Tag Archives: women

Worthwhile Relationships

During the month of November, I’ll be participating in National Blog Post Month, where I’ll publish a post every single day. Sometimes, like today, I’ll use prompts. This one I wrote in about five minutes.

Today’s prompt: What are the most meaningful relationships in your life?

As a woman, I’m very relational. I have a LOT of relationships that I’m in, weaving in and out of closeness, but always talking, calling, texting, getting together with someone. I love feeling close to people, laughing, crying, sharing stories or hard things, just loving on and being with people. (Can you say extrovert?)

If you truly ask me to choose a most meaningful relationship, or the top 5, perhaps… I don’t think I could honestly do it. My no-brainer answer seems to be my husband. He’s the one that I know I’m stuck with (HAPPILY!) for the rest of my life, and come what may, he’ll be my person until we cross over into heaven – for which I am so grateful. He is amazing; he’s good to me, knows me well and loves me anyway. What more can I ask for?

But when thinking of other relationships that I’d put up there with my marriage, it starts to blur. I have three kids. I can’t very well prioritize one of those relationships with my other kids, right? I also have a Savior, who, admittedly, should’ve been the first relationship I mentioned, since that’s what He calls us to: relationship with Him. Reliance on Him. Love for Him. That should be my most meaningful… and it is, truly. It’s through my relationship with Him that I am given the ability to love, and the very love that I freely give to everyone else with whom I’m in relationship.

But after my familial unit relationships, I put great importance on my relationship with my original family unit: my parents and my brother. And grandparents, aunts and uncles with whom I grew up being close with my entire life, until I did “leave and cleave” to another family unit – whose relationships I also greatly value! And don’t even get me started on our close friends, their kids, our pastors, community group, co-workers at church, co-heirs and co-laborers in Christ’s Church! They are all of great importance to me. There are things to share with each other (not least of which is just sharing life together!) that I could just miss out on if I wasn’t willing and able to put myself in relationship with so many wonderful people.

So I suppose my real answer for the prompt is, well, all of them. All of my relationships are meaningful. Even if they don’t seem overly meaningful to me at this exact moment, they could be to the other person. And just that fact makes me value them a little more. Those people close to me, whom I see and talk to and do life with, those are my most meaningful relationships. Those are the relationships, all 30 or 40 of them, that I value the most, that I make the effort to develop, and that I would be horribly sad to see ended.

10 Things I Miss About Being Single

This post also appeared on the Grit and Grace Project. I’m a contributor there – go check it out!

It seems I should start this off with a disclaimer: I’m a happily married woman. Now that I’ve told you that, I can tell you the rest. There are some things that I miss about my days being single. Most of those don’t have to do with guys or dating or anything… but just about who I was during that time, and how I was able to live. Being in a healthy relationship certainly has MANY perks, but every once in a while, I pine for pure alone time, less responsibility, and a different lifestyle. Here are some of the things I miss about being single.

Only being responsible for myself. I mean that in the best way, but I’m serious. I almost can’t remember the last time that I got ready to go somewhere alone, packed only what I myself needed, and didn’t worry about what would be forgotten if I didn’t make my list and check it twice. Only worrying about yourself is just easiest.

Being on time. I won’t pretend that I was on time anytime I went somewhere, but I was punctual about 50% more when I was single than I am now. Even just being married and adding a man into the mix made me chronically late. They think they don’t take that long to get ready, and so they wait until four minutes before you need to leave to hop in the shower. Come ON!

Saturdays. Once upon a time, a Saturday was entirely my own. Sleep? Okay! Have unlimited and unhurried quiet time with the Lord? Absolutely. Read a book or three? Yes, please! Shower whenever (or take a bubble bath!), leave the house (or don’t), eat what I want, and lay on the couch for a movie marathon? ALL OF THE YES.

Having my own spending money. Don’t get me wrong- I have spending money, and I don’t need permission to use it. But inevitably, I don’t splurge on things as much as I used to, if only because I have a conscience. What I might’ve spent on a new dress usually gets spent on a new dress for my daughter. What I might have saved up for a new handbag gets whittled away by this son’s need for new shoes, that nice dinner out, or my husband’s birthday present.

