Countless Second Chances

Here we are again. Another Sunday. Another sermon. Another conviction. I always seem to get refreshed, motivated, and ready to follow on Sundays. I’m convinced I can do it. I’m ready to give God my all.

Then Monday comes. (Actually, if I’m being honest, sometimes I don’t make it past Sunday night.) Something upsets me or makes me angry. I get impatient. I feel myself starting to drift away. By the time Monday morning rolls around, my conviction is waning. Monday evening, it may be long gone.

Is it just me? Do you ever struggle to follow through on your Sunday convictions during the week? Am I the only one asking myself what I can do about it?

The only solution I’ve found is to continue in the presence of God. I need to pray and to read His word. I need to abide with Him and turn to Him when I feel myself slipping. So why don’t I do it?

I don’t have time. I have better things to do. I’ll do it later. I  can give you a multitude of excuses, but none stand up.

For what I am doing, I do not understand.
For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.
Romans 7:15 NKJV

I find myself constantly praying for forgiveness for not reading the Word and not walking as closely as I should. And somehow, God gives me another second chance. I should be out of second chances by now. I can’t count high enough to number the amount of chances I’ve gotten. But still, there God is – so forgiving, so willing to give another chance. Because He wants me – and He wants you – to come back. No matter how many times we’ve strayed. No matter how many times we’ve fallen or failed, He still wants us.

He still wants us.

What an incredible love.

So this Monday morning, I’ll start all over. I’ll try to remember those Sunday feelings and to pursue those Sunday convictions. I may have to ask for forgiveness. I know I’ll have to ask for strength to keep going. But I won’t give up, because God doesn’t give up on me.

Always inside this mess
I have found forgiveness
As infinite as You
Countless second chances
We’ve been given at the cross.
Rend Collective, “Second Chance”

Mary, Did You Know?

I have always loved Christmas. The lights, the music (which is acceptable year-round), the food, time spent with family, and most importantly, celebrating the birth of our Savior.

This Christmas will be my little girl’s first. At eight months old, she really doesn’t understand it yet. I anticipate that she will tear into her gifts because she loves tearing into things. She will eat delicious food because she loves food. But she does not yet know or understand the season.

This year is different for me. This is the first Christmas I have been a mom, and it has prompted a stirring in my heart. I have been thinking so much about that tiny baby born to Mary and what that first Christmas must have been like.

We’ve all heard the song. “Mary, did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water? Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?” Last year, this song brought me to tears at the thought of my tiny Peanut growing inside of me and who she might grow up to be. This year, it brings me to tears because I can so much better understand Mary’s position.

As a mom, you have so much love for this little person you hold in your arms. You would do anything for them – sleep (or rather, not sleep) all night every night in a recliner, wipe up spit and vomit and who knows what else, give your time and devotion and sometimes your sanity for their well being. I can’t help but think about that first Christmas and what Mary must have felt. She was a new mom, which is terrifying. She must have been exhausted from delivering the baby. Then she held this tiny miracle in her arms and her heart must have burst with love. But more than that, she held Jesus. She held the Son of God.

Think about that for a minute. She held in her arms her newborn baby, her precious son, who was also the Son of God. What an incredible feeling that must have been. What an incredible responsibility. Was Mary afraid of messing up? Was she afraid of not knowing what to do, if not raising Jesus the way she should? Did she ever get impatient or frustrated with him?

As a mom, it’s easy to get swept up in the day to day monotony of life. The laundry and vacuuming and cooking and grocery shopping and appointments. It’s easy to forget the miracle that surrounds you every day. God sent this little baby to be yours, to love and cherish and teach and nurture. He entrusted you with this most precious gift. He loves you that much.

And more than that, He loves you so much that He sent His son for you. He sent Jesus to Mary on that Christmas long ago so that you could live.

This Christmas season, I urge you to stop and think about this. Whether you’re a mom or a dad, grandma or grandpa, childless or trying. Think about the incredible fact that Jesus came here as a tiny, vulnerable little baby. The Son of God was born in a manger, grew up sinless, and died on a cross, all for you. If that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is.


I am ignorant – I mean embarrassingly ignorant – of current events. Ask me about something that’s going on in the world and chances are I can’t tell you much. Even things I care deeply about, I don’t tend to follow in the news much. I’m too busy, I don’t like watching the news, I don’t get online very often… I could give all sorts of (mostly untrue) excuses. But the truth is that I just don’t follow current events very closely.

Does this make me ignorant? In many ways, yes. Does it make me a bad adult? Probably. Is it going to change? Probably not. I’ve tried many times over to become, and stay, better informed – I guess I’m just not attentive enough.

There are many people who would look down their noses at me and admonish that I need to get it together. I’m sure there are also many people who would find it ridiculous that an almost thirty-year-old doesn’t know what’s going on in the world.

But here’s the truth:

1. I do know a little about current events, and

2. I know Who wins in the end.

That second point, that’s the bottom line. I know Who wins. I know Who prevails over all of the disasters and struggles and politics and trials.

