news once a day on one of the three channels that you might be able to tune into, reading books and magazines, and so much time to just do and be without the constant noise of the internet. When I was your age, the internet was very new. I didn’t even have my first cell phone until I was the ripe old age of 29 and it was far from smart. My generation and the ones before us are not nearly as plugged in as you are.
We might not be quite as savvy in that way, but we have lived a long time and seen so much. More than that, we have quite a different perspective on life that we can share with you. The culture and atmosphere of my age was different than the one of today, making the lessons learned a little different. I hope to add a little to the discussion of right now from my experience and perspective.
With all of that in mind, this idea in the scripture that our faith in God is to be celebrated and handed on from one generation to the next suddenly means so much to me. My children are grown, and my husband and I have now lived through some things - big, small, tragic, joyous - so many things. In all of it, we have seen the faithfulness of God, and know He is trustworthy. As a Christian - a follower of Jesus Christ - I hope to help you have a better understanding of who God is, what He is like, and how to walk with Him all the days of your life. I hope to help you broaden your understanding of what Christianity is (and is not), and how to share your faith with others. I want to encourage you to have a wide breadth in what you read and think and listen to, and how to discern the intent and puposes of the voices you hear every day.
The human story is so long and complex - it is about so much more than right here and right now. In an age where all of us are bombarded day and night by information on our phones and devices, we need to be so careful that what we are taking in is helpful and not harmful, truthful and not deceptive. You have a lot of things to choose from as you decide what to read each day. I hope that we can spend some time together here, and that I can share a few things with you that I have learned along the way. At the very least, know that I am not the only one - there are many of us just ahead of you that are cheering you on and want to help you succeed in any way we can. It is your turn now to impact the world, and we believe that with God you can do great things!
Five years in...
Five years ago, when this blog was launched, seems like a lifetime ago in so many ways. Our family has grown since then, with a new son-in-law added to our fold and several precious grandchildren born. Our life, which had been roughly the same for so many years, has changed quite a lot, with a different home and ministry assignments, with the emptying of our nest, and with the relocation of people we love dearly. My hair is quite a lot more gray, my wrinkles are more deep set, and my body frequently lets me know I’m not getting any younger. I am sure that the same is true in your life - five years goes by in a blink but contains so much living.
Collectively, we endured the strange Covid era, which was certainly a marker for this whole generation. Regardless of political perspective, we are just now beginning to see the ramifications of pushing pause on society for a year or more, all the while upping the volume on fear and uncertainty in every way. It doesn’t seem that we have emerged from that time in a better place as a whole.
I am aware now that my over-50 status gives me a particular vantage point with my own cohort and those ahead of us - we can really remember what things were like before. Working with university students all of our adult lives has accentuated this to me. I feel like a covered wagon, Oregon trail participant because I know what the convenience store name 7-11 stands for, I remember when we had to wait patiently for radio stations and movie theaters to release new things, and I remember when there were only 3 tv channels. I can remember when all 3 of those stations used to play the national anthem and then cut to static every night at midnight, meaning there was nothing at all to watch mindlessly until morning, especially before VCRs came along. I remember when nothing was open on Sundays, when there was no such thing as an ATM or a debit card, and when answering machines were invented. More than that, I know my parents’ stories and experiences from their lives, and can remember what my grandmother’s stories told me about her generation and her own life that began in 1900. It isn’t just a myth that life used to be a little slower and less frantic, more relational and less virtual. The world is always changing!
I also vividly remember life BP - before phone. I was 29 years old when I got my first cell phone, and it could only text and make calls. I was in my late 30s when I got my first smart phone. I lived a lot of life, even adult life, before that little device entered my life. I do love it because now the best camera I’ve ever had, plus my phone, address book, flashlight, travel atlas, years of photos, and an entire encyclopedia set can fit into my purse. But it isn’t as innocuous as it looks. Five years ago, no one was sure how much the constant, instant access to the glories and horrors of the World Wide Web was impacting everyone, but now all of us who can remember life BP can see clearly what those things are doing to young people, and it isn’t great. Worst of all is the fact that when being glued to a screen has been normal to a person since they were very small, they might never know that what they’ve ingested for tens of thousands of hours isn't true after all, or that life can be any different or better than just virtual reality.
I am even more convinced of the need for us to share from one generation to another - not just of social things, but especially of our faith.
The 80s were such a great time to be a young person - I mean, as long as you take away the real and constant threat of the Cold War and the fact that we actually had regular drills at school in case a nuclear bomb was coming our way. Not one kid ever thought our plywood desk was going to keep us safe from an atomic bomb, as long as we ducked and covered in time! Thank goodness there was no social media then - we would have all been terrified, all the time. But aside from that, the 80s were amazing. The energy and optimism of Whitney Houston and Rocky Balboa and Back to the Future marked our generation.
So how sad it was to see one of our greatest action heroes of that era recently announce to the world that he doesn’t believe in eternal life at all, let alone in God. Like so many others alive today, he believes this is it; that all we have is today, and no promise at all of tomorrow or forever. When a person believes that, it marks and changes everything they do. When an entire society believes that, it will radically alter a culture that was originally built upon the foundation of Biblical Truth. If this is it, why not do everything only for my own pleasure, safety, and benefit? And why not be terribly afraid of or angry at everything that threatens life, pleasure, and safety? And if people really believe this is all there is, no wonder so many people are so frustrated, anxious, and confused about life and its meaning. As followers of Jesus, we believe that this present reality is not all there is to life. Life here and now is very real and very important, but mostly because it determines what the rest of forever will be like. We were all created by God and in His image, with souls that will live forever. We are all carefully and purposefully created by God to be a beautiful and thriving part of His great, eternal story. This means that we don’t have to live like today is all we’ve got - instead, we can live knowing that the best is still yet to come. We don’t have to live in fear of losing our lives, because God holds our lives in His hands. We don’t have to make sure we just look out for #1, because God is looking out for us. We can actually love and care for others, even at our own expense, because He has shown us how to do it. We can thrive no matter what good, bad, or ugly things life on this broken planet throws our way, knowing that God works all things for the good of those who love and trust Him.
We must take care to let capital-T Truth inform our lives, and not whatever fickle social consensus has decided is true for today. We must take care to combat the relentless barrage of information being fed to us each day from sources that are sometimes just uninformed, but sometimes actually malicious. We must purpose in our hearts and minds not to engage in toxic things, or to just mindlessly scroll, but rather to think of whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, and whatever is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. We must take care to put our minds on God and His Word, to live our lives in view of eternity, and to care for others rather than only for ourselves.
More than ever, the people in our lives need us to live like we believe the claims of Jesus to be true, and to demonstrate the power of hearts and lives revolutionized by the love and grace of Christ. Everyone gets more than enough of this world that is full of endless negative comments, lies and rumors and innuendo, tearing down of one another, and outright hopelessness - no wonder so many people are lonely, anxious, and depressed! Our family, friends, and neighbors need to see the transformation that Jesus can make in our hearts and lives - real love, forgiveness, freedom, kindness, peace, and hope. I pray God's peace and presence over your life today, as you realize more and more how your life fits into His amazing story of forgiveness and redemption!