Old and Heavy


So, it’s been a while.

We welcomed our second daughter in September and WHOOBOY has life been bonkers since then (surprise, surprise). Kiddo Secundo entered the world via a picture perfect c-section. My recovery was great. Breastfeeding initiated like a dream. We thought Older Sister was an easy baby but WOW – Kiddo Secundo makes Older Sister look like a colicky nightmare. That is, she did until we hit the dreaded four-month sleep regression. It took us a while to get things back under control (as much as one can “control” the behaviors of another human being), but now that they are, I feel like I’m finally coming out of Baby Fog and entering some semblance of a new normal and can get back to some regular writing.

I am also, very thankfully, back to a regular Bible study. I’m in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), and this year we are doing “People of the Promised Land, Part I,” which is a survey of various Old Testament books. My BSF group started the week Kiddo Secundo was born, so I didn’t actually make it to class for a couple of months, but I was really convicted by our study of Eli the priest, found in 1 Samuel.

Eli is the priest who trains Samuel. One of the first things we learn about Eli (other than his rebuke of Hannah for assuming she is drunk when she’s not) is that he has “worthless” sons (1 Sam. 2:12). They were blaspheming the sacrifices made to God and sleeping with the women who were serving alongside them. The narrative says “Now Eli was very old…” when he rebuked his sons (1 Sam 2:22) for their behavior, and they “would not listen to the voice of their father” (25).

When God calls Samuel, he “was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. … At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.” (1 Sam 3:1-3) Yet, when Samuel hears God’s voice, Eli cannot. 

Finally, when Israel went out to fight the Philistines and suffered defeat, they decided that they needed the Ark of God in their camp with the army. Eli’s sons bring the Ark, and it’s captured. “Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city and told the news, all the city cried out. When Eli heard the sound of the outcry, he said, ‘What is this uproar?’ Then the man hurried and came and told Eli. Now Eli was ninety-eight years old and his eyes were set so that he could not see. And the man said to Eli, ‘I am he who has come from the battle; I fled from the battle today.’ And he said, ‘How did it go, my son?’ He who brought the news answered and said, ‘Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great defeat among the people. Your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been captured.’ As soon as he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell over backward from his seat by the side of the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for the man was old and heavy.” (1 Sam 3:13-18). 

A few things here: Eli’s heart “trembled” for the Ark, but he either apparently didn’t notice the Ark was gone, let Israel take the Ark out into battle, or was powerless to stop his sons from taking the Ark out. This is also the second time the narrative tells us Eli was blind. Also, he was “old and heavy.” Now, I don’t know a lot, but I imagine it takes rather a lot of laziness to be “heavy” in the ancient Near East.

I wondered as I was reflecting on Eli whether he was actually blind, or if history recorded that he was because he turned a blind eye to things he ought not. I wondered why he was sleeping while Samuel was still awake to hear God’s call. And then I wondered how much of his story is my story.

What a gracious warning God gives us in the life of Eli. He has given my husband and I two precious girls to raise, and they require all of our eyes, ears, and heart to train them up “in the way [they] should go; even when [they] old [they] will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) I can’t say that I have been doing so perfectly, or even super consistently, but the story of Eli was a catalyst for me to really start examining my habits and the example they set for our daughters. With God’s help, I am working to change course in a number of areas of my life. I know that ultimately the choices my children make will be theirs, just like Eli’s sons’ choices were their own, but I want to be able to say with confidence that I did what God asked of me as a parent. I am so glad He gives us His Word to show us what is on the line, to encourage us that we aren’t alone, and to give instruction!



Dear Second Daughter:

In a week and a few days, we’re going to meet you (I know this because your older sister was born via csection after 27 hours of labor, so we are having a second csection. Yes, I will always hold this over your older sister’s head). And as we prepare to meet you, I’ve been thinking a lot about what God has been teaching me through this pregnancy. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit to you that you were not planned.

BUT! I am admitting this to you because I want you to know that even if we didn’t plan you, God did. He knew that I needed to carry you with me for nine months because I had a lot of stuff to learn. He also knew, better than I did, just how much your dad and I wanted to have you around. So he gave you to us not on our timing, but on his perfect timing.

Let me tell you some of the stuff I’ve learned.

