Fisher of Men

What to Do When God Seems to Have Vanished

“I need to practice trusting You during quiet days, when nothing much seems to be happening. Then, when storms come, my faith-balance will be sufficient to get me through those tough times. Please remind me to affirm my trust in You.” – Jesus Listens, February 22nd “Lord, where are you?” Cloud of hurt A sudden and sharp conflict with a friend left me reeling. The remaining cloud of hurt left me feeling as though God was gone. Despite walking with Jesus for decades, I couldn’t feel Him. I needed His presence. I craved His voice. Yet I felt deaf to the once-familiar whispers of His Spirit. The well-worn pages of my Bible and my battered faith told me He was still there, but it seemed God had disappeared into the blind spot of my pain. How do we see our invisible God when it seems He’s vanish...

Interruptions Can Be Opportunities

“Rather than letting setbacks and interruptions upset me, I want to use them as reminders—that You are the sovereign God and I am Your beloved follower. Help me to trust in Your unfailing Love, gladly subordinating my plans to Your infinitely wise Master Plan.” – Jesus Listens, October 26th I don’t like to be interrupted. Whether in conversation or while I am working on a task,  interruptions derail my focus, stunt task completion, and frequently leave me unsettled or  annoyed. I lose the point of what I was discussing when people interject. I lose my fervor for  the task at hand when other demands cut in to dance. Some interruptions lurch I know you’ve been here, trying to tap out a text that matters—the response to your boss, the  apology to your spouse, the reply to ...

The Birth & Death of Shame

“The Bible tells me that knowing the truth will set me free, and Your wonderful counseling is freeing me from sin and shame.” – Jesus Listens, October 9 Shame has been a background noise in my life—a low and persistent hum. But where did shame start? God created Adam and Eve in His own image, perfectly crafted to commune with Him for all eternity. But, of course, they didn’t stay that way. Just a short time after God placed Adam and Eve in the garden and laid out their purpose in creation, that purpose was tragically derailed by something called the fall. You likely know the story. Entire commentaries could (and have) been written on just the first three chapters of the Book of Beginnings, but I want to focus on what happened directly before and directly after Adam and Eve disobeyed God. H...

Live Without Secrets

“How thankful I am to be fully known by You! Everything about me is visible to You—including my most secret thoughts and feelings.” – Jesus Listens, April 19th I long for a church that lives without secrets. The Beauty of Honesty One of my favorite things about church is our new members’ meetings. All the new members pack in a room for a Saturday, and they share their testimonies. There are always lots of tissues, lots of hugs, and lots of honesty. Whenever I see new members join, I think, This is the church as it should be! A bunch of people in a room, telling each other why they are messed up, and celebrating that God loves us anyway. But most of church life is not like that. I see pastors fall from grace because of secrets they kept. I see people worry more about fitting in at church th...

Goals & God’s Will

“Please keep reminding me that the higher I go with You, the closer I get to my ultimate goal: the heights of heaven—an eternity with You!” – Jesus Listens, July 22nd It has been said that there are three types of people in the world: those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. You don’t want it to be number two or three, do you? And yet, that’s where the bulk of humanity usually ends up spending most of their time. God’s goal How do you avoid it? The personal-development industry says the answer is to set goals for yourself so you can accomplish great things and make your dreams into reality. And that’s good thinking—as far as it goes. There’s a tremendous amount of common sense behind goal-setting. So many people have no clue what they...

God Gives You What The World Cannot

“My physical life is an amazing gift, but my spiritual life is a treasure of infinite value. Because I belong to You, I will live with You forever—enjoying a glorified body that will never get sick or grow tired. Thank You for the priceless gift of salvation by grace through faith!” – Jesus Listens, September 5th Tracy spent another restless night tossing and turning in bed, wondering if in the morning she would see the results on the scale she was hoping for. She knows weighing herself is a fool’s game, but she can’t help herself. She needs to know. That time she tried embracing her body and learning to trust her hunger cues felt initially empowering. Still, given one stressful day at work, by that night, she found herself doing the things she had hoped would be put to rest by learning to...

