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Allison Althoff
Allison Althoff
Natalie Lederhouse
Natalie Lederhouse

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May 10, 2013

This Mother’s Day, Make a List of Things You Resent about Your Mother

Oh, and then throw it away.

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When I was four years old, I got my left ring finger stuck in a belt sander. It sanded off my finger nail, and much of the skin beneath it. My mom made woodcrafts, and I’d been “helping” her while she sanded something down, cleaning off the sawdust from the table, the floor, and in a not-so-brilliant move, the powered-on sander. The cloth I was using to dust got stuck in the rotating belt, and my finger quickly followed. My mom turned it off as quickly as she could, and as tears rolled down my eyes, her soft, strong arms carried me from the basement up to the living room. We sat in the big pink chair in our living room for what felt like an eternity, my mom rocking me back and forth, holding a cloth to my hand, me crying, and eventually, her crying as well.

That’s the kind of mom she was, and still is. She felt my pain so deeply, it caused her pain as well. I’ll never forget that day, and the intense love I felt as my mom wept over me. I remember thinking that I’d never felt safer.

Continue reading This Mother’s Day, Make a List of Things You Resent about Your Mother ...

May 7, 2013

Donald Miller on The Mentoring Project

The New York Times best-selling author on the importance of mentorship and his appreciation for his mother

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New York Times best-selling author Donald Miller grew up in a world of women—his mother, sister, and a nearby aunt—and recently spoke with TCW about the unique challenges of a fatherless boyhood. The voice behind Blue Like Jazz, To Own a Dragon, and more is thankful for his mother, aunt, and father-figures brought into his life at various points, and is currently sharing the blessing of mentorship and guidance with fatherless boys across the country through advocacy and training organization The Mentoring Project.

“Eighty-five percent of the men in prison grew up without fathers,” Miller says. “I'm convinced America's hope lies with the church stepping in to mentor the fatherless.”

The Mentoring Project
is a nationwide movement to support single moms and their children by providing practical support for single moms, providing basic needs including help with household repairs, for example—and other resources. Here’s what Miller had to say to TCW about the project, and his thankfulness for his mother’s influence in his life.

Continue reading Donald Miller on The Mentoring Project...

May 6, 2013

Conflict, Bitterness, and Resentment: Overcoming Fall-Out with a Friend

Negative thinking blinded me from seeing my friend as she really is

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I’m not one to confront conflict with courage. So I was not looking forward to meeting with one of my church friends last week. It would be no ordinary get together. No cooking experiments or shopping—it was a meeting to figure out why we couldn’t get along.

The conflict began innocently enough with a careless word that led to a misunderstanding. Now more than 18 months later, this unresolved hurt has festered into an unhealed sore, and it has tainted every encounter between us.

Continue reading Conflict, Bitterness, and Resentment: Overcoming Fall-Out with a Friend...

May 1, 2013

Mental Illness and the Church: A Q&A with Amy Simpson

How the church can help debunk myths surrounding schizophrenia

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an opportunity for all of us to learn more about mental illness, mental health, and how we can offer support to one another. Within the Christian community, this is also a time of unprecedented attention on the topic of mental illness, after the tragic news that Matthew Warren, son of high-profile pastor Rick Warren and wife Kay, died by suicide after a lifelong struggle with mental illness.

In honor of this month’s focus on mental health, we spoke with Amy Simpson, author of the brand-new book Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission.

Continue reading Mental Illness and the Church: A Q&A with Amy Simpson...

April 30, 2013

God is My Refuge and Strength

When our marriage went cold, my greatest source of comfort came from this passage of Scripture

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Last winter, as the snow fell and life became barren, my marriage followed suit. I can't pinpoint what changed. Perhaps it came from years of issues we thought were resolved yet really stayed just below the surface, ready to jump back to the forefront whenever we got into a fight. Maybe it came as a result of the fact that I was working on a big project that demanded more of my time and energy. Maybe it was the seven-year itch I'd heard others warn me about. I can't say. All I know is that everything in our relationship changed and I didn't like it. More accurately, I didn't like my husband. I voiced my complaints. Loudly.

