It was love at first sight.
The moment we stepped into the quaint, 1950’s ranch, we were captivated—It had to be ours.
Sure, the unsightly paneling would need painted; the outdated light fixtures, changed.
And, okay, the yard sure would need mowing and raking; pulling and pruning.
Yes, we realized the floor was off-kilter in places (as well as a few windows and walls)…
But it was all. So. Charming.
A few agonizingly long weeks later we closed on that house and it became ours. The first few days were magical—strange and new, but magical.
After a few days of painting, moving, and very little sleeping, we began to notice a few things… like the water heater, for instance.
The water heater squealed. A constant, high-pitched hum that only stopped when water was running somewhere. Hmm. That’s annoying.
Then there’s the floors.
You don’t think having completely level floors matters much, until you take into consideration putting furniture on said floors. Just because my boys bunk beds sport blue and white striped bedding doesn’t mean I want them looking like a toppling sailboat.
Oh, and the yard. Don’t even get me started.
What I thought would be “a couple days’ work” has become endless, ongoing cycle of leaf and weed removal. Humpf.
This new house has taught me a lot of lessons already, on everything from friendships to the importance of embracing the process, but lately it’s reminded me a lot of my marriage.
I don’t know about you, but at times my relationship to my husband can seem eerily familiar to my house experience. Although it was not “love at first sight” (we grew up in church together, from an early age), we began hanging out as friends in high school. I began captivated by his humor, maturity and sweet spirit. He had to be mine.
Sure, there were “little things” he did that I noticed, but at the time, they too, were charming.
Now, 11 years and 3 kids later, there are many times when my husband’s idiosyncrasies are far less than “charming”…
I like to finish projects; he’s perfectly fine with stopping in the middle to do something different.
I’m an introvert; he’s a people person to the max.
I’m not big on news and media; he feels the need to be in the know at all times.
What used to be charming can now seem more, well… annoying to be honest.
So what happened in those eleven years between charming and annoying?
The same thing that happened with our house; a sneaky little thing called “familiarity.”
Familiarity causes us to take for granted those things for which we used to be grateful for.
When our house was fresh and new (to us), I appreciated the blessing that it was to our family. Likewise, when our relationship was fresh and new, I cherished every dinner date, every sweet gesture, and every amusing quirk of my husband.
But over time, they just became the norm. Unknowingly, I became entitled, and it sucked the joy and gratitude right out of the relationship.
Entitlement. It’s easy to see it in everyone else but our self, right?
Here’s some tell-tale signs I’m struggling with entitlement:
I stress more than I connect.
I complain more than I compliment.
I sulk more than I celebrate.
Proverbs 5:18 advises husbands, “Rejoice in the wife of your youth.” But I think that’s a message that can apply to us all.
“Rejoice in the [husband] of your youth.”
So how do we move from frustration to appreciation? How do we fight back against familiarity to keep things fresh in our marriages?
Well, when those little quirks about my house begin to get under my skin, I remind myself of all the wonderful things it has to offer--
A cozy place to rest and recharge.
An inviting space to host friends and family.
A safe and quiet neighborhood.
A spacious, shaded yard.
Likewise, with my marriage, I can turn my focus from irritation to recognition. I can recognize that my husband…
Works hard to be a faithful provider for our family.
Keeps us laughing and light-hearted with his laid-back sense of humor.
Is an innovative thinker and problem-solver.
And so, SO much more.
It’s common for familiarity to creep into our marriages. But it’s not impossible to rekindle fresh love and appreciation for your spouse.
Here are a couple practical ways to do that:
It’s never too late to do the right thing. Begin today. Don’t allow familiarity to strip the love, joy, passion and gratitude right out of your marriage.
Pray and ask God, “What is the one thing I can do today to rekindle love and gratitude in my marriage?” Allow Holy Spirit to show you, then do it. It’s that simple.
What’s the one step you need to take today?
I received a complimentary copy of “If You Only Knew” from B&H Publishing in
exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.
