How to Invite Your Children to Taste and See God’s Goodness


As I was getting ready for bed one night, the fear appeared like a sudden thunderstorm.

What if my children grow up and choose not to follow Christ?


As the rain drops of doubts continued pouring over my face, I had to keep wiping the water out of my eyes to catch a glimpse of the light of Christ.

It made me realize that I was focusing on my abilities and performance as a mom, thinking that by it I could control a heart. If I just led them in the right Scripture memory, listened to the right songs, said the right prayers, talked about God enough, used the right curriculum, and trained in the right way, I could produce the faith my children need.

It’s almost as if I’d convinced myself that I was the one who made my own “desperately wicked” heart soft. (Jeremiah 17:9)

Mrs. Fix-It

When I see a problem or potential problem, I want to do everything in my power to fix it. Letting go of control leaves me feeling helpless. When my six-month-old daughter cries and I don’t know why, my neck and shoulders tense up, and my mind starts going crazy with all the possible reasons she might be unhappy.

My mentor encouraged me to invite Jesus’ peace into those times, even if I don’t have the mental capacity to pray more than, “Jesus, please help me. I invite your peace into this time of crying.” God has used those tears (mine and hers) to show me how good it is to depend on the One who is Sovereignly Dependable.


Gloria Furman, in her new book, The Mission of Motherhood, says, “Things that are part of our design—our need for others in community, our physical limitations, being embodied in an “earthly tent,” and our lack of knowledge—are not failures.. . If your neediness is simply because you are a human being (i.e., not omniscient, not omnipresent, not omnipotent, not God), then you have reason to rejoice.

“You see the love of the second person of the Trinity to inhabit the same earthly frame as the one you have.. . You see how your neediness points you to Christ’s sufficiency. You see the wisdom in God’s design to make you depend on him for everything you need…And you glory in his grace” (124-125).

The beauty of the gospel is that the Father is the One who draws our hearts, Jesus is the One who accomplished our redemption on the cross and continues to intercede for us, and the Spirit is the One who empowers us to live according to His Word.

When my focus is on treasuring Christ, longing to grow in my knowledge of Him and opening my broken, dependent self to the Spirit’s work in my life, it becomes less about methodology and more about inviting our children to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

Since my three-year-old son is currently obsessed with construction equipment, I can share with him about how much more powerful God is than excavators. And when he wants me to thank God for steamrollers, I can thank God for all the good equipment He gives to make our lives easier.


In an excellent panel discussion of moms about teaching our kids theology, one of the speakers emphasized that our kids’ understanding of God is both caught and taught.

Another mom shared that when we teach our kids about God, we aren’t offering them something different than what we learn—it’s the same truth cut into bite-size pieces or pureed.

Loving Him First

In Deuteronomy 6, Moses is reminding the Israelites of God’s commands.

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:5-9 ESV)

The only way we can prepare and “puree” the truth for our children is if we are loving Him and studying His Word first.

I don’t know what pains or pleasures God is going to use in the story of my family. But I’ll never forget my theology class in college when the professor encouraged us, saying that though it may seem like someone will never look to the Lord, “Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

1 Peter 2:9 says that as believers we are part of a “royal priesthood.” Gloria Furman lifted my spirits when she reminded me that “Jesus is having mercy on your kids, for he put a priest in the next bedroom whose prayers ascend like incense before him as you boldly approach the throne of grace and plead for your children’s souls” (164).

As we trace the generation after generation of God’s redemption story, we can be comforted that God grows things, and He’s not in a hurry.

Father, thank you for the children you’ve placed in our lives. Would you show us how to surrender them to you, even as we intercede on their behalf? Would you grow us in our knowledge and love for you, so that we can truly invite others to taste and see that you are good? Thank you for Jesus.

Come and See (How to Enjoy Sharing Jesus)


“How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (John 4:9)

His request for water was unexpected. She could have walked away.

But she didn’t.

Whether it was curiosity, the Spirit’s working or both, she stayed to talk.

And Jesus started drawing her into the truth. She didn’t understand all the talk of living water, but she kept listening, eventually asking for the water that would allow her to cross off “draw water” from her to-do list each day.


