My Top 5 Most Encouraging Songs

I tied my shoes the other day for my semi-daily run, turned on my earbuds, and set my “favs” playlist to shuffle before turning onto one of my three usual routes. It wasn’t until I had crossed the highway and started running around the park close to our house that I noticed a theme: each…

When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned

There is something amazingly beautiful — and real — about when life doesn’t go our way. I was sitting my the end of my PSDM (Problem Solving and Decision Making) class this afternoon as my professor wrapped up the course by telling us his own life story. The theme was clear: his life had not…

A Real World and a Real God

“He seemed to live in such a real world and to have such a real, great God.” Such was Maria Dyer’s observation upon meeting her would-be husband, the great pioneer missionary to China, Hudson Taylor. I haven’t been able to shake off those words. They strike deeply into the heart of the theme written across…

Why I Need the Gospel Every Day

It’s so simple, but it’s never struck me as so profound, so connected to life. I’ve been a Christian for twelve years, and too often, the simple message of the gospel has seemed so elementary. “That was great for when I first became a Christian, but how does that impact my life now?” I didn’t…

Looking for God’s Edelweiss

Life at the Dotten house is pretty crazy right now. Not only did we have to pack up and move with about month’s notice, we found that our tenant ruined most of the flooring in our new house, so we’re in the major demolition and remodeling faze now. In the middle of it all, I’m…

The Pen is His

“There is a place where your fears must meet the God you know.”[1] Where is that place? It’s here. Here—as I sit at my desk, books, journals, half-written letters scattered around me, somehow reminiscent of how out-of-control my own life feels. Behind me is difficulty, those haunting memories of trials that only time can work…

Look to the Bulwark!

Imagine being inside a castle during a siege. Outside the thick, stone walls surrounding you, the enemy is shooting flaming arrows and preparing a massive siege engine to ram against your gates. Occasionally, you are jolted awake as huge boulders are catapulted against the stone walls. But despite their ceaseless attacks, you are safe. The…

Encouragement in Times of Uncertainty

There’s something about uncertainty that gnaws at you. It’s the thousand “what ifs” that can so easily hijack the mind and spin you into an endless cycle of worry. Sometimes it feels like there’s a storm brewing of confusion and just wish desperately you knew where you were going. But in the midst of the…

Even If

I couldn’t believe my eyes. There, right in front of my eyes: an “F.” I, who had always prided myself in being a good student. I, who had worked hard to do this assignment right. And now, a sickening weight enveloped me as I realized I had read the deadline wrong. It seemed like there…