Author Archives: Ashley Baker

Pure Imagination | Part 4

In this series we have seen (1) What the imagination is; (2) how imagination plays out in God’s grand story; (3) how the imagination captivates the heart through the sight of what is real; and now we will see (4) how sight leads to song. 

Seeing Jesus rightly results in worship. If Christ is before our eyes, our mouths cannot help but sing. The soundtrack of our lives should resound with heaven’s praises: “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.” 

Why sing? 

First, we sing because there is no such thing as not singing. Singing is more than the mere act of moving our lips. It’s our lifestyle of worship. David Foster Wallace says, “There is no such thing as not worshiping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.” 

Second, we sing because we want to obey God’s word. James 1:22 says, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We are not meant to be spectators in life, but actors. In the theater of God’s creation, we live out his word “as we perform it in a million little gestures.” We are meant to embody the gospel, to character-ize it, if you will. 

It’s important to realize that we are “imaginative creatures of habit.” Naturally we stuff our imaginations full of stories and images and then we embody that “stuff.” That is why habits are important. Our rituals shape us and even if we are unaware of it. They show us what we value. There are many habits of grace, but we will look at one: meditation through the Word.

In order to cultivate godly imaginations, we need God’s word. Clyde Kilby says, “the Bible is an imaginative book.” All of the word pictures, parables, narrative, poetry, etc… appeal to the imagination. When the book is open, God speaks and people encounter him. As we understand the truth of God’s word in our minds (which includes picturing it), we want to move to a place of emotionally glorying God. Meditation helps. The heart of meditation is bringing the text back to mind. After we’ve intentionally come into God’s presence and asked him to speak through his word and have reflected on what he has to say, we recall his word. Second Timothy 2:7 says, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” Meditation is filling up our minds (not emptying them!) with truth. 

Meditation is filling up our minds (not emptying them) with truth. 

Third, we sing because it proclaims God’s reality. We have all heard the expression, “She is so heavenly minded that she is no earthly good.” But what if heavenly minded people—people with imaginations fully engaged—were the ones whose song most engaged culture? What if we used our imaginations to communicate God’s love to the world?  


A sanctified imagination leads to evangelism. We look up to God, internalize the truth, and then reach out to the lost and dying world. Clyde Kilby says, “the best teacher is the one who can change ears to eyes.” Invite people to not only hear God’s word, but also to see Christ with the eyes of their hearts.

The Church

A sanctified imagination builds up the local church. Veith notes that the “imagination does not do well in isolation.” He continued, “Imagination should thrive in the fellowship of the local church.” But what does redeemed imagination look like in the church? It looks like preaching that has imagination in mind—metaphors, word-pictures, and God’s stories. It looks like services that tell the truth—“Christian worship (‘liturgies’) shape the ‘vision of the good life,’ and those visions in turn ‘shape and constitute our most basic attunement to the world.’” It looks like the sacraments, re-membering Christ by taking the Lord’s Supper and joining him in baptism. It looks like compassion—or, as Veith puts it—the “imagination applied to human relationships.” Imagination thrives in community. 


A sanctified imagination leads to great art. We can think of great artists like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, poets like George Herbert, musicians like George Frideric Handel, actors like Laurence Olivier. They made Christ-exalting, reality-exposing art. There are so many artists to choose from, but let’s take the hymn writer Fanny Crosby for example. On November 20, 1850, she walked down an aisle and knelt at an altar. It was her “now or never” moment. The congregation behind her sang Isaac Watts’s famous words, “Alas, and did my Savior bleed.” Though Crosby knew the words by heart, when the crowd of people sang the ending something happened in her soul, “Here Lord, I give myself away, ‘Tis all that I can do.” 

Though she could not see with her physical eyes, Crosby saw Jesus with the eyes of her heart. Jesus Christ became her Lord and Savior. In that moment, Jesus—the God man—captivated Fanny Crosby’s heart and imagination. And this love for Christ drove her to worship. Affections drove her to sing. She produced thousands of well-loved hymns—many of which are still sung today. 

Fanny Crosby’s hymns are “emblems of faith.” She used the artistic gift of music to lead people to worship the Savior. That is the point of art. It  is meant to expose the world to our supreme love—Christ. May we, like Fanny Crosby, see that imagination is a gift from God and may we use it for the glory of God. 


The Gospel Comes With a House Key | Book Review

Rosaria Butterfield shared her story of conversion in her memoir The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. It impacted me so deeply. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her second book, The Gospel Comes With A House Key

Rosaria Butterfield, former lesbian and English professor, converted to Christ in 1999. She is now a pastor’s wife, a homeschool mom, and a writer and speaker.