Living in a small space. I know, a small space isn’t necessarily something that is just for single people. But somehow, only having a few rooms to keep clean, or furnish, or lose things in does actually appeal to me. However, my family of five can’t quite fit into a one-bedroom apartment, no matter how many toilets I don’t feel like cleaning.

More frequent girls’ nights. I know, I could have girls’ nights whenever I want – and I do! But it used to be that most nights of the week were girls’ nights. Grabbing dinner with a friend, getting with the girls to watch The Bachelor, or spending a night out on the town all dressed up, it could be any or every night. Now, it takes planning not just on the part of the girls, but their significant others, their kids, and/or their babysitters. It’s enough trouble to plan and prepare that it definitely doesn’t happen a few times a week.

Having my closet to myself. I took for granted the joy of having a closet to myself. My color-coded closet was a thing to behold, not to mention the way my laundry was the only laundry I did, so I was never behind. There was plenty of room to look through my clothes – and now the closet is so stuffed with suits and ties that I hardly have room to hang my nice dresses.

Eating whatever I want, whenever I want it. Sometimes, it can be frustrating to have to worry about what time someone else can have a meal, or to cater to their dietary needs and your own. That’s one thing I miss about being single- if I wanted cereal for dinner, I ate it. My hubby, on the other hand, would be mortified if we sat down to a dinner of Frosted Mini-Wheats.

Having truly alone time.  There’s something to be said for having some moments of relaxation, quiet time, and introversion that are completely your own. Having a SO can sometimes cut into those times, even if it’s not always in a bad way. But I often find that there isn’t a place in our home where I’m truly alone, without interruption or at least knowledge of someone else close by. I haven’t had more than a few minutes of total by-myself time in years.

Stir It Up -Finding My Calling as I Go

As I was reading and having some quiet time yesterday afternoon, an image came to me, and I just had to stop and pray about it. I was led to pray for God to “stir up” my calling within me. I haven’t ever had a single moment in my life where I thought, This is it! This is the thing that I’m supposed to do forever! I’ve had many times where I’ve really been enjoying a job or a season or a ministry with which I’ve been involved. But I don’t know that any of those things ever resulted in a clear “Aha!” moment.

However, I do think that I’ve been easing into my calling for years. I love music. I love worship. I love Jesus. I love my husband and my kids. Just recently, I’ve been made aware (through His grace and a little bit of providence) that I love women’s ministry. I’m reading two books right now (Wild and Free by Hayley Morgan and Jess Connolly, which I’m almost done with, but I just can’t read more than a little bit at a time because I cry a lot, and Lioness Arising, by Lisa Bevere) that are focused on women, and focused on freedom in Jesus to be who He has called you to be. These books are changing my thoughts about women and ministry, and women’s ministry. I am learning that freedom and wildness is what Jesus wants for us, especially as women, where we can feel so bound by our roles (familial, cultural, etc) and the chains that come with them. The most beautiful thing about us, as women who follow Jesus, is that we are all different. We have things that we’re good at, and not so good at, things we love, and things we don’t like to do as much. We are fierce, whether loudly or quietly. We are called and equipped and FREE to do His will, and that’s an incredible (and overwhelming) feeling. These books, coupled with the Scriptural references within, are truly opening my eyes to a new way of thinking about myself and how Jesus sees me.

So when I felt like He was leading me to pray for a “stirring up” of my calling, I pictured it this way: there are lots of pieces of me – things that I’m good at, things I love, and spheres of influence that I have been welcomed into. There are all these ingredients for Him to work with, as He is crafting me into a woman of His own design and His own purpose. What will it all hold for me? I don’t know yet. But I am praying now more than ever that I will be cognizant of His call, sensitive to His voice, and willing to go wherever it is He would have me go. And isn’t it usually true that it’s going to be uncomfortable along the way? I’ve been praying about that, too.

