I didn’t used to think I was a selfish person. Then I got married. All of a sudden, my life decisions weren’t all about me anymore. I needed to include someone else and learn to put his desires before my own.  After a few years of marriage, I thought I’d learned how to not be selfish. Then I had kids. All of  a sudden, my time really wasn’t my own. I needed to sacrifice basic things like sleep and hygiene over the needs of this tiny, helpless person that couldn’t do anything for themselves.  Then I did it again, and

Flashback to Early Marriage Twelve years ago I experienced God’s sense of humor coming out through his perfect timing. It was the middle of the 2008 recession. My husband (Matt) and I had just gotten married, moved out of state, and were living in a one-bedroom apartment on one part-time income. Money was very tight, so we pretty much lived on rice and frozen chicken breasts.  One day in particular I was complaining about it, wishing we could just go out to eat and enjoy a nice restaurant meal, and Matt said, “You know, you sound like the Israelites grumbling

If your family is like mine, when you’re trying to shuffle the kids out the door, there’s a lot of chaos, bickering, barking, and frustration. And usually everything is heightened because we’re already running late and I’m trying to hurry. That’s the keyword there: hurry . I find I’m constantly trying to do more than I can, not allowing tasks to take the amount of time they take, and then getting frustrated I’m running behind. I also have a tendency to get distracted, so that just slows me down even more. Then I try to compensate by hurrying everyone along

This might seem odd for you to hear from me, especially since I’m known for my annoyingly optimistic nature sometimes. But over the years I’ve heard our culture say over and over again: Do what makes you happy. Don’t worry, be happy. If it doesn’t make you happy, it’s not worth it. You deserve to be happy. God Doesn’t Want You to Be Happy There was a time of my life where I bought into this cultural message. I thought God wanted me to be happy. But the more I’ve learned, the more I’ve realized happiness shouldn’t be my goal

What’s the best way to teach our children? I’m not a teacher and I have no formal training whatsoever, but if I were to guess, I would probably say a lot depends on the child’s personality, where they are in their development, and whether they learn best by seeing, hearing, or doing. However, I was listening to this Brant and Sherri Oddcast episode the other day, and they pointed out how Jesus taught: he asks questions, tells stories, and lets people wrestle with the meaning. And he didn’t have set “classroom times” and “office hours.” He taught them wherever they

Tonight was a good reminder of how much prayer can help. Frustration Built The youngest is officially in a toddler bed now instead of a crib, so you can probably imagine how fun it is for him to get out of bed and attack his siblings instead of going to sleep at bedtime. The last couple of nights have turned into removing him completely from his bedroom and holding him as he falls asleep in either my or my husband’s arms. Tonight when I was holding him, I was feeling frustrated. I have a list of things I need to

How often do you feel like you don’t measure up? For me, it happens pretty regularly. I feel like I’m not a great mom when I snap at my kids. Or when my focus shifts from trying to keep up on the housework to something else, and then I look around and feel surrounded by mess and clutter. Or when what I intended to say to my husband came out wrong and ended up leading to miscommunication and division rather than connection. And that doesn’t even get into what the world tells me about what sort of woman I should

Kids should have time to go outside and play. To sit in a pile of dirt and not care how messy they get. To let their imaginations wild as they pretend they’re exploring a jungle, hiding from pirates, or discovering a new species of life. I want my kids to go outside and play. But the reality is they have two parents that work full time, and while the older two could go play in the backyard by themselves, they have a little brother that’s just a little too young to have no supervision in that environment. So while I

I wrote this a few years ago, and I find myself coming back to it every once in a while, when those hard, negative thoughts about myself start to surface. I hope it helps encourage you, too. I Feel I feel like I’m not good enough. Like a failure, With no value, Nothing going for me, A fraud.   I feel like I can’t do anything right. Like a screw up, With no promise, Can’t handle responsibility, A joke.   I feel like a terrible friend. Like a wet blanket, With no compassion,  No warmth, A dud.   I feel.

I could look around my house and feel like I’m failing. There are toys everywhere, the sink is full of dirty dishes, and laundry (both clean and dirty) is piled up. But today I’m choosing to give myself grace. I can’t do it all, and my value has never been in my ability to keep the house under control. I’m choosing to look at the successes I had today. In the time between when I finished work and put the kids to bed: The kids and I ate dinner around the table together (it was chicken nuggets, but that’s okay).