February 21, 2018

By Faith Podcast, Episode #3: Ana Hoeksema on Infidelity

Each week this season on my podcast, By Faith, I'm talking with someone who is walking forward by faith, many through difficult circumstances. We're asking and attempting to answer the question, "How does God meet us in our deepest, darkest pain and how does He turn that pain into beauty?"

For today's episode, I talked with my friend Ana Hoeksema. Ana and I met in college, as did our husbands, who continue to be close friends today. In their first few years of marriage, Ana's husband confessed to infidelity, and we've since watched as God has done a huge work in their lives not only to restore their marriage but also to use them to minister to others whose marriages have been affected by sexual sin.
I want you to hear Ana's story because, whether or not you are married and whether or not your marriage has been affected by adultery, we all at some point experience a shattered dream and wonder if God can really heal what feels completely broken.

Listen to the episode on iTunes or, if you're reading this on my blog, in the embedded player below. If you are enjoying the podcast, would you please share it with your friends? Thank you!

Links from the show

Preorder Searching For Spring 

Subscribe to the "By Faith" Podcast

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February 19, 2018

There is a Time to Be Silent

Creation pours forth speech everyday, whispering truths to listening ears of who God is and what he does and what delights him. One of the things creation speaks is that there is a time for stillness and silence.

In the cycles and seasons of nature, loud gusts of wind flow over prairies, storms make cauldrons of waves, and cicadas cry out in summer heat. The cycles and seasons teach us most created things have volumes that can turn high and low. The ocean water, in the most far flung sea, still. The ocean's water, pushed and prodded by hurricane winds, churning. Rain falling from storehouses in the clouds or frozen into dropping ice pellets, loud as it hits the roof, turns soft and mesmerizing when the water’s formed into tiny fluttering snowflakes.

It’s the snow, especially, that hushes the earth as a librarian moving among the shelves calling for quiet. 

When it’s snowing outside, I stand at the kitchen window with my coffee mug and try to watch individual snowflakes fall. Prior to the snow’s arrival, when the forecast’s been calling for 8-10 inches, there’ve been trips to the store for bread and milk, salt poured on the driveway, cars moved and wipers raised, shovels and sleds gathered from the shed, emails received from schools regarding inclement weather plans. At the sight of the first snowflake, my boys run through the house, ecstatic, begging to put on their winter boots and head outside. When they go, I stand again at the window, still, waiting for the quiet to descend.

After a few inches have accumulated, I go outside and listen. In our community, inches of snow shut everything down and shuts everyone up in their homes. I hear no cars, no trucks on the highway a mile away. I hear only the snowflakes calmly falling to their final resting places, and this is precisely what I’ve come outside for—to hear the sound of peace.

After all the bustle of store runs and firewood gathering and chatter with neighbors regarding the forecast—rest.

In God’s world, there are times when he directs the ocean to roar and the thunder to clap, but the snow is God’s message to us that there is a time for silence.

On snow days, all work and strivings cease. My senses are awakened from their dull slumber to wonder at the design of a snowflake or the crackle of a fire in the fireplace.

This is what happens when we are silent—we notice. Like covering our eyes and our hearing suddenly made more alert, our purposeful silence and stillness offers us the opportunity to
recognize beauty all around us just when we’ve found it difficult to see.

When was the last time you savored a bite of food? Took a walk in the woods? Listened to a bird's call? Held a child’s hand and thoughtfully traced the shape of his fingers? Smelled fresh cut grass? Stood under falling rain without an umbrella’s covering? Looked someone you love in the eye and really noticed them?

Friend, life isn’t all doom and gloom. Certainly, there is pain. Certainly, mundane tasks require our attention and, in general, we navigate uneventful days. However, let us have eyes to see and ears to hear. The invisible hand not only paints the invisible artwork of soul redemption but very visible beauty as well.

Let us be people who still ourselves so that our senses come alive. We must think in order to be thankful. And we must be thankful in order to experience joy. The greatest tragedies of our age are our constant motion, our over-scheduled lives, and our obsessive attachment to screens. We tend to believe we’ll be robbed of happiness if we fail to match the world’s pace step for step when in fact the pace robs of us of the simplicity that displays beauty, which in turn leads to thanksgiving and, after thanksgiving, joy.

If busyness mutes beauty, what mutes busyness? Beauty, of course. Paying attention to the small gifts of everyday life helps us see and savor and, in turn, makes our distracted, numb hearts beat with thankfulness.

