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  If one of the spiritual gifts is having a pity party, then the Holy Spirit blessed me immensely. But for real. Last night, I was feeling sorry for myself, wishing something had gone differently and beating myself up for not knowing ahead of time exactly what I should have done. Then the feeling sorry for myself morphed into being envious of someone else, and before I knew it, I was just the most pitiful little whiney-baby you've ever seen. Over nothing important. I felt like a failure, but the truth is that I didn't really fail. I felt less capable than someone else, but the truth is that I'm not. I felt I should be doing more and doing it better, but those are just words I told myself. In actuality, I'm doing OK. I'm doing better than I thought I was in the midst of that pity party.   Jon Acuff writes in his new book, Finish, "That's the thing about failure. It's loud. Progress, on the other hand, is quiet. It whispers. Perfectionism screams failure and hides progress." I have always lived with the tantalizing illusion of perfection mocking me. The perfect body, the perfect home, the perfect kids and perfect marriage. The perfect answers, the perfect friendships,...


  Only hours before, I lay immobile on the operating table. Numb from the chest down, I could only watch as nurses draped the sterile field of my abdomen with blue cloth. They counted gauze strips and scalpels, forceps and scissors. They prepared my body for the birth of my child, a birth in which I would be a passive observer. Things were not going as I planned. Thankfully, I couldn't feel the incision dissecting my abdomen, the scalpel cutting through muscle to reach to my baby. Major surgery was done on the body I couldn't feel, bringing a healthy, crying boy into a world he didn't know. Now, they were asking me to stand and to walk. I had just been sliced open and sewn back up, and the medical team thought it best that I move. I couldn't stand up straight for fear of ripping the incision back open, and the epidural had barely worn off to give me feeling in my legs. But they were asking me to move. Medically, I knew their request was right. Moving after surgery prevents blood clots and pneumonia. Medically, it makes sense. But personally? I wanted to throttle someone. I wanted to stay in my bed and...


  I've been praying a specific prayer for several years now. Years. But the answer still remains "no" -- or at least, "not yet." What do you do when you're confident the Holy Spirit has confirmed something in your life, but the time has not yet come? What do you do when you know what God has told you, but His timing is different than yours? And, even more, what do you do when you see someone else receiving the answer to the very prayer you've been praying? Can I be honest? Sometimes you cry and pitch a holy hissy fit. Sometimes you question God and beg to know what He's thinking. Sometimes you remind Him of what He said to you in the past, and sometimes you feel completely lost. I'm finding that trusting God is the hardest part of my faith journey. I believe in God -- I do. I believe He is good, I believe He hears me, and I believe He has a plan. But trust? I think trust is hard. Here's why: I can believe He is good, but I can struggle to trust He's being good to me in what He allows, answers, or denies. I can believe He hears me, but I can struggle to...


  Tears streamed down my child's face, the frustration apparent. The frustration was clear, but the real issue wasn't. I couldn't get to the root of the matter. Was it exhaustion? A misunderstanding? Did something happen at school? What was really going on? I never figured it out. My questioning and probing did no good with the child sprawled across my bed, so I couldn't make sense of it. Which basically summarizes being a parent. I'll never forget bringing home a 5 pound newborn and listening to her cries in the night, wondering what they meant. Hunger? No, she just ate. Wet diaper? No, she was just changed. What was going on? Sometimes I never figured it out. I'm a person who likes to have answers. I sat in the front row in school, taking copious notes and comparing my answers to those in the back of the book. If I missed a question on a test, I couldn't let it go until given a thorough explanation. So even now, as an adult, I can't sleep until I feel like I've made sense of things in my mind. I don't do well with not knowing. But being a parent means often not having the right answer.  Where should...