Parenting When There Seem to be No Right Answers

Parenting When There Seem to be No Right Answers

I stretched myself into my bed, weighted blanket pulled up, wrapping my heart, heavy and tired. I felt exhausted. Angry. Bombarded…by all the opinions in my head.

Parenting is hard.
And there are so many good ways to parent…how do I know I am choosing the right one?

How do I know that the instant decisions I’m forced to make over and over and over every single day are the right ones? The best ones?

  <img src="" alt=""/>

So often I know, I know they aren’t. I apologize over and over. I snap and yell and rant again and again, and then must circle back to asking forgiveness.

I try this.
Then that.
I say one thing
Then I change my mind and try a different vein of logic or type of consequence or chose a rewards system or give simply let it slide because I

Maybe you hear them too? The dozens of voices. Opinions. Loud and demanding and, unfortunately, contradictory.

How do I know I’m listening to the right one?

And I can feel the them rising…the voices. Slowly louder and louder in my head. Crushing me with their volume and their weight.

Do this…not that.
If you do this, you will hurt them…
If you don’t do this, you teach them bad habits…
This is kinder…
This is wiser…
This is effective…
This is better for the long haul…
This is practical…
This is for their heart…
..and I am drowning in the voices.

But suddenly, in my head but not from within it, His voice speaks above the din. Softly. As if nearest to me out of them all.

“Don’t listen to them, listen to me.”

And I realize that somehow I thought His voice was there, in the chorus and chaos of voices in my head. I somehow thought His voice was among them, shouting at me with judgement, with fear, with shame.

I forget that His voice is different.
His voice is outside of the crowd. Separate. And only in turning the crowd of opinions down, will I be able to hear His voice, firm and safe. A steady place to rest my heart and mind. A safe bottom to plant my anchor.

The steady thrum of options and opinions isn’t necessary to my parenting.

Being guided by the Holy Spirit is necessary to my parenting.

So I’ll lay my anxious heart down tonight, a little easier. My head will be a little quieter. And my mind and heart will repeat this simple prayer.

God, let me see my children with Your eyes and Your heart. Let me hear Your voice and let my heart be sensitive to Your touch. Give me Your wisdom and strength and grace as I parent, and the humility to allow myself to be parented by You in the process.

And this simple mediation.

His voice is not in the crowd.

Be blessed

We Don’t Get to Decide: {The Battle of Comparison}

There is a drum beating on my heart, pounding in my ears, and slowly, slowly growing in force. With each thrumming beat, the message becomes a little clearer, a little stronger.

We don’t get to decide for others.
We don’t get to decide for others.
We don’t get to decide for others.

  <img src="" alt=""/>

We don’t get to decide for others.

We don’t get to decide what is hard.

We don’t get to decide what is painful.

We don’t get to decide what is heartbreaking.

We don’t get to decide what is loss.

We don’t get to decide what is sacrifice.

We don’t get to decide what is discouraging.

We don’t get to decide what is overwhelming.

We don’t get to decide what is too much.

We don’t get to decide what is exhausting.

We don’t get to decide what is max capacity.

We don’t get to decide when the breaking point comes or the overwhelm is too great or the weight is too heavy or the hurt is too much.

We don’t get to decide for anyone other than ourselves.

And that can be hard. Because sometimes you can put numbers to people’s pain and struggle and sacrifice. The problem is, you can’t put numbers on the impact those pains and struggles will have on an individual’s heart.

But we try.

Oh we try.

We add up dollars and hours and days and years and life circumstances to try to put individual pain and suffering and hurt and capacity on a scale. Neat and tidy so that we can know how to think about others.

Are they justified in their reaction? Are they hurting as bad as I am? Do they need to suck it up? Do I need to feel sorry for them?

Am I better than they?

Am I stronger than they?

Have I given as much as they?

Have I done as much as they?

Have I done more?

Are they living up to my standard?

Am I living up to their standard?

Are they good enough?

Am I good enough?

And the questions we ask and the measurements we take all come down to selfishness. We want to justify our pain and our struggle and our ability. We want to justify ourselves. We want to parade ourselves. We want to be seen as more…more hurt, more needy, more enduring, more sacrificial, more capable of handling life in all its pain.

We want validation.

We want praise.

We want sympathy.

We want honor.

We want recognition.

We want awe.

We want to be seen.

And probably, we don’t want any of these things outright. But we want them quietly. We want them known quietly in peoples hearts and minds, and maybe, we want to hear them spoken in private or written in a card.

We want to hear or maybe just see in others eyes…

“It’s worse for you.”

“I don’t know how you do it.”

“If that was me I think I’d have gone crazy by now.”

“You are so much more patient than me.”

“You amaze me with how you handle all this.”

We want to know that we are better. Because deep down we are desperately insecure. I know, because I am too.

The antidote for all of this is knowing who we are and who God is.

We are desperately broken, living in a desperately broken world.

We are completely loved and provided for in Jesus.

We are wholly flawed.

We are made completely whole in Jesus.

We are worse than we could imagine.

We are perfect and complete in Jesus.

