When I was in first grade, my brother Caleb and I lived in another state for a month — I don’t want to explain why. All I will say is that it was unexpected, confusing, and the result of serious complications in my parents’ relationship. Read more
I was a sophomore in college when I began receiving a series of harassing emails from an unidentified person. Each one was loaded with expletives and insults that cut into my stomach like rusty razors, leaving me with a cold, sick feeling. The worst part was that it was clear that I somehow knew the person, who I assumed was male based on the tone of the emails. Read more
Three years ago, my family was on vacation and I was in a gas station standing next to my two-year-old daughter. Out of nowhere, a dirty old guy with a long, white beard turned around and looked at her.
“You’re a pretty little girl,” he said, and then he reached down and tried to give her some change. Read more
It was Friday night in Petal, Mississippi. I was 17 years old and I decided to do something risky, something bold, something I had never done before: I drove up to a gas station. It may not seem an impressive feat to you, but this wasn’t just any gas station. This was the gas station, the Texaco — the central meeting point for the popular people from Petal High. Read more
The other night, I was putting my little daughters to bed, and I sensed that I needed to talk to them about shame. I figured we could discuss it the next day since it was already late, but I didn’t realize the Holy Spirit was prompting me for a reason.
Before I left the room, one of my daughters said, “Daddy, a girl at school called me a mean name.”
“What was it?” I asked.
She covered her face with her hands and said, “I don’t want to say.” Read more
During my junior year at the University of Southern Mississippi, I invited a Yugoslavian student to a campus worship service that was organized by my church, which was predominately white. After the meeting, we were talking in the hallway, and he noticed a group of mostly black students meeting across the hallway. Then he asked something that caught me off guard.
“Why do the white Christians and the black Christians meet separately?” Read more
One time, I told my friend Steve that I was going to ask God to humble me. Steve said, “I wouldn’t do that. Scripture says to humble yourself. You don’t want God to have to do it.”
Along that vein, a few years ago, I embarked on a self-imposed, humbling journey in self-discovery in which I did interviews with five different people, asking questions that elicited mostly-negative responses about ways I could improve my impact on others. Read more
In 2009, I was at a friend’s birthday party when my vision suddenly became distorted. I could hear and see everyone, but it felt like I was in a dream. About 15 seconds later, I came out of it. I walked over to my friend, who’s a doctor, and tried to describe what happened.
“Maybe you’ve got superpowers,” he said, and we both chuckled. Soon thereafter, I stopped chuckling. Read more
Last Sunday, I was standing at the back of the auditorium in our church, and all of a sudden during worship, I heard a loud commotion coming from somewhere nearby. I noticed it because the praise music is pretty loud, so whoever was making the noise was doing so at a high volume. Read more