The Time He Called My Name

The Time He Called My Name

I sat in the jury assembly room on Monday, waiting to hear if I would be assigned a case for the week. They told us there were eight cases to try, and it seemed like the majority of us would end up fulfilling our civic duty through Friday. I had never received a...

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Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis

I’m a sportsman at heart and love watching competitions. I like to watch several sports on TV, but none more than the Olympics. I like the Winter Olympics, but I really enjoy watching the events in the Summer Olympics.   During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, a...

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The Corrosive Effects of a Critical Spirit

The Corrosive Effects of a Critical Spirit

It might not surprise anyone, but I hated chemistry! The corrosive acid we used during our experiments in school burned everything it touched. It ate a hole in a block of wood, etched deep scars in the metal basin, and permanently marred my favorite sweater! Although...

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Uncertain Paths, Certain Glory

Uncertain Paths, Certain Glory

A few weeks ago, as my daughter and I sat with our feet in the surf and the late afternoon sun sank toward the ocean, our conversation turned to her future plans. She is starting her college senior, and while she has a general idea where she wants to be and what she...

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The Time I Envied Helen Keller

The Time I Envied Helen Keller

  Earlier today, I sat working on my laptop in a local coffee shop. The morning sunlight streamed in, providing crystal clear vision, but still my perception of life blurred. I pondered my current and future struggles, and I wondered if others also wrestled with...

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The Heartbeat of Freedom

The Heartbeat of Freedom

A demand for freedom pulses through our veins. When God created us, he gave us free will—the ability to choose. He doesn’t coerce us into loving, following, and obeying him; he gives us the ability to choose to do those things. But with that ability comes the choice...

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All Who Wander Are Not Lost

All Who Wander Are Not Lost

  An excitement stirs within my family every time we enter the wilderness---an excitement that's simply not present when we're in an urban environment. We are drawn to the wild places of the world, especially in Africa. Our hearts leap at the sight of a field of...

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A City That Shines

A City That Shines

  My husband, three children and I will be traveling with my parents to the West Coast for a family wedding this month. My daughters haven’t flown in an airplane since they were little bitty, and they are so excited to fly! They can’t wait to experience the thrill of...

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What Amazing Spaces Is God Calling You To?

What Amazing Spaces Is God Calling You To?

Rachel Estes is Director of Outreach and Missions at Canterbury United Methodist. Rachel wrote this personal reflection about service in Birmingham for the Women’s City Prayer Breakfast in Birmingham on September 29th, 2017. We hope you are encouraged, blessed and...

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The Prayer That Brought The House Down

The Prayer That Brought The House Down

This prayer was written by Dianne Kennedy for the Women's City Prayer Breakfast in Birmingham on September 29th, 2017. Dianne is a Birmingham Police Chaplain and member of Brewster Road Community Church. The prayer is for the true Church to be in our city. So many...

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How Big is Big Daddy?

How Big is Big Daddy?

In August 2017, my family decided to tackle Big Daddy in Namibia’s Namib Desert. “For real, this is like literally, the highest level on the stair master at the gym but worse.” Our guide gave us pointers, the best of which was to step in the person’s footprints ahead...

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Raise the Child You Have, Not the Child You Want

Raise the Child You Have, Not the Child You Want

I have a friend who learned that her daughter had cancer after going to a routine 2-year-old pediatrician visit several years ago. Her blood work was off, and this led to testing and a diagnosis the next day. As you can imagine, they were shocked and very frightened....

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Let God Take the Wheel

Let God Take the Wheel

Parenthood is permanent—a lifelong identity, an ongoing sacred trust, the bond that just will not quit. Year after year, we keep carrying our grown children close to our hearts, caring deeply about their well-being. We may lean toward attempting to assert our parental...

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The Sky’s the Limit

The Sky’s the Limit

The sky’s the limit. It’s a phrase we hear often, one meant to encourage and inspire. It conjures up images of taking risks and stepping outside our comfort zones in order to achieve great things. And while the expression mentions a limit, the idea is really that...

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It Will Change Your Life

It Will Change Your Life

Time is running out for my younger friend. We are sitting at lunch when she casually mentions that she and her husband are thinking about starting a family. What she is really saying is that her biological clock has begun its countdown, and she feels forced to...

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You are Beautiful!

You are Beautiful!