My closest friends knew everything my husband said or did that most affected me. Allen heard all about my heartache and disappointment. He began to feel hopeless and his level of confidence plummeted. As my finger wagged and triggered his insecurities, he retaliated, unconsciously trying to bring me down to where I took him. We began our dance on broken glass.

Continue reading God is My Refuge and Strength...

April 22, 2013

Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

Tips on how to live in sustainable simplicity

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Many Christians feel overwhelmed, confused, and even depressed about the issue of the environment. How green should we be? Should Christians try to preserve and care for the earth? Let’s strip away all the complications of politics and stereotypes for a moment and explore this issue together. Regardless of your right-ness or left-ness or your red-ness or blue-ness, we can all agree upon this central truth: God created a marvelously rich and beautiful world that is indeed “very good” (Genesis 1:31). We honor him by gratefully caring for it.

What’s one step you can focus on now to care for the planet and live in greater simplicity? Consider these 10 ideas:

Continue reading Top 10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day...

April 15, 2013

What Martha and I Have in Common

Like Mary, I have a desire for deep relationships, but like Martha, I often let work get in the way

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Sometimes I think my middle name should be Martha. I get stuff done. I like checking stuff off a list. My friends know if they need help with a project they can call me. If my church needs volunteers for an event, I’m there. These are all good things. I enjoy using the task-oriented problem-solving personality God gave me. But sometimes my do list gets in the way of my relationships.

Continue reading What Martha and I Have in Common...

April 11, 2013

Find God's Will for Your Life

Why it is important to pay attention to who he made you to be

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There are few things more attractive, more noticeable, than someone who's pursuing an activity she loves and is good at. We've all had the remarkable experience of sitting in a classroom listening to a teacher who engages and awakens the deepest parts of who we are. I have a friend who runs a gardening service, and as I listen to him talk about keeping a family's yard looking nice, the joy and skill he brings to what he does are obvious. You find your gifts by paying attention to who God made you to be.

What gives you life? What are you good at? What do you love to do? What consistent patterns are noticeable in you that may be clues to your design and calling? Before he met Christ, the apostle Paul was an activist and a zealot—an articulate opponent of the church. When he met Christ, he continued to be an activist and a zealot, but he changed for whom he worked. Acts 9:20 says he at once began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. He didn't change who he was by design, but he did change the Lordship in his life.

Continue reading Find God's Will for Your Life...

April 8, 2013

Spring Cleaning for My Soul

I set out to clean my closets, but God had a bigger decluttering project in mind.

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Every April, I think a lot about spring cleaning. Visions of closets filled with neatly organized bins in trendy designs dance in my mind. I picture my desk completely cleaned off with only a few tidy, colored-coordinated piles. I even smile thinking about wiping down the miles of wood baseboards in our 1920s home.

But thinking about it is as far as it goes. At the end of the day, the task is just too daunting because I have way too much stuff. I have a room full of crafting supplies, a closet filled with an embarrassing number of clothes, and boxes of books that never got unpacked after our last move.

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April 3, 2013

The XX Factor: Girl Power

When your husband’s companionship doesn’t cut it, female friendship does

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I’ve been married for almost two years, and I finally made it out of the honeymoon phase this past month. The first sign I had made my exit was when I got annoyed that my husband, Jeremy, stole all of my covers the other night.

The second sign was when I started yearning for more girlfriends in my life. For almost two years, I was perfectly content to spend every waking moment with my husband (only a slight exaggeration). For the most part, my social needs were met, or so I thought. What actually happened, though, was that I ignored my need for deep, encouraging friendships with other women. As a result, I’ve become pretty lonely.

After college, I moved away from my closest friends for graduate school. After graduate school, I married Jeremy. Now two years later, I am desperately thirsty for a friend—and not just any friend. I want a friend who knows my deepest thoughts without me even telling her; a friend that will confront me when I’m not honoring God in my life; a friend I can encourage and come to know just as deeply as she knows me.

Continue reading The XX Factor: Girl Power...

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