I stared at the coffee pot listening to the moms behind me before finally choosing the green mug – because green is my favorite color – and slowly walked down the stairs to join the other women in my church’s moms’ group. As we squeezed onto the couches with our parenting books and kids ran in circles around us, our hostess kindly asked us to introduce ourselves. I felt my stomach knot immediately, and I wondered, “Do I mention my job if everyone else is a stay-at-home mom?”

I’m not technically a stay-at-home mom to the stay-at-home moms, although I’m at home every day taking care of my family, with the exception of 35 days a year. And I’m not technically a working mom to the working moms, even though I operate my business and manage my team during naptimes and after bedtime, and travel for work throughout the year. I feel alone in my own little world, but it appears God’s current call in my life is to have a foot firmly planted on each side but not planted deeply enough to be privy to the secret handshakes and helpful life tips of either mom camp.

The fact that we have mom camps is evidence of our sinful tendency to compare and size up. It’s easy to look at other moms’ lives and judge them against our own, or judge ours against theirs. Does she cook healthy meals every night? Does her job allow her kids to do more extracurriculars? Is she doing bedtime every night? Did she miss a soccer game or two? Instead, what we should focus on is that every mom has been given unique families with unique children who have unique needs. God has called all moms into the service of Christ within the context of their particular families. But every family is different, which means the hard work of motherhood looks different for each woman.

This excerpt is from a piece written for Risen Motherhood. You can read the whole post here

ADVENT IN THE PSALMS: LAMENT (22) (for Deeply Rooted Magazine)

The Advent season is marked by the tension of joyous celebration that Jesus once came as a baby, and hopeful expectation for when he will come again as King. This tension weighs on us in our varying circumstances, bringing forth a myriad of emotions and expectations. Some enter Advent with joy, some with hope, and some with pain. This same range of emotion is woven throughout the songs and poems of the Psalms. The ancient writers were of the human variety: the joyous, expectant, and thankful. They were also the brokenhearted, bruised, and rejected. These complexities created something more than an endless string of jolly choruses of happy thoughts. The Psalms are the sincere cries and praises of God’s children.  

We chose to work through the different genres of the Psalms for Advent because the songs and poems repeatedly point the reader to the hope of Emmanuel—God with us—despite the unique seasons of our lives. Today, we’ll meditate on a psalm of lament. If you’ve entered Advent in a period of deep fear or desperation, know that your expression of pain and sorrow is still praise. The psalmist implores us to find solace and comfort in the person of God by remembering his past faithfulness as we turn from ourselves and look toward him.  


Sometimes it feels as though you can’t be too honest about grief or sorrow if you’re a Christian. Before you’ve even finished sharing about a trial or struggle, a well-intentioned friend reminds you to count it all joy and ushers you past honesty to forced happiness. There is a better way—a proper way—to walk through pain and suffering that is both honest in struggle and glorifying to God. Scripture shows us a way to lament for our good and his glory. This is what we see in Psalm 22.   

This psalm is attributed to David—the famous king of Israel who was known as “a man after God’s own heart” but also as a liar, adulterer, and, murderer. While God established David’s family as the royal dynasty which would rule forever through Christ, David’s life was also marked by pain, trial, and sorrow (I Chron. 17). In this psalm, David models how to lament in a way that is both sincere and glorifying to God. He is unashamedly honest and transparent about his circumstances, his feelings, and his questions. Yet after each cry of anguish, he immediately reminds himself of God’s unchanging, always faithful, and holy character. For every thought of man-centered hopelessness, David shares of God-centered hope. He repeatedly uses memories of God’s past faithfulness to guide his heart back to faith through prayer. This is how we ought to lament.  

This excerpt is from a piece written for Deeply Rooted Magazine. You can see the full post here. 

SEEDS OF FAITH, AWE, AND WONDER (for Rosemary & Thyme)

At one point in my life, my mom made a rule that I wasn’t allowed to read until after dinner. I could get a little – well, you know – emotionally involved with a good storyline. If I needed to stop reading at a particularly upsetting or anticipatory moment, it was likely that I would appear at dinner crying, stressed, or overjoyed. In an effort to protect everyone from the unknown, I was only allowed to read once I was in my room for the evening.

I’m still captivated by books. But now I’m the mom, and my rule is we read all of the time.

At our house, we want to raise interesting, lifelong learners. We’re ten months in with our first baby – and I’m only 37% sure that this is working – but it seems to me that the way to cultivate a love of learning is to teach a child about God in a way that fosters a sense of awe and adoration. My own understanding of God as the creator of all things and all people makes all things and all people quite fascinating: the etches on a tree trunk, the way the ocean ebbs and flows, the fact that you have blue eyes and I have freckles, the way food smells and how music moves you. Being in awe of the God who created everything sparks curiosity and wonder, which leads to learning about him and his world. I think raising (and being) more than navel-gazers requires being captivated by something else – or rather, someone else.

This excerpt was originally written for Rosemary & Thyme. See the full post here

THE GREATEST LIE EVER TOLD (for Deeply Rooted Magazine)

It's a Tuesday afternoon. I find myself with a few spare minutes and unconsciously reach for my phone, open Instagram, and start scrolling. Within seconds I know that someone is in a foreign country again, while a fellow college alum has a new dream job, a stranger is exploring a cool coffee shop, and that Insta-mom received yet another box of perfectly curated mommy-and-me neutral toned outfits worth my monthly rent. I look up and squint around under the harsh fluorescent lighting and take a quick survey of my life: I'm in a Walmart, getting my oil changed. You have got to be kidding me, I think. God, why don't you give that to me? 

