Are You Ready to Choose What Matters Most?

Are You Ready to Choose What Matters Most? Lucinda Secrest McDowell All the things. Good things. Worthy things. Extraordinary people, adventurous journeys, breathtaking beauty, life-changing words, fulfilling service, quiet moments, and soul-stretching creativity. But how do I choose? My own life is full of obligation, deadlines, hurry, complicated relation­ships, overdue bills, medical challenges, juggling jobs—all seasoned with occasional bouts of guilt and insecurity. Because I can’t do it all. I can’t be it all. Too…

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Leighton Ford’s Deep Influence

Leighton Ford’s Deep Influence Lucinda Secrest McDowell Is your influence on others deep or wide? Today’s culture extols the wide reach. For people in my profession, worth is measured by how many followers we have on social media and how many people come to speaking events or purchase books. Mega­churches are often considered more significant than small country chapels. The time and investment it takes to go deep in another person’s life—to have that kind…

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When the Worst Thing Happens

 When the Worst Thing Happens Lucinda Secrest McDowell What does a 34-year-old man do when he hears these two phrases only days apart: “Congratulations, you have a baby daughter!” and “I’m so sorry to tell you that your wife has liver cancer?” He makes a choice to move forward into each new day, trusting in God’s strength and seeking to fulfill his calling as loving husband and father. He perseveres. At least that’s the way…

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Are You Too Weary to Climb that Mountain?

 Are You Too Weary to Climb that Mountain?  Lucinda Secrest McDowell “How much farther to the top?” I panted to my hiking companions. My Furman friends and I loved to spend weekends climbing in the Great Smokey Mountains, but I inevitably seemed to drift into that unenviable position of ‘bringing up the rear.’ “Not too far, Secrest. You can make it. Keep going,” one of them yelled down. I turned and leaned my backpack against the…

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What Do We Do with Random Acts of Violence?

What Do We Do with Random Acts of Violence? Lucinda Secrest McDowell Will we ever get used to the news of a mass murder of innocent people? In a church? In a theatre? In a school? In an office? In a nightclub? I hope not. I hope we remain horrified. And utterly saddened. I hope we never get blasé or resigned to this kind of life. Because then “they” would win. The ones who hate.…

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 The Power that Lifts Up When We Fall

 The Power that Lifts Up When We Fall Lucinda Secrest McDowell My first thought was, “What am I doing sprawled at the bottom of these stairs?” Beside me, I noticed my purse in the corner and one shoe lying nearby. I didn’t know exactly how I had fallen down the stairs, but as I was bundled off into an ambulance, I knew I was in big trouble. My mind raced with the ambulance. I thought…

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Have You Opened the Gift?

Have You Opened the Gift?  Lucinda Secrest McDowell Every single day of my life I thank God for His gift of GRACE to me. Every day. What is that grace that literally “saved a wretch like me”? (thank you, John Newton for writing the hymn “Amazing Grace”) My own definition  is: “Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve and can never earn; mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve.”  …

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A Long Line of Powerful Women

A Long Line of Powerful Women Lucinda Secrest McDowell For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. —1 Corinthians 4:20 She had no idea she had any power. All she thought she had was beauty. And a big secret. Esther was a Jewish orphan living in Persia with her cousin Mordecai. The Bible tells us she was so beautiful that when King Xerxes was looking…

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How Much Do You Want Freedom?

How Much Do You Want Freedom?  Lucinda Secrest McDowell It doesn’t exactly look like a place of Total Revolution. Total Transformation. Freedom. Yet it is. It is completely and utterly white. Puritan. No stained glass windows. No ornate decorations. Just a simple Meetinghouse built in 1761. And I am standing in the same place that faithful patriots assembled one Sunday afternoon in order to pray before they marched off to Lexington Massachusetts to fight against…

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What Elisabeth Elliot Told Me

 What Elisabeth Elliot Told Me by Lucinda Secrest McDowell This week is the fourth anniversary of author Elisabeth Elliot’s entering “through gates of splendor” to her heavenly Home. How well I remember that June morning when her daughter Valerie shared her final moments with me in a phone conversation —  the funeral and burial in Massachusetts; and then when Mike, Val and I visited her grave together one year later (2016) near Boston, singing together “Thine is…

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For Those Who Served…

For Those Who Served… Lucinda Secrest McDowell Most of us cannot even imagine the horror of young Allied troops landing on Omaha and Utah Beaches in Normandy seventy-five years ago. But for any who experienced first-hand D-Day on June 6, 1944, their lives have never been  the same. And our country owes each of them a deep debt of gratitude for their sacrifice. I have been watching television reports this week where veterans (most in…

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A Dozen Things I Would Tell that Bride Who Was Me

A Dozen Things I Would Tell that Bride Who Was Me Lucinda Secrest McDowell Our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary this week was celebrated quietly. A lovely time for Mike and I to look back and remember – to look forward and hope. As I glanced at the photographs of my younger self, I thought of all the things I could tell that young woman now. She knew almost nothing about marriage and mothering, grit and grace,…

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