And then Jesus zoomed into her soul. “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” (John 4:16-18)

She could have denied what Jesus revealed about her life of multiple husbands and current sexual sin, but she stayed in the conversation, saying that Jesus must be a prophet.

So Jesus kept pouring the truth into her, about the Father seeking people to worship Him in spirit and truth, which led her to bring up the Messiah. Only then, did Jesus reveal Himself as the Messiah, the One who was to come.

When the disciples returned to Jesus, their looks showed that they didn’t understand why he would be talking to this woman.

But it didn’t stop her.

“So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”’ (John 4:28-29)

Other Samaritans came to see the man the woman was talking about and believed “because of the woman’s testimony.” (vs.39) Jesus stayed two days and kept speaking the truth.

They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42)

Joy vs. Guilt

Does the command to “make disciples” ever feel more like a burden than a joy?

Do guilt and condemnation creep in when an opportunity is missed, or when you wish you’d responded differently to someone?

Does it feel like when you do take time to pour into someone, the living water seems to evaporate before it reaches their heart?

I have felt validated when people respond positively to a truth I share. I have also let disappointments grow into feelings of insignificance and self-pity when the response I hoped for didn’t happen.

Lately, the Father has lovingly lifted my eyes to a different focus.

Maybe the Samaritan woman struggled with these feelings, but her actions showed her faith. She wasn’t focusing on whether people would believe her. She just had to share, which caused many of her townsfolk to find out more from Jesus Himself.

The first two words from the woman to the people have echoed through my head as I struggle with wanting people to know and grow in the gospel.

Come, see.

Come, see.

Come, see.


God uses so many different ways for His kingdom to come and His truth to be revealed. The results I imagine might be incredibly different than how the Spirit wants to work in people’s lives and in my own life.

But how do I know if I’m doing it right? What if I miss opportunities and don’t know if I’m being a “good and faithful servant?” (Or wishing I’d spent a few more minutes talking to the Jehovah’s Witnesses who came to my door.)

Nancy Guthrie, in her chapter in Word-Filled Women’s Ministry explained The Parable of the Talents this way:

“We don’t need to fear that we haven’t done enough. (Don’t we, as women, regularly tend to think we haven’t done enough or that we simply aren’t enough?) The real danger being drawn for us in this parable is not the danger of not doing enough for the Master. The two faithful servants receive different amounts and come up with different amounts in the end, and they are both rewarded with exactly the same praise from the Master.

The real danger threatens those who do nothing with what has been entrusted to them, those for whom there is zero return—no response of faith to the gospel, no treasuring the Master, no fruit of the Spirit, no return for the Master’s kingdom—nothing. That’s the point of the third servant, who did nothing with his gift. Because he did nothing, he did not just lose his reward; he lost his life.” (239)

When I’m continuing to let my focus be on treasuring Christ, it will be His love flowing through me onto others, whether they choose to receive it or not.

His kingdom is coming. And I get to be a part of it.

And so do you.

When You’re Hungry For Accomplishment

When You're Hungry

Sometimes the Spirit brings a face to my mind during the day—the man who broke his leg, the girl going off to college for the first time, the family packing to spend another term overseas.

Other times, the person is right in front of me, quietly sharing a need (or shouting it at the top of their lungs if they are under 3 feet tall).

I often respond to a little people need without giving it much thought.

Or I’ll spend a moment praying for the person God brought to mind, and possibly shoot them a text.


But other times, when caring about someone takes more time than I’d planned—a phone conversation, a time of instruction and discipline, or trying everything from celery to teething rings to calm a fussy baby–I find myself wanting to argue with God.

It’s as if the Father is saying, “My daughter, will you do this for me?”

And I respond, “But Father, look at all these other good things that I’d like to do for you. Can’t you just change my circumstances so that I can do them instead? What happened to serving from my gifts or trying to work efficiently and effectively?”

If I’m lucky, the Spirit’s truth gently pushes through my other thoughts with something like, “Who’s in charge over every scrap of the universe anyway? Who works all things together for your benefit and my glorious before-time-began rescue plan? Who gives people the gift of faith and draws them through life until their sure hope becomes a reality on my eternal New Earth?”

