We had a morning y’all. And when I say morning, I mean the kind of morning that lasts until 2:39pm. I totally overloaded kids 2 & 3 with errands and they responded as they should, but you know, Jesus covers everything so I freaking turned the worship music up in the car max volume and let the name of Jesus cover their crying. Then, I opened the pack of 4 carrot cakes I bought to stress eat on the way home. And THEN, I looked up to realize the one errand I had forgotten…filling the gas tank up…and already on my way home with no gas station for another 21 miles.
And as I reached for a second carrot cake, the Lord reminded me about a women I had counseled recently through a tough season. At one point, she had looked at me and said, “I’m just not you. I’m not as strong as you. I don’t have it together like you.”
Oh friend, we have it so wrong sometimes. I wish we would scrap all the “picture perfect” motherhood stuff and just be. Are you with me? Having it together all the time is exhausting! Let’s have some grace for ourselves the same way Jesus has grace for us!
I want to take a moment and be real (messy) with you for a moment. So, in no particular order I bring you 20 things I have accomplished since becoming a mother… drumroll please!
- I have spent approximately 450 minutes combined on stage speaking.
- I have peed my pants (this one is more than once) jumping on the kids’ trampoline.
- I became a licensed Pastor.
- I invented a new kind of baby wipe. To be clear, I forgot wipes and wetted down the two month old McDonald’s napkin on the floor of the car.
- I worked my butt off to lose 40lbs.
- I gained 40lbs.
- I took time to research what “non-toxic” on Elmers Glue really means.
- Turns out it means non toxic as long as you don’t use it incorrectly. So I used that sucker for lash glue when I woke up one morning realizing I was out.
- I found my love for racing again and signed up for a half-marathon.
- I requested a refund for a half-marathon because what mom has time to train for that? But I did freakin’ rock a 5K!
- I committed to eating Keto for the last 5 1/2 years.
- I birthed three kids! (Which I guess means I really only ate Keto 2 years unless all the pop tarts I ate while pregnant were low carb…)
- I have ONE plant I have kept alive for as long as I’ve been a mother.
- I’ve lead Bible studies, small groups, workout groups, ministries and even an entire program for the annual National Foursquare Connection.
- I’ve never missed an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Just keepin’ it real. I’m a real OG.
- I coached multiple State Championship teams.
- I have worn the same pants 3 days….5 days, it was 5 days- in a row.
- I memorized the WiFi password we’ve had for almost 6 years. Yesterday. I finished memorizing it yesterday.
- I found real, authentic community and connection.
- I learned how to surrender to the grace of our Father.
You see, whether you are a pastor, or a teacher, or a nurse, a stay-at-home mom, none of us have it together. So, let’s stop. Stop the unrealistic standards we set. Let’s stop trying to be the person we think our neighbor is. Let’s have grace for ourselves and our Mama Tribe.
“The silence of Saturday.” We’ve all heard the phrase before. The day after crucifixion; when hope was lost, the chaos had stopped, when everyone went home.
But I find Saturday is rarely silent. Maybe from an outward perspective it seems quiet. After we have experienced the storm of Friday, whatever that may look like- the loss of a loved one, the hurt of a broken relationship, or a casualty of sin- Saturday is rarely silent.
Because the day after, when hope seems lost, the chaos has stopped and we find ourselves alone in our homes that’s when the enemy attacks. And Saturday can be loud. So loud. That ever so small voice of the enemy begins to speak and slowly fills the room. He whispers things like, “It was your fault,” and “You’re better off alone,” and “You’re not good enough,” Your sin defines you,” and the one they heard about Jesus, “Your King is dead.”
But here’s the thing friend…
Oh, Sunday came. And Sunday shattered the lies of Saturday. Sunday rushed in with a fresh wind and yelled from the roof tops, “You are never alone.” Sunday shouted, “You bear the image of Christ,” and “Your sin has been paid for,” and the one they heard about Jesus,
“Your King is alive.”
I think so many of us are sitting in Saturday today, and the voice of the enemy is loud. But it’s not louder than a stone being rolled from a grave. The whisper of the enemy only seems loud with no other sounds around.
So let’s get loud.
Let’s disrupt the silence of Saturday, because we know how this story ends. The King is alive. All authority in Heaven has been given to you friend.
So get loud.
Let’s prophesy Sunday at the top of our lungs. Let’s prophesy Sunday over our Saturday circumstances. Let’s give Sunday reign over our lives, because Jesus is King.
