3 Things to Remember When You Feel Discouraged

Know what the soundtrack of my life is right now? The rhythm of a nail gun and the whine of a power saw. Yep, we’re in the middle of a renovation project that’s got me living out my HGTV dreams. 

I was telling a friend, though, that at first, every day seemed like “demo day,” with more being demolished than was being built. That can feel discouraging at the time. For my Hurricane Harvey survivor friends, let me say, BLESS YOU. You’ve been living with that kind of noise, chaos, and uncertainty for months, trying to remember when you didn’t have to walk through curtains of heavy plastic or rinse a layer of sawdust off your dishes. 

You’ve been smack dab in the messy middle.

But for others, maybe your “messy middle” is another kind of hurricane like divorce, family drama, or illness. Or perhaps a deep, pervasive sin has been uncovered, your own or someone else’s, and the atomic fallout feels relentless. 

If you’re in the messy middle, whether that turmoil was from a good thing (like my planned home project) or a bad thing (like a real or metaphorical hurricane), here are three encouragements Jesus offers to guide us through. Read More

Raising Sons Who Honor Women

I’m a tad old-fashioned, I admit. I love it when McLeod fills up my car or brings me flowers. I sparkle at being romanced and pampered.

But you know what I love even more than my husband’s gentlemanly manners? That he cares about what I think and what I’m working on and that he esteems me both as a woman and as an equal recipient of God’s promises.His support defines the word encouragement: filling me with courage to see myself as a valiant daughter of the King so that I act accordingly.

I feel like we’re working hard, too, to raise a son who will also honor and encourage the women around him, but here’s something else I have to admit: when it comes to certain topics like healthy sexuality, avoiding pornography, and setting standards for dating behavior, I’ve been less than courageous in speaking out.

I’ve deferred to McLeod and other godly men in my son’s life to do the talking. That’s not bad, per se, but it is one-sided. I’ve now come to realize that since I am still the primary female voice in his life, I need to weigh in on such matters.

Just because my son now looks more like a man than a boy doesn’t mean my voice has become obsolete. As a godly woman, I bring wisdom and perspective that he needs more than ever. Read More

To the Mom Bathing-Suit-Shopping with Her Teen Girl

Houston, summer has landed, and as temps rise, clothes shrink. That means moms and teen daughters everywhere are facing off over short-shorts, sundresses, and bathing suits. I was just at Academy commiserating with another mom as we picked through swimwear, hoping to find something that complemented our girls’ changing shapes but didn’t get them dress-coded at summer camp.

It’s not always easy. Read More

Summer Is Coming. There Will Be Chores.

Well, we’re about two weeks from summer vacation here, so I’m still in End-of-School Survival Mode even as I share my kids’ excitement with each passing day. Mother’s Day was a great respite from the busyness, but as each petal drops from my wilting bouquet, I’m fully aware that I better make a few preparations for the months to come.

You parents know what I’m talking about: Your kids are going finish the school year, and within 5 hours of that final bell, they will have eaten all your food and generally trashed the place.

Then, they’ll need a ride to somebody else’s house so they can eat all their food and trash their place, too.

Welcome to Summer Vacation. Read More

The Ultimate End-of-School Mom Survival Guide

I swear I wake up in some weird, mom-style Choose Your Own Adventure story every day during the last month of school. I check my calendar and think I’ve got plans under control, but still, it feels an awful lot like this:

“You’ve wandered into a school gym full of parents. Are you
A) There for an awards ceremony but just realized you forgot to tell the grandparents?
B) Ten minutes late for a just-scheduled performance and fuming over another “extra” on the calendar?
C) Looking for your child’s missing gym shoes, but when you see the crowd, you wonder if you forgot some ceremony or performance?
Choose your own adventure in mom-stress and/or mom-guilt.”

So how’s a mom to make it through the last month of school with her sanity and sense of humor intact? Here’s my take plus some thoughts from other awesome moms I know. Read More

3 Little Known Ways to Amp Your Joy

Cruising into week three of Joy30,  and one truth about joy stands out: some days you just have to choose it. As in, “This is the day the Lord has made. I WILL rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 118:24).

I’m not advocating that we fake happy feelings, but I’m learning that God’s perfect joy, the fullness of joy that always exists in His presence, is a gift He makes available to His people if we choose to unwrap it. So how do we connect with this gift, especially when circumstances are anything but joyful? Here are three ways that have helped me. Read More

When You Face Tough Truth, Let Joy Make You Strong

“You need to put your armor on. You’re going out there spiritually naked.”  

Ouch. Spiritually naked? Me?

I had just confided to a ministry veteran that I was battling terrible doubts and anxiety every time I shared my writing online. Tottering out there on my “social media platform,” I had perpetual stage fright magnified by about 1000.

She listened with compassion, but then she gave me something I needed more than her kind hugs and reassurance that things would get easier over time. She started digging into my spiritual life (a.k.a. getting in my business) until she hit a place where I needed to hear truth:

I’d been letting Satan feed me a bunch of lies about God’s ability to protect and empower me to do what He’s called me to do.  Read More