Pretty much all I can say to that is, “Oh. Right.”

Otherwise, I just keep trying to work hard in my own strength, forgetting the beauty of the gospel and the God who ordained it.

I forget what success means in His kingdom as I snatch at significance and results I can measure on this earth.

I forget the importance of taking time to enjoy Jesus and letting His Word change my thoughts that stubbornly want to keep slogging through the same trenches of worldly success.


I look to my accomplishments to bring the satisfaction that only Jesus can.

Instead,  I need saints of old like Charles Spurgeon to remind me of truths like, “Remember this: had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, Divine Love would have put you there.”

Send Them

At our conference of Mennonite churches this year, the speaker and his wife shared stories of what God is doing in churches all around the world. They encouraged us to echo the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Here I am. Send me.”

But they also shared the story from the book of Acts, about Cornelius going to the home of the apostle Peter, and bringing Peter back to his family to share the good news of the gospel. God didn’t just send Peter out to preach the good news. He sent people to Peter (Acts 10).

The theme of the conference was Discipleship, and the speaker challenged us to not only say, “Here I am. Send me,” but also, “Here I am. Send them (to me.)”

As my heart continues to struggle with desiring earthly recognition and success, here are two things that the Spirit has used to refocus my mind on His perspective.

  1. Asking God to help me recognize who He is sending to me.

I often have my own ideas about who I want God to send me—people ready to ask, “Can you show me how to surrender my life to Jesus?” I need to be reminded that when Jesus was on earth, He met people’s needs, sharing the truth as He listened and loved.

  1. Asking God who He wants to love through me today.

When I’m concerned with the tasks I think God wants me to do for Him, my work can feel like one long to-do list. Joy dissolves, and people are added to the list of laundry, meals, and diapers.

But when I take time to receive the Father’s love and ask for His love to flow through me onto others, it takes the pressure off having something tangible to show for my time. It allows me to relax and enjoy the reflections of His image all around me.


When the work becomes all about people, the household tasks and life details become a way to love my family and those He’s placed in my life.

Surrendered Goals

So what do I do with my goals and dreams?

First, as my mentor Natalie reminded me, I need to recognize that what I think is hunger for accomplishment really is hunger for God.

When I’m concerned with trusting God in what He wants to do through me, rather than focusing on pleasing God through my actions, it opens the way for God to graciously change my motives.

Maybe I won’t have the chance to publish a novel while my kids are still young.

But as I was reminded by Betsy Childs Howard in her talk on Walking By Faith When Dreams Are Delayed, God hasn’t given us the grace to face everything that could happen in the future. He gives grace for today.

And today, it’s okay that the potty training, grocery list, nursing, and time to email a friend filled up the 24 hour slot of today, rather than my writing.

Who has the Spirit placed right in front of you to share His love?

What circumstance is He inviting you to receive today as part of His gracious plan?

The Summer Theater (A Fiction Story)

The Summer Theater

This flash fiction story (a story that is 1,000 words or less) was originally published last year in Splickety’s flash fiction magazine.

Mia adjusted the violin on her shoulder as the conductor lifted his hands. This was her favorite part of Les Miserables, where all the actors in the production came on stage to sing the last triumphant song. She slid her bow across the strings, feeling her heart rise as if it wanted to soar from her chest. She felt her tempo quicken and looked up to match the baton. Above the conductor, she saw the cast of characters form a line on the stage. And then Jean Valjean met her eyes. In real life he was Joel, captain of the high school hockey team.


Mia tightened her fingers on the bow and then relaxed too quickly, almost dropping it. Her stomach clenched, and she held her breath as her eyes scanned the sheet music, finding her place just in time to play the last two lines.

Applause cut into the final note, and the other orchestra members bustled around, stacking their music, and heading to the tent where their cases were stored.

Mia tucked her violin under her arm, weaving through the crowd that had come up to congratulate the performers.

Had Joel meant to catch her eye tonight, or had it been a coincidence?

