400 words a day: Evening Ritual

I read somewhere the other day that a writer should implement a practice of writing 400 words a day. Just to keep the word-crafting muscles warm. I thought I’d give it a go. I might not, scratch that, I won’t share my 400 words here everyday, lest these pages read, “Yada yada yada…” 397 more times. But tonight, the 400 words felt like something worth sharing.

Photo by Gaspar Zaldo on Pexels.com

I have this ritual every evening where I drive home from work listening to poems or books on Audible or some podcast. Never, almost never, music. And I pull in the driveway unconscious of how I got there. I grab my bag and trash from the fast food breakfast I had on the way to work and head to the front door. 

From almost the first moment out the car door I feel alive for the first time all day. The sounds of chickens cock-a-doodle-dooing, doves cooing, owls whooing, mocking birds tweeting, chirping and squawking, the caw of the peacocks down the street and the whoosh and swish and whispers of the wind in the trees… it’s like a symphony of evening. And I can exhale. 

But a strange shift happens as soon as I walk in my front door. It’s warm and not in a cozy way, but in a someone-open-a-door-and-let-some-fresh-air-in-here way. There’s dirty dishes on the counter. Shirts and sweaters and hats thrown on the kitchen table. Pieces of frozen dinner boxes that missed the trash on the ground and dog hair pooling in the corners. There’s a pile of laundry from the weekend, unfolded on the couch, some fallen to the floor from a hurried digger looking for that one missing sock before work. 

So I call the dog, grab the leash, and happily walk right back out the door again. Its another world. Its Narnia. Its magic. The sky is pale blue, grey, lavender and pink. The moon is full and bright and yellow. The wind is blowing strong enough to make me zip up my sweater. And I’m off. Down the road almost as eager as my shepherd to breath and take in the order, the beauty, the symphony, the calm. 

The shepherd isn’t calm though, he’s a pent up ball of excitement, sniffing out every gust of breeze, tail wagging, feet prancing along. Longing to find that spot he found yesterday or last week, where he marked his place on the street and danced on by while the neighbor’s dogs ran up and down the fence line egging him on with their growls and aggressive barks. We just keep walking though. Keep seeing how far these legs will take us into unwinding and releasing the tension of the day into the air, and the ground, and through observation and inhalation and sniffing.

When we turn the corner to head home, on our typical route, its almost disappointing. It’s not that I don’t want to go home, it’s just that I know once I get there, there’s more work to do. And so this evening ritual is more of a daily sabbath.

Love O’ God In Clover

Oh Ireland, I am your daughter
Generations removed but not the wonder
Drawn to your lore and mystery
I’ve dreamed of you across the sea.

I am a mut, a mix of kin
Grown up in Poor Town, Oregon
My father’s chin, red beard covered,
Reminds me of a special clover

I walked along a mossy path
In Oregon’s green wilderness
My broken heart longed for another
That’s when I saw God’s love in clover

Oh Ireland, your hills are green
Your son, Patrick, helped me believe
When once I saw that sign of love
I prayed, “Oh Lord, bless Ireland”

You love me, Lord
I saw that day
A sure sign
None can take away

For there amidst green hearts of clover
A blood red heart made me to wonder

What two children taught me about my scribbled- up heart

Photo by Allan Mas on Pexels.com

Teaching kids about Jesus presents many opportunities to remember the love that changes us.

Yesterday I was the teacher to a group of kinder through 5th graders. The kids sat at their places around the tables, red construction paper hearts and crayons in front of them and one of the older kids read aloud our Bible verse for the day. 

Indeed, if you fulfill the royal law prescribed in the Scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself, you are doing well.”

James 2:8 CSB

When the child returned to his seat he found that the child next to him had scribbled black crayon all over his red paper heart. The child Bible reader, now red-faced with anger, picked up a crayon and scribbled all over the red paper heart laying in front of the child offender who had ruined his paper heart. The two boys, now red faced, eyes spilling over with tears, were ready to lay down their darkened paper hearts and take up fists with each other. 

The boys were separated, the class called to attention again, and with the demonstration of messing up each others’ hearts before us, we dove into the question from our Bible reading: How in the world do you love your neighbor as yourself?

