At 4:45 a.m. in Kuwait City the sounds of gunfire began rattling through the streets outside the apartment where Maurice Graham and his family lived. It was August 2, 1990, and Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq, had ordered an invasion of Kuwait. The Grahams had moved to Kuwait that summer so that Maurice could serve as a pastor at a large Christian church in the capital. Their apartment was located on the church grounds; and unfortunately for them, the church was across the street from the parliament building, which was a central target during the attack. There was nothing…
Category: This and That
What God showed me when my son thought he was going to drown
My two-year-old son clung tightly to my neck as I tried to lower him onto the wet sand where the ocean waves were gently rolling. “You’re going to be fine,” I said, trying to pry him off my neck, but he wouldn’t let go. Instead, he started screaming. No matter how much I tried to convince him, he obviously had it in his head that the ocean was going to swallow him up if his feet even touched the wet sand. So, I finally gave in and walked away from the water and onto the dry sand with my son’s…
My family finally went back to church — here’s what it was like
“Joshua, we need to go to a church this Sunday,” my wife said four weeks ago. We had moved to a new town right before the coronavirus hit and we hadn’t gotten much of a chance to visit churches; so for the most part, we had informal Sunday services with our kids in the living room. It was special in its own way but it wasn’t the same as gathering with other believers in person — not to say we didn’t try. After the Covid restrictions eased up and churches started meeting again, we visited one church that met in…
Desperately trying to save my daughter’s Lego house (and her innocence)
“Daddy, please don’t make us take our Lego houses apart,” pleaded my ten-year-old daughter. Her little sister joined in. “We worked so hard on them, Daddy.” Their pleas were understandable. These were no ordinary Lego houses. They were three-story, multi-room mansions — custom built homes made of hundreds of stray pieces from Lego sets they’d collected over the years. But we were moving and there was no way to pack the Lego houses without them being crushed. While the thought of making the girls tear down their mansions made sense to my head, my heart was torn. They had combed…
50 encouraging Christian quotes
I’ve been collecting quotes over the years, many of which I’ve shared in blog posts or via social media over the years. At different points of my life, God has used these quotes to inspire, correct, and challenge me. I figured I would share 50 of them here so you can benefit from them too. Enjoy! God never made a promise that was too good to be true. — Dwight L. Moody The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the…
Thank God for that Awful Lady in the Lexus
The other day, I was just minding my own business, trying to get to work, when a woman in a black Lexus brought out the worst in me. I was trying to park in a garage in downtown Washington, D.C., which is a challenge. I have little time to get to the garage after dropping off my daughter at school, and if I’m a minute late, the price goes up from $14 to $21. Time is of the essence.
The surprises in store after vowing to love “for better or worse”
When my wife and I stood at the altar and promised to love each other “for better or worse,” we had no idea how much of the “worse” times we would go through. In each of our 12 years of marriage, there’s been some major, stressful event that has rattled my wife and me. It’s gotten so predictable that we’ve come to expect it.
The way grief can help us find God in the dark places
I put the phone down and walked out of the room. A friend had just called and shared some horrible news he had received about a beloved family member (I’m not going to share any of the details here). “Raquel, can you come in here?” I called down the hallway.
Two words you can say to Jesus this Easter
I was five years old when I walked into my mother’s bedroom and told her I wanted to give my life to Christ. We got down on our knees beside the bed and I asked Jesus into my heart. After that, I proudly told everyone that Jesus had saved me, but my pride slowly diminished over the years.
My wife’s response to the coronavirus was so irritating (at first)
The headline was ominous: “School now closed after parent tested positive for coronavirus.” I clicked on it, curious to see which school it was. To my dismay, it was the one where my church meets.
What happened when my daughter saw me kiss my wife
One day, my wife and I were listening to a playlist of Disney songs with our two little girls when the sentimental love song “I See The Light” from Tangled came on. I walked over to my wife who was in the kitchen, took her in my arms and started dancing with her slowly. I could tell it caught her off-guard and embarrassed her a little — it came out of nowhere. Thank goodness she stayed in my arms and danced with me anyway.
The lesson on the other side of marital humiliation
In all of my years of writing about relationships, there’s no story that has resonated with readers like the infamous baby monitor story. Here’s what happened: Early in our marriage, my wife, Raquel, and I got into a disagreement while visiting a family member’s home. We went to the guest room to hash it out privately but we had no idea how badly we were about to embarrass ourselves.
After a series of surprising signs from God, I knew what I had to do
I have never heard God’s audible voice before, but last year, He came pretty close. On Valentine’s Day 2018, my cousin was visiting from out of town, and after a family Valentine’s dinner, he made a random suggestion: “Have you ever thought about taking your articles about marriage and making a book out of them?” The idea seemed so far-fetched. My dad had just died, I was constantly drained from working overtime and I was depressed. But my cousin insisted so we kicked around some ideas for what a book on marriage might look like.
What my daughter said after she smelled my morning breath
When I was in my early 20s, I took an etiquette class back home in Mississippi. Although I remember very few of the rules, one has always stuck with me: As a general rule, you should let people embarrass themselves.
I plummeted down the mountain and found a father figure below
I was lying flat on my back in the snow on the side of a Colorado mountain feeling thoroughly disoriented. I had overestimated my ability to ski down a more challenging blue slope after learning how to ski the day before. Everything went downhill from there (literally) when I unexpectedly came around a bend and plummeted down a steep slope. The next thing I knew, I was sprawled out in the snow and my skis were scattered several feet away.