Choosing Worship Over Worry

“I’ve found that thanksgiving and praise put me in proper relationship with You—opening the way for Your Joy to flow into me as I draw near You in worship.” – Jesus Listens, May 9 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. —Romans 10:17 NIV Faith felt easy Faith felt easy at one point in my life. I didn’t realize that my confident exterior was a cover-up for the fear hiding in my heart. Waves of challenges hit one after another until most of that self-assurance washed away. Problems seemed to surround me on every side: impossibilities at work, difficulties as a new mom, and struggles in marriage. One morning while home alone with my kids, I sank under the floodwaters of fear, and I wasn’t sure I could come back up. Abbey and ...

Your Mental Load Isn’t Invisible to God

“What goes on in my mind is invisible to other people, but You read my thoughts continually—You know everything about me. I want to guard my thinking carefully since good thought choices honor You and keep me close to You.” – Jesus Listens, April 18th You can’t sleep. I forgot to call the pediatrician’s office back about rescheduling. Did I leave the clothes in the washer? How on earth am I going to make it to the meeting, and then the recital if my white blouse the baby spat-up on is sopping wet in the washer in the morning? The invisible mental load of mothering is overwhelming. As Christian moms, even things we know we should be doing—like reading the Bible or praying—can feel like one more invisible mental burden, and one more area where we are failing. But Mama, the Gospel is good new...

Rest Is A Gift, Not A Burden

“You are the only resting place for my mind that truly satisfies and strengthens me. As I rest in Your peaceful Presence, true hope grows within me.” – Jesus Listens, March 11 I learned early on that fewer things in life carried more value than a strong work ethic. It’s one of the first rhythms I remember learning as a child: work hard, accomplish goals, receive praise. Rinse, repeat. Working Hard As I met goal after goal, I learned to associate “working hard” with “receiving praise.” And I liked receiving praise. I liked knowing my parents and teachers were proud of me. So I carried this strategy into my adult life, straight into my career. The harder I worked, the more praise I received. All of the good job’s hit my body like endorphins. Every positive remark felt like a dose of worth an...

Go to Bed Rejoicing

“If I continue walking in trusting reliance on You, at bedtime I discover that Joy and Peace have become my companions.” – Jesus Listens, July 20 Many women I know go to bed feeling guilty. They will look back over the day, and realize how much they did not accomplish. The days seem to melt away, full of things that have to be done, but there always seems to be more that didn’t get done. I knew one woman who would imagine what her daughter’s future conversations with her therapist would be like. Would the daughter be hurt and angry about her mother, telling the therapist all sorts of stories about her mother’s failings? Would the therapist be able to help? Would her daughter have life-long problems because of her mother’s lack of proper love and understanding, not knowing the right approac...

Building Better Boundaries

“Your holy hands are absolutely capable of caring for me and meeting my needs. Please help me relax in Your sovereign watchcare—trusting You to do what is best.” – Jesus Listens, November 8 If you were like me when the pandemic hit, you felt a sudden urge to serve. As a physician and mom of four, I felt responsible to care for people in my community, in my family, and in my workplace. I made lists and spent hours online trying to figure out the safest way to care for my children, my parents, and my patients. At the same time, I found myself struggling to know the best way to lead my large online community of women physicians. It felt as if everywhere I turned, someone needed me, and I was failing to serve them in the capacity I envisioned I was called to do. Called to serve We are oft...

Let’s Build “Recovery Culture” into Our Communities

“You know absolutely everything about me, yet You love me with perfect, unfailing Love.” – Jesus Listens, January 4 If you call yourself a Christian, you’re in recovery. If we were all once sinners in need of a Savior, then we’re all trying to recover and heal from something. Recovery is for everyone—and if that statement bothers you, recovery is probably for you, too. After all, real recovery isn’t a program, it’s a lifestyle. A lifelong journey that celebrates diversity and combats stigmatization. And because recovery is for everyone, there’s no shame in acknowledging that we all need it.  Building an authentic recovery culture within pre-existing Jesus groups can be a real challenge. Because recovery, even with Jesus as our Higher Power, is wildly unstable. Here are five critical m...