“We are nothing. God is everything.”
Jason Sanchez

God is everything and so He is where we must turn to when we find ourselves trying to determine how others should feel. How we should feel.

We don’t get to decide how others feel, what others need. But we can turn to Jesus and be empowered to love and serve them whether we understand them or not.

Be blessed

For the Mommies: {Walking Through Your Day}

For the Mommies: {Walking Through Your Day}

I sat in church, singing songs of praise and wrestling with the monotony that seemed to plague my life and soul this particular day and the many of the days strung before it.

  <img src="" alt=""/>

It’s tempting to let those thoughts creep in. Thoughts that say, “Your life is pointless.” Thoughts that say, “Could your life be any more mundane?” Thoughts that say, “Of course God is with people doing important work, or out in their jobs surrounded by people who need Him. But me? Why would He be with me when I’m at home sautéing zucchini on a Tuesday afternoon?” Thoughts that say, “The vast majority of your days right now are too boring for God.”

I sat there singing, these thoughts tugging at the back of my mind, when God spoke through the chaos of my mind so clearly that I couldn’t miss it.

“I want to walk through your day with you.”

My mind instantly flooded with images of Jesus right there next to me, walking with me, matching me step for step, as I carry poopy diapers to the trash and wipe crumbs from the lunch table.

Even now, weeks later, I am filled with awe as I think about it. The Creator of the Universe, Savior of the World, the All-Knowing, All-Loving, All-Holy God want to walk with me. Every step. Every moment. Every mundane hour of my day.

And not just me.

Mommy, Jesus wants to walk through your day with you.

He wants to walk through the meal prep and clean up, the diaper changes and clothing changes, the play time and the nap time, the discipline and the teaching opportunities, the coffee reheating and grocery list making, the Facebook scrolling and the library book rereading.

He wants to walk through your day with you.

He wants to hold you through each moment.

He wants to be there with you.

He wants to be intimately invested in your life.

He wants to.

He isn’t dragging Himself through the day with you bored and exhausted and counting the hours. He isn’t giving you half-attention while He pours more of His love and energy into the preacher prepping His Sunday sermon and the perscuted Christian halfway around the world.

For one: He doesn’t have the limits we do. He can pour all of Himself into being with you and simultaneously do the same for the evangelist preaching his heart out to a full stadium of people.

For two: He is walking beside you full of hope and joy and comfort and wisdom and grace. He is interested and invested in you and all the little repetitions of your day. He created the cycle of days and the beauty of repetition and He desires that you see Him and serve Him in it. That you invite Him into it.

And more than that, He is able to use the monotony of your life for more than you or I would ever dream possible.

The things that seem so insignificant and boring to me right now are not boring or insignificant to Him. He values each moment of my life enough to be with me through it.

God’s Spirit lives in me. 1 Cor 3:16

Nothing, not even the mundane, can separate me from God’s love. Rom 8:38-39

God is with me wherever I go. Joshua 1:9

Mommy, Jesus wants to walk through your day with you.

Will I recognize that He is with me? Will I take advantage of HIs presence in my day-to-day? Will I? Will you?

{In posting this, I realize that I probably should have published this post before the one I wrote and posted last week. So if you haven’t read last week’s post, maybe head over and read it now.}

Be blessed

Fruit and Evidence

Fruit and Evidence

Over and over in the Bible we are told to “bear fruit” and that if we stay close to Jesus, if we have the Holy Spirit working in us, He will produce ”fruit” in us.

But only recently did I really think deeply about what this fruit really is.

I think it’s our natural instinct to think that fruit is the flashy stuff.

The amount of time you’ve spent serving at church
the biblical degrees you can display on your wall
the number of people you’ve led to Jesus
the books you’ve written about spiritual living
the Bible studies and small groups you’ve led
the number of homeless people you’ve given food to
the outreach events you’ve put on
the number of children you’ve raised to love Jesus
the amount of money you’ve given

These are not fruit.

  <img src="" alt=""/>

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Galations 5:22-23

These are wonderful things, and they are often the evidence of fruit, but they are not the fruit.

It sounds so strange to say, but I am the fruit.
My changed life. My heart and mind becoming more like Jesus. I am the fruit of a spirit filled life.

The fruit is the power of God transforming me from sinner into saint.

The fruit that I am called to bear is my own self becoming more like Jesus as I abide in Him.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

If I think that living a fruitful life looks like adding up accomplishments and accolades, then my life will be focused on doing things for God, and not seeking God Himself.

If I think that pleasing God and producing fruit to His glory means adding up a large number of lives I’ve impacted, then I’m forgetting that I cannot change people’s hearts and lives. Only God can do that.

If I think that the fruit I am called bear is the serving I do, then I will wear myself out doing things for other people and becoming prideful in all that I accomplish.

And we can swing so easily between these two wrong extremes: doing all the things because we think that how much we do and the effectiveness of our doing are the fruit, and doing nothing because we don’t want to risk doing something out of a wrong heart or attitude.

Our center, the place we must always swing back to, is Jesus.

