Personal Growth

11 posts
Intimacy Through Abiding

“Pruning seems counterintuitive,” my friend points out in her hesitation. “So I cut back this main stem on my zinnias and dahlias? Are you positive?” I reassure her, “By pinching back that lead stem, your plant will branch out and produce more blooms, and they will be luscious.” Sometimes I too forget this truth and that same hesitation seeps in my gut. If I forgo pinching them back, I could...

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Rest and Ratatouille

In summer, metaphors are as plentiful as buzzing bees. Here is one with its nose buried in a hollyhock. Here are half a dozen more darting among the clover. Summer is a gradual unspooling, and I see the picture of it everywhere: rosebuds unfurling, pea vines and morning glories curling and uncurling. Summer is for slowly, but surely, unclenching our fists, letting our hurried shoulders drop, and leaning in toward...

9 4
On Rest And Resistance

We sit on the deck overlooking the mountains, my girls blowing bubbles around me in a swirl of iridescent colors. The air is damp, a breeze shifts the bubbles this direction, then that way. The evening is as close to perfect as I could have imagined, watching the sun slip behind a veil of thick clouds, then beneath the horizon, Still, the knot wedged between my shoulder blades refuses to...

5 1
Praying For My Spouse and a Helpful Resource

It was a beautiful day when we buried her. The sky was blue. The sun was shining and there were a few wispy, white clouds floating in the air. But it was hot under that blue sky. When people find out that I have buried a child they often say, “that must be the most difficult thing ever” or something like that. But I usually tell them something like, “yes,...

5 2
Love and Adore

Lord, I am not high-minded; I have no proud looks. I do not exercise myself in great matters which are too high for me. But I refrain my soul, and keep it low, like as a child that is weaned from his mother; yea, my soul is even as a weaned child. O Israel, trust in the Lord from this time forth forevermore. —Psalm 131   I love this psalm....

8 4
Finding Hope in an Unlikely Place

I started running around the neighborhood to train for my marathon back in November. Over the months I watched Christmas lights get strung up on homes and trees. I noticed as the neighbors dutifully took them down come January, though I still see some hanging lifeless and dull. I smelled the delicious scent of burning wood in the evenings and the welcoming aroma of spicy fish stew one morning. When...

2 1
One of the Most Offensive Things God Asks

Water splatters on my shirt as I scrub the last bits of garlic, tomatillos, and cilantro from the Cuisinart with intensity. The crunching sound of a key pushing into the lock pulls focus from the kitchen sink to the front door. I quickly turn off the flow and before I can dry soapy hands on a dishtowel, she walks into the house. Glowing. My daughter, Murielle, is home for a...

14 6
The Crooked Path Towards Faith

In December 2006, I jumped into the River Cherwell, a river in Oxford, England, that crosses University Parks on the north side of town. It was the end of our study abroad semester and a few friends and I had the wild idea to jump off a low bridge into the water on one of our last days of class. We were twenty years old and had survived a semester...

23 2
Feast + Fallow

Few things bring me sweeter joy than driving from Cincinnati, Ohio to Bargersville, Indiana in the middle of summer after a long day of work. As I leave the Queen City in the passenger seat of Mike’s rattling black Mustang from the mid-2000s, I watch the hills flatten into fields. Rows of corn and soybeans end at the horizon, dotted with homesteads and barns (some of which date back to...

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Parties, Porcelain, and Giving My Best

For years, I strived to host perfect holiday parties, as if they were an exam to pass. Hours before guests arrived, I dressed the table with my porcelain best, each item set precisely in its place. Thin lines of shimmering silver bordered its delicate rose pattern. Folded linen napkins bloomed on the plate. My china, a wedding gift from 1980, held not a single chip or scratch. I’d stand on...

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