Seeking to Understand the Resistance to Wearing Masks – and a Plea for my Christian Friends to do so

This post has felt really hard to write. Honestly, I’ve written about 10 different introductions, and I have almost deleted every line from the page a couple of times. The last few days I’ve oscillated back and forth between whether or not to even publish this. I’m not a “social media influencer,” a news journalist, or a scientist. My typical audience is not very large, and I’m definitely not superior in knowledge. (My SAT scores and the fact that I once told a man that his boots looked “erotic” when I meant to say “exotic” both prove that point well.)

But I’ve found myself continually struggling with something I keep seeing around me, and talking about it just seems like the right thing to do.

So, here I am writing about another weighty topic. This time, instead of politics, it’s about face-masks. And, specifically, it’s about some Christians in Midland, Texas refusing to wear them. 

Before I get rolling, I want to make sure my heart is clear. 

First, I don’t want to be divisive. You can choose to not wear a mask, and though I might question your reasoning for doing so and, ultimately, disagree with you, I still love you. Being just like me – and landing exactly where I land on things – is not a requirement for being my friend. As Christians in the Church, we are to seek to live at peace with each other (Romans 12:18). I’m writing this because I’m concerned about others. I’m not writing this because I want to heap judgment upon you. 

At the same time, from everything I read and understand, our city, Midland, Texas, is in a state of crisis, and it seems as though, as citizens of Midland, TX – and as Christians in general – we should be doing all that we possibly can to make sure we aren’t making things worse.

A couple of weeks ago, I watched the Midland City Council meeting from home on my computer. I listened as Russell Meyers, Midland Health’s CEO, encouraged our city council to put in place a mask-mandate to give people extra incentives to wear masks. In a press-release on November 24th, Meyers stated that the hospital was using 47 out of 61 of their vents (some of those were borrowed from the state) and they were in the process of setting up a tent outside of the ER driveway to have more space to treat ER patients, since the ER was feeling the strain of incoming Covid-19 patients. On November 23rd, Midland Memorial’s ER saw 158 Covid-19  patients. In the same press-release, Meyer’s stated that the state/FEMA is bringing in additional medical staff to help Midland carry the load. According to the City’s Public Information page on Facebook, as of November 23rd, 132 people have died in our city, and our Covid numbers are rising rapidly by the day. Our testing numbers aren’t high enough, which means there are a lot of people who have Covid-19 without knowing it, and frontline doctors and nurses are struggling to keep up. The CEO stated that a lot of beds are filled up by Covid patients, and although they have beds reserved for other urgent medical needs – heart attacks, car accidents, strokes, or anything else – we are reaching a point where there may not be space for them. The story seems to be even worse in Odessa, Texas where one hospital’s hallways seem to be the only available space and they are in the process of requesting a portable morgue, as this CNN story highlights.  

Let me state here, that I can only imagine how hard and complex it is to navigate these times as a city leader – or a leader of any sort, really! On either side of a decision, you have people who will criticize you, and in a social climate where people don’t know how to talk to each other in a respectful and understanding way, it probably gets to be brutal. I don’t really have any interest in declaring whether or not I think local government should fine businesses and people for not wearing a mask. That issue is incredibly complex, and I cannot say that I understand everything potentially involved on either side of the argument – and, honestly, I want to keep this post as apolitical as possible. 

I’m not a politician. I’m a Christian and a citizen of Midland, Texas, and all I am doing is asking those of you who refuse to wear a face-mask to reconsider your position. If you’re a Christian, I would even make the claim that refusing to wear one makes you look like you don’t care about others – a stance that is confusing for people both inside of the church and out.

Christians – especially conservative ones – preach being pro-life until they turn blue in the face. We talk about human dignity because our scriptures tell us that every person is created by God with value and importance (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 9:6, Psalm 139:13-14). We, of all people, should know that value comes not from what we can contribute to society, but that it’s a God-given state. In fact, we believe we can only have a relationship with God if we are able to acknowledge how imperfect and incapable we are of saving ourselves (1 John 1:9, Romans 5:8). Scripture is clear that we are to love in a sacrificial way – that we are to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters (John 15:12-14; 1 John 3:16), deny ourselves to carry our crosses (Matthew 16:24-26), and to value others above ourselves.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

– Paul to the Church of Philippi in Philippians 2:3-4

Scripture is also clear that we are to submit to our government leaders unless it causes us to sin (Romans 13:1-7, Acts 5:27-29).

Yet, when it comes to Covid-19, it seems as though some Christians in Midland, Texas have abandoned all of this. They have abandoned truths they themselves have preached, and have, instead, seemed to say that these truths don’t apply to Covid-19 and wearing masks – and it’s troubled me to my core.

To me, it’s always been simple: People matter. Covid-19 is killing people rapidly. They say wearing a mask helps, so I’m going to wear a mask. The mayor asks me to wear one, so I’m going to wear one. My church strongly encourages me to wear one, so I’m going to wear one. HEB asks that I wear one, so I’m going to put one on. People’s lives matter, so I’m going to wear a mask.

But why do some Christians see it differently? Why are some Christians who fight for babies in the womb taking such a hard stance against wearing face-masks? Why are Christians posting anti-mask stuff online? Why are Christians in Midland refusing to wear a mask at church, even when the church staff strongly encourages them to do so? Why aren’t they wearing one at HEB? What am I missing?

I decided that instead of judging people – and probably assuming incorrect things – I would just engage in conversations with mask-hesitant people (or people who are super close with mask-hesitant people) about it to find out more information.

From the get-go, I need you to know something really important: What I have found is that mask-hesitant people feel as though they are doing the right thing by not wearing a mask. I talked to over 10 people about it, and none of them stated that they wanted to harm someone else. The point of this post is not to make people feel bad or demonize them for their hesitant stance on wearing a face-mask. The point of this post, is to present the different stances on masks that tend to exist within Christian circles (based upon those I have talked with), and then present some ideas that might challenge those view points. 


Because, based upon everything I have learned and everyone I have talked to, if you are a Christian, I still think you should wear a face-mask. And I believe scripture (though neither Covid-19 nor America are mentioned in its pages) affirms this.

None of us are going to agree with each other totally, but finding a space where we can engage with each other in friendly conversation is important. If we want to understand each other, we have to be able to talk about our differences – and we only grow as human beings when we are challenged. 

Please know that I know I’m not perfect. I battle sin like everyone else, and I have all sorts of weird quirks. I’ve also been guilty of not wearing a face mask when I should have. I gave into the social pressure around me, and I didn’t wear one. It was wrong, I felt awful about it afterwards as I reflected upon the harm I could have caused someone, and it was another piece of evidence that my people-pleasing self is still alive and well within me – and that gave me plenty of stuff to take to the Lord in prayer.

Again, my goal is not to judge the mask-hesitant person – my goal is to encourage them to care for those around them, even if it means wearing an annoying face-mask ESPECIALLY since our numbers in Midland are climbing and our hospital is in a place of crisis.

To be clear, the mask-hesitant position seems to be a spectrum.

In this post, I’m only concerned with the those who refuse to wear a mask regardless of who asks them to wear one – whether it be their church, HEB employees, the mayor, or their place of business. To those of you who wear a mask to be as safe as possible even though you have heavy doubts about their effectiveness, I admire you.

