Why Jesus Isn’t Answering Your Prayers

Why are Christians afraid to want?

I’ve fallen into that trap. At times I’ve embraced the false notion that the key to life is to be completely free of wanting anything. If I could empty myself of desire, then whatever came my way would be enough. I believed this is what God wants from me. To be empty. To surrender all by being void of desires.

But that isn’t a relationship with Jesus. That’s a form of Buddhism. An attempt to reach Nirvana where one has relinquished all desire and control. It’s a trap. Continue Reading →

The Wild and Wooly Truth – Choices We Make in the Wilderness

“I’ve read the story you sent me. It’s not good. Try another form of writing.”

A literary agent sent that comment in response to my first attempt at fiction.

“You don’t even know what you’re trying to say, Lori. Until you do, you shouldn’t try to get someone to publish you.”

Words from one of the first editors I pitched

“No. No. That was not good writing. I’m disappointed. I expected more from you.”

A writing workshop leader reacting as I read my attempt at his assignment.

I have framed and hung these words on the walls of a special room in my mind where I keep those things for which I am particularly grateful. Continue Reading →

Tempted to Give Up . . .

Lori 2016Building God’s kingdom on earth sounds like an amazing adventure.

And, it is.

It’s also heart-wrenching, back-breaking, soul-squeezing, mind-bending, endless, frustrating, gravel-chewing relentless work.

Ask anyone who does it.

The recruitment posters were glorious. Go on an adventure with God! Serve on the front lines with Jesus. This is your call to kingdom work for Christ. Find your vocation as a minister, missionary, speaker, communicator, teacher, Christian writer, business-owner, stay-at-home parent, leader, musician, artist, filmmaker, or motivator for God.

When you began, you caught the vision clearly. Your talents, spiritual gifts, and desires melded perfectly with God’s call, so you packed your dreams in His steamer trunk and boarded the train.

What you never saw coming were the hardships.
Continue Reading →

The Most Disgusting Thing You’ve Ever Heard

Zack-in-June-3Raising my second-born child to embrace life’s adventures was no easy feat. Largely, because of the warped ways my first-born introduced her to things.

No matter what I said to Hannah about new undertakings, her brother, Zack, with all of the four years he had on her on this earth, carried the most authority.

We’d been watching her brother take swim lessons for months so I didn’t expect her to stand at the edge of the pool clinging to me, crying the first time it was her turn for classes at the Y. “Honey, I don’t understand. What is there to be afraid of in the pool?”

“I don’t want them to pull out that big plug on the bottom and suck me down the drain!” she sobbed.

“There’s no plug at the bottom of the pool. That’s not going to happen. Who told you something like that?” I asked. Continue Reading →

Hide Your Ugly Baby from My Mom!

person-1205140_640“That is one uuuuugggggly baby!” my mom would say.

“Mom!”

“Well, Lori, there’s no sense lying to those poor parents. Their baby looks like E.T.”

“Okay, that’s enough.”

“Like she fell from the top of an ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Uh-uh-glee!”

If we were from the South, my mom would be a charming character. But, we’re not.

If your baby is on the iffy side of adorable or if you’re sensitive, best to throw a blanket over her around my mom. I like listening to the comedian Rod Man talk about homely babies. He says those are babies that are “going through changes.” He refuses large photos of his sister’s babies because they’re not “living-room babies. They’re maybe keychain or wallet babies.” Continue Reading →

The Posing Parallel Wolf Church

Why love our enemies? Seriously. What. Is. the. Point?

Jesus was here with us. He could see how badly we managed to love even those closest to us, even those we invite into our lives, our homes, our beds. Truly, we stank at love long before the J. Geils Band set it to music and made us dance to our own pathetic failing.

We struggle to love long-term the very objects of our devotion so why, of all impossible things, command us to love our enemies?

Perhaps because He knew how confusing things would get down here. Continue Reading →

That Could Have Been Your Kids

Thank you, Andrea Merrell, for guest posting so I can be prepared to speak at the Women’s Event on Saturday at the First Baptist Church in Narragansett, RI! I love your book and your compassion and love for prodigals and the families who love them.

The Plight of a Prodigal

By Andrea Merrell

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Blue lights flashed as I made my way to the drive-thru line at a local fast-food restaurant. The gas station adjacent to the parking lot was roped off with tape and blocked by several police cars. I fought uneasiness and the urge to keep driving.

When I reached the window to pay for my food, I asked what was going on. Thinking there might have been a robbery, I was shocked to hear, “Young guy went in the bathroom, shot up, and OD’d. Continue Reading →

Does Love Burn in Baltimore, Too?

When my son was a child, he delighted in watching me build up block towers so he could knock them down. In that simple game was an important lesson: Destruction is child’s play. To build takes maturity and skill.

It is easier to tear down than it is to build up. This is true of rioters who tear down a city and true of the spectators who, the next day, tear them down on social media.

It’s easy to say that rioting and looting is bad. No kidding. Continue Reading →

Twisting Truth for Our Own Purposes

Lori 2016I’ve done things I regret.

I have. So, I’m always curious when I meet someone who purports to have no regrets. Especially, when that someone made choices that hurt me.

It happened once in a casual public setting, an innocent conversation in a coffee shop. I ran into a former shepherd, one who, when faced with pressure and attacks on the flock, chose to hold sheep up in front of himself as a barrier from fire. I had been one of those sheep. It took years for me to heal from those wounds.

And here he was, responding to coffee shop banter. The question posed: “Do you have any regrets?” I kept my eyes focused on my book but my heart listened for his answer. Continue Reading →

Love on the Frontlines: Loving our Military Families

WMSS, final, high resLove on the frontlines. That’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? We get the idea of love but it’s when we’re loving others underfire that the process falls apart.

In the months ahead, I’ll post, on occasion, ways to employ (or deploy) love in our daily lives. Today’s guest post from Edie Melson is a powerful and practical instruction on ways to love the military families in your community.

Tips for Loving and Praying for the Military Families in Your Community

Loving someone in the military is tough. It brings its own set of struggles, fears and challenges. Until our son enlisted in the Marine Corps, I had no idea just how tough, and I was just the mom of a soldier. The spouses and children of our service men and women have an even more difficult journey.

As a faith community, we do a pretty good job of supporting one another during difficult times. We bring food to the family who’s lost a loved one. We rally around those facing serious illness. We even know how to reach out when there’s a new baby.

Military families need the same kind of support and outreach. Unfortunately these heroes at home often fly below the radar, hiding in plain sight. A lot of us don’t even realize they’re among us. But with over 2.3 million active duty and reserve military personnel, they are in every community in the country. Continue Reading →