Fisher of Men

A Broken Hallelujah Is Still a Hallelujah

“I can invite You into those broken places and collaborate with You in putting the fragments back together in new ways.“ – Jesus Listens, July 3 Have you ever stopped and marveled at how the Bible, including God’s chosen family, is filled to the brim with screw-ups and sufferers? This is my favorite thing about the Bible. All the screw-ups and sufferers that are in there. It gives me hope, because if there is saving grace for bottom-dwellers like them, then there must also be saving grace for bottom-dwellers like me. The unfiltered stories of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Rahab, David, Peter, Paul, Mary Magdalene, and others might make the middle class in spirit person’s skin crawl. Even though they are all considered heroes of the faith in the Bible and throughout the centuries, these “heroes” h...

Thriving in the Empty Nest

“My times are in Your hands, so my best response to the circumstances I face is trusting in You. You’re training me to feel secure in the midst of change and uncertainty.”– Jesus Listens, August 28 The empty nest arrived as a harsh surprise for my wife and me. We were so busy preparing our youngest daughter to leave for college and managing our new “adult” child relationships with our other two kids that we didn’t talk about the empty nest. We were not prepared for what hit us. As we dropped off our daughter at college, we got back in the car to make the five-hour drive home. Periodically, I looked over at my wife, Cathy, and I would see a tear falling down her cheek. “Are you okay?” I asked. As she wiped her eyes, she mumbled, “I know it will be okay, but for some reason I have two deep e...

In the Midst of Depression and Anxiety, There’s Hope

Please be advised: This post contains references to suicide and suicidal ideation. In 2001, I attempted suicide. I came to a place where the emotional pain was too heavy, the darkness too strong. Hope was gone, and God seemed far away. As a Bible college student, a pastor’s wife, and a long-time believer, depression felt like a failure, and two lies became poison that led me to feel like there was no way out: I am worthless. I will never be well again. If you have also struggled with these lies, my heart-felt desire is to free you. There is one name that proves both wrong: it’s in the beautiful and incredibly powerful story of Jesus. I am worthless. Jesus’ life and death prove this isn’t true. Until I faced off with depression, I didn’t realize that my version of God’s love involved provin...

If You Don’t Mean It, Don’t Say It

“When you collaborate with me . . . My Love will grace your words.” – Jesus Always, June 21 When my husband, Benjamin, was away at training camp, I was home alone with the kids for about six weeks. And by alone, I mean alone, 24-7. During this time, when I was pregnant, with little ones running around, a new friend and I were talking on the phone. She had guests coming for dinner that night. She asked, “Kirsten, do you have a slow cooker?” I laughed out loud because that question practically answers itself. I’m all for throwing a few ingredients into a pot in the morning and then, hours later, having the delicious aroma of roast, potatoes, carrots, and onions floating through the house. Is there anything more satisfying in the world? So, short answer: yes, I have a Crock-Pot. “Really?” she...

Walking with Loved Ones Through Mental Health Challenges

“Teach me how to show Your Love to others.”– Jesus Listens, February 10 “Sam had that ‘going away’ look in her eyes last night. I need to check on her today.” The “going away” look was all too familiar to Deidra. She had walked with Sam through the ups and downs of mental health challenges for twenty years and was experiencing pain only found in the deep waters of friendship. She knew when Sam was’t regularly taking her medicine, her eyes looked disengaged and disinterested. It was a look Deidra recognized since the same look preceded two trips to the emergency room and one long stay in a mental health hospital. Supporting Those With Mental Health Issues Walking with friends and family who are navigating mental health challenges is a privilege often filled with immeasurable pain. The ...

Hope, Grace, and Love: Teaching Kids the True Meaning of Easter

“The truth is, I love you so much that I died for you. There is nothing you can do that I won’t forgive.” – Jesus Calling for Kids, May 15 On Easter morning as a young girl, I remember posing in the front yard wearing a floral dress with lace-trimmed socks and white patent-leather shoes. My hair had been curled with sponge rollers the night before, I had big bangs my kids giggle at today, and there was a not-so-pleasant smile on my face. It was all for that once-a-year photo opportunity my parents used to get a snapshot of me all dressed up in front of the pink azaleas. After a few photos, we’d leave for church, where I’d pay attention to small details the preacher mentioned rather than the message he was teaching. When we came back home, it was finally time for my favorite part of the Eas...