Common Mask-Hesitant Positions + Considerations

ONE: The research doesn’t back-up wearing masks – and masks can be harmful to our health, too. 

This is definitely a complex position – and it’s a position I have a ton of empathy for. I have taken 4 research classes across undergrad and graduate school, and I still find research to be incredibly difficult to read and interpret. There’s also a ton of research on a lot of different things related to Covid-19 and influenza-type illnesses, and it’s straight-up overwhelming. In order to stay-up on the research, you would probably need to quit your job or hire a full-time nanny. 

What I found after reading over 20 articles line-by-line, spending a good solid 3 hours on the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine’s website, and spending even more time looking at other articles and videos different people have sent me is this: the research is very mixed on some things. For example, whether or not a mask on an uninfected person will protect them from getting infected from an infected person seems to be highly disputable, and a pretty big point of debate amongst scientists. In fact, the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine’s website is filled with researchers arguing back and forth with each other about it, and, because of the pandemic, researchers are launching new studies to try to figure it out. (To read some debates, articles, studies, or statements on this click here, here, here and here). 

At the same time, however, researchers feel pretty confident that masks on an infected person work as a good method of “source control” – meaning a mask on an infected person reduces the number of droplets and aerosols that escape into everyone else’s breathing space. Here is a really good evidence-review and a good 172-study meta-analysis on it (basically a bunch of different studies combined into one summary) on it. The CDC makes the same claim, but I tried to mostly stay away from the CDC’s website during this post because I have found that a lot of people in this camp don’t really trust the CDC. If you’re looking for more, just Google “face masks as source control.” There’s a lot of really good information about it out there.

What the research seems to be abundantly clear on is that a face mask is never going to be 100 percent effective in preventing the spread of Covid-19. People are going to wear face-masks, and people are still going to get Covid.

The question is, do masks on an infected person slow down the spreading of their germs AT ALL? It seems like the majority of researchers believe so. Can you be asymptomatic with Covid? Yes – and a lot of people are (here and here). So should everyone wear a mask? Personally, I think so. So does the author of this evidence-based article.

It also seems understandable to be concerned about the harms of wearing a mask. There is quite a bit of research confirming that if masks are worn improperly or if they aren’t washed regularly or if they aren’t thrown away after a certain amount of time, they can actually cause illness. This article provides links and some discussion on that topic. Dentists are concerned about “Mask-Mouth,” and there is also understandable – and needed – concern over over how masks impact deaf people, people with other special needs, and our own children’s development.

I can’t even begin to imagine the implications of mask-mandates on people who struggle with hearing or who wrestle with any other cognitive or physical disability. I can only speak to being a mother. The fact that many of us have had to watch our kids navigate school and life in face-masks is absolutely heartbreaking. I hate it, but I’ve also had some neat conversations with my 4-year-old about why we wear masks, how it’s only temporary, and how sometimes we do things we don’t like for the sake of protecting others. It’s hard, it’s sad, I’ve cried, and I hate it, but there’s beauty in the midst of unfortunate circumstances, as well. It’s very rare that we, as a community, have the opportunity to serve our neighbor in such a visible way.  I will also say that those of us who are physically able to wear a mask without it diminishing our ability to communicate or function should perhaps be the ones to wear a mask most faithfully.

Many different sites, including the CDC, are reporting Covid-19 as the third leading cause of death in America. Our hospitals are suffering. They are asking us to wear masks. Should we toss out our masks because we aren’t sure whether or not they help, or should we wear them just in case they do?

TWO: People in America should take care of their bodies and then they wouldn’t get sick. It’s modern medicine’s fault, and I shouldn’t have to feel responsible/bear the burden of their mistakes. 

I can empathize with some things in this point, too. There seem to be a lot of things people can be doing to take care of their bodies so that underlying conditions are avoided and our bodies can more easily fight off illness. In fact, when looking into this argument, I was convinced even more that diet and exercise are fundamental to my body’s functioning, and I found out that vitamin D is a WAY bigger deal than I thought it was. I’m thankful for this reminder and the information these conversations provided me with.

Ultimately, this has been my friendly push-back. 

Yes, some people haven’t taken care of their bodies. There are various reasons for this. It could be a lack of education, it could be because of poverty, it could be because some people have to work weird hours or two jobs and they don’t have the time to cook meals at home, it could be because they can’t afford healthy options, it could be because they choose to eat poorly – who knows! The fact is, we are where we are, so what should we do now? 

 “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are helpful. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up.  Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. […] So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,  just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”

– Paul to the Church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 and 31-33

Should we refuse to seek the good of our neighbor because someone didn’t take care of their body? If the hospital is in crisis mode, should we refuse to follow their guidelines just because we feel like some people haven’t done a good enough job according to our standard? 

Jesus helped me when I couldn’t help myself. In fact, I was blatantly running from Him as He was pursuing my heart. I was drunk at a high school party when He prompted my heart to follow Him. He didn’t look at my life – the years of trying to find an identity apart from Him – and declare that I was a lost cause. Instead, He lifted my head, offered me life, and has been pursuing me continually ever since.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

– Ephesians 2:8-9

I deserve death. And if you’re a Christian, then you proclaim the same about yourself. It’s both a beautiful and humbling reality of the gospel.

I ’m thankful that I have healthy food to eat, and I love exercising, but those things are truly blessings given to me through various things the Lord has provided. Not every one has the education, the time or the resources to live the same way as I do.

THREE: It’s only the old people and people with underlying conditions who are dying. During Covid-19, they are probably just going to die regardless of what we do. 

This one is very similar to the one above, but slightly different. This camp of people aren’t really upset that people haven’t taken care of their bodies, or that modern medicine is the way it is. They are simply just trying to state facts they have learned – and I think, in many cases, they are trying to prevent someone else from freaking out when they seem to be freaking out. 

I think we have all had moments when we have felt some anxiety during this pandemic. Whether we wiped down all of our groceries with Clorox wipes, or striped down in our garages before entering our houses after going to the grocery store, we have all had moments where we longed to understand how at risk those in our family truly were. 

It is true that Covid-19 tends to affect those over the age of 60 most, and it seems particularly harsh on people with underlying conditions – as noted here. However, I don’t see this as a reason to not wear a mask. As covered in the first section, if masks are meant to protect others, and not to protect self, then why wouldn’t you wear one – especially if you are young and don’t have any underlying conditions? Is not the person with underlying conditions worth protecting? What about your elderly neighbor? 

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

– Paul to the church of Galatia in Galatians 6:9-10

FOUR: No one should be allowed to tell me to wear a mask. Masks infringe upon my civil liberties. Masks make me feel uncomfortable/claustrophobic, and I don’t have to wear one, so I’m not going to wear one. Masks are a political move brought on by people who didn’t want President Donald Trump to be re-elected.

This is obviously a VERY large category (please see note below). In my conversations, I have found that all of these viewpoints seem to be somewhat connected, though.

The first train-of-thought goes like this: Covid-19 is a political thing, spurred on by Democrats, and it was ultimately created to prevent President Donald Trump from winning. Because of this, masks are simply political and they shouldn’t be worn.

Some people may not totally believe the logic-train above, but may believe that masks are the starting place of government control – that the mask is going to lead to government shut-downs, fines, and all sorts of things that harm small businesses, the working class, and those who struggle to put food on the table. 