I can go to church, read my bible quietly with a cup of coffee in the morning, put my ear buds in and listen to my favorite writers spell out hope in Christ from their stories and songs, and feel like I’m doing pretty good. Then people walk in my room, pick up my one fragile heart and start scratching it black with their selfish words, or cold manner, or inconsiderate acts. And then, I don’t feel so much good. 

I’ll never be able to think of being a Christian as something I’m proud of or good at as long as being a Christian means loving my heart-wrenching neighbor as I love myself. 

By the end of our class yesterday all the kids came to the conclusion that we don’t love very well. Not like Jesus did. We decided we need Jesus to help us. And we need to ask for forgiveness a lot.  

And this is how I know Christ has hold of me. I see how he loves. I see how he turns my heart towards others with a desire to give what I have no power in myself to give. I see the brokenness in those around me, and I feel the self-protective snatching of my heart away from potential scribblers, and I say, “Lord, it’s too much! Send them away!” And I hear Jesus say, “No. Give yourself to them.”  And I watch as he takes my meager offerings of a listening ear, a choice to be quiet, or speak up, or get low or stand up and makes them enough to communicate love. 

At the end of our class the older boy went to the younger boy of his own accord, looked him in the eyes and said, “I’m sorry.” The boys hugged each other and played. 

Jesus can make you want to make it right with the person whose heart you marred in revenge and hug the person who turned your tidy heart into a scribbled-up mess.

What do you do when it all seems to be for nothing?

Photo by kira schwarz on Pexels.com

Fear can strangle you. Lies can put you in real danger. Truth can be a hurricane sweeping through and flattening everything you’ve worked to build. And you can be so overcome with the shadow of death that you stop bagging your tomatoes in the produce section and grind your teeth angry, determined to cut off whoever you must to get back some good, normal, happy life.

And what’s the point anyway?

Why the long days of bending low and praying hard and training the vine to grow the right way, if it’s all gonna just get ripped up at the roots and tossed in the gutter? What are we trying to love these people in our four walls for anyway? Is it a waste?

If the ones we love take our arms-open-wide efforts to be patient and kind, to point them to the truth and hold up life-giving boundaries and look us right in the eye and stab us right in the heart without a blink, was it all for nothing?

Maybe the old saying is true- If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! But how do you join in destroying the good? How could that possibly be an alternative?

There are no sentences to write in response to these lamenting questions. Just silence. Just sitting with Job in the ashes and pain in silence. Just waiting. Just three dark days of waiting for the stone to be rolled away.

I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of God’s wrath.
He has driven me away and forced me to walk
in darkness instead of light.
Yes, he repeatedly turns his hand
against me all day long...
Yet I call this to mind,
and therefore I have hope:


Because of the Lord’s faithful love
we do not perish,
for his mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness!
I say, “The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in him.”


The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the person who seeks him.
It is good to wait quietly
for salvation from the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is still young.

Let him sit alone and be silent,
for God has disciplined him.
Let him put his mouth in the dust—
perhaps there is still hope.
Let him offer his cheek
to the one who would strike him;
let him be filled with disgrace.


For the Lord
will not reject us forever.
Even if he causes suffering,
he will show compassion
according to the abundance of his faithful love.
For he does not enjoy bringing affliction
or suffering on mankind.
- Lamentations 3:1-3, 21-33

“…and he will be mocked, insulted, spit on; and after they flog him, they will kill him, and he will rise on the third day.”

Jesus from Luke 18:32 CSB

Free Printable Prayers for Children and Teens

Take the 8 Powerful Prayers To Pray Over Your Children with you in your purse or Bible. Stick them to your mirror, or lay them beside your bed.

Use these scriptures and prayers as a guide and inspiration to pray for your children wherever you are.

Click on the image below for your FREE printable of these 8 prayers and Bible verse.

8 Powerful Prayers To Pray Over Your Child or Teen

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

As a Christian parent, my greatest desire is for my children to trust and follow Jesus. I want good things for them, but the world is full of frightening possibilities that threaten my kids’ faith and future.