In The Gospel Comes With a House Key, Rosaria addresses the topic of hospitality. For so many, the word “hospitality” is scary. We start picturing beautiful homes and Instagram-worthy charcuterie boards. But Rosaria says that biblical hospitality is a call to something different. It’s a call to so much more.

Rosaria illustrates what ordinary hospitality looks like. She uses personal stories and life experiences to show how hospitality can be a lifeline for lost friends and neighbors. Her testimony becomes her ministry. Rosaria makes room at the table for all kinds of people: young or old, wealthy or poor. She talks to people who think differently and act differently than her.

While reading through the book, the one question I had was about the abundance of personal stories. Yes, they added a personal touch and were quite powerful. But the sheer number of them overshadowed any biblical exposition of the theme of hospitality. A balance of story and exposition would have placed the spotlight directly on the work of Christ and opened up more possibilities for the reader to practice hospitality, even when it looks quite different from Rosaria.

This mild quip aside, this book will be a breath of fresh air for Christians as they realize that their everyday messy lives can be shared with others. Hospitality isn’t about entertaining people. It is about using the gifts God has given us: our homes, tables, and lives to show an unbelieving world who Jesus really is. Hospitality shows a skeptical world what faith really looks like. 

Both of Rosaria’s books have expanded my thinking on hospitality, and I am so grateful she had the courage to share her story.  

*Photo Source

Pure Imagination |Part 3

In this series we have seen (1) What the imagination is; (2) how imagination plays out in God’s grand story; and now we will see (3) how the imagination captivates the heart through the sight of what is real.

Our struggle is not new. Even Jesus’s own disciples lacked imagination. Thomas could not imagine that Jesus actual came back to life. “The other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.’” Thomas wanted to see with his physical eyes, to know the truth with his senses. Earlier, Jesus had told the disciples what would happen. He said, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise” ( Mark 9:31). God had given Thomas his word, and yet he failed to see with the eyes of his heart. In kindness Jesus didn’t leave Thomas alone. Jesus came and helped Thomas see.  

Sight Demands A New Story 

So how do we get the eyes of our hearts to see? How do we imagine rightly? The imagination needs to be restor(y)ed. The question is: What story is fueling our imaginations? What do we feed our minds?  The story we tell matters because it will either form or deform our minds. There needs to be a lifelong process of positioning ourselves to be restor(y)ed by God’s word.

Sight Affects Both Eyes

How do we see rightly? We need to look with both eyes. We have two eyes: the eye of the mind and the eye of the flesh. Both eyes affect what we see. Photographs, for example, speak to the eyes of the flesh. We can see the visual representation on paper, whereas poets speak to the eye of the mind. Their words appeal to our understanding, our hearts and emotions.

The gospel transforms both eyes. Part of positioning ourselves in God’s grand story is taking the whole person into account. We have a soul and a body. We have instinct and intellect. While many scholars attempt to dissect this in order to find a starting point (Do we start with the mind or body?), this post merely seeks to keep both in view. Both the eye of the mind and flesh must have a single focus. 

Sight Needs A Focal Point

We cannot have double vision. Optometrists refer to two eyes looking in different directions as diplopia. Beware of spiritual diplopia. If one eye is on the world and one eye is on God, double vision will occur. Imagine binoculars. Two lenses bring one object into vision. For Christians that sole object is Christ Jesus. The two eyes—the mind and the body—must “pass from double vision to the single object” Each eye must work in tandem with the other.

“People need a robust vision of God,” Veith says. “He alone is the starting point for a vigorous Christian imagination.” Christ not only captures the imagination, but he also captures the mind, heart, and will. Jesus becomes Lord over the whole person. Schaeffer notes that, “the lordship of Christ over the whole of life means that there are no platonic areas in Christianity, no dichotomy or hierarchy between the body and the soul.” Christ is Lord over the whole man. That is true spirituality. 

Our minds are freed in Christ. And we will find that “faith is both imaginative and rational.” We will see that the Spirit gives grace “to reform that deeply held picture of God that sits beneath our mind’s more conscious workings.” Our gut responses will be different, when Christ is the center of our vision. 


Pure Imagination | Part 2

“In the beginning…” The opening line of human history is unmistakably the signature of story. God’s word immediately captures the imagination as he begins to reveal himself to his “story-shaped creatures.”