I highly doubt that I have the intellect or the skill-set to dismantle a conspiracy theory, so I’m going to mostly leave the first train-of-thought alone. I will say, if you ask any frontline doctor, they will tell you that Covid-19 is a very real thing. Local hospitals are experiencing record-number capacity levels and more deaths than normal. Even in my close circle of friends we have known people who have been hospitalized because of Covid-19 and have known a handful of people who have died from it (either as a primary or secondary cause of death).

I can understand being fearful of what the mask might lead to.

When things shut down the first time, our economy suffered and, therefore, my husband’s business suffered. I know people that lost businesses, I know people who got laid-off, I know people who had to move to find work, I know people who had a really hard time putting food on the table. There are several places in our town that have a “permanently closed” sign on the front-door because of Covid-19 shut-downs. The impact it has made – and continues to make – on our city, and on our economy – is real. It’s sad, and it’s really scary if you own a business or are barely making ends meet in the job you currently have. In other states, churches were mandated to close their doors and it is questionable if it is constitutionally okay to prohibit people from going to church. Currently, several states are fining people and institutions if they have 6 or more people gathered together – including churches. I, too, have questioned whether or not this is okay, and if it is a breach of civil liberty.

I don’t have any interest in laying out what government should or shouldn’t do in this article. I don’t understand enough about how it all works to even “go there”. 

All I can add to the conversation is this…

It’s not the masks’ fault. Could the government shut-down your business again? Potentially. But your face-mask has zero power to do so. The face mask is a face mask. It’s not a politician. It was created by scientists to protect infected people from spreading their droplets to uninfected people well before Covid-19 outbreaks began. Have politicians used it as a political tool? Yes. Have media outlets helped politicize it? Of course. Is that wrong? Completely…but the mask is not political. The mask is not arguing before congress. The mask cannot be elected president of the United States of America. A mask is a mask.

And when we – on either side of the aisle – make it more than that, we are contributing to the idea that it is political. We are making it to be more than it should be – we are adding to the chaos surrounding them. Politicians, the media, and anyone who states that the mask is a political thing, are to blame – the mask is not. 

If scripture regularly encourages us to lay down our rights for the sake of others (1 Corinthians 9-11), to love sacrificially (John 15:13), and presents examples of faithful people doing so (Genesis 13 is one example) then what “rights” and “comforts” are worthy of being laid down for the sake of the elderly and our hospital, until we get this thing under control more? 

A note on comfort: I HATE wearing a mask. I find it hard to breathe and talk in them, but if wearing a mask for 2 hours while in HEB or Target is the hardest thing I have to do, then I should be immensely grateful for the blessings and ease the Lord has allowed me to experience in my life.

FIVE: God is fully in control, so I’m not going to live in fear. 

This is so incredibly true. God is in control and scripture tells us that we shouldn’t live in fear. We have all had to think about this as we have evaluated whether or not we should send our kids to school, or homeschool, whether or not we should open offices, or keep them closed. God, and our trust of Him and faith in Him, is fundamental to our faith as Christians.

You can still trust God, and do wise things, though. In fact, I think scripture is very-pro us being wise. I trust God, but I still wear a seatbelt, sun-protectant hats and sunscreen, I still eat healthy food and exercise, I still wash my hands, and I would still seek medical treatment if I got cancer. Seeking to prevent something awful from happening or doing things to help others prepare for what is about to come, does not mean you don’t trust God. In fact, there are moments in scripture where God tells people to prepare, or when He himself is preparing people for what is about to happen (Genesis 41, John 16). Maybe I’m misunderstanding something, and please reach out to me if you think I am, but God’s sovereignty doesn’t seem to negate human wisdom. Yes, people are going to die from Covid-19, and God knows who those people are and He knew how they were going to die before they were even born, but that fact shouldn’t lead to the conclusion that masks are dumb. 

Again, the mask was created to protect others – not to protect you. Wearing a mask does not communicate that you are fearful – though you could be. It communicates that you care about others. Covid-19 is killing people – at rapid rates. 

Based upon the evidence, I’m not scared of getting Covid-19. I’m not fearful of going out in public, and I’m not wearing a mask because I am. What I’m fearful of is giving Covid-19 (an illness that is often asymptomatic) to someone who is over the age of 60, autoimmune-compromised, overweight, poor, or someone who has any underlying health condition. I wear a mask because of this. 

Would you please consider doing the same? Please?

Again, I’m not all-wise. I’m not writing this because I feel like my opinion is more important than anyone else, nor do I feel as though I am perfect. I am writing because I’m concerned. I’m concerned for our hospitals, I am concerned for my elderly next-door neighbor, I’m concerned for those in our Churches and communities with underlying health conditions, and I’m concerned by what Christians are communicating by not wearing one. If masks prove to be even PARTLY protective, I think we should all wear one. 

We have a huge opportunity to love others right now – to care for people even if it costs us comfort and the freedom to do what we want to do while at Target. Our hospitals are begging you to wear one, our mayor is asking you to wear one, and he has asked other citizens to ask you to wear one. Would you please wear a mask? 

At the end of all of this, if I am wrong and masks are proven to be zero percent effective in stopping the spread of illnesses, and we find out that Covid-19 was really created to prevent President Donald Trump from getting elected, you can hound me with “I told you so” texts, emails, and phone calls. I will apologize for being wrong. Neither of these things have been proven so far, though, so would you please wear a mask?

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

– Colossians 3:12-15

I love you, friends. 

* The down-side of this format, is that it could over-generalize. I actually hate over-generalizations, so that’s not my intent. I’m simply boiling down the stances into categories because I don’t want this thing to be 15 pages long. If you disagree with what I write, or if you feel as though I have categorized different positions in an inaccurate or offensive way, please reach out to me. I’m happy to have a friendly discussion (where we both show each other respect), and I would be thrilled to learn more from you.

Walking a Dangerous Line: When Talking about Politics Becomes a Bloodbath and How Christians are Contributing to the Carnage.

Well, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve written in this space, and since I last wrote a lot has changed – not only in my personal life but in the world. 

I took a job at a wonderful counseling agency here in town, had another baby, moved into a new house, quit my job at the counseling agency so that I could stay home with my kids right before a mandatory quarantine (talk about timing), and began walking through a global pandemic with the rest of the world. As we all know, the almost-nine months of 2020 have already felt like 9 years, and there’s no need for me to remind anyone about it.  

So, why, of all times, have I decided to write on here again? Well, first off, I’m no longer employed and my kids just started going back to Mother’s Day Out, so, naturally, I have a little more time on my hands. Secondly, I’ve almost written several mini-Instagram posts on this topic over the past 8 years, and today just feels like the time to officially put my thoughts and concerns out there. 

Photo by Joseph Chan

Before I jump in, let me preface this by saying this post is strictly for Christians. It’s for people who have a deep faith and hope in Jesus on both a head and a heart level. It’s for people who have come face-to-face with their own depravity, imperfections, and inability to always do the “right thing” both internally and externally and have also realized that there is nothing they can do to “fix themselves.” In response, these people have realized that they desperately need the remedy that only God can offer – the act of Jesus dying on the cross to redeem them from their sins and imperfections so that they might be able to have a relationship with a perfect God. A relationship that is both hard and beautiful. 