Before your dad and I got married, I made kind of a big deal out of wanting to practice Natural Family Planning. Your dad and I believe (and we believe science backs us up) that life begins at conception, and therefore we had to practice a birth control method that would protect life once it was conceived. I boldly proclaimed that we were open to having as many children as God conferred to us. When we decided we wanted to have children, we knew exactly when the right time was. We prayed. God gave us your older sister immediately.

But instead of giving me confidence in God’s timing, this gave me confidence in my timing. I felt like I was in control. I had been boldly proclaiming my submission to God in this area in my life, but it turned out my words were empty. And like the good Father he is, he made me eat them.

We found out you were with us in the dead of winter. I’ve only been living back in the Midwest for a couple of years and after living on the milder East Coast, the adjustment has been difficult — not so much because of the cold (don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty terrible) but the duration. As winter dragged on and my friends back east posted pictures online of cherry blossoms, green trees, and tulips in my favorite places I realized just how seriously I still pined for the life I’ve given up back in Washington. I started having really vivid dreams about getting my old job back and finding an apartment. I was really emotional — probably due in part to the hormones, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d had Seasonal Affective Disorder.

But looking back on it, I realize that even if I thought I’d thrown off the idol of my old job, status, and life, I was still clinging to it in secret places in my heart. Faced with a situation I had not planned and feeling out of control, I started longing for the worldly things I gave up when your dad and I got married. See — God knew this. He looked into my heart and saw that there were things I hadn’t given up to him yet.

So God gave me you, because he knew I needed to put my trust back in him. I’m pretty sure he’s going to spend the rest of your life teaching me that, too. But I thought I’d share with you the start, because I’m pretty sure the rest of the story will be pretty amazing, too.

Can’t wait to meet you.



Wonderful words of life

So. It’s been a while.

I’ve legitimately been pretty busy with life things – mostly preparing for the birth of our second daughter (IN A MONTH?!) – but can we discuss for just a moment how difficult it is to write about God’s work in your life when, you know, you haven’t been reading the Bible?

Newsflash: It’s really hard!

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a woman who grew up in the Catholic Church and left for a more progressive denomination. She talked about how she read the Bible, and was really enjoying reading the Gospel of John. But primarily “These days,” she told me, “I commune with God and nature.”

When I first considered her statement I thought how odd it sounded, given the strong truth claims about Jesus contained in John — and then I realized I was staring at the speck in this woman’s eye without considering the plank in mine. Without opening my Bible on a regular basis, I am definitely more on the “communing with God and nature” end of the spectrum these days.

Colossians 3:16 says “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Matthew Henry’s commentary on this is searing to me:

The gospel of the word of Christ, which has come to us; but that is not enough, it must dwell in us, or keep house… not as a servant in a family, who is under another’s control, but as master who has a right to prescribe to and direct all under his roof. We must take our instructions and directions from it, and our portion of meat and strength, of grace and comfort, in due season, as from the master of the household. It must dwell in us; that is, be always ready and at hand to us in every thing, and have its due influence and use. We must be familiarly acquainted with it and know it for our good… Many have the word of Christ dwelling in them, but it dwells in them poorly; it has no mighty force and influence upon them.

Our toddler is beginning to learn words. She actually was kind of slow to start talking and I was starting to worry about it (when I say slow, she didn’t start saying words until after 12 months, which is well within the margin of error and I freely admit I worry about everything too much, but I digress). She also had a lot of talking, flashing, singing toys that commanded a lot of her attention. One night after we’d put our daughter to bed, I expressed total annoyance at the abundance of these toys to my husband and he confiscated all of them to the basement. I kid you not, barely a week later, our daughter started saying her first words.

What changed? Well, our daughter started showing me toys that didn’t talk, as if to ask what they were. “It’s a teddy bear,” or, “that’s a block.” She started giving me books to read to her (books upon books upon books! Sometimes all we would do between breakfast and lunch was read!). She started hearing words.

Imagine that!

All of those talking toys, you know, talked. They spoke to her with the pre-programmed phrases and songs — a reflection of the real thing. Sort of like how creation everywhere points to God (Job 12:7-10, Psalm 19:1-4, Romans 1:20). But she couldn’t know the real thing until someone taught her. I can’t know God unless I let him speak to me through scripture.

So today I’m thankful that God — despite my unfaithfulness and how poorly I’ve let his word dwell within me — is faithful to me. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

And, let’s be honest, I’m really thankful that Bible study is starting up again soon!

Heart issues

Freely PhotosSo there have been a few things in the news this week.

