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So far Christina Fox has created 657 blog entries.

Give Thanks to the Lord

BECKY KIERN|CONTRIBUTOR O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, planes formed of old, faithful and sure. He will swallow up death forever; and the LORD GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, It will be said on that day; “Behold, that is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”  (Isaiah 25:1, 8-9) There is nothing like the excitement of children around the holidays. Just the other day while on a video call with my niece, she excitedly showed me a count-down chain she and my nephew had just finished creating. She explained how each little paper circle represented a day of school they must complete before they get to start Christmas break. Christmastime is almost here, and she can’t wait. Likewise, the Christmas season stirs up a variety of emotions in adults as well. Gathering with family and friends can bring us much joy, laughter, and gratitude. But the season can also bring painful memories and tears as we grieve those who won’t celebrate the holidays with us this year. Hard emotions born from life lived in a fallen world often compete with the joy of the season—emotions such as grief, fear, doubt, weariness, loneliness, cynicism, or despair. They may wrestle for our affections and attempt to steal our hope and joy. But Advent knows better!...

Give Thanks to the Lord2022-11-07T22:20:17+00:00

The Joy of Advent

BECKY KIERN|CONTRIBUTOR O LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, planes formed of old, faithful and sure. He will swallow up death forever; and the LORD GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, It will be said on that day; “Behold, that is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”  (Isaiah 25:1, 8-9) There is nothing like the excitement of children around the holidays. Just the other day while on a video call with my niece, she excitedly showed me a count-down chain she and my nephew had just finished creating. She explained how each little paper circle represented a day of school they must complete before they get to start Christmas break. Christmastime is almost here, and she can’t wait. Likewise, the Christmas season stirs up a variety of emotions in adults as well. Gathering with family and friends can bring us much joy, laughter, and gratitude. But the season can also bring painful memories and tears as we grieve those who won’t celebrate the holidays with us this year. Hard emotions born from life lived in a fallen world often compete with the joy of the season—emotions such as grief, fear, doubt, weariness, loneliness, cynicism, or despair. They may wrestle for our affections and attempt to steal our hope and joy. But Advent knows better!...

The Joy of Advent2022-11-07T22:06:34+00:00

How Jesus Cares for Caregivers

MARISSA BONDURANT|GUEST There is a picture on my phone that is hard for me to look at. It’s of me lying on the sofa with our four-year-old daughter lying on my chest. She’s completely bundled up in a thick, furry blanket. It wasn’t a cold day, but because of how sick the cancer had made her, it was the only way she was comfortable. I remember feeling exhausted that day. And overwhelmed. And sad. So sad. Deep in my heart, I asked God tough questions about my child’s suffering. I wondered what the days ahead would look like. I lamented the fact that I really didn’t want to be in that caregiving position. After all, caregiving is hard. Not only do we grieve the suffering of our loved one, but we also process our own losses. Caregiving requires us to lay down our preferences and plans, and pick up the holy calling of meeting the needs of another. Caregiving also means keeping. Keeping appointments and medicine schedules. Keeping doctor’s numbers and medical details. Keeping up with cleaning, cooking, and other family members’ needs. Keeping track, keeping up, keeping on top of. In the marathon of caregiving, we might hit a point where we look around and think: In all my caregiving, who cares for me?...

How Jesus Cares for Caregivers2022-10-31T19:31:53+00:00

Giving Thanks Every Day

BETHANY BELUE|GUEST Ten years ago, I sat across the table from a dear friend whose mother had recently passed away.  As we shared a bowl of cheese dip, she talked to me about the pain of losing someone so close to her.  Her grief was raw; her questions were real. But what I saw even more was how she clung to Jesus through her pain. That night she shared with me about keeping a journal of gratitude through the difficult season of watching her mom battle an illness and eventually go into the arms of Jesus. Each night, she wrote out specific things she was thankful for, things she was trusting God for, and a promise of God she was clinging to. Over time, she had pages and pages filled with her thoughts and desires. Although it did not change her circumstances, it gave her perspective in the midst of life's storms. What Happens When We Trace God’s Goodness As I walked the Manhattan streets back to my apartment that night, I was challenged by the discipline of my friend and her simple practice to remind herself of truth. At that time, I was in a season where life felt mundane and so many desires were unmet. It was so easy to lay my head on my pillow at the end of the day and think that the Lord was not answering my prayers and wonder where He was in my story.   That night, I decided to start keeping my own journal...

Giving Thanks Every Day2022-10-31T19:25:03+00:00

Hurrah for the Seasons

HOLLY MACKLE|CONTRIBUTOR In college a friend told me she welcomes the seasons—even celebrates them. I’m sure I nodded to look cool, “I totally get that.” (Not likely.) I’m getting older now, with definitely more wrinkles and possibly more maturity, but finally I get it. Now I too celebrate the seasons. For me, this celebrating of the seasons is more than pumpkin spice lattes and tall boots—it’s about worship. God has been about the business of seasonality for a long time. He’s the One who set the Old Testament festivities for his glory and our good when we were just being introduced to his character. By way of introduction, the Old Testament Jews were given Passover, Purim, and the Feast of Booths—just to name a few. Through them it’s as if he said, Allow me to introduce myself. And once you understand me a little bit more you’re going to want to worship me—so here’s how you do it, and here’s how you celebrate who I am and the story I am writing. On this side of the cross, we have tremendous Christian liberty and holiday celebratory leeway as we walk around indwelt with Christ himself—the personification of the Temple, Jesus—abiding in our very hearts. In John 2:19 Jesus referred to himself as the temple, and 2 Corinthians 6:16 pulls from Leviticus 26:11-12 to explain how this indwelling extends to us, “For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’”...

