Category Archives: forgiveness

What do you do when you stick your foot in your mouth?

Recently I was chatting with a friend. This friend has two children by adoption, which she’s very open about. We were talking about parenting decisions, and I referred to another friend, saying, “She’s great. She has six kids. Four of her own and two adopted.”

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I was reeling inside. “What did I just say?” I asked myself. “I just insinuated that to be a real mother is to have carried a kid in utero for nine months.” I don’t think this, but I DID just say it. Now what?

Screwing Up and Showing Kids What God is Like

In the Women’s Bible Study class I lead we discussed an icebreaker question yesterday, “Tell us about an authority figure who has influenced you.” One of the women shared about her dad, that he had shown her what kindness and gentleness look like, while at the same time being fair. She remarked that it had helped shape her view of God.

There is a powerful connection between how we relate to our parents and how we relate to God. It’s why “Honor your mother and father” is important enough to make the Ten Commandments (Exod 20:12): if we learn to relate well to the immediate authority figures in our lives, then it will shape well how we relate to the ultimate authority.

But it’s also true that part of who we think God is comes from who our parents have been. That may be what Paul is getting at when he prays to the Father, “from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name” (Eph 3:15). Because parents derive their position from the heavenly Father, we learn about the original from the copy. The character of our parents shapes what we see as God’s character.

As this idea flashed through my head yesterday, my heart sank. Because I’m aware of how much I screw up as a parent. It’s hard enough to think that I’m letting my kids down when I lose my temper, or act selfishly, but to realize that when I do that, I’m also shaping how they see God? That responsibility can feel crushing.

Parenting Fail or Success?

I have a very vivid early parenting memory. It is not one that I am proud of, but one that was pivotal in my faith and my understanding of parenting. Jack was about two weeks old when Charles’s mom flew over to England to meet her first grandchild. She planned to stay for about two weeks, so we arranged a place for her to stay, because our apartment was so small. It was late on a Sunday night, and Charles was getting ready to drive his mom ‘home’ for the night. He kissed both Jack and me and promised he’d be home in twenty minutes.

Well, those twenty minutes were hard for me. Really hard.

What Gets An Atheist’s (or other non-Christian’s) Attention?

As our culture becomes increasingly post-Christian it might be worth asking what it is that gets the attention of those who don’t consider themselves Christians?

Christopher Hitchens the well known atheist and antagonist of Christianity used to challenge believers with this statement: “Find one good or noble thing which cannot be accomplished without religion.” If Mr. Hitchens were still with us (unfortunately he died of cancer late in 2011), I would tell him that we’ve seen 2 such acts just in the month of June.

A Prayer for Charleston (and us)

At last night’s worship night we used Psalm 23 as our guide, which shows us the seasons of life. Our lives are secure and yet endangered as God leads us through dark valleys (23:4). What happened in Charleston, SC is a dark valley for many of us. We prayed in the spirit of the psalms to be able to bring this threat, this dark valley to God. Perhaps this prayer can help you give expression to how to respond to what has happened.

Our Father, as we see the evil committed Wednesday night in Charleston in the Emmanuel AME Church, we take our example from the Psalms, and we lament.

Glory to God: Living an ‘Unretouched’ Life

On the evening of April 8, 1988, a teenage Mark Wahlberg punched Hoa Trinh in the eye and left him partially blind. No one disputes this story; Wahlberg almost immediately confessed to the crime. By Wahlberg’s own admission, he was not at all the kind of kid you wanted to spend any time with. Obscene,

Grace is Hard to Give

Lately I’ve been reading How People Grow by Henry Cloud and John Townsend and have been struck by the important role that being accepted plays in a person’s ability to begin to heal and grow, both spiritually and emotionally. This sense of acceptance comes to us through the grace of God as He loves and

The Bible Story That Has Shaped My Life More Than Any Other In The Last 15 Years

Jesus is at dinner party hosted by a Pharisee named Simon (no relation to me) when a woman comes in uninvited and begins to anoint his feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair. Simon, who thinks very highly of himself, can’t believe that Jesus would allow such a woman to touch him

Ripping Up Carpet, Living Out Unbelief

This past week, my husband and I – along with two close friends – closed out The Crossing’s ninth session of DivorceCare, a 12-week class designed to help people heal from the pain of divorce. During that final session, we discussed at some length the most difficult aspect of going through divorce – that of

Moving from Romans 7 to John 4

One of the more encouraging conversations I have had recently began with a torrential downpour of confession and ended with what amounted to a benediction. The blessing caught me entirely by surprise since the seriousness of the sins I had committed was not inconsequential. So this was not “cheap” encouragement. In fact, there was a