How to Shine: The 10 Words That Stop My Grumbling

How to Shine: The 10 Words That Stop My Grumbling

There’s not much I hate more than grumbling. It’s right up there with tracking mud through the house, making excuses, and lying. It’s ugly.

So you wouldn’t think I’d need the reminder.

But while I despise complaining in others, I find ways to condone it in myself. Which is exactly why these 10 words got me.

“Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”

Reality hits hard. Because it doesn’t seem like my gripes against incompetent refs or frigid weather are against God.

But guess what? These 10 words tell me they are. And I don’t want to grumble against my God who does all things well. Against the God who calls me to be blameless and grumble-less and to shine.

Nevertheless, Laugh: A Necessary Lesson From the Funny Shirts of Dad

Nevertheless, Laugh: A Necessary Lesson From the Funny Shirts of Dad

Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy While others wax poetic this Father’s Day about how their dads taught them about God’s unfailing love or how to trust their Father in heaven—and I’ve done that too— today I’ll share something new. I’ll tell you what this deep-thinking, furrow-browed daughter who tends…

Comfort Is Overrated

Comfort Is Overrated

It is for people whom we care nothing about that we demand happiness on any terms: with our friends, our lovers, our children, we are exacting and would rather see them suffer much than be happy in contemptible and estranging modes.  C.S. Lewis, Problem of Pain I would. I would rather see my sons, husband,…

That Crazy Hair Post

That Crazy Hair Post

“Do we need a private space?” I asked. Ginnie nodded discreetly as we ducked into the empty room across the hall. Whatever she needed to tell me, it clearly was not easy breezy. “Abigail,” Ginnie whispered, her eyes darting from my hair to the spray bottle peeking from her handbag, “I hope it’s okay if…

When I Met Mercy on St. Patrick’s Mountain

When I Met Mercy on St. Patrick’s Mountain

Therefore I should give unceasing thanks to God, for He has often been forgiving of my carelessness and stupidity.   —From Saint Patrick’s Confession, Number 46 I can’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day without thinking of Croagh Patrick and I can’t think of Croagh Patrick without thinking of the June afternoon that I climbed Ireland’s holy mountain. “Croagh” —pronounced…

Love’s Frets and Rubs

Love’s Frets and Rubs

Loves that last welcome frets and rubs. That’s how they rise to heaven. We all want that kind of forever-love, that everlasting, never-failing, ongoing sort of love. At the very least, we want to keep our love sweet. I mean more than married love here. I mean all the “natural” loves. But as C.S. Lewis…

When I Can’t Forgive Myself

When I Can’t Forgive Myself

The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself altogether or see yourself as a small, dirty object.  It is better to forget about yourself altogether.  —C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity I just can’t forgive myself, my friend confided. She had repented of her sin. She had confessed it…

Love Bid Me Come

Love Bid Me Come

Love invites. Good lovers initiate. But great lovers face rejection when they invite and initiate. Big Love Risks Big He came to his own and his own received him not. John 1:11 (ESV) I can barely face the risk of my favorite books being unloved, rejected. If you don’t like this book, would you please give…

Why I Wrote MEEK NOT WEAK

Why I Wrote MEEK NOT WEAK

I was a bitter clinger. My womb was barren. My marriage was rocky. The exile from our church hurt. I was resentful of those who blocked my chosen path and my hands held fast to my good plans. Frustrated and discontent, I huffed my way through the wilderness. I was not meek. Then I Met…

I Am From: The Roots Of Me

I Am From: The Roots Of Me

I Am From I am fromA hard-rock maple, leaves-in, dining room tableA rusty Ford Granada and Dad’s brassy menorah I am fromA parsonage beside the red barn churchA little white goat barn and the huge console radio where the Sugar Creek Gang came I am fromVegetable field gardensWhose open arms taught me there’s return on…

Hygge, on Earth as in Heaven?

Hygge, on Earth as in Heaven?

Here we are traveling and our home is a distant home in another world… Though we meet with traveler’s fare sometimes yet it should not be grievous to us…. Consider what your condition is, you are pilgrims and strangers, so do not think to satisfy yourselves here. —Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment What’s…

He Will Complete It

He Will Complete It

Are you ever going to finish that meek book, Abigail? Give birth already. It’s been six years since you started. Kate was blunt. But she was not the first one to mention my unfinished book. Not Complete Do you have piles of unfinished projects? I do. A glance at piles of notebooks with unfinished drafts…

2 Things Great Lovers Do

2 Things Great Lovers Do

Love is spelled T-I-M-E but that’s not the only way to sound love out. It’s also spelled I-N-I-T-I-A-T-E. Initiate. 1. Great Lovers Initiate We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 Initiate. There’s not much zing to this 4-syllable, 8-letter ‘i’ word. Love is spelled time has a better ring. Don’t get me wrong. Love is spelled time. But…