Again, this post is for Christians – these people who should understand how broken they truly are and who should rejoice in the grace (unmerited favor) they have been given. It’s for these people who should know that perfection on this earth is utterly impossible to achieve, that the world isn’t the way it should be, and that know that their hope isn’t found here. It’s found in Jesus. 

So, if you are one of these people – if you are a Christian – I’m writing to you. And please know I’m writing with the sincerest of hearts – not out of a place of judgment – but out of a place of concern and love. I want to be your friend. I want to do the good works that we have been called to do together (Ephesians 2:10). I want to spur you on – and I want to be spurred on by you. I am just deeply troubled, and I feel as though I need to say something. 

So, here you go. Please don’t hate me. (Or at least talk to me about it, if you do.)

Christians, I think we are walking a dangerous line. 

I’m not talking about a dangerous line in wearing yoga pants or spaghetti straps. I’m talking about an even more dangerous line. (Hopefully, you picked up on my joke here.)

It’s the line of talking politics. Or more specifically – it’s the line of talking politics in a way that never gives thought to the potential consequences of the words we are choosing to use and the tone we are seeking to convey. It’s talking about politics without hesitation and in a way that is disconnected from our primary purpose and identity – our identity as Christ followers who were created to worship and glorify God. 

As Christians we are called to be holy (1 Peter 1:15 &16), we are created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10), we are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), we are regularly encouraged to stand up for the widow, orphan and poor/those most vulnerable around us (Isaiah 1:17, James 1:27, Micah 6:8), we are called to do “nothing from rivalry or conceit,” but to humbly “count others as more significant than [our]selves” (Philippians 2:3), we are encouraged to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), we are called and encouraged to be and do a lot of things, but why? Why does God ultimately want us to follow him and to worship Him?

Because when we display who God is for other people – when we allow the Spirit of God to transform our lives so that we look more like Christ – we glorify God. And when we glorify God, people are drawn to worship God and follow Jesus themselves (Matthew 5:16). And that is the command Jesus gave us – that we might go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). And when we are making disciples, the world is changed, not only in America, but world-wide. And not only while we are here on earth, but for eternity. 

So the question on the table is this: Are we doing this?

When we are engaging with others about political things, are we focused on our primary purpose, or are we focused on something else? Is our primary purpose to continually point out our own brokenness and our desperate need of a Savior, so that others might also come to know the true rest and restoration found in a hope set on Jesus or is our purpose to get others to vote for the political candidate we like? Are we helping people see that Jesus is the only one who saves, or are we presenting all of our arguments on why one particular party should be trusted to save our nation? Are we seeking to make peace with others, or are we seeking to get a thrill out of arguing? Are we trying to display all that we know, or are we humbly seeking to understand both sides? 

Please hear me, I’m not saying talking politics is wrong. I understand that talking about politics should have a place in the public square if we want to all become informed and active citizens of the country we live in. I understand that talking about politicians and processing what they have done or what they hope to do can be intriguing. I even know that analyzing policy and how it’s affected America can be fun at times. And I believe it’s important. 

My point is, if you’re a Christian, you should be extra cautious in how you talk – or type – about these things. 

At the end of Colossians, Paul writes this:

“Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

– Paul to the church at Colossae (Colossians 4:5-6)

If you are publicly proclaiming yourself to be a Christian, then you are publicly proclaiming that you follow Jesus. And that’s a REALLY big deal. If we as Christians believe that a person coming to know Jesus is the deciding factor between eternal life or death – then being a Christian in the social square of social media has MAJOR implications for people’s lives.

If you are a Christian, how you talk or type has the potential to either push people towards the beauty of Jesus or to do the opposite. It either communicates compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love for others (all things Paul calls Christians to possess in Colossians 3:12-14) or it doesn’t. It either communicates that you believe every living person has value because God created them with it, or it doesn’t. It either communicates a desire to understand the other side or it communicates pride and arrogance. 

I understand that we are called to speak truthfully, and many of us feel as though that’s what we are doing. We feel as though we are standing up for the unborn, we are standing up for women’s rights, we are standing up for the preservation of history, and we are standing up for those being mistreated by systems, laws and others because of the color of their skin. And we feel as though we have to yell the truth from the top of a building in order for everyone to hear – but if we aren’t doing it in love, then it’s just going to add to the noise (1 Corinthians 13:1). It’s just going to contribute to the bloodbath of political talk in America. We are just going to add to the carnage, instead of being a remedy to it. 

How we talk about things matters. Our words could have an eternal impact. Please…from one Christian to another, can we please be careful?

Again, I am not coming from a place of judgement. I have engaged in political conversations in ways that probably weren’t beneficial. I have gotten irritated and quickly remarked on someone’s post without taking a step back to reflect if my post was in line with my primary purpose. And I have regretted it every single time. 

Please know that I know I’m not all-wise. I have so much to learn from all of you. In fact, I have learned a lot from what some of you have posted, and I am thankful that you care about the issues that you care about. But from where I’m sitting, we, as Christians, have to start doing something differently. We need to assess how we are talking about politics online and we need to strive to do so in a manner that demonstrates the grace, love and humility of Jesus every step of the way. 

Some Examples/Observations:

Being a Christian who cares about the souls of humanity and who is interested in politics can be hard. It’s oftentimes difficult to navigate the choppy waters of when to speak up and when to remain silent. I don’t have all of the answers, and I oftentimes find myself questioning whether or not I should engage in politics online at all. But, over the past 8 years, I’ve picked up on some things that might be important for us to know as we seek to engage in political discussions on social media, if one chooses to do so:

