10 best links of 2009

Compiled from my links blog, here are some of my very favorite posts and articles that I read in 2009 (in no particular order):

1. Overcoming root sins

Everyone should read this. It’s a guide to help you recognize which sins are at the root of your most common sinful tendencies, along with specific, practical steps for how to deal with them (it even offers a worksheet!) As I read the examples of the manifestations of some of these root sins, I kept nervously looking over my shoulder, thinking, “Does this guy know me?” It’s an invaluable guide for taking your spiritual life to the next level. (discovered via Drozmonkey)

2. “Where is the Body of Christ?

This is a post that has haunted me for a long time, making me ask myself, “Am I really doing enough?” In it a missionary in Africa details the shocking poverty that she sees all around her, and makes a point that I had never considered before: there are about 168.8 million children in the world in dire need…and 2.1 billion people who profess to be Christians. If only 8% of those Christians would help one needy child, all the children would be taken care of. She doesn’t hold back when she says: “I DO NOT BELIEVE that the God of the universe created too many children in His image and not enough love or food or care to go around. In fact I believe that He created the Body of Christ for just that, to help these little ones, the least of these. And I believe that except for a handful, the Body of Christ is failing.” Some challenging thoughts that are well worth considering. (discovered via Small Treasures)

3. Do the little things well, and everything else will fall into place

This post, written by a mother of seven, is overflowing with wisdom. After a difficult birth with her sixth child, she ended up getting double pneumonia, and then the flu. In the midst of feeling utterly overwhelmed with her life, a friend gave her some priceless advice that she shares with us in this post. I think of it often on tough days.

4. The heavens proclaim…

This video of what happened when astronomers pointed the Hubble telescope to what they thought was an empty patch of space is one of the most astonishing things I’ve ever seen. (My thoughts on how this sort of thing never fails to strengthen my faith are here.)

5. “Dog needs water

The actual title of this post is The Perfect Marriage, but it is forever implanted in my mind as the “dog needs water” post. It’s the story of one woman’s deal with God to improve her marriage by focusing on how she could be a better wife, rather than haranguing her husband about how he needed to change. (The scene that I most remember is where she’s come home from a long day’s work, is cleaning the kitchen, and before her husband goes to relax he calls over his shoulder, “Dog needs water.”) Though it’s about a marriage, I think it has good food for thought for trusting God with all sorts of challenging relationships. (discovered via Pursuing Titus 2)

6. A message in the midst of darkness

When I first read this post at All You Who Hope, a blog by a 32-year-old woman struggling with infertility and adoption difficulties, I was amazed. Just when it seemed that she had reached rock bottom, God stepped in in a big way, sending her and her husband a message of hope. I read it when she first wrote it back in November, and then fell behind on my blog reading for a while. When I went to see what was new the other day, I was blown away to see that an adoption opportunity had come up out of the blue, just a few weeks after their message, and they finally received the greatest gift they could have ever asked for. I wiped tears out of my eyes as I thought of the words God sent them back in November: I have not abandoned you.

7. Top 10 unsolved mysteries

This great list of unsolved mysteries, which includes subjects like the lost crew of the Mary Celeste, the Voynich manuscript, and the “babushka lady” who may have close-up footage of the Kennedy assassination, really got my imagination going. (Scroll down to see the content — the ads at the top are somewhat confusing.) The follow-up list was good too.

8. Radical forgiveness

This is a breathtaking story which recounts the stunning moment Corrie Ten Boom chose to forgive a guard at the concentration camp where her sister died. Maybe even more inspiring than that were some of the last words her sister said before she died: “[We] must tell them what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.”

9. How to recognize God’s voice

This practical guide to discernment has been invaluable to me as I go through daily life. It’s one of the clearest, most concise explanations of how to recognize God’s voice in your life that I’ve seen. (discovered via Shylock)

10. Rethinking joy

You’ll need to get out your Kleenex for this one, but this post by Emilie Lemmons is a must-read. In it she talks about her struggles with anger and depression as a wife and mother with stage IV cancer with a poor prognosis, and how she came to understand the critical distinction between happiness and joy. “I rage against the possibility that I might die and leave my children motherless, my husband a widower, ” she writes. “[But] what if I just let go of that? What if I trust that even if I die tomorrow or next month or next year, things will somehow work out? What if I allow myself to put the outcome in God’s hands and just live intensely in the present, absorbing and embracing life as it happens?” Tragically, Emilie passed away on Christmas Eve of 2008, about a week after she wrote that article. Her words have echoed in my mind over the past year, giving me inspiration in the midst of my own minuscule struggles. I hope they inspire you as well.

