10 Truths For Moms

With Mother’s Day around the corner, I thought I’d write a few truths we moms often forget. I pray you are encouraged and reminded that there is no one like you, you are enough, and that despite the hard places along the journey, you are an irreplaceable part of God’s design for your family.

1—There is no one who can parent your child better than you.

Your kids don’t need a perfect mom; they need a real mom. Or in my 9-year-old daughter’s words:FullSizeRender

Comparing yourself to others is a defeating trap—No one has it all together no matter how it may seem. Learn from other moms who do something well, but don’t think they could do a better job with your children than you can. God makes no mistakes and He gave your children the best mom ever.

2—You cannot assume all the credit for your child’s success or all the guilt for their failure.

God was a perfect parent raising His children in a perfect environment and Adam and Eve were still rebellious. A fallen world and free will guarantees there will be poor decisions that are made. We can do our best to sow in God’s word, water it in your children’s hearts, diligently pluck out the weeds that spring up, and then trust God for the outcome.

3—Great lovers make great parents.

Keep your spouse in his rightful first place and everyone thrives. This doesn’t mean you can ignore the urgent things of being a mom, but you can’t let them replace the more important things of being a wife. Give your children the gift of a mom who loves their dad even more than them. My parents modeled this well and it gave me greater security than anything else in the world. During the most turbulent years of my life, the fact that nothing I did could shake their love for one another held me steady and saw me through.

4—Your beauty is not measured by the scale or the latest fashions, but by the kindness and love you display.

Your children will likely never tell their own children one day how much they liked your hair. However, they will tell them about how you stopped what you were doing and looked them in the eye when they had a story to tell. They will recount how you used to lay in bed with them and whisper about the day.

1 Peter 3:3-4 (ESV) reminds us, “ Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear, but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” While I’m not recommending that we pay no attention to our outward appearance, I do think we must be sure it takes a backseat to the issues of the heart.

5—Raising holy children is more important than raising happy children.

The first will lead to the last, but the last will not lead to the first. There are more gadgets and opportunities today than ever to eat up our time and our attention, and your children will convince you that they need them all in order to be happy. Don’t buy it (literally)!

Happiness cannot be achieved with more things or more activities. Remember that true joy can only be found in serving God and serving others. That won’t happen miraculously when they are adults if you have not purposed to lay the foundation now. Teaching them to Invest in eternal rewards and in people will always reap a greater blessing than investing in more stuff.

6—Self-care is not selfish.

Properly caring for your body means you can more properly care for your family. A mama is supposed to be like fresh water pouring into her family, but she can’t do that from a dry well. This doesn’t mean a daily spending spree at the mall or weekly spa treatments. It means taking the time to nurture and care for your own heart, mind, and body. Eating well, getting adequate sleep and exercise, and spending time in activities that rejuvenate you are vital for both you and your family.

7—You cannot do it all and that’s okay.

The laundry will never be done, the floors will always need to be vacuumed. This is not a reflection on your parenting. Productiveness as a mom cannot be measured by a to-do list but by the silent unseen sacrifices for the sake of those you love.

When you are feeling like what you do doesn’t matter, remember this from Andy Stanley:

“You greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”13166076_10209419439273723_1325231446447934723_n

8—You are not invisible.

God sees you and all your sacrifices even if it seems no one else does. Those rainy day snuggles with the same book, the 1000th peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and the umpteenth time you’ve kissed an imaginary boo-boo will reap a harvest one day.

All those ordinary moments that seem so insignificant will one day string together to make an extraordinary life.

9—Prayer fixes a multitude of sins.

The word says, “Love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). It is God’s love for us that prompts Him to hear our prayers and move on our behalf. Are you blowing it? He knows, and He’s not moved to condemnation but compassion. Ask Him to fill in the gaps and cover all your sins and He will be faithful to do it.

What is it you’re in need of? Do you need wisdom? Ask Him and He promises to give it “liberally and without reproach” (James 1:5). Are you scared for a wayward child? Ask Him to protect your child and to give you a “word fitly spoken” (Proverbs 25:11) when the opportunity arises. Pray for and over your children believing that we do not have because we do not ask (James 4:2).

10—It’s never too late!

No matter where you are in the process, so long as there is a breath to be taken, God is at work. If your family has fallen apart and in need of repair, I have good news for you: Every family is a fixer-up family and God is in the construction and remodeling industry. There is no problem so big that God cannot solve it.

His redemptive work on the cross stretched behind and ahead, so we should expect no less from Him in our families. What has fallen into decay, given to Him, He can rebuild. What Satan has robbed, He can restore. What we have torn down, He can redeem. He is the great rebuilder, restorer, redeemer, and He waits for us to hand him the ashes of our lives so that he can give us beauty in return.

What other truths have you learned along the way? I hope you’ll scroll down and share them.


God’s 2015 Promises For You and Your Family–Will You Claim Them?