And, can I be honest with you? All I want to do with this blog post is tell you how I feel about all of them. Why? Because I have thoughts. And you guys don’t all share my thoughts. But I consider myself a smart, well-reasoned person and I want the opportunity to convince you all that you’re wrong and I’m right.

Which is… not sharing the gospel.

Last Sunday, our pastor was preaching out of Proverbs and talking about guarding our hearts. He told us about a time when one of his kids was clearly having a bad day and through sitting down together and talking about it they were able to get to the root of the issue — what his son was holding dear to his heart in that situation.

I’ve been thinking about this as I considered my own dilemma. Every time I opened up social media, everyone I knew was airing an opinion and I wanted nothing more to engage. But why? Why do I have this pathological need to opine on things? And after a lot of consideration, I don’t have a desire to engage thoughtfully in conversation (even though I want to thoughtfully converse, generally) so much as I’m plagued by a desire to explain my viewpoint in the hopes that it might be accepted.

This is totally natural. Everyone wants to feel accepted. And these days, when the Wrong Opinion on certain issues gets you branded as a bigot, a racist, a Nazi… you know, I feel somewhat justified in my desire to be not labeled those things. Especially by friends and church family.

This begs the question, by whom do I ultimately need to be justified?

And He will judge the world in righteousness; He will execute judgment for the peoples with equity. — Psalm 9:8

But God is the Judge; He puts down one and exalts another. — Psalm 75:7

Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is You who possesses all the nations. — Psalm 82:8


And how am I ultimately justified before God? Certainly not by the approval numbers of my various opinions.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. — Ephesians 2:1-10

I’m justified before God by Christ’s acceptable sacrifice on my behalf.

On Sunday our pastor also talked a bit about keeping it in our minds that our decisions have eternal, not momentary, consequences. I might give into my “cravings of the flesh” in an attempt to gain worldly approval for a time, but would that worldly approval come at the cost of my soul?

Now, definitely, there are things Christians have to stand for and against. And getting into political issues on social media isn’t an issue of salvation, per se. But what I’m saying is that why I’ve been tempted to engage on these issues is a matter of salvation. It’s a heart issue. It’s where I’m finding my treasure. And ultimately my treasure isn’t found here. So I need to leave it behind.

I’m so thankful for a God who has been working these truths out in me, proving my need of Him all the time!


I would like to share a video about sharing the Gospel in situations like this one. A lot has been said over the last few weeks about what the Bible has to say about immigrants and how they are treated. People who might not actually be Christians are talking about the Bible (!!), and this is such a good opportunity to turn the conversation to the Gospel. In this video, Voddie Baucham (seriously, look him up) talks about an episode of The West Wing which uses a Biblical argument to tear down the use of the Old Testament to justify opposition to same-sex marriage. Obviously the topic at hand is a little different, but the general principle remains the same. Give it a listen.

Costly love

Our third wedding anniversary was June 6. I’m a little late in posting because a cousin got married in the same place we did just a few days before our anniversary, so we took the opportunity to travel for a bit of a vacation. Being in the same place at about the same time for a wedding was a delicious reminder of our wedding week. If I could relive any day of my life it would be our wedding day. It is still, by far, the best day of my life (I honestly cannot remember much of the day our daughter was born — but that’s another story for another day).

When I thought about this post I first thought about sharing three things I’ve learned over three years of marriage, but upon further reflection I decided what I ought to be thinking about is what God has been revealing to me about himself in marriage. And the first thing that came to my mind was the costliness of God’s love:

“And he said to them all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.'” (Luke 9:23-24)

When Jack and I were introduced to one another, it was long-distance. He was here in the Midwest and I was in Washington, D.C.. We were both comfortable where we were. We were both considering that God might be calling us to marriage and going on dates. But we were wholly unprepared for the whirlwind that God actually had in store for us. Jack is very up front about the fact that he knew not very long into our communication that he wanted to marry me. And it showed; he thrust himself out of his comfort zone to pursue me. He’d never been in a plane before we started talking. But he took his first flight to see me. He sacrificed vacation time and resources to fly out to see me as frequently as we could manage because his schedule was more flexible than mine. When we finally got married, he continued these sacrifices to let me continue to do a job I loved in Washington. But long-distance wasn’t ever going to be a sustainable long-term option, we knew. One of us was going to have to give up our world so that we could be together. That person was me.

