Embrace Being Needy in a Polished Culture

Most days I take basic functioning for granted. Running water. Clothes. My job. A cup of coffee. I would guess the average person, if asked, would say they take walking for granted. If I were asked specifically about this, I would say in a high pitch squeal, “I honestly can’t believe I can walk!” Years ago after an hour of sitting and visiting with a friend on the tall chairs in a local coffee shop, I stood up. Or at least I tried to stand up. Instantaneously the muscles in… Continue reading Embrace Being Needy in a Polished Culture

Without Sorrow there is No Joy

“Joy and sorrow are never separated. When our hearts rejoice at a spectacular view, we may miss our friends who cannot see it, and when we are overwhelmed with grief, we may discover what true friendship is all about. Joy is hidden in sorrow and sorrow in joy. If we try to avoid sorrow at all costs, we may never taste joy, and if we are suspicious of ecstasy, agony can never reach us either. Joy and sorrow are the parents of our spiritual growth.”          –Henri Nouwen   My friend… Continue reading Without Sorrow there is No Joy

A Sign-post

I am single. There are moments when the longing for marriage rips through me like the worst pain. At other points I am grateful beyond words as I watch the struggle and the stretch of marriage until it often snaps and breaks a household in two. Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Church in NYC, boldly claims how Americans have a deep rooted idol of romance. I think it’s true as I observe from the outside. As I have rethought marriage since my twenties, I am more aware that it is… Continue reading A Sign-post

Look for Jesus

My flight was scheduled to leave at 2:55 pm on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Heading to Pennsylvania for the holidays lifts my spirits without fail. This trip was welcomed more than usual because the past two months had been shrouded with fear and insecurity. My already degenerating back had gone out again in the beginning of the school year, and my heart had been broken a few times over. In the last week, I had prayed specifically to notice Jesus, incarnate, in my daily life. “Please be present.” With a… Continue reading Look for Jesus

You’ll Love the Water Because You’ve Been so Parched with Thirst

  The oppressiveness of life can drape heavy, like a blanket over our backs. Not a blanket of comfort and warmth, but one weighing us down, like twenty pounds of despair covering our shoulders. Maybe you’ve been there and cried as if you were being flipped inside out…on the floor, heaving in a panic, fear ripping holes in your chest and tears flowing on and off for weeks, unexpected and uncontrollable. The nausea from loss, desires unmet, disappointment that squeezes out your breath or grief settling in to find a… Continue reading You’ll Love the Water Because You’ve Been so Parched with Thirst

Your Story Matters

I sat on the couch grading some papers as the cable guy set up my Internet. A stranger always brings some mystery and I find myself curious. I wonder about this man’s story. “Are you from Charlotte originally?” I asked. “No, I’m from Vietnam.” Vietnam. In one moment, I knew our lives and experiences were vastly different; I wanted to know more. His softness encouraged me to explore. At 11 years old he came to America with his 7 year old brother. Just the two of them. My mind was… Continue reading Your Story Matters

A Lesson from a Tiny Bird

Creation tells stories – all the time, in many ways, with strong, natural colors mixed with subtle, strange sounds. It groans in anticipation of the return of the King and it whispers of His presence here, now. My perception has gotten keener over the years. I guess in a way, I have trained myself to “pay attention.” Annie Dillard, a fine writer, sees nature around her as a scrapbook, telling the tales of the making of the Kingdom of God. In her view, nature both reveals and obscures Him. Both,… Continue reading A Lesson from a Tiny Bird

Parents Rewind! We’re Losing a Necessity!

Remember when road trips required “taking turns”? Taking turns in the front seat, taking turns in the back, taking turns by the window and taking your turn for your “tape”…These were the days when I had to learn to wait. I had to wait my turn, and simultaneously, I had to endure something I may not like. Maybe the middle seat was uncomfortable, but I had to sit there. Maybe the back seat made me feel isolated, but I had to sit there. Maybe I didn’t like my brother’s choice… Continue reading Parents Rewind! We’re Losing a Necessity!

Independence Day

I am quite sure if we shuffled around downtown in any major city and asked people what they think of when they hear the word “freedom,” the answers would be so totally diverse. Even when I consider what I would say my mind races in sporadic directions. Pictures flash across my brain of what a free world would look like: one that would have no Holocaust, no bondage in North Korea, no children trapped in abusive homes, no men fighting in wars and no packed, over-stuffed prisons. In many ways,… Continue reading Independence Day