I know in Whom my hope lies.

So, should I follow the news more closely, become more educated? Of course. That is a continuous goal of mine. But regardless of if I’m ignorant about worldly things, I know the things that are the most important. I know Jesus and I know the gospel. And I will continue to find hope in the fact that Jesus Christ prevails. Because if you don’t have that hope in this messed up and fallen world, what do you have?

Blessing from Chaos

I keep seeing posts and YouTube videos detailing people’s routines: morning routines, night routines, or daily routines. The other day I stumbled across an article on the Baby Center website that outlined different daily routines based on being a stay at home versus a working mom (linked here.) So, to keep in the spirit of the fad, I thought I’d share my typical daily “routine.”

Sometime between 5:00 and 8:00 am – Baby girl (hereafter referred to as “Peanut,” a nickname she’s had since she was in the womb) and I get up, start the coffee, change her diaper, and get dressed.

Sometime between 5:00 and 7:30 am – My husband gets up and joins us, unless he’s leaving for work while we’re still sleeping.

9:00 am – 4:30 pm – Peanut and I play with her toys and read stories. When she gets fussy I try to feed her (sometimes nursing, sometimes a bottle) or change her or hold her until she is better. When she sleeps I either clean, do laundry, or sleep too, depending on the night we’ve had.

4:45 pm – My husband gets home (unless he’s working late). He plays with Peanut while I cook supper.

Around 5:30 pm – We eat.

6:00 pm – 10:00 pm – We play with Peanut. I try to straighten up the house. Peanut has a bath and generally a late evening nap from which she awakes to want to play more.

Sometime at night – We all go to sleep.

Briefly after that – Peanut fusses until I pick her up. We retreat to the nursery to sleep the rest of the night in the recliner.

Throughout the night – Peanut wakes and I nurse her back to sleep. My husband comes in to see if I want him to take a turn. We switch off sitting/sleeping in the chair with Peanut.

Morning – It starts over.

You see, we don’t have too much of a “routine” right now. When Peanut is hungry, I feed her. When she’s tired, I rock her to sleep. When she’s wet or dirty, I change her. In between we play and read stories and do tummy time and clean the house. We listen to music and I read the Bible to her. Sometimes we run errands or go to Grammy and Grampy’s house. We text Daddy and wait for him to come home. We sometimes cry and we giggle a lot.

Some days are easy, when Peanut is in a good mood and so am I; when I get the whole house clean and do laundry and we play and giggle a lot. Some days are so hard, when she is fussy or I’m struggling or things have piled up and I can’t seem to get ahead. Sometimes it feels like our days are filled with chaos. But truly, each day I stay at home with this sweet baby is a wonderful gift and I thank God every day for blessing me so much.

We don’t really have a “routine,” and that’s okay with me, because I know that these days are fleeting. We pretty much do the same things each day, but every day Peanut is growing bigger and learning more and more. I try to bask in the glow of that first smile she gives in the morning and to remember the sound of her sweet little laugh. I let her take naps sitting on my lap or laying in my arms. I cherish the fact that I get to stay home with her because my husband works so hard for our family.

In all, I really admire those families that can have a daily routine that is actually scheduled and works. But for now I think our “routine,” of just living life, is working just fine.

A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.


Joy Comes in the Morning

This post has not been easy to write, and I went back and forth about whether I’d actually share it. But, although the subject isn’t easy for me to talk about, I think it’s important for me to be open and for others to know that they’re not alone.

If you read my last post, you know that I have been dealing with some postpartum depression. The truth is that I have struggled with depression to one degree or another since high school. Some times in life have been so difficult, and other times I can pretty much forget that I have struggled at all.

I used to be ashamed that I had depression, especially in high school and college. I have pretty much kept it quiet and not many people knew except for my family and a few close friends. The more I think about it now, though, the more I realize that it’s important to be open about it. First, it helps me feel less alone and reminds me that I don’t need to be ashamed. Second, who knows who I could help simply by talking about what I’ve been through?

I think depression is different for everyone who experiences it, and I can’t claim to know how others feel. For me, it’s a pervasive feeling that can sometimes fade to the background and sometimes be so overwhelming that I struggle to get out of bed. I took antidepressants for many years which helped me to feel better. However, when I started growing closer to God, I started questioning whether I was putting too much faith in medicine and not enough faith in the true Healer. I weaned off of the medication and, for the most part, did just fine.

When I got pregnant, my husband and I talked about the possibility of postpartum depression (PPD). He was pretty convinced that I would end up with it, and he was right (yes, I said it). After my little girl was born, I was so emotional that it was hard to tell if it was just hormones – baby blues, as it’s called – or something more. But as the weeks went on, it didn’t get any better. I stopped crying all the time, but I still just felt so down. I felt like I was worthless and drowning, and I felt so incredibly guilty about feeling that way because my little girl (and my husband!) didn’t deserve it. But as hard as I tried and as much as I prayed, it didn’t get better.

