Monday, October 26, 2015


He quietly walks into our room, long past the time of saying "good night," whimpering with wet, red eyes. He is scared of tornadoes. Again. Yesterday it was the booming thunderstorm that sent him into hysterics. Tonight he imagines our home being destroyed by a tornado. I invite him onto our bed and sit him straight up and tell him to look me in the eyes.

Pause & think: this is where I'm tempted to tell him that tornadoes aren't real. This is a moment where I can hush his worries by assuring him that a tornado isn't going to "blow our house down." This is when I'm tempted to shape his theology by saying that God wouldn't allow such a thing.

"Tucker, there are no tornadoes here tonight. But do you know what? Bad things will happen in our lives but God is always with us. God will always take care of us. So we don't have to be afraid. God is better than anything terrible that could happen to us." 

Pause & think: some people actually have their house decimated by a tornado. Their lives are shattered into literal, tiny pieces. Then their theology is shattered into little tiny pieces because someone told them that God doesn't let bad things happen to good people or that easy, sheltered living is a sign of God's blessing.

Honestly, I've never seen him calm so quickly. He doesn't argue or whine to stay longer. He doesn't beg to snuggle under the blankets. His eyes light up, he takes a deep breath, and he confidently leaves our room. I conducted a two-minute seminary with my four-year-old without a degree in theology. 

Have you considered what you're teaching your littles? Have you taken just a moment to think about how you're shaping their tender hearts toward God with the words you use? We have hundreds of moments throughout a week where we place life-shaping truths into their minds so they can cling to God throughout their lives. Put the right stuff in there first and two things will happen. First, you won't have to waste time replacing foolish ideas you've given them over the years. Ain't nobody got time for that.

More than your own integrity or time well spent, your child won't have to work through as many distorted thoughts in their adult years. Of course, their hearts are broken and twisted and will have chosen sin before they choose God. This topic though - the fears and the what-ifs and the real-life suffering they'll face - you at least have the privilege of giving them a little help. Speaking these little truths now is like planting little seeds. Your harvest and their harvest will be great. 

Monday, October 19, 2015


When October 1st creeps onto my calendar, my heart sinks to the ground with a thud. It sits there with a million other hearts of those who have lost their babies as we take a month to remember their lives. It is also the month I should be celebrating her birthday, planning her party, and packing away her summer outfits to make room for leggings and sweaters. I pause more often at the olive tree where she is buried, blink back constant tears, and wonder what she would look like as a three year old. October is an ugly month for me.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope…”

October sits alone in the wilderness of unredeemable and forsaken. Its colors have been black and white and its edges are sharp, the contrast of colors almost offensive. Its utter substance has been lack. Lack of provision. Lack of life. The only way to respond to it has been to curl to the ground and taste death’s dirt.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases…”

I thought the month would become softer. I found myself hoping that the next calendar would be more gracious to me; that its days would brighten and warm under the sun of years gone by. Hope that the progress of time would “heal all wounds” but I clung to it as it became more precious to me. When you lose a child and years go by, grief remains as the sole, tangible remnant of their real, heart-beating life.

“They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness…”

He caught me this year. He caught me this month. He caught me yesterday to be exact. He stopped me in the habit of running toward the edge of wilderness to stare again at my Unredeemable. He wrapped his arm around my waist and overcame the momentum of grief and loss and death. He knew long before me that my grief cannot comfort me. My grief will disappoint my identity. Always. Every time. Every year.

“‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul...”

With the wide stretch of his goodness and sufficiency, he redeemed my October. He took the hardest and darkest part of my life and history and heart and made it new. Like a beautiful, bright, shining burst of new creation. Not just a polished antique in attempt to hide flaws or defects but made it gloriously right because he makes all things new. (Rev. 21:5) He gently showed me how my hope was placed in new things, answered prayers, or circumstances providing joy or peace. 

He has not forsaken me; my grief has forsaken me.
He is able; my grief is not able.
He has cared for me throughout every second; my grief does not care for me.

“‘Therefore I will hope in him.’”
(Lam. 3:21-24)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dear New Parents,

I'm sure by now you're feeling tired and happy, halfway between a fairytale and "ima-bout-to-lose-my-mind-from-sleep-deprivation." Is this how you pictured the newborn days? I personally thought I would float around in a flowing robe while the baby slept beneath blue birds and baby's breath. 
I swear I thought the first few weeks would include classical music and the most precious maternity/paternity leave as we bonded with our new baby. Instead, I got adult diapers, a shocking amount of hair loss, and cracked open a can of formula on day six.
Newborns are wonderful but the weeks and months following their arrival is usually the most exposing time where we see the ugly, selfish nature of our hearts. We snap at our spouse out of exhaustion. We question everything we thought we knew about having a baby. We struggle through disappointment and comparison and postpartum hormones.
Then we quickly slip away from relationships.
I used to think it was the life adjustment of the new baby that makes so many people withdrawal from community and friendships but it's more likely that we withdrawal because parenthood shows us our sin. Whether it's your first or your fifth, having a baby is a raw reminder that we are sinners. So we hide and miss church and avoid our community groups and text rather than call and curl into a corner of lonely comfort. Even the most accommodating invitations and environments are scary when we see our sin. 
God's very first response to the hiding, fearful Adam and Eve was, "Where are you?" The result of sin is always broken relationships. Is parenthood showing you the sin that lurks in your heart? Do you have a long list of reasons why you're justified to not return to community and relationships now that the baby is here? Not even the "perfect" church nursery, church service time, or city group setting will be enough when sin keeps us from relationships. Would you give your friends, the church, and your community the privilege of loving you in this new season?
So I'll gently leave you with this: "Where are you? You belong with us!"


Go vacuum your house. Whether you have one bedroom or four, tile or carpet, hardwood or laminate, vacuum. Study the corners and grout, the baseboard and transition pieces. Let your arms tire as the rhythm bores you; let the small of your back sweat for sign of a job well done.
You don't need a good vacuum, you don't have any excuse for square footage or child underfoot. What you have are arms that move and eyes that see what you have been given, that for which you are given tender care. Life treads here, life grows there, and wear and tear is a blessing and crumbs are signs of provision. If you're lucky, you'll end with fewer Lego pieces.
Most women I know are longing for a thankful heart and searching for ways to be hospitable. Thankfulness stretches like a muscle, back and forth, to practice the art of knowing what one has. Hospitality is using what we have when others have need, careful to remember that the true Portion satisfies beyond our pantry and makes the trending dishes seem like rusted antiques compared to knowing the riches that come from Christ's bounty.
The mark of a wise woman is this: she knows what she has and she knows what she needs. From this root of faithfulness and stewardship will grow a garden, even an orchard, of fruit beyond our wildest imagination. Tend to your chores and you will tend to your heart.