For each of their four performances, she’d noticed him looking at her during the last song. Either way, they still had three more shows, and she was sick of messing up the grand finale.

Stepping behind the tent, she placed her violin under her chin and ran through the song again. The conversation and laughter died away as the orchestra members left, but she continued repeating the last two lines as the sun dipped below the surrounding trees. Finally satisfied, she lowered the instrument. When she turned, she drew in her breath.


Joel sat cross-legged in the grass a few feet away. He smiled. “I have a hard time appreciating the music when I’m acting.”

Mia squeezed the neck of her violin. “But I was playing the same line over and over.”

“It’s my favorite part.” He stood and brushed off his pants. “Well, I won’t bother you anymore.”

Mia’s voice felt trapped in her throat. Joel had never talked to her before, so this might be her only chance. “You did really well.”

He shrugged. “I’ve always sung in the shower and my car, but I wasn’t sure I could really do it in front of people.”

Mia tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. Joel wasn’t at all how she’d pictured him. She’d always thought of the hockey players as a single entity, better than everyone else.

“So why did you try out? I never would have pictured this as your type of thing.” She didn’t think any of the other hockey players were in the musical, but since she’d never gone to one of the games, she couldn’t be sure.

He shrugged one of his shoulders. “I didn’t want to wait until the fall to see you again.”

Mia shivered in the night air, despite the summer heat, and clutched her violin to her chest. “What are you talking about?” Now that she thought about it, this last year at school she had seen Joel in odd places, like down the music hall or coming out of the restroom near her AP English class.

Joel ran a hand through his hair and squeezed the back of his neck. “You’re way out of my league, but tonight I decided rejection would be way better than not knowing.”

Mia felt like someone had scratched the wood on her violin. Was this some kind of cruel trick? But as she studied his face, she couldn’t help laughing. “If you heard the orchestra members talking, you’d think differently about your league—and mine.”

He took a step closer, and Mia saw a spot of stage makeup beneath his eye. She wanted to wipe it off, but she resisted and pressed her free hand to her side.

Joel tipped his head back, looking at the stars beginning to ease their way out. “I’ve seen the way you treat people. You’re so smart and talented.” He bit his lip. “Just all-around awesome.” He stared at her so long she had to look away. His green eyes made her scalp tingle.


Then his words came spilling out. “Do you want to go to a bonfire with me after the performance tomorrow night? I hear they’ll have s’mores.” He pressed his lips together. Mia felt like her limbs had turned to ice.

When she didn’t answer, Joel dropped his gaze to her violin. “Do you think I could play it?” He took it as if it were made of glass.

Mia hesitated…then moved to stand beside him. She placed the violin on his shoulder, reminding herself to breathe. “You have to keep your wrist straight to reach the notes well.” Handing him the bow, she saw him clutch it in his fist. She reached over to adjust his fingers, and the warmth from his hand spread up her arm. She jerked her hand back.

He set the bow on the string, and she tried not to cringe at the squeaking note as he ran it too close to the bridge. Sawing the bow back and forth a few times, he sighed then grinned at her. “I guess I missed my chance to be a child prodigy.”

Mia laughed. “I don’t know what your friends would say about their hockey star playing violin.”

He handed her the instrument. “Who cares what they think? I don’t.”

She took a deep breath. “Well then, I don’t, either. But I have to be home by eleven tomorrow.”


When You Feel Like You’re Missing Out

When You Feel Like You’re Missing Out

I’ve heard it said that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.

I’m not sure how being a mother would be calculated if you factor in nap times, night times of being “on call,” and the fact that every time you turn around your children are at a different stage of life. (As if you could become an expert on unpredictable humans).

But if you took a skill like learning to play the cello, it would mean practicing for 40 hours a week every week for five years.


Trying to Do It All

A few weeks ago, Christopher and I strolled past ice cream and used book shops on our way to Touch of Italy for our anniversary, relishing our kid-free evening. We talked about the dreams we have, from publishing a novel to saving up for a powered paraglider (I’ll let you guess which one was Christopher’s).

It made me wonder how I would feel if none of our dreams happened–or if the pieces of success didn’t bring the fulfillment we thought they would.