So Saturday might get loud. But it won’t be the lies of the enemy echoing against the walls. It will be the voice of family declaring the promises of God and shouting,
“You are loved.”
“You are treasured.”
“You are redeemed.”
“Sunday is coming.”
What are our children expectant of today?
We don’t often examine what we knew about the lives of Mary and Joseph before the birth of their son Jesus. In fact, we seem to just gloss over the fact that an Angel pretty much shows up, tells them they are going to birth the King of the World-someone who is literally the son of God….and oh ya- Mary’s a virgin….so there’s that. And they like they both struggle for a second-a sentence or two if you’re reading out of Luke- and then they just have Jesus, and they’re like, “Yay, we’re parents of the Savior of the world.” End scene.
If it really had happened just like that- stand alone- without the training and upbringing that they received do you really think they would have been expectant of the birth of the King, let alone accepting of their role in it?
I’ve been pondering this concept this season…
What prepared Mary & Joseph to become parents to the Savior of the world, especially amidst their culture and circumstances?
I think the question should really be, “How long did faithfulness precede Mary & Joseph?” How many generations taught their offspring about the Lord?
Well, based on the beginning of Matthew alone, the genealogy of Jesus expands for 490 years. 14 Generations. And for the majority of that time, the birth of the Messiah was prophesied over and over again to generation after generation.
There is a prayer that is still common today in the Jewish culture. The Shema- it’s the most central of Jewish prayers, and the perfect picture into how Jews in a whole view their daily life and responsibilities.
This is just an excerpt:
Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.
Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. Therefore, place these words of Mine upon your heart and upon your soul, and bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, to speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. And you shall inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates – so that your days and the days of your children may be prolonged on the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give to them for as long as the heavens are above the earth.Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21; Numbers 15:37-41
This is the culture in which Mary and Joseph were raised.
The Jewish people knew that cultures absorb influences from other cultures. They lived under oppression of foreign rulers at that time. Rome occupied their home. Their Jewish culture would have been strictly threatened by their conquerors. But the Jews knew that cultures absorb influences from other cultures. So the question they asked was, “which culture do we want to see as the influencer?”
Today, do we follow American culture? Or Gospel culture? Are our eyes fixed on the things of this world, or are our eyes fixed on the King?
I think the tendency of today is to have the culture around us redefine the Gospel. But friends, let me tell you, the Gospel is here to redefine culture. And the Gospel points to the King. Where are we looking?
Children (including Mary and Joseph) were taught in Old Testament days to have their eyes turned to the future and be expectant of the birth of the King.
What are our children expectant of today?
Parents then had to be intentional. We are talking about a point in time, where women for instance were illiterate. There definitely weren’t any tattooed pregnant women pastors standing on a stage preaching to the masses. Women had a place in their home, they weren’t schooled or taught. Boys had the opportunity to go to school- but they still weren’t handed a Bible like you and I have today. There wasn’t mass production of their text to be taken home and studied. So although boys were taught to read and write, they memorized what they were taught. That’s how important it was to them. Many young men had the entire Torah committed to memory- what we in Christianity would refer to as the Pentateuch- The first five books of the Bible. Can you imagine?
And they knew prophecy. Prophets of old were considered great teachers as they traveled around speaking the word of the Lord to the people.
And those prophets spoke these things. These messianic prophecies that all kids, all families, Mary and Joseph would have been incredibly familiar with. People back then would have been constantly looking for the fulfillment of these things. Throughout scripture we see messianic prophecies…
- The Messiah would be the star coming out of Jacob: Numbers 24:17
- The Messiah would be a descendent of King David: 2 Samuel 7:12-14
- The Messiah would be born of a virgin: Isaiah 7:14
- The Messiah would be the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father & Prince of Peace: Isaiah 9:6-7
- The Messiah would be the Son of Man: Daniel 7:13-14
- The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2
These things were spoken hundreds and hundreds of years preceding the birth of Jesus. Hundreds and hundreds of years before Mary would ever become pregnant with the Savior. Yet all of these things were fulfilled in Mary & Joseph’s own lives. And they were very specific words of knowledge. They were more than just an encouraging word or just the mention that the Messiah was coming. They were words and prophesies that would be completely verifiable hundreds of years later at the birth of Jesus. And they would have been passed from generation to generation. As children, Mary and Joseph would have heard these things often.