If you Only Knew, by Jamie Ivey
In “If You Only Knew”, Jamie Ivey shares the candid, grace-wrapped story of her life. If you’ve ever felt like you’re too far gone for God to make something good out of your life, this story will restore hope in His ability to make all things new and to be free from the lies and shame that have held you bound.
This book is for…
Women who desire to walk in the fullness of freedom in Christ
Why You Need It
Like Jamie, I spent a lot of years feeling like God tolerated me. I had occasional glimpses of His extravagant grace, but never thought it was for me. So I strived to earn His love and pay for the sins I thought He held against me. I was a Christian, but I didn't feel the freedom that I saw in others.
What I’ve learned, and what Jamie so gracefully expresses in “If You Only Knew” is that God’s love, forgiveness and acceptance exceeds everything that we could even imagine. If you’re feeling chained by lies and shame and unable to believe the truth that God is for you, this book is a light that will illuminate the path to freedom.
Why you’ll love it…
The Bottom Line
This highly anticipated release did not disappoint! I love Jamie’s message and her vision to see women walking in the freedom Christ offers. I hope this first book isn’t her last!
With Love, Katie G.
I scribbled the phrase in black ink for the seventh time, sighed and clasped my hand, stretching it backward.
Smiling, I tidied the crisp envelopes into a pile and set them by my purse so they would not be forgotten (like the daily signing of my kids’ agendas).
I don’t know when it happened, but at some point stacks of pretty cards on my desk and frequent trips to the post office became the norm.
Somewhere in the journey I realized my words held a lot of power. At some point in the throes of motherhood I realized that if I needed someone to cheer me on, then surely others did too.
I must admit the words did not come easily, at first. I questioned whether they would be of any value to the person on the receiving end...
Until I started getting responses like, “That verse was just what I needed to hear,” or, “Your card came at just the right time.”
Confirmation that these words were hitting on real needs.
In that hidden season of motherhood, I realized I could still make a difference, right where I was. The Holy Spirit could and would use me—little, imperfect me--to lift up the people He had placed in my life. To shovel the love of God on them, and push them to be who God created them to be.
But He doesn’t just want to use me--He wants to use you, too.
Paul exhorts the church in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 saying, “So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left behind…” (The Message)
The coolest part about God is He could do everything without us, but he chooses us to play a part in His story. There are people in our lives that need hope. And while at times I run short on other resources, the hope of Christ is a well we can draw from that never runs dry.
Whether written or spoken, encouragement is a gift that everyone can give.
All it costs is our attention.
We must be willing to slow down and be with the people He has placed around us; take note of their giftings; hear their stories; sense their pain, their discouragement; and let the Holy Spirit speak to us and through us. But that can’t happen when we’re rushing from one event to the next.
Who, in your life, needs the gift of encouragement today?
A struggling mom?
A grieving co-worker?
A discouraged husband?
Who will you slow down for long enough to hear their heart and allow the Holy Spirit to speak words of life through you?
Somebody needs a word to make them brave enough to push through fear.
Somebody needs a hand to pull them from their pit of despair.
Somebody needs to know that they are not alone, to hear the words, “I’m praying for you. I’m with you.”
Somebody needs to know that someone else believes in them.
Be that somebody.
Type a text.
Write a card.
Open your mouth.
Send an e-mail.
Meet for coffee.
You are a vessel to get God’s love, hope, and encouragement into the world.
This is an unsponsored review post about "31 Day Create: Discover and Strengthen Your Creativity", by Jenny Randle. All opinions are mine.
If you follow me on social media, you know there are few things I love more than a new book. And when one of those is highly impactful, I consider it somewhat of a "responsibility" to share about it.
But beyond just sharing a pretty graphic from time to time, I thought it’d be fun to post an occasional blog review of my favorites. And I can't think of a better book to kick it off with than my friend Jenny Randle's latest book-- an interactive devotional to help you rekindle your creativity.
