Monthly Archives: January 2013

Tidy Isn’t Clean


If you knew my friend Rachel, you would have been just as eager to help her fold her laundry as I was. A delightful combination of fun-loving, intelligent, thoughtful, and a bit risky, Rachel is the sort of person you always expect to see planning a new adventure. In fact, it’s almost unbearable to see her discouraged.

At the time of my story, Rachel lived in a duplex on the campus of Baptist Bible Translators Institute where my sister, Michele, was on staff. I was visiting Michele for a week. Rachel and I are good enough friends that I was in and out of Rachel’s house almost as much as Michele’s.

One morning, before leaving for a full day of hands-on language study, Rachel shared with me some personal burdens and frustrations. She was flat discouraged, and nothing I said could cheer her up. Continue reading

I Choose You


Eleven years ago today my youngest brother, Nathaniel, was born.

Excited isn’t the word. I think I began counting down the days until his birth about two months before his due date. When my mom woke me at 3:00 a.m. to tell me she was in labor, I couldn’t contain my joy.

If excited couldn’t describe the anticipation preceding Nathaniel’s entrance into my world, I don’t know the word that could describe what I felt when I learned a few hours later that he had been stillborn. Heartbroken doesn’t even come close.

Several weeks after, a mentally challenged lady in our church said it just right: “I miss your little brother,” she commented out of nowhere. “I would have liked to have gotten to know him.” I gave her a hug and then walked outside and bawled. I would have liked to have known him, too. Continue reading

If Someone Gave Me a Very Great Treasure…


I once found a treasure map. It was at the Indiana Sand Dunes where our family was enjoying a family day. I must have only been about five, but I vividly remember watching that map roll across our path.

We have the discovery on an old home video. It turns out that when watching this episode through a more mature paradigm, the map was more of a creative forgery than it was a discovery.

My dad actually drew the treasure map, having buried the treasure (assorted trinkets he knew his daughters would love) before our family outing. He crumpled and dirtied the map, carefully tattering the edges, to add the appearance of authenticity.

It worked alright. The old VHS includes the high-pitched squeals of three treasure-hungry sisters thrilled over the discovery of this ancient map. Continue reading

Too Valuable to Waste

Four years ago tonight I received a startling phone call from my grandma.

“Pray for Amanda,” she began. “I don’t have all of the details, but she was in a skiing accident—hit a tree, I think—and is being rushed to the hospital.”

Amanda (pictured above, left, with her sister Allison) is my cousin—my mom’s sister’s daughter. Sixteen years old at the time, she was with her high school ensemble on their way to sing at a youth conference. En route, the group stopped for a planned skiing activity.

A few minutes after that first call, Grandma called again. Before she could even say it, I knew. Through a tight throat and tears she said what none of us ever wanted to hear, “Our Amanda is in Heaven.”

That was four years ago, and I still miss Amanda. Just this past Christmas, as our extended family gathered, I thought of Amanda and her bubbly enthusiasm that would have been overflowing into every activity, every conversation, every event that she engaged in. Continue reading

My Greatest Highlight of 2012

[I wrote the article below for the website Ministry127. It’s a great website with free resources and ideas to encourage and equip leaders in church ministry.]

March 7, 2012—it was the beginning highlight for what would become the delight of my year.

That evening, I had the joy to begin leading a young Christian through our church’s formal discipleship program.

What is discipleship?

  • It is a front row seat in seeing God’s Spirit bring growth.
  • It is a fresh reminder of the depth and grace of God’s love.
  • It is spiritual energy as you observe a tender heart for God and growth in His grace.
  • It is the incredible opportunity to work with God’s Spirit in pressing the button to watch a miracle of His grace unfold in a life.
  • It is the perfect vantage point from which to watch God’s Word change a life…at the deepest levels of the heart.
  • It is an indescribable joy to participate with God in His work.
  • It is…my favorite event of the week!

Continue reading