Playing Dress-Up

The sage-colored plastic lid lifts off the barrel to reveal bundles of lace, sequined leotards, creamy evening gowns, and fluffy blue tutus. Costume jewelry swims at the bottom of it all, along with a few purses and gloves. My six-year-old self runs for the makeup set and applies what I imagine to be the perfect amount of bright red lipstick to finish off the best dress-up ensemble ever. (No one tells me I look like a clown-turned-harlot, so I dance around gleefully in front of the camera.) Life just feels right when I’m here in these ridiculous shoes, pretending to be a fancy lady out on the town.

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Heart for Her

March is Pastor’s Wife Appreciation Month. Well, it was a couple of years ago, but I guess the hype wore down, the sexy wore off, and the champions wore out. Now it’s just a sad trail of broken links. Be that as it may, few groups out there are as missionally essential and as massively overlooked (unless something’s gone wrong, in which case we are the first to hear about it) as pastors’ wives. The gal married to your shepherd finds herself in a unique and difficult place.

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A Soft Space

Have you ever encountered a really gentle presence? Someone you can trust your heart with? A safe place where you might fall apart or celebrate deeply? The gift of being that for others is wildly understated in this rough-and-tumble, me-first culture full of noise and rush and ego. Burden-bearing is precious work. So on behalf of everyone who benefits from your welcoming eye contact, your engaged leaning in, your thoughtful questions, and your Christlike softness, thank you. (And, hey, if you honestly feel ten miles from this description, the new mercies each morning can extend even here. It’s a new day—how exciting to begin an adventure in quiet!)

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Winter Reads

“As the hours crept by, the afternoon sunlight bleached all the books on the shelves to pale, gilded versions of themselves and warmed the paper and ink inside the covers so that the smell of unread words hung in the air.”

(Maggie Stiefvater)

Very few pleasures in life can beat curling up with a good book and a steaming mug of something sweet, and winter is the perfect time for just such a splurge. I was browsing my bookshelves earlier and decided I’d share my favorite titles with you in case your reading list is feeling as sparse as the maple trees outside. Here are some tried and true friends I think you’ll love getting acquainted with in an array of topics. (Note: these aren’t the best books out there, bar none—these are the ones I’ve read and loved in each category so far. My list of books to read is always growing. I’ll keep you updated on new favorites as they come up.) May your books be deep and your beverages amazing.

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A Few of My Favorite Things

Whether we’re six or sixty, it’s time again for bedazzling containers to hold our hearts. In a world so quick to show anything but real love, Jesus followers have a beautiful chance to display what mended souls can look like: pure, deep, lasting, patient, kind, free, compassionate. Let’s not settle for cheap imitations of love; instead, how about leaving a trail of faithful fallout everywhere we go, evidence that Christ is on the move among us? Shower happy texts on your friends. Inundate social media with glimpses of truth and beauty. Collect moments that show off just how good God is. And while we’re at it, let’s glitter and feather those cereal box Valentine holders like there’s no tomorrow.

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Year of Brave

Try your best to remember the first moment you moved from the shallow part of the pool into the deep end unassisted. When all you’ve felt is the solid ground beneath your feet, the feeling of complete weightlessness can be unnerving. Sure, that same solid ground is under there somewhere, but it’s farther away than it’s been before. The momentary panic is replaced by a rush of jubilant energy. You did it! This is living! No more dread holding you back. You were brave long enough to leave the old behind, and it has paid off with loud cheers from your parents (and hopefully no mean siblings looking for some fresh meat to dunk).

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