If you're like me and 77% of adults, you probably feel like your creativity has dwindled with age. And you'd be right. But where did we go wrong? And is there any hope to restore the creative genius that once was?
Jenny says, "Yes."
Listen, friends: As a person who's been "burned" by many sub-par devotionals, I'm not exaggerating when I say this one exceeded my expectations.
So get your Amazon Wish List ready and read more to learn why this book needs to be on your shelf.
"31 Day Create: Discover and Strengthen Your Creativity" by Jenny Randle
A 31 day interactive devotional book aimed to help you discover and strengthen your creativity. Each day features a short message and a creative challenge that will take you about 7-10 minutes to complete.
This book is for...
Hobby or career creatives such as...
(Psst...With May around the corner, this would make a great gift for a high school graduate!)
Why You Need It
Studies show that 77% of adults feel like they’ve lost their creativity. Are you one of them? I was.
As sons and daughter of the Creator, we were created to create, but many of us find ourselves feeling stifled. Jenny Randle approaches this real-life dilemma from a sound Biblical perspective, offering practical advice and encouragement to help you revive and nurture your God-given creativity in just 15-20 minutes a day for 31 days.
Why You'll Love It
1. It's spit-your-coffee-out funny. Like really funny.
From her story about “Fancy Dude”, to her reference of “sinking like Katy Perry’s left shark in the super bowl”, Jenny is HIL-AR-I-OUS. Be warned that you may bust out laughing uncontrollably at any given page turn.
My favorite has to be her failed attempt at a once-in-a-lifetime shot to break into “the voiceover career I didn’t even know I wanted” but instead… “sounded more like a squeaky Bart Simpson who just finished drinking four cups of coffee, then got mauled by bears.” (pg. 152)
2. It's a calorie-free treat.
I’m the kind of gal that’s motivated by rewards (read: chocolate and naps). This book didn’t feel like work, it felt like a treat. The “challenges” were fun and served as sort of a “brain break” in the middle of my otherwise routine day.
3. It's packed with truth.
I love encouragement. I love it more when there’s substance to it—meaning it’s rooted in the truth of God's Word.
Imagine my delight to discover that "31 Day Create" is packed with Scripture! From the Biblical foundations of creativity, to overcoming fear and setting healthy boundaries, to walking out your calling, Jenny gives creatives a sound guidebook for the journey.
My "Aha" Moment
“You are a proven miracle and a masterpiece… so own it! Not in an arrogant way, but in a way that glorifies God.
You have unique gifts, and the world needs your perspective, passion, and your talent. Embracing your uniqueness, whether it’s your smarts, quirkiness or aspirations, can help you understand your role as a child of God.”
–Day 21, page 135
The Bottom Line
This book gets 5 out of 5 sticky gold stars from me. As a gal who’s trudged my way through many devotionals over the years, this one was sheer delight from beginning to end. Jenny Randle is playing an integral role in pointing creatives to the freedom God intended for them to walk in.
Make an investment in your creativity-- you can grab this book on Amazon for $17.97
I’ve always loved warm conversation with a friend over a great cup of coffee. Don’t you?
Over the years I’ve probably spent hundreds of hours (and even more dollars) investing in this very necessary quality time.
But a couple of years ago I began to recognize a pattern. Each time I met with these friends I talked about the same things. The same problems. The same goals. The same desires…
But nothing ever really changed.
Sure, life changed. Houses changed. Even the friends across the table changed-- but I wasn't getting anywhere. I was in a rut, and I knew it. And I was tired of it.
I’m pretty sure God was tired of it too. How do I know? He put an idea in my heart one day as I sat, pouring out my frustrations before Him once more.
You need a mentor.
I did not love that thought. As an introvert who struggles to make new friends, I battled with the concept of “finding a mentor”. Whatever that meant.
Who would I ask?
How would I ask?
Was it even important enough to bother?
I prayed: Lord, if this is really you, show me who that person is supposed to be.