After a few months of long-distance marriage we were able to find a house here in the Midwest. We purchased the home, and I gave my office a few months’ notice that I was leaving. My last day at the Capitol was horrible. I walked through the building one last time laying my hands on all the walls, crying as I went (which was very assuring to the Capitol Police, I’m sure…), knowing I’d never walk through that beautiful, historic building unescorted ever again. I handed over all of my work to my successor and gave up any worldly importance I had (real or perceived). I said goodbye to all of my friends — many of whom were the first true Christian friends I ever had — and walked away from my community to start all over again somewhere else.

I remember the New Year’s before our daughter was born, I turned to my husband and said, “We’re going to have a baby in three months. Our lives are over, Jack.”

Jack responded, “Well, they were over on June 6, 2015.”

(He’s so smart!)

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 5:22-33)

Yes. We died to ourselves that day. And every day after.

Marriage isn’t a status, it’s a vocation. And like any other vocation, its something to which God calls specific people. He asks us to follow after him into it, and by doing so we lose ourselves. He asks those called into marriage to do this as a specific illustration of His salvation. Each of us gives up our individual identity to be part of this marriage — to be one flesh. I’m so blessed to be married to a man who shows me Christ-like, sacrificial love every day. He lays down his life for me in so many ways, and I know it’s hard work for him. You’d think, recognizing all he does for me, submission would be easy, but it’s not. It’s hard work to die to myself daily. This has gotten to be more of a conscious effort for both of us as we’ve become parents. We had to do a lot of dying to self when our daughter was born. In a funny way it made us better spouses, I think.

I’m so thankful for God’s work in our marriage. I’m beyond thankful that I have a husband who shows me costly love every day. I’m blessed to be able to try to return it. And I am so glad God is showing these things to us.

Memorial Day

I’m kind of a genealogy nerd. I’m actually one of a long line of genealogy nerds on both sides of my family. Because of this, family comes to me with all sorts of stuff from time to time — questions, information, artifacts, and pictures. I love it.

Some of my most treasured artifacts are copies of letters sent from my third great-grandfather, Edward Ellis, to his wife, Elizabeth, during the Civil War. They had two small children. Edward was a Union with the 115th Ohio Infantry, which defended railroad lines in Tennessee. He was eventually taken prisoner of war and sent to Andersonville prison camp, the most notorious of the war:

Andersonville, or Camp Sumter as it was known officially, held more prisoners at any given time than any of the other Confederate military prisons. It was built in early 1864 after Confederate officials decided to move the large number of Federal prisoners in and around Richmond to a place of greater security and more abundant food. During the 14 months it existed, more than 45,000 Union soldiers were confined here. Of these, almost 13,000 died from disease, poor sanitation, malnutrition, overcrowding, or exposure to the elements. …

By the end of June, 26,000 men were penned in an area originally meant for only 10,000 prisoners. The largest number held at any one time was more than 33,000 in August 1864. The Confederate government could not provide adequate housing, food, clothing or medical care to their Federal captives because of deteriorating economic conditions in the South, a poor transportation system, and the desperate need of the Confederate army for food and supplies.

These conditions, along with a breakdown of the prisoner exchange system between the North and the South, created much suffering and a high mortality rate. “There is so much filth about the camp that it is terrible trying to live here,” one prisoner, Michigan cavalryman John Ransom, confided to his diary. “With sunken eyes, blackened countenances from pitch pine smoke, rags, and disease, the men look sickening. The air reeks with nastiness.” Still another recalled, “Since the day I was born, I never saw such misery.”

Edward was lucky enough to survive the camp and be paroled to Vicksburg. From there, he wrote to his wife on April 12, 1865, their 10th wedding anniversary:

Just 10 years ago now I have the honor of being the husband of a true, loving, and affectionate wife, and I hope from this… I shall do my duty as a husband, father, and Christian more faithful than I have done the time past, and by the grace of God shall try and do better to try and lead a life that I would not be ashamed to have our children to imitate, we should let the trials and experiences we have gone through prove a benefit to us, and thank our Heavenly Father that it has been no worse with us.

Edward died on April 27, just days later, in the worst maritime disaster in US history.

Can you imagine how his wife must have felt, finding out that her husband was alive and coming home, only to have the reunion snatched away from her? Can you imagine the confusion and pain of their two children, growing up without their dad? And all of the things Edward must have suffered, the hope he must have felt after liberation, only to never return home. My heart aches for these people I’ve never met, and yet who are so close to me.