Picture taken in 2018 to document my
feelings after voting in an election.
  • First – and potentially most importantly – even if your intended “target audience” is Christians, they are not your only audience. You are on social media, your audience is probably more diverse than you think. This should make us extra cautious about what we say. (Remember Colossians 4:5-6.) 
  • If we are standing up for life in the womb or if we are standing up for humans out of the womb we have to examine why. If our answer is because we believe all humans – in the womb or out – have value and dignity because God created them, then we can’t talk to people or talk about people (be it the other party or a political candidate) like they don’t. It’s not logical to do so. Rudeness is rooted in the belief that some people aren’t worthy of receiving love and respect – that they lack in value. It goes against the idea that all men and women were created as image-bearers. If we are truly “pro-life from the womb to the tomb,” then there isn’t any place for belittling others – no matter how much we dislike them. (James 3:7-10 could be helpful here.)
  • Christians arguing about the sin of other people has rarely – if ever – been attractive to someone who doesn’t know Jesus. In fact, I would make the argument that a lot of people have run from the Church because they felt as though that’s all the Church wanted to do. 
  • Praising politicians or parties regularly, consistently and whole-heartedly can easily come across as worship – and when both politicians and both parties are incredibly imperfect I think we should question if they deserve the amount of devotion we are giving them. Is it communicating that Jesus saves or is it communicating that our chosen party or politician saves?
  • The most “just” person to ever walk this planet was – and always will be – Jesus Christ. If we aren’t seeking to mimic him in the way we treat people – especially people who have a different worldview than we do – then we should question if we are doing things properly. Are we having compassion on the woman in adultery, or are we casting the first stone (John 8)?
  • I know topics such as systemic racism and sexual assault are worthy of discussion. Analyzing whether or not change needs to happen and how it needs to happen is both complex and important for the growth of a country, BUT because these topics are especially sensitive and historically complicated, we need to tread with caution. I only truly know what it is like to be me, and you only truly know what it is like to be you. We only know what it is like to be a person of color if we are one, and we only know what it is like to have been sexually assaulted or to have been wrongfully accused of sexual assault if we were. I’m not saying this should completely silence people who don’t fit into those categories, but it should add a level of humility to any conversation we are seeking to have about the people who do. Is what you are saying going to invalidate the real experiences of people who have walked through trauma or loss? Is it going to invalidate potential truths that you don’t know about? Are you all-knowing? Are you all-understanding? Is what you are saying compassionate, loving and kind or is it blunt, hostile and arrogant? 
  • If you are posting memes that are calling Republicans “Nazis” and Democrats “lazy socialists”, you are helping to contribute to the political divide that we see happening all around us. Memes can be funny, but they lack nuance, typically over generalize, cause hurt more than they cause understanding, and they continually group people into Groupthink camps that people might not deserve to be grouped into. To raise your voice against stereotyping and then post a meme that stereotypes, could make you come across as either blindly biased or hypocritical. And if people think you are blindly biased or hypocritical, they probably won’t trust you when you are trying to convince them that Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
  • Typically, someone chooses to be pro-democratic socialism, pro-capitalism, or anywhere in between because they think it’s going to be best for Americans over the long-run. Getting defensive and assuming that a person lands where they land because they are “an idiot” or they are “selfish” isn’t going to promote good conversation. If you are confused on how someone could land where they land, ask them good questions. Sure, some people may not really know what they are talking about, or maybe they haven’t spent the amount of time required to truly understand the policy behind Capitalism/Democratic Socialism or the potential consequences of Democratic Socialism/Capitalism, but the desire to “do good,” is probably an underlying motive – and hopefully some common ground can be found there. (Proverbs 15:28 or Proverbs 17:27-28 could be helpful on this front.)
  • Christians who are voting for Biden are voting for a pro-choice ticket, even though they may not consider themselves to be pro-killing babies. Christians who are voting for Trump are supporting a president who decreased the number of refugees we allow into the United States, even though they may not consider themselves to be “for” keeping men, women and children in life-threatening or certain-death situations. If you dig into conversations with both of these people, you’ll find that they believe the topic is “complicated” and they have landed where they have based upon a wide variety of issues and historical facts. It’s okay and healthy to disagree with people, but if you aren’t willing to actually listen to someone because you disagree with them, then how willing are you going to be to actually listen to someone who doesn’t believe in your God? If you call people names and/or condemn them to hell because their views are different than your own, do you actually think people will want to listen to you when you talk about your God being gracious and good? 
  • Speaking of complicated, The United States of America is not mentioned in the Bible and Jesus didn’t live in a democracy. In fact, God first ordained Judges as the way to govern His people, and then allowed the Israelites to have kings after they were dissatisfied with His first choice. Scripture doesn’t tell us how to think about voting. It does supply us with the attributes of God, it does allow us to get a glimpse of Jesus and his character, it does show us good models for how to operate as a Church, and the Bible does consist of commands given to the Israelites, historical people, and the early church that we are to take into account today, but it doesn’t tell us which party to vote for. We can use these things to help us determine which party to vote for, but the Bible doesn’t tell us exactly – so should we act like it does? 

Ultimately, if we believe we are recipients of the most outrageous display of love and grace ever – Jesus dying on the cross for the sin and imperfections we deserved/deserve to die for – then we should have continual grace and humility towards other people. We aren’t perfect, and neither are they. We aren’t all-knowing, and neither are they. We are just humans, made by a perfect God, who are trying to figure out how to live in an imperfect world. 

Our words matter. We can’t change that. 

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear…Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

– Paul to the church in Ephesus (Ephesians 4:29-32)

May we talk to people in a way that highlights the character of Jesus. I love you, friends. 

Exercise and Motives (some more thoughts)

IMG_8485A few years ago, I wrote a post about examining your motives before you work out. In that post, I briefly referenced my own battle with disordered eating and exercise addiction, and I talked about my [then] current struggles with figuring out how to exercise with the right motives. Since that post, a lot has changed. I got pregnant, graduated from graduate school, moved back to Texas, had a baby, and am currently in a season where I am staying at home full-time to hang out with my son.

One of the advantages (and disadvantages) of staying at home full-time is the amount of time I have to think about random things, and recently, I’ve been revisiting the motives behind why I exercise. 

Before I get too deep into things, let me note again that I used to be addicted to exercise. This means that for six years of my life I would regularly prioritize exercise over hanging out with friends, I was controlled by my workout schedule mentally and emotionally, I would occasionally skip out of work events early in order to exercise before night-time commitments, I would regularly exercise past my body’s physical limitations causing self-injury (hernias and a lot of knee problems), and I would literally freak out (picture tears and fits on the floor…for real) when something got in the way of my exercise schedule.

My motives during this time of my life are still a little unclear to me, and it would probably take way too many words to sort out here, but I know that large parts of my actions were rooted in fear/control (“What would I look like if I stopped working out so much?”), perfectionistic conformity/acceptance (“I’m supposed to look a certain way, so I have to do this, because if I don’t do this, I won’t be as accepted by both men and women.”), a lack of understanding/real belief regarding where my true value was found (“As long as I’m ‘fit’ people will like me, which means I am worth something.”), the enjoyment of praise (“It sure feels good when people tell me I look good, so I’m going to keep doing this.”), and simply because I just generally enjoyed being active (which was – and still is – a good thing).

Today, I can confidently say (by God’s grace, of course) I am no longer addicted and my exercise routine looks completely different than it used to. I try to work out a minimum of 3 days a week and I intentionally do not exceed my pre-set maximum number of 5 days per week, but some weeks I don’t work out at all. I don’t throw fits when I can’t exercise (in fact, sometimes I rejoice) and I don’t feel controlled by my work-out routine…at all. And I try (really try) to listen to my body instead of doing things that will hurt it.

But, even in all of this and after so many years of working through my addiction, I can still struggle with working out for the wrong reasons. I can still let fear and control rule, I can still forget that my value is found in Christ and his acceptance of me and not in what my abs look like, I can still be overly perfectionistic, and I can still be too focused on what others are thinking about me. And I hate it. 

But, why do I care? Because my motives dictate my actions and the things I do impact others.

When I choose fear and control, I’m encouraging others to do so, as well. When I’m choosing to focus on looking perfect, I’m telling others they should do the same. When I’m finding value in how I look instead of who God created me to be, then I’m telling others their value is found there, too. I’m basically playing the game and “raising the bar” for others, and I hate the idea of that. 

Because, on some level, it’s damaging. I think we all know that. I mean, if you’re a woman my age, we probably fell under some of the same influences.

My family never really talked about weight growing up. I don’t remember anyone talking about how skinny so-and-so was or how good someone looked because of how fit they were – and I’m REALLY thankful for that. But I watched MTV and I read Bop magazines (which, lets be honest were AWESOME) and through those avenues I learned what beauty was supposed to look like.

So my easily influenced self tried to conform.

Today, the messages we are sending are more along of the lines of “strong is the new skinny,” which, honestly, I like more than the “be skinny” phase we were in previously, but, unfortunately, it’s just the same. 