Maybe like me, you find yourself overwhelmed with concern for your kids and you just don’t know where to start when it comes to prayer. 

For centuries Christians have written prayers and used the prayers of others as a guide. Even the first disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, and Jesus gave them what we call The Lord’s Prayer

Sometimes we need inspiration to know how to pray. That’s why I wrote this. I hope this post will inspire and help you talk to God about your kids and the anxieties you carry for them.

Scriptures to pray over your children

Prayer is a conversation with God. When we use our Bibles to pray, God talks first, we listen and respond. If we make a practice of talking to God about what we read in our Bibles, we’ll have plenty of help with what to pray for our kids.

Here are 8 Bible verses and prayers to use as a starting place.

Prayer for your children’s protection

I am guilty of wishing I could raise my kids in a bubble. 

Drugs, alcohol, sexual perversions, greed, love of money, abusive people… the options for destruction surround my kids like a pack of wolves. How should I pray?

The famous bedtime prayer, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep,” may sound childish, but the truth is, the Lord is the one who keeps our kids’ souls. He is our hope for their protection. 

The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- whom shall I dread? Though an army deploys against me, my heart will not be afraid; though a war breaks out against me, I will still be confident.”

Psalm 27:4 CSB

Pray like this: 

Lord Jesus, You died and rose to overcome everything that seeks to destroy our children. Please give (enter child’s name) eyes to see the evils they should run from. Whenever (enter child’s name) faces danger, provide him/her a safe place. Give (enter child’s name) hope in Christ when he/she faces something fearful. And provide a way of escape when he/she is tempted by his own desires that lead to sin. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayer for a child in crisis

When we get bad news about our child, or they experience trauma or loss, the overwhelming sense of helplessness is paralyzing. We want our kids to be strong and courageous, but when fear breathes down our necks we too need the anchoring truth of who God is to help us pray. 

God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, though its water roars and foams and the mountains quake with its turmoil.” -Psalm 46:1-3 CSB

Pray like this: 

Heavenly Father, when everything seems to be falling apart you are a strong, safe place to hide. You help in times of trouble. I come to you with my anxieties for (enter child’s name) as he/she faces these challenges. Holy Spirit, be his/her stabilizing strength. Be the Helper I cannot be for (enter child’s name) right now. And help me to know how to come alongside my child in this crisis in a way that strengthens his/her hope in you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayer for children’s health

God has not promised our kids health. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.(John 16:33)” But Jesus also fulfilled the prophecy that says, “…he himself bore our sicknesses…” (Isaiah 53:4) Though our children may not be healed of mental or physical maladies, we can pray they will trust the Christ who bore their brokenness in his own body, and can raise them to new life. 

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will have life even if he dies. And he who lives and believes in me will never die. Martha, do you believe this?” – John 11:25-26

Pray like this:

Risen Lord Jesus! You have overcome sin and death. I pray (enter child’s name) will believe this and trust you, even if he/she has mental or physical health troubles that don’t go away. When (enter child’s name) is suffering with mental/physical pain, help him to look to Jesus for hope and healing. You are the one who heals our bodies and minds and so I ask that you would heal (enter child’s name) of (enter whatever he/she is ill with). But even if you don’t, help me to point (enter child’s name) to the hope of resurrection. In your precious name, amen.

Praying for a rebellious child or teenager

Next to the death of a child, watching a son or daughter rebel against your guidance, and especially against Christ, is heart-wrenching. 

In Psalm 51, David writes a broken-hearted prayer of repentance after his sin was exposed. It was only after recognizing his own sin that he was able to teach others to turn to God. In our prayers for our children we must seek God’s wisdom to discern where our own confession of sin and repentance is needed to help our kids return to obedience.

“Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to you.” -Psalm 51:12-13

Pray like this:

Father, give me a healthy awareness of my own sin and bring back the joy of what Christ has done for me. Give me a willingness to bear with (enter child’s name)’s sin. Only when I am overjoyed with what Jesus has done for me will I be able to teach (enter child’s name) in his/her rebellion. Lord Jesus, give me the joy that may draw (enter child’s name) back to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayer for your child’s future

God knit our children together, weaving their personality, talents and number of days like a master tapestry, before their first cry. We can pray with confidence in the goodness of the God who holds their future in his hands.

“Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:7,11

Pray like this: 

Lord Jesus, I want (enter child’s name) to have a long and happy life. I lay down my grip on (enter child’s name) future, because you hold it in your hands. Please give (enter child’s name) satisfaction in you, no matter what his/her days hold. May (enter child’s name) seek the peace of the people in his/her life. May (enter child’s name) be a person who prays for the people in his/her community and looks to you for his/her hope and security. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayers for your child’s success

Because God’s thoughts are not like ours, the way we and our kids measure success may leave us with an insatiable thirst for more. We want our child’s ideas of success to grow out of God’s thoughts, not their own. Whatever our children set out to do, we want them to be motivated by a desire to glorify God. 

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 CSB

Pray like this: 

Lord Jesus, Whatever (enter child’s name) does for work, at home, with friends, and family, for fun, for growth, I pray he/she would do it for your glory. Let (enter child’s name) feel the honor of being one who bears God’s image. Give (enter child’s name) a desire to honor you with his/her life. And when (enter child’s name) finds he/she is without love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control, may your mercy draw him/her to repentance. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayers for teenage relationships

Next to the “terrible twos,” the teenage years have the most notorious reputation for trouble. 

Teens live in a tension between playful childhood and adult expectations. The fact that teenage relationships are between two immature and broken people means there will inevitably be trouble. We can’t keep our kids from this kind of suffering, but we can pray that in their relationships they will learn to love others well.

“This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you.” – John 15:12 CSB

Pray like this: 

Father God, you created (enter child’s name) to love you with all of his/her being and to love others as he/she loves him/herself. (Enter child’s name) has and will fail to do this, but on the cross you purchased all the ways he/she falls short. Please give (enter child’s name) eyes to see how much you love him/her. Give (enter child’s name) a desire to learn to love others well. Give (enter child’s name) a good friend, who will point him/her to you. If it is your will, at the right time, give (enter child’s name) a spouse who will help him/her follow Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Prayers for my daughter or son to come home

The goal of parenting is to launch our children out into the world equipped to follow Jesus. We want this to be a deliberate and happy launch. We don’t want anger, shame, and lust for the world to drive our kids away from home. When a child leaves home in rebellion, the desire for them to come home is a desire for reconciled relationships. Like the Father in the prodigal son story, we must look for restoration. Praying is how we watch for the day when God brings our child back to a right relationship with us and him. 

“So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. – Luke 15:20 CSB

Pray like this:

Father God, you are a good, good Father. Your children have rebelled against you despite your faithful love. Please give (enter child’s name) a moment of coming to his/her senses. Help (enter child’s name) to see his/her own sin and your amazing love, and turn to you. Restore (enter child’s name) to a healthy relationship with his family and with you. Help me to be prepared to receive (enter child’s name) back with joy and life-giving boundaries. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Never Stop Praying

As our kids grow through the various stages of life we must never stop praying for them. Using these 8 verses and prayers we can begin praying with confidence in what God says. The Holy Spirit will help us when we’re weak and don’t know what to pray.

“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.” (1 Samuel 12:23)

And click here to get free printables of these 8 scriptures and prayers. And here for an editable word document of the same.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Photo by Gotta Be Worth It on Pexels.com
I saw his determined face on every screen, today.

I wonder if I have a clue. 
I'm far removed from dark scars on backs, and
Souls that bellowed gospel songs in groans.

I have no idea how it feels to be beaten for drinking from the "whites only" fountain.
I know nothing of shame for a look on my pale face that caused a black man to be blamed.
I don't know, what I don't know...
but I'm listening. 

I hear his dream 
I feel Freedom rattling the chains of my soul
Justice calls deep springs to gush forth
and I find myself aching for the Day of Peace.






What I wrote in 2021 and what I dream about writing in 2022

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I spent the morning thinking about what I value. I asked myself what the why is behind what I write. I came to the conclusion that I value peace in relationships, overcoming conflict and trouble and helping others overcome conflict and trouble.