I’ve been thinking of Edward a lot this Memorial Day. Memorial Day was originally known as “Decoration Day,” a tradition of decorating the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers in the springtime. Eventually the tradition expanded to include the graves of soldiers from other conflicts and came to be known as Memorial Day. Congress declared it a federal holiday in the 1970’s. Memorial Day is a day we set aside to remember those who gave what Lincoln called “the last full measure of devotion” to their country. Those who died for our freedom.

In Memorial Day we have a tangible reminder that freedom is costly. We can visit the graves of those who gave the last full measure and ponder their suffering, the suffering of their families and loved ones, and do our best to honor their sacrifices.

But for Christians, every day should be a Memorial Day of sorts. Our ultimate freedom — freedom from sin, God’s wrath, and death — was paid with the precious blood of Jesus. How easy is it to forget! Especially today when much of Christian media peddles in messages of a needy Jesus who just wanted us to be with him in heaven. That’s not what Jesus was doing on the cross. Much like a soldier who goes off to war to protect something bigger than himself, Jesus submitted himself to the wrath of God on our behalf to show us God’s mysterious, glorious, redemptive plan. He loves us, of course! That’s why we needed to see the cross. We needed to see our need of Him. Not His need of us.

So today I’m thanking God for the tangible reminders of His grace in things like the temporal freedom in which I live today in the United States. Many, like Edward Ellis, sacrificed so that I can sit here and write this blog. I have done nothing to deserve any of the certain inalienable rights protected in our Constitution. I have done nothing to deserve true freedom and right standing before God. But by varying measures of mysterious grace I have both. He is so good!

For good

I remember very vividly one day, not long after bringing our newborn daughter home from the hospital, changing her diaper. Everything to her was new, and consequently everything was very scary for her (and me — let’s be honest). Diaper changes? She hated them. Sleeves on her shirts? WHAT IS THIS DEVILRY. But what’s a parent to do? You can’t just say to your kid, “sure, stay in the dirty diaper. And I know that shirt is covered in spit up and/or diaper blowout but since you don’t really want it changed, you can keep wearing it.” You’re the parent. You just have to bear up and plow ahead.

It had been a long morning with lots of crying, not a lot of sleeping, and a deep desire for things to JUST BE NORMAL FOR ONE MINUTE. Despite her very inconvenient protestations, which included flailing and rolling everywhere, I started to change the diaper. “I know you don’t like this,” I said to her, exasperated, “but its for your good!”

My words echoed very loudly in my own head. Not because I’d said them in anger or frustration, but because I was suddenly very aware of the Holy Spirit working in that moment as I struggled to get the Huggies fastened snugly on my wiggling, crying infant.

The older our daughter gets, the more often I get to realize just what a unique perspective parenthood gives us on God’s relationship to us. I’ve always had a good relationship with my parents, and it was very easy for me to comprehend my status as a child of God. But I’d never had much of a chance, until now, to wonder how God feels as my Father.

How frequently am I the infant crying as God is trying to clothe me in his righteousness after he’s cleansed me of my sins? The better question still, is how frequently is he the exasperated parent, rolling his eyes and admonishing me, “it’s for your good!”

The Bible is always whispering to us that God’s plans, discipline, and provision are for our good.

For I know the plans I have for you… plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproved; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal…. Behold, this we have searched out; it is true. Hear, and know it is for your good.” (Job 5:17-18, 27)

But the perplexing thing (for me and my sinful heart) is that God is apparently never exasperated.

The Bible constantly reminds us that God is slow to anger and abounding in mercy:

“The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” (Exodus 34:6)

“The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Numbers 14:16)

“They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.” (Nehemiah 9:17)

“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 86:5)

The Old Testament repeats this phrase, “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love,” no fewer than a dozen times. God’s chosen people disobeyed him, ignored his power and might, and turned to other gods all the time. He did provide discipline. He let his children experience the consequences of their actions. Yet, instead of losing his patience with his children he reminded them of his patience.

It’s hard for me to imagine myself doing the same in situations when I’m tempted to lose my patience. First of all, it wouldn’t feel particularly honest to remind my daughter of my abounding steadfast love, mercy, and patience because, frankly, I am none of those things naturally. I am naturally a self-centered, fickle, impatient person. But what if every time I was at the end of my fuse I tried to remind myself of my newness in Christ?

