On December 29, 2010, the woman who later became my wife emailed me a question. We’d known each other about a year, and (unknown to us) we were a couple of months away from dating. But she was a new convert, I was a pastoral intern, so I must’ve seemed […]

Does Hell Last Forever? Part 1 (Justin’s Letter to Tilly)


My two-year-old gave herself a haircut yesterday. The first thing she said when I came in the room and found her with the scissors in her hands was, “It was too brown.” Then, feeling around for justification when she saw my wide open mouth, she changed that to, “It—it—it was […]

Mamas: Lay down your life or have it taken from ...



When I was a little girl, I was absolutely content in my family’s material position. We lived in a variety of homes—city and country, rented and owned, renovated and rough. There were seasons when my parents were squeezed by the worry of not knowing where the ends would meet. But […]

Contentment in the face of plenty


Quick report on my week of no screens. It was a short break. It wasn’t a full break either—I answered some time-sensitive emails and texts, I did some writing on a laptop, and I found myself checking Facebook more than once without even knowing that I had typed the word […]

3 things the screen fast did (and didn’t do) for ...



One of my first goals for the year 2018 is to take a screen fast, perhaps to sprinkle several throughout the year. The first will be one week long, and will begin Monday. My poor husband often has to deal with the “resolution” side of my unbalanced personality. He often […]

3 Reasons to Take a Screen Fast in 2018


In my third full year as a daddy and with child #2 arriving at the beginning of 2017, I expected my reading to fall off significantly. To my surprise, I ended up completing exactly the same number of books as in 2016–all thanks to God and no thanks to baby […]

Top 10 Reads of 2017



The worst sound I ever heard in my life was the sound of a teenage girl’s wail. The girl had just killed a man, probably the only person she would ever kill. She had hit him in her car while he was crossing an intersection on a motorcycle. She would […]

The sound of vehicular homicide


(Note from Justin: this piece was delivered as a meditation at the Lord’s Supper for my church on December 10, 2017. I have chosen to leave the style and address unaltered.) For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night […]

Waiting for Advent at the Lord’s Supper



Of course being a child at Christmas is something you’ll never get back. The particular sleeplessness of the night before is what I always remember most clearly about childhood Christmases. I was always in a bed with my older sister Sophie. We were the keepers of Christmas—old enough to be […]

Christmas, Car Wrecks, and That Surreal Feeling


I don’t know exactly how to put this—pomegranates are my favorite fruit. They have been my favorite since the year I turned thirteen. Formerly my favorite fruit had been mangos. Unfortunately for me, that was the year my father bought an entire case of mangos because they were on deep […]

Love letter to a pomegranate