Faith and story are connected. Literature professor Daniel Taylor puts it well: “The single best way of conceiving of faith, and of a faithful life, is as a story in which you are a character. Your life task is to be a character in the greatest story ever told. It is what you were created for.” Christians do not need more “how-to” lists. We need captivated imaginations that are immersed in the best story ever told. We need to see ourselves in a story that “engages all of what we are—mind, emotions, spirit, body.” 

We need captivated imaginations that are immersed in the best story ever told.

Imagination is a necessary part of God’s grand story. It takes imagination to answer basic worldview questions like What is real? What is meaningful? Worldview and story are two sides of the same coin. Our world has a story. We are en-storied people. Alasdair MacIntyre famously said “I can’t answer the question, ‘What ought I to do?’ unless I have already answered a prior question, ‘Of which story am I a part?.’” To unpack this more, we need to see how imagination relates to creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.


Creation starts with a God who imagines. “In the beginning, God created…” Genesis 1:26a says, Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Imagination is present from the very beginning: “Though we cannot fully imagine God,” Veith comments, “He imagined us.” And while we may not “capture” the infinite, eternal God in our minds, he gave us ways to think about him in our minds. It is a gift to be able to think of him as a “father, king, potter, shepherd, bridegroom, and on and on.” God is the great artist and creator.

Notice that God’s creation is good—therefore man’s imagination was good at the time of creation. “God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” As God’s imagebearers, we can rejoice alongside George MacDonald who said, “O Master-maker! They exultant art / Goes forth in making makers.” 


At the base of a tree Adam and Eve imagined a different story than the one God had told them. Eve saw the world in a new way as she listened to the serpent’s words. “When Adam sinned, every human faculty was corrupted.” That includes the imagination. Now each unbelieving mind has a gravitational pull toward sin. 

Sin is blinding. Understanding is darkened. There is no appreciation for the glory of God and his creation. The unenlightened imagination does not comprehend the “serious damnable nature of sin.” In fact it is “unwilling and unable.” Michael Reeves points out that “sinners are completely culpable and completely impotent as they willingly wallow in their sin.” 

Sinners need salvation because they are dead in their sins. Ephesians 2:1–2 says, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” This “deadness” is not corpse-like stillness. It is an aversion to Christ. There is a detesting of God, a desire for sin, a distaste for God. Reeves points out that “it involves an active hostility to God (Rom. 8:7).” The sinner is unable to come to Christ, not because he has some physical or mental shortcoming, but he is unwilling. John 6:44 shows us that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him.

For students of the Bible, these points are not new. Here is the point: our sinful deadness has acquired our God-given imaginations and used it for its own dark purposes. It is the like One Ring in J.R.R. Tolkien’s magisterial Lord of the Rings trilogy. Anyone who puts on the ring will use it badly, but it is used badly in different ways depending on the individual person’s desires or imaginations. Gollum wanted to use the ring differently than Boromir, and both desires were according to the wrong-headed imagination of the individual. 

Distorted loves and self-love takes imagination. This imagining is what “the Bible calls ‘idols’—‘images’— and the religious systems that grow around these images the Bible calls ‘idolatry.’” Idolatry is often constructed from “empirical observations, isolated truths, and personal experiences” rather than from the word of God. The truth is we will embody a story, but sin helps us embody stories such as consumerism, nationalism, egoism, atheism, or nihilism. Because of sin we need a renewed nature, an awakening, a new birth. It is not just our behaving that is off; it is our being. 


It is a little unnerving that we do not control redemption. Just as a baby cannot cause himself to be born, a person dead in their trespasses and sins cannot make himself be born again. Redemption is a miracle that God works in the human heart. In John 3:3 Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” New birth is the only way that the eyes of the heart can open to see God’s kingdom. Conversion is the only way the imagination can wake up to the reality of God. Ephesians 5:14 says,“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 

So how do we wake up? How do we walk out of these shadowlands? 1 Peter 1:3–5 is helpful: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Notice three things. First, God causes the new birth. God calls us to himself, and his call is effective. Second, He redeems us through Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and ascension (1 Pet 1:3). And third, the new birth comes “through the living and abiding word” (1 Pet 1:23). 

Redemption is about seeing and valuing Christ. Redemption is being rescued from something (sin), and to something (Christ). God ransoms us from the futile ways that we inherited from our forefathers (1 Pet 1:18). Christ paid the debt of sinners. He bore the wrath of God so sinners could inherit eternal life. 

