From Dusty Journals

Old journals—I’m going through a box of them today. Often, reading back through my old musings, collections of random quotes, scribblings of poems or events of the day make me smile. Remember back to old days, the “way I used to think.” Most will remain there, in dusty journals. But a few excerpts are worth…

Courage Without

In the Newberry-award winning children’s book, Call it Courage, a small boy from the South Sea islands named Mafatu goes on a journey to find courage within himself. Terrified of the sea since the day it took the life of his mother, Mafatu was taunted as “The Boy Who Was Afraid.” Finally, Mafatu decides to…

A Refuge From the Battle

I love word pictures. Maybe it’s from growing up on hours of being read aloud to—Narnia, biographies, historical fiction—that forced me to imagine a picture painted with the beautiful strokes of words. Thus I’ve found scripture’s imagery some of the most sweet, deep comfort during difficult and uncertain times. Within the artistic masterpiece of the…

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…