Living Anyway

Living Anyway

What if someone rewrote the story of Little Red Riding Hood from the point-of-view of the grandmother? Or how about the wolf? Might be a very different tale.

God is sometimes known to orchestrate those kinds of shifts—putting us in someone else’s head—through a movie, a book, or even a conversation.

In 1998, two movies released within four months of each other, and both deeply impacted me.

Hard Times AheadThe first one, Hope Floats, is a romantic drama about an unassuming housewife named Birdee, whose life completely crumbles when her husband reveals his infidelity in a very public way. Humiliated, she returns to her mother’s home to figure out her life.

The second movie, One True Thing, is a story of a young career woman named Ellen, who goes back to her childhood home to care for her ailing mother. Ellen idealizes her father, a celebrated novelist and professor. However, she barely conceals her distain for her mother, minimizing her as a shallow ditzy homemaker. Over the course of Ellen’s stay, she reconsiders her views. Her admiration shifts to her mother—a longsuffering wife with a philandering egocentric husband. The reversal turns into a crisis for her, because her mother is dying from cancer.

Both Birdee and Ellen reel under the pain of broken dreams. Life turned out so differently than they thought. The truth is, you can’t be human very long without experiencing some kind of heartache. I felt their strong inner conflicts. My own losses surfaced, and I wept bitterly.

Several years later, both movies were on the same TV channel back-to-back one afternoon. Was it odd, or was it God?

I decided to watch them again. However, this time something remarkable happened…Continue reading

Kingdom Culture – Agreement

Kingdom Culture – Agreement

“Well that explains a lot!”

A week ago, my husband and I solved a ten-year marital problem. After pulling the covers off each other for over a decade, I finally got out a yardstick and discovered that we’d been using a queen-sized comforter on a king-sized bed! It brought a good laugh.

This was a problem by design. Design is important. A few days ago I had an interesting dream that underscored that very point.

glckliche Frau macht Sportyoung man playing ping pongIn the dream, a husband and his wife were playing ping-pong.

Other adults gathered around the table to watch, and I stood to one side observing the scene. Before long the couple abandoned their ping-pong game for a tug-of-war, using a thick knotted rope. Tempers flared. Tears came. The crowd around them started to shout.

The wife turned to me. “Who are these people!” she yelled. “And whose side are they on?”

“They’re the great cloud of witnesses.” I said. “I think they’re trying to tell you something!”Continue reading

Arranged Faith

Arranged Faith

As a new mother, my friend frets about bullies on the playground. “What did you worry about when you were raising kids?” she asked.

I thought for a minute. Sexual predators…an unstable future…my fragile marriage. I had had many concerns. But then it came to me. “How to raise our kids spiritually without making them feel cornered.”

402b05ce-2496-4d4e-aa70-5a7276aa5b53Did you grow up in a Christian family, attend church, say grace, and go to Christmas Eve services? Maybe it was more intense—daily devotions, memorizing Scripture, bedtime prayers, and high standards. Maybe you went to a Christian school or were given a purity ring. If you’ve felt a deep obligation to embrace your parents’ faith, I am writing to you.

Does it feel like an arranged marriage?

MarriageA & E produced a shocking new reality show called, “Marriage At First Sight.” If you haven’t stumbled on any episodes, it’s about 3 men and 3 women who agree to legally marry a complete stranger. Experts in the field of psychology match the husband and wife pairs through in-depth assessments, but each couple meets for the first time on their wedding day.

Sounds disastrous, right? A show you can’t help but watch. And that’s what producers are banking on…a reality series with train-wreck potential.Continue reading