Because what message does my buff-arm selfie promote? (**PLEASE see note below, here.) Is it another standard that my future daughter (if we are able to get pregnant again and have a daughter) or my nieces will feel as though they have to meet? Will they feel insecure when they look in the mirror because of it? Will they question where their value is found? If my motives dictate my actions, what motives am I acting on and what are those actions communicating? 

We all know that exercise is important. Exercise can help manage stress, it can build strong bones and muscles to give us strength for hard tasks and fight osteoporosis, it can help us nourish a healthy heart (physically), and it does help us feel more confident about how we look (which isn’t a totally bad thing), but how am I promoting it? Am I letting my need for praise rule? Am I taking it over the top? Am I idolizing exercise and telling others to do the same?

I’m so guilty.

So I’m praying through it. I’m not beating myself up about it, because I know I don’t have the earthly potential to be perfect and that being perfect isn’t the criteria for having a relationship with Jesus, but I’m still praying through it. I’m praying that my motives for working out are purer and less self-centered. And I’m praying that I set a positive example for those to come.

I’m not there yet, but I’m praying I get there eventually.


** I know this statement – and a couple of statements in this post – can sound kind of “judge-y,” but please know that is not my aim. Obviously, some people’s fitness level has a direct link to their job and ability to provide income for their family AND some people can post very buff-arm selfies strictly to encourage and motivate others without any weird self-absorbed stuff going on. I, personally, do not fall into either of these camps, which is why I am using the buff-arm selfie as an example of misplaced motives/actions for myself. I’m not trying to judge you or your actions. I’m just revealing my own twisted motives and where I’ve been recently.


Exploring Motherhood and Purpose

Dillon at the park about to go down the big slide. He loves it, even though he looks kind of alarmed. I promise.

To be honest with you, I wanted to write about exercise, about addictions, and why fitness models make it hard to live in the midst of those two things. But Monday, when I sat down to write, I couldn’t get anything out. All I kept thinking about was this conference I went to this past weekend, the hardships of the week before, and what I had been processing in regards to myself and this job of mothering I find myself doing daily.

Then, this morning, as I sat down to study the Bible, I read a verse that caused my head to spin (in a good way). And I decided to write about it – to write about motherhood and an aspect of it I have been struggling with recently. 

Now, before I share the head-spinning verse with you, I have to do some unpacking of the context so that the verse makes even the slightest amount of sense. (Please know that this “unpacking” does not do the passage justice, since Romans 9 is perhaps one of the most difficult passages of the entire Bible to understand and is full of all sorts of tension that must be balanced out using a whole group of other verses so that wrong conclusions aren’t drawn. All of that to say…go read it yourself and pick it apart and don’t rely upon my short summary below to adequately explain the whole thing. ALSO, if you find it offensive, email me or reach out in some other way, I’d love to discuss it with you.)

Okay? Okay.

In Romans 9, Paul (who once killed followers of Jesus Christ because of their faith) is explaining that there are some people on this earth that will become Christians and there are some that won’t – and that God is the creator of both of them. Not only this, but he foreknew ahead of time which ones would be and wouldn’t be Christians, and that he’s actually really purposeful in that. And, He’s still good and just in the whole thing, even though it’s all hard for us, as humans with limited knowledge, to understand – and in our lack of ability to fully understand we might look at God and think He is unjust, but He’s not because He is God and without Him we wouldn’t even be living or breathing so really He has the right to do whatever He pleases. (Again, please go read it, and wrestle with it…it’s a hard one…a really hard one on a lot of different levels.)

Then, in verse 21, Paul is continuing in this line of thought when he writes this:

“Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”


Outside of trying to prove the point I mentioned above (that God has the right to do whatever He wants since He designed and created life itself), this verse says something quite amazing. It tells us that God created Christians for “special purposes” – for something outside of simply living in accordance with our own desires – outside of normalcy. He created us for something beyond the ordinary.

So why is this a big deal to me right now?

Because sometimes motherhood can feel ordinary. It only takes a couple of weeks of changing diapers and a few days of cutting up strawberries to realize that every day as a mom looks somewhat similar and, when your kid can’t even talk, you begin to wonder if you even have any purpose outside of hygiene, protection and food.

And, for me, even those purposes feel too small at times. (Even though we can all agree that hygiene, protection and food are all big deals, right?)

I mean, over the past few months I have really struggled with how to make this stay-at-home mom thing work. I have found my mind and heart to be so excited about different community organizations, the YMCA volleyball team I play on, the idea of what my counseling career might look like one day, and what I hope one of the ministries at our church turns into. I have found myself lusting after more time to work on these things, more time to write, more time to paint, and I have found myself less amused by the time I spend with my son at the park.

If I’m being really real with you, I would tell you that I’ve been missing the point, really.

Instead of realizing that my son is a HUGE part of the purpose I have been given, I have been thinking that my son gets in the way of the purposes I have been called to pursue.

I hesitate in writing this (and inside I HATE that I have been feeling this way) because the last thing I want to do is write something on the internet that will one day upset my son, but I write it because I know I’m not alone AND I know that the BIGGEST blessings in this life also come with challenges and that the challenges are rarely because of the blessing itself, but because of the heart and ugly places inside of the person/people receiving the blessing(s). (*See note below for more.)

And this is me. This is where I am. I haven’t been seeing things clearly. I’ve been buying a lie.

There is no doubt about it that the Lord has created me to engage in a lot of different activities outside of the home – I see it in my DNA, I see it when I read the Bible and am affirmed in different aspects of ministry, and I see it in the way the Lord has created my mind and what it is drawn to – and there is nothing wrong with that. I think all moms have differences in specific calling and giftedness. BUT right now, I am in a season of being a full-time stay-at-home mom, and that calling has tremendous purpose, even if I have a hard time seeing it sometimes. Even if I have a hard time feeling that way. 

Why? How?

Because regardless of where I am in this life, God is the potter and I am the clay (Isaiah 64:8), and that is good news because regardless of where I am, I have been created for “special purposes”. Because I am a Christian (by God’s unmerited favor alone – not because I am good enough, by any means), I have been created to bring glory to God – to point people to him, which is a really big deal (Isaiah 43:7; Matthew 5:16). 

So, if you find yourself in a similar place – at home with your little ones wondering if you’re making any real difference in their lives, if you’re at work doing a job you’re not crazy about or feel ungifted in, if you’re doing both, or if you’re somewhere else completely different but are still struggling with feeling purposeless – know you’re not alone.

And know that if you are a Christian, you do have a purpose EVEN if you don’t feel like you have one right now. You were made for “honorable use” (Romans 9:21, ESV). You were made for “special purposes” (Romans (9:21, NIV).

And that’s both incredibly simplistic and hard to comprehend all at the same time.

I didn’t make it up. It’s true, and it’s amazing. So, accept it and exhale. I know for sure I’ll be trying to do so.



*Please, please, please know I love my son beyond words can express. I love being his mom, and I feel incredibly blessed that I get the opportunity to call him my son – to even have a son, in fact. I’m not seeking to minimize that AT ALL and IN NO WAY is this post meant to communicate anything in the opposite direction. My intention is simply to be honest for the sake of encouraging those who might find themselves in a similar season. Sometimes it just feels nice to know you’re not alone, and sometimes, I feel the weird calling to expose my own sick heart and yucky-ness for the sake of promoting the universal fact of human brokenness, struggle and sin (It’s embarrassing sometimes, but it is what it is, I guess.) AND God’s grace in working through it all.




