The Minds of Children

One reason nearly half my books are for children is the glorious fact that the minds of children are still open to the living word; in the child, nightside and sunside are not yet separated; fantasy contains truths which cannot be stated in terms of proof….  The most grownup of us is not very grownup at all… the most mature of us is pretty immature… we still have a vast amount to learn.

— Madeleine L’Engle, The Irrational Season, quoted in Glimpses of Grace, compiled by Carole F. Chase

Secret Boundaries

The Law of Exposure says that your boundaries need to be made visible to others and communicated to them in relationship.  We have many boundary problems because of relational fears.  We are beset by fears of guilt, not being liked, loss of love, loss of connection, loss of approval, receiving anger, being known, and so on.  These are all failures in love, and God’s plan is that we learn how to love….

Because of these fears, we try to have secret boundaries.  We withdraw passively and quietly, instead of communicating an honest no to someone we love.  We secretly resent instead of telling someone that we are angry about how they have hurt us.  Often, we will privately endure the pain of someone’s irresponsibility instead of telling them how their behavior affects us and other loved ones, information that would be helpful to their soul….

An important thing to remember about boundaries is that they exist, and they will affect us, whether or not we communicate them….  If our boundaries are not communicated and exposed directly, they will be communicated indirectly or through manipulation.

— Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend, Boundaries, p. 100-101

Choose To Be Happy.

When a relationship is over, it stings, and it’s frightening because you don’t know what lies ahead.  The good news is that what happens from there on is up to you.  If you want to be happy, let go of the belief that you are nothing without him and take on the attitude that you are and can be what you choose to be without him.  In fact, let’s just leave him out of the sentence altogether.  Now it reads:  You are and can be what you choose to be.  So choose to be independent.  Choose to be strong.  Choose to be happy.

— Dan Baker, PhD, and Cathy Greenberg, PhD, What Happy Women Know, p. 127

No Unforgiveable Sins

The scandalousness of God’s indiscriminate forgiveness hits us even harder when we are called on to imitate it.  When we need to forgive, most of us, perhaps unconsciously, feel entitled to draw a circle around the scope of forgiveness.  We should forgive some, maybe even most, wrongdoings, but certainly not all.

Maybe we think unintentional offenses are forgivable, and deliberate ones are not.  But how would we draw the line?  How intentional would the offense need to be?  If the offense were truly unintentional, there would be something to be sorry about but nothing to forgive; it was just an accident.  Or maybe we think small offenses are forgivable, and horrendous ones are not.  But again, where would we draw the line?  An offense is an offense and has as much right to be forgiven as any other, which is no right at all.  No line separates offenses that should be forgiven from those that should not.  There are no unforgivable sins.

— Miroslav Volf, Free of Charge, p. 178-179

Pleasing Yourself

Happiness is not found in pleasing others at the expense of self.  It is not doing what others think you should do.  Happiness comes when you do what pleases you for the sake of pleasing yourself.  Think about this for a moment:  No one could quibble that Mother Teresa was one of the most altruistic people of the 20th century.  She didn’t have to do what she was doing.  She did it because it pleased her.  From my observation, she found profound personal pleasure in caring for others and serving God.

— Dan Baker, PhD, and Cathy Greenberg, PhD, What Happy Women Know, p. 84


There will come a time in your relationship when your lover hurts you and you have to grieve the wound.  Perhaps your spouse has an affair, or you may simply be hurt by a fundamental difference in beliefs or habits.  Experiencing such pain does not mean there is anything wrong with you or the relationship. . .  A period of pain and anger will follow as you deal with the loss.  This period is commonly called “grieving,” and it’s an important part of the process of forgiveness.

It is normal to experience emotional distress when our world is shaken.  It is also human nature to grieve losses and to suffer when we are mistreated. . . .

Every time you disagree with or are hurt by your lover, you must acknowledge the pain you are dealing with.  Most of the time the pain will last only for a moment, and then you can remember why you love your partner, come up with a benign explanation, and get over it.  In those situations, the grief response will be very quick.  Your gut will suddenly feel tight, or there will be a swear word on your lips. . . .

Not all difficulties, hoever, are ones that we can move through without an active and extended time of grieving.  The period of grief begins when we fully embrace the reality that there is a painful experience in our relationship that we do not want and we cannot change.  We accept our inability to make a change, and this acceptance allows us to then feel the sadness, anger, and fear that come with loss.

An ability to grieve appropriately is a necessary part of a successful marriage, but many couples do not realize this.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Love, p. 173-174

Appreciate What You Have

If you keep in mind that happiness depends more on your state of mind than it does on your bank statement, you will understand that there can be only one tool to free you from the money trap:  Appreciate and focus on what you have and don’t lament what you don’t have.

If you focus on what you don’t have, you’re going to be miserable.  And that will happen again and again, because guaranteed, there will always be someone who has more than you do.  If you look instead at what you do have, and I mean across the board, not simply the house and the car — if you look at your relationships and anything else that is meaningful to you, you cannot help but embrace and celebrate life for what it is. . . .

In the end, happy women know it’s not the woman who dies with the most pairs of shoes who garners the prize; it’s the one who has had the most fun dancing in them who is truly the winner.

— Dan Baker, PhD, and Cathy Greenberg, PhD, What Happy Women Know, p. 60-61

The Shepherd

I’m back to the shepherd and the sheep.  When the sheep follow the shepherd, they find pasture.  They find life.  Life doesn’t just magically come to us.  We have to make ourselves available to it.  There is a lifestyle that allows us to receive the life of God.  I know that if I will live more intimately with Jesus and follow his voice, I will have a much better chance of finding the life I long for.  I know it.  If I will listen to his voice and let him set the pace, if I will cooperate in my transformation, I will be a much happier man.  And so a new prayer has begun to rise within me.  I am asking God, What is the life you want me to live?

— John Eldredge, Walking with God, p. 28

Do Not Lose Hope.

“When all of this comes to pass, My word to you is this:  Do not lose hope.  A plan is unfolding that you cannot clearly see.  If you could see it as I do, you would still hurt, but you would not lose hope.  You would gladly remain faithful to Me in the middle of the worst suffering.  I guarantee you the power to please Me, not to have a good time.  But pleasing Me will bring you great joy.

“In the deepest part of your soul, you long more than anything else to be a part of My plan, to further My kingdom, to know Me and please Me and enjoy Me.  I will satisfy that longing.  You have the power to represent Me well no matter what happens in your life.  That is the hope I give  you in this world.  Don’t lose it.”

— Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams:  God’s Unexpected Pathway to Joy, p. 46