Oh, the old “God, if this is really you” prayer. We Christians love it because we use it to postpone doing what we already know He’s commanded us to do.
Not this time.
Almost instantly a friend’s name came to mind. And it made sense. She was a wife and mom, a couple steps ahead of me in the parenting stage; a known respected leader in ministry at our church; and, well, we simply had a lot in common.
But how do you ask someone to be your mentor?
I always joke that if my life had a tagline it would be, “Katie Gibson: Being awkward since 1985”, Needless to say I was hesitant to follow through.
I allowed fear to cripple me. Just like it had been for years. Just like God wanted me to learn to overcome, with the godly wisdom, encouragement and accountability found in a mentor.
I ran from what I knew I was supposed to do.
I ran, like so many who have gone before me. Jonah. Elijah. Peter.
But here’s the good news: Even when we run, God chases us down.
But here's the good news:
“Yeah!” I sputtered, “I would love that.” She promised she would text as I turned to climb into my car, shaking my head in disbelief.
The next week we met at a quaint breakfast nook. I don’t know at what point I popped the question…
Okay, in reality it was just me awkwardly admitting the truth about how I had ran from what I felt God was leading me to do.
She laughed then, and she still laughs now, as I ramble on.
When I retell my unspeakably raw moments with my kids;
Or my “arguments” with God;
Or my honest assessments of myself.
We don’t always laugh. Sometimes we cry.
When we share about God’s goodness in a situation;
Or expose a broken part of who we are;
Or admit mistakes and the desire to become more than the sum of them.
But the laughing and crying doesn’t even begin to cover the half of what this relationship has meant to me.
It helped me gain the traction I needed to break out of the same old cycles.
I ask hard questions and listen, then apply that wisdom to my life.
More importantly, I allow her to ask hard questions.
I ask hard questions and listen,
then apply that wisdom to my life.
More importantly, I allow her to ask hard questions.
Like the time it forced me to realize that it was time to leave my comfortable job to pursue my dream career.
Or the time I had to shed my apathy about my son’s school problems and go all “Mama Bear” to get him the help he needed and deserved.
Or the times I had my own opinions about the way things should be done in the ministry area I was leading in.
I could continue, but the bottom line is this: having the accountability and exhortation of a mentor finally gave me the traction I needed to move forward in 2017.
I fought the giants of fear, apathy, and self-doubt.
I grew as a parent, a leader, a wife, and a friend.
I made a bold move into a career that I absolutely love.
Our finances began moving in the right direction for the first time in years.
And I even published my very first book.
Can I tell you something else cool? God didn’t just bless me with one amazing mentor, He gave me two. After a couple casual cups of coffee with a new friend, we began meeting more intentionally. She, a more experienced author and a Jesus lover, challenges me to live out my calling bravely.
Isn’t that just like God? He always provides over and beyond. Each incredible of these incredible women bring a different set of experiences to the table.
Friend, I don’t know where you are in your life, what your dreams are, or where you want to grow. But this I know-- there is someone out there you can learn from.
The Bible demonstrates mentorship through the stories of Elijah and Elisha, Paul and Timothy, Jesus and the disciples. The wisest man in the Bible, Solomon, exhorts us to acquire wise counsel. Paul urges men and women to share their love for God and life experience with those coming behind them.
Don’t neglect this very important part of growth.
Seek God. Pray. Get in the Word Follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings. Read great books.
But don’t neglect this integral piece to the puzzle.
As I wrap up, here are some questions to help you pinpoint who might make a great mentor in your life:
- Who is further along in the journey?
- Whose life do you admire?
- Who is where you want to be in ten years?
- Who is having success in an area you need to grow in?
Jot down some names. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide your steps. He will. He always does.
And if it doesn’t work out the first time, that’s okay! Sometimes good things take time.
To Heather and Anne,
Your example is so needed in this world.
Your words have meant more to me than you’ll ever know.
Thank you for believing in me.
Hundreds of thousands of books have been written on the subject, and I’ve read probably dozens of these. I don’t know about you, but all that information can be more overwhelming than helpful.