Year Five: Being Carried

On December 29th, the Mister and I celebrated five years of marriage.


For some reason, our five-year anniversary felt more momentous than previous ones.

As I’ve been thinking about it, I’ve decided it’s not because we are any more married than we were years one through four, or because we did something outrageously special to celebrate.

Not at all.

I think the occasion felt more special because over this year – really over the past few months – I’ve gotten a clearer picture of what marriage is and how its rich complexity truly does point back to the gospel.

It’s something I had been told by many before, but I think I had just boiled the truth down to the never-ending-unconditional-love-and-commitment thing in marriage, which is definitely a part of it, but this year I saw a new piece of the whole thing play out.

Obviously, a lot has happened over these past five years…

Year one, my husband was working 90-hours a week, we lived in Boston, I started working at a tech recruiting company that led to 12-hour days, we were “too busy” to be really connected to a local body of believers, we weren’t seeing each other (except for maybe a couple of hours in-between the hours of 2am and 7am), and, because schedules were unpredictable and we were rarely home at the same time, we ate out most every meal. Things were chaotic, and our marriage began to mirror that fact.

One year_2_low res

Eight months into marriage, we experienced the Boston Marathon Bombings and eventually moved to Midland, TX where we lived in my in-laws’ garage apartment. The Mister started a new job and I started grad school, and we had to figure out what to do with the mass amounts of time we had to spend with each other – something we had never possessed before. And it was far more challenging than we imagined it would be. We had less distractions, and therefore, our idols, personal struggles, and relational hardships seemed magnified.

Years two and three were filled with a move back to Massachusetts, grad school for both of us, an epic black mold situation which meant living in countless hotels and air B&Bs, an oil bust that changed our plans, my first internship in counseling, daily two hour commutes for me during the week, unforeseen medical issues, financial strain, and just generally A LOT of transitions, busyness, adjustments and circumstantial trials. (I wrote about it here.)

IMG_3664 copy 2

Year four consisted of getting pregnant, both of us graduating from grad school, more unforeseen health issues, moving back to Midland, buying our first house, my sister getting diagnosed with breast cancer, our U-Haul flooding, learning what it meant to pay off grad school debt, having a sweet sweet baby boy, and finding a church we loved. Many of these things were GREAT, and we felt extremely blessed, but in the midst of getting settled, we began to understand what getting settled really meant – it meant a slower pace, more free time, and less to think about – things I have a hard time handling well. 

Out of all of the years, this past year (year 5) felt circumstantially the easiest. We had a few minor house problems and we had a family-wide stomach bug, which was awful, but, honestly, it wasn’t a rough year at all…circumstantially. On a personal, inward reality, level however, it was a roller coaster. This past year, I found myself deeply struggling with God’s character – with questions surrounding who God was and is – and those questions resulted in some backsliding in my faith. (You can read more fully about my struggle here.) I became somewhat apathetic in my walk with Christ, and began to feel hopeless in God’s ability to help me. Self-reliance became my main coping mechanism – which manifested itself negatively in my marriage.

But, I ended up on the other side of it. I made it through. 

And a huge reason I did was because of my husband. In a way, he carried me through this past year. He was the one putting in all of the effort. He was the one pursuing me even though I was in the middle of a really ugly season. He was the one reminding me of truth when I couldn’t wrap my head around things, and he was the one who would patiently let me process and cry while trying to figure out where on earth I was. He was the one who pushed me to be honest with others, to pray, to seek God, and to continue to read my Bible even though it felt hard.

Obviously, all of his efforts were motivated and propelled by God himself, so the Lord truly deserves all of the glory, but still. This year, my husband carried me through.

And as we celebrated our anniversary Friday night, this is what we talked about.

There have been multiple times in our marriage when the personal trials faced felt too heavy for only one of us to carry alone, and, by God’s grace, in those times, God gave the other one the strength to help the one struggling. He gave the other the strength to support…to carry the one who needed to be carried.

As the recap above shows, we have experienced a lot in five years. We’ve walked through a lot of incredible highs and some pretty significant lows. And, in so doing, we’ve both carried the other at times, but this year, after a season of being so selflessly carried by my husband, I find myself incredibly thankful – not only for my husband and marriage, but for Christ and the way He has carried me through this life.

I can’t carry myself. No matter how “good” I try to be, it won’t be good enough because the standard is perfection, and perfect I am not. But Jesus, being fully man and fully God, was able to live a perfect life – he was able to be “good” enough because he was the only man who was ever truly and purely good in nature – and when He died He willingly died for the sins/imperfections of humanity. He took humanity’s sins upon himself and bled, offering himself up as the perfect sacrifice needed to redeem mankind from their sin and the death their sin would eventually lead to. And then he rose from the dead three days later to point to the fact that because He has power over the grave, He is the giver of life – and He longs to resurrect the lives of those who trust in Him.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

In the midst of bad decisions and a lot of straying in high school, He carried me safely back to himself. Before I even knew what was going on, He picked me up and relentlessly pursued me. As He carried me, He encouraged me and reminded me of truth, and He put people in my life who would do the same. He carried me to himself and into a relationship with Him where He continued to carry me – and support me – every day.

Because of Jesus’ death, my imperfect self has been redeemed, and, because of his resurrection, I have been given a new life – a life still marked by struggle, but a life of purpose when things seem purposeless, of joy in the midst of deep trial, of hope when all seems lost, and love even when I don’t feel lovely or when I don’t “feel” like loving others.

God carried me to the point of experiencing God’s grace years ago, and He carried me this past year – and He allowed my husband to partner with Him in that so that I might see the beauty of God’s grace play out in my own marriage. 

I’m not sure where you are in your life. You may be married, dating, single, or in-between any of those categories, but if you’re feeling alone or weary, may you find rest on the shoulders of Jesus.

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30

What Kacey Musgraves (and a Few Other Things) Taught me about Motherhood

What Kacey Musgraves (and a Few Other Things) Taught me about Motherhood

On November 15th, our little guy turned one…



All pictures taken by Kaylea Gaines

As many of you know, I was quite nervous about being a mom. In many ways, I didn’t feel equipped to be in charge of a little life, and I felt pretty unprepared. (You can read all about it here.) I was scared I wasn’t going to be nurturing enough, that I wasn’t going to know what to do, and that I would somehow break the valuable gift of life that had been given to the Mister and me.

Well, I’m over a year in, and I’m happy to report that we made it through just fine! There were definitely some months and some things that felt harder than others, but I can’t express enough how big of a blessing this last year has been. I am truly grateful for the gift of being a mom.

Now that our little guy’s festivities and Thanksgiving are over, I’ve been reflecting a lot upon what it means to be a mom and what I have learned since being one.

So, here you go! Here are five of the top things I have learned since being a mom. And, just so you know, some of them are sentimental and some of them are not.

[ONE: It’s actually hard to not post pictures of your kids every two seconds.]

Major confession here: I used to judge others regarding the amount of pictures they posted of their kids. I mean, I thought their kids were cute, but did I really need to see eighty pictures of them a day?

Please forgive me because I now know that it is HARD (like really hard) not to.

