Dear Friends,

It is with great joy that I write to share two pieces of good news:

First: I’m going to grad school! Last week I got accepted into the Master of Arts in Apologetics program at Houston Baptist University, and I start my first class on Tuesday. While in some ways this is the fulfillment of a 20-year-old dream, in other ways it feels like it came out of left field. I am both excited and daunted. When I got the reading list for my first course, I owned and had read four of the seven required books already. And when I got the course outline, I couldn’t stop grinning with anticipation and delight over the reading, writing, and discussion assignments. Clearly, I’m in the right place.

Second: I reached out to a web designer in the fall, and he and I will be redesigning my website for the first time since I launched it in 2009. (Yay!) As part of the redesign, I’ll be creating a monthly (I hope) newsletter for subscribers, which will replace my current RSS feed. (If you’re a subscriber to my RSS feed, you’ll automatically be included in the newsletter mailing list. If you’re not an RSS subscriber, I’ll post an invitation to subscribe to the newsletter once it’s live.) All this is going to take some time, especially since my attention will be diverted to class reading and writing (see paragraph above), but I hope to have all the things in place by summer. (Fingers crossed.)

And now for a story (which is related, I promise):

I’ve been doing yoga almost daily for about two years now. It is one of the ways that I pray, engaging my whole body in focusing on God. When I started, my balance and strength were pitiful—one particular balance pose landed me on the floor every time I attempted it. It was pretty hilarious, honestly, the way my ankles wobbled and my arms windmilled before I went over.

But I kept getting back up and trying again. Day after day as I wobbled about in that balance pose, I imagined God grabbing me by the ankle and holding me to the floor, drawing the roots of my soul down deep into the Ground of His Being so I might be like that tree planted by streams of water (Psalm 1, Jeremiah 17). I prayed that He would so deeply root me and ground me in His love that I would be able to comprehend how wide and long and high and deep that love is and would know His love that surpasses knowledge that I might be filled to the measure with all the fullness of Him (Eph 3:17-19).

And over time, my strength and balance improved. I could feel my roots growing deeper, the sinews of my soul growing stronger. Within a few months, I could hold the pose; I was still wobbly, but I didn’t fall. These days, unless I am very tired, I am rock solid in that pose. So when a friend told me about a balance pose he was working on, I decided it was time to spice up my yoga routine and try something new. After all, I was really solid in the balance poses I was already doing. How hard could this one be? (You know what’s coming, right?)

This new pose is a one-legged pose based on Warrior 2. The one-legged pose I spent so many months getting good at is based on Warrior 1. For those of you unfamiliar with yoga, Warrior 1 is a front-facing pose. Warrior 2 rotates the upper body to the side. The reason I mention this is because it means that the two poses have different centers of gravity, something I didn’t fully realize until I tried the new balance pose—and promptly fell on my bum. Two months in, and I’m no longer falling on my backside. But my ankles still wobble, I still fall out of the pose more often than I hold it, and I still can’t lift my hand off the floor for more than a second or two.

Several weeks ago I realized that the timing of my decision to try a new balance pose was not an accident of happenstance. The experience of physically shifting my center of gravity and falling down mirrored the changes brewing in my life.  Grad school is the biggest change, but there are others. My center of gravity is shifting.

And I will fall. I will fail. I am not yet grounded enough in God’s love and truth to not fall when circumstances shift.

But this is what I know: though my center of gravity may shift, though my focus may change, though my arms may open in a different direction (or windmill like mad), the floor has not moved. The ground is exactly where it has always been, with the exact same capacity to uphold me when I stand and catch me when I fall. It’s not going anywhere, and it never will. This Ground is solid. Trustworthy. Unchanging.

Friends, whatever this new year brings I pray that you would be rooted and grounded in God, that you would know in the sinews of your souls how wide and long and high and deep is His love for you, and that you would live with confidence that He upholds and surrounds you always.

With joy,