When God Whispered to Me in January

 Mine was the last plane out before the snowstorm hit New England. Escaping to a warmer clime for a “desperate respite” thanks to the gracious hospitality of friends.             Long days beside the wind and waves quieted my soul (and my weary, throbbing brain) to a place where I could actually hear God’s whisper.             No schedule. No online presence. No books to read… or write. No makeup. No jewelry. No music (except the hymns…

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“Mama, I Cut Off All My Hair!”

“Mama, I got somethin’ to tell ya…” said four-year-old Maggie as she knocked on my door during naptime.  “What is it hon?” I casually replied as I closed my notebook.           “Mama, I cut off all my hair!”           And she had. Her shoulder-length bob had been turned punk-like with several bangs only 1/8 inch long. For once in my life, I was speechless. But I distinctly heard a voice in…

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Whatever You’ve Done… Just Show Up

 Let’s say you’ve done everything wrong. Demanded money from people who love you. Turned your back on familiar for the lure of exotic. Flirted with vice and grabbed forbidden pleasure. Bought lots of stuff and tried to buy friendship. Eating, drinking, partying. All along thinking that maybe this will finally fill the hole. The one in your heart that longs for more. But it never does. Until that day you turn around—alone, filthy, starving, and…

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You Are Not Her!

“I can’t believe the Joneses are vacationing in Europe, and we can’t even get to the beach.” “Why did she get a book contract when I’ve been writing longer than she has?” “I sent the steering committee my résumé, but they chose a younger person with less experience.” Don’t do it, friend. Compare. Compete. Because it is simply a dead end. Personally. Professionally. Spiritually. God has called you to follow Him, glorify Him, and further…

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Reading GRACE to You ~ a Confession, a Dedication and an Introduction 

Everyone loves a gift! And God has given us so many, including His GRACE – the gift we don’t deserve and can never earn. He declares we are already loved, already accepted, already created in His image. The question becomes, will we truly receive the gift? Will the reality of it actually change the way we think and notice and reach out? Yesterday I opened a gift which has been a lifetime in coming —…

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That Day I Answered the Phone and Discovered a Beautiful Gift

“Is this the author Lucinda Secrest McDowell?” came the lovely southern voice at the other end of the phone. I had been tempted not to answer. In my daily ritual of decompressing after a busy day at high school, I was sitting on the porch, drinking strong Earl Grey tea and — to be honest —  feeling a bit discouraged. “Yes…. this is Lucinda,” I tentatively answered. Polly Jo introduced herself as one of my…

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I Now Answer to the Name “Beloved”

“I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies; I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved.” (Romans 9.25 MSG)           I remember the moment I finally got up enough nerve to say aloud “I am God’s Beloved.”  Now this is my primary identity.           After half a lifetime of wrestling with unworthiness, I finally received the gift the above scripture speaks of —  God’s unconditional love that transforms those who feel unloved and forgotten…

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Where Does A Writer Find Encouragement?

“Cindy, God has given you a gift of writing, and it is your duty to write for Him!” Imagine being only 26-years-old and personally hearing those words from Elisabeth Elliot—respected mentor, international speaker and author of more than thirty books. I had already felt a nudging from God on this path of writing, but her words helped confirm and encourage me further. Needless to say, I was a bit daunted, but also energized to pursue…

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That Time a Nest was My Refuge

I awaken to the sound of heavy rain encompassing me. This second floor sleeping porch contains one piece of furniture – a large bed surrounded on three sides by floor to ceiling windows, setting me high amongst the trees. Sliding down into the soft sheets, I pull up the covers, thankful for my cozy refuge from the outside world. Nothing, it seems, can touch me here. For the first time in my life, I have…

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“Heaven Is Going to Be Wonderful, You Know?”

sharing words from Dr. Stephen A. Hayner LSM Note: Our dear friend, Steve Hayner, president of Columbia Theological Seminary (and former president of InterVarsity, dean at Seattle Pacific University and pastor at University Presbyterian in Seattle) and his wife Sharol live in Atlanta. Steve officiated at Inka’s Seattle memorial service back in 1981 (Mike’s late wife) and also preached our own wedding sermon in Menlo Park CA in 1984. Our daughter Fiona and their daughter…

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Honest Letter to a November Bride

Dearest one, Only 10 days until your wedding – Woo Hoo! Our entire family is thrilled to join you both for this momentous celebration and I rejoice that God has brought you together for a lifetime of marriage. What a rich heritage you have — grandparents married 62 years and your own parents for 37 (and counting.) Marriage is a huge Gift. It is also extremely difficult at times. May I be perfectly honest? Will…

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“In My Life, I’ve Loved Them All”

I only learned a few things during my four years at Furman University: how to read critically believe radically write creatively think deeply share intimately celebrate spontaneously help compassionately dwell communally explore courageously I only learned how to embrace life and pursue my dreams. Nothing big. Only everything that matters when you’ve just turned 21. And you’re driving out the gate into the Real World with a diploma in your hand and an editorial job at…

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