I don’t claim to be an expert; but as a parent to a 9-year-old, 7-year-old, and 4-year-old, I’ve figured out a few basics…
Food. Clothing. Roof over head.
Totally just kidding. Of course, they need those. But I’m talking about non-tangibles today—essentials to every child’s well-being.
I’m a lover of simplicity, so over time I’ve boiled my strategy down to these five things every child needs to flourish.
So how do we make sure our kids know that they belong?
You’re probably already doing it.
Be their biggest fan.
Embrace every part of them, quirks and all.
Celebrate who they were created to be.
Tell them how your family wouldn’t be the same without the unique personality and strengths they bring to the table.
Be a person with whom they can share any thought or feeling without fearing judgement.
When we are a safe place for our child, they won’t be tempted to lower their standards or pretend to be someone other than who they were created to be just to fit in… because they already will.
2. Apologies. Lots of them.
You and I, we mess up all the time. And our children are watching to see how we handle those mistakes. They need to see us live out the Jesus way of handling them: humility.
When I apologize to my daughter for yelling at her, I’m communicating more than just “I’m sorry”. She sees that mommy messes up sometimes, but that it’s not okay to belittle others.
When I apologize to my son for jumping to wrong conclusions, I’m telling him that our relationship matters more to me than being right. By lowering myself, I’m raising the standard in our household by showing my children what’s okay and what’s not.
The times when I’ve apologized—even when I didn’t feel like it, have been some of the most impactful parenting moments of all. When we give ourselves permission to be human, we give our children permission to be human, too, while leading them in God’s better way of living.
Not 24/7 of course. But as much as they will try to convince you otherwise, this is not a bad thing and you do not need to feel guilty about it.
What are your best childhood memories? Probably not when your mom and dad dragged you around to every festival, sports game, and theme park known to man.
My parents failed in the entertaining department, and I became better for it. My brothers and I spent hours creating games, stories, and toys in the basement. We built forts in the woods in the backyard. I collected paper, cloth, pipe cleaners, and other “goods” and would sit creating for hours on end.
So maybe my parents didn’t fail after all.
What I’m trying to say is this: Boredom breeds creativity.
It’s okay, mom and dad. Let them be bored.
Just last week one of my children, who shall remain anonymous, got into a little situation at school involving his mouth. Oh, how the Apostle James was right when he said, “but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” #preach
Anyway, part of me wanted to sweep the situation under the rug, writing it off as a “just a kid” incident. But inside I knew my child was old enough to understand the power of his words and their impact on others. We talked. He cried. For two hours, to be exact. He felt the full weight of his consequences that week, but he came out better for it.
Situations aren’t always that serious, though, and sometimes it’s easier to write off our kids’ sin and disobedience or pay the price ourselves.
Johnny didn’t clean his room, but you let him have dessert anyway.
Brittney broke her phone, so you just buy her another.
Billy failed an Algebra test, so you e-mail his teacher and ask for a do over.
Are you coming between your children and the consequences needed to grow them into healthy and productive human beings?
I’m not discounting grace. Have grace. But, also have consequences. Pain can be a powerful teacher.
5. A Healthy You
Are you stressed and overrun?
Are you financially strapped?
Do you feel far from God?
Are you severely overweight or suffering from a medical condition?
Is your marriage falling apart?
It’s time to put first things first. Stop running your children to every activity under the sun. Make time to have coffee with a trusted friend, see a counselor, or take a class that will get you to a healthier place.
Your children may not understand now, but they will thank you for it down the road when they have a physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy parent or guardian.
Lastly, I know many of you are reading this from a place of discouragement. You feel like you’re not a good enough parent.
Know this, mom or dad: If you have the desire to get better, you’re already a good parent.
Give yourself some grace. This is a hard job.
Pray and ask God how you can fill one of your child’s five needs today.
News flash: We’re 16 days deep into the New Year.
