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  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...


  We can always find a reason to feel badly about ourselves, can't we? No matter what we do, we can convince ourselves it should have been better, and no matter how well the day begins, we can always see a failure or a flaw in what has happened. I find myself falling into this trap so easily, the trap of believing I need to despise something about myself or my life. The trap of believing I am only and always falling short. The trap of discontentment. In just the past week, these are reasons I've been tempted to despise something about myself: Another mother's first day of school picture captured her beautiful flowers in the background, and my own flowers are all dead. I felt like I should hate myself because I don't have a green thumb. I looked down during my 19-mile run and noticed the cellulite on my upper thighs. Even though my legs can run 19 miles, I felt like I should hate them because they have cellulite. I couldn't tame the frizz in my hair Sunday morning before church and I felt like the insecure 12-year-old I used to be. I felt like I should hate myself because of...


  There aren't many things I know for sure in life, but here are some that I do: I should have started lathering my face in Oil of Olay the day I was born. Strange things start happening to your skin in your mid-30s, and it's too late to prevent them when you actually begin to notice them. I physically cannot sleep past 8:00 am anymore. My eyes pop open even when my body begs for more rest. It's the darndest thing, and I now understand why elderly men cut grass at 7:00 am. They're up. Might as well be productive. You can't eat junk and expect exercise to burn it off. The McDonald's fries I used to eat by the pound now cause me to gain weight just by smelling them. A decreasing metabolism is real, y'all. Jesus, be near. My children's activity level increases in direct proportion to my need for quiet and rest. Nothing satisfies me more than spending an entire day reading.  The world doesn't end if I leave dirty dishes in the sink, unwashed laundry in the hamper, or a pile of mail on the counter. Coffee is a necessity. Finding coffee grounds in my cup,...