On Sunday night remembrance

I sat in our comfy black leather recliner, munching on my fourth Oreo and watching The Walking Dead, wondering where the three-day weekend had gone. Thinking to myself, "did I put in that last load of laundry? Maybe I'll put away the clothes before bed. I should pack up my breakfast and the bottles. I should take a shower. I should've swept those floors. I should stop eating Oreos."

I'd remember all of the things I had (not) done during the weekend. I'd remember all of the things waiting for me at work the next morning. And I'd think of how much I'd miss my boys.

Sunday nights can be torture for working moms, if we let those worries and emotions take over. 

But God reminds us dwell on the good, pure, lovely things. He wants us to remember His faithfulness where we couldn't do, or be, enough. To know that our work is good, whether it's training our kids' hearts and playing outside, or writing words, or cleaning houses, because He made us to do good.

He wants to remind us how loved we are, aside from any unchecked to-do's or unfinished laundry (and aside from how many Oreos we put away ;)).

And so tonight I'm taking time to dwell on the snowman-making, the dance parties, and dinner with a good friend. I'm remembering lazy Sunday afternoons with the in-laws, and smelling my newborn nephew's head. I'm remembering to the point of tears that all my striving can't earn God's love, and that all of my anger, laziness, and selfishness have been covered and paid for by the blood of Jesus.

Weekend fun: making the most of snow in mid-April

Maybe it's time to redeem Sunday nights, to make them into a time to remember all that God has done -- not all that I haven't. Will you remember with me?

How has God shown Himself faithful to you this week?

{This post is part of a series for (in)couraging working new moms.}


A God who sees, a people who see, & being "in"

Bible college clouded my idealistic vision of Christian community. At a campus by the lake, surrounded by amazing brothers and sisters in Christ, I was left feeling "less than". I was struggling with my sinfulness like never before. With few friends other than my boyfriend (who attended a different school), I felt invisible.

Now, I blame myself for not joining in or inviting -- but then, in the middle of my shame and inadequacy, it seemed hopeless. It seemed too risky to open up. And being invisible in the midst of my brothers and sisters made my heart shrink and my chest hurt.

One of my deepest fears is to be unseen. It's this fear that nobody notices my everyday. Nobody sees my heart cries, my longings, my pain. Nobody sees the victories, the sweet joys. Maybe your heart hurts at those thoughts, too?

In this iPhone, Facebooking, Instagramming culture it's becoming our default to be an observer of our lives. It's becoming even easier to feel invisible. We have more opportunities than ever to "share" things with the world, and more opportunities to feel unseen.

But our God is a God who sees (Gen. 16:13). He, the creator of the galaxies, the one who has been and will be forever, sees us. And he longs for us to be in community with each other and with Him. Jesus prayed that we would "all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us."

Do you hear that? As we become one as followers of Jesus, we are allowed "in" to God. My mind can't even begin to understand what that means, but I know I want in.

My favorite example of that "oneness" lately is the (in)courager group I'm honored to be a part of. We're 60 or so women who lead groups of hundreds of other women, almost entirely online. We meet over common themes like working motherhood, marriage, singleness, social justice, writing, and art. But really, we meet over, and in, Jesus. God has used this group to help make my heart big again.

{Check out the video intro to the (in)couragers over here. Tune in next week for the full story.}

It's so hard to describe this "sisterhood" adequately, because it has come to mean so much to me. I get to be a part of the (in)courager group, where we pray, share, and build each other up in our ministries of encouragement. And I get to co-lead the working mom's group along with Anna, who has become a dear friend. Our group started out somewhat small and quiet, and has grown to 60 women who connect regularly. We share what God is teaching us through our calling, and the struggles we're facing. We pray often and ask for advice. We share pictures of our messes and of our Easter best. We see each other -- even if it's not in the physical sense.

I love how the internet is being used to grow community. And as I see the beauty of community online, I'm reminded of how joyful it can also be off-line. I'm reminded to do the inviting, even when it means cleaning my toddler's "leftovers" off the kitchen floor. I'm learning to see the people around me and engage with them. Even though inviting and seeing means risking rejection, it is a small risk when you consider the rewards. Our God is so good to let us "in" when we simply open up to what He is doing.
Speaking of inviting in-real-life... have you heard about the inRL conference? I'd love to meet you at the Twin Cities event in just a couple of weeks!

What is God teaching you through community?

{I'm linking up today with (in)courage to share what God is teaching me through community -- come on over and join the party!}


You are valiant, beautiful one.

Dear mamas (and women in general),
Can we agree to stop beating ourselves up? You are a wonder -- a God-made, image-bearing, holy wonder. The way you sacrifice so others can live? Breathtaking. The way you bear the cross of Jesus with such strength? Incredible.

I know you hear it, too; the accusing voice that comes straight from hell:

You said that all wrong -- they're going to hate you.
You look awful today -- why didn't you shower last night?
This floor is disgusting -- why can't you keep this house clean?
Your kids are so whiny -- why don't you speak more grace to them?
You eat too much sugar -- you're going to get cancer someday.
You should really have your career figured out by now.
You should really have this parenting thing down by now.
You should really be a better wife by now.

And each accusation is like a lash to your beautiful soul. Each lie beats down your joy and your dreams until you're just tired. Fight back, valiant one. This is not a battle you will lose.

"But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
1 Cor. 15:57 (emphasis mine)
The lies sometimes just tell you to give up, that your efforts are worthless, that the chaos and dirt and whining will win. And your Father tells you -- stand firm. None of this hard work is in vain.
It's not glamorous, because it's a battle -- a bloody, teary, sweaty battle, for evil and chaos to be cast down and for Jesus to reign. And no matter what your part in the Kingdom might be, you are needed. No job is too menial, no task too mundane, when it is done for the King who died the death you deserve. So when the enemy throws insults at you, turn to your King and receive grace. 
"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire." Heb. 12:28-29

Thank you, Jesus, for winning the battle for our hearts. Thank you for the hope that you will come again and consume everything evil and ugly to make this world new and alive again. Thank you for using our smallest efforts in some way to win the Kingdom. Strengthen your daughters for the fight today, Jesus. Amen.
This post is part of a series for (in)couraging working new moms. I'm so grateful for the ladies who do battle alongside me and teach me so much!