In Marriage, Opposites Attract – and Creates Opportunities to Flourish

“Your relationship with Me provides a rock-solid foundation for your life.” Jesus Calling, August 14 Scripture’s account of creation shows how everything is made of difference and relationship:  light and dark, water and earth, vegetation and animals. These relationships were constantly in flux, as they remain today. Continents shift, weather patterns fluctuate, animals migrate, patterns of life cycle again and again. These forces of opposites work together to keep the planet spinning and flourishing. The First Marriage Some point to the creation of Adam and Eve as “the first marriage,” as a way of looking for a pattern of life together. But too often, this idea has a consequence of suggesting that marriage is the pinnacle of relationships, what most men and women should be living and...

Where is Jesus in the Room?

“The greatest blessing is nearness to Me—abundant Joy and Peace in My Presence.” – Jesus Calling The late February sky scowled while the wind turned the world sideways. The radio played in the background. Kenny Chesney wanted to know how forever feels, while I just wanted to know how the next hour was going to turn out. After five miscarriages and other fertility-related struggles, I just wanted to meet my baby boy, and I was so close that I was sure everything was going to fall apart. You know the feeling. Suspicious of Joy You know what it’s like for the pain of “what is” to feel more real than the celebration of what is possible with God. You understand what it’s like to take a blow that makes it more difficult to trust that hope is a good idea. I didn’t want to be suspicious of jo...

Love Goes Outside the Comfort Zone

“Let My Love flow through you to others—in both your words and your actions.” Jesus Always, May 22 On a very (very) hot Sunday morning, my family was driving to church when we saw a car stopped in the center of the road. There was plenty of room to nudge around it and keep going as plenty of vehicles did, but my husband pulled our minivan behind the stalled car and turned the ignition off. Stepping onto the hot pavement, he made his way over to where a man was bent over the open hood. With our engine (and therefore, air conditioning) turned off, our van became an instant sauna. I noticed the rest of the stalled car’s occupants standing nearby in the shaded grass of the ditch, so I suggested to my children that we join them. “But Mom!” my child whispered hesitantly. “We don’t know these peo...

3 Ways to Clear Your “Soul Clutter”

“Your capacity to experience Me is increasing throughMy removal of debris and clutter from your heart.” – Jesus Calling, April 3 There is a living home within you. Whether stately and beautiful, expansive and serene, or dilapidated and in disrepair, cluttered and chaotic—it’s often hard to detect your own setting for lack of visibility. It’s actually quite rare that someone doesn’t have what I call soul clutter—that white noise of other’s opinions, stories we tell ourselves to cope, lies we’ve believed or agreed with, unregulated emotions, or pain that has become paralyzing. It’s also quite difficult to deal with the resulting chaos because we either cannot map a way beyond the clutter or we are too afraid to journey into the thick of it. Soul Clutter This internal clutter takes its toll o...

When People Hurt You, Do This

“Come to Me when you are hurting, and I will soothe your pain.”– Jesus Calling, October 26 When someone says something hurtful, intentional or not, you can feel it instantly in your body. There’s a reason they call it a gut punch. You’re hurt and confused. Then, little by little, anger starts to set in. And even though you know you shouldn’t do it, you start to plot.  Reactions Lead to Actions Who should I talk to? Maybe a friend could pray with me. I can confide in my them and be perfectly frank about how this other person stomped on my heart with their actions and words. That’s okay, right? If I ask them to keep it confidential, that’s acceptable, right?  Honestly? It’s a slippery slope. Ask Yourself Before you confide your hurt to someone else, you might want to think abo...

Your Body is Good

“I love you for who you are.”– Jesus Calling, March 3 Living in a world where so much attention is placed on aesthetics, it’s hard to untie our value, identity, or worth from the external appearance of our bodies. We worry about whether we measure up to unrealistic body standards that are ever-pervasive in our diet-driven culture, and in turn, we fail to fully understand that there is so much more to us than meets the eye. A Painful Journey At 336 pounds I felt the sting of the world around me saying I was taking up too much physical space. I carried a deeply rooted belief that there was something innately wrong with me because I didn’t fit the mold of what society said was an appropriate body size.  After a number of years, I did the thing that so many of us desperately desire t...