But perhaps you already knew that.
Maybe, like me, you’ve been checking off the days and staring down the 349 left to go.
I don’t know what resolutions you made or goals you set, but I do know that this is about the time that discouragement starts to creep its way into our sparkly dreams.
The fun of new beginnings becomes replaced by frustration, exhaustion, or even apathy, and taint our hope that, perhaps, change is possible.
So what do we do when our Bible plan is at 5%, the scale has stopped moving, and our children are still crazy?
We all have that friend who lost 40 pounds and changed their life, and the other who finally started their own business last year. What’s the difference? What’s the magical formula to making and keeping these promises to ourselves?
I found myself asking this question yesterday as I huffed and puffed my way through a HIIT and strength routine.
Two years ago I was sick and tired of the way I looked and felt. I had made every excuse for why I couldn’t workout. So almost two years ago, to the date, I stopped.
I stopped making excuses, and I showed up.
I showed up when I felt like it, and when I didn’t.
I showed up when I felt strong, and when I was so sore I didn’t think I could lift the remote.
I showed up when I could see and feel progress, and when I couldn’t.
And do you know what? The results came. After a year, I had lost over 15 pounds and felt better than I’ve ever felt in my entire life.
I didn’t do anything that would seem spectacular or even praise-worthy. I didn’t pin 46 tricks to lose weight. I didn’t spend $200 on a webinar that would tell me the secret to success.
I simply showed up.
Now, I’m not saying these things are bad. Certainly there are a lot of fantastic tools and some helpful information out there--but none of it will work if you don’t.
You want to know the sad news?
I re-gained nearly all of those 15 pounds last year.
Shocking, I know.
You want to know what I did?
I stopped showing up.
Mentally and physically.
I allowed the excuses back in, and found fifteen friends who agreed with them…
And I simply stopped.
So here I am, back at square one this New Year.
But I’m not dismayed, because the good news is it’s not over.
I’ve started showing up again.
And I’m applying what I’ve learned to other areas, too.
What are your resolutions or goals this year?
I want to re-lose the weight, write more, and work on my relationships.
No matter your “race”, you get to the finish line one step at a time.
So show up.
Stay in your lane.
And keep taking steps.
Some days will be sprints. Others will feel like a crawl. But you’ll be moving forward.
I love the encouragement Paul gives in Galatians 6, verse 9 when he says, “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”
Those resolutions, those dreams, those plans—they are God-given.
Do you know He wants you to succeed?
The best news is He can take our steps of faith and multiply them beyond what we ever thought imaginable.
But we have to show up.
Show up at your small group. Show up at the dinner table. Show up at the gym. Show up to the phone call. Show up to that book you started. Show up to the paperwork.
Don’t give up.
If you had asked me if I’d ever write a children’s book one day, the answer probably would have been a confident “No”. But God sure does have a sense of humor, doesn’t He?
In early October I arrived home from an out-of-town creative conference I was blessed with the opportunity to attend. With my husband on a work trip of his own, I headed to my in-laws’, to pick up my three children.
The moment I swung open their screen door and saw my oldest little’s face, I knew something was wrong. Avery was nearly green. I sighed and asked what he had eaten that day, and he rattled off a list of greasy, sugary foods. “My stomach hurts,” he moaned.
“Let’s go home and get to bed,” I said, hoping a Tums and a good night’s sleep would do the trick. But the next morning when he got up, so did the pizza, the pastries, and the candies he’d devoured the day before. Gross.
As I finished preparing school lunches for the non-pukers, I overheard my middle child questioning his brother loudly. “Why do you always throw up after we go to Nana’s? I eat junk food there, too, and I don’t throw up,” he added with a tinge of belittlement.
By then I’d reached the bedroom door and found myself blurting out, “Because Avery is more sensitive than you. His stomach is more sensitive than yours. His eyes are more sensitive than yours; his ears, his taste, his feelings… they’re all more sensitive.” I carried on with my explanation in a sort of out-of-body parenting experience, where I wondered where the words were coming from.