If this life is all there is, we only have 80 years to squeeze everything in–if we’re lucky. Our bodies start breaking down, and we might regret not doing more when we had the chance.

As our children grow, we see them as fresh starts and try to live some of our dreams through them, running them from activity to activity in an effort to keep them from being “deprived.”

Or maybe surviving life with little people right now feels suffocating, the minute-by-minute responsibilities turning into weeks and months of setting aside other pursuits.

At times, I’ve fought the feeling that in some undefinable way, I’m missing out.

That if my circumstances were different, I could really be successful.

And then I’ve realized how prideful that is, choosing to live in discontentment rather than trusting God’s good care in the life I have now.

As believers, we don’t have to worry about missing out because Jesus gives hope in the present, marching all the way into eternity.

If we truly believe that we’ve been given the Holy Spirit “as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance” (Eph. 1:14), and that we have a  “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. . . kept in heaven for you (1 Peter 1:3-4), this present life can always be enough because Jesus was and is enough for us.

We don’t have to prove that we are enough because Jesus’ blood-bought forgiveness and garment of righteousness has already covered us and will cover us until our souls step into resurrected, perfect bodies.

So what do we do with our desires now?


Christopher and I talked about starting a life list, dreams that we would give to God. We realized that the list could be as long and outrageous as we’d like, since we have eternity to finish it.

Death from this life would only mean that we can work at the other things on the list from resurrected bodies that have been made perfect. Because Jesus is coming back to create a New Earth, we will have the chance to keep learning, in a world that has been completely restored.

Just think how many things we will have the chance to become an expert in.

Time is Not Running Out

When we quit feeling that we have to get it all done now, it makes this life so much less stressful.

When we see our lives on this present earth as a tiny dot on the line of eternity, we can rest in the circumstances that our Sovereign and Good Father has us in, and enjoy the people He’s put in front of us.

Because He’s in charge and always will be, we have a sure hope.

Paul says in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

If we are choosing to look to the God of hope, joy and peace are benefits in the present as well as the future, whether it be our kid’s next milestone or our final destination.

My mentor reminded me that God gives us grace in the present, and we can’t always see what His grace will look like in the future.

Trusting that God is good, loving, and in control, takes effort (strengthened by the Holy Spirit’s power), but the alternative is trusting in myself and forfeiting the gifts of joy and peace He wants to fill us with.


Lifting Our Eyes

Maybe you feel like you’re making little impact on the world. . . look to the God of eternity.

Maybe your marriage doesn’t feel like you imagined it as a little girl. . . look to the God of eternity.

Maybe the cooked rice got thrown to the carpet, smashing down into a sticky mess. . . look to the God of eternity.

When our desire is for Him, He directs our other desires and goals for our life.

Jonathan Edwards put it beautifully:

“God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of him is our proper; and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.

“To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any, or all earthly friends.

“These are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance.

“These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun.

“These are but streams; but God is the fountain.

“These are but drops, but God is the ocean.”
― Jonathan EdwardsThe Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 17: Sermons and Discourses, 1730-1733


The Father has accomplished our salvation and adopted us as His daughters, so we can live lives of gratitude instead of striving for the world’s perception of success, fame, or money.

And as the apostle Peter reminds us to love one another deeply, he also gives us the perspective we need:

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,

“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
     but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:23-25)

Will you surrender the seed of your life to wherever the Father wants to plant you for this season?

Will you invite Jesus into your desires as you let your thoughts be shaped by His enduring Word?

Who is the Father leading you to love deeply today as you look to the hope of eternity?

When a Newborn Joins the Family (A Letter To Myself)

When a New Baby is Coming

Dear Alicia,

You now have three months of experience as a mother of two, and there are a few things I’d like to remind you about this newborn stage in case you happen to get big and pregnant again and don’t remember what it was like to welcome a new member to the family.

Most importantly, please know that it will get better.

She will start to cry less, and you will come to terms with the fact that your schedule and rhythm will never look like it once did.

Here are a few other things I’d like to encourage you with (numbered, since there is a good chance you are hormone-charged or sleep-deprived).


