Not Enough

crocodileI have a nasty habit, from time to time, of practicing a little routine laziness. It’s not really a conscious plan, but it is a purposeful one. I reserve a little effort, so that when I look around at all the unfinished business of our life and home, I can say to myself, “Well, if you would just work harder, all this would be taken care of.” It’s a cheap attempt to manufacture hope. It doesn’t work.

Eventually, the guilt bubble swells to bursting and for many days I work with frenetic energy trying to get it all done. But invariably, even after a stretch of “doing my best,” laundry piles decorate my bedroom, a room needs painted, a friend is waiting for a return text, a kid is behind in math, a Bible study chapter remains unread, at least one child’s fingernails are disgusting, and someone is always wrong on the internet.

As you can guess, the result of this wild seesaw ride is not a serene heart with a finished to do list. It is either a mom turned drill-sergeant or a wife in a puddle of tears. On one puddle occasion, I spilled over onto Chris, “I am really trying- hard! It’s just not enough!” I think I even added something like, “I’m running up a sand slide over a pit of hungry alligators. And it doesn’t matter how bad I want to live, I’m losing ground!”

His reply that night was a paradigm shifter (he ignored the alligators),”Do you think the widow’s last coin was really going to buy anything? God doesn’t ask you to fill every need, he asks you to give all you have.”

Of course! The widow didn’t give all she had left because she thought it was going to relieve the synagogue of all its financial burdens, she gave because of who she valued and trusted. She valued the Lord over her own life, and she trusted that however he would use her last coin was better than buying her last meal.

Now, I have never literally had to give all I had. But I can still learn from someone who has. In those moments, when it feels like I’ve given everything I had to live on, then I have one last choice to make. Either, I can despair and die in the knowledge that everything I have and am is just a drop in the bucket, or, by faith, I can hold still while the Holy Spirit kills my self-sufficiency and reminds me that I already have Christ.

In his hand, our last coin is beyond comparing to the wealth of Solomon. In asking it of us, he is making room in our hearts to understand what it means to have Him. He has no need of our money or our great efforts, but is graciously pleased to use them, and what’s more, show us that he is all that we need.

Peace, Be Still


As any stranger on the street can attest, my hands are pretty full these days juggling OB appointments with Jr. High soccer and teaching kids to read. I love writing this blog, but being busy at home and in my church, I find it falling farther down the list (as it should). It dawned on me recently, that since this blog reflects bits of what I’m learning along the way, it could reflect that I am never learning these things alone. I am surrounded in Godly counsel and wise friends. I’ve cajoled a few into letting me share them with you. They feel inadequate and vulnerable, but their love for testifying about our great God has overcome. I hope you’ll enjoy my new category, “And Friends” from time to time.

Guest Blogger: Jenny Vanderwey. She is wife to Evan and mother of 10, and one who loves her God and her people with tenacity and courage.

Peace, Be Still

storm-918589_1280When Jesus was on the boat with his men, a storm came that terrified the disciples. When he finally woke up from his nap, the Lord calmed the storm with his mouth, “Peace, be still!” The men marveled, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35-41)

These past two or three years have been a doozy of a storm – in the Friendship Department. Lately the Lord has seen fit to inflict a few friends of mine with very hard providences. And while weighty trials are obviously very difficult and overwhelming for the ones doing the intense suffering, they can also be a heavy burden for those who love them. I’m not sure what I thought it would be like when I set out to be a loyal, gospel friend. I thought: you stick with someone, you love her like David loved Jonathan, you encourage when the person is faint, you show up when you think she needs you. You laugh, you pray, you love her kids, you give stuff, you speak scripture. You sometimes rebuke a little, you work to ask for forgiveness. I know one thing I thought for sure, going in, I thought, “I can do it.” Continue reading

Advice from a Single Woman (A Guest Post)

barbie pictureTwo girls, born only weeks apart, met in middle school and became fast and lasting friends. To the unknowing eye, these girls would not seem to share much common experience, especially at this stage in life. You see, one is unmarried (not by preference), while the other married at 20 and has 8 kids. You might expect that they have little to talk about, a hard time understanding each other, or that jealousy and bitterness (and I mean both ways) would easily keep them apart. But nothing could be further from the truth. They are knit together in Christ. They marvel at the way the Lord teaches them the same lessons along very different paths. My friend never meant for this to be a public document, but with some begging, she let me post it here on the condition I left out her name.