RUNNERS UP

  • Never confuse love with pity: A fantastic article about how the world mistakenly perceives people with disabilities, and what the meaning of life really is.

  • Stolen picture: A blogger finds that a family picture that she posted on Facebook is being used in an ad in the Czech Republic!
  • Suburban spiritual warfare: A raw, honest post about struggling for spiritual greatness on the battlefield of suburbia.
  • Ten things you didn’t know about the Apollo 11 moon landing: Buzz Aldrin had to make sure not to lock the door when he went out because there was NO OUTER HANDLE?! Just a little bit stressful to think, “Gee, I hope I don’t forget and shut that door, seeing as how we’d be STRANDED ON THE FREAKING MOON and all.”
  • Rules of engagement for Christians on the internet: We should all read this before going online. It’s written for Catholics, but I think it applies just as well to all Christians.
  • Born toward dying: A magnum opus on death written by Richard John Neuhaus the year before he died.

I hope you all enjoy these links as much as I did!

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Comments

  1. T. Paine says

    Fantastic! Just discovered your blog and I'm definitely hooked! Your writing is excellent, insightful, and inspiring. God bless!

  2. TaraS says

    Thank you for #3!! I run a family daycare so that I can stay home with my kids, and clarity of daily purpose is something that I have been sorely lacking. Food and clothes. Food and clothes.

  3. Leila says

    Thanks so much for the link to my post! I really appreciate your kind words, and I look forward to reading the other posts.

    I admire your blog very much!

    God bless!

  4. brooksfamdownunder@gmail.com says

    Jen-

    Wow I haven't made it through all of them but the post from KissesfromKatie literally brought me to my knee's with humility. I stayed up half the night reading this amazing girl's blog. Wow. Life changing. thank you- again!

    Jenell Brooks

  5. Johanna Lamb =) says

    Wow! What a great collection of posts. Thank you for sharing them! God only hit me with a 2X4 on like all of them and i have tears in my eyes, but totally normal. Guess I'll go pray the Rosary and think about all this. Thanks a lot!

  6. Kate Wicker @ Momopoly says

    Rethinking Joy was absolutely beautiful, and I enjoyed the other links as well. Thank you, Jen.

  7. Charity says

    Thank you so much for pointing us to these links, Jen! I have a very dear friend who has been struggling with her faith since her mother died 2 years ago. On top of this, her husband lost his job last year and after a long and difficult search could only find work out of the country. As a result, the family life has been greatly strained as she has begged her husband to change careers so he could be home. Her struggle has been dark. She either questions God's existence or feels he cares nothing at all for her. The darkness has affected her interactions with her children and others. Often I try to help guide her but sometimes it feels like I'm digging through a brick wall with a sewing needle. I sent her the links to Dog Needs Water and Our Message from All You Who Hope a few days ago and she was so moved that she called me almost immediately to thank me. These posts touched her in a way that nothing I said could do. This was just hours before her husband would survive a huge earthquake and make it home safely to their 3 year old son and 10 month old baby. He was working in Haiti and was at the epicenter of the quake. Mysteriously God's grace has saved him from harm and made a path for his return home, when so many more Americans and others are still struggling to get out. She says it was truly a miracle to get him home last night.
    I can only imagine the grieving of so many over such a disaster. It hurts to think about how broken our world is. I continue to pray for those affected by the quake. But I also feel grateful for God's way of working to bring good out of desolation. My friend was just beside herself with relief when she called me to tell me she was picking up her husband from the airport. She said it was the last time she would be picking him up from Haiti. This has created an opportunity for him to come back to his family and reconsider his career path. This is the answer to many prayers.
    She told me those posts were a real kick in the pants. I think God was preparing her heart so my friend with her faltering faith could more fully receive that same message from God that He wants us all to know: I have not abandoned you.

  8. Jennifer @ Conversion Diary says

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Charity – thank you so much for sharing that story. Wow!!

  9. Leslie says

    wow, thank you for posting these links. some really great articles here. I found your blog from Steady Mom and I'm really intrigued by it.

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