A Gift Like Matthew

A Gift Like Matthew

Everybody needs to know someone like my cousin Matthew. A traumatic premature birth left Matt with catastrophic brain damage, and his doctors believed he wouldn’t live much past his teens. He turned 40 this year. As a quadriplegic, Matt can’t walk or even roll over in bed unassisted, he can’t care for any of his own needs, and he struggles to speak clearly. And he’s one of the best humans I know. Matt’s a grin machine on wheels. He’s passionate about his church, his favorite restaurant, his day program, and Barry Manilow. In a social climate choked with anger and opinions, Matt is fresh air because he’s exceptional at two things: loving and being loved. Every Labor Day weekend for well over a hundred years, our family has gathered on a Kentucky hillside to play...

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How Pandemic Isolation is like Missionary Life

How Pandemic Isolation is like Missionary Life

When my good friend Cathy shared this with me, something clicked. I had been struggling to understand why I couldn’t keep on top of my daily responsibilities. Sure, I’m suddenly helping my kids navigate distance learning, but I’m used to working from home and I’m no longer spending hours in the car shuttling people around. Every evening, though, I’m exhausted, feeling like the day held too much. Cathy’s gentle reminder helped me define what I’ve been feeling. I know this struggle. This time really does mirror a lot of our life overseas, both the hard and the sweet. I’ve benefitted from Cathy’s words for years, and I’m grateful for the chance to share some of her grace and wisdom with my friends. Let’s be gentle with ourselves right now, and let’s remember to pray...

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Still

Still

I mowed the lawn with a vengeance this morning. I mean an actual vengeance. Like, “How dare you sit there so smug and tall and defiantly bushy?!” I needed to have dominion over nature in some way, and the grass was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Because here we are in a spot few of us could have foreseen at the hopeful beginning of this year: the whole world held hostage by a few runaway bits of RNA. And, just like that, no more school or church or ballet classes or prayer group. No more travel, no visits with our parents, no concerts or field trips or coffee with friends. Only an indefinite stretch of cloistered days that just might have this extrovert chewing holes in the wall and hugging random trees in our yard before it’s all over. My husband and...

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The Gravy Promise

The Gravy Promise

We didn’t need words. We had chicken, fresh off the grill and perfectly juicy. We had corn on the cob, roasted garlic zucchini, and deep amber honey dripping off buttery biscuits. We had some gentle quiet at the end of a week of sweet chaos, with their family and ours all under one roof. And we had memories of meals shared on the other side of the Pacific, where a steady thread of holidays and birthdays, weekday dinners and afternoon iced coffees had first woven us together. As the food disappeared, the words came like a slow tide. We stayed long at the table and talked about graduating kids and losing parents and about how grief feels anything but natural. The next day our friends got on a plane and flew back to where God has them for this season, and we stayed...

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Again and Again

Again and Again

We’re in a season of some pretty big change in our house. Our oldest is leaping from childhood into the strange new world of college classes, car insurance, and grown-up decisions and responsibilities. And for the first time in his ministry career, my husband is serving primarily adults instead of teens. He’s upgraded his goatee to a full beard and his office décor from a plunger in a vase (seriously) to coordinating wall art and real, live potted plants. I love my new role with Wycliffe Women of the Word – like really, really LOVE it – but after years of homeschool and coffee dates and leading Bible studies and writing mostly whenever the whim hit, it feels weird to have deadlines and an editor and a swanky new podcast on the horizon. (I told my unendingly...

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The Both-ness of the Holidays

The Both-ness of the Holidays

I’ve got these red jar-style drinking glasses in my cupboard. I found them scattered on a dusty shelf in a chain store in the highlands of Papua New Guinea. They’re cheaply made, and the red flakes off if they’re anything but gently hand washed, but we love using them for holiday dinners. The harder clean-up is worth it to my family. I’m coming to realize that the holidays may be sweet as we move forward, but they may never be easy again. I wrote these words to a friend this week, the same friend whose family sat with us around our table in the tropics, pretending that the roast chicken was turkey and laughing as my youngest held her red glass high in ridiculous toasts to everything. The same friend who spent part of her Christmas break two years ago carefully...

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