Five Minute Friday: listen


Beside this window there’s the occasional drip from the rained-on roof to the air conditioning unit. Jays in a tree somewhere close by. A baby breathing. Clicks of the computer keyboard. My husband tapping a rhythm while he studies in the other room.


I’m still learning the sounds of this new house — the dogs that bark in the early mornings, the school buses and garbage trucks. Wheels on our gravel drive rather than next door. Car doors in our driveway rather than across the street. Ice falling in the freezer. The hot water heater cycling on and off. Light switches and door latches. The hurricane of our bedroom fan. The noisy quiet of the air conditioner running. Trains passing. Sirens on the highway. Our doorbell. The flame under my teapot on the stove. Canada geese passing overhead.

And the baby’s voice. He doesn’t talk yet, but his voice is behind his contented sighs and behind all his crying: hungry or hurting or angry at being alone in his crib. I love his voice.

Quiet is my natural habitat: I love to listen and to see. And I love that this little person is going to break through all my quiet habits with noises of his own.


Linking up with Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday to listen today.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch


Five Minute Friday (on Sunday): heal


He kicks and pushes with his legs, but the soles of his feet are as soft as any other part of him: I touch them and marvel to think he will one day be man-grown with calloused soles.

Before we brought him home they pricked his heel, collecting spots of blood to screen for various diseases. He screamed and screamed: offspring of woman, heel already bruised by the serpent whose lie begins the sad chapter by which disease entered the world.

In pain I brought him forth, and though I want him to grow to be a man with calloused heels one day, I pray that his soul may not also become calloused — neither to the bruises of his enemy nor to the piercing of his Healer.

HE was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, bore the chastisement that brought us peace; He heals us by His stripes. And then: He has bruised the serpent’s head: immortal God, raised from the tomb, inflicting a mortal wound upon His foe and ours.

Tiny son, know this, though you know nothing else besides; callous those beautiful feet proclaiming this good news: healing for souls.


Linking up with Kate Motaung to write on her prompt, heal.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch



No God but One: review

I don’t tend to think of Christian apologetics and advanced stomach cancer as particularly related. I enjoy plunging into the big questions, learning the arguments and evidence which show my faith to be a most reasonable thing. I don’t enjoy the hygienic medical terminology in which we drape grim prognoses, shielding ourselves from what we know even without state-of-the-art equipment: it is appointed for man to die once.

But the truth is, cancers and all their ilk — so vividly pointing to the death that is inevitable — are what make Christian apologetics so urgent. Seeking the Truth is no mere intellectual exercise; what we believe to be true has direct implications on how we live and how we die, particularly on how we live in light of the fact that we must die.

The closing section of Nabeel Qureshi’s latest book, No God but One: Allah or Jesus?, queries, “Is the Truth Worth Dying For?” and answers the question with a resounding Yes: “God is more beautiful than this life itself, and the one who loves Him is ready to die when death comes, not just to glorify Him but to hasten to His arms. Though we die, we will live.”

The context? A discussion of the rival truth-claims of Islam and Christianity, highlighting the two religions’ differences, delving into their histories, and examining the evidence for each religion’s positions. Qureshi seeks to evaluate the evidence as an objective observer would, drawing on the most reliable sources, on expert scholarship, and on his own journey from passionate defender of Islam to passionate follower of Christ.

Since first hearing him share his testimony at a conference in 2013, I’ve thought of Nabeel Qureshi as a strong person in the world of apologetics — not just intellectually, but also physically. Tall enough to be intimidating, square-shouldered, young and confident — when, returned to the same conference the next year, he told me in passing that I “didn’t want to miss Michael Ramsden,” I got up and went to the session which I had intended to skip.

His first book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, presented his testimony in long-form, with many of the arguments and struggles that finally led him to Christianity. No God but One majors on the arguments and evidence, revisiting his story for support, but not majoring on story. With carefully-organized, conveniently-titled chapters, this is a book you can use for targeted research into one specific question — like, how reliable is the Quran? — but it is also excellent for cover-to-cover consumption. Read front-to-back, Qureshi’s argument for the truth lands weightily on that last section and question, Is it worth dying for?

The day the book released — August 30 — Qureshi made an announcement which lends even more weight to the conclusion: he has been diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer and faces a grim prognosis. In his early thirties, husband to a young wife, father to a baby girl, working on an Oxford PhD, writing books, maintaining a rigorous speaking schedule, and having a far-reaching gospel influence: adding cancer to that equation seems silly at best.

But in the economy of a God whose very foolishness is wiser than our wisdom, whose ways are heavens-higher than our ways, this is the path by which He has chosen to be glorified: in physical weakness,  in pain, and in difficult treatments with an uncertain outcome. And already He is receiving glory. Because it is one thing for a strong and successful man to say a thing is true, but when he is facing a potential death sentence, if he has any doubt of that truth, it will show.

Qureshi’s testimony? “. . . never once have I doubted this: that Jesus is Lord, His blood has paid my ransom, and by His wounds I am healed. I have firm faith that my soul is saved by the grace and mercy of the Triune God, and not by any accomplishment or merit of my own. I am so thankful that I am a child of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sealed in the Spirit. No, in the midst of the storm, I do not have to worry about my salvation, and for that I praise you, God.”

While faith only comes by the work of the Holy Spirit, the evidence presented in No God but One can lend confidence to those inclined to doubt. This book is not simply a tool for reaching Muslims, it may also be a strengthening tonic for Christians, helping us to live –and to die — with certainty in the things we hold True.


I had the opportunity to be part of the launch team for this book — which means I received an advance copy in order to review and promote it. Since I had a baby in the middle of the pre-release promotion month, I kind of dropped the ball on that, but there is still a special offer of bonus content — including a workbook, and audio and video material — if you order the book before September 16, 2016. Click the above image to read about that. 

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

Five Minute Friday: team

Somehow, despite the spelling difference, my mind goes to Genesis 1:

Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures . . . 

And it was so.

We don’t tend to use teem very often any more. It means to be full or swarming with, but, according to my computer dictionary, the original Old English root also denoted being or becoming pregnant with, or giving birth to.

This week, we added to our team, a perfect, beautiful boy. And I rejoice that the God who made the waters teem also made this boy, writing every day ordained for him when as yet there was not one of them.

And behold, that is very good.


Linking up with Kate Motaung for her Five Minute Friday — on Friday, for once! — writing on her prompt, team.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch


Five Minute Friday (on Saturday): lift

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help?
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

I started my morning with this Psalm, and it’s a good Psalm for the morning before the morning before the morning when you have a scheduled induction of labor — a good Psalm for two days before you expect to meet your baby boy.

Look at the hills: steady, seemingly immovable. They were created; they had a beginning and will have an end. But the One who made them is the One who helps you.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

Because He doesn’t sleep, you can sleep. Because He keeps you, you are certain of being kept — as certain as the hills.

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.

The hills cannot shade you perfectly. But the Lord: He keeps you day and night.

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

And these are the things that are true: even in the deepest places of pain, even when it seems that we look in vain for help, we are kept by this Lord who made heaven and earth. His promise to preserve us is no mean promise, and, though we finite beings cannot truthfully promise forever, our infinite God can promise infinitely — and keep that promise.

Lift up your eyes. He helps you.


Today I join Kate Motaung and write on her Five Minute Friday prompt, lift.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

Five Minute Friday: create

“There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate.”

I write lying on my back on an ironing board leaned agains the couch, head down, feet up — thanks SpinningBabies — in hopes of encouraging a stubbornly breech boy to turn and get himself ready to be born. Our ceiling fan and the upper branches of the trees outside the window grow more familiar.

upside down (1)

Other times I’m pre-washing crib sheets and folding diapers and wondering, and if a breech baby is all I have to worry about, how much peace I have!

Yesterday, someone drove a truck through crowds of people in Nice, France, deliberately creating havoc of what should have been a celebration. And I’m in Mississippi creating a nest for a baby.

I don’t know quite how to reconcile the two things, how to consider the world into which this baby will be making his entrance in a matter of weeks, how to think of the likelihood that similar things may be happening in Mississippi before too long, that this baby may one day see, not just hear about, similarly horrible things.

Christ was born, a helpless baby in a world at war with its Maker, born for the purpose of dying a horrific death, born to gain the victory and create a new kingdom.

He did it.

So that however ugly the warfare may look to us, these enemies are fighting in a cause that they’ve already lost. “All things new” is no ephemeral hope, but a certainty upon which we confidently stake our very souls.

So that the peace of this nesting time is no illusion, but a foretaste of glory.

So that I don’t need to be afraid for my baby.


Linking up with Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday writers to write on her prompt, Create.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch




lament. rejoice.

We’re topping international headlines with our news of racially-charged violence, and I’m remembering how, after 9/11, my family’s Ugandan sponsored child wrote to tell us she was praying for our country: she in whose country the LRA was kidnapping children and brutalizing communities while the world at large barely batted an eye.


I’ve been trying to write some of the grief for days now, but it just keeps piling up: Orlando and Dhaka, Baghdad and Medina, Baton Rouge, St. Paul, now Dallas . . . .

I used to start each semester of college English instruction by sharing two basic premises with my students: “Words are important” and “People are important.” I rooted both of them in the first chapter of John.

Words are important because God calls Himself “the Word.” The Word who was in the beginning, who was with God and was God, through whom all things were made.

Our words, though lesser, also have power to make things, to build up and to tear down. Their meanings and their connotations matter. It matters that we understand why it may hurt to respond, “All lives matter,” when we are told that “Black lives matter.” Both of those statements are true, but in so hastily asserting the universal truth, we may actually seem to ignore the importance of the subset, we may seem to imply that, in the big scheme of things, black lives don’t matter that much.

They matter infinitely. And gay lives matter. Southeast Asian lives matter, and Muslim lives matter. Police lives matter; the lives of the snipers who take police lives matter. And the lives of ISIS operatives and the Orlando shooter also matter.

This is what I mean when I assert that “People are important.” John tells us that the Word became flesh — God became a person — and dwelt among us. The Word who produced the stars ex nihilo put on a body formed of the dust of one tiny planet and ached and sweated and bled with us and for us. He stood outside the tomb of a man he was about to raise from the dead, and He wept for a grief He was about to undo. He was spread upon the cross, laden with the sins of the world, to purchase eternal life for everyone who believes in Him.

People are important because God values people at no mean price: the cost of the blood of His beloved Son. And lives matter eternally because it is eternal life Christ bought for us.

The bombs and the bullets for which we grieve send eternal souls to eternal torment or eternal glory, and if we truly believe in the importance of all lives, this is the message we must be preaching. The wages of sin: death; the free gift of God: eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:23).

In Christ, all the barriers come down, the categories marked by hashtags and riots: “Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all” (Col 3:13). Christ was “slain, and by [His] blood [He] ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9).

He is building a new kingdom; He is making all things new (Rev. 21:5). He promises to wipe away every tear from our eyes (Rev. 21:3) — He’s going to undo this grief — but He is the Savior who wept for the griefs He was going to undo.

Brothers and sisters, rejoice in this hope and grieve with the grieving. We, of all people, can confidently declare that lives matter, and we know the reason why. Share that reason: it matters infinitely.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch