Motherhood and the Search for Significance

Soaking up the new warmth of the early summer sun, I sit outside on our patio, drinking a coke, which feels like a luxury to my normally-healthy-eating-self.  the relief for school being out is pallpable. I watch, contentedly, as my 7 and 9 year-olds hurl themselves down the new slip-and-slide, sliding and sailing on the wet plastic, laughing the whole way.

and as I watch, I can almost see the sands of time slipping away.  It's not going to be that much longer that my elementary-aged-children are satisfied with some simple water toys in our backyard, and the thought of them getting older is almost more than my heart can bare.  

a flash-back to my 3-year-old Grace

I am grateful for the ages that they are currently, for so many reasons, and am thankful for the tiny bit of perspective that having slightly older children can bring.  The days of toddlers and babies and kids that will never, ever, ever sleep through the night seem endless.  Those days are oh-so-good, but oh-so hard.  A dear friend of mine, smack in the middle of those oh-so-hard days, recently told me that she KNOWS these are the days that she will miss, but pondered aloud how to enjoy them more in the moment.

As I've been in the throws of this glorious journey called {motherhood} for almost the last decade, and have discussed the HARD of motherhood with so many friends, so many times, I have begun to think that all of the HARD of this journey is, in large part, due to the fact that it all seems so insignificant. The diapers, the midnight feedings, the tantruming-toddlers, the feeding of breakfast, snacks, lunch, snacks, dinner, and more all seems to go on cyclically...and we wonder what on earth we are doing with our days.   

Is it significant at all? 
Are we accomplishing anything? 
Are we making any kind of difference in the mundane? 

and the answer is an overwhelming, resounding YES.

It IS significant.  There's a litany of reasons, that you and I could both list off.  

However, straight out of the book of Ephesians, we're given the greatest reason of all.

This journey of motherhood is significant, because God Himself has granted us significance in CHRIST before the creation of the world.  Significance is not found in what we do or don't do, it's found in who we are in Christ. Ephesians 1 tells us that he Predestined us - if you're a believer in Christ, it means that you were "marked out beforehand" to be adopted as a daughter in Christ - and that's the most significance you could ever long for.  

In the cosmic-changing game of Red Rover, the God of the Universe called your name and put you on His team forever.  You have been chosen, you have been called, You have been granted significance in Christ.

The next middle-of-the-night awakening, where you have reached your physical limit of exhaustion, preach truth to your heart: you have been chosen by Him, and He sees you now.

In the middle of a battle of wills with a four-year-old that leaves you close to tears, preach truth to your heart: you have been chosen by Him, and He sees you now. 

On the days that nothing goes right and laundry piles, dishes loom, and everyone is crying, preach truth to your heart: you have been chosen by Him, and He sees you now.


Our hearts change when we change our thinking (Romans 12:1), so as we let truth from His Word permeate our thoughts, our day-to-day  will gradually shift.  When you feel like it's all insignificant, all mundane, remind your heart that you have been granted a place in the Divine Family Tree, and the God of all has chosen YOU. He sees, He knows. Motherhood is the furthest from insignificant, even when it feels like it is.  Stop telling yourself it doesn't matter, and serve your family, as a daughter of the King of Kings, knowing He has granted you all the significance you could ever want, before you were even born.

"...even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world..."
Ephesians 1


14 years later

14 years ago tonight,
I was spending my last evening as a single woman in the periwinkle-painted walls of my childhood room, and I was feverishly packing for our honeymoon.

because, in the commotion and stress and busyness of student teaching, wedding planning, and moving apartments, I had forgotten to actually pack for the 2-week road-trip we were going to take for our honeymoon.

that last evening is burned upon my heart...trying to decide which button-down shirt would look better with the khaki shorts I wanted to wear as we drove...sorting make-up between the stuff I wanted for our wedding day and the stuff I wanted for our honeymoon...a midnight conversation with my dearest friend, as we reflected on life together.

I awoke early the next morning
 - earlier than I should have for the length of day that would commence! - 
and with a full heart, I realized that that was the day I had long been awaiting.


and now, 14 years later,
I smile at my young-bride-self.
so full of love, and innocence, and a bit of fresh naivety on the life that would become. 

the life that would become brought a lot of hard...
and yet in that hard would come a  depth of faith, a depth of character, and depth of love for each other that I didn't know could exist.  

in that hard would come a depth of understanding of how marriage mirrors the Trinity, how it mirrors the covenantal love our Savior has for HIS bride, and I am humbled to my core to attempt to reflect that love well.  There is no other man on earth I'd rather spend the rest of my life with, and I love Matt from the deepest part of my heart.

14 years ago,
my oh-so-young self said "I DO",
for better or for worse, in sickness and in health.

and today?

I still do.

oh, how I still do.

Happy Anniversary, Matt!


Thoughts on Holiness

A few weeks ago, we hosted a casual-but-niceish lunch for some friends and family.  We love hosting, and I spent a few days doing what you always do before people come over: cleaning. Toys were put away, bathroom wiped down, dining room table set with my prettiest spring dishes and centerpieces.

The downstairs looked great.

Then, during the lunch, a friend of mine needed to see our {normally very picked up} bedroom. 
And I inwardly cringed {although happy to let her use what she needed to}.

There was a load of clean laundry tossed on the floor, my usually-made-bed had the covers askew, a few random coffee mugs on my night stand, my make-up from that morning scattered on the vanity. It was completely the opposite of guest-ready, and I cringed with embarrassment!