I’d propose that without the culture of expectancy, a culture whose eyes were constantly looking for the birth of the King-the culture that went before Mary and Joseph- something so out of this world would have been so much harder to have faith in and accept.
What are we doing to continue a culture of expectancy?
We’re not searching in the way that Mary & Joseph were for the birth of the King…..we know that the Messiah was born, that prophecy was fulfilled, and that King took the world on his shoulders when He died for you and I, and we know that the word says that He will return.
What are we doing to ensure that our eyes, that our children’s eyes are constantly looking for the return of the King?
The world’s eyes are turned a different direction. In the secular world we see society of kids that are placed on the altar of adult depravity- the only solace here is in the holy return of the King. So are we looking for that? Are we teaching our children to look for that? Are we passing that down from generation to generation?
Just look at headlines. Josh Duggar case, Ghislane Maxwell trial, Epstein, the recent reports about child sex crimes in the CIA, the crimes within CNN, listening to WOMEN SCREAM FOR THE RIGHT TO KILL THEIR BABIES AFTER 15 WEEKS, watching the gender propaganda being pushed by mainstream media, entertainment and EDUCATORS.
Satan loves to prey on the malleable minds of children. He hates little ones. Why? Because they are a threat to him. He knows that when we teach them who they are, and we teach them to serve the King of the world and when we demonstrate to them to always have their eyes fixed on the coming King that they wield a power he can’t stand up against.
You have built a stronghold by the songs of children.Psalm 8:2
Strength rises up with the chorus of infants.
This kind of praise has power to shut Satan’s mouth.
Childlike worship will silence[a]
the madness of those who oppose you.
Let’s stand up for the next generation relentlessly and without apology. The devil is after them, but THEY WILL BE A GENERATION OF EXPECTANCY BECAUSE WE HAVE CREATED A CULTURE OF EXPECTANCY. A GENERATION WITH THEIR EYES FIXED ON HEAVEN AND WAITING FOR THE RETURN OF THE KING.
Nothing stops the call that God has on our life. Not the enemy, not humans, not circumstances, nothing can overpower who God has innately created us to be.
Enter Jonah. God knew Jonah, he gave him the gift of evangelism, the gift to preach good news and He equipped Jonah to do these things. So, a day comes when God calls Jonah specifically to go to the city of Nineveh and to preach. At this time, Nineveh was a place without hope. A place where people had lost their way. They were wicked towards each other and lived in chaos. Jonah carried something that they needed, but he liked the safety and comfort of doing his own thing, he liked being in control of his way. And honestly, standing up for what was right in Nineveh was just about a death sentence. People would have laughed at him, made fun of his God….there was nothing fun or comfortable about preaching the good news in Nineveh. Hope filled or not, Nineveh was so lost, they wouldn’t have noticed.
So Jonah boarded a boat and headed the opposite direction.
And so God allowed a storm to come; he sent a violent wind storm to intercede. It rocked the boat that the crew was on. And boats back then weren’t like they are now, so this violent storm threatened to literally tear the boat in half. And the sailors realized, this storm. It was Jonah’s storm. But, now….they were collateral damage. And the storm continued. And the seas became rougher and rougher until they knew that they wouldn’t make it.
So, Jonah told them, “Throw me into the Sea.” But he had involved these sailors, and they now had this invested interest in his life so they didn’t. They tried to save Jonah, and they began to try to row back to land. But they couldn’t. The seas were simply too wild. So, finally they took Jonah, and they cast him over the side of their boat into the raging sea.
And it was calm.
And now here’s the part that you all know. The Lord sent a huge fish to swallow Jonah. And inside the belly of that fish, it was just Jonah and the Lord. At rock bottom, inside the belly of a whale is where Jonah realized he was at the point where he was no longer in control. He was in the belly of a FISH! He wouldn’t be pulling himself out of this situation. So whether he wanted to or not- he let go, and he surrendered. And he said,
“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
“When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
“Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’ ”
And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Sometimes we shy away from some of these Old Testament stories. But, I think there is so much to glean here from other people’s lives.
What are you running from today?
Do you even know? Are you running from the call God has on your life?
There is a culture beckoning us to go our own way. It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you are at in life. The world is calling. The world is calling you to believe this, and to compromise here, and do this, and do that.
It’s calling us to run from broken relationships.
It’s calling us to run from our weakness.
It’s calling us to run from big things, the big scary things.