Guest Post: One who wears providence with dignity, trust, and beauty. 

To Godly Moms and Wives: A Few Thoughts on Ministering to the Single Woman in Your Life

Before I start with some ministering tips, I want to be sure you know that single women are deeply thankful for our married friends. You are usually the majority of our friends. And our friends are very precious to us indeed. Continue reading

The Ghost of Feminism Present


You know the growing feeling that someone is following you?  I try to shake it off as too much caffeine, maybe hormones, or too much novel reading. But as much as I wish it was a lump of undigested cheese, I fear the ghosts of feminism are trying to take shape among some who would call themselves complementarians.

It’s in a disgruntled blog here and an ear tickling question there, but it seems to be growing. Perhaps it is mostly manifesting in a corner of the internet somewhere, but in some form or another I think it will always creep into the corners of the female heart. The desire for control and the tendency to fret and clamor is nothing new under the sun or my roof for that matter. Continue reading

Resolutions for Resolutions


spring painting

Now that Christmas is over, Spring is welcome anytime.

Never come to a meeting with a blank page. You may leave with a completely different page, but it’s always better to start with something. My dad’s nuggets of wisdom are both many and multi-functional. 2016 is approaching and a blank page in my house would quickly fill with the opinions of 7 others on how to spend our days. I can guarantee it would not include math facts, vegetables, or cleaning of any kind.

Traditionally the turn of the New Year is a time for refection and new resolve. And traditions are good things. We forgetful humans need habits and rhythms if we are to keep order. But making the resolutions is the easy part. Listing my intentions to swear off sugar, get up at 5am every morning, and exercise for 30 minutes a day, all from a cozy armchair on a quiet afternoon with a hot cocoa, colored pens, and graph paper is rather idyllic. Carrying out said intentions is another story.

I’m not trying to kill anyone’s optimism here. Go ahead and dream big, shoot for the stars, try to fly higher than an eagle, choose your own sentiment. Just don’t forget they’re called resolutions. They are going to require resolve, tenacity, grit. This year I resolve to use a healthy dose of sober-minded realism. While filling out my resolutions page, I will: Continue reading

Tonight’s Specials

“You weep now, are often in tears, tears of repentance, tears of sympathy; you are of them that mourn in Zion. But blessed are you; your present sorrows are no prejudices to your future joy, but preparatories for it: You shall laugh. You have triumphs in reserve; you are but sowing in tears, and shall shortly reap in joy,’’ Ps. 126:5-6. They that now sorrow after a godly sort are treasuring up comforts for themselves, or, rather, God is treasuring up comforts for them; and the day is coming when their mouth shall be filled with laughing and their lips with rejoicing, Job. 8:2 ” -Matthew Henry on Luke 6:21

At times that I’ve been in tears for either myself or others (which seems to exponentially increase with each passing year), the Lord has used many talks and books and sermons to direct my mind to comfort my soul. These 3 particularly come to mind tonight. Might I recommend:

Christ’s Loneliness and Ours – Spurgeon

Is Your Church a Safe Place for Sad People?  -Nancy Guthrie

The Knowledge of the Holy – A.W. Tozer

Hugging the Porcupine


alice and nellieIf Chuck-E-Cheese would not cost me a small fortune both in game tokens and hand-sanitizer, I would take my kids there from sheer nostalgia. I used to love skee ball, and race car games, and tickets and Chinese yo-yos. And I really loved whack-a-mole. Ask my dad about my quick hands. I could nail those suckers as fast as I could pinch my sister without getting caught.

I find that I am not nearly so skilled at real life whack-a-mole however. No matter which need I am beating down another one seems to pop up elsewhere.  Is my house clean? School is probably not done and I’m over budget on take-out. Am I helping a friend? Doubtless, I haven’t called my sister in a month and my kids have had too much screen time. Am I teaching a class well? We’ve likely skipped date night and I am sleeping in.

For a while I react by whacking faster, harder, and with reckless abandon . Everyone knows indecision spells doom and at least I’m hitting something, right? While this strategy may work for little felt-covered, metal moles that indiscriminately give tickets, the needs of real life need prioritizing. Continue reading