  1. You can’t help the fact that your baby would rather be back inside the womb.

I’ve heard it referred to as the “fourth trimester,” when the baby just wishes she were back in the darkness, surrounded by warm fluid, and getting to listen to your heart beat. It’s not your fault that even when she is fed, changed, and burped, she is still unhappy.

It’s okay to try things to make her feel better, but then you need to quit feeling guilty if she’s still uncomfortable and just not enjoying having to sleep on her back. She’ll get used to life just like you are getting used to a new stage.

She’s never known what it’s like to be hungry or have air bubbles inside her tummy. The only way she can communicate her feelings–ranging from slight annoyance to pain–is through crying. She’s experiencing the first sensations of what it means to live in a broken world.

Just think what wonderful news you’ll be able to share with her in the coming years as her tears find meaning, purpose, and healing in the forgiveness of Jesus.

  1. Life is going to be different, and you won’t be able to imagine how.

Over the past 2 ½ years, you’ve worked out different schedules with Isaiah–when to shower, read your Bible, and how to get household tasks done. But throwing a newborn into the mix will totally shake up the routine you’ve settled into.

Your previous way of life was not bad or good, it was just a different stage that you’ll never be able to return to. And this new life, with its unpredictability and having to divide your energies between two little people is exactly what God has called you to because He allowed them into your family in the first place.

Don’t worry about preparing yourself or trying to imagine how you’ll fit a newborn’s needs into your schedule. You won’t be able to. You’ll just have to find a new rhythm.

If you expect there to be unexpected circumstances to deal with (ex. Toddler pooping in the tub, clothes to rinse out from diaper blowouts, mysterious fussiness), you can see them not as interruptions, but as part of your schedule. It’s another way God is loosening your desire for control over your life.


  1. There is no schedule.

You thought a few weeks in that if you got the right advice or kept perfect track of feedings and nap times, you’d be able to predict and conform Hosanna’s needs to your schedule. You saw her as a machine, thinking that if you’d punch in the right numbers, she would respond in a certain way.

You thought that if you only planned ahead well enough, you could avoid embarrassing situations like diaper explosions and finding a place to nurse in public.

Or when she didn’t nurse or sleep before you left to go to a restaurant or someone’s house, you imagined that when you got there, she would cry without taking a breath, and you’d have to endure helpful suggestions like, “Is she hungry?”

Sometimes if she was crying and you tried to nurse her, she screamed louder and pulled off, only to be doused by a spray of milk, (while everyone around was trying to ignore the all-out war going on under the nursing cover).

Unfortunately, worrying about it in advance won’t keep it from happening. On the other hand, she might sleep the entire evening because newborns are just that unpredictable.

Whether you get compliments on what a good baby she is, or whether you hide in a corner to avoid the pitying glances, Jesus is going to be with you, because His grace is always in the present.

You don’t have to imagine what it’s like raising eight kids because He gives grace for what He has entrusted to you.

On a practical note, once you’re three months in, there is still not much of a schedule. It’s more about being aware of the general times she’s eaten and slept and trying one or the other if she’s fussy. She might be awake for only a half hour or maybe two hours before she wants to sleep again.

And you won’t be able to fix everything with nursing. In fact, sometimes your letdown made Hosanna choke and get even more frustrated.

But it’s okay, because newborns are really bad at holding things against you.


  1. Goals should be held lightly.

Everyone else who seems to be running around and getting a lot accomplished probably aren’t having their sleep interrupted every three hours at night. It makes a huge difference!

Your mentor Natalie had to remind you that during this stage, you should only have goals if you want to have goals, especially with your writing.

And do you really need to vacuum that often?

When Hosanna came along, jobs that had previously taken twice as long because of Isaiah’s toddler “help,” doubled again because her eating and sleeping-on-your-shoulder preference invaded every previously free block of time.

Try to think of getting your tasks done sometime during the week rather than sometime during the day, (or even sometime during the month).

Even your goal of getting in a nap won’t happen many times, (though it certainly doesn’t hurt anything to try), but it will be another reminder of your weakness and that Jesus wants to be strong in you.