Vanhoozer diagnoses the problem like this: many Christians suffer from imagination malnutrition. They cannot see Christ. An overactive imagination is not the real problem. We actually have a dire need for increased imagination. We must treasure Christ with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.


Thus far we have been arguing the importance of imagination. But it should be said here that imagination is not the goal of the Christian life. God is. In this life we see in a mirror dimly, but soon we will see Jesus face to face. Imagination aids in sustaining us until that day. Imagination is a down payment of the reality that we will one-day experience. Horatio G. Spafford sang about his hope and this restoration after experiencing the death of several of his children. He prayed, “And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, / The clouds be rolled back as a scroll, / The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, / Even so, it is well with my soul.” When Jesus comes back and we are restored, we will not have to imagine him anymore. We will know him with our senses. Imagine that!


Pure Imagination | Part 1

What comes to mind when someone mentions “imagination?” Often imagination is thought of as childish pretending, daydreaming, or a way of escaping reality. Is imagination escapism? Is it evil? Lack of clear teaching leads to confusion, and as a result, Christians do not champion or cultivate imagination. But imagination is a gift from God, allowing us to see Christ with the eyes of our hearts. In this blog series we will explore (1) What the imagination is; (2) how imagination plays out in God’s grand story; (3) how the imagination captivates the heart through the sight of what is real; (4) how imagination leads to worship. Imagination has three facets: story, sight, and song. But before we get to those we must define imagination.

What is imagination? 

First, imagination is a part of the mind, the part of the mind that forms mental images. As Gene Edward Veith Jr. says, “Imagination is the faculty we all have of conjuring up pictures in our minds.” It is the ability “to think in pictures or other sensory representations.” This conception goes as far back as Aristotle: “the soul never thinks without an image.” 

Imagination is the mind’s eye. It is how we see and understand the world. For George MacDonald, the imagination is “that faculty which gives form to thought.” For example if I asked, “What did you have for breakfast?” When toast, bacon, and eggs come to mind, that would be the use of imagination. Being able to remember what the eggs looked like on the plate, what the bacon smelled like, and how the toast tasted would all come by conjuring up mental images about the past. We use our imagination when forming memories and in thinking about the future. It is how we see the world in our minds.

Second, imagination is a gift from God. We can’t help but imagine things. It’s part of who we are, and it’s not something we should take for granted. We imagine because we’re in God’s image.

Third, imagination is a tool that helps us see reality. Imagination is not meant to be an escape from reality. Just because “you can dream it” does not mean, “you can do it.” The imagination is a means of grace to see reality as it really is. Take hope, for example. Christian hope expresses confidence in something that hasn’t happened yet; therefore, Christian hope requires imagination, a Christ-filled imagination. Christians should be a hopeful people and they should be prepared to give the reason for the hope they have (1 Pet 3:15). 

Amazingly God gave us a human faculty to grasp hope.

Fourth, imagination helps us understand the world. The word for imagination in the Bible means “to think, deliberate, meditate, or weigh the evidence.” In other words, imagination is a God given tool to help us see Christ through the eyes of faith and understand the world he has made. C.S. Lewis gets it right: “this is what the imagination is about: not just the ability to dream up fanciful fables, but the ability to identify meaning, to know when we have come upon something truly meaningful.” We need the imagination to discern. We need it in order to grasp the meaning of something. We need an image to connect it to. Imagination serves as the bridge between heart and mind.  

Lastly, imagination is necessary. It is not just something for creative people in the arts. In order to know and love a God that cannot be seen, the imagination is essential. James K. A. Smith reminds us that we all have a particular way we view the world. Each person pictures the good life and their place in the world. Each person has loves and longings that are shaped by his perception, so it is essential that the imagination be in play. As believers we need imaginations fixed on the person of Jesus Christ in order to love God and our neighbor. As Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Now that we have defined imagination, the next post will talk about the role of imagination in God’s grand story of redemption.




