Hoist the Colors

There’s a soft spot in my heart for Captain Jack Sparrow. Not because of his cheeky spirit or swashbuckling guyliner, but because he’s who I am without Jesus.

A friend says God’s people have always behaved more like pirates than children. We invent ways to destroy, to rebel, to plunder, to make of this beautiful world a scavenged carcass. No rules for us! we cry on our unimpeded path to chaos. We naturally perfect violence and corruption in our black hearts; seas teem with the carnage we’ve created. The flag that flies over us is death, but nothing can convince us that we’re not masters of our own fates, captains of our own souls. And we pilot our ships and everyone around us straight to hell, singing loudly and numbing ourselves to the pain with delusions of glorious independence.

And then, one Friday afternoon, the sky goes dark and every pirate flag disappears. We all lift our eyes and gaze at the new crimson banners snapping overhead, and the ocean is stocked with very confused marauders.

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Apart from the Crowd

Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.”

(Joshua 3:5)

Being the last kid picked for dodgeball is the worst. Well, maybe not: it’s rivaled by looking around the cafeteria and not finding anyone who wants to sit with you. Or realizing you weren’t invited to the birthday party. Or sitting by yourself on the bus.

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Aquariums creep me out. You go look at a bunch of water animals as they either stare back all glassy-eyed or hide nervously, one curious toddler away from an aquatic psychotic breakdown. The plaques are cool, though. You can take your time and learn more about what lurks in your local lakes than you ever, ever, ever wanted to know. Check out the lovable turtles as you stroll along. Study living sharks from the security of the other side of the glass. The vast array of sea creatures neatly lined up and ready to be beheld is incredible.

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Label Maker

You know those “Hello, my name is ____________” tags you stick to your shirt, forget to take off, and find in shreds days later all over the washing machine? (That never happens to you? Oh. Cool. Me either.) We fill those out for ourselves as we navigate life in the dust—not with names but with false identities. Hello, my name is Competent. Hello, my name is Anger Problems. Hello, my name is Insecure. How many times a day does your heart change name tags?

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She Is Clothed in Strength

Confession time: I’m a complete nerd. I love learning, period, but I currently especially love learning about how God wired me. (If you’re with me in this nerd boat, hello!)

One of my favorite parts of the recent training for church planters’ wives was unredeemed relating styles. It was not a pretty or easy process, but man, did God work through it! There were four options: Little Girl, Nice Girl, Tough Girl, and Party Girl. After filling out a survey, to my surprise, I found that I’m primarily a Tough Girl.

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Gospel Spice

Just so you know, I’m awful in the kitchen. My great culinary feats include turning instant rice into a horrible pudding-like substance (apparently it’s not meant for the rice cooker) and prematurely mixing a cherry dump cake which ended up looking like vomit lasagna. You’re welcome for the visual. But the biggest catastrophe was mistaking paprika for nutmeg… in my Christmas egg nog. It’s relatively safe to say that if Riley didn’t cook for us, we would live on cereal and toast. Cooking is hard: one wrong spice, and the recipe is shot.

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The Slave Queen

She waited in the great hall, standing at the precipice between yesterday and tomorrow, savoring the glorious in-between. Joy-filled voices floated just past her from the feasting room beyond, anticipation buzzing bright. The young bride mused contentedly at the crown in her hands. The graceful circlet of gold had not always borne such a royal shape—nor had she, for that matter. Her thoughts meandered back through the years to the day He had found her in the slums.

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Thoughts on a Great Marriage

(My sweet friend Cassie Celestain interviewed me for her blog, True Agape, a few years back. She split the content into two entries—Loving One Another through Communication and Applying the Gospel to Marriage.)

How long you have been married, and how did you meet?

Riley and I have been married for five and a half years. We joke that we met through Hurricane Katrina. His dad took my high school youth group to do disaster relief work in New Orleans (I know—romantic, right?). During one of the devotions, he mentioned his son, who was going into ministry. A girlfriend nudged me and said he sounded cute. A few months after we got back from the trip, my friend told me she had found (read: stalked) this guy for me. She gave me his Facebook info, and so I shot him a message and said, “Your dad took us on a mission trip. Tell him thanks and hi.” (I found out later that his dad didn’t recognize my name until Riley said, “She says you called her Giggles.” Greeeaaaaat….) His dad said, “Oh, she’s a good girl!”

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For the Days You Feel Like a Hoopty

Hoopty (HOOP tee) (n.): an expression in southern Oklahoma for an old truck that is either broken down or on its way out.

Some days I feel like a million bucks, ready to go out and tackle the world with my sassy pants on. And then there are the hoopty days: times I relate a lot more to Cinderella’s before shot than her after shot. It might be the weather, long months of cold grey clouds and not much sun. It might be the fact that I have cleaned my house pretty much all day and feel like a large sweaty German woman.

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