In the fog of tiredness, you may be wondering if this is really how God is wanting you to spend your days. As Christopher had to remind you, you will never get it right all day every day, but that is exactly the point. Christ’s finished work on the cross accomplished everything needed to bring you into right standing before the Father.

He is inviting you to receive His love and rest as part of His perfect will for you.

  1. You may not feel a whole lot of affection for your newborn, but it will grow.

Those first few days and weeks were filled with Hosanna’s lung-strengthening demands, without even the courtesy of eye contact.

When you are jolted out of sleep for the third time that night, remember that all that sacrificial giving isn’t a way to show you how strong you are but that Jesus is the only One who can keep loving through you.

It’s okay to cry when she does.

Soon you will begin to see the twitches of a smile when she meets your eyes. And though it won’t make everything better, it will help. She’ll start to enjoy watching the goings on outside the womb, and be entertained by the funny sounds that come out of her siblings.


  1. Have more dates with your husband in the first three months.

It’s easy to let those first weeks be consumed with trying to keep your little people happy. You were scared to leave Hosanna with anyone because if she was fussy, you felt like it was somehow your fault.

When you went on an anniversary date with Christopher, the frozen breastmilk bags split down the sides as they thawed, and she refused to drink the formula you sent as back up. Your mother-in-law said that she cried, and it was okay.

It was fine.

When you live in community, people aren’t expecting you (or your children) to be perfect. They aren’t sitting around waiting for thank you notes for the meals they brought. They’re letting Jesus love through them and giving you even more reasons to lift up praises to Him.

Just take the risk, and be thankful for the family who are willing to watch your kids.

And when you’re with your husband, don’t worry about trying to make deep conversation happen. Just enjoy each other.



  1. You probably won’t like the way your body looks.

Just as you need to fight against the thoughts that make you think your worth is determined by what you accomplish, you need to hold up that shield of faith in front of your new post-pregnancy body.

You bear the marks of carrying another of God’s image-bearers into the world.

It’s okay to share with God your disappointment, but ask Him to open your eyes to see more of His greatness, so that you can see yourself and others as He sees you—a redeemed, adopted daughter among many other beloved creations.

  1. It’s okay to mourn the sacrifices.

You knew there would be lost sleep and crying, but when Hosanna actually came, you had to allow yourself to acknowledge the pain, so that you could bring your feelings to Jesus.

Of course someone else has it worse, but that doesn’t make giving up sleep, writing time, relaxation in the evenings, and quiet conversations with your husband unimportant.

When Isaiah was a newborn, you were able to get some good reading in while you nursed, but this time it’s been filled with conversations about the difference between an excavator and backhoe and what dinosaurs eat. (Or someone shouting “Mommy I need help!”  from across the house.)

You also used to have a block of time each day to write, but now even your moments to yourself have had household details pulling at your attention and a tiredness that’s made your  brain feel like part of it was slipping out the back of your head.

Allow yourself to mourn the ability to concentrate and the fact that your eyes get more tired looking at a screen.

Don’t fear that your writing will be permanently hindered because you can’t keep up with the quantity you were used to. God is not limited by your abilities. If He wants to keep using your writing, He will. What success are you really after anyway, if not to be led into the opportunities that God provides?

Your loving Father has so much more to teach you and so much more love for you to experience. Let your hope be in Him, Alicia, because that’s all that really matters.



When Your Husband Isn’t Meant to Provide

When Your Husband Isn't Meant to Provide

“Honey, I have to stay late today.”

It didn’t seem like a problem, since my newborn was looking up with innocent smiles from her bouncy seat, and my toddler was paging through a book.  I stirred the onions and stepped over to unload the dishwasher.


As I stacked the plates, I decided I’d try to have dinner on the table when he got home. All three of us would be waiting at the door, ready to give hugs and kisses. We’d listen to each other’s days as our toddler quietly ate his vegetables, and we’d probably even have time to catch up on our budget after supper.

My dream quickly dissolved as the baby’s moans of frustration soon crescendoed into healthy-lung wails, and my toddler latched onto my leg with demands for shows and chocolate milk.

The burning smell of the onions filled the kitchen, and by the time Daddy came in the door, finishing dinner had been moved to the bottom of the list.