Thankfulness will lead to joy, because when we're still, God himself will whisper it into our hearts.

You've just read an excerpt from my new book, Searching for Spring, releasing March 6. When you preorder Searching For Spring, redeem your receipt for these beautiful preorder freebies, such as a calendar (with spring highlighted, of course), the first chapter for immediate reading, and more. 
Preorder today from AmazonBarnes & NobleTarget, or Christianbook.com and receive your freebies when you fill out this form with your receipt information. 

Excited about reading Searching For Spring? Share about it with your friends using #searchingforspring!

February 14, 2018

By Faith Podcast, Episode #2: Lore Ferguson Wilbert on Longing and Singleness

Each week this season on my podcast, By Faith, I'm talking with someone who is walking forward by faith, many through difficult circumstances. We're asking and attempting to answer the question, "How does God meet us in our deepest, darkest pain and how does He turn that pain into beauty?"

For today's episode, I talked with my friend Lore Ferguson Wilbert. Lore is one of my favorite writers. Her writing can be found on her blog, Sayable, as well as The Gospel Coalition and Christianity Today. Lore lives in Dallas with her husband Nate, where they serve together at their church, The Village Church. She's a huge champion of thoughtful living, of Jesus, and of his church.
I didn't consciously plan to release this conversation on Valentine's Day, but it worked out well, because Lore and I talked about longing, especially through the lens of singleness but also in marriage and through infertility. Lore was single until she was 35 and has written extensively about singles and the church, which you can read here and here.

Listen to the episode here (or in the original post, below) and please know ahead of time that there is a little issue with the sound quality. Please don't let that keep you from Lore's helpful wisdom!
Links from the show

Preorder Searching For Spring 

Subscribe to the "By Faith" Podcast

Connect with Lore

Connect with Christine

February 7, 2018

By Faith Podcast, Episode #1: Zack Eswine on Our "Inconsolable Things"

Today marks the release of the first episode of my new podcast, By Faith!

As I thought about who I wanted to talk with about what it means to live by faith, I knew immediately I wanted to start with Zack Eswine. A few years ago, I read his book, Sensing Jesus, and a phrase he used to describe life after becoming a Christian stuck with me so much that it became a foundational theme in my forthcoming book, Searching For Spring: How God Makes All Things Beautiful in Time. 

Zack is a pastor, professor, and writer. Through his work, Zack's goal is to help others locate the kind of hope that possesses the capacity to handle life as it actually is with all its horrors and with all its beauties.
In that vein, we talked together about acknowledging sadness in life, how the wisdom literature in Scripture speaks to our life challenges and teaches us to live small and slow, and how we can come alongside others in their difficulties without being fixers or feeling like we have to have all the answers. Zack is incredibly wise, and I can't wait for you to hear from him.

You can listen to the show here, or if you're receiving this by email, you can click through and listen here: 
And of course I'd love it if you'd share my conversation with Zack with your friends! Just use the share buttons at the bottom of the post. Enjoy!

Links from the show

Preorder Searching For Spring 

Subscribe to the "By Faith" Podcast

Connect with Zack

Connect with Christine

February 2, 2018

Coming Soon: My New Podcast, "By Faith"

I know, I know. It's Friday, and I never post on Fridays. Only and always on Wednesdays. But here I am on a Friday because I simply couldn't wait another day to tell you about a project I've been working on just for you: I'm launching a podcast!

Yep, that's right. It's called "By Faith," and here's why: in whatever we're doing--working, parenting, serving, suffering--it can be difficult to see through the fog of the circumstances of life and to know that God is there, that he's working in us, and that he's working through us. How do we live this life by faith?

In a series of interviews, I ask this big picture question by getting into the details and daily lives of my guests: men and women who are walking forward by faith.

Listen to the trailer for Season 1 to get a feel for it:
The first episode releases February 7, so go ahead and subscribe now at any of the links below (or however you prefer listening to podcasts) so you don't miss a single conversation.

Google Play

Know a friend who loves podcasts? Simply share this post with them as an invitation to the party. (If you're an email subscriber, it's as easy as forwarding this email!)
I've created the podcast to go hand-in-hand with my new book, Searching For Spring: How God Makes All Things Beautiful in Time, which releases March 6. Preorder your copy before March 5 and get beautiful freebies in your inbox when you redeem here. Read more about the book and why I wrote it hereIn addition, I'm accepting applications for my book Launch Team now through February 5. I'd love to have you on my team!