But Hypocrites We’re Not

But Hypocrites We’re Not

We get stronger by lifting others up. The words on my friend’s shirt caught my eye, and I mentioned it. Yeh, John looked at it and said, “Really?” My friend is not a hypocrite for wearing that shirt even if her “domestic encouragement” lapses — even if she’s not constantly lifting, as on mother eagle’s…

No Excuses, Real Forgiveness

No Excuses, Real Forgiveness

The trouble is that what we call ‘asking God’s forgiveness’ very often really consists in asking God to accept our excuses. —C.S. Lewis, “On Forgiveness” My tongue burned to tell all. All that led up to that rash word I spoke to Carrie that morning. How she was silent when I needed her most. How…

What Is The Purpose Of Grace?

We all need refreshers. We need to hear the old and familiar explained again so it doesn’t become stale and taken for granted. That’s what this quote was for me: a timely reminder of the purpose of grace; the reason for the grace in which we—and that includes me—stand (Romans 5:2). It’s from a chapter…

The Some Value Of Exercise

The Some Value Of Exercise

For physical training is of some value but godliness is of value in every way, holding promise for the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 It didn’t surprise me one bit.   Elizabeth Elliot exercised daily. This bold-meek saint and spiritual mother to so many trained her soul and her body. Theeulogy said…

Hey, Jealousy: You Can’t Have Me

Hey, Jealousy: You Can’t Have Me

Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?Proverbs 27:4 Hey, Jealousy Anybody can sympathise with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend’s success. By this measure, Oscar Wilde’s measure, my nature is not very fine. I get jealous. Sometimes—when a friend shares a joy I…

Learn to Pray by Praying

Learn to Pray by Praying

I love to hear my friends pray. Hearing them pour out their hearts to God encourages me. When Prayer Time Is Silent Conversely, one of the biggest deflators I face as a small group leader is deafening sound of silence. Sometimes it’s like this: I pray. Others are invited to pray. But if the people…

Power Outage, Power Source

Power Outage, Power Source

When’s the power coming back on, Mom? the 13 year-old called from somewhere down the pitch black hall. By 8 o’clock, I hope. For Roboman from the electric company had assured me of that time when I called at 4:45. Well, Roboman was wrong. He was off by almost a day. We did homework by…

Bad Infection & Good Infection

Bad Infection & Good Infection

Something bad happened, Mom. You don’t want to know. So ended our easy Saturday morning. I do want to know, Gabe, I assured, kneeling before him. Then my seven year-old showed me two of the most obscene gestures I’d ever seen. The sun went dark. But ever the prisoner of hope, I thought: Maybe they’re only meaningless motions to…

No Evil Shall Befall You: What Real Rescue Means

No Evil Shall Befall You: What Real Rescue Means

For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler    and from the deadly pestilence.He will cover you with his pinions,    and under his wings you will find refuge;    his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.You will not fear the terror of the night,    nor the arrow that flies by day,or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,    nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. Because you…

Death by Chocolate Spot-or Not

Death by Chocolate Spot-or Not

Nooo! I am so embarrassed! I half shouted, half cried. Why didn’t you guys tell me? Didn’t you see this spot? Death By Chocolate Spot No one has ever died of embarrassment. And I’ve lived through other wardrobe malfunctions. But, my oh my, how they hurt my pride. Parent-teacher conferences were last night. I’d sat across from…

Why This 40-Day Sugar Fast?

Why This 40-Day Sugar Fast?

“Why you putting all that chocolate in there, Mom? That was from Christmas. You like that stuff,” Gabe wondered aloud as he watched me pack it all in the little plastic bin. “I’m not eating sweets for 40 days, Bud. Because I want to be more hungry for God.” He shrugged and then begged for…

Be Freed From Perfectionism

Be Freed From Perfectionism

“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”  G.K. Chesterton Perfectionism Paralysis Perfectionism paralyzes. For perfectionists, the perfect is the enemy of the good. According to productivity gurus, it’s also the enemy of the done.  Because perfectionism is crippling. When the project looked great on Pinterest, but then the drive to make…

Contentment & Things Too Wonderful

Contentment & Things Too Wonderful

I have not learned the secret of contentment. I am learning it. But my old soul still gets ruffled and squirmy when I’m not in on decisions that affect me. And maybe that are just, like David wrote, “too great and wonderful for me.” But this last time around taught me that having a weaned soul, a content soul, must mean trusting that our Father sees what we can’t see, knows what we don’t know and and can manage what we can’t manage. Believing this calms the soul.

Optics Matter. So Smile.

Optics Matter. So Smile.

Optics matter.  As much as it hurts a no-pretense, country girl like me to admit it, they do. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, optics means how a thing looks to an outsider. The word is often applied in the worlds of politics and business. A politician playing golf as his home state is…