You see, I have had this idea about what I should be doing with my church job, my blog, my family, my friends. I felt like I had found a good niche with all of these things. But I’m learning that it can grow stale if I don’t listen to what He is telling me. (Disclaimer: I’ve not been unhappy in any of these situations. I’m just learning to grow in them instead of stagnate.) I truly do want Him to stir up a calling. I want Him to take all the ingredients of which I am made, and have Him stir it up into something for His good.

So let it be, Lord. Stir it up within me. Make me into a wild, fierce woman for Your kingdom.

Wild and Free – Book Review

I don’t know if you like reading Christian books. Depending on what they are, I don’t always like them. A lot of times, they seem a little “self-help” for my taste. Or other times, they’re too deep and require a little more brain power and concentration than I usually have these days. Reading is strictly for pleasure and sanity around here, and I have been unable to read for longer than five or ten minutes at a time for what feels like years (and might actually be). Therefore, I need a book that will hold my interest, but let me stay with it even though I go days without reading, then come back to it much later.

I first heard about Wild and Free because a writer I follow on Instagram had been an early reader for the authors, Hayley Morgan and Jess Connolly. She raved about it before it even became available for purchase, and so naturally, I preordered it.

It’s been an incredible journey to follow these women’s stories about their own lives, and being set free from expectations, duties, and “Christian lifestyles” and learning to live as wildly and freely as Eve – just as God created us to do.

Being Wild and Free in Jesus

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus.

youth-active-jump-happy-40815.jpeg

Y’all, I’m reading this amazing book right now. It’s called Wild and Free, and as you can imagine, it’s about finding your wildness and your freedom in Jesus. I was pretty sure I was going to know what the authors would say. I’ve read books like this before. I would know which scriptures they’d reference, and know where they were going before they got there. I’ve read and heard a lot about how Jesus set us all free. BUT Y’ALL. The Holy Spirit was ready to wreck me with this one.

When you’ve grown up in church, and you’ve been under similar teachings most of your life, I’d imagine that sometimes you feel like what you hear is a little watered down. You’ve heard 150 references to rams in thickets, and you know that freedom is in Jesus just as well as you know your last name. Even the most awesome miracles might seem to lose their luster once you’ve heard the story for the 101st time.

But as much as I felt like I already knew what was coming, I’ve been taken aback on every page, being beckoned into wildness in Jesus. I’ve reveled in the descriptions of how wild the first believers were, how free Adam and Eve were created to be before the fall, and how every single one of us is called back to a total belonging to the Lord, that can result in true freedom to be yourself and be wild in the complete love of Christ. The body of Christ doesn’t have to be a somber group of people, faces downcast, working hard for their salvation. And it shouldn’t be! The body of Christ should be individuals who are freely themselves, being together in community, encouraging one another, filling gaps, shaping and molding each other, just as iron sharpens iron, to share the Gospel and prepare the Kingdom of God! There is joyful news to be told, love to be shared, and lives to be healed! We sang this yesterday at my church: “You are stronger, You are stronger. Sin is broken. You have saved me. It is written: Christ is risen! Jesus, you are Lord of all!” There is no better truth to proclaim. The chains have indeed been broken – you are already free! Jesus has done the great work, and God is ready to do a great work in you, too.

 

If you’d like to get your hands on the book Wild and Free, here’s a link to get it on Amazon.

His Gentle, Firm Call

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus


Through most of the year, my Thursdays are hectic. They are involved. They are also worshipful, filled with women I love, and full of inspirational teaching, meaningful connections, encouragement to last me days. I pack my rambunctious preschoolers into the car at what feels like zero dark thirty. I bring breakfast and toys to keep them occupied until their school starts, 30 minutes after my work does. I plan all week, sending emails, choosing songs, communicating with leadership, and practicing my instrument. I am thoughtful and prayerful about Thursdays as often as I can be.
Each week, I lead musical worship and do behind-the-scenes tech work for a women’s ministry at my church. It’s a part of my job I didn’t realize I’d be doing until I jumped in. My scared, insecure, and unwilling self simply said “yes” to my pastors when I started my service to this ministry two years ago. I’ll be honest: when it began, I wasn’t sure I would like it. I didn’t know the people involved very well, and technology often makes me a nervous wreck (read: it doesn’t always work for me). I felt unenthusiastic and under-qualified for the ministry, being one of the youngest women involved, and not having led many services on my own yet. But y’all, the Lord knew what He was doing when He threw me into the fray anyway. His call to do the work, this very specific work, was gentle but firm.

