I recently had the incomparable joy of visiting the Grand Canyon. Though visit isn’t quite the right word, I suppose. You don’t just visit the Grand Canyon — you marvel at it, stand in awe of it, catch your breath before it, and find yourself transfixed and transformed by it. You come away “canyoned” by the juxtaposed emotions of feeling smaller and bigger at the same time. As a Christian, I reveled in knowing that the Creator of such beauty also happens to be the Savior of my soul.
“No, thank you. I can do it all by myself.”
I’ve read this line to my little guy dozens of times over the past few months as I’ve put him to bed.
The book we’re reading teaches children to let others help them. It says not to insist on doing tasks too advanced or carry things too heavy. As the book’s main character learns, you have to learn to accept help.
Even before the pandemic, millions of Americans were suffering from anxiety disorders, fears, and discontentment. Now, with so much more uncertainty about the future, so much job loss, widespread illness and isolation, you may be battling anxiety as you never have before. Unfortunately, too often we search in all the wrong places for something to fill our inner need for peace and contentment.
When I was nine years old, I gave my heart to the Lord. I walked to the front of the church, told the pastor that I had accepted Jesus into my heart, went through some Bible classes on what becoming a Christian meant. That was my very first God encounter. It was simple and uncomplicated. In my heart, even at such a young age, even if I did not fully understand the magnitude of my own sins, I knew I needed a Savior. That Sunday began my journey with Christ.
My fourth miscarriage flattened me. I couldn’t believe it. I’d buried an infant son a few years earlier and was unprepared for yet another loss. I’d finally started to feel like myself again after Paul’s death, but the miscarriage left me bewildered and unsure of what I could trust.
Months before, my husband and I had planned to go on a retreat to the Cove in Asheville, North Carolina, but I miscarried two days before the conference.
When someone asks me to take on a leadership role, I experience two emotions: I’m flattered that they would ask and anxious that I won’t do a good job.
I once said yes to a leadership role and immediately had a sinking feeling that I wouldn’t be able to follow through. That sinking feeling lasted for months as I prepared for this role.
But at the same time, a Bible verse kept popping into my head. “Maybe this is a God thing,” I thought. Meditating on this passage has helped to lessen my anxiety about leading.
Have you ever been struggling through a difficult situation and wondered, “God, where are You? Do You see what I’m going through? Do You care?” If you’re familiar with the story in Luke 13 of the crippled woman who came into the synagogue where Jesus was teaching, I’m sure that she had wondered the same thing thousands of times. This woman “had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years,” was bent completely forward and could not straighten up. In the midst of a large crowd gathered around Jesus that Sabbath day, He somehow noticed her, and suddenly He stopped teaching.
You may find this surprising, but until very recently there were no significant studies from the social sciences on how parents can best pass their faith on to the next generation. We knew that parents mattered. We knew that the Church mattered. But what was it about parents and churches that mattered? That wasn’t so clear.
Now we know, thanks to a new national study of religious parents in the United States, conducted under the leadership of sociologist Christian Smith, a professor of sociology at Notre Dame.
God never makes a mistake.
I vividly remember those words, a chapter title in Evelyn Christenson’s book What Happens When Women Pray.
Honestly, when I first read them, I was cynical. They sounded trite and naive. I arrogantly assumed that the author hadn’t struggled much in her life, or else she wouldn’t have made such a bold claim. In my mind, God was good and all-powerful, but to say that he never made mistakes had sweeping implications that seemed inconsistent with the massive evil and suffering in the world.
Depression is a dark, lonely place. For me, it feels as though I am trapped, drowning, with no hope of rescue. This has been my reality for as long as I can remember.
I’ve seen counselors, taken the gamut of medications and been unofficially diagnosed with a bunch of guesses. On bad days, I think I’m just what a misguided but well-meaning friend suggested: a worrywart.