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Posts tagged ‘grace’

What happened when I said “thank you” to an unpopular cop

One time, I met a D.C. traffic-directing cop in the line at the mall and I remarked how dangerous her job was.

“I mean, people in D.C. drive so crazy,” I said. “You could get killed.”

“Oh no,” she said, “don’t feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for the people in parking enforcement. They get screamed at, spat on, cursed out – you name it. It’s horrible.” Read more

If you feel distracted in prayer, don’t worry—it’s a good thing

So many times the same frustrating thing happens when I try to pray. “Heavenly Father,“ I say, but almost immediately I get interrupted by my own thoughts. Read more

What happened the sixth time I went to the principal’s office

When I was in third grade, I had problems behaving. My heart was in the right place, but my good intentions didn’t make it to the surface a lot of the time. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t seem to follow the rules. Read more

If you think God looks at you and sees ugliness, think again

One day when I was in my 20s, I was struggling with a lot of guilt and shame because I felt like the only thing God ever saw about me was my sin and brokenness. God must’ve told my mother.

I came into the dining room where my mom was and she said, “Joshua, look at that angel up there on the shelf,” and then she pointed to a ceramic angel behind me. Read more

With these four words, I knew my wife loved me

I sat on a bench in a beautiful cemetery visiting with the woman who would be my wife and tried to ignore my sad, racing heart. Our relationship was about to end — not because I wanted it to — because she was about to learn the awful truth.

“There’s something I need to tell you,” I said. Read more

What did Jesus say about natural disasters?

Several years ago in my hometown, a man was driving down the highway with his wife when a tree fell down across the highway, landed right on the cab of their pickup truck, and killed them both.

Later that week, I was in a church service in which the pastor referenced the freak accident and said, “Do you think that kind of thing happened by accident? There’s no way.” Read more

The One Person We’re Proud to Judge

I pushed the elderly woman in the wheelchair and started our conversation but I knew I had to whisper. For this college sophomore, the workplace had become a tricky arena in which to talk about Jesus. Read more

God Isn’t Just in Your Heart

I have this one childhood memory that used to haunt me. When I was in first grade, a careless adult did a great deal of damage with very little effort and it seemed like the hurt from that incident couldn’t be undone.  Read more

I Didn’t Realize He Was My Real Dad

One Sunday morning when I was in my early 20s, my mom came up to me after church and said something that stuck with me: “I notice you always pray to Jesus. You should think about calling God ‘Father.'”

I thanked her for her input but it agitated me a little. I was more comfortable keeping things on a first-name basis with the Lord and starting all of my prayers with “Dear Jesus.” I didn’t like the way it felt to address God as my male parental figure. I already had a father-son relationship and it was complicated. Read more

The Hidden Character in Our Story

I know someone who is trapped in a dead-end job right now. He’s been there for years now and he’s trying to make the best of it, but realistically, his resume is probably far too stale for him to get a different job for which he’s qualified.

I know a woman who has an ongoing chronic condition that doctors can’t fix. You’d never know it if you spent time with her — the embarrassing symptoms, the limitations. She longs for some medical breakthrough that will fix the problem, but there’s little hope for that and for whatever reason, God hasn’t healed her. Read more