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

I haven’t actually tried this strategy yet, but I’m willing to guess that I would slam doors with much less frequency. And I’m willing to bet that if I remembered more often that God’s provision for me – however perplexing to me in my present circumstance – is for my good, I’d probably be generally more content to wait and see.

I’m so thankful that God reveals himself to us in little things like diaper changes. Praise be to him who is making all things new, whose plans are perfect, and whose love never ends!

What am I doing here.

I’ve tried to start this blog about a dozen times but I think the time has really come for me to actually commit to it. Allow me to explain.

About two years ago, I started praying regularly that God would “Create in me a clean heart… and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10) and “remove the heart of stone from [my] flesh and give [me] a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26). My husband and I also prayed that he would bless us with children. I didn’t imagine that these prayers were related — in fact, we only prayed once before we got pregnant — but as it turns out, God is accomplishing the answer to one with the answer to the other.

Our daughter was born last spring and I can guarantee you that there is something different in my heart (if nothing else, I am now KEENLY aware of my depravity!). I know that my experiences aren’t unique. I can see that God has been working to systematically divest me of things that aren’t of Him, and I know that Christian parents everywhere can probably share stories similar to mine. But what got me writing was something that God was specifically working out of me.

I used to be a Congressional staffer. I didn’t think that my job was my life, but when I moved away from DC and opted to stay home, I realized just how much priority I’d given my job and how much of my identity was wrapped up in it. Time and distance helped to erode some of the unhealthy hold my old life had on my new life, but not all of it. Enter parenthood.

Every parent knows that parenthood is the most important job you’ll ever have with the least amount of recognition you’ll ever get. I had a lot of trouble with this. Even if I knew that this was kingdom work at its very greatest, I still craved the importance that came with my old job. So I was not shy over social media with my opinions on all sorts of things, political and otherwise, posting long-winded things on Facebook and quips on Twitter, craving the “likes,” and the retweets. I wasn’t posting every day, or even every week, and I always kept in mind that my words and my actions spoke about God so I did my best to be respectful.

But even if I was being respectful and not seeking to malign the Gospel, I was still doing it for the wrong reasons. Predictably, the likes and the retweets could not satisfy. Eventually, through studying Romans in Bible Study Fellowship, God convicted my heart of this right in time for Lent. So I gave up posting on Facebook for 40 days. I still allowed myself to skim, but I wasn’t allowed to respond to anything — no likes, shares, reactions, and definitely no posts of my own. And, perhaps not so surprisingly, when the 40 days was over, it didn’t seem so necessary to keyboard rage whenever something happened. God used that time to speak to me about the importance of spreading the Gospel, and if the Gospel was so important, why would I spend my time talking about anything less?

Convicted of this, nonetheless, I still craved. I wanted to write. I wanted importance. I want, I want, I want… So I did my best to try and trust that God was doing a work and I needed to trust that the importance I craved is really not found on a screen, it’s found in running a Godly household. I wish I could say that I dove into this idea with enthusiasm, but I didn’t. I moped. I was pitiful. I was ridiculous.

And then, one day at BSF, we were asked to share something that God was doing in our lives through our study of Romans. So I shared all of the above and talked about how hard it was, even though it all sounded silly. I got a lot of encouragement from all the moms in my group, and left feeling like I could still trust God with all of this. And when I got in my car, the song “My Story” from Big Daddy Weave was playing on the radio. The chorus goes:

“If I speak then let it be
Of the grace that was greater than all my sin,
Of when justice was done, and when mercy wins,
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in,
If I tell you of my story, let me tell of Him.”

… … … … … OK God, I hear you!

Then, one day not long afterwards, a funny, kind-of-ironic thing happened with my daughter and I posted about it on Facebook. A friend of mine who is currently expecting her first child responded that she thought that God give children to parents to teach parents that they aren’t in control (TRUTH!). I responded, “I could write an essay (or several) on all the things God is using parenthood to teach me.” Another friend responded, “Please write the essays. I’d love to read them.”


So, all of that to say, I don’t really know where this is going. But I believe that God has been revealing all of these things to me so that I can write about his sanctifying work in my life, and that if it is His will, by this He will be glorified.

I don’t want this to be about me. I want this to be about the grace that is greater than all of my sin, of justice done and mercy’s victory, of Jesus’ kindness, of HIS story in my life. So God, may I write of and for only you. In Jesus’ name, amen.