It’s calling us to run from the pressure that seems to be closing in.
It’s calling us to run from God.
But, here’s the thing. You can’t run from God. I laugh as I type that now because these days, feel so far from those days. The days where I thought I could outrun God. Jonah literally boarded a boat and took off in the opposite direction of Nineveh as if the all-powerful, God of the universe wouldn’t find him, or better yet maybe he thought that God would forget about him. If he just left, just abandoned his calling, then God would give up on him.
But HE didn’t. He followed and pursued him! God allows storms to come, not to punish us but to intervene, to redirect.
The thing is, with those storms, come casualties. When we choose to run from the call on our life, it’s impossible for others not to be swept up in our storm. We are people, meant for relationship. So when we run, we pull others with us, or we have others that care so much that they chase us straight into the storm. When Jonah was in that boat, every other crew member entered into danger of losing their life. It’s so easy to think that we can sin, or we can run and no one gets hurt, but we’re tied to others. There will always be casualties, and the longer we run, the worse the storms gets.
For whatever reason, in our human-ness we often choose the storm. As if that is easier; pressing our way through a violent storm on our own two feet, instead of letting God carry us into our calling.
And we all have a calling. Friend, don’t you think for a moment that you don’t have a specific purpose for your life.
Before God formed you in the womb. He knew you. Before you were born, He set you apart; He appointed you for THIS time, and THIS place. He called you to stand tall, to bring hope to the hopeless,
To run after restoration for all relationships.
To run after strength.
To run after the big things, the scary things, the impossible things.
To run after the pressure filled situations.
To run after Him.
And when you run, when you stop running from God, and run after Him….When you run after Him, when you run toward your calling, other people will be swept up in the wind. The hands that you are holding, or the people who are chasing you, they will be pulled toward hope. They will be pulled into revival.
You see, we can’t outrun God, but we were meant to run with Him.
Mama, you’re doing it right.
As I fed my 1.5 year old a bite of chocolate cake off of my plate recently, a good friend and mentor said to me, “Just so you know, you’re doing it right.”It wasn’t organic, sugar-free or anything like that. It was gluten full, refined sugar laden and it was right.
But how often have you felt that you’re doing it wrong? Somehow along the way we painted this picture of mothering, wife-ing (I’m fully aware that’s not a word), and relationship that dare I say….isn’t even Biblical. Somehow we have reached the place where the picture of our gatherings has become more important than the connection at our gatherings.
We used to have an annual Women’s Tea. I loved that tea. I loved seeing all the pretty table decor, the perfectly cut sandwiches, I loved being apart of it and dressing up and feeling fancy! And it’s so fun to do that occasionally. But when we live our lives in a women’s tea, we don’t foster relationship. We foster pretty dresses, and beautiful plates, and all lovely things- which sounds amazing, but it’s not real. Because often enough, we aren’t pretty, our lives aren’t beautiful and our struggles are most definitely not lovely.
Sister, I want to say to you- the one who is feeding your kid the chocolate cake because it’s a freaking celebration, the one who’s house is an absolute disaster because you have spent all day playing with your kids outside, the one who was tired and so you watched the movie instead of reading the book, to the one who doesn’t have their young child on a “schedule”….I want to say to you, “Just so you know, you’re doing it right.”
I made a post on social media recently that read,
“I love our [neighbor]hood! All we need is a roundabout and some hot dogs in the air fryer!”
Allow me to explain. We live in the BEST neighborhood. I dare you to prove me wrong. It’s always been a great neighborhood, but recently God orchestrated a year to help us realize it’s the BEST neighborhood. You see, this interesting thing happened in early 2020. Many of us found ourselves with nothing to do; forced to slow down. Businesses and restaurants shut down leaving us without somewhere to go. And so we were at home. And alone. And tired. And longing for community.
I don’t know if we had ever realized how much we need each other, as human being to human being. I don’t know if we ever truly understand the way in which God fastened our hearts for community until last year.
But I realize now.
You see, we live in the BEST neighborhood. And by default, in our weariness we began to ditch the pretty dresses. Day after day, in 2020 we spent outside, sitting on the sidewalk, watching our kids play in the roundabout by our house and connect. Day after day we sat, there on the side walk, just being. Just doing life. And friend, at times life in 2020 was ugly. Like real down and dirty, drop some cuss words (and possibly punch someone in the face) ugly. But that’s what we were created for. To do battle together. To pick each other up.