I value honoring the Imago Dei in people and the truth that Christ’s redemptive work means nothing is wasted or vain in the Christian’s life.

I care about learning from history and nature and gaining wisdom from the Bible and forefathers and sharing that wisdom with others.

I treasure telling kids about Jesus.

I care about seeking wholeness for myself and others. Being productive is important to me as well as resting. I’m an easily-fatigued, low-energy person, but I value doing something that makes a difference for good in my life and the lives of those around me.

As I’ve thought through these ideas and truths I care about, I hope to use them to guide my writing in 2022.

Looking back over what I’ve written and published, either by blog or another web magazine, in 2021. In 2021 I wrote 20 published pieces. Seventeen of them on my blog. Three online magazines. The purpose of this review was to inventory what I enjoyed most, what the impact was, and what themes I wrote on. 

I have a hard time naming the themes in my writings. Most of my posts are personal reflections or thoughts on something I’m troubled by or have been helped by. Two of my posts were book reviews. About a quarter of the blog posts are poems. But three-quarters of my blog is an attempt to persuade others to think differently on a certain subject I see popping up on social media, or to think about God or the hope of Jesus in hard times, or something I”m learning in life or marriage or parenting. 

What’s interesting to me is that the posts with the most views were the posts I didn’t expect much of a response from. The series on Remembering God did better than I expected. And the poetry posts (which I love to write) were a viewer flop. I still love writing poetry. Blog views or none.  

The three articles I submitted to online publications did well. I enjoyed writing the poem to Fathom Mag the most, but it seems to have had the least impact. The TGC article about marriage has generated a lot of private messages and even a long phone call with a perfect stranger from across the country. The Risen Motherhood article on Launching Adults is probably the article I most enjoyed working on. 

Reflecting on what I wrote this year I realized something else- I didn’t achieve the goals I set for writing in 2021. My goal for 2021 was to submit a book proposal about being married to someone who doesn’t worship Jesus. The running title in my mind was: Even If. Following Jesus even when your spouse does not. I did work on several brainstorm sessions about that book, but I couldn’t get past the ugh feeling in my gut. I just don’t really want to write a book about my marriage. I guess I’m torn about it. Part of me feels called to write about my marriage to an unbeliever because I know it’s an underserved topic in teachings and writings among Christians. But the rest of me feels a bit of bitterness about it. I’ve dreamt of writing a book that would inspire and encourage others, but I never thought it would be about the difficult marriage I continue in, with love.  I guess I just haven’t worked out my own inner trouble on this subject yet. Maybe one day.

I had also planned to compile the poetry I’ve written over the years into different themed groups. I don’t expect I’d have much of a chance of getting my poems published in a traditional way. I don’t think I”m that great of a poet either. But I’d like to organize my poems and print them into small booklets that I could give to friends and family as gifts. That never happened. I plan to take this up again this year. I’ve already started compiling a group on the subject of sojourning through the liturgical/historical Church year. I’m thinking of a compilation towards Easter. And one towards Christmas. The Church has been a stream forming how I think and the shape I take in framing the world. I want to write poetry along those lines. 

Years ago I wrote a poem I imagined as a children’s book about a king and a dragon. I’d like to either develop the poem into a grade-school aged reader’s book, or into a picture book for children. I don’t even know where to begin there. But I’ll do my research and if, like the poetry books it seem unlikely, I’ll print it and even take a stab at illustrating it and send it out as a gift for friends and family. 

Today’s reflection on what I wrote in 2021 led to a couple other writing dreams I have. I would like to do some research and write at least a good article (and maybe that would lead to a book) on the subject of the historical church and healthcare and how our history might call us to do something about the healthcare crisis in America as Christians. Another dream- write something inspirational about how it’s not a waste of your life to spend your entire life letting Jesus teach you how to love another well.

So now you know what I wrote in 2021 and what I’m dreaming about writing in 2022. I’d love to hear what writing impacted you in 2021 and what you’d love to read in 2022.