When my son was five, he was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder (you can read more about that experience here). Since then it’s been a journey of learning to understand and appreciate his differences, and help others do the same.
I haven’t always got it right.
The road has been marked with melt-downs and hugs, screaming fights and apologies, tears and talks, victory and disappointment and yes—even sometimes puke.
During a phone call with my grandmother last year, I was bemoaning my frustrations with Avery and some school stuff going on. My sweet, wise grandmother is also a bit of a fireball. She stopped me dead in my complaints and informed me she was going to pray. Like right then.
I’ll never forget the words she told me that day, “Katie, I believe what the Holy Spirit is telling me is that what others see as Avery’s weakness, is actually his strength.”
Holy Spirit turned the table that day. Instead of focusing on his “problems”, I began to pray that God would show me his unique gifts and help me to encourage him to use his difference to make a difference.
And do you know what?
My son, who gets his feelings hurt easily, is the first to introduce himself to a new friend and invite them to play.
My son, who has been called a “busybody” because he hears everything, senses when I am having a stressful day and simply need a hug.
My son, who is the first to point out detail, creates the most endearing artwork for the fridge.
All because of his sensitivity.
On that rainy morning in October, in the doorway of my boys’ room, “Different by Design” was birthed. The story of a puppy, Tommy, and his family that is inspired by our own personal journey.
Our prayer is that it will inspire other children—especially those who are different by design—to know that they were created with a purpose that is just as unique as they are.
For those of you who have been following this journey, it is my pleasure to announced that “Different by Design” is finally available for pre-sale! All of the playful, detailed illustrations were drawn by Avery. The finished product is a premium paperback with glossy pages that will hold up to years of wear and tear.
You can grab a copy for the special child in your life by clicking “Different by Design” on the menu above. All pre-orders made before February 1st will be shipped / available for pick-up by mid-February.
Thank you for your support--you are different by design!
helped shaped not only this book, but me as a writer.
I remember wanting to have kids ever since I was a kid.
Okay, maybe not kids, per se, but babies. Cute, squishy, perfect little babies that I could tote around and care for all the day long.
To be honest, I didn’t give much thought to everything that comes after that. You know, the other 17 years.
When they threw my wailing and flailing first-born onto my chest, I felt more than the weight of his 8-pound body. I felt the weight of being responsible for another human being’s well-being.
Fast-forward a handful of years and that wailing baby is now 9 years old, which puts him exactly halfway to leaving home.
WHAT THE WHAT.
And my middle is right behind him.
Now I’m the one flailing.
Lately, this is my internal dialogue:
They barely know how to tie their shoes! They still need to learn how to ride their bikes without training wheels. Why are they not in an extracurricular activity? We can’t afford an extracurricular activity!! They need to learn an instrument, a sport, a skill… something!
Recently, a couple of stressful months, paired with this unrelenting dialogue, left me overwhelmed, tired, and somewhat disillusioned by it all.
As I packed for a weekend retreat, I was desperate for answers, guidance, and most of all—hope.
God met me in that broken place.
He reminded me of his tender care towards me, and my children.
He began to open my eyes to the unique giftings He had placed and purposed within each of them.
God met me in that broken place.
He reminded me of His tender care towards me,
and my children.
My middle is a brilliant engineer.
My youngest is a fireball fashion designer-in-the-making.
So, I began to pray about how I could nurture those gifts.
My oldest and I collaborated to write and illustrate a book (more to come on that).
My youngest and I began drawing together each morning to boost our creativity.
My middle… that’s where I struggled.
At lunch with my writing mentor, I was sharing these updates, and whining about my lack of ideas for my middle little.
Without missing a beat, she challenged me,
“Ask Holy Spirit. He’ll show you.”
Of course. After an incredible weekend of leaning on God's words and wisdom, I had returned back to my own understanding. Again.
That night in bed, I surrendered.
Okay God. Show me. But you know we don’t have extra money for anything, okay?
