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Showing posts from 2013

Recalculating...

Considering it's been more than a month since I've written about the Autumn Blogging Project, I think we can declare it a bust. The reasons are many.

Blogging what I learn about being obscure seemed like a good idea at the time.  Not that I think it's a bad one now, and therein lies the irony. In some ways wanting to live an obscure life prevents me from publicly sharing how I'm learning to do it. And not writing has emphasized certain truths about living quietly and obscurely. For instance, not writing a Thankful Thursday post does not mean that I'm ungrateful for the Lord's blessings in my life; however, I have caught myself wondering if people will make that assumption.  I seem to have forgotten that my life - thoughts, emotions, activities - is not validated by publishing it on the internet. A life lived privately and quietly is no less a life (though our current culture might disagree). In fact, I think it may be more of one.

Added to this is a discussion …

15 Things I Want For My Daughter

Today marks 15 years since the doctor cut open my body to deliver a piece of my heart. 15 years that my husband and I have loved this girl the Lord has given us. 15 years of stumbling and failing as a parent. 15 years of much-needed grace. 15 years of heights and depths I never could have imagined. 15 years of love.

As I ponder these 15 years and how they've passed so quickly - so quickly - I think of these 15 things I'd like most for her:

1. "..strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge" (Eph. 3:18-19)

2. To forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead, pressing on toward the upward call in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:13-14)

3. To guard her hear with all vigilance (Prov. 4:23)

4. That the Word of God will always light her steps (Psalm 119:105)

5. To remember that "the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord look…

Embracing Obscurity: Defining Ourselves

"Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ. Let your soul be filled with a sense of the excellence of Christ." - Robert Murray M'Cheyne
When you think about the deeply narcissistic age in which we live and how much we are tempted and encouraged to be focused on ourselves, M'Cheyne's words still echo in our ears down through the corridors of time. We need to take them to heart every single day.
~ Alistair Begg & Sinclair Ferguson, Name above All Names (37)
I look at myself too much. Not necessarily in a mirror, although that is probably true. Throughout the day, I look at myself constantly - internally grading my performance at work, mentally patting myself on the back for my efforts to care for my family, silently berating myself for not keeping our home as clean as I'd like, congratulating myself for any number of trivial things. There is no end to how often I think of myself. Is it any wonder I don't have …

Starting on the Path to Obscurity

In a world of endless self-promotion obscurity may seem enigmatic, foolish, and futile. From the moment the serpent enticed Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, mankind has been trying to supplant God; each of us has become the center of our own little universe. Perhaps we want to put God in His rightful place, but we have no idea how to start.

We must first understand what it means to actually embrace obscurity. It's "...not about wiping ourselves from existence but rather, voluntarily, becoming nothing in light of everything God is and has promised us. Why? So we can bring Him greater glory. It's about making Him, not ourselves, look good." (p. 3) Now that we understand the purpose of living a life of obscurity (or, as I call it, a quiet life), we can begin to think about what it encompasses.

Modern technology has certainly reduced the size of the world. News satellites, the internet, and social media put information and relationships at our fingertips. With all of this…

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~birthdays of family and friends I have the honor to call mine

~a long weekend full of productivity and rest

~LaColumbe coffee in a pristine white mug

~the rhythms of everyday life

~this reminder and encouragement...
What a privilege to have God as our God! What a happy condition when nothing can hurt you! If one loses his name, it is written in the book of life. If he loses his liberty, his conscience is free. If he loses his estate, he owns the pearl of great price. If he meets a storm, he has a harbour; God is his God, and heaven is his heaven. If God is our God, our soul is safe. It is hidden in the promises, in the wounds of Christ, and in the decrees of God. If God is our God, then all that is in God is ours. How happy is he who not only inherits the gifts of God, but inherits God himself! In his wisdom, he is ours to teach us, his power shall support us, and his mercy shall save us. God is an infinite ocean of blessedness, and there is enough in…

Autumn Blogging Project: Embracing Obscurity

Hello, Melissa.

We were in a shop at Disney World. I was eight and I'd never seen this man behind the counter before. How did he know my name? I was not young enough to think it was magic; I thought it was creepy. I knew I wasn't in any real danger. After all, my parents were beside me. In fact, when I demanded to know how he could call me by name, they erupted in laughter. I didn't understand. This was not funny. I was on the verge of tears.