IMG_2117 - Version 2Well, I always have plenty to say, but I thought as we close this year and head into the new one, I’d say less and let God say more. His words are more important and reliable anyway. So instead of giving you my list of resolutions, I thought I’d share just a short list of His promises for you and your family instead. He is anxious to see them fulfilled in your life, but

There is a catch: You have to claim them.

It’s true God’s promises are real and powerful, but they do typically require our faith and cooperation. Think of it like this. If you receive a paycheck for services or goods, that check is a promise, but unless it is cashed in, unless it is claimed, it is useless. You can stare at it all day and it will not put food on your table or clothes on your back until you deposit it or cash it in.

God’s promises are likewise. They do not automatically come to pass. You must receive them as truth in your heart and take them to Him in faith and claim, “Lord, you’ve said this and I believe it”. Then Oh! what miracles take place when we pray God’s word with expectancy over our children and our homes! And let me add, whatever faith you have to believe them is all the faith you need. He will meet you where you are and grow your own faith through His faithfulness.

So, here are just a few of the many promises of God. I keep a journal of them so I can find the ones I need when my heart is anxious and I don’t know what to do. Perhaps you’d like to write down those that speak to you most and do the same. I promise you this. As you learn God’s heart for your family and speak His promises over them, your own heart will find more rest.

God Bless you and yours in 2015!

Promises of Provision:

“…those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” Isaiah 34:9-10

“And my God shall supply all your need…” Philippians 4:19

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” Matthew 6:31-32

Promises of Salvation and Deliverance:

“…the children of the godly will go free.” Proverbs 11:21 NLT

“For I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children.” Isaiah 49:25

“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.” Acts 16:31 NLT

Promises of Blessings:

“I will pour My Spirit on your descendants, and My blessing on your offspring.” Isaiah 44:3

“The generation of the upright will be blessed.” Psalm 112:2

Promises of Protection:

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.” Proverbs 14:26

“The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.” Psalm 121:8

Psalm 91–the whole chapter! My go-to chapter for all that frightens me concerning my children.

Promises for Guidance:

“You will guide me with Your counsel…” Psalm 73:24

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ ” Isaiah 30:21

Promises for Wisdom:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

“For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;” Proverbs 2:6

Promises of a Plan and Purpose:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer 29:11

“The Lord will work out his plans for my life.” Psalm 138:8 NLT

More Promises You Can Count On:

“I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace.” Isaiah 53:13

“He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ ” Hebrews 13:5

“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Deuteronomy 7:9

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23



What Kind of Parent Are You?

MWM blogger

MWM blogger

Don’t ask me why I thought taking this kind of quiz was a good idea. Perhaps I thought I’d find answers to why I act the way I do. Maybe knowing I’m a tiger mom or ostrich mom would make my actions throughout any given day make more sense.

Ha! Just ask my husband what a ridiculous notion that is!

Instead, I realized that I can’t be categorized any more than my children can or should be. I don’t like labels for them and I found I don’t like them for myself either. They seem to trap us forever behind their tag. Don’t get me wrong, personality quizzes are fun and can offer insight into our particular bent, but they are often misleading and can leave us feeling either superior because of them or judged by them.

After all, I’m every type of mother and I’m no type ever considered. I think the same is true of all moms everywhere. There are days and situations that call me to be a tiger mom who fiercely drives her children and days that I am the hovering helicopter mom because my child may need more protection than usual. And what about when I am more ten-year-old than fortyish-year-old and become another little monkey jumping on the bed? What would I be called then? Otter mom? Wait! That wasn’t on the list.


My new-mama niece with her sweet one.

So what kind of parent am I? If you ask my children, I’m pretty sure four out of four will say a crazy one. Ask my husband, who’s crazy about me, and he’ll say I’m an awesome one.

Ask me and I say:

I’m a natural yeller who tries not to be.

I’m a comedian with no appreciative audience.

I’m an overscheduler and time-cruncher.

I’m a motivator, otherwise known as a demanding drill sergeant.

I’m a pusher of health food who can’t resist chocolate of any kind or ice cream.

But I am also,

A shameless cheerleader at soccer games and one-man (or girl) living room recitals,

A tireless nurse for any injury that band-aids and kisses can’t fix,

An unrivaled scones baker,

And a mother with four incredible reasons to keep on trying.


One of those owies that needed extra snuggles.

God says:

I’m a redeemed mother–one who constantly gets it wrong, and yet through grace and mercy, keeps seeing it turn out right.


So what kind of parent are you? How about the perfect one for your child!

I think I’d like to talk more about that sometime. But for now, trust me on it. Some days you will be more strict and firm, other days relaxed and flexible, and that does not equate to inconsistency. Rather, like the ebb and flow of the tide, it can be beautifully predictable unpredictability.

Who can possibly put one label on you, mothers? You are far too beautiful and important and all-encompassing to describe so simply, but Proverbs 31:29 says it best perhaps:

“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”

I hope you believe it.

From Lancaster County

MWM blogger

MWM blogger

I am conflicted.

I am on a family vacation in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with it’s Amish charm and lazy-day feel, and I both love and hate it. 0610140849Like the farmland around me, my heart is being tilled and broken up to allow new seed to be planted, and while I enjoy the prospect of new growth, the process is painful.

