Forgetting to Enjoy Him 

When I was a kid, I loved figuring out new words. At four years old, I’d approach my unsuspecting mother with some variation of the question, “What does n-k-v-i-o-t spell?” I couldn’t wait to hear what word I had magically spelled. I loved the idea of making my thoughts known.

So, of course, I became a journalist. The challenge was always the same: Use the most descriptive words to say as much as possible with as little blank page used as possible. 

I was also the 8-year-old who secretly disliked playing with my peers but got a quirky amount of joy sitting with the elders of my church and listening to them talk about doctrine. At 13, I asked for my first concordance. I learned that I loved teaching others life-application within Biblical truths.

So, of course, I acquired a degree in Biblical studies. Within that realm, the challenge was always the same: Make one point as deeply understood as possible, all amounting to a minimum of 5,500 words. Create a masterpiece which looks like a mini-doctoral thesis. Good luck. 

Too often, I waste my time trying to fulfill both challenges when I share or teach Biblical truths. I wax as eloquently and precisely as possible. I use big words to sound authoritative and knowledgeable to appease my journalistic mind. For my theological background, I could write for pages upon pages to share truth I either found intriguing or applicable. My mind is constantly working through topics and how to share them.

What’s terrifying about that is I can be known for forgetting to simply share Jesus. It’s easier to fill a mind with knowledge than it is with love. It’s easier to foster a debate than it is to outline a soul’s need. It’s easy to teach about Jesus but difficult to simply share the essence of the beauty of Christ. 

I’m an analytical person, to put it mildly. I’ll study a topic till I’m blue in the face simply because I thrive on being intrigued. But when Jesus is the “topic,” I’m constantly being reminded it’s okay to sit still and simply enjoy Him. When we learn how to do that as believers, only then will the truths which we share about Him come to life for those watching.

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A Lesson From An Atheist

Our differences are stark:
He’s a “man’s man who don’t need no woman.” I’m every type of tomboy imaginable but I still look for sentimentality in stupid places and love leaning on the man of my heart.

My friend is an atheist. I’m a Christian. 
He thinks I need more rights as a woman. I couldn’t disagree more.

He’s black. I’m so white I’m translucent.

He can’t stand “the system.” Though it rubs against my every day activities, I’ve learned to roll with the punches unless it’s biblically and morally uncalled for.

Our similarities crack me up:

We both love to argue.

We both like to argue.

In case you missed it, we both love to argue.

We both know how to source our facts.

We both hate politics, but our shared desire for justice makes most of our conversations about things we need to see change in this country.

There is nothing more comical than putting a determined atheist in a friendship with a stubborn follower of Jesus Christ. Many o’ times, one of us (usually me) calls a time out on our heated arguments about Jesus, religion, women’s rights, marriage, children and every other hot topic because our friendship matters more than our opinions. Too many times, I’ve wandered into the Throne Room screaming, “Why, Jesus?!” when the arguments can’t end on agreeable terms. I’ve been told a time or two this guy would love it if he could just program me to “get it.”

No matter how much our differences heat us up, though, we stop when our respect for each other is threatened. I have my boundaries, he has his. Crossing those boundaries is not allowed, especially if we feel like the other person’s value is undermined because of our disagreement. It’s acceptable to be passionate about something the other person is not. It’s also acceptable to shut up for a while. It’s even acceptable to decide talking till you agree isn’t worth sacrificing the friendship itself.

It is not acceptable, however, to devalue another person or attempt to strip them of their opinion because it makes you uncomfortable. 

Being acclaimed as right is nice, I’ll give you that. But sometimes, the people that are able to stand strongly by simply living out their views in how they treat others will leave the most impact.

Put It Away, Kid

I had two little boys between the ages of four and six live with me for right around a year. I am not, by any means, anything now but an amateur idealist when it comes to being a good mom after that experience. A year of playing their referee, jungle gym, nurse, teacher and caretaker (caretaker came first… usually… I think) taught me a lot and yet taught me nothing. 

One thing I learned was giving them broad instructions didn’t work. I learned to say things like, “Boys, by the time Auntie comes in there your socks & underwear, shirts, pants, shorts, shoes, dinosaurs, etch-a-sketches, paint brushes, 8-balls, tools and books better be on the shelves where they belong.” 

As their forced angelic voices wafted down the hall, “O’taaaaaay, Auntie Tassie, we do dat,” I flew through a mental catalogue of everything they had. Inevitably, they’d come tromping into my kitchen with a toy and the innocent question, “What we do wit’ dis one, Auntie? You didn’ say anytin’ about dis one.”