But when we are wearing the pretty dress, and using words like organic and fair trade (like what does that even mean?) and keeping our kids on their very specific nap schedule it becomes easy to elevate the importance of those things above actual relationship.
So let’s strip it all away! Let’s get back to the basics and just BE. Let’s put such an importance on being together that we forget the details . Let’s make one another a priority. This past 4th of July our neighborhood came to be together. And it finally wasn’t about the red, white and blue food. I didn’t even get decorations like I normally do. In fact, it was Sunday and I was tired and so we put hot dogs in the air fryer. And it was okay. Because it’s not about the food, or the decorations. It’s about the people. And we sat outside in our roundabout until darkness fell just doing life.
Earlier this week, I was summarizing a post I had read to the same friend who had said, “Just so you know, you’re doing it right.”
At one point in the article the author says,
“As a whole, we’re really not craving over-the-top celebrations. We’re craving connection, but we’ve gotta make it easier and lower the expectations. Lower. Nope. Ever lower.”
To which my friend said,
“The secret is having no expectations [other than expecting to meet with people].”
I’ve watched other mothers just do life in this season. And they didn’t come wearing pretty dresses, or eating their organic food off of their BPA free plate. They came make-up less, they came broken, they came with crying kids, and they sat down on the sidewalk and it was beautiful because they came expecting to meet with people. I’m so honored to watch these women do life. Acacia Knutzen, Karissa Wellman Bilderback, Renee Phillips-Richardson, Danee Molan, Marin Allen, amongst so many others, you’re doing it right.
So mama, let go of all the things. Make it just about people. And if you do that, just so you know, you’re doing it right.
Sunday is coming.
Resurrection is coming.
In the first days of this virus we stood in fear as the death toll began to climb and “stay at home” orders came out across our nation. Some mourned the death of loved ones while others worried about their elderly neighbors down the street. Our lives came to a screeching halt and it felt like being hit by a ton of bricks. Some people looked out in disbelief. They didn’t believe in the severity of this illness. They didn’t believe something like this could happen. But it did. The stock market plummeted, and we suffered job losses. If you didn’t suffer from loss, you were scared that you would.
The first days of this virus were our Friday. Friday was ugly. Friday was nails being hammered into the hands and feet of Jesus. It was a man walking to His death after being beaten. Flesh hanging off of His bones as He carried His own cross to the top of that hill. Friday, the people mourned the death of their Savior, and worried for the lives of His followers. Their lives came to a screeching halt. A ton of bricks fell down on them as they witnessed Jesus take His last breath up on that cross. And the fear. So much fear. So much grief.
But Sunday is coming.
I think we are sitting in Saturday. The horror and debilitating fear of Friday has begun to subside and sadness takes its place. It’s silent here. We walk out into our streets and even the birds seem to be singing a softer tune. An occasional car engine can be heard, but mostly you hear the whistle of the wind amongst the silence of the unknown. What do we do now? We have gone through loss, through heartache. But what now? Here we sit, often alone. It’s lonely. So lonely. Many of us are wondering if this life, which has changed so drastically, so quickly will be our new normal. Will new life come again? Will we be met by the warm embrace of a dear friend? And if yes, then how long? Or is this how the story ends?
Saturday was silent. Jesus was gone. You could still smell death wafting in the air, but it was silent. It was still. The sadness was unbearable as people pondered what they would do now. They had placed their lives in a Savior who was no more. He died up on that cross next to criminals. The people’s hearts ached, but what could they do? What should they do? Hope could not be found. Where did they go from here? They thought, “This is how the story ends.”
But it didn’t.
Sunday was coming.
And oh, Sunday came. It blew in like a fresh wind. Sunday breathed bright light across a dark cold tomb. Sunday brought death to life. Sunday came, and people were made whole again. And as our Savior stood and rose again, Sunday stomped on fear’s head. And it didn’t stop there. Sunday turned their mourning into dancing. Sunday resurrected their hearts and gardens sprung up where dirt laid. Sunday turned their tears into a fresh spring rain. With Sunday, came a never ending hope.
We may be sitting in Saturday, but we know that Sunday is coming. The streets will not remain empty. The day is coming soon where this country will be resurrected. Joy will flow out into our towns and cities and people will dance in the streets.
Sunday IS coming.
Salvation is here.
Healing is beginning.
Deliverance is starting.
Resurrection IS coming.