Personal Life

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My Difficult Past Makes Me a Better Leader

The very things I saw as weaknesses, I now see as strengths.
My Difficult Past Makes Me a Better Leader
frolik2001/Flickr

I once saw my past as a liability. I thought I had the wrong upbringing, the wrong ethnicity, and even the wrong sex. But God had a different plan.

Starting at the age of 8, I walked a mile with my little sister and brother to our little country church, tip-toeing past the house with the two menacing German shepherds on the porch. Although my parents never took us to ...

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Be Honest: You Don’t Have It All Together

And you don’t have to.
Be Honest: You Don’t Have It All Together

It’s 100 million degrees in Chicago, and I’m sweating through my shirt. I’ve not showered, I’m sporting a baseball hat and sunglasses to mask this fact, desperately hoping no one notices me. I scurry from my car into the building like an incognito A-Lister—only I’m dashing across the church parking lot to my office.

It’s my day ...

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My Struggle to Remain Faithful

I’m not shocked by leaders on the Ashley Madison list.
My Struggle to Remain Faithful

It’s pretty easy for women in ministry to fall into adultery—much easier than you probably think.

It shocks us to hear that women leaders struggle with sexual sin, but it’s more common than we know. The problem is that no one talks about it because there’s so much shame surrounding the topic. That silence means those who struggle will continue ...

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A Matter of Priority

Why you can’t be too busy for you
A Matter of Priority

Busyness has become a celebrated lifestyle today. If people aren’t busy, we think less of them. In Overwhelmed, Brigid Schulte writes, about time researcher Ann Burnett, who studies Christmas letters and notes the rise of people sharing about their busy lives over the past fifty years. Her research blew my mind. Schulte writes, “Somewhere toward the end of the ...

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Finding God’s Strength in Our Weakness

We do not win battles on our own
Finding God’s Strength in Our Weakness

I have a long history of denial—of masking my weaknesses and soldiering on. I’m not exactly sure how or when I learned this paradigm or, more importantly, why I believed it was somehow more spiritual than other options. It worked as both a ministry model and a lifestyle until just a few years ago.

I had battled fibromyalgia for nearly a decade. In the midst ...

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Married in Ministry? Keep Your Sense of Humor

Laughing together makes your marriage sustainable
Married in Ministry? Keep Your Sense of Humor

I married a solemn man. He is an intense person who takes ministry very seriously. That intensity gave him the courage and impetus to plant a church, which he pastored for 27 years. When he resigned, it was to train pastors in third-world countries, so as I said, he takes ministry seriously.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, however you choose to look at it, he married a ...

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Hollowed Out, Hallowed In

Leading during a time of personal trauma
Hollowed Out, Hallowed In

As leaders in ministry we expect ourselves to have the answers for the walking wounded who come to us for counsel. Depending on our gifts and our roles, we deliver the sermons or teachings that heal, the physical gestures that comfort, the counsel that soothes, or the silence that reassures. We pray. We do our jobs: We stand in the gap and assure those walking wounded that ...

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Married, Spiritually Single, and Called to Lead

Managing tension between marriage and ministry
Married, Spiritually Single, and Called to Lead

...

Recently, my husband and I faced a difficult decision that allowed us to see the fruits of our efforts and just how far we’d come.

A few weeks ago, as I was finalizing preparations for a retreat I was leading, we received a call from our nephew. My husband’s brother had died, succumbing to the cancer that had ravaged his body for months. His family and ...

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How to Be an Overcomer When You Feel Overtaken

Tactics for surviving uncertainty
How to Be an Overcomer When You Feel Overtaken

In the corner of my neighborhood coffee shop, I sit at a small round table hidden behind a display of coffee cups and bags of dark roast. Writing here instead of at home at my desk is a new coping rhythm during an unwanted, lengthy season of transition for my family.

We were supposed to move to London six months ago for a new ministry assignment. Instead, delays in the ...

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Healing—and Leading—After Tragedy, Part Three

Recovering from trauma is possible, necessary, and sometimes very hard.
Healing—and Leading—After Tragedy, Part Three

I thought Rich’s death meant the end of my ministry dreams. He was my husband, and he was my ministry partner, part of every plan I had. I had leaned on his strengths heavily. He dealt with the people issues; I kept everything organized.

Once he was gone, I had no one to defer leadership to. The buck stopped with me. So as much as Rich’s death was the end ...

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