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How to Find Beauty in the Fog - The Glorious Table

The radio deejay warned us to use headlights. Dense fog threatened to slow the morning commute and cause accidents. I felt no fear, but I still used my lights, and I counted on other drivers to do the same. I needed them to be visible as I turned onto a busy road and could see only a few feet in front of my vehicle. My heart thumped as I pressed the gas pedal, hoping no surprise would appear out of the mist. Even our familiar path felt strange and different in the fog. I drove with an extra dose of awareness.



That morning drive was easy compared to the days when fog seems to fill my whole life. I hate those days. Indecision paralyzes me. My stomach feels sour, and all I can think about is how easy and straightforward other peoples’ lives look. I want to bury my head in the pillows, refusing to move until the fog lifts. Even then, I know the only way out of this life fog is walking to the edge of it, one tiny step at a time.
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Three Signs Your Life Is Too Busy - The Glorious Table

Stacy the guinea pig had lived a long, happy life. I, however, felt terrible. My husband and son were adventuring in Canada while I held down the fort at home. Not twenty-four hours into my solo parenting time, I began to feel the telltale signs of strep throat. You can only “mom” so well from the couch, which narrowed my goal to basic survival. We were getting by on Pop-Tarts, PBS Kids, and amoxicillin when my daughter’s loud question woke me. “Why is Stacy so stiff?” My eyes popped open, and I was suddenly wide awake. The guinea pig was in her outstretched hands, inches from my face. Its arms were outstretched, too, in the final pose of obvious death. My daughter was four. I was sick, and Scott was off the grid in the Canadian wilderness. This was not the moment I had scripted for a serious discussion about death. We found a Stacy-sized shoe box and then realized we faced a conundrum: burying her. She belonged to my son, who was gone, and it didn’t seem right to bury her without hi…

Are You Raising Kids with a Legacy in Mind? - The Glorious Table

I love old books. Maybe it’s the smell of history that rolls out with the crackly pages. Maybe it’s the tone of authority old-fashioned English gives to the words. Maybe it’s knowing the words are the only remaining living parts of the author. Certainly it’s the look and feel of a proper cloth binding. Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret is a skinny red book that grabbed my attention for all those reasons. It was printed by China Inland Mission in 1935 and bears the name of its previous owner in flowy script. It was written by Taylor’s son and daughter-in-law, who followed him as missionaries to China. To this day members of the Taylor family are continuing the work Hudson began in China. During his fifty-one years there, he recruited eight hundred missionaries to join him. They went to China trusting God to meet their physical needs without any fundraising. Hudson used unconventional means to gain entry into the hearts of the people. He adopted Chinese dress and many other customs. The …

Following the Call of Jesus - The Glorious Table

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr. “The Christmas trees were huge, all lined up close together with their branches touching each other. And she was just a tiny thing, barely able to walk!” The Christmas season isn’t complete without my mom beginning one of her favorite stories with these words. The fear in my gut as she tells it must be a phantom feeling born of the forty-plus times I’ve heard the story. Nonetheless, it takes me right back to those pokey branches separating me from the safety of my mom. The only way back to her was through those branches. I froze. Fear blocked my way as surely as the tree. My eyes were screwed shut, so I didn’t know Mom had turned to face me until she spoke. Instead of scooping me up in a rescue, she knelt down and called to me. Her voice encouraged me to venture straight into what made my toddler mind scream, “Danger!” and became louder than the fear. I ran. Ey…

How to Beat Your Mom Fears - The Glorious Table

The stakes were high, and I was a novice. Choosing my firstborn’s school put my beloved son at the mercy of my meager mom skills, and I was desperate to get this right. I couldn’t sleep. Fear had me wrapped in knots. I was afraid of events that hadn’t happened, yet they were haunting me like ghosts. I was afraid my son would: not be academically challengednot be emotionally safeface peer pressure he wasn’t ready forleave “the bubble” and see darkness in the worldnot leave “the bubble” and have no impact on the darknessleave “the bubble” too soon or too earlyhave needs that would change after I chose a schoolhave brothers and sisters whose needs would be different from his
Being a mom is a serious endeavor. The development of an entire human being is placed in our care. Studies say their little brains are wet cement and will bear hardened imprints of our choices. This weight hangs on our shoulders every day as we wipe noses and mix macaroni and cheese. The fears can be crushing. Mom fe…

