Comforting Resources on Grief

Emily Dickinson once wrote, “I can wade grief, whole pools of it, I’m used to that.” On one hand, I can relate as I have been literally wading grief my entire life. I lost my birth mother at two years old and just lost my adoptive mom a year ago. It’s been a constant, lifelong journey—subconscious at times, palpable at others. Yet on the other hand, I can’t quite relate to the last part because grief is not something you get used to in this life. It is ever present—yes—but it is never normalized. Even in the ubiquity of tragedy, we wrestle and reckon with it, but never actually come to grips with it. The hurting and aching following loss will always remain in our hearts on this side of glory. Through the grieving process I’ve found comfort in Scripture and in songs, but I’ve also found it in great books.

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A Better Question for Bitter Times

If you’ve lived long enough in the big hard world under the big hard sun, you’ve experienced the crushing pain and unbearable weight of tragedy of loss. You’ve encountered shocking sorrow—jaw-dropping, gut-wrenching, life-changing news. The phone call that leaves you breathless on your knees feeling heartbroken, forsaken, and hopeless. And when this kind of trial comes your way, you invariably ask the same line of questions—

Why?

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Simple, Small, and Strategic

Two months ago, I moved back home to NH from eight years of studying and serving in CA. And four weeks ago, a small group of us launched a brand new church (Grace Church of Dover) in one of the most secular regions of our country. This church plant was the culmination of two years of prayer, planning, special providence, and personal relationships.

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What Already Was—Our Second Adoption Story

Waiting might be one of the most challenging things in life. No one likes waiting. Waiting is miserable and often agonizing. Waiting can be suffering. In his book Christ and Calamity, Harold Senkbeil writes, “We’re fearful in the face of tragedy and the unknown because we’ve never passed this way before; the terrain is unfamiliar, and the perils are formidable . . . We wonder what’s to become of us.” We all have plans that we grasp so stubbornly. We build our lives around our own version of what we think is best and will make us most happy. But we are not omniscient to to know what’s best, nor are we omnipotent to make our plans come true.

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Top Ten Books Read in 2021

Well, this year resembled last year in a lot of ways. It was definitely busier as ordinary life and ministry picked up pace, but there was still much quality reading time to savor. I’m glad I set a goal and stayed ahead because I have been bogged down by various trials these past two months and haven’t had much time or energy to read. Here are my top ten books that I read this past year—

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Lessons from a Jarring Year

Pandemic. Revolution. Political polarization. And, oh the memes! With trace levels of dystopia, this year has been a cataclysm of catastrophe, chaos, conspiracy, and civil unrest. But aside from my unmet expectations, constant disappointments, and myriad frustrations, this year hasn’t been explicitly difficult or substantially challenging for me (some things were actually easier). However, there was this underlying uneasiness that persisted as a result of . . . well, change and abnormality.

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A Life-Changing Devotional on Cross-Cultural Ministry

“I am convinced of this: God is not going to look us over for medals, degrees, or diplomas, but for scars.” -James Gribble

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Top Ten Books Read in 2020

This year was unlike any other and Zamyatin’s observation from 100 years ago rings true—”Revolution is everywhere, in everything. It is infinite.”2 I decided to take social distancing and quarantine as opportunities to read more. If anything—with the rise of propaganda, cancel culture, fact checking, revisionist history, conspiracy theories, and just too much information too fast—this year proved our need to read more. “Truth withers long before the roots are pulled.”1 I enjoy sharing those books which have most profoundly challenged and shaped my thinking about life and ministry. You can view my complete reading list from this year on Goodreads here. But these are my favorite books read in 2020 (not necessarily published this year).

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How Do We Prepare to Become a Foster Family?

You wouldn’t jump into the deep end of the pool if you didn’t know how to swim. Similarly, becoming a foster parent is not a decision you want to make a whim. It is a major decision that has the potential to significantly alter the course of your life—more than you can anticipate.

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What Is the Purpose of Foster Care?

Our preconceived notions don’t always line up with reality. Rather, they are often fraught with exaggeration or underestimation.

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