Category Archives: Encouragement

When the Heart Divided is Yours

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A sobering moment early this morning: I was sitting on the couch. My opened Bible on my lap. I would intermittently sip from my mug and stare at the tree in the front yard, excited about the bright green buds on its winter-worn branches. I glanced at my Bible, gently swiping through the delicate pages and hoping a passage would pop out at me. That’s when I realized: I was peering at the pages past a social…

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The Key to Human Trafficking?

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What if the key to combatting human trafficking is within reach? As I studied human trafficking in grad school, I realized: I believe our BEST chance of sustainably reducing the number of captives is by decreasing the number of customers. That means fewer men (and women) who would PAY for forced labor or services from a sex slave. At its core, human trafficking is a business. Which means it hinges on some classic principles, too. Like…

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Awake and Anxious

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I inexplicably woke up a couple minutes shy of 3 a.m. Again. Is it possible to be awoken by anxiety? Because there it was, hovering like someone with no sense of personal space. Or at least no respect for it. Stank-breathed. Inconsiderate. Intrusive. I tried to fall back asleep. It didn’t work this time. So I grabbed a pen and paper instead. Maybe moving them to paper could evict my anxious thoughts from my mind: March…

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A vision of hope: “She will ROAR again”

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A lioness on an operating table. Her throat was mangled. Including -- or especially -- her vocal chords. 3 figures surrounded her: 2, 1 on each side, and 1 at the head of the table. They were tending to the gash, tenderly and meticulously mending the tears in her flesh. The room was full of light. It was separated and secluded... ...out of protection, not rejection. It only seemed like she was alone; they were all...
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Overwhelmed Tonight

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Can I be honest? I feel overwhelmed tonight. I’ve been dodging the waves all week, but tonight they’re washing over me. Crashing into me… …tossing me against the crags of worry, anxiety, disappointment, and heartbreak. And I’m too tired. I feel slightly feverish, definitely fatigued, and completely frustrated by all that it seems I can’t control right now. I’ve learned by now that grief is the tether to my Life Saver. To just let the tears…

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The Real Reason I Moved Back Home

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When I moved back home more than a year ago, it was one of the last things I wanted to do. I moved back home because, after years of financial difficulty following graduate school, it seemed like the responsible thing to do. Even if it's also been one of the hardest. (Anyone else with difficult family dynamics?) For most of the past year, I've been looking at the situation superficially. It's just temporary, I tell myself. Which...
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The Breeze of Hope for Tired Hearts

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There’s hope for tired hearts Tired and ready for quiet solitude at the end of a long day, I plopped onto the patio bench and began popping fresh blueberries into my mouth. Then I noticed a breeze had begun. Mid-munch, I paused and looked up at the trees lining the backyard. The branches swayed with purpose, I’m certain. This was no ordinary breeze, if there is such a thing. It has felt like such a whirlwind…

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Unconditional Love is Closer Than You Think

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Unconditional Love: Someday, you're going to meet someone. And that someone is going to love you unconditionally. Someone who sees what culture calls "flaws" and "not-enoughs," and loves you unconditionally. Someone who knows your secrets and hears your fears -- and loves you unconditionally. Someone who hears your weeping and weary heart beating -- and loves you unconditionally. Someone who is you. Ladies, unconditional love from others is surely a gift. We were designed for relationship. But...
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Is Your Story Worth Telling?

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You. I probably don’t know your story — but I know you have one worth telling.  Despite the doubt you’ve felt, that’s never been the question. It’s never been a matter of having a story or not. It’s been a matter of believing that yours is worth telling — and then finding the best way and right time to tell it. There’s a reason you’ve felt intimidated to tell it. Perhaps you’ve been afraid of…

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Stop Trying to Go Back, Butterfly

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Why, Papa?  Why does life feel so…awkward…right now? Because there’s no going back, butterfly. When a caterpillar transforms, then emerges from its cocoon, it literally cannot fit its old mold. You’re destined to break the mold, not fit it. And when you try to fit the new you — which is more of the true you — into old ways, it won’t work. It won’t fit. Tell me, how does it feel when you try to…

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