Here are the links to my top 10 blog posts of 2021 in order of most viewed, and my published online magazine articles:

From my blog:

#1 How Four Flawed Churches Helped Me Love Christ More

#2 Bidding Moms of Young Children to Rest in the Power of Christ- A book review

#3 Purity culture: The fruit of our “lawish hearts”- A book review

#4 On Looking Up

#5 Peacemaking

#6 Remember God Can Replace Anyone’s Heart

#7 Ashes, Ashes

#8 Learning From My Marriage: Three Practices To Build Compassion When We Disagree

#9 Remember The Mystery

#10 Remember The Hope of Glory

From the web:

TGC: God hasn’t wasted my marriage to an unbeliever

Risen Motherhood: Launching Adults

Fathom Mag: 27 Years Deep

Redemption is better than resolution

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Every year we resolve to do better. To loose weight. To exercise more. To use less screens and get outside more. And I love this time of year. I love the idea of fresh starts and clean slates, as though magically when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve, all the pain, and fears, all the conflict, all the scars from 2021 or the entire past forty-seven complicated years will disappear like a shaken etch-a-sketch. But this messy life doesn’t work that way. Scars remain. The unfulfilled desires continue to growl like an empty belly.

Why do we love the idea of starting over so much? Maybe it’s because we think we have the power to save our own lives. I know for me at least, I want a clean surface to start making a mess on again. I want a clean kitchen before I cook, and a tidy, vacuumed living room before I sit to read a book by the light coming through the window. But our inner lives, our habits, our struggles, our brokenness, the ways we fail to love one another as we love ourselves- these can’t be tidied up, put in cupboards and made right with a nice burning candle or resolution list. Better than our resolves to do better, is the redeeming work of Christ.

Instead of going into 2022 with an ideal plan to fix my anything-but ideal life, I’m looking at what Christ has promised me- that he has and is redeeming my whole messy life- and I’m just going to thank him.

I’m going to believe that his unearned favor and love is enough. I’m going to forget and then turn and re-remember his body broken for me a thousand times ten thousand times, by his grace.

The preacher told us yesterday to take the mindset of clinging to Jesus in 2022, in the midst of our pain and brokenness. Instead of a clean slate I want to wrestle with the Lord, like Jacob, and never let go until he blesses, until I can confess who I am and he changes my name.

In 2022 I will set goals, and make plans, and try to replace bad habits with good ones. But I won’t look at 2022 and my efforts like some self-made clean slate. Rather, I’ll take the soil of my life and let the word of Christ get in me, and germinate something new. Something strong. Something stronger than the weeds I have growing everywhere.

He who began a good work in you, and in me, will be faithful to complete it. So, by his amazing grace I’ll keep turning back to him in 2022.

I, the Lord, made you,

and I will not forget you.

I have swept away your sins like a cloud.

I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist.

Oh, return to me,

 for I have paid the price to set you free.”

-Isaiah 44:21-22 NLT

A Long Repentance In The Same Direction

Photo by Serkan Bayraktar on Pexels.com

Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience In The Same Direction, is a favorite of mine. The title has served as sort of mantra for me over the years. But today, thinking and talking to God as I do my errands, it hit me that a better motto for my life may be: A long repentance in the same direction.

Every year around this time I pull out a journal I only use after Christmas and before the new year. I purchased it 17 years ago, when my marriage seemed to be over and I was pregnant with our second son. The cover of the cheap journal is now faded. The red poinsettia print is a dark pink. But the word “Faith” on the cover still holds.

Each year I’ve written prayers and confessed my weariness in those pages. When I read that journal at the end of every year, I’m actually embarrassed that I keep struggling with the same fears and desires. Desires that never seem fulfilled.

Tonight I opened my new copy of the Book of Common Prayer. I’m not Anglican. There’s not a bit of High Church in me. But I’m drawn to the structure of the BCP. Tonight’s reading from the evening prayer is all about repentance.

He heard me in the car. He knows my path. Every year I press on in the direction of Resurrection Day. And my daily progress towards that day is not so much a straight path of obedience, but a detoured, dizzying trail of turnings. Turnings away from bitterness towards tenderheartedness. Getting up and turning from head down faithlessness, towards my Father, believing He is good. No matter what.

“I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. “

Luke 15:18-20 Christian Standard Bible