When I find my heart filling with pride or anxiety over the things I’m working to accomplish, I must learn to swing back to the center of Jesus, serving Him because I love Him. Because He first loved me.

When I find myself afraid to do anything, afraid that I am working for the wrong reasons, I must swing back to the center of Jesus, trusting that He can wash the sinful attitudes from my heart. Trusting that He has prepared good works for me to walk in them and that He can produce fruit in me through them.

We will always find our hearts and attitudes being challenged, needing to change. Needing to recenter on Jesus. But that is the whole point. As we are changed more and more into the image of Christ, we should be doing more and more for God because we are falling deeper in love with Him. But as we do and give and serve and reach out, we must remember that we aren’t responsible for the results of those things. God is.

I am the fruit that God wants to produce through me. I have good works prepared in advance that God has set out for me.

I am going to keep doing for God and with God, but I’m praying that I learn more and more to leave the results and the glory to God, remembering that those things are not the fruit. I am.

Be blessed

Prepared In Advance: {A Story of Repetition}

I stood on the threshold of her kitchen and said again how I feel like the trial of this year is the same one we’ve gone through five times before. And it’s getting exhausting.

A few days later, I was standing, hands all sudsy in my own kitchen sink, glancing over a text from her, completely unrelated, but it pointed my mind back toward that night.

“How many times have we gone through this, really?” I wondered to myself.

And I began to count backward.

…right now, new business still too new to fully support our family which is growing by one…

…this past summer, starting a new business…

…two summers ago, quitting my husbands part time job two weeks before our son was born…

…the year before that, starting a different business one month before we found out I was pregnant…

…and the year before that, moving across the country with no jobs and no home and only the knowledge that this was where God wanted us…

…and again, the year before that, getting married one week out of college and trying to get a job and a home before graduation…

…finally, ten months prior to our wedding day…the frustration and fear…kneeling on the floor of my parents living room…the phone call…that overwhelming awe at God’s answer, His provision…

And as I counted back, I hesitated to count those earliest two memories. They seemed so simple, so small compared to where we are today. Even the move to Florida seemed almost too small for the list. But that thought, from a reasonable perspective is laughable. Of course they count! They just feel small now, compared to the depths God has brought us to.


That first memory, the memory of that day Travis called from college, down to just a few dollars in his bank account due to a shiny new ring on my finger, to tell me that none of his references were returning her call and she never hires without references, was burning into my mind. I remember so plainly the fear and frustration I felt. Even more plainly, I remember kneeling down in front of my parents brown leather couch to pray, pouring out my heart and frustration, begging God to work.

I hadn’t yet finished when my phone rang again. While I was still on my knees, she had called him back and hired him, against her own policy, without any references.

I was shocked. I was awed.

That God would answer so quickly and completely, amazed me. I was ecstatic.


And the memory of that day burned strong as my hand swirled a soapy dishcloth across sticky plates and silverware. But something else burned strong in my mind along with the memory: awe and gratitude.

Because there is a pattern to our lives that we would be foolish to overlook. There is a theme to the how and what and where God is taking us. And as that memory from six years ago played again and again in my mind, I realized how deeply kind God is.

The stakes were so small back then. The real risk we were facing was so little, but in that moment it felt like our whole world.

Now, over six years, one move, and one child and one-on-the-way later, the stakes seem so much higher. The risks of following God, the risks of obeying, feel so much greater.

But the truth is, God power is the same today as it was six years ago.

His grace and provision is just much at work on our behalf today as it was that day kneeling in front of the brown couch.

And the often repeated saying echos in my mind.

“God will not guide where He will not provide.”

He will not take us somewhere that He will not take us through.

He will not call us to a task that He will not provide the ability for us to accomplish.

He will not direct us to a place where He will not be with us.

He will not call us to a mission that He will not empower us for.

He is not going to leave us alone or stranded or hopeless. He is not going to forget us or abandon us or fail us.

Even when it feels like we are running in circles or spinning our wheels or hopelessly stuck, He knows. He is with us. He will provide.

He knows. He is with us. He will provide.

And yet, in all this I must remember…

He cares as much about the process as He does the destination.

To get me from A to C, He might not go through B. He might take me up and around and off to the side and what feels like backward for a long while, because what He desires to accomplish in and through me along the way is just as important to Him as the final destination.

Let me say that again. Because, oh! My own heart needs this reminder so often.

What He desires to accomplish in and through me along the way is just as important to Him as the final destination.

As I look back on the past six and some years, I realize how very tenderly gracious He has been.

He has taken me through the same set of fears, the same struggle to trust, the same hard spot in life, over and over again, not to prepare me for some ultimate test, but rather to draw me closer and closer to Him.

He keeps allowing the stakes to rise, the situations to feel more desperate, so that each time, my faith is stretched a little further and I learn to rest my hope on Him a little more fully.

Be blessed

Subscribe To The Blog

Subscribe To The Blog And Get My “Perspective Reset Devotional" For FREE

Congratulations! You Are Subscribed To The Blog And Your Devotional Is Being Sent Right Now.

Pin It on Pinterest