Hurrah for the Seasons2022-10-31T19:13:17+00:00

From Grumbling to Gratitude

MARLYS ROOS|GUEST Have you ever played Doublets? It’s a simple word game, requiring only paper and pencil. Doublets was created by math professor, Charles L. Dodgson, (a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland) in the late 1870s. The object of the game is to transform one word into an opposite term of the same length, one letter at a time, in as few steps as possible. It’s easy to change “dog” into “cat” or “heads” into “tails.” Advanced players transform longer words with more steps. Although “grumbling” and “gratitude” are both nine-letter words, I’m not sure grumbling can be transformed using Dodgson’s method. It takes divine intervention. Getting It Backwards Yet turning gratitude into grumbling is easy (though not in Doublets). It’s been part of our nature since the serpent in Genesis 3 twisted God’s words to make Eve question God’s goodness. Adam and Eve had everything: the perfect life with no illness, death, troubles, or shame, plus they had the physical presence of God to walk with them. What more could they have wanted? But there was that one thing they didn’t have, couldn’t have (v.3). So, Satan contorted the truth, infected them with the first case of FOMO, and turned their gratitude into grumbling...

From Grumbling to Gratitude2022-10-24T14:54:23+00:00

When Art Reminds Us of Eternal Truth

REBEKAH COCHELL|GUEST “...the Lion of Lucerne is the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.” —Mark Twain Art has a transcendent quality. It can cause us to contemplate the struggles and joys of human experience. Sometimes it overwhelms us with the beauty of the mundane or the eternal. I believe that the search for truth, beauty, and goodness is inherent to the artistic process and is so embedded in the human heart that even if artists do not acknowledge the Creator in their hearts, their art often communicates some truth of the Divine.   Since moving to Europe, I have encountered powerful aesthetic responses to beauty three times, bringing me close to tears, and taking my breath away. One of these times was when I visited the Lion of Lucerne in Switzerland...

When Art Reminds Us of Eternal Truth2022-10-24T14:50:57+00:00

What’s Your Red Stew?

SUE HARRIS|CONTRIBUTOR There are days when I head home from work and make a quick stop at the grocery store. On many of those days, I don’t have a plan for dinner, so whatever I purchase becomes that plan. But a problem arises when I enter the grocery store hungry. I lose all sensibility. What makes this moment more torturous is when I smell fresh fried chicken. I walk, mesmerized, into that area of the Publix. Any semblance of potential plans I had for dinner are mysteriously removed from my mind. I must get that chicken. I can think of nothing else. My grocery list is trimmed, and I hustle out of the grocery store on a mission. My mission? Eat that chicken. Some days I can barely make it the five-minute drive home before tearing into that box of fried chicken. You’ve heard the wisdom here: Never make a major decision when you are Hungry, Angry, Tired, or Lonely (H.A.L.T.). When our faculties are exhausted, it’s hard to think straight and it’s difficult to do almost anything correctly. There are some rare moments when I can walk past that fried chicken counter, but it’s typically when I’m not starving. A Hunger and a Demand My story of hunger reminds me of Esau...

What’s Your Red Stew?2022-10-16T19:54:28+00:00

A Grandmother’s Heart for Her Loved Ones

PATSY KUIPERS|GUEST Many years ago, an article I read described being a mother as having a piece of your heart walk around in another person. When your child hurts, you hurt. When they rejoice, you rejoice with them. Weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice is scriptural (Rom. 12:15), but those feelings are magnified when the one doing the weeping or rejoicing is your child. I wasn’t an overprotective parent. As my daughters grew up, I allowed them to work out their challenges to the extent it was appropriate for their ages and maturity levels. Even so, they knew I was there to back them up, and when issues arose that were beyond their abilities, I stepped in to advocate for them. I’d like to say I always did so with grace, but there were times when anger or frustration got the best of me. Though this may not be the best example, it’s the one that came to mind immediately as I typed that line. One morning, I was following behind newly licensed Mary, who was driving to school with her younger sister Jessie in the passenger seat. Someone cut between us and started tailgating Mary. Unable to give the driver an ample piece of my mind regarding road etiquette, I did the next best thing – I gave her a long, loud blast of my horn. Not my proudest mom moment, but my “cub” was threatened, and it was the only way I could intervene...

A Grandmother’s Heart for Her Loved Ones2022-10-14T16:03:58+00:00

Waiting on the Lord

SHARON ROCKWELL|CONTRIBUTOR Orchids have always intrigued me, and I have received many as gifts. In high school I wore a beautiful pale pink cymbidium wristlet to the prom. For my wedding bouquet, our florist mounted a pure white cattleya in the center of my bouquet that could be removed and worn as a corsage on my going-away dress. Over the years, my husband has splurged for orchid plants as gifts to celebrate special events. They never lasted long. Only in my retirement have I been able to join an orchid society to learn the intricacies of good orchid plant care. I am convinced that God did some of his best work with orchids. There are more than 35,000 species of orchids and an even greater number of hybrids. The amount of diversity is astonishing. So is the work involved in raising them. Where I live, we can grow a number of orchid species outdoors. I have a large collection now— cattleyas, cymbidiums, dendrobiums and oncidiums, all under shade cloth on my patio. I have learned from my many mistakes to carefully watch my watering, adjusting for temperature, for the amount of light they receive, and supplementing reverse osmosis water with nutrients that optimize growth. Then there are the things to watch for that work against a healthy plant— diseases, viruses, insects, fungi, bacterial infections, all of which plague the plant itself...

Waiting on the Lord2022-10-07T14:11:53+00:00
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