This week my family and I vacationed at the beach under the blazing sun, playing in the sand, jumping over the waves of the ocean, building sandcastles, and making sure to apply plenty of sunscreen. It was a challenge for my 11-year-old daughter, Giselle, for whom eyeglasses are a necessity. They’re essential for her to see clearly but the beach is the last place she needs to bring them. It’s too easy to lose them in the endless acres of sand or while playing in the crashing waves at high tide. When we got back to the parking lot yesterday,…
What God does when He sees your broken wing
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.
The Horse the Spirit Rides
I can’t picture the Holy Spirit. I want to, but I just can’t. Now Jesus is different — I can see Him in my imagination: a Middle Eastern man with black hair, a beard, and smile wrinkles on His face (there are probably scars on His face too).
I made a great discovery when I stopped staring at a woman on the beach
It was the crack of dawn and I couldn’t stop looking over at the woman a few feet away from me on the beach. I had come to watch the sunrise and she was getting on my nerves.
The Nightmare God Turned Around in a Moment
Ten years ago this month, I started the day by getting on my face before God and saying, “Lord, I’m getting down on the floor because if I get up, I’m afraid I’ll do something stupid.” I had good reason to be concerned.
The Girl Who Got Pulled Around by Her Ponytail
One time I was at the bus stop and I saw a woman take her daughter by the ponytail, pull up, and force her to move down the sidewalk. As the girl walked forward, she tried to reach up and pull her mother’s hand away, to no avail. As the little girl cried and begged her mother to stop, a man standing nearby laughed about it, and the mother began laughing, too.
Humbled by an Awkward Text Exchange
When I was in high school, I attended the funerals for two classmates, one of whom died in a tragic shooting accident. I have a vivid memory from his funeral: sitting in the packed funeral home listening to Michael W. Smith’s song “Friends are Friends Forever” as teenagers sniffled and wiped tears away.
Vulnerability in the Age of Online Oversharing
At 12 years old, I can assure you it was not my plan to have a meltdown in front of a handful of my seventh-grade classmates, some of whom I didn’t know very well.
Seeing What God Did, 17 Years Later
My old friend Dawn emailed me with unbelievable news last week: She accidentally found Amanda. The last time either of us saw her was 17 years ago.
Jesus Hated Shame, You Can Too
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.”
Needy Family Members Reveal our Neediness for Jesus
Last night, my daughters were in the living room where my newborn son was sleeping in a bouncy seat on the floor. I went to the bathroom after explicitly saying, “Please be quiet around your brother.” I should have just taken the baby to the bathroom with me.
What a Third Baby is Teaching Me About the Father Love of God
Right now, I’m looking across the room at my son, a newborn baby boy curled against my wife’s chest. She’s nursing him, which takes a lot more effort than you would imagine. And speaking of effort, there are a host of other little tasks that somehow manage to take up nearly the whole day. We don’t mind it, but we’ve come a long way since our first two children were infants.
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.
A Tough Bible Verse to Inspire Shutting Up
Here’s a tough memory verse for all of us social media users: “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless” (James 1:26). “Worthless.” Whoa.
How to Offer Jesus the Ugliest Parts of Your Life
I spent a lot of my early Christian walk hiding the areas of brokenness of which I was most ashamed. It was like I believed the worst stuff would go away if I simply didn’t acknowledge it. All it did, however, was cover up the symptoms until my issues bubbled to the surface, causing me to sink into shame. But over the years, the Lord spoke a lot of comfort to me with this Bible story about a man who was seen as unapproachable.