Heaviness and Newness

There is a painful swelling that happens during pregnancy. A round womb full of life, full of hope. But also very full and tired and ready. Ready for the birth of the baby. Ready for the heaviness to be over.   Isn’t this the way of birthing all new things? A painful swelling as something new is being knitted together. And the heaviness is exhausting. It irritates and stretches tight. Ready for the heaviness to be over.   When the knitting is complete, it is time. But birthing something new isn’t restful or easy. It is a painful labor, travail, …

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When Giving Thanks Hurts

Sometimes life burns. Kids wander, husbands don’t understand, political climate at work is tenuous at best, there are test results that may change the course of your life forever. The unknown future looms large and dark and uncertain. Fear and worry feed on the dark things rolling around in your head. Everything feels hot and heavy and dark. How do we give thanks in the midst of the fire? We look for moments of beauty in the fire and through the fire. We train our eyes to acknowledge the mess and admit we don’t have all the answers, and we …

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Let’s Say Grace: Pizza Meatloaf

The glory of God’s grace is that He will not waste a moment of our lives. Let us pray: Father God we confess that we often do not understand what You are doing in the trials or hard times in our lives. And Lord there are times it is difficult to know that You are a God who can and does work miracles, but seems silent in our dark times. But God we know You and Your character. We know that You are a God who promises to work all things out for the good of those who love you. …

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Emotions and Truth

The heart is deceitful above all things,     and desperately sick;     who can understand it?  Jeremiah 17:9 ESV There are a lot of emotions in my house. I have three kids, a wonderful husband, and two dogs – one who has an anxiety issue. Not to mention my own emotions. Sometimes those emotions are in harmony and we laugh and enjoy talking to each other. Other times those emotions are a cacophony irritating the ears of all who experience it’s splendor. God created emotions and we mishandle them. As an adult I have more tools so I have learned to handle …

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Lavish Grace Week 7: The Glory of Grace

Welcome to Lavish Grace Week 9 (our final week):  The Glory of Grace from Kathy Howard’s new bible study Lavish Grace. Throughout this study, we have been examining how God’s lavish grace intersected and changed the life of Paul. In this lesson, Kathy challenges us to discover that “God graciously uses our trials as a testimony to others.” I have seen this first hand both in my life and in the lives of my friends. I have watched as a dear friend buried her five-year-old child and sought to give God glory even in her grief and pain. I have …

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Trying Again: Exchanging Bad Communication Patterns for Good Ones

Parenting is tough. And I can easily fall into terribly patterns with my kids. Times when just the mention of a topic causes my blood to boil and I can barely speak a civil word because I am annoyed. Annoyed at poor attitudes. Frustrated that I cannot communicate clearly with them. Irritated that they don’t just take my word for it. And those sensitive topics like math can send both my child’s and my hearts pounding and blood boiling. So how do we try again? How can we remove the bad habit of frustration over difficult topics? “Everyone should be …

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Weakness and Strength

There is a lie I swallow whole and it is killing me. The lie that everyone is better at this life than I am… …that they all know what they are doing. …that they are better at this mothering thing than I am. …that they have best friends who “do life together” and they communicate every day and have dinner together and their kids love being together. …that they have the best marriages and cook healthy meals every night. And I somehow don’t measure up in any sense of the word. The truth is everyone is figuring out this life …

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Bait and Switch: How to Drop Your Gloves When Your Kids are Challenging You to a Fight

Kids seem born with an innate knowledge of how to push their mommies’ buttons. Especially when teenagers or kids of any age know they are wrong, they take pleasure in seeing just how many buttons it takes to send mom over the deep end. And when we put on the gloves and enter the ring with them it may feel good for a little, but in the end we all lose. We not only lose our cool, but we lose a teaching moment. We lose the opportunity to show an example of how adults ought handle difficult people and situations. …

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Mom, You Are Enough: How to Stop Comparing and Rest in God

“What do you do?” Her question was an honest inquiry. She had never met a stay-at-home mom. She had no idea how many times her question haunts me. It chases the joy from my day as I compare what I do every day with other women. Women who have several children and published books can be intimidating. Or who have thriving speaking ministries and a house full of both biological and adopted kids. I see women serving children in foster care and working in homeless shelters. Then I look at myself and wonder.  “What do I do?” I marginalize the …

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6 Tips for Setting Boundaries with Your Kids

“You don’t trust me!” At some point nearly every parent of a teenager will hear this accusation. And if you, parent, are like me your first reaction is probably a mixture of: “You are right! I don’t trust you!” “I don’t even trust myself.” “I trust you, I just don’t trust other people…” Setting boundaries as your child is rapidly approaching “adulthood” is difficult, but necessary. And while it is often “easier” to just “lay down the law” it doesn’t encourage a vibrant relationship with your pre-teen or teen. How should we set boundaries? Explain why the boundary is being …

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