Do you ever get discouraged because you find yourself noticing more imperfections than beauty in the world around you? Do you ever focus on what’s not right with you instead of focusing on what’s beautiful about you? The world around you can be overwhelming and dark...

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Finding Peace

Finding Peace

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him...

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20 Things College Girls Should Know

20 Things College Girls Should Know

It was a college football game weekend, and as my friend walked down sorority row with her teenage daughter, her daughter took it all in. The energy. The buzz. The sea of people dressed in the school colors, full of excitement and hope. Out of the blue, her daughter...

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The Gift of Gab

The Gift of Gab

  Although she told me not to talk to strangers, my mother always did.  She talked to people standing in the checkout line, browsing through handbags at Rich’s, during a slow elevator ride when everyone else was seriously squinting at the buttons, at airports,...

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“Bob, I’m With You.” Lessons in Costly Solidarity

“Bob, I’m With You.” Lessons in Costly Solidarity

Last year, Harper Lee went home to Jesus, and the Internet flooded with tributes to her simple, profound novel To Kill A Mockingbird.  The quote on the picture below, a favorite with many of her fans, immediately made me think of Jesus: Let this mind be in you which...

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Be Very Still and Listen

Be Very Still and Listen

My father adored music! It wasn’t his profession, but he truly lived and breathed music. He loved choral, band, and orchestral pieces, but especially the horns—and his favorite was the French horn. As a child I often would wander into his study, where I would find him...

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What I’ve Always Known

What I’ve Always Known

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible (and my parents and my grandparents, and my church, and my community) taught me so! I may be one of the luckiest people on Earth. You see, I am the daughter of the daughter of a preacher man. Therefore, I know, beyond a...

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Pressing Pause for Kindness

Pressing Pause for Kindness

Through the eyes of a child, there was nothing unusual or spectacular about it. Didn’t everyone live right around the corner from their grandparents? Looking back on this often unappreciated gift, there is one particular scene that would be a perfect moment for a...

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Why I Don’t Regret Not Going Back to Hawaii

This wasn’t how I imagined I would spend my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Quiet. Completely lacking in fanfare and celebration. Unnoticed except by the two of us. Just another day, really. We got married on a hot day in August in a small town in Alabama. Early...

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A Road Map to Normal

  Ezekiel 36 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I found myself immersed in this chapter exactly sixteen years ago during a very difficult time in my life. I had been betrayed and deceived by someone very close to me, someone whom I trusted and loved dearly....

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Mission Pants

God of compassion, you suffer in the grief of your people, and you are present to heal and forgive. May the sun of your justice rise on every night of oppression, and may the warm rays of your healing love renew each troubled mind; for you are the God of salvation and...

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Crazy Wild Love

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven...

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God and Grandma

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) We all remember great times at Grandma’s house, right? Summer days playing in the garden; the aroma of freshly baked cookies wafting from a kitchen window;...

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Intentional Friendship

FRIENDSHIP ISN’T ABOUT WHO YOU’VE KNOWN THE LONGEST. IT’S ABOUT WHO WALKED INTO YOUR LIFE AND SAID “I’M HERE FOR YOU” AND PROVED IT.  —UNKNOWN The Bible gives many clear scriptures about the importance of community and friendship. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus expresses the...

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Everyday Beauty

I love to garden. To me, the world is at its most beautiful in winter, when the bare bones of Mother Nature stand tall; well, maybe not so much this year, due to the drought. But I love seeing the birds at the feeders. They get lost in all the foliage of spring and...

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What Does Facebook Have to Do With It?

Most days I am uncomfortable scrolling through Facebook. The achievements of children, students, athletes, etc… being plastered all over the Internet by parents to be seen and acknowledged by others bothers me. I want to celebrate my children. I want to mark memorable...

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The God of New Things

I love a good story. From the moment I first learned to read, my nose was always in a book. Through words on a page, I could, for a moment, become an intrepid sleuth, a fearless explorer in a foreign land, or a courageous servant girl from centuries ago. Everyone has...

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Raising a Confident Daughter

If I had to name one thing I don’t want my daughters to struggle with, I’d have to say confidence. This is why it’s so hard for me to see my daughters doubt themselves or question their abilities. I distinctly remember the first time I witnessed real self-doubt in my...

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Come and be with Me

I have a memory that's forever pressed into my heart. One of those endearing moments that I know I will never forget.   Years ago, when I was a young “30 something” mom of four littles, God gave me a moment. I don’t have much memory from those years. We were mostly in...

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