A year ago, I reflected on the wonder of “Unto us a child is born,” which took on fresh richness as Allison and I experienced new parenthood along with Advent. Now we can hardly believe that we have been parents for a year already! Our baby girl has grown and changed so much, and so have we. As Advent scriptures and songs once again circulate, different parts of them grab my attention. In a recent reading of Isaiah 9, the phrase “Everlasting Father” struck me. I love my little girl to death, but that is tragically literal – some day death will interrupt my fatherly love. An “Everlasting Father” is worthy of reflection.
Inspirational Christian Writings
Sheryl Sandberg recently shared movingly about what she has learned about motherhood through grief. But how do we help someone who is grieving?
We don’t know what to say. So, too often, we say nothing. Or worse, avoid.
You've probably heard that God created you as a one-of-a-kind treasure and He's got a great plan for your life. But right now, you feel lonely, depressed, or maybe just numb. And down deep, you don't believe anyone cares about you -- maybe even God.
We are pleased to share resources with you from Chip Ingram's Living on the Edge Ministry. In this message, Chip explains how you can begin to experience God when you feel like a nobody going nowhere.
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Crises are a part of life. Some are global -- tsunamis, earthquakes, or terrorism. Other are local -- cancer, divorce, bankruptcy, or the death of a loved one. But here's the question: "Is it possible to experience God in the midst of that kind of catastrophe?"
We are pleased to share resources with you from Chip Ingram's Living on the Edge ministry. In this message, Chip explores how you can experience God through your darkest times.
LISTEN NOW NOTES
Peace… a short, one-syllable word. It even sounds soft as it rolls off the tongue. Yet to my mind, its meaning is elusive. At least it was before writing this piece.
As a writer, I always have my Merriam-Webster dictionary close at hand, and, over the years, I have accepted and oft-quoted its definitions as unquestionable truth. Until now.
We began our group discussion with the normal “ice-breaker” small talk stuff. How long was your trip, how did you get connected with Inheritance of Hope, etc.? It was nice; it was cordial. One man stated that he wasn’t really into talking about these kinds of things. He quickly “passed” the conversational ball to his wife, the one with cancer.
Pretty soon, the honesty came forth... it was hard, refreshing, human. One woman, who had been battling cancer for some time, said, “Our whole life has been changed... they put me on a table, telling me to hold my breast, and moved me around like an animal…”
No words of mine could make that kind of experience make sense.
It’s funny how this life works. Every once in a while, I get thrown an opportunity I’m not sure I deserve. Every once in a while, I receive a ridiculous opportunity to meet people who touch my life forever. I don’t claim to “get” this, but I am ever so thankful. And so was the Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat® weekend.
On May 22nd, I embarked on my first IoH retreat. To be honest, I was a bit freaked out. I was asked to be a counselor. Yeah, like the kind that, on her best day, may offer WISDOM to people. I was asked to help guide a group of 8 couples, each of whom was facing a life-threatening illness… each of whom had absolutely been through the medical, relationship, and spiritual ringers… each of whom had at least one young child, just a couple rooms down the hall.
It's spring...a much anticipated season, especially here in Minnesota where our senses are dulled for so many long months. Sun-starved describes it best. Not enough natural vitamin D. We long to have the windows open, hear the happy exchange of the birds who decided to come back after all, and....for those of us who are lovers of the soil...pull out our long-awaited packets of seedlings. Yes! New life! Reminder of eternal hope!
No one feels this more than the farmer. The minute weather permits, he is in the field plowing up the soil, digging down deep and turning it over so it faces the sun. Brown hard dirt is replaced by rich, thick, moist, black soil. He knows that without tilling the soil, it will not (in fact cannot) bear a crop. It must be turned up before it is ready to receive the seeds, the sun, the rain, and…yes, even the lightning that replaces the nitrogen. It must be able to breathe. Without the farmer, the soil is nothing but...soil.
Have you ever done the honorable thing and it backfired on you? Did you ever do all the work and someone else got all the credit?