On the one hand, I want to live in the moment and embrace this last vacation time with my oldest child before he chases his own future in Australia, On the other, I am aware that all I know and love is about to change. The landscape of my life will never look the same and it’s a bit scary as questions arise in my heart about what the harvest will be.

I grew up on a farm and I know that every spring is a hopeful time. A farmer invests his time, money, and toil in what is yet to be, sowing into the land with the prospect of reaping a good return for his investment.

I suppose mothering is much the same. We too labor over the fields of our families and do all we know to do and then trust that it will produce something of value that will sustain us at a later time.0610140854a

So here I am second-guessing. Questions plague me as I consider that Kieran will leave in just under a month.

Did I sow the right seeds? Did I tend to them well enough to make him strong enough to handle the rains that will beat down on him and the storms that will inevitably come? Did I teach him how to properly guard his heart to protect the good seeds sown or will they be devoured by the insects of greed, lust, and vanity? Is this the right time to transplant?

My heart says yes, and yet I’m back where I began–conflicted.

I suppose this is where faith must take over. Just like every faithful farmer, I’ve done all I’ve known and now I have to leave the rest in the hands of the Master Gardener and trust that Kieran will be counted with those “that may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)

In the meantime, I will speak and claim this promise over my first transplant, believing God will do in Australia what I can not:

The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. (Isaiah 58:11)

For those who have been here, I’d love any wisdom you can offer. For those who are here with me, I pray for your peace. Together we’ll trust that as we continue to sow into our children, we will reap a harvest of joy in our own hearts.

Mother’s Day and Miscarriage

It was a year ago Mother’s Day that I stood in church being honored along with all the other moms, tears flowing. The tears were not because I was proud to be a mom of four children, although I was. It was not because prayers were lifted on our behalf although I was grateful. Instead it was because, despite my amazing children and the pointed prayers, I was hurt and angry that what I’d hoped would be a fifth child for my family was ending as I stood there in the midst of hundreds of other people smiling and clapping.

I am choosing to share the pain of my miscarriage publicly for all you who bear yours privately. What I suffered is not an uncommon thing. Many of you can relate since it is estimated that at least 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. Yet, knowing that did not help me. It also did not help when well-meaning people offered platitudes like, “You can always get pregnant again” or pointed out that at least I already had children as though somehow this one was disposable. And it did not help to be told, “It was probably just God’s mercy”. It did not feel like mercy.

I had been to the doctor that Thursday excited to see my sweet baby’s sonogram image92783-20140513 only to be told that things were not looking “as they should”. I was told to prepare myself for loss and to schedule another ultrasound in a week. I enlisted prayers and I believed against all hope that the following week would bring good news. It would not. Sunday morning, spotting began. I couldn’t bring myself to accept that this child we longed for and prayed for would die on the day I was to celebrate being a mother. It could not be. Not on Mother’s Day.

So I stood, smiling through tears, praying that God would stop what was happening to my body and my baby. He did not–not then, and not again five months later when we lost another baby in a sterile hospital room. My body had gone into shock from blood loss, and in that foggy, subconscious place, I wondered why God, who could have stopped all of it, had chosen not to despite my pleas. Was it my fault? Did I not pray hard enough? And in that limbo between life and death, I heard a resounding “No” as well as “Do you trust Me?” I chose to trust and I still do.

In the midst of unanswered questions, I am a woman who knows the goodness of God and who has had prayers of faith answered in inconceivable ways, so I have chosen to trust that God’s ways are not my ways but His way is better and that the hope of Romans 8:28 is true of both me and all my children: “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” I may not understand His purpose but I will trust in them.

So, on Sunday, a year after it all began, I stood again amidst my congregation as applause went up for all the moms and I cried. Oh, I know how blessed I am to have the son and three daughters who call me “Mama”, but I still long for the ones I can only dream about, and it still goes against my instincts to say I’m a mom to four when my heart says I have six. I know if you’ve lost a child before birth you can understand that.

To all you moms who know this loss or know someone who does–whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, or the pain of abortion–I pray your hearts will be restored one broken piece at a time. While we may not hold those babies in this life, they are still a gift from the Lord (Ps 127:3), He knew them even before they were formed (Jer 1:5) and He will complete what He started (Jer 1:5). I believe that one day I will see and recognize my babies, and they will see and recognize me as their mama and it will be better than what my finite mind can envision.

And, mamas, while it is true that “these things happen”, it is still a unique and personal experience and your healing is just as unique and personal. Seek help if necessary, but remember, it’s a process. It’s been a year for me, and most of the time it’s better, but sometimes it still stings. Sometimes I just need to cry.

Despite such feelings of intense loss, I am grateful for the opportunity to love more deeply and out of that love to reach out to others with compassion in a way I couldn’t have a year ago. And through it all, I hang onto the promise that one day “God will wipe away every tear from [our] eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain” (Rev. 21:4).

Bless you.

Here is a link to a book I highly recommend if you are struggling with this issue: