Seeing Glory in the Grind

Seeing Glory in the Grind

The big picture is this: we are raising the next generation. Mommas, we are raising the next generation.

This is huge. And the days in which we live? It is an all-out battle for the minds of our children.

The world will offer confusion. We must teach truth.

The world will push for selfishness. We have to teach servanthood.

The world will tell them what they must do to be loved. Our children need to know they are loved by the One who paints the sunsets.

The Road I'm Taking

The Road I'm Taking

Eventually I moseyed down the path of realization that I was giving myself the “I'm Just Average” message. BAM! It was like being hit by a bus.

All those times I thought I was somehow being humble by not being passionate about things, or I believed I was being loving and kind by agreeing with someone to avoid conflict, it all just came down to me not having any self-confidence in who I was. The fear of failing at something crippled me. Not trying too hard was my mantra, and if something didn’t work out: “Well I didn’t really try my hardest, so I’m not too disappointed.”

Needy Neighbor

Needy Neighbor

I don’t want to be the Needy Neighbor. I don’t want to be the one who looks in the mirror and sees Haggard and Depression staring back on these cold winter days. I don’t want to be the neighbor who wakes up to only 27% battery power every morning.

It’s difficult to think about generosity and hospitality when we feel like we have so little left to give. It’s hard to remember that in our weakness God makes His power known.

I might cry out, “Lord, I have so little to offer!” And maybe He’ll reply, “Looks like five loaves and two fish to Me. I can work with that.”

Be a Church that Welcomes Other People's Kids

Be a Church that Welcomes Other People's Kids

While there is a difference in how deeply connected we feel to our own kids compared to others, there shouldn’t be a difference in how we welcome or commit to supporting all the children within our church’s walls.

Choosing to see my son and daughter’s faces on other children also teaches me deep sympathy. Knowing how much I love my children helps me realize how much “other people’s kids” are loved too, how much their parents wish for their child’s protection and wellbeing.

Don't Waste Your Life {an exhortation for the overachiever}

Don't Waste Your Life {an exhortation for the overachiever}

More than the busy of my calendar, what’s made me really fatigued is the unrest of my soul.

I have been working hard. I have always held the bar high for the condition of my home, what I feed my family, how my children dress and behave, and our education. 

But I have never felt that I measure up.

Always evaluating, always striving. Always squeezing in one more thing. Harping on myself for spending money on myself or our home, even though it wasn’t a poor financial choice. Wondering what more I can do for starving children, sex trafficking, natural disasters, the poor in our community. Feeling constantly guilty about something.

Never resting in His grace.

Christmas Is For The Mourning, Not Just The Merry

Christmas Is For The Mourning, Not Just The Merry

Christmas is not just an invitation to the broken hearted, beat down, depressed, and mourning to join in the fun that all the merry folk are having. Christmas is for them. Christmas is for those who mourn, who recognize their neediness. It is for those who see and say, “I am broken, and I am hurting, and I am a sinner. Save me.”

It Wasn’t #GivingTuesday; Is That Why He Didn’t Help Me?

It Wasn’t #GivingTuesday; Is That Why He Didn’t Help Me?

No, there isn’t anything wrong with Giving Tuesday, except that maybe it should be called, “Give Whatever Cash You Have Left After Black Friday and Cyber Monday” Tuesday. But days like Giving Tuesday, and the mindset that outreach is a single, isolated event that we do around Christmas, should sound off a few alarms at how seriously we take Christ’s commands to love our neighbors all life long.

Get a Free Download from My Book!

Get a Free Download from My Book!

So, I want to do us all a huge favor and take a break from talking about that one thing that happened this week. Instead, let’s talk about the second most taboo subject for anyone to mention pre-Thanksgiving. And that is: Christmas.

{Why yes, you are more than welcome to reach through your screen and backhand me with your pumpkin spiced latte if you so wish.} But I promise this post about Christmas comes with a Christmas gift as well – A FREE DOWNLOAD FROM MY BOOK!

The Political Gospel {and other things I won’t fall for this election season}

The Political Gospel {and other things I won’t fall for this election season}

1. I will never fall for the Political Gospel.

The Political Gospel is the idea that checking a box next to an imperfect person's name on a ballot will be their ticket to either Heaven or Hell. It's the statement that says, "You can't call yourself a Christian if you vote for that candidate." While our political views indeed stem from our faith, the only thing that can save us is to cast our vote with the one perfect Man who ever walked this earth. {John 3:16}

A Conversation About Race Over Chicken Tacos

A Conversation About Race Over Chicken Tacos

Our stories – mine and Candacee’s – are different too. She grieves her father. I grieve our baby girl. And as we sit next to each other, as we share about who we’ve lost, our two-hour conversation starts to make the slightest bit of sense.

Because, listening.

The best way to support those who grieve is to listen, to give them space to feel, to hurt, to bleed without rushing to find a bandage or insisting it’s already all better.

Maybe the brokenness of our city is meant to be grieved too. Maybe mourning with my African American brothers and sisters who mourn is at least turning my head in the right direction. Maybe when tragedy happens I need to push aside my assumptions, my comments and labels, and just dwell for a second: “That was somebody’s daddy. Somebody’s son.”

Because then the tears will surely come.

Life Would Be Easier if We Didn’t Have to Live It {And Other Lies Depression Tells}

Life Would Be Easier if We Didn’t Have to Live It {And Other Lies Depression Tells}

But mostly, I felt ashamed.

I was supposed to be happy.

I mean, I was happy sitting in the hospital room, holding our precious newborn baby boy. I hadn’t felt that happy in a really long time. But in the six weeks since he was born my hormones came crashing down, I had no motivation to do the things I usually liked doing, and there was a huge knot of anxiety on my chest when I faced packing up our apartment into boxes. All I could get myself to do was sit on the couch and stare at the empty boxes, frantically rocking our colicky baby and trying to handle a strong-willed toddler.

A rainbow baby was supposed to be the wonderful conclusion to a really tough couple of years. But now here I was, filling out a quiz that would tell me I don’t get to decide when the hard stuff in life is over.

Why We Gave Up Most of Our TV Time {and why it has been awesome}

Why We Gave Up Most of Our TV Time {and why it has been awesome}

Turning on the TV after our kids went to sleep became such a habit that I was starting to put pressure on myself to watch television for at least a half hour before bed every night. As in, "Well, I'm exhausted, and I really should go to bed, but of course I can't until I watch an old rerun of this TV show I have seen seventeen times."

What in the actual what?!

I don’t even know where this unnecessary pressure was coming from, but I don’t want to feel that way anymore. I don’t want something meant for entertainment to become a priority in my life, to take away time from things I enjoy working on and wish to accomplish. To take away from my actual priorities.

Here Goes Nothing {the new title, the gorgeous cover, and the opportunity to join my launch team!}

Here Goes Nothing {the new title, the gorgeous cover, and the opportunity to join my launch team!}

I lied to you. I told you my book was going to be called Gentle Whispers, but that is false, so I apologize.

When I first introduced the title eight months ago, I mentioned that the book is kind of like a Midwestern casserole: it covers a lot of different topics. For that reason, Thomas Nelson and I weren’t sure if the main ingredient of the book was potato or beef or vegetables.

You see, in the book I prayed each day for thirty days: 

God, help me to maintain the joy of being Wife and Mommy amid the daily grind. To see the world through Your eyes. To live intentionally. To build relationships and share Christ’s love with our neighbors. To learn what it really means to give. To collide motherhood with mission.

And when you pray prayers like that, you receive a casserole variety of answers.

Grace for Those a Step Ahead or a Step Behind

Grace for Those a Step Ahead or a Step Behind

The other day I had a great conversation with my sister-in-law, the moral of our discussion being this: People often have a hard time giving grace to the people one step behind them.

And I am so, so, so guilty of this too:

You think you’re “tired” because you had to wake up at 6 am this morning? Try having kids.

You think life is “hard” because you had to study for an exam? Try having kids.

You think you’re “busy” because you have basketball practice and homework tonight? Try having kids.

Small Surrenders {Guest Post}

Small Surrenders {Guest Post}

Wow. This is hard to write.

My sister sent me an email: “You know how we had that conversation about how it’s harder to surrender in the smaller things of life than in the bigger things? No pressure, but would you like to write a blog post about that?”

YES! I shrieked like a little girl in my heart, but then felt utter panic: What do I know about surrender in the little things? I fail at this every day. Every. Day.

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Toddlers {Surviving the Addition Of Your Second Child}

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Toddlers {Surviving the Addition Of Your Second Child}

What is it that makes the birth of that second cherub so fearful? How can we go from needing two arms to care for one child, to needing eight for two? That math just doesn’t add up! {Or maybe it does. Common Core parents? Discuss.}

At any rate, most of us don’t have two at-home parents, or a nanny, so how can we do this with grace and peace?

What Happens in Labor and Delivery, Stays There {My Doctor Promised}

What Happens in Labor and Delivery, Stays There {My Doctor Promised}

They call them rainbow babies, those gifts from God that come after the long, dark storm. I think the moment they lay Levi Daniel in my arms feels exactly like a rainbow: tears falling like rain, but the sun rays of happiness for this gift of a child shining brilliantly over the grief of our past.

I cry and cry and say over and over to Husband, “I feel so happy!”

And just like that, I can’t imagine our lives without him. All nine pounds, ten ounces, and three chins of him.