Gene Edward Veith and Matthew P. Ristuccia, Imagination Redeemed: Glorifying God With a Neglected Part of Your Mind (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2015), 13-15.
Rankin Wilbourne, Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God, 1st edition (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2016), 16.
George MacDonald, A Dish of Orts: Chiefly Papers on the Imagination, and on Shakespeare (London: Sampson Low, 1895), 2.
Clyde S. Kilby and William A. Dyrness, The Arts and the Christian Imagination: Essays on Art, Literature, and Aesthetics (Brewster Massachusetts: Paraclete Press, 2016), 229.
Quote often attributed to Walt Disney.
Barnard, “Petrine Apologetics: Hope, Imagination, and Forms of Life,” Review and Expositor 111, no. 3 (2014): 278-280.
Michael Ward, “How Lewis Lit the Way,” Christianity Today, November 2013, 38.
David Mathis, ed., The Romantic Rationalist: God, Life, and Imagination in the Work of C.S. Lewis (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2014), 94.
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The Crown

Nothing grabs my attention like suffering. Pain is hard to ignore. The day before my family started quarantine, I got a call that informed me that my grandma wasn’t doing well. One week later she was gone. Because of Covid it was weeks before I got to hug my dad and tell him how sorry I was that he lost his mom. Right after our family’s loss several other family members started showing symptoms of the virus. Two ended up going to the ER. It was an unpredictable rollercoaster of emotions as they awaited recovery. I share this little snapshot of my story, because I know we are all touched in some way by suffering, sin, and death. Our stories will look different, but in times or trial: when sickness is spreading throughout the world, homebound isolation reveals remaining sin, and many people are facing death alone, we need hope. The good news is pain is not the end of the story. The Bible extends hope by telling us a story. It gives the suffering heart an image to hold onto. It extends a crown. A crown symbolizes a new beginning. A king’s coronation day was filled with the blessing and honor of the regal position. Let’s look at how the image of four crowns can bring encouragement.

The Crown of Life

Every time I get a sad phone call, it feels shocking. But death does not have the final word. God’s word reminds us that we can be steadfast. Listen to some encouragement from James: “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). One day we will trade all this death for a crown of life. That is possible because Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6a). 

The Crown of Righteousness
Maybe it hasn’t been a death for you. Maybe it’s the loneliness or all the change. Times of isolation and quarantine can and will bring out what is deep in our hearts. Working from home, not seeing friends, homeschooling, or financial trouble can all build pressure. What often comes out of us reveals our desperate need for a righteous Savior. But when we face our sinfulness, Paul gives us a different perspective: “there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). The good news is sin does not get the final word. Even if we’ve lost our tempers. Even if our feelings evidence unbelief. Even if we’ve said unkind words. Sin does not have the final word over our lives if we are in Christ. Jesus stands ready to save us. We can come to our compassionate and merciful God. We can tell him all our sin, and we can turn from it. Jesus makes this possible because he lived every single day of his life perfectly. He won every bit of the righteousness. And we need his righteousness to stand before a holy God. The good news is he has a crown of righteousness stored away for us. And on that day when we stand before the just judge, if we are in Christ, he will award it to us. He’ll take all our sin and give us his righteousness. 

The Unfading Crown of Glory
Maybe it’s not a death or a major temptation for you. Maybe your problems come from serving others. When we pour our lives out for others, sometimes we suffer. But whether you are a pastor, a nurse, a mom, a plumber, a teacher, or missionary, Christ has something for us. He has something that lasts. Our labor is not in vain. Even if we face hardship. Even if we get discouraged. Even if suffering threatens us from every angle, God has a crown of glory waiting for us.When we face various trials, find encouragement from Peter’s words: “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory” (1 Peter 5:4). Suffering does not get the last word. God does. Remember Paul’s example in the midst of suffering. He states, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Let’s trade every bit of our suffering for his glory (Romans 8:18).

The Crown of Thorns 

Finally, we must look to Christ. We get to share in Jesus’s blessing because he set aside his crown of honor and came to earth as the God-man. Paul shows us the significance of what Jesus did: “And being found in human form, he [Jesus] humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). Jesus went to the cross so we could know his grace. He wore a crown of thorns for us. He took sin upon himself. He suffered in our place. He died so we might know life. A few verses later, Paul rejoices in the personal result of Christ’s sacrifice: “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3:10–11). Paul wants to share in Christ’s sufferings that he might also share in his resurrection. As believers, we still experience the afflictions of the thorns–sorrow, sin, and death–but we know it’s not the final story. We know we will one day receive his unfading crown. Let’s receive him.

 *image source

What We Are Reading To Our Kids

Always on the hunt for new kid’s books, we’ve explored several different series. We have roamed countless bookstores and libraries since reading is important to us. It’s honestly one of our favorite family activities. These are three that we’ve enjoyed this last week.


Gus Loses His Grip by David Powlison. This book is helpful for talking to our kids about “wanting” more stuff. We can quickly move from “I’d like to have this” to “I must have this.” Wanting can often start off being a good thing like wanting something sweet to eat, but quickly turns into too much. The whole family learns this lesson throughout the book. It helps us learn that we do not need as much as we think we do. But also that there is grace and mercy for people who fall into this kind of temptation. In a world of ads and media that tries to sell us more and more, covetousness can easily creep in. This is a great resource for talking to our kids about the “wantsies.”


Henry Says Goodbye by Edward T. Welch. I loved this one, because it helps us talk about sadness with our kids. Most of our kids will lose a pet or go through some kind of sad experience while they are in our home. While we hate to see them face hardship, we know they will. So why not teach them how to deal with their sorrow? Why not lead them to Jesus who can help them? This is a great tool for starting that conversation.




Tori Comes Out of Her Shell by Jayne V. Clark. This book is a great way to help a child who is facing loneliness. Some kids naturally love to be around people and others need more alone time. I have kids who fit both of those categories! But it is important to notice that being alone and needing time to recharge is different than feeling alone. That taps into feeling disconnected or even isolated from everyone around them. That might mean feeling ignored or rejected. That can often move kids into deeper isolation so they don’t keep getting hurt. Tori is a cute turtle that learns to come out of her shell and will help us teach our children how to face loneliness.


These books are among the few that we’ve found that offer Good News to little hearts. These stories drew us in because they are relatable and perfect for kids aged three to eight years old. The bright illustrations welcomed us into the detailed animal world. But these books did not offer moralism, but extend real practical ways to follow Jesus through difficult situations. I loved the talking points and scripture cards at the end. I was genuinely shocked at what a great conversation these books led us into as a family.

For The Anxious Heart

For so many people, fear and anxiety can be a real struggle. Fear is one of those things that can sneak up on you, but for many anxiety is increasing and intensifying. Slapping a band-aid over it wont help, which is why I’m thankful I stumbled upon Edward T. Welch’s book “A Small Book for the Anxious Heart.” I don’t know about you, but when I’m in the clutches of anxiety even reading a book can feel daunting. I love that Welch kept that in mind as he wrote and made this manageable.

I’m thankful this book does not offer formulas or methods, but rather shares comfort and peace that can only be found in the person of Jesus. This short devotional dives into Scripture and comes up with its treasures. He makes it so accessible. This book has helped me shift my gaze to Jesus in moments of anxiety. It has led me to bring those fears to the Lord and has taught me to rely on him even more. God’s word has something to say to our struggle. The biggest takeaway for me is that Jesus cares. He understands. This book is an invitation to trust Him wholeheartedly.

If you are struggling with anxiety this small, but powerful devotional might be a great place to start.

*image by lifeinthemundane

Anchor | A Poem

Desire writes in the sand. I see

braided currents swirl around me.

Waves whisper doubt. 

The tide is out. 

Floating secrets pulled out to sea. 

Even if the sand castles fall

and water breaks upon them all

The ocean swells 

gifts broken shells 

With open hands I’ll come. I’ll call. 

Anchor me. Master of the deep.

Let not the sea breeze howl and weep. 

On darkest night 

In lunar light

Foster hope I can hold and keep. 

*Photo Source

Life Together | Book Review

Need a fun snow day read?

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer offers a profound discussion on Christian fellowship.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man martyred by the Nazis during the war. He is remembered for his heroic resistance and saintly long-suffering.

Life Together addresses the meaning of a Christian community. And it struck me as I read–the church is a gift. We are not entitled to fellowship. At times Christians have been scattered, pushed underground, or taken off to war camps. Bonhoeffer states, “The physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer” (19). It is a gift.

Bonhoeffer also pointed out that Christian community is possible because “we belong to one another through and in Jesus Christ.” We no longer look to ourselves for salvation, deliverance, or justification. The barrier of ego is broken down. Christian community is feasible.

But sometimes we enter relationships with our demands, our own law, and we begin to judge others (27). How scary to think a believer can become “first an accuser of his brethren, then an accuser of God and finally the despairing accuser of himself” (28).

In Christ it does not have to be this way. We can “enter into that common life not as demanders but as thankful recipients.” When we see sin we can give thanks that we have Christ. We can live in his forgiveness. “Christian brotherhood is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate” (30).

Bonhoeffer goes on to give practical illustrations on how to live together. He offers some directions for common worship, and on the personal life both at home and at work. He addresses our relationship with our neighbor and wraps up the whole book with a discussion on the Lord’s Supper.

This book stirred up my affections for Jesus, and offered practical relational help when it comes to the church. I wholeheartedly recommend it.