Spiritual Growth

A Month without Podcasts

There’s never a quiet moment in my house. I wash dishes while listening to my daughter sing her memory verses. I grade assignments while Daniel Tiger plays in the background. I write this to the soundtrack of my son’s white noise machine broadcasting through the baby monitor. Even when there’s a quiet moment, I often fill it with another podcast or a phone call or the new Taylor Swift album. There is little time for silence in my life.

It’s hard to hear with all the noise. The roaring oven vent dispelling smoke from burning chicken overpowers my daughter’s cries for help on the potty. My headphones tune out my son’s cooing in his crib during a Zoom call. The voice of the Holy Spirit is overwhelmed by the constant stream of voices coming from my phone’s speaker.  

I love podcasts. It’s one of the first apps I open every morning—queuing up my shows for that day. There’s one recapping the news, one expounding on theology, and another sharing encouragement for mothers. My ears are itching to hear what wisdom they have to give me that day.

These voices have strengthened my faith over the years. They filled up lonely spaces during postpartum and pandemic months. They have connected me with other people who have different perspectives than mine. They have taught me things about God and his Word. But as with chocolate and social media, you can have too much of a good thing.

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Spiritual Growth

A Prayer for Lent

One of the hardest decisions in our wedding planning was choosing the songs for the ceremony. We didn’t want to use traditional instrumental music but instead wanted to include hymns and worship songs that were meaningful to us both. The problem was we couldn’t narrow it down (and still ended up choosing five songs!).

One song that my husband wanted so badly for us to use but I refused was “Depth of Mercy.” It wasn’t that I didn’t like the song; it just seemed so depressing for a day that was to celebrate God’s love through marriage. The song begins:

Depth of mercy, can there be mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear me the chief of sinners, spare?
Now incline me to repent, let me now my sins lament. 
Deeply my revolt deplore, weep, believe and sin no more.

Wrath, lament, deplore, weep…those aren’t typical words you hear at a wedding. I wanted songs about God’s love, beauty, and grace. A song about God’s wrath would be hard to hear when we’re all dressed up and acting our best. I wanted our guests to revel at God’s creation of marriage, not squirm at his righteous justice. Now I realize that the truth of those words could have reminded my husband and me at our wedding that we were two sinners being brought together by God’s deep love and mercy.

Lent begins in two days on Ash Wednesday, initiating forty days of fasting, prayer, and giving that leads up to Easter Sunday. It’s a time of preparation for Easter, similar to what Advent does at Christmas. But unlike Advent, Lent is a somber season, where we remind ourselves of our individual sinfulness apart from Christ, the depravity of mankind, and the injustice around the world.

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