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  The song lyrics rang through my earbuds as I ran, repeating the Scriptures that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. I nearly threw the earbuds across the sidewalk. I felt anything but wonderfully made. I felt like a mess, and I felt like crying. That morning as I dressed for my run, I saw stretch marks across my hips. Wrinkles around my eyes. Gray hair littering the brown. The mirror showed me the reality of my body, and the reality was hard to take. I saw a mother past her physical prime, one who keeps drifting steadily away from what the world says is beautiful. As the song played in my ears, I felt the elastic of my shorts cutting into my thickened waist, and I felt my body protesting the workout I was determined to master. The words I heard didn't match the emotions I felt, and I scoffed at what the Scriptures said was true. Nothing about me was wonderful, and everything about me was fading. I huffed around the track, trying to improve the physical me, and I struggled greatly to believe that even as I am, I am loved. The Creator of all I see formed me in the womb. He saw me in the hidden place. My...


  It's time we stop lying to God, and it's time we quit withholding the truth of how we're doing from the One who already knows. We've learned to keep our real emotions stuffed inside, haven't we? When people ask how we are, we've learned they don't really want to know. They want us to answer with the socially acceptable "Fine," and we know if we dared to unload what's really on our hearts, they'd run in terror and never ask us again. You know what my "fine" was hiding this week? I feel like there's an anvil on my shoulders pushing me into the dirt. I can't shake the feeling that every decision I make as a mother is ruining my children. This nearly 37 year old body has seen its better days, and I need to just get rid of every mirror in my house. It's hard to believe God could ever look at me and see anything worth loving when others who were supposed to love me forever didn't.   And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I'm keeping back the really good ones. No, we don't need to unload our deepest struggles on unsuspecting acquaintances, but we do need to take them somewhere...


  Husbands, do you know how very important you are to your wives? Not just for practical reasons like killing spiders and changing the oil, but for heart reasons? For helping her believe she matters? For pushing her to reach her dreams? In a time when many voices are shouting to your wife, your voice matters most. Your words can make or break her. The way you treat her can help her become the best version of herself or a shadow of who she should be. Women in 2017 are fiercely independent and strongly opinionated, but we are also deeply in need of the love of our men, and these two facts are not mutually exclusive. We are strong and we are needy, and our needs are not a weakness. They are a sign we were created to live in community with others, particularly with the men who were created to be ours. There are many things we want you to know, but we don't know how to tell you. We want to help you understand us, but we're afraid of being a burden. Even to you. We want you to know these things: We want you to pursue us and plan for us. When...


  Intrigued by the trailer for Martin Scorsese's new film, Silence, I recently ordered the book it is based on by Shusaku Endo, a Japanese author. I won't characterize it as a fun read by any stretch, but it was a book I couldn't put down and that has kept me thinking. The plot centers around a Portuguese priest who travels to Japan to spread Christianity, which is illegal and punishable by death at the time. After hiding successfully for a short time, the priest (Sebastian Rodrigues) is eventually arrested and imprisoned. From his captivity, he is forced to watch the brutal punishment and murder of other believers, and he is told that if he will only renounce his faith, the torture will stop. I highly recommend that every American Christian read this novel, and here are five thoughts I can't shake: We know nothing of truly suffering for our faith. We have, in many ways, an easy Christianity, and this book reminded me of all I take for granted. Faith isn't true unless it is tested. Rodrigues himself struggles with this truth, and although he believes he will withstand the torture with faith unscathed, he doesn't. I don't know what I would...