31 Days for the Ladies: Chronic Squad

31 Days Big10

Gentle Reader,

You are superheroes. You don’t know it. You don’t feel it. But you are.

You struggle to open your eyes. You are bound to beds, to couches, to pill and jnjection schedules. You’ve lost your hair. Lost your breasts. Lost the ability to go where you want, when you want, to do what you want.

You’re bowled over by pain. Blinded by headaches. Your joints creak and your bones ache. You try so hard to be patient when loved ones throw the latest miracle cure at you. They care. They want you feel better. But really you just want them to shut up. Just be quiet.

You mourn the life you’ve lost. The hours that fade away. The kids you can’t play with because the beast pins you to the floor. The husband you can’t hug because it hurts too much. The job you had to leave. The dream you had to release.

You cry. Silent, enraged tears.

Then you take a breath. You ask God for faith. For hope. For love. For something, anything, in this day that reminds you that all is not lost. And it comes. A tiny thing. A thing insignificant to others. But you know. You know that God has heard and is with you in that valley, in that pain.

And you determine, for the millionth time, to make the most of what you’ve got. To encourage others. To pray. To read to those kids. To smile genuinely at that husband. To take on new jobs, in the shadows, cloaked in hidden glory. To dream new dreams.

Ladies of the chronic squad, I salute thee.

My journey to faith. (15)

For all entries in the 31 Days for the Ladies series, go here.

31 Days for the Ladies: Beth Moore

31 Days Big

Gentle Reader,

An Army brat. The author of 17 in-depth Bible studies. International speaker. Survivor. Blessed with a sense of humor. Lover of God. Fierce about Scripture.

Love her or hate her, there is no denying that Beth Moore has made a significant impact in the realm of Christian teaching.

At age 18, Moore sensed the call of God on her life. The direction was not clear, so she determined to simply say “yes” to whatever He might ask. After receiving a degree in political science, she married Keith. Two daughters followed in quick succession. For years, she focused on her family and served her church, speaking at luncheons, teaching an aerobics class and lending a hand wherever she could. After taking a Bible doctrine class, Moore discerned her life’s work: Sharing the Gospel through the in-depth exploration and teaching of Scripture. In 1994, Living Proof Ministries was founded.

She has been criticized for being too serious and for not being serious enough. For being too “mystical” (the definition of which depends on the accuser). For being too not-Calvinist. For teaching men. For being too emotional. For writing too little and for writing too much. The list goes on ad infinitum. Yet Moore has to a large extent remained above the fray. She never claims to be the best teacher. She never claims to be infallible. She doesn’t require that every Christian person agree with everything she thinks or says. She claims only to love the Lord who saved her and to possess a very real desire to see others know Him.

8353This, she has done for me.

Long have I been a student with an insatiable need to understand as much as possible. Beth Moore tapped into that. She taught me how to love Scripture.

The first real Bible study I ever did was When Godly People do Ungodly Things. I was 21-years-old and newly engaged. Though I had asked Christ to save me as a young child, with all the understanding and innocence of a child, my high school and college years had left me feeling cold, even occasionally hostile, to the things of God. (You can read my story here). Chris and I had only recently begun attending church together. I don’t recall what prompted me to join that group for that study.

Those weeks in the autumn of 2005 set me on a course of study that will never be completed this side of Heaven. Beth Moore taught me how to critically engage. She showed me the importance of context and modeled how to consider varying interpretations of difficult verses. She gave me permission to disagree with her conclusions – and there are times when I do. She told me to seek out other teachers, other viewpoints – and I have.

Above all, Beth Moore showed me how to love and be loved by Jesus. He is the great passion of her life. Her dependence on Him is clear in every line of text, every word spoken. She makes no secret of her difficult past, of her deeply sinful nature, of how weak she is on her own. That is part of the beauty of her teaching. She gives us the space to be flawed and desperate humans who seek a perfect and holy God.

The meandering road I’ve taken through a theology degree and various teaching positions can be traced to the moment when I signed up for that first study. I am grateful to Beth Moore for showing up and stepping up, no matter what her detractors have to say. May we all strive to be so single-minded in our devotion to the Lord.

My journey to faith. (15)

For all entries in the 31 Days for the Ladies series, go here.

Five Minute Friday: Trust

Along the Way @mlsgregg.com

Gentle Reader,

I can’t say enough good things about the Five Minute Friday writers. They are intelligent, witty, encouraging, compassionate, messy, chocolate-eating, bacon-frying, television-show quoting, ridiculously good-looking people who love Jesus. There are times when technology repulses me, but I will be forever thankful to have met and become part of this group thanks to the interwebs and the twitters.

Kate asks us to: trust.


I can’t stand it when people lie.

We’ve all done it because we’re all flawed. We’ve all “bent the truth” or omitted a key detail. We’ve all had moments when we give in to either insecurity or arrogance and thus seek to make ourselves look better than we really are. I know that – but knowing that doesn’t make me any more patient or tolerant. (#keepin’itreal)

Big lies.The ones that alter the course of a life. The truly shocking kind that we never forget. The ones that are told out of the desire to protect ourselves, even if we claim that we want to spare someone else. These are the painful fabrications. Words that leave lasting wounds.

Little lies. The things people say that can be easily disproved by the half-dozen witnesses in the room. Phrases of pettiness. Glory-grabbing and scene-stealing.

I hate it all.

Words are serious business. They should be truthful. We should be able to stand by every syllable that comes from our mouths. Or our fingers. Because every lie damages relationships. Sometimes between two people. Sometimes between groups of people. Always between the one telling the lie and God.

Falsehood erects a fence. When the fence is discovered, when the lies are uncovered (and they always are), the damage is irreversible. Yes, forgiveness always, no matter how hard, and rebuilding when true repentance is evident. But it can never be the same. It can never be as it was.

I think of Mary Poppins when she compares promises to pie crusts: Easily made, easily broken. So, too, trust.

Trust is among the most precious things we have in this life. We must be loyal to those who trust us by being truthful at all times. Gentle, of course. Loving and tactful, to be certain. But always, always truthful. Never inflate, never deviate.

The cost is simply not worth the fleeting moment of pleasure or boost to the ego.


My journey to faith. (15)