Throughout this entire year of reading through the Bible, the Holy Spirit has been impressing upon my heart over and over again the need to be holy; the need to be careful with how I live; the need to strive after holiness, to carefully follow all of the commandments.

And after my friend saw our bedroom and I inwardly cringed, promising to clean it up and show her the "real" version, my heart realized:

Are there any areas of my life that are like that hidden bedroom?

you know, the downstairs of my life looks pretty good:
we're almost always at church, I do my best to study my Bible daily, I attempt to memorize scripture and practice other patterns of spiritual growth and have the downstairs areas {the outward, very visible areas} of my life pretty picked up.

But what if a friend wanted to see that master bedroom area of my life? 
or, even worse, that random guest room closet that stuff gets tossed in?

How embarrassed would I be if a friend saw *those* areas?
The hidden habits like a way-too-critical spirit? the times I lose my patience with my kids? the service opportunities that became duty to me instead of delight?

What about those areas? How holy are they?

In 2 Samuel chapter 5, there's a small little area of David's life that he neglected, that perhaps the scrolls of scriptures had been pushed aside for a little too long.

David has a great goal - he wants to move the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. However, he chooses to ignore the very specific, very Divinely-given directions on how to move that ark and decides to forego having the Levites - the priestly tribe - carry it. He decides to ignore that closet in his life, and believe that it will all be okay.

And yet because of his sin, because of his hidden closet, his friend Uzzah dies. David's friend paid the steepest consequence one could pay for David's personal sin.

I think we tend to think that we are able to keep some areas of our lives pretty hidden. The procrastrination-turned-laziness, the envy of a friend's life, the pride in even our church service, the tv show we should've turned off a little bit sooner, the edge of unkindness in a response to a spouse...

...but those hidden areas always come out, 
and heaven forbid they have the same consequences as David's did for Uzzah.

Is there an area of your life right now that you'd be embarrassed about if someone knew? The Holy Spirit has been gently showing my heart the need to clean out those bedrooms and even the closets, and to truly strive for and work towards holiness.  And yet, even in the weight of this truth, the conviction that will come, there's so much Divine forgiveness and cleansing and healing and power found in that cleaning-out process, thanks be to God.

David's story ends on a high note. Several months later David decides to truly bring the ark back to Jerusalem. And this time?  No hidden closets are lurking.  David says, "we did not seek him according to the one but the Levites may carry the ark of God." {I Chronicles 15} And with triumphant victory, the presence of the Lord  - manifested through the ark of the covenant - is restored to Jerusalem.

I want the story of my life, too, to end on a high note. The next time a friend needs to see my master bedroom, here's hoping it'll be wiped clean, wiped clean by the progressive sanctification only found through the work of the Spirit.

I hope your master bedroom, your hidden closets, will be wiped clean, too.


Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart...

Four Years Ago, Today

I'm thankful for multiple sclerosis.

those words made me pause, mid Windex-wiping the patio doors.

my heart skipped a beat.

really? that thought had surprised myself.

grateful for multiple sclerosis?

And yet, yes.

an oh-so-grateful,

grateful for multiple sclerosis.


we crossed the line of demarcation in our lives four years ago today.

my life is forever marked as 

from four years ago?
the memories are vivid:
the MRI machine seemingly cold, sterile;
 taunting me with the possibilities.
hearing the words:{indicative of multiple sclerosis}
from my doctor's mouth.
my immediate shock,
the whirlwind of neurological testing,
the panic-ridden months that would ensue. 

the friends that would call, write, text. mail coffee gift cards, drop off food. send flowers.
that would talk to me late into the night, as I was awaiting test results.

the memories are vivid:
awakening in the night,
instantly alert.
 my first thought was always 
{it wasn't a dream. it wasn't just a dream}
and then the anxiety would follow,
over and over,
the same instant-awake-panic.

it wasn't just a dream.

the other memories are vivid as well:

very, very early mornings with my hard-cover, vintage-floral Bible open before me,
the mug of coffee steaming as I poured over the pages,
 searching for answers...searching for help, searching for hope.

the memories are vivid:
those gilded-pages coming to life before my eyes,
bringing spiritual life in my heart,
calming my fears,
giving me so much hope and so much strength and so much faith
in a God, a Redeemer, a Savior,
so much bigger than any of my fears.


four years later?

I stand in awe at the Sovereign Hand of God in my life.

humbled that He would allow me to walk a road such as MS,

compelled to want to walk that road well.

I am thankful for multiple sclerosis.
it opened my eyes to see 
the bigness, the greatness, the sovereignty, the providence, the faithfulness, the compassion
of our God,
in a way that I never would have seen without a degenerative neurological diagnosis.

I am thankful for multiple sclerosis.

it allows me to fear less for the future,
knowing the One who holds it.

I am thankful for multiple sclerosis,
for the Lord used it in my life to draw me to Himself.

and that is always a gift.
don't get me wrong.
there are days that I wish my fingers would work completely,
or other symptoms would go away forever.
but the symptoms always remind me of the God I serve,
that His grace is always sufficient, 
and that nothing has gotten to my life without first going through the filter of God's Sovereignty.
and that gives so much comfort, and so much confidence.
multiple sclerosis was the road the Lord thought would be the BEST option for my life.
how can I argue with that?
the Lord has prepared good works in advance for me to do.
may I do them well,
especially in walking the road of MS.
To God be the Glory,
great things He hath done.
great things, even in neurological diseases.
great things He hath done,
...they loved not their lives, even unto death...
revelation 12:11