Many mornings, there were (and still sometimes are) problems I couldn’t solve without help, and questions I deterred with a weary, “I don’t know.” But the Lord has been faithful, and grown not only my devotion to and love for the ministry, but also given me new friends and more confidence. He has softened my heart to the new duties. He has blessedly grown the worship team within the ministry. In short, I have seen Him SHOW UP. He is there each week, preparing the room, the team, and the atmosphere to change women’s hearts towards Him. He draws us to Himself through each detail of the morning, and we never leave discouraged.

You may think you’re being called to something that isn’t a good fit. You might be confused, uncertain, or even refusing to go where He’s leading you. But I’m here to tell you, His plan is so much better than yours. He will equip you and help you grow into the role that He’s got for you (Hebrews 13:21). He is FOR YOU, and therefore no one can be against you (Romans 8:31). He would never lead you somewhere you shouldn’t go, even if it’s somewhere that’s hard. Submit to His plan – I promise it will be great.

Freedom from My Mommy Guilt

This post also appeared on My Big Jesus

Everyone tells you that the third baby is easy. He will be flexible! He will sleep anywhere! He will be calm! He will go with the flow! With my youngest, that’s often true. The sweet little guy loves his siblings, and he never woke up every two hours like newborns often do. He was an easy delivery, and slept through the raucous noises of two toddler siblings from early on.

He is also a mama’s boy. I don’t mean a “sissy”; that’s not a way we have used or will ever use that term in our house. What I mean is that he prefers me above basically any other human. He needs me every few moments. He is happier when he’s close to me. This could be the result of several things. I wear him a lot, mostly because it’s easier and sometimes necessary for survival. He’s also the only baby that I never “went back to work” after. I started my part time jobs back, of course, but he hasn’t experienced me working away from him full time. I’m home with him usually, and we’ve built our life and schedule around me not being away from him more than a few hours. I’ve taken a weekend away from him, and while he was totally fine, he missed me pretty terribly.

Every time we have a day that I don’t see him much (which with our schedule is about once a week), we are bonkers for a few days. It throws off our entire schedule for way longer than just the day I’m gone. He’s extra clingy, sometimes wakes up in the night (when he’s past that stage) and follows me around the house. It’s cute, of course, until I need to get things done and I can’t put him down. And then the Mommy Guilt sets in.

Maybe I shouldn’t stay away from him that long. I should just not take that job. I shouldn’t go on that trip. What if I’m causing him stress? What if he ends up with scarring from my abandonment?!

Hold it right there. What am I doing?! Im not abandoning him! But that’s where the spiraling mommy guilt just led me to think. I’m just placing undue blame on myself. I’m getting worked up, worrying myself to death, and taking responsibility for things that I can’t control. I do my best, but extenuating circumstances are always a possibility. I can’t help when my big kids will need me more in that moment, or when his nap was too short for me to accomplish everything while he was asleep, or when I’m exhausted or sick or stressed. He knows that I love him. No matter the crazy days or time spent away from him,Che is well taken care of, and I’ve made it abundantly clear to him that he is my baby and I’d do anything for him, just like his brother and sister. 

All you do when you give yourself all that blame is distance yourself from the person you can be, the person you already are. Guilt doesn’t become us; there is no need for it. It wastes time and energy, both of which I could be spending on and with my family. My guilt has been ultimately taken care of, and my debts have been paid- even the ones I have yet to owe. Jesus came to release me from guilt and shame, and free me to be exactly who I’m created to be, no strings attached. It is His sacrifice and love that has allowed me to be a woman, wife, mother, friend and follow Him daily. He continues to free me from sin, and free me from myself when I just can’t get out of my own head.  This doesn’t mean I won’t continue to make mistakes, or feel a little guilty sometimes. But with the strength of my Jesus, His guidance and His love, I can get on past that mommy guilt and move on to being the best mommy I can, no matter the circumstances.