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  Do you ever wish life could be reduced and simplified, just like our teachers taught us to do with fractions? Take the numbers you see and reduce them until they can't be reduced any more -- 50/100 becomes 1/2, the large and complex becoming small and simple. It doesn't work that way. I often find myself wishing for simplicity, wishing that everything in life could be categorized into either/or segments. Either people are good or they're bad. Either decisions are right or they're wrong. But it doesn't work that way. Everything is not always black and white. We live in a world of both/and, not a world of either/or. People can have good motivations but choose wrong actions. Decisions can be right in some people's eyes and wrong in others'. Everything doesn't fall neatly into a category, and everything doesn't lend itself to being either one thing or another. I don't get to simplify everything, even though I wish that were the case. Walking with God is a both/and journey. We can be both scared and stepping forward into the unknown. We can be both unsure of what will happen and confident in God's goodness. Both remembering the pain of our past and anticipating the goodness yet to...


  A little over a month ago, at the beginning of December, I decided to take a leave of absence from social media. You can read all about it here, but the main reason is that I just needed some white space in my life, and social media was filling my mind with unnecessary noise. I decided that for the month of December, I would stay off Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I did, and it was glorious.  I worried that I might miss it, that I would wonder what was going on in people's lives and feel like I was missing out. But 99% of the time, I didn't. I began to feel myself relaxing, not getting caught up in what other people were doing and saying. I wasn't constantly reaching for my phone, and I wasn't constantly living the life of a voyeur. Here's what I realized about myself and social media: I don't need it, and it usually doesn't make my life better. So here's what I've been considering as I've begun wading back in: why do I use it, and how will I protect myself? I've had to face some hard truths about myself and my choices. Prior to this fast, I was almost...


  The low-grade stress has slowly been clawing its way out of my body lately. Stress does that, you know. It makes itself known to you privately first, masquerading as a private issue you think you can hide. As it festers and grows, which it most often does, it always exits your personal, private world and makes its presence known in the public spaces you share. It may manifest itself in the short answers you give co-workers or the tongue-lashing you unleash on your spouse. It may show up in the headaches that keep you withdrawn or the paranoia that causes you to question people you love. Stress, though? It always shows up, and it always comes out. For me, lately, the stress hasn't been debilitating. It's been present, for sure, but as I've walked with God and learned to invite Him into it, it's been more manageable. But manageable, low-grade stress can quickly compound and grow into something more sinister. It's been trying to do that in me. And as I've tried to understand why I'm facing constant, low-grade stress, it's become remarkably clear that it's because I've been subjecting myself to constant, low-grade pressure. I've been exposing myself daily to expectations I can never meet. In...


  I know the exact moment my heart broke. It was a cold Friday night in February, and my children were sleeping upstairs. Cozy in their footed pajamas, they had no idea their lives were changing forever below them. Their father — my husband — was leaving. I could not have understood before that night how everything can change in one moment — that a stable and content life can be ripped from you, leaving indescribable destruction and heartache behind. But one moment can change everything. It did for me. That moment changed my physical realities — I needed a new place to live and a new job that would provide financially, and I had to learn how to parent my children as a single mother. The new physical realities were nothing compared to the new emotional realities, though. In the moment my husband said he was leaving, something shifted in my beliefs about myself and my God, and I fell into a darkness that consumed me for years. Satan began whispering to me in that moment of vulnerability that I was profoundly unlovable. He told me I was so deeply flawed I was destined to be alone, so unworthy of acceptance I would always be rejected,...