The relief of having another set of capable hands in the house overshadowed my plans for a peaceful welcome, turning into a series of “Honey, could you’s. . . “

It also kept me from noticing his weary face.

Running in the Wrong Direction

When the immediate needs seem to fill each nook and cranny of the day and evening, I get the panicky feeling that nothing is being accomplished, (especially when nothing is crossed off the sticky note).

When our nighttime conversations, normally only punctuated by brushing, flossing, and mouthwash, get taken away by a fussy baby being handed back and forth, it makes me wonder why God would allow so many obstacles to feeling connected in marriage.

Doesn’t God know how much more loving I could be if life was easier? If I didn’t have to always feel so. . . dependent?

My mentor Natalie recently asked me who I run to when things go wrong—Christopher?

Or my Heavenly Father?

Do I trust God to provide, or is it only Christopher’s job?

It’s easy to feel unloved when I expect a person to do what only God can do—to listen perfectly, sympathize with my struggles, and be ready with grace and approval because of Jesus’ redemption no matter how many mistakes I make.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, He asked his friends to watch and pray with him. I’m sure they tried, but by the time He got back, they were asleep.

As human beings, we are limited. Jesus understands that, since He became a human and took on the boundaries of flesh while still remaining God. He gets it.


Here are a few ways I’ve been encouraged to run to Jesus when all I feel like doing is complain to my husband and expect him to make everything better.

  1. Talk to your soul.

A friend recently reminded me that feelings should be acknowledged, but not trusted.

When I feel like I’ve accomplished little more than keeping two kids alive by the end of the day (and not even necessarily in a good mood), it’s natural for me to start judging myself. I think that my value in God’s kingdom is based on my performance or ability to be strong under pressure.

If I jot a list of tasks I want to get done, I expect myself to finish it.

I often let that attitude carry over into how I see my husband, and refuse to extend grace when a detail is forgotten.

The other day, after quite a few hours of unfulfilled goals, I realized how little joy I felt. It seemed the Holy Spirit was saying, “Well, you have five minutes now. Why don’t you use it to talk to your soul?”

And so I began.

The Father loves me.

Jesus paid for everything wrong I’ve ever done or ever will do.

I have been clothed in Christ’s righteousness, which is what the Father sees when He looks at me (instead of what I did or didn’t accomplish).

The two children He’s entrusted me with are part of His good will for my life.

He is using the newborn fussiness and minute-by-minute training of a toddler to sanctify me and show me my need for Him.

The Father is satisfied with me because He is satisfied with Jesus, who lives in me.

I have an inheritance in heaven, which the Spirit is preparing me for—and I’ll get to enjoy perfect fellowship with the Father.

Unexpected messes, tantrums, and car repairs are all part of the life He is allowing and walking with me in.


The lies of comparing myself to others and expecting a certain set of circumstances can only be fought with remembering the truth found in God’s Word.

It’s worth every ounce of mental energy.

  1. Remember that we’re in this together.

When Christopher and I are both stressed, our capacity to listen can go down. We become focused on ourselves. I’m so thankful for the times Christopher has reminded me that we are going to face the bills, tears, and rice stuck to the carpet together.

  1. Value what he thinks is important.

I might have household tasks I’d like Christopher to do on a Saturday, but it is prideful to think that he should always place the same level of importance on gutters being cleaned. I’ve had to remind myself that it’s okay if it doesn’t get done today.

And if I really, really have something that needs doing, a calm and kind request makes all the difference.


  1. Allow him to be who he is and me to be who I am.

I’ve found that the more I try to control my circumstances or the people in my life, the more out of control they become.

Just as my newborn is not a machine that can be conformed to a rigid schedule of sleeping and eating, my husband has a distinct personality causing him to see the world a certain way. He often helps me to step back and see the big picture of our lives, when a broken vacuum cleaner feels like the end of the world.

When I can appreciate his role as husband and allow other friends to be a listening ear once in a while, it can also help me enjoy the times we do share our feelings and connect.

What burden do you need to surrender to the Father today?

What can you thank your husband for?