The BlogTruth found in unexpected places
Can a book change your life? This is a question I asked in episode 88 of The Couch Podcast. In a conversation with my friend Shannan Martin, we decided that we think yes, books can change our lives. But sometimes they change our lives for a season and sometimes they change them forever. Sometimes they change our hearts but it takes a few more steps or resources or years before our lives are tangibly changed. Here’s a longer list of books that have changed my life (so far).
Sometimes the road to reaching our goals, to staying within God’s guidelines for what’s best, for “smooth sailing” seems obvious. It’s right in front of us, paved and pointed to by Scripture or a still, small voice, by mentors or past experience or even common sense. The best course is simple, straightforward, and if we squint our eyes just right, we can see the finish line from here. But most of the time it’s not that easy.
As some parts of the world begin to open up for more in-person interactions, I’ve also realized that physical spaces do, in fact, matter a whole lot. , a coffee shop, or a loved one’s kitchen table, our places matter.
Last month my husband and I celebrated our twenty-second anniversary by going on a movie date for the first time in more than a year. I was a little anxious about this plan, but as we sat in a large theater with six other moviegoers all spread out, I eventually relaxed and became immersed in the story of a small town and a horse.
I’m not the first person to experience, acknowledge, or share about the “pandemic wall.” So many of us are hitting it was we face the one-year anniversary of when our world changed forever. This isn’t unique to me or to you. But that doesn’t make it any less real than the glimpses Wanda gets in episode 7 of the very real ways her world—and her ability to handle it—are crumbling.
I’m telling you about my refrigerator because I’m learning that God doesn’t expect us to become so complacent that we ignore brokenness and pain or deny its existence or, possibly worse, find a bit of comfort in it. It’s just the way it is. Fixing it would be too hard, too costly. I’ll just make do . . . I’m telling you because I recently read a Bible story that I’ve read many times, even recently. But this time, I read it with friends and discussed the confusing part I’d skimmed over every other time. And it’s changing how I look at making do.
2020 brought more than 100 new holiday movies, if you can believe it! I watched nearly 60 and liked a majority of them. Here are the top 20 new holiday movies from 2020.
It’s hard to be alone or to be away from the people we care about most, especially at the holidays. If you’re in the mood for a movie this holiday season while you are missing your family, these films might cheer you up for a bit or at least distract you (or remind you that the holiday family gatherings we’re longing for aren’t actually quite as Normal Rockwell perfect as we might be remembering).
What do we need most this holiday season? Do what you need to do to say centered and safe and sane. Do whatever it is that brings you comfort and joy in this season, that pulls you closer to God who promises to be with us, that keeps you mindful of the One we celebrate this time of year — our Emmanuel.
If you don’t have cable or subscribe to half a dozen streaming services, getting your holiday movie fix can be tricky. Lucky for us, Amazon has marked down dozens of Lifetime holiday movies to less than a dollar. And that’s not the rental price. You can PURCHASE (and keep forever, to watch however many times and whenever you want!) each of these movies for 99 cents. Wow!
All the personality, spiritual gifts, and strength-finding tests in the world have never revealed to me the most significant (and sometimes sneaky) ways God has used me to love His people. These unlikely callings have taken me by surprise over and over again, and I’m finally seeing the blessing in them.
The specifics of what hurt me that day don’t matter here. What matters is that on that day, God gently and generously whispered, “Stop. Take a moment. Let it out. I’m here.” He pushed the pause button on my agitation cycle, pulling me away from the feeling-stuffing and problem-fixing, opening His arms to hold me as I let it all out.