Healing

Wounds require time to heal. When you don’t give wounds time to heal, they get infected. Often, a busy schedule distracts us from caring for our bruised hearts.

Trash or Treasure

The weathered wooden trellises were trashed . . . or so they thought. I found some timeworn trellises stacked in a pile my folks planned to toss out. I have a thing about refurbishing or renewing stuff that appears dumpy or dilapidated, and giving it new life.

cemetery_pink_rose_trellis
By Acabashi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If it’s family stuff, all the better. Around my house we have a saying: “Your trash is my treasure.”

The trellises had been used for years.

  • They had held fragrant climbing roses my dad cared for, cutting one for my mom each day.
  • They were placed by the swimming pool where for years my kids and I swam.
  • The man who built them out of wood had passed away, but his work remained.

For these reasons and more, I hauled them home, knowing they could be beautiful again.

Not long after, my daughter was engaged, and we were pinching pennies by making the most of her decorations. TA-DA . . . the trellises . . . they could work. We decided to make an A-framed arbor; each side measured about 4 ½ feet tall by 3 feet wide, held together with four vertical wood slats and six horizontal slats.

In all, each side had a bunch of smaller, square-shaped spaces, superb for her wedding style as we envisioned it in our minds.

Cleavers, Christ, and Cutting Out Life’s Misadventures

It really was not what we had planned for a quiet Sunday afternoon on Father’s Day . . . but so it goes. Shortly before summer, my youngest son, Jon, got to pick out his very own dog . . . sort of.

Abby
(Photo Courtesy of IFLM)

With all of his siblings now out of the house, Jon wanted companionship, and after all, dogs are “man’s best friend,” so we went for it.

He saved his allowance, we studied the breeds together, and finally the day came.

What to Do When You’re a Massive Mess

You would have thought Sherman was being taken to slaughter. Sherman is our German Shepherd, who weighs as much as I do and has all the energy of a toddler on a sugar rush.

Dog and owner
(Photo Courtesy of Unsplash)

It was snowing outside, which was perfect because Sherman goes nuts chasing snowflakes in the snow, and I needed to get some writing done. After a while, I peeked out to see Sherman prancing around like a massive mud pie with paws. Clearly, I had to get him out of the cold and clean him up.

The only place enclosed and warm enough for this job was my shower. I threw on a bathing suit, determined to get this massive mud ball into the shower as painlessly as possible. Let’s just say getting him into the shower became an Olympic cajoling event. At first I thought a loving tone would coax him in. He didn’t budge.

Then, I tried to reason with him. Becoming more matter of fact, I told him he had two choices—cleaning up could be as pleasant or painful as he wanted, but he WOULD be cleaned up.

He didn’t buy it. Finally, I resorted to the “I sound like my mother” voice, meticulously declaring he was not going to win this war. I pounced over and reached around his mid-section to pick up my willful, woolly ball of mud.

Seeing in the Dark: Mental Health in the Church Today

You may be shocked by what you are about to read: After cancer and heart disease, suicide accounts for more years of life lost than any other cause of death.

Watch the Interview

  • 41,149 suicides were reported in 2013—that’s two suicides for every reported murder, one suicide death every 12.8 minutes1“Facts and Figures,” American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures, accessed Sept. 11, 2015..
  • Even more shocking is the church’s inaccurate beliefs about mental health issues, as identified in the most recent mental health study conducted by LifeWay Research.2“Study of Acute Mental Illness and Christian Faith: Research Report,” LifeWay Research, http://www.lifewayresearch.com/files/2014/09/Acute-Mental-Illness-and-Christian-Faith-Research-Report-1.pdf, accessed Sept. 11, 2015.

We cannot continue to neglect this enormous area of need.

After personal tragedy and with professional insight, Kay Warren offers practical tools and hands-on direction for supporting individuals and families struggling with mental health challenges.

Notes:   [ + ]

1. “Facts and Figures,” American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/facts-and-figures, accessed Sept. 11, 2015.
2. “Study of Acute Mental Illness and Christian Faith: Research Report,” LifeWay Research, http://www.lifewayresearch.com/files/2014/09/Acute-Mental-Illness-and-Christian-Faith-Research-Report-1.pdf, accessed Sept. 11, 2015.

How to Live for What Lasts

I couldn’t believe the day had come. As we drove away from my son’s college apartment building, its soft yellow paint began to blur as tears welled up in my eyes. I was suddenly filled with a flood of memories, most of them fixed to what I wished I would have done better as a mother.

rear-view mirror
Image from Photodune.

When the kids were little, a bazillion adoring “older” folks said something I didn’t thing was right.

Triggers, Traps, and Truth Bombs

This past summer, all my best thinking led to some tearful conversations with my grown son and daughter. Apparently there was a disconnect . . . and it wasn’t on their end, it was on mine.

Mother & Daughter Serious
Image from Photodune.

It all started in May. My stepson finalized wedding plans and got married. My son came home from college to work, save money, and take some classes online. What we didn’t plan on was identity theft, which led to a consuming amount of work and documents galore, no Internet, computers, telephones, or cell phones, and thoroughly rewiring our home.

I admit, I was a little uptight. Okay, I was a little like Squidward from SpongeBob on a very bad day . . . for days . . . which turned into weeks . . . which turned into the whole summer.

Reading the Fine Print of Your Faith

Sometimes I think I’ve bitten off a bit more than I can chew when it comes to my Christian faith. When I gave my life to Christ, I knew that I needed God’s promises of unconditional love and forgiveness like I need air.

skeptical woman
Image from Photodune.

The Bible lays out so many great promises—eternal life, abundant joy, strength for the weak, rest for the weary—it sounded to me like a crazy good insurance plan! I said yes, I’m ALL in!

HOWEVER, when I made this fabulous commitment to Christ, I didn’t read the fine print.

Alternatives to Grace

Alternatives to Grace
(Photo by Photodune)

I have swept away your sins like a cloud.
I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.
Oh, return to me,
for I have paid the price to set you free. (Isaiah 44:22 NLT)

If I choose not to risk, if I go the “safe” route and determine not to promote either salvation by grace or a lifestyle of grace, what are the alternatives?

Four come to my mind, all of which are popular these days.