I have worked my fair share of odd summer jobs, including working in carnival food carts: from shoveling out your favorite snow cone or grabbing the monster bag of cotton candy to everything in between. Each Fourth of July, I worked in the elephant ear cart, making those doughy, fried treats covered in cinnamon sugar.
Growing up, I never truly understood Memorial Day. My hometown of Holland, Michigan, would host a parade every year. Being part of a high school marching band, I was required to march every year in it—starting downtown, marching through the city, and ending at the cemetery. My band director always had one big rule: when we neared the cemetery, we were to stop playing our instruments.
Spring has finally arrived! That means warm days reading outside and bombarding my friends with book suggestions and bookish gifts. In my bookworm opinion, there’s nothing better than receiving a gift for your bookshelf. Think about all the different spring and summer gift-giving opportunities that are quickly approaching. Graduation is just around the corner, and confirmation is close behind. Baptisms are happening every day, and seminary students have received their vicarage placements or first pastoral calls.
Today at work, I had an incredibly anxious day. Nothing bad or abnormal happened. I woke up, got dressed, clocked in, and already felt on edge. To my co-workers, I most likely appeared normal at my desk. I worked on my assignments, ate lunch, listened to my playlist, and went to my meetings. I doubt many of them that pass by my desk every day know I have about one anxious day a week. If anxiety looks so human though, what else does it look like?
Although many traditionally associate February with love on Valentine’s Day, the best love ever received is the love that God shows to His creation each day. What a true blessing it is to be so deeply loved by the Creator, who sent His Son to pay for our sins! The Bible is full of examples of God’s love throughout its pages.
In the last scroll through your social media—Facebook and Twitter especially—did you feel happy? Were there an abundance of posts that made you laugh, smile, and feel giddy inside? I reckon there weren’t many. Today’s social media climate has become a toxic sludge pile of negative and emotionally draining posts, filled with arguments in the comments and finger-pointing to cast blame.
I am what my friends have deemed an ambivert: a perfect 50/50 split between an introvert and an extrovert. This was confirmed with a personality test, as my friends became obsessed with them during quarantine. Of course, given the results, it was almost a guarantee that quarantine would be easy for me. After all, this halfway introvert has more than enough books on her bookshelf to survive for quite a while. But in our society of go, go, go, being forced to stop, even for introverts, can give feelings of anxiety, nervousness, or unproductivity. Still, working seven days a week isn’t natural. Even God did not work seven days a week: after a long six days of laboring, He rested.
About a week ago, I got a text from my pastor asking if he could pray for me. Life has been especially stressful on me the past two months, so his offer was exactly what I needed, even if he hadn’t known why.
As a Christian, I do of course encourage prayer, and I believe in the power of prayer. But if I’m being honest with myself, I struggle with prayer. I have difficulties committing to daily prayer. I struggle to understand if my prayers are reaching God and seeing that silence is still an answer. Over the past few months, I’ve been more conscious about listening to where God is pulling me, as I need His guidance most right now, and it seems He’s trying to get the concept of prayer to me in any way I’ll listen.
Back-to-school season was much closer to “back-to-chaos” season for my family. Even as an only child, I was part of so many extracurriculars that my parents were constantly running me around, even on weekends. There was rarely time for family dinners, much less a moment to try and squeeze in family devotions. My family could have used a steady routine, especially when it came to planning family time.
Daughters have two fathers: their heavenly Father and their human father. Both care for them immensely, but it is human fathers that have the joyful vocation of raising their daughters in the faith and reflecting God’s love for them. Father’s Day is approaching, so I spent time with some friends reflecting on the impact that our fathers have had on our lives and the moments of happiness we experienced growing up. Read their responses below and think about some of your favorite characteristics about your dad.
This month’s download includes five devotions about courageous, faith-filled women of the Bible, compiled by Karen Eck. Build more father-daughter moments centered around Christ by reading and reflecting on these stories together.