Make Kindness Your Mantra - The Glorious Table

“Hearts don’t break around here.” ~Ed Sheeran, singer/songwriter During spring break I was poolside, soaking in the sun and feeling happy to have a good pair of sunglasses and an engaging book. Sunny music interwove itself with my good feelings, courtesy of my daughter’s newly created spring break playlist. The songs ebbed and flowed around me, largely unnoticed until a certain lyric emerged out of the fluff. The singer crooned, “Hearts don’t break around here,” and I had an epiphany. That’s what I want! When people look at me, I want them to see kindness swirling about me like Pig-Pen’s dirt cloud from the cartoon “Peanuts.” I want my heart to create a force field of safety that protects the hearts of anyone who gets close to me. I want to be a giant, walking source of comfort and healing. I want kindness and care to radiate from me like a soothing balm.

I think it’s clear that being a “hearts don’t break around here” person is also what God wants for me. His Word encourages his peop…

For When You're Mad at God - The Glorious Table

The problem with crying for days is it tires me out—mind, body, and soul. Coherent thought drains away. Gumption to struggle through is gone. Finding my tears can’t change the outcome is a shock, my mind numb to what’s next. The only reality seems to be the ugly pit of feelings I find myself in, slack and spent.

That’s when my tears change from the salt of sadness into the fire of anger. When I think I’ve cried all there is to cry and yet more tears flow over my raw, cracked skin, something boils up inside. I’m mad. Mad, mad, mad! My heart cries, “Unfair!” and demands to know if God sees me. The list of credits I’ve logged to my account through obedience, walking hard roads, and following calls is held up in my shaking fist as proof I don’t deserve this. I don’t want it, and I’m screaming in frustration at my inability to bend God to my will. Suddenly yesterday’s truth of comfort, that everything comes from God’s hand, feels like a sharp prod pushing me into a dark and scary place.

Re…

We Can't Dance - The Glorious Table

We can’t dance. You might even use the word terrible if you saw us trying. I’ve always blamed it on a lack of practice rather than a lack of skill. Scott and I were high school sweethearts who attended all our Christian high school’s formal banquets together. I shopped for the perfect dress, stocked up on Aquanet so I could get my hair just right, got my nails done, and called the florist in time to have exactly the boutonniere I wanted. Scott vacuumed his car and gave it a good shine. He rented the shiniest tux he could find and requested a hot pink cummerbund to match my dress. We did everything our public school counterparts did. Except dance.
We didn’t miss the dancing; our high school dating lives were full. But then there we were, ten years later, married with little children and suddenly wishing we had better moves to pull out at weddings and events. It looked so fun and effortless to swing, cha-cha, and mambo. We’re both athletic and smart. We can learn this, we thought, so w…

Extending Grace leads to Freedom - The Glorious Table

“There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally.” ~Unknown My mom’s words instantly dissolved the road rage that had been growing in me the moment before. In its place, tenderness and then laughter bubbled up. “Maybe they are late for their daughter’s piano recital. Maybe they are so caught up in an exciting book they’re listening to on cassette tape they don’t even realize what they just did. Maybe they are on their way to the hospital to have a baby–how exciting! Maybe they are a circus performer late for their high wire practice; we certainly don’t want them to miss that!” she said.
I didn’t want any of those poor people to miss the things my mom described. Suddenly I was for them rather than feeling put out by them. The inconsiderate driving I had witnessed moments before lost its sting when my mom talked like this. Her words gave me freedom: freedom to care about the concerns of others more than my own, freedom to give them the benefit of the…

When What You Have Doesn't Feel Like Enough - The Glorious Table

(I'm writing at The Glorious Table today about one of my favorite topics - facing fear head-on! Join the discussion over at The Table today!) I know the catch in your lungs that tells you you’re not enough, that today’s needs outstrip the strength in your bones and the fight in your gut. You heard God call, but you feel deep inside that it’s beyond you. Your heart and mind begin to wrestle. What if God asks something of me I can’t do? What if I’m the only one? What if I find out I’m just not good enough? The “what-ifs” gather, mob-like, threatening to knock you down. They want you to despair and run away. Fear separates from the crowd, sidling up to you like an old friend. He warns you that protection is the only sane course of action. He tells you there’s no shame in retreat. With fear whispering in your ear, you desperately want to lie down and curl up into a protective ball.
What if I ruin my children? What if I can’t survive the pain? What if God isn’t really trustworthy? These “wh…