When Mama realized how upset I was, she prompted me to look down. The day had been so full that I'd forgotten my name was embroidered across the top of my peach-colored shirt. As we left the shop I feigned laughter at my own silliness, but deep down I was unsettled.

The world has changed considerably since 1976. Our names are emblazoned on practically everything, our pictures online for the entire world to see. Far from being creeped out when strangers call us by name, we have made them privy to our innermost thoughts. We live our…

Book Review: Extravagant Grace

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God uses all the circumstances of life to shape the trajectory of our growth in grace, including the doctrines that we adopt and the churches that we attend. He is sovereign over each and every detail that will shape the trajectory of each individual growth curve. We will not all reach the same level of maturity in Christ, nor will we all believe identical things in this life, but every one of us will live and grow under his loving care and sovereign rule. (loc 439)
Every chapter of Barbara Duguid's book  Extravagant Grace: God's Glory Displayed in Our Weakness challenged my thinking. Using the writings of John Newton (author of the hymn "Amazing Grace"), Duguid makes a compelling argument that God uses our sin for His glory. I must admit, there were times I shook my head and wanted to throw my hands up in frustration as I read. As Duguid writes, "It is a radical and almost frightening thought to see that God is actually as much at work in our worst moments of si…

Mark #9 of a Healthy Church: Biblical Church Leadership

In the 18 years we spent at our former church, we witnessed first hand the turmoil that being without proper leadership brings. Each time we were without a pastor, chaos ensued. Relationships and ministries suffered because the church had no clear leader. Perhaps that's why the church government of a different denomination appealed to us so strongly. We didn't set out to move to another denomination but when our pastor introduced the leadership model during our new members' class, my husband and I were thrilled.

The last mark of a healthy church is biblical church leadership. Mark Dever spends this final chapter discussing five facets of church leadership: congregational context, biblical qualifications, charismatic nature, Christlikeness, and relationship to God's nature and character.

I've spent this summer blogging through Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, and I've realized that, as much as we church members want to put the responsibility of the church's h…

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~tears of joy, gratitude, frustration, pain, and love

~family date night

~a surrogate mom who loves, listens to, and advises me as well as Mama did

~Elder interviews and our future church membership

~homemade whipped cream

~sisters in Christ who love me, accept me, and encourage me

~car pools

~the extravagant grace of God

~books that challenge my thinking

~the providence of God

~thought-provoking discussions with my girl

Blessings all mine, with 10,000 beside!




Mark #8 of a Healthy Church: A Concern for Discipleship and Growth

Chances are, we all know someone who made a confession of faith at one time but now displays no evidences of conversion. Her church attendance is sporadic and her Bible knowledge sketchy. Worse yet, she shows absolutely no interest in spiritual growth. She prayed a prayer, punched her ticket to Heaven, and now she's living her life as if it never made a difference. Because it hasn't.

I know too many of those people. They fill pews, choir lofts, and leadership positions in many churches - churches that are not concerned for discipleship and growth, the 8th mark of a healthy church.

How does a church promote discipleship and growth in its members? Mark Dever explains that the other eight "marks" of a healthy church have an effect on the growth we will experience, individually and as a church.

Expositional Preaching focuses on God's Word. Dever says the church is built upon "hearing God's Word speak to us as His Holy Spirit uses it in our hearts. Through His…

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~Unseasonably cool temperatures

~An opportunity to fellowship with our pastor's family

~My eldest niece's wedding

~Hugging my 91-year old grandmother

~A husband whose calming presence I too often take for granted

~Forgiveness when I'm not the wife and mother I should be

~Sisters in Christ

~Driving by cornfields while listening to the morning traffic report in the "big city"

~Fewer blogs in my feed reader. Making the cuts was hard, but it's been worth it.

Blessings all mine, with 10,000 beside!