(Honesty is the best policy, right?)
Now, I should mention, here, that I believe God interacts with us according to our personalities. I have friends who describe God in sweet, intimate ways and others who hear from Him quite frankly.
For me, God likes to show off His sense of humor.
Probably because I’m a sucker for that.
The following day my boys arrived home, dumping their backpacks in their usual spot on the kitchen floor. I picked them up and began removing the contents: lunchbox, homework, agenda… and a printed paper which—no lie—said this:
*FREE TO ALL 2ND GRADERS*…
You can't make this stuff up.
I’m pretty sure I snorted.
For those of you not well-versed in modern school lingo, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
BINGO. All of my little guy’s favorites.
Now, I could go on about how he abso-freakin-lutely LOVED his first week at class this past Saturday, but I’ll just cut to the chase.
Friends, it’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that God didn’t make us parents so we could prove to the world how awesome we are.
He made us parents because He trusted that we would do as Proverbs 22:6 tells us to and, “Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents]…” (Amplified).
We don’t have to settle for our best. We get to lean into His best.
The truth is, we can be awesome parents, only because He is an awesome God. An awesome God who has given us an incredible promise:
“He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.” (Isaiah 40:11)
It’s time to stop relegating the Holy Spirit to a few corners of our lives, and embrace the power He wants to bring to our parenting.
It's time to stop relegating the Holy Spirit to a
few corners of our lives, and embrace the power
He wants to bring to our parenting.
The Bible tells us that “the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God”, and will reveal them to us. We’re not limited to our wisdom, our tribe’s wisdom, or even our mama’s wisdom—we have access to all wisdom.
God doesn’t want parenting to be a great mystery-- He wants to reveal secrets to us that will help us lead our children into the incredible destiny He has planned for them.
Ask. Seek, Knock. I can’t promise your answer will come as quickly as mine did, but I can promise this: He is faithful.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
"What is this lion saying to you?" the teacher asked, holding the painting high.
It was the end of our "Brave Writing" class, and she presented the challenge, aimed at stretching us.
I stared at the vibrant lion, his mouth, wide and eyes, piercing.
My immediate Christian-y thoughts went to Jesus, the "Lion of Judah".
I pushed deeper, hoping to expose something more than this surface conclusion.
Who is this lion in my life?
The Bible refers to the devil as a lion, too. And I knew exactly what that lion was saying.
For weeks I had been in an intense battle for my mind, and I wasn't winning. I was wrought with fear and insecurity that could suck the creativity out of the likes of Leonardo DaVinci himself.
I began to write the reality of this lion's presence in my life. The Holy Spirit's presence was so strong in that moment, as His words flowed through me and onto the paper.
What resulted was the key to my freedom--
The lion may be loud, but the Lamb holds the authority.
Which one would I give the microphone of my life to?
I don't have all this figured out yet, but over the past several weeks, I have regained some battleground. The more I focus on the Lamb's testimony about me, the quieter the roars become. My security strengthens, my creativity soars.
I am, by no means, an experienced poet, but I wanted to share my (finally) finished piece in hopes that it will be an encouragement to you, too.
Who holds the microphone of your life?
The Lion, and the Lamb
"Unloved. Unworthy. Invisible."
They echo through my ears, striking fear.
That I'll never be enough; can never do enough; will never be successful.
But, there is a Lamb, who testifies the truth:
"Loved. Worthy. Seen," He declares.
His words are balm to my soul,
Quieting the war that rages within.
The Lion may be loud, but it is the Lamb who holds the authority.
He paid the price; it is His Word that stands.
I don't have to pay mind to the lion's voice--
He is an impotent liar.
The roars fade now...
Jesus, the Lamb, has silenced the accuser.
A little about me...
Wife to Craig, mom of three, author, writer, Rooted Moms founder, Jesus-follower, Bible teacher, and coffee enthusiast.
Follow me as I follow Christ and share my heart throughout the journey.
straight to your inbox.