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

“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

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

When I have a busy, long day, sometimes the last thing I want to do is open my Bible. It’s not that I’m running away from God, but it takes more thought when I’m already tired. And it’s yet another thing getting in the way of just doing what I want to do. I spend all day doing everything for everyone else–by the time I have a few minutes to myself, I want to just do what I feel like doing.  However, I’ve noticed a pattern: when I’m more consistent about turning my focus on God, rather than myself, I

I am incredibly blessed. On paper, I have more than I ever thought possible: A funny, wise, loving husband. Three wonderful children. A career I really enjoy. Supportive parents and siblings on both sides of our family. Friends near and far. And yet, life is hard.  As amazing as my husband is, we’re both flawed people and marriage takes work. As wonderful as my children are, they’re also flawed and have years of maturing ahead of them. As much as I enjoy my career, it can be mentally exhausting; some days it completely drains my capacity for making decisions and

Like most busy moms, I feel like it’s hard to find peace. The kids are running around making messes, I have a million things to do, and the chaos exponentially increases. The more I try to do it all, the more I fail, and the more I need to remind myself I can’t do it all by myself. I think that’s why 2 Peter 1:2 resonated so much with me recently. “May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” I really like how Priscilla Shirer presented it during the Going