Grinches, Scrooges, and Grieving Souls: Christmas Is For You, Too

I know that for many of us, the Christmas season is a painful time. The festive celebration is in stark contrast to your own history.

It could be a dysfunctional family. Grief from loss. A lonely time. The heartache of a hard year. Or it could just be you dislike the whole affair. You can’t stand the egg nog, mistletoes, and holiday radio.

But that’s okay. Please know: You are not obligated to pretend happiness just because a certain calendar date has fallen on you. You have permission to be a Scrooge, a Grinch, a “downer.” No one else has to live through what you’re going through, and they will be long gone after telling you how to feel.

I believe that God can handle that. He receives you. He validates your grief. No one else can, not fully. He does.

And more, God’s invitation to rejoice still stands. Always. He won’t stop inviting you to joy. Through tears, even for brief moments, laughter can still bubble up and surprise you. Jesus broke in the same way: through dirt, grief, a lonely manger, he was light pushing through the dark. A surprise.

Merry Christmas, to Scrooges and celebrators. However you spend this time and through all you’re going through, I hope you know: you are loved.

Photo from Images Catalog, CC0 1.0

“4 Reasons Not To Give An iPhone To Your Child”

4 Reasons iPhone child xxxchurch

It’s an honor to be published for the first time at!

The post is titled “4 Reasons Not To Give An iPhone To Your Child.”

It’s a balanced look at how technology affects our communication and relationships, and how we can adjust to the rapid pace of growing tech.

Be blessed and love y’all!

— J.S.

Four Simple Ways To Prepare For Married Life

Though I am yet unmarried, there are a few things I’ve been doing to get ready. They’re simple, effective, and build the maturity that we all need.

Continue reading “Four Simple Ways To Prepare For Married Life”

Question: So About My Crazy Parents

*Edit: includes a visual statistic about “hovering parents” from — scroll to the bottom or click here.

Anonymous asked:
How do you make your own decisions without disrespecting/dishonoring your parents? I’ve just moved back home and will be in graduate school. My parents keep trying to make all of my decisions. I feel so overwhelmed by what they want. I must have the wrong heart/attitude when I talk to them as well because my dad flipped out and told me I was being annoying. They aren’t always right, but I know I’m not either. Can you please help me?

I might not say exactly what you want to hear, because if your parents are paying the bills for your grad school or even your housing, you haven’t left the nest. They get to call the shots. 

Even if they weren’t supporting you financially, they’re still your parents, and until you get married (or decide on single life with a career, however God calls you), your parents will have a huge part in your decisions.

I had two very inept parents that were violent, manipulative, reward-driven, and overall guessing most of the time.  I was a rebellious jerk, which I thought was “standing up for myself,” but in the end it never helped anything. Despite their shortcomings, I also learned too late they still loved me even if they never knew how to express it.

We all come to realize sooner or later that parents rarely change, which means you have to change. I’m not saying that as a suggestion; it’s an inevitable psychological truth.  You’ll either change for the worse or the better. So it’s up to you on how to determine the flow of your reactions.

Having said that, here’s what you can do. I’m going to list these “backwards,” meaning they increase in importance and priority.

Continue reading “Question: So About My Crazy Parents”