Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.–Psalm 127:3 As much as I know and believe my children are a gift from the Lord, sometimes this parenting thing is HARD. As a mother, I’ve continued to grow in ways I didn’t know were possible, and I’m not done growing, either. I’m very far from being a perfect parent. I was recently encouraged by Chip Ingram’s Effective Parenting in a Defective World series . My church offered it as an 8-week class a few years ago and I took it then. I walked away with a

I’m sorry… For those times I said something careless and hurtful. For those times I seemed judgemental and superior. For those times I was trying to be funny and instead was immature, and rude. For those times I jumped on the bandwagon and escalated the situation. For those times I didn’t think about how the words I was saying would hurt, divide, and isolate someone else. For those times I wasn’t a good friend. For those times I was too wrapped up in myself.  For those times I said something I regretted right away, but was too proud to apologize

Have you noticed the times when circumstances ended up being just perfect in your life? It’s easy to think, “Wow, what a good stroke of luck!” or “What an amazing coincidence!”  But I don’t believe in coincidences or luck. Rather, when circumstances work out just perfectly, it’s an opportunity to see God at work. And as a parent, it’s also an opportunity to point out how God is masterfully coordinating all of life’s pieces.  It’s a habit my mom and grandpa encouraged for as long as I can remember: pointing out situations and telling stories of when things happened just

What inspires you to take action? When you’ve heard the story of David and Goliath countless times, it’s easy to overlook how David and the Israelites were feeling. Truth be told, I’d probably be an Israelite in that story. It’s hard to take a bold first step forward–especially when no one else has dared to take it. But David stepped forward. He faced Goliath and won. Did you see what happened next? I don’t think I’d ever stopped to notice before: “Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance

“New Year, new you!” I know I’ve heard that a lot in early January over the years. But the truth is, being made new is a much longer process than just the flip of a calendar, moving from one year to the next. I can see ways God has made me new, even in the past year. It’s been slow and steady progress, with setbacks and challenges. But it is nice to look back and see how I’ve grown into who I am right now. Saul Became Paul Thinking about being made into a new person makes me think of

Be still and know that I am God. –Psalm 46:10 I have a reader board hanging in my kitchen, and I put that verse up on it 6-9 months ago. I don’t even know why I picked it at the time–maybe because I thought it would be a good verse for my kids to internalize?  But, as it turns out, it’s been one that I’ve been working on internalizing. It’s almost like God knew I was going into a period of focusing on being still (go figure). I’ve needed to slow down. Breathe. Trust in Him. Let Him calm my

Where do you place your hope? Back in my first post about Revelation , I shared that it’s a book of hope . In Chip Ingram’s last sermon in his series , he finishes up the book and explains how important it is that we place our hope in Jesus. I think we all tend to place our hope in things that could be gone in a second: health, relationships, career, achievements, etc. When our view is limited to the world around us, it’s easy to feel hopeless. Instead, we should place our hope in what Revelation shows us: Jesus

I’ve been trying to think about what I put in my mind lately . I have limited time to watch or listen to things, so there’s an element of trying not to waste precious minutes or hours. But I’m also trying to consider: how is this going to benefit my life? It may seem silly to think a podcast or TV show may change your life, but it does! Whatever I think about and dwell on affects how I feel, my opinions, and decisions I make. Those little choices add up to who I am and what my life looks

I originally posted this on my last (very out-of-date) blog, My Life Commentary , on Wednesday, September 26, 2012. It was published about a month and a half before my first child was born. As I was lying in bed, I realized I’m kind of in my own personal season of advent. I grew up in a church that followed and celebrated seasons, one of them being advent. It’s a period of time where we’re waiting, anticipating the arrival of Christ.  This morning, I realized how different that advent would have been for Mary than it was for me. Growing

This is going to be a longer post as we go through the middle of Revelation , but I liked the big-picture view that Chip Ingram presented as he went through it. I understood it so much more clearly, and I liked the way he kept the central message of hope in focus. As Chip summarized, “This shows us we can endure anything when we look at today’s struggles in the light of tomorrow’s certainty.”  I know my day-to-day struggles are nothing close to what the early church suffered, but that doesn’t mean my life is easy . By understanding