Mark #7 of a Healthy Church: Biblical Church Discipline

We need to live lives that back up our professions of faith. We need to love each other. We need to hold each other accountable because all of us will have times when our flesh wants to go in a way different that what God has revealed in Scripture. And part of the way we love each other is by being honest and establishing relationships with each other and speaking in love to each other. We need to love each other and we need to love those outside the church whom our witness affects; and we need to love God, who is holy, and who calls us not to bear His name in vain, but to be holy as He is holy. That's a tremendous privilege and a great responsibility.
~Mark Dever Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (pp. 192 - 193)
In response to last week's post regarding church membership, my friend Aimee offered this comment
Another important point about church membership is discipline. How can you expect your church family to help you grow, and protect you as a part of it, if you will not pub…

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~His provision. It never ceases to amaze me how He orchestrates the events of our lives to bless us in ways we might never have imagined. (Isaiah 55:8-9, Ephesians 3:20)

~Lunch with a dear friend.

~Friends who are willing to impart their God-given wisdom in difficult situations.

~A husband who isn't afraid to to tell me the truth and to correct me with love and gentleness.

~The Gospel Coalition's 2014 National Women's Conference. I registered this week!

~Cooler temperatures.

~The arrival of August, which means that the "ber" months are just around the corner.

Blessings all mine with 10,000 beside!

Mark #6 of a Healthy Church: a Biblical Understanding of Church Membership

When my husband and I left the church where we had been members for 18+ years, we didn't know where the Lord would direct us. We felt a little beaten up; leaving a church family we loved and that loved us was painful, even though we knew we were being obedient to the Lord. After years of serving in various ministries, we thought that we might like a place where we could just sit back, be fed and allow our bruised hearts time to heal.

Then I came to the sixth mark of a healthy church - a biblical understanding of church membership - and these words:
[Church] membership is not simply the record of a statement we once made or of an affection toward a familiar place. It must be the reflection of a living commitment or it is worthless. Worse than being worthless, it is dangerous. Uninvolved members confuse both real members and non-Christians about what it means to be a Christian. We "active" members do the voluntary "inactive" members no service when we allow them …

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~Pink crepe myrtles that line both sides of one of the streets on my daily commute. For some strange reason, they make me think of statuesque ladies wearing lovely pink hats.

~Time to read. I just finished Jane Eyre. I started what I thought was a re-read, but realized I'd never read it! I wonder what else I only think I've read.

~A dinner date with my dad.

~The Word of God and commentaries that give me a deeper understanding of it.

~An impromptu evening with friends.

~Laughter

~Sunday morning worship

Blessings all mine, with 10,000 beside!

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~Friends who join me in prayer.

~The God who answers. Not always in the way I expect, but always for good.

~Family time

~Dinner out with a friend I rarely have the pleasure of seeing

~Wise words from our pastor on resolving theological differences of opinion

~Garden bounty. I believe I could almost be a vegetarian in the summer months.

~Traveling mercies for my husband as he commutes to work each day

~The Lord's timely provision

Blessings all mine, with 10,000 beside!


A Prayer for Wednesday

Resting on God O God most high, most glorious, The thought of thine infinite serenity cheers me, For I am toiling and moiling, troubled and distressed, but Thou art forever at perfect peace. Thy designs cause thee no fear or care of unfulfilment, they stand fast as the eternal hills. Thy power knows no bond, thy goodness no stint. Thou bringest order out of confusion, and my defeats are thy victories: The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. I come to thee as a sinner with cares and sorrows, to leave every concern entirely to thee, every sin calling for Christ's precious blood; Revive deep spirituality in my heart; Let me live near to the great Shepherd, hear his voice, know its tones, follow its calls. Keep me from deception by causing me to abide in the truth, from harm by helping me to walk in the power of the Spirit. Give me an intenser faith in the eternal verities, burning into me by experience the things I know; Let me never be ashamed of the truth of the gospel, that I may bear i…

Mark #5 of a Healthy Church: A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)

Evangelism is a topic that makes many Christians - myself included - uncomfortable. But why?

Why do I - a woman with a degree in communications - get tongue-tied when an unbeliever asks me about Christ?

Why do I - a woman who's not given to fear - quake in my proverbial boots when given the opportunity to share the Gospel?

Why do I - a sinful woman who's been given much grace - not shout from the rooftops, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (John 4:29)

I don't believe I'm the only one. Evangelism may be one of the most misunderstood practices of the modern church. Mark Dever li…

The Battle

The Quiet Life isn't always easy. There are days when my fingers long to take to the keyboard, when I am filled with wanting to

...pound out my frustrations with other people's hypocrisy/drama/ignorance

...loudly proclaim my accomplishments

...itemize my husband's attributes

...praise my daughter's achievements

...let everyone know where I've been and what I've been doing

Yes, it is a struggle - sometimes of nearly epic proportions. Yet I strive, with everything that is in me, not to give in to those temptations because

...I have enough hypocrisy/drama/ignorance of my own, even though I try not to put it on public display, and much of what frustrates me isn't worth a personal confrontation (translation: UNIMPORTANT)

...my accomplishments are nothing - NOTHING - compared to what's been accomplished for me through Christ

...my relationship with my husband is between us and the Lord; no one else needs to know details

...I'd rather praise my girl face-…

Mark #4 of a Healthy Church: A Biblical Understanding of Conversion

And you were dead in the trespasses and sinsin which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.For by grace you have been saved through faith.
~Ephesians 2:1-8 (ESV) A church that rightly preaches the Gospel should also have a biblical understanding of conversion. Salvation that has been reduced to repeating a prayer is …

Comfort Food for the Soul

Pondering these words, long & hard.

What matters supremely, therefore, is not, the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it - the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind. All my knowledge about him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me, and there is no moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters.

This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort - the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates - in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me…

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~having my girl home after a visit with extended family. It's wonderful to have our little family around the dining table again and to hear her infectious laughter.

~time alone with my husband, who loves me fiercely.

~a God who loves me more.

~gathering with His saints to worship.

~the sovereignty of God.

~lunch with a bloggy friend.

~opportunities to minister to others through prayer.

~the body of Christ.

Blessings all mine with 10,000 beside!

Mark #3 of a Healthy Church: The Gospel

There is a common worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough - a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice - which costs nothing, and is worth nothing. ~J.C. Ryle, Holiness

Mine was not a church-going family. I remember a brief stint during my early elementary years when we attended church. I went to Vacation Bible School with my grandmother and attended church with her whenever I visited. I especially enjoyed when the choir director performed a solo of "Blessed Assurance". I still remember his deep, quiet voice carefully building to a crescendo in the chorus. I knew that hymn well, but the words were meaningless to me. Even though I spent many Easters holding my grandmother's hand during the sunrise service, I didn't understand what we were celebrating. The story of the empty tomb was distant, a tale in a storybook. It meant nothing.

By the time I was a teenager, the god I imagined had disappointed me …

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~a quiet weekend of BBC entertainment

~picking my husband up from the airport. So much nicer than dropping off!

~safe travels

~a clothes line, since the dryer decided to quit working

~my Dad

~quiet mornings with the Word of God

Blessings all mine, with 10,000 beside!

Mark #2 of a Healthy Church: Biblical Theology

How you think about God impacts the way you live and what you want your church to be like. -Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (p. 72)
Last week I shared that my husband and I began our church search with a plan to visit churches known for expositional preaching.  We were also looking for something more. We wanted to find a church with a solid Biblical theology.

As Dever explains,
We should want pastors who will preach from the Word of God, but we should also listen carefully to what the pastor says and decide whether or not what he says is according to the Word of God. We need not just someone who claims to preach from the Word, but someone who substantially does that - whose sermons are in line with what the Word of God actually teaches. (p. 60). Perhaps it seems unlikely, the idea that a pastor can preach from the Word without being in line with Scripture; however, in our postmodern society, this occurs far more often than we might think. Sermons are peppered with phrases …

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~Garden bounty.

~The Lord's correction. Painful, but so necessary.

~Grace and new mercies.

~Rejoicing with friends. They've been waiting for an occasion for far too long.

~High School graduations. We have a niece & a nephew who are moving on to the next phase of their lives.

~The end of the school year, even though it's a bittersweet reminder that time with my girl at home is fading fast.

~My husband's life. As we celebrated another year, I couldn't help but praise God for allowing our lives to merge into one. He is a tremendous blessing to me.


Blessings all mine, with 10,000 beside!

Mark #1 of a Healthy Church: Expositional Preaching

God's Word is the word we need to hear today. We live in a strange day, when even Christians who claim to be born again and churches that claim to be evangelical ignore God's Word. -Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (p. 54)
As my husband and I began looking for a new church home, our top priority was to find a church that stood firm on the Word of God. Programs and a friendly congregation were secondary; we knew that if the man in the pulpit accurately preached the Word of God, everything else would fall into place. We wanted to find a church that believes in expositional preaching.

Why expositional preaching rather than topical?

An expositional sermon is focused upon the Word, whereas - as you might have guessed - a topical sermon is centered upon the topic itself.  A topical sermon might be replete with Scripture, but there is an inherent danger of misunderstanding and misapplying Scripture if a verse or a passage is taken out of its context merely to support the pr…

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:


~Friday night in with my husband & our newest BBC addiction, Foyle's War

~Saturday evening at the ballpark

~worship at our new church, after a couple of weekends away

~the Lord's grace as we continue to grow

~wise friends who are willing to answer questions and share resources

~good conversations

~rain for our garden

~hot chamomile tea with honey

~a good night's sleep

~inspiration for a summer blogging project


Blessings all mine, with 10,000 beside!

Summer Blogging Project: Nine Marks of a Healthy Church

At the beginning of this year my family made a monumental change; in obedience to the Lord, we left our church of 18 years and began searching for a new church home. My husband and I prayed over a plan we thought prudent. We had an ongoing discussions about what we should be looking for in a church, but finding that church wasn't as easy as I'd hoped (my wise husband knew better). Just as we were growing weary and impatient, God providentially redirected our steps. We are thankful that we have found the place we believe will be our church home for as long as He allows us to remain.

During our search, I poured over Nine Marks of a Healthy Church. This book was an wonderful resource for us. In fact, I believe it would be a great benefit to any believer.

From the Introduction,
Biblically, we find that god's Word is replete with images of delayed blessing. God, for His own inscrutable purposes, tests and tries His Jobs and Josephs, His Jeremiahs, and even Jesus Himself. Th…

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~the opportunity to guest post as part of the hospitality series at Desiring Virtue

~Mark Dever's Nine Marks of a Healthy Church and the wisdom I gleaned from reading it

~the sound of ocean waves

~the smell of salt air

~the warmth of sand beneath my feet

~crowding around a dinner table with the dearest of friends

~books borrowed from friends

~a girl growing up

~20 years of marriage

Blessings all mine, with 10,000 beside!

Twenty

Today marks twenty years that I stood before a God I didn't know and a man I hardly knew better, and made promises I had no ability to keep. If my capacity to love was limited, my capacity to be loveable was even more so. Yet as I looked into his tear-filed eyes and took vows I couldn't comprehend, I knew the man in front of me would love me no matter what.

I had no idea how much I would need him to.

I was not a believer when I took those vows. My husband thought I was. I thought I was. Praise God, He did not leave me to my own devices. Though I had blasphemed His Name, though I had been evil and reproachful, though I had murdered Him over and over again in my heart, He saved me. He broke through my cold and dead heart with what He knew would reach it most effectively - the love of a caring, patient, godly man.

God has every means at His disposal to call His children unto Himself, and yet for me, He chose my husband; it is a gift I have often taken for granted.  Through these …

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord for a week full of blessings:

~A weekend away with my husband, which included a show at the Kennedy Center and worship at Capitol Hill Baptist Church

~A husband who granted my longtime wish to see a show at the Kennedy Center

~Mark Dever's faithful and powerful exposition of John 19

~The events of John 19, and God's revelation of Jesus as King from court to cross to corpse

~A gentle reminder from the Lord that I too often rely on what I think I know of Him, rather than looking to His true revelation of Himself in His Word

~God's providential care

~An astonishingly beautiful book about unimaginable suffering and the goodness of God

~The opportunity to post at Out of the Ordinary  this week, and the ladies who blog with me there

~Thought-provoking, iron-sharpening discussions with my husband, with my girl, & with dear friends

Blessings all mine, with 10,000 beside...Praise His Name!




