Resources, Spiritual Growth

Our Easter Hope

When I first realized that we would be under “shelter-in-place” orders during Easter, I’ll admit that I was disappointed. I’ve missed worshipping alongside my church family in person, and to not be with them on such a day of celebration was discouraging. I began to remember all the other unmet expectations of this Easter season—no neighborhood egg hunts, no big family dinners, and the loss of so many other traditions I had hoped to enjoy with my daughter this year.  

After I let myself grieve again the losses from this global pandemic, I reminded myself that our celebration of Resurrection Sunday is not centered around egg hunts, new dresses, or even a physical church gathering. Christ is risen in April 2020 amidst a global coronavirus pandemic just as he was risen last year, and as he was risen over 2,000 years ago. I began to think about how to make this particular day of quarantine, Resurrection Sunday, a true celebration despite it looking quite different than past Easters.

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Spiritual Growth

The Pain of Anticipation

I think that God gives moms selective memory when it comes to pregnancy. We remember the sweet baby showers, the thudding heartbeat on the ultrasound, the feeling when the doctor first puts your baby in your arms. What you don’t remember is the absolute chaos your body was in for forty weeks. As I finally leave the first trimester of pregnancy, I hope to say goodbye to symptoms either I didn’t have in my first pregnancy or somehow I forgot.

One of the worse symptoms I’ve had so far is dizziness. My mom started to get concerned, so she brought over her blood pressure cuff and glucose meter so I could monitor what was going on. As soon as she pulled out the lancet (a small needle), I knew we had a problem.

I have an incredibly low pain tolerance. I’ll admit it; just a minor paper cut has my eyes watering. She hands over the small needle for me to prick myself, and I know I can’t do it. It took five minutes before I finally handed it to back to her for her to do it. An hour after every meal, I dreaded that little finger prick—that tiny, brief pain.

I came to realize that my anticipation of that little prick was worse than the pain itself. I agonized for minutes over what would last for less than a second. Then I realized, for me, that didn’t just apply to tiny pricks on my finger. My fear of suffering could be as agonizing as the suffering itself.

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Spiritual Growth

Remembering the God of Hope

It’s almost three weeks into the new year, and probably most resolutions are already long forgotten. The buzz of a new year, and a new decade, has faded into the daily grind of work, school, meals, etc. It’s hard to remember the illustrious plans we had for the new year when our dishes and email inbox start filling up again. It’s not that those goals are any less true, we just forget them. One key I have found to successfully completing resolutions is simply to remember them.

Left on our own, our hearts and minds are quick to forget. Not only do we forget fleeting things like yearly resolutions, we forget who we are and what we have in Christ. That is why when Paul prays for the church at Ephesus, he prays, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 4:18-19a, NIV).

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Spiritual Growth

Advent: Celebrating Seasons of Waiting

For the past several years, our Christmas cards held exciting announcements. We got married. I graduated with my master’s degree. My husband was commissioned as an officer in the Army. We gave birth to our little girl. We moved. We got new jobs. Every Christmas we were able to celebrate reaching another life milestone.

Until this year. This year as I create my Christmas cards, it seems that so many big life changes are within reach, but not quite here. We’re still in the long home study process for our adoption. We miscarried. Professional goals have yet to be reached. We’re waiting.

I’m not at all saying that God hasn’t been faithful this year. We can look back from month to month and see answered prayers, but so many of his answers this year have been to wait. I don’t like to wait, but the Advent season is all about waiting. Advent reminds us of Israel’s expectant waiting as they longed for God’s promised Messiah. It stirs our longing for the second coming of our King. Advent is a celebration of waiting. Continue reading “Advent: Celebrating Seasons of Waiting”

Spiritual Growth

I Have This Hope

A couple months ago, we took my daughter to the movie theater to see The Lion King remake. It was very nostalgic for me and my parents because The Lion King was my first movie to see in theaters as a child. I was so excited, and from the moment the sun rose on the screen, I was hooked. The Lion King has always been my favorite Disney movie, and I was thrilled with the actors and music in this new version!

But when the ravine scene arrived, I started getting anxious. I was already so attached to this new Mufasa, I didn’t want him to die. I kept thinking, maybe in this version, he’ll be okay. What a crazy thought! There would be no Lion King without that terrible scene. Simba wouldn’t be who he was without that pivotal life moment. There would be no “Hakuna Matata,” no “Can you feel the love tonight?” and not even a “Circle of Life: Reprise” without this heartbreaking scene. The movie writers twenty-five years ago wrote this tragedy into the life of Simba for a purpose. His story wouldn’t have been a blockbuster hit without it.

God brought back that memory to my mind last month, as my husband and I faced the greatest heartbreak of our lives. In October, we found out that I had a miscarriage. It’s something that I know is so prevalent, but I never thought it would be part of my story. Why did our family have to go through this? Why did God write this suffering into my story?

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stack of newspapers
Prayer

3 Ways to Pray When You Read the News

My mornings are predictable. I roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee, and wait for my brain to wake up as I scroll through my iPhone. After perusing social media, I open the Associated Press news app. I like to know what’s going on in the world, and the AP app gives you a quick glimpse of the news, both good and bad. Continue reading “3 Ways to Pray When You Read the News”