Category  |  discouragement

cement sky

My hometown is nestled between emerald cow pastures, meandering roads, and tree-covered foothills. It’s most charming on bright, sunny days, but there aren’t many of those. The Finger Lakes region of New York State has one the highest ratios of cloud cover in America. The locals call it “cement sky.”

Many of us struggle with cement sky in our daily…

July 19, 2010

From an ODJ community member: "I've experienced a number of unsuccessful dating relationships. Now, I'm feeling the pressure to get married from others and from within my own heart. What should I do?"

disappointed

Scanning my e-mail inbox, I stopped in excitement when I saw a particular name. As I opened the e-mail, I held my breath in anticipation of what I would see. Waiting to hear about a manuscript I had sent in, I read through the e-mail quickly looking for the publisher’s response. Disappointment flooded my thoughts, however, when I read the…

worn out?

I’m just so tired.” It’s a common phrase that I’ve heard from people in my counseling office over the years. Sometimes they say the words to play the “pity me” card. Others are unknowingly lying to themselves— falling deeper into discouragement and depression. But in many cases, they’re voicing a legitimate cry of an exhausted heart.

At a time when…

expansion

Looking out my back picture window, the normally peaceful view had become a bit of a wasteland.  Scraps from our now nonexistent deck lay stacked against the fence, twisted sprinkler pipes poked out at varied angles from the red clay, and the once green grass now bore the violent claw marks from a backhoe. We had entered into an entirely…

God's unobstructed view

Every Sunday I drive an overloaded car full of former street kids to church. While I try to navigate the crazy Kampala roads, the boys are constantly demanding my attention.

“Look over there, Auntie Rox!” one shouts, “That’s where we used to find scrap to sell.” “See those men?” adds another. “They beat me and stole my shoes!” “I used…

less than 1 percent

The movie Rudy tells the true tale of Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, a smallish, walk-on (nonscholarship) player who tried to make the powerhouse University of Notre Dame’s football team. He didn’t have the size. He didn’t have the athleticism. But he had the heart to make the team and even went on to play in a game!

Gideon was also a…

an indifferent spouse

In the film The Painted Veil, an unhappily married couple—Walter and Kitty Fane—trek into China’s rural Guangxi Province where cholera is decimating the locals. Their visit is hardly altruistic. Walter has caught Kitty in an affair and this trip is her punishment.

While Walter, a bacteriologist, fights the disease, Kitty offers her services to the Catholic-run hospital. One day the nun…

lost

Soon after Charles Lindbergh completed his monumental transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis, the US Ambassador to Mexico asked Lindbergh to make another flight in order to foster positive US-Mexico relations.

Taking off from Washington DC on December 13, 1927, Lindbergh began the 24-hour flight to Mexico City. After navigating through dense fog, Lindbergh lost his bearings. With only…

heard

Eight years ago, I came to a point of crisis in my prayer life. We had lost two teenagers who were very involved in our youth ministry, watched our pastor face serious health issues, and traveled a difficult road in our marriage because of all the ministry stress we were facing. Joining my husband in praying with a family during…

disappointed

Few joys surpass that of a soldier and a family reunited after an extended deployment. And few things exceed the disappointment of such a hope deferred. Imagine the scathing disappointment of a battalion that received orders to another spot in the war zone for an additional 3 months—less than 48 hours before they were to return home!

The story of…

perfect path

My wife and I had prayed. We had sought God. We had sought godly counsel. Now we presented our plans to a group of people who would help us realize a vision for ministry or shut it down. They chose the latter.

We’ve all felt the pain of having plans dashed and dreams deferred. The confusion and disillusionment that follows…

interruptions

With a work deadline looming, it was hard to find time to write my Our Daily Journey articles this month. I was strongly tempted to put on a “Do-Not-Disturb-Me” demeanor at work. For even though I tried to protect some time to think and write, it never happened. I was bombarded by e-mails that required immediate attention, or the immediate need…

unfulfilled dreams

Paul needed help. He said that his “ambition has always been to preach the Good News where the name of Christ has never been heard, rather than where a church has already been started by someone else” (Romans 15:20). This pioneering spirit lifted Paul’s eyes to the western edge of the Roman Empire. He had to go to Spain.

Since…

perspective

I recently visited “The First Baptist Church in America.” Founded by Roger Williams in 1638 in Providence, Rhode Island, the present church building was constructed in 1775. Its colonial structure is impressive, with its towering steeple, high pulpit, and boxed pews. Each pew is surrounded by a low wall and gate, and was possessed by families who sat together during…