At my six-week checkup, the doctor asked me how I was doing and I just started crying. I told him that I had really been struggling. He asked if I’d had a history with depression and told me that this makes it so much more likely to end up with PPD. He was quick to explain that there is PPD that is more like “regular” depression, and there’s PPD that involves having weird/scary thoughts and ideas. I have the former.

My doctor then suggested that I use antidepressants. At this point I had been thinking for a while about asking for medication, and my husband and I had talked – and prayed – a lot about it. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t relying on the medicine too much and on God too little. My husband’s doubts prompted me to ask myself – had I been praying enough about this? Had I truly handed it over to God to take care of?

Because I could respond “yes” to these questions, I felt okay telling my doctor that I wanted the medication. If I had not been able to say “yes” to both questions, I don’t think I would have have been at a point where medication could even help.

It has been over a month now that I’ve been taking medication for PPD, and I do feel like it’s helping. However, I also firmly believe that it is helping because of God – because I have put my faith in Him to heal me. Some days are still really hard. Most of the time it gets better once I get up and doing things. It seems to get a lot better once I open my Bible and read (funny how that works). I have also found that if I’m open about it, especially with my husband, and if I pray and put it in God’s hands, those hard days are so bearable.

For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

Psalm 30:5, 11-12 NKJV


Expectation Versus Reality 

There’s a fad all over the internet right now of “expectation versus reality.” There are tons of memes and YouTube videos with funny takes on the whole expectation vs reality concept. It generally works like this: the expectation is something wonderful or perfect, and the reality is a far cry from that. The relatable thing about “expectation vs reality” is that they’re often true, and make you feel like you’re not the only one who feels the way you do. Here’s an example:

1cb(click for source)

Becoming a mom was like this for me. The difference though, is that the reality turned out to be both harder and much more beautiful than I could ever have expected.

When I got pregnant (and long before that), I daydreamed of having a baby. I had all these lofty ideas about snuggling my little one, playing with her, and dressing her in adorable outfits. I just knew if would be the best time of my life.

Now, don’t get me wrong, all of those things are true. I love snuggling my little girl and watching her smile when we play. And she has some adorable little outfits! But here’s the reality: being a mom is hard! That was never part of my expectation. Yeah, people warned me that I would lose sleep and things would be tough, but I was not prepared for how difficult it really is.

It starts the moment your baby is born. Suddenly, a huge piece of your heart is living outside of you, and all you want to do is protect it. It’s a feeling beyond words – the love and the worry rolled into one as you stare at this perfect little baby.

On top of the worry come the hormones, which for me were almost unbearable. I would just cry and cry and then feel so guilty because I felt like that. I guess the “baby blues” are common, but for me it was more than that. I ended up having to get medication for postpartum depression (a story for a different day), which has helped immensely.

My expectations about being a mom never included all of the trials – the utter lack of sleep, fighting with my husband about what to do or just because I was exhausted, or not showering or brushing my hair for several days just because I’d rather sleep when I could.

But here’s the flip side – the reality is not only more difficult, but so much more amazing than any of my expectations ever prepared me for. Despite all of the struggles and sleepless nights, I look down at this beautiful baby girl and am filled with so much awe and love that my heart just might burst. Seeing her smile for the first time, holding her as she sleeps, watching my husband interact with her, and cuddling her in the middle of the night – nothing could have prepared me for how incredible these moments are. I thank God multiple times a day for this time and for this precious miracle he has given me. And let me tell you, the reality is turning out to be so much better than the expectation!


“For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.”

‭‭I Samuel‬ ‭1:27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Seek Ye First

IMG_0564“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:33‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

This my “life verse.” I hesitate to say that it is my favorite, because my favorite verse typically tends to be whatever is speaking to me at that particular time. But this verse has been rattling around in my brain for years. It goes on in verse 34 to say, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

I am a worrier. I worry about anything and everything I could possibly worry about. I worry about my family, about my dog, about finances, about my faith. I worry about not being good enough, or doing things wrong. I worry about having a clean house and about what is going on in the world.  I worry about big, significant things and about little, stupid things.

For a long time I felt ashamed because of my worry. Someone once told me if you worry about things, it means you aren’t trusting God. Philippians 4:6 even says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” So I would pretend I wasn’t worried, that everything was fine and I was the model of perfect faith.

But the fact is , that’s just not true. I still feel anxious about many things. And I’ve learned that having faith isn’t about not worrying. It’s about learning to praise God through the worry, and constantly praying and giving those worries up to Him.

I continue to worry, maybe now more than ever because of my sweet little girl, the way the world is going these days, and various other factors in my life. But I also feel so much more peace, because I know that despite my worry God is in control. He has things figured out, and has planned a far better outcome than I could ever imagine. I have to work every day to lay down my anxieties at the foot of the cross, and I often pick them back up and have to lay them down again. It’s something that I struggle with, but I know that God is working with me and that through my worry He is showing me His strength.

Seeking the kingdom of God first isn’t easy. Some days it’s really hard. But I continually try (and fail) and try again, because in the end, what else is there?