Tag Archives: gospel

The Lover of Prodigals

Not too long ago, President Donald Trump referred to the MS-13 gangs plaguing the United States and most of central America as animals. At least in my feed, I heard a great deal of righteous indignation with his use of the term, especially because he is referring to those who, while marred, are still created in the image of God. At the time, I had no clue who MS-13 was. That was until The Gospel Coalition shared a basic article titled “9 Things You Should Know about MS-13.”  I’ll admit the bare bones of MS-13’s actions were horrifying and repulsive to me. I felt almost sympathetic to Trump’s derogatory term.

Ironically, as God would have it, I then came across the book The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson. This is the true story of how David Wilkerson started the Teen Challenge ministry back in the 1960s. This ministry focuses on teens similar to these MS-13 gang members. The opening paragraphs of this book hooked me right away.

Read the rest here on the Redbud Post.

Learning to Walk through the Storms of Our Emotions

storm

Emotions scare me. Perhaps one reason is that I grew up in a home riddled with bipolar disorder and unforgiveness and regret. There was always so much emotion and no safe way to process it. As a kid, I withdrew. I read books and escaped to places where complicated situations unraveled nicely by the end of the story. The tumultuous years of teenage-hood tested me, and I found I was less equipped to deal with the emotions within me than I had been equipped as a child to deal with the emotions around me.  It’s harder to hide from yourself, so I learned to reason my way through things. If I found them unreasonable, I shut down the emotion.

There have been benefits to this.  I was rarely carried away by emotions to do things I might regret. As a young person in college, this protected me from a lot of stupid decisions that I saw my peers making around me.  There was one emotion that I could not control though. My life was permeated through and through with fear.

Fear that I would mess up. You see, the downfall to being in control is fearing your ability to lose control, to fail.  This was who I was in college: young (I went at 16 years old), controlled, but afraid. And then Jesus happened.

The Power of the Gospel on My Emotions

While I controlled my emotions for the most part, they still whispered to me.  They told me that happiness was around the corner. If I was independent, out of the crazy home, then I could finally stop being afraid.  Away from home, though, I found I was more fearful. Everything depended on me doing things right. I was doing well in school, but I realized I didn’t even know who I was.

One night, a friend gave me a Christian book about a man’s experience with God.  It was powerful, it was personal, and it was emotional. His story spoke to my deepest fear of being alone, of having to depend completely on myself and how dreadfully afraid of failing I was.  That night, all by myself, I got on my knees and prayed that He would speak to me.

“Everything depended on me doing things right.  I was doing well in school, but I realized I didn’t even know who I was.”

My life was totally different the next day.  I’d love to say the difference was God–I’m sure some of it was, but a large part was me still being in control.  Instead of trying to please people though, I was on a mission to please God.

Click here to read the rest.

Literature as a Gospel Forerunner

In middle school, my family was broken and worn out. And so was I. My mother, who was diagnosed as bipolar, had been unable to give us a peaceful home, despite her love for us. The death of her father triggered a lostness in her that put her in an institution and my sister and me in foster care. We ended up living with my grandparents, which brought stability but not peace. My sixth-grade science teacher knew I needed something to dream about. So she introduced me to the world of Madeleine L’Engle, and I’ve never been the same.

L’Engle’s best-known work, A Wrinkle in Time, comes out as a movie this week. It promises to be a star-studded cinematic marvel. Yet, regardless of whatever wonders they bring to the screen, I cannot hope that it will compare to the wonder the book created in my heart. At a time when I most needed it, A Wrinkle in Time gave me hope.

Read the rest in Fathom Magazine here.