I spent an entire year trying to learn the right amount of patience, enjoyment, and training to teach those boys life skills. I wasn’t very good at it, but somehow their grins and inquiries usually made me want to hug them rather than scold them. That was my momentary taste of parenthood.

Fast forward to today. I’m no longer an “auntie” to two rambunctious boys and I no longer micro-manage my household just to keep it standing one more day. I am, however, finding that at 27 years old, there are days, weeks and months where I identify deeply with those two boys. 

I understand all too well what it’s like to not quite get life just yet and being in need of a God to help me through ridiculous, clarifying questions. He patiently reinforces His command to “trust and obey” really does mean with every corner of my heart over and over again.

But still, I have to ask, “Yes, so God, you said trust You with my future, but what about my future in regards to…? What if this crazy situation happens and I’m left with a broken heart? What then? Do I have to trust you then, too?” 

My whimsically imaginative heart can almost picture God chuckling, kneeling down and whispering, “Kiddo, put your worry where it belongs.” Somehow, His enjoyment & patience in seeing me work out my salvation never ends & He’s never too annoyed to give me the same assurances He’s given me my entire life. 

This is the grace the teaches me to love even when I can’t get my mind around how it gives my life purpose. 

What God Calls Beauty


It’s not a story you tell your kids. It’s not a story you want to hear over and over. It’s a nightmare. But it’s in the Bible. 

Recently, I’ve been working through a book that focuses on the story of David’s daughter, Tamar, being raped by her brother, Amnon, in 2 Samuel 13

This is where every woman’s heart hurts and every man’s brain is left troubled. There’s rape. In the Bible. Honestly, I praise God for this passage though it leaves me in tears every time. Within these verses God declares He is not blind to the soul deep torment many women go through. 

I was struck by the fact that after verse 1 in 2 Samuel 13, the Bible never calls Tamar beautiful again. Desolate – yes. Depressed – of course. Troubled – well, duh. But beautiful? Nope. In our broken culture, anyone else who observed that small fact would maybe wonder if that was God’s unjust judgment toward Tamar.

“Sorry, Sweetheart, someone else broke you, so, um, yeah, beauty is gone. You’re just Tamar, now. The desolate, forgotten daughter of David. Oh well. It’s a man’s world. I’m still God, Kiddo, so no fears, ‘kay?” 

I am overwhelmingly blessed that such words were never spoken by Elroi- the God Who Sees. But that still leaves me wondering… Why? Why couldn’t God inspire the writer of 1 & 2 Samuel to call her beautiful just once after the evil deed was done? 

She needed that affirmation. As a wounded woman, she needed her father, King David, to look her in the eyes (not write a letter or make a public announcement) and whisper, “You’re still beautiful, you’re still my daughter. Your value hasn’t changed.”

But that never happened. 

I truly believe, in the beginning of the chapter, the author of the book was simply describing the scene. He called Tamar beautiful. 

Beautiful. 

Christians believe (as do I) that every word written within the pages of the canonical Bible was and is inspired by God. In other words, if the word beautiful wasn’t supposed to be there, it wouldn’t have been. If God didn’t believe Tamar was beautiful, she wouldn’t have been painted as beautiful. 

Numbers 23:19 tells us that God never changes His mind.

So, then, why couldn’t she be called be called beautiful? 

(This is speculation, keep that in mind.) Often times in the Old Testament, the author’s approach to a story changes views. They often start out as a narrative and end in first or second person. It’s funny, it’s quirky, but it makes the story of Tamar that much richer. 

In a culture where women were not given a voice, God gave Tamar one through the verses that mournfully tell of the injustice done to her. Her culture immediately called her unworthy of love, respect or even provision after she was violated. 

So, it’s possible every negative description of her presence was the author’s way of saying, “She can’t speak for herself, but this is how she painted herself.”

She listened to her culture. She was told her hands were tied and she was ready for the gallows. If her father wasn’t the king, she probably would have been killed. She knew men no longer called her valuable. 

She never stopped to ask Yahweh what He still thought. 

The story of Tamar is left as an unbearable unfinished sentence. David never avenged his daughter. Tamar never found worth, though she was provided for by her other brother, Absolom. There is no understanding of peace after the storm. 

It seems like that was God’s way of saying, “I know how deep the hurt goes. I’m not immune to how much this nightmare broke you, Daughter. Not everything will make sense on this side of Heaven… This fallen world means evil is present.”

Tamar apparently allowed herself to stay stuck in knowing she was provided for yet never called valuable by those around her. If she had  questioned her God instead of the men in her family and culture, she would have heard one beautiful truth: 

When God first wrote her story, He called her beautiful. That never changed and she still mattered.