I’ve been spending time in the Gospel of Mark lately, keeping pace with Jesus’ march to the cross as our days press on toward Easter. One of the things that has stood out to me on this reading is the disciples’ failure. We see it throughout the gospels, but Mark accentuates the disciples’ shortcomings.

In Mark, the disciples consistently fail to grasp Jesus’ mission as the one who will suffer for our sins. They have moments of insight, but the recurrent theme is of their failure.

  • The disciples see the hungry people and overlook the Bread of Life—twice (Mark 6:37; 8:4).
  • They don’t understand Jesus’ teachings, and their hearts are hardened (Mark 6:52).
  • Jesus bluntly tells them about his death and resurrection, and the disciples rebuke him (Mark 5:32).
  • They fight among themselves and compete for position (Mark 9:33-34; 10:35-37).
  • Judas betrays him (Mark 14:10).
  • The disciples abandon him (Mark 14:50).
  • Peter denies him (Mark 14:66-72).
  • They flee in fear instead of sharing the good news of the resurrection (Mark 16:8).

The disciples failed. But God remained faithful.

The good news is that my failure does not annul God’s faithfulness. The gospel is the story of God’s faithfulness triumphing over our human failure. We denied Christ, but he did not deny us. We rebelled against him, but he called us friends. We abandoned him, but he died for us and rose triumphant over the grave.

We failed. But God remains faithful.

As we approach Easter, I am mindful of my own failures. My willingness to sing “Yes Lord!” on Sunday and squirm at the thought of sacrifice on Monday. My own selfishness, greed, and impatience. The times when I choose silence over boldness and accept cool politeness instead of true reconciliation.

Yes, I have failed him. But God remains faithful.

This Easter season, it is his faithfulness that we celebrate. It was God’s faithfulness that sent his son to show him the way. His faithfulness held Jesus to the cross, and God’s faithfulness raised him from the grave. The tide of his faithful love overwhelms my failure and washes me clean.

My God is faithful, and his faithfulness triumphs.


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New Lines

My daughter and I have some favorite bedtime books. You Are My I Love You is at the top of the list.

In this sweet story, a loving parent tells her babe . . .

 “I am your favorite book. You are my new lines.”

We are a military family, and slogging through this Army life, we get a practical re-write every two to four years. A new story, fresh plot lines . . .

But between the scrawling lines of new heart friends and the terse scribbles of unfinished chapters and sometimes unhappy endings . . . there is a deeper re-write in my soul.

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Peace That Comes Only from God


Sometimes God stops us in our tracks…for our own good.

I was recently on my knees in prayer…over a situation I have no control.

A situation that was getting the best of me.

I didn’t know what to pray anymore, and I’d moved to just trying to prepare myself for whatever might happen.

While I talked with God, something changed in how I was praying.

“I know what you’re doing here God, and…”

Immediately, I felt God ask me…

Do you know what I’m doing?”

My breath caught sharply, and I thought of the book of Job when God gets fed up with Job and challenges him with a lot of questions.

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The Day I Lost My Engagement Ring

It was Valentine’s Day weekend of my Junior year. The lanky basketball player, future preacher to whom I had given my heart dropped to one knee and officially asked me to spend my life by his side. Of course I said, “Yes.” And he slid the ring we had chosen together onto my left hand.

Fast forward a few days . . .

Back on my own campus I had hurried from class to my weekly ironing job. I walked a little more lightly that winter afternoon in Chicago as I began dreaming of wedding plans and married life.

Ironing board in place.

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Exposed and Real

My grandmother used to call it “putting on” her face.


Concealer, foundation, blush, shadow, eye liner, mascara, and lip gloss.

I refuse to leave the house without makeup. I’ve even been known to go into surgery wearing a little bit of mascara. I know we’re supposed to go under the knife sans products, but I just feel so naked without lashes and lip gloss.

Do you feel exposed and vulnerable without concealer and color?

Standing in front of the mirror the other morning, I realized I have lots of flaws and imperfections that I try to cover up and hide .

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Healing for Mom Guilt

For years I had the same dream several times a week. I lived in a nice house where life was full and happy. There was only one problem . . . there was always a pet, usually a dog, living in the basement. That in itself was not a problem, I love critters, the problem was that I continually forgot to feed her and let her out.

My neglect always led to feelings of guilt and fear of what I was going to find when I went downstairs to check on her. Finally, tired of waking up feeling like a failure before my day even started, I prayed and pondered – what was this dream trying to tell me.

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Take Off Your Mask

These two dear friends were such good sports! At our Women’s Retreat several years ago, they were recruited to allow their makeup to be put on from behind. The girls applying their makeup could only use touch to decide where to place eye shadow, blush, and lipstick.  A little crowd reaction may have guided them as well, but as you can see we weren’t much help!

I’ve been wondering, do we put on our “face” to cover up what’s going on inside?  We think if we make the outside look perfect no one will notice the junk on the inside.  We are afraid that others will judge us, criticize us, or reject us so we try our best to hide our hearts.

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Our children are in the process of potty-training our two and a half year old grandson. He is a willing and happy learner, but he is definitely still in a work in progress. A few weeks ago they shared the following story with me:

“Your grandson is trying, but lately when he misses his potty chair and leaves a little puddle on the floor, he goes and finds Zoe. (Their new puppy, who is still little enough for a two and a half year old boy to carry and is still in training herself).

JJ carries Zoe to the puddle, puts her nose by it, and scolds her.

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