Growing up, I can recall being praised for my achievements from both my mother and my teachers. I was an ambitious student, extremely introverted, but creative and conscientious. To me, when I heard praise, it was synonymous with goodness, citizenship, and the hope of a successful future.
A.W. Tozer wisely wrote: “Promoting self under the guise of promoting Christ is currently so common as to excite little notice.” He wrote this in the 1940s, way before a self-centered culture ushered in by the arrival of digital media would become the new normal. He didn’t foretell the perils of social media, although we know that self-promotion is nothing new. However, the distinction made in Kate Motaung’s and Shannon Popkin’s new book, Influence: Building a Platform That Elevates Jesus (Not Me), warns believers to not fall into the trap of seeking adulation from the world at the cost of their purpose in life: to glorify God.
As soon as my son returned from a few days backpacking and tenting in the desert in October, we were off again in November for a weekend in Mexico. There, I got sick for days, my madrina almost choked at a taco stand, my middle son got a nosebleed, my daughter got stung by a cactus, and my mother’s face became puffy from a mite infestation, all during the trip. It’s been an eventful month. The air in California recently has been brutal considering the Woolsey firestorms that misplaced so many. I find myself grateful for much, and even for that which seems hopeless in life, there is room for thankfulness. Being ill is humbling. Being out of the country, albeit for a few days, was a lesson more valuable than what a book can teach.
How my son continues to show us life is in the balance
For over a month, my eldest son has been away for the summer, about 300 miles from home. I leave tomorrow to pick him up from his Abuelitos’ house, making the trek up the grapevine through I-5, passing patches of cow farms and orchards, the fumes of manure creeping into the car vents each time.
When I was a young girl, I had a reputation in my family of searching feverishly for something that I would have lost. I’d be in my room, rummaging through drawers, boxes, top shelf containers, all in search of something that I needed to have. I would be successful in my search at times, but on those occasions of defeat, I’d get myself to sleep with a final pressing question on my mind: where on earth did I put that thing?
Recently, I experienced disappointment that gave me a profound change of heart, that prompted a turning point. It took the air out of me, it conjured up bitter tears and made me question my calling as a writer, made me wonder about the direction the Lord is leading me into. He’s uncovered the masks within the publishing industry (general and Christian market) and I’m ever thankful for that.
Many churches are unwelcoming. It’s a myth to perceive that all churches are friendly when indeed they are not. By unwelcoming, I don’t mean that a church keeps their doors shut, or that people are mean and unfriendly. The members of a church may be friendly—but to each other, not to outsiders.
How homeschooling compels us to adapt wherever we are
I live in a neighborhood that is on the edge of another town where the median home sale price for a 3 bedroom is $568K. There are homes for sale everywhere in that town, and better public schools there too (whatever that really means I couldn’t tell you), and the parks are always manicured, maintained, and updated. That town is across the street from this town where I live.