Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After

Sometimes the happenings of this world feel beyond what the heart can bear. A beloved comedian’s tragic death. Reports of horrific conflict and genocide in the Middle East, with many of the victims children, their pictures transported thousands of miles across oceans to verify the reality of carnage. Closer to home, a teenager is killed and racial tensions once again flare. And this moment, a family gathers at the deathbed of a dear husband, father and grandfather whose body succumbs to cancer, none ready to part with him. Tragic pain. Heartrending loss. Inner and outer turmoil that the spirit in its purest place knows don’t belong in this world, really. As parents we shudder and push through our days. As love-invaded friends of God we offer silent...

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The Biggest Piece of Jesus

The Biggest Piece of Jesus

I was sitting at a baseball game for one of our boys last week and chatting with my mom, who had come to watch the game. She shared with me about a dream she’d had the night before. In the dream, she was with an extended family member of ours who has recently moved to another city, and they were visiting a church in the area. As they were celebrating the Lord’s Supper and my mom’s turn came, there were only crumbs left and she felt like she couldn’t partake. We smiled at the odd course that dreams often take. The next day, as our church celebrated the Lord’s Supper and I sat next to our 8-year-old, the dish of unleavened bread came down our row, and just as he always does, Derrin took a few seconds to survey the contents and pick the...

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The Real Beauty of It All

The Real Beauty of It All

Every summer our family spends a week with extended family, where about 14 of us gather in one big cabin in a small mountain town to play, sleep, and eat together. We watch hummingbirds from the kitchen window, walk many times a day down dirt roads to visit the lake, throw rocks in the river, and catch fish. It’s a slice of idyllic life and a time we look forward to all year. We spent the 4th of July together in this spot, and in the flurry of packing I forgot to include our copy of Good Dirt. We have nine kids between the three families, ranging in age from 7 to 19. Several are teenagers, and last week as we got two or three days into the week some of them were needing to slow down and consider their words and their attitudes. It seemed apparent that even...

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Glad Places

Glad Places

I have just returned home from bringing two of our boys to church camp for the week. Our other son is already away for a second week of training for a children’s evangelism ministry he’s taking part in this summer. And so, the house is quiet. We brought a neighbor boy and two nieces along to camp, and all the way home as I drank in the blue Colorado sky with forests of evergreen and aspen, roadside streams and meadow flowers stretching mile after mile, I thought about each of the kids and each of their little personalities and passions, their gifts and their callings. We read Good Dirt and the Bible this morning after final packing, and the passage we read from Luke 20 talked about a vineyard and unfaithful workers who mistreated all the  servants sent by...

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Life on the Road

Life on the Road

I am guessing that most parents who are following Jesus and helping their kids to live with him struggle in the same way I do. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about who and what is most influentially forming my three kids. When I say “forming,” I mean forming them spiritually in a way that affects their identity, their passions, their understanding of living and being in this world, their view of God and what He means in their life. With our youngest child being close to 9 years old and our oldest at 15, immersed in high school life, they are at ages where home, parents, and church are a big influence, but peers, media, and pretty much all of life outside our front door also play a big role in who they are becoming. Many times I have, in my...

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A Life That’s Cruciform

A Life That’s Cruciform

It’s those bedtime questions that can require the very most we have to give. I remember hearing Chuck Swindoll say one time that for parents, it’s those moments we’re tucking them in when kids are the most talkative. Don’t rush through bedtime with your kids, he encouraged. They’ll do anything to delay switching off the light. Talk to them. Listen to them. Take advantage of their open hearts and listening ears no matter how tired you are and no matter how ready you are to be done with parenting for the day. Austin, my 11-year-old, asked this one as I was giving him a final kiss at the end of a trying day, to put it mildly. Our 8-year-old had been through two meltdowns, our high schooler had been home sick from school and then had...

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