We're not so unlike the people before us—even Adam and Eve. While it may be that the rhythms and demands of our present time are new, our hearts are the same. We chase things that cannot fulfill us, we trust in things untrue, and we seek to please our peers instead of God (Jer. 17:9; I John 2:15–17; Prov. 25:27; John 12:43). We are, simply put, human. And humans have always struggled to believe that God loves us. 

The very first humans lived in the east of Eden, and sin had not yet entered the story. Adam and Eve knew no shame and lived in full, perfect vulnerability with God and one another (Gen. 2:25). Can you imagine the great beauty of their days? No struggling, no fear, no comparison, no want. They lived in the world exactly as God designed it. They never knew longing or ache or dissatisfaction. Adam and Eve walked among the creation called "good" (Gen. 1:25). And yet, the quiet whisper of a crafty serpent began to unravel quickly that which God had created. In a perfect world, the first seed of doubt was sown in the heart of Eve:  

“’You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (Gen. 3:4b–5)  

We know what happens after this: Eve saw that the fruit was a delight to the eye and wanted to be wise. Uncertainty welled up inside of her as she considered that perhaps she would not die as God had previously told them. Instead of believing that God's warning came from his loving protection and sovereignty, she listened to the deceptive tongue of Satan. This moment altered reality. It was the greatest lie ever told, and it ruined life in Eden with just a few words: God is withholding from you.  

This excerpt was originally written for Deeply Rooted Magazine. See the full post here


This is a season of being stripped down to the root of my theology.

I think this to myself as I walk through the city, sweaty with an ache in my lower back from the fourteen pound child strapped to my chest.  The last month has left me woozy and anxious and uncomfortably aware that we are humans made of flesh and bone, and when left without the breath of God, dust returns to dust. I look down towards the ground and think about how limited we are, how finite, and how desperately we need to be sustained by something - someone - outside of ourselves. We need the limitless and infinite. 

Consequently, there hasn't been much sleep in the last few weeks. I wake most nights from nightmares or sudden feelings of falling, and when I can't sleep, I pray. For the friends burying their baby boy. For the family member with the brain tumor. For the panic attacks, the fragile marriages, the infertility, the drug use. It seems like everywhere I turn, someone I care about is in a remarkable season of suffering. I can't help but lie in the dark and ask the whys and the hows and the where are Yous. It's humbling to come in my helpless state before a sovereign God with one thousand questions, but I always end up at the same point:

 You are a good God. You cannot be anything but good. 

I've learned that the majority of the time, it's not helpful to try to find earthly answers for earthly sufferings or to believe that if you connect the dots, you will find some semblance of peace or confirmation or logic or justification. Because, friend, sometimes it won't make sense. Ever. Sometimes the weight of the pain and confusion will be unbearable, and there will be no indication of why. This is the effect of sin in our world. This is what we mean when we talk about brokenness. To be broken is to be fractured, to be damaged, to be in despair. Suffering is a part of this side of heaven. So what do we do when we're deep in the gunk of heart-wrenching pain? We cling to our theology. 

If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.

The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3 is a rather ridiculously amazing tale of three men who survived being tossed into a furnace without a scratch. Insane, right? But if we rewind to before they were thrown into the furnace, we see how we ought to behave in times of suffering. Imagine three men being brought and thrown on the ground before a livid King Nebuchadnezzar. The king looked down at them with a furious and exasperated expression on his face, "Is it true that you will not worship my golden image? If you do not do it immediately, I will throw you into a burning fiery furnace. Who will help you then? You will surely suffer and die." And in that moment - with their lives threatened and their earthly end before them - with a trust so deep, they replied, "Our God is able, but if He doesn't, we will remain faithful to Him."

Our God can save us.

But if not, we worship and cling only to Him.

Did you really read that? In our deepest moments of suffering, when our lives are hanging on the edge of destruction, we know two things: God can save us because He can do all things, but if in His perfect sovereignty He chooses not to rescue us in the most obvious ways that we desire, then He is still worthy of faithful worship and praise. He can, but if not, we worship; if only because of who He is. This means that our circumstances are not why we worship, our freedom is not why we worship, our happy moments are not why we worship. We worship because God is worthy of worship and praise. This is a comforting Truth for seasons of suffering. If we were only ever rescued in ways that we wanted and when we wanted, we would be worshiping because of what we've received and what we are able to understand in our finite, limited minds. But in this story, we see that we worship even if the entire world seems upside down and unfair and wrong, because God is God and He is still good. We are able to worship despite our circumstances, because God is outside of our circumstances. We worship because we know He can deliver us from suffering, but if He does not, we worship because He is. 

"I Am" is the root of my theology. When I sit in my own suffering or in the suffering of those whom I love deeply, all I can fall on is my theology. The earthly reasons and escape routes will fail me ten times over. I don't have an answer for why a baby dies. I don't know why people who would make wonderful parents aren't parents yet, and may never be. I can't see a point to sickness and addiction and broken covenants. It's seasons like this one that strip away the platitudes, the striving, and the other things in which I try to find security. When faced with the brokenness of creation, to what else can I cling? Where else can we put our hope?

Ultimately, God will deliver us from all suffering. The cross points to this, promises us this. We long for heaven partly because we know of the peace that awaits us. Until the day I reach heaven's shore, I pray that my trust in who God is continues to grow to the point that when I look at the most vicious moments of suffering, I can proudly proclaim with deep knowing that my God can rescue me from anything, but if not, I will praise Him evermore. 

Admittedly, sometimes when sitting in a season of suffering with a friend, you'd like to say something more than "but if not." While the heart of your words and helpful actions needs to be rooted in your theology, I know practical steps are beneficial. Allow me to send you over to my dear friend's blog. Diana is currently working on a series about ministering to people in pain that I have found very helpful in approaching suffering with grace, support, love, and biblical truth.