A Quiet Life is Rewarding

Our world thinks little of a quiet life I, too, have wrestled with the reality of a small, quiet life. It is only recently that I have grasped its intrinsic value.

A stronger marriage.  My husband and I love each other deeply, but I never want to assume that our marriage is unshakable.  A quiet life will protect our time together and enable us to better serve each other.

A stronger family.  Our girl is finishing her first year of high school. I am acutely aware that our time  is short. A quiet life will give plenty of opportunities to teach, laugh, cry, listen, play, and encourage. I want to savor each one.

A stronger relationship with the Lord. My life flourishes when I have meaningful time in the Word and in prayer. A quiet life, not crowded with meaningless activities, will give me that time each day.

A stronger contentment. I am most content when appreciate the blessings the Lord has poured out on my life. A quiet life will keep me from comparing myself with others, allow me to do the…

Thankful Thursday

Praising the Lord this week for:

~A symphony concert with my husband. A violin solo always turns my insides to mush.

~Marking the birthdays of my Dad, my Mama, and a most special little girl.

~The gift of mothers. Besides my biological mother, the Lord has given me numerous older women  - believers and unbelievers alike - who have "mothered" me throughout my life.

~His grace when the guilt of past sin oppresses me. Confronted by an event in my life prior to salvation, I literally felt as if I were suffocating. Then I remembered Romans 4:22-25 and I could actually feel the burden ease. Hallelujah! what a savior!

~Hearing His Word exposited and the Gospel preached faithfully Sunday.  

~Evidences of His work and long-awaited answer to prayer. 

~The delight I've found in this small corner of the internet. This new home has refueled my love of blogging and reminded me that I best enjoy a small blogging community. Blogging quietly and intentionally has given me the focus and t…

Minding My Own Affairs

In 1 Thess. 4:11-12, Paul exhorts the Church at Thessolonica to aspire to live quietly. As part of that instruction, he encourages them to mind their own affairs.  It's not so easy in the internet age. Temptations are everywhere. Blog posts and Facebook statuses invite me into the lives of others, feeding the voyeur within me. 

But how much do I need to know?Is there any benefit in having such a wealth of information about mere acquaintances - their thoughts, their travels, their menus? Status reports and tweets can overwhelm me, stealing valuable time I have to invest in genuine relationships and luring me away from my responsibilities.  One big lie of social media is that if we miss something, we miss something. My world won't shatter if I don't read every detailed status report, insightful link, or witty tweet.

Part of a rich, quiet life means that I must properly mind my own affairs by:

Prioritizing my involvement in the lives of those around me. I have many frie…

Thankful Thursday

From my quiet corner of the internet, I'm praising the Lord this week for:

~The body of Christ, near and far. It's wonderful to know we are not bound together by geography, but rather by the grace of God.

~The providence of God, even in small things. Little details remind me how much God loves and cares for us. I especially delight in them when my girl is the recipient of such blessings.

~This bittersweet life without Mama, as we mark her birthday and Mother's Day this weekend. It's been a long 14 months since I've heard her voice. I still miss her so, but I also rejoice that we will meet again.

~Discussions with my girl, during the least expected moments. I'm particularly thankful for opportunities to talk about the perils of living in a fallen world and to express gratitude for saving grace.

~The joy of watching my girl mature, physically, mentally and spiritually.  The teenage years offer plenty of opportunity for learning and growth, for mother and daughte…

Not Feeding the Frenzy

Increasingly, we are living our lives in the public forum. Hand-written letters to friends were exchanged for emails, which were exchanged for text messages, which have now been exchanged for tweets and notes on a Facebook wall for all the world to see. Secrets among friends, it seems, no longer exist. Meaningful friendships themselves may soon be a thing of the past.

Social media has allowed us to collect "followers" and "friends" like trinkets on a charm bracelet.  We are compelled to share intimate details of our lives with complete strangers, yet we are ashamed to ask those closest to us to pray as we wrestle against sin. We foster, as Carl Trueman writes, an "intimacy of strangers which is such a part of celebrity culture - for example, the faux-chumminess of all those tweeted exchanges and retweets, lives lived as soap operas mediated by the internet..." We brand ourselves with carefully crafted personas, afraid the true person cowering behind the…