Archives For Grace

Last week I posted about the imaginary critics and how, thanks to them, I found myself shelling out my hard earned cash for a subscription to And it was all true, but it was only part of the story. God, as he likes to do, had his hand in the mix too. Thankfully, while I was spiting the world and spending my money to prove the imaginary critics wrong, God wasn’t critiquing my lack of faith or my failure to ask his opinion before I signed-up for online dating again. Instead, he was concocting a new dose of grace.  


About a month into my Eharmony subscription I met a man who has turned out to be one of the best things to ever happen to me. A man who, when reading my article on the imaginary critics, pointed out how I failed to mention the end of the story, the part about meeting the love of my life.


This is one of the challenges of being a writer. You pick out one aspect of life and hold it under the microscope to get a really good look at it, to try to crack it open and see why exactly you let things like imaginary critics influence you. You can’t always tell the whole story, it would distract from the point you’re trying to make. I told this to my man, Jay-Michael from Colorado, but I’m not sure I convinced him. 


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Over this past week, though, it did seemed like I ought to tell you the other half of the story, if only for practical reasons. Since meeting Jay-Michael, the days have unravelled into a wonderful mess of months in which I find that having a love life is rather unproductive. My perfectly manicured schedule, with just enough time to see a day’s worth of patients at the office, finish my eschatology homework, and go for a run, has gotten all hob-jobbled by late night conversations, daydreaming, and spending more time than I like to admit looking at pictures of our last weekend together Continue Reading…

For some Christians, the last couple months have felt like a re-run of 127 Hours—the movie about Aron Ralson, the solo hiker who got pinned under a bolder in a Utah canyon. He survived, but only by cutting off his forearm with a pocketknife. Similarly, the legalization of same-sex marriage has left many Christians feeling pinned between two choices—lay there and watch conservative Christianity die or cutoff themselves off from culture. 


Thankfully, though, those aren’t our only options, because we Christians have more than knife in our pocket. We’ve got grace in there, too. 


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To be a Christian, after all, means that we’ve stepped into God’s grace and set up home there. People should be able to smell that grace lingering on us. And, that same grace should motivate us do whatever it takes to keep the lines of communication open for the gospel. 


But, what if we lose our religious freedoms? What if the court had revoked Kim Davis’ title and sentenced her to jail? What if pastors who refuse to marry same-sex couples get charged with hate crimes Continue Reading…

I tear the envelope open and unfold the jury summons. Grumble. The secretary double books my 11:00 appointment. Complain. I feel lonely on a Friday night. Grumble. Complain. Grumble.


Hi, my name is Shannon, and I’m a complainer. 


Nearly ten years ago, I signed myself into rehab with the Holy Spirit. Since then, I’ve made good progress, but still have frequent relapses. No, let me call it straight. I still sin. I rob God of worship when I complain and refuse to acknowledge his goodness. 


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I find it strange that hardly anyone comments on my complaining, let alone reminds me that it’s a sin. Well, except my mom, and only rarely. Usually, my friends and family (mom included) listen and empathize.

Maybe they’ve forgotten that complaining is a sin. Or, maybe they’ve chosen to extend grace and believe that God works in broken people, too Continue Reading…

I squinted through the glass, studying the columns of ruffles, the blue sash, and the hint of puffed sleeves. My friend and I talked about the dress for weeks. But, I’m a pastor’s kid, which means I suffer from a love-hate relationship with shopping. 


If a shrink had me on her couch, she’d probably dip up memories of my mom dragging me to the back of every store, past the full-price clothes that glimmered and whispered my name. Even at the age of ten, I knew I had a better chance getting my gerbil to paint the Mona Lisa than of owning that dress.


Photo courtesy of Christian Holzinger via


Several weeks later, my friend showed me her new Christmas outfit. As the gold taffeta swooshed around her legs, envy crawled up mine. I tried to smother images of the hand-me-downs I’d be wearing on Christmas Eve. 


But, just then, grace happened Continue Reading…