I mean staring at the cutest thing you have ever seen in your life and watching that thing do incredible things like sleep and slobber for twenty minutes straight is unbearably precious at times – and the things that seem like nothing to other people are special and significant things to you, so you just have to share them with the world.

It’s just the way it is.

And the upside is you’ll have a pretty good account of what your kid’s future spouse or our future president was like at every month of his or her life. So, soak it in. Appreciate the luxury.

[TWO: The “Mom’s Club” is a vocal and complex club, but it can be beautiful.]

This one has probably been one of the most comical, most frustrating, and most mind-boggling lessons I have had to learn as a new mom. And it, too, has been a major area in which the Lord has worked on my judgmental heart.

In case you didn’t know it, there are a lot of personalities and passions in the Mom’s Club.

I mean, you have the anti-vaxers, the pro-vaxers, the oily moms, the chemical-free moms (they might smell like vinegar), the chemical-happy moms (they might smell like clorox), the rigid schedule followers, those who don’t even know what a schedule is, the moms who think other moms shouldn’t work, the moms who think the moms that don’t work should, the a-dirty-home-is-a-fun-home moms, the clean-home-is-next-to-Godliness-home mom, the cry-it-outs, the never-let-them-cry-it-outs, the smockers (which typically also appreciate monogramming), the moms who let their kids wear pjs all day, the all-organic moms, and the all-processed moms. You also have the never-leave-my-kid-overnight moms, the happily-leave-my-kid-overnight moms, the it’s-a-sin-to-not-breastfeed moms, the moms who use formula, the pro-media moms, and the anti-media moms.

And everything in-between.

At first, I was startled by all of the options…all of the “you shoulds or shouldn’ts.” I mean, some of these things obviously don’t matter, right? But in this club, they do – even if the obvious importance to the person is only found in a small eye roll or a passive aggressive comment when you do, or mention someone who does, something differently. Every mom has landed where they have landed for a reason – because that’s how they believe it should be done – and therefore emotions and opinions run high.

So, enter Kacey Musgraves.

In her song “Biscuits” she sings a little diddy (edited because I can’t personally promote everything she’s going for here), and it’s helped me a great bit in this area:

“So ho​e your own row, yeah, and raise your own babies
[Soak your own oak] and grow your own daisies
Mend your own fences and own your own crazy
Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy.”

Obviously, as a Christian, I believe in community, so I’m not saying I learned to isolate myself from others for the sake of doing what I want to do. Not at all! What I’m saying is I learned that some things – some opinions – just really don’t matter and that there’s room under the cross to do things differently. In application, this means that it is my job to parent my kid to the best of my ability and to pray for the Lord’s help in that, and to stay focused on those things (as hard as this is sometimes). I fall into and in-between many of the categories listed above and that’s okay, but if my opinions get in the way of me loving someone else, or if they lead me to roll my eyes and judge others, then I’m missing the point of the mom’s club – and I’m helping to turn it into something ugly. I’m turning it into something it was never intended to be. The mom’s club has the potential to be a beautiful and mutually uplifting community…and I have an important role to play in that.

[THREE: Friends don’t let friends parent alone.] 

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s true.

From questions…

“What if my kid always has his days and nights confused?…We are going crazy. How am I supposed to do this sleep schedule thing? I’m still feeling so anxious about things…Did you ever feel this way? Will you pray for me? The woman at BSF is telling me that I need to put shoes on my son, but he takes them off when I put them on and now I feel bad about myself..Help?”

To situations…

“Let me come over and hold him while you get stuff done. Can I just come over and hang out with you while you stare at your baby? Can I clean your kitchen? Would Dillon like to borrow this truck since he doesn’t have one? I know our kids aren’t close in age, which will make a play date hard, but want to come over anyways? Want to get lunch? Can I watch Dillon while you study for your exam?”

I saw my friends be sacrificial in ways that have spurred me on and challenged me to be more sacrificial in the way I love and serve others in the future – especially the worn-out-sleep-deprived-utterly-confused first-time mom.

So, if that’s you. Hit me up.

[FOUR: Balance is important – but hard to achieve.] 

Before our son was born, the Mister and I plotted out a grand list of tangible ways we could prioritize our marriage and still maintain a relationship with each other in the midst of being parents. This list included working out together, having a date night every other week, and taking a trip – just us two alone or with friends – every three months. The plan was good, we both felt confident that we could keep it going, and when our son was born I began pumping so that we could make the plan happen.


I soon realized that emotionally and practically it was a different ball game.

My son was cute, I loved him, I felt extremely attached to him, and I wanted him to feel attached to me. Nursing was harder than expected, and it took a lot of pumping to get what was needed for trips away….and then there’s the mental component.

“What if something happened while we were gone? What if we die? How risky does this trip feel? What about our will? Who should we have parent him if something were to happen to us? Okay…we can go on this date, but we have to be home at this exact time because he’s going to get hungry. Every time I leave I feel like he gets sick. He’s still not sleeping through the night, which feels burdensome for others…should we still go to Vegas? A dinner date sounds good, but maybe I’d rather sleep.”

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting to half-way dread trips away (this feeling only lasted until I was actually on the trip, of course). I wasn’t expecting to cry when I left my son. And I definitely wasn’t expecting to bail on one of the trips I was looking forward to the most – which I did.

I think I expected my values – the idea that it was important for me and the Mister to have a life with each other that didn’t revolve solely around our son – to kick in without a hiccup, but I soon realized that prioritizing one very important thing over another very important thing takes sacrifice and, therefore, it isn’t easy.


But it’s so worth it. Marriage is a gift, but it’s a gift that takes time, effort, vulnerability, sacrifice, nourishing, and a lot of other things. And it needs to be nurtured…even in the midst of parenthood…as hard as that feels sometimes.

Balance isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. After this year, I can definitely say that.

[FIVE: You should work hard to cherish every moment, but don’t beat yourself up when you don’t.] 

Being a parent is hard. Every baby is different and everyone handles life’s stressors in different ways, but being a parent has its hard seasons regardless. It’s just part of the deal…or so I hear. At the same time, being a parent is also a tremendous blessing that not every single person gets to experience. And, this year, I’ve learned that being a mom means balancing these two realities all of the time.

And I think this is why the most common advice you will receive as a new mom is, “Cherish it. It goes by quickly.”

Honestly, as I reflect upon this past year, I feel as though I have worked hard to cherish it. In fact, I would say, I have cherished it most moments, but there are days when it just feels difficult. Now don’t get me wrong, these days aren’t difficult because I have a bad kid – my kid is actually super easy (praise the Lord). The days are just difficult because they are…and the deep-rooted, specific reasons are probably different for every mom. But I think what makes these days especially hard is the fact that you know that you “should be” cherishing them.  

For me, it typically goes like this.

I didn’t sleep well the night before, then the dishwasher breaks and I have a stack of dishes in the sink (which, for whatever reason, always makes me feel irritable), and I have to do the dishes but I can’t because I need to play with my son who can’t play by himself and then one thing leads to another, and I have a bad attitude and wish I was doing something else….

THEN it happens…

I’m scrolling through Instagram, and I see a post from a member of the Mom’s Club telling me to “cherish every moment”. And I think, “Crap.” Then I think, “I know. I know that it goes by quickly, and that it’s a gift, and I HATE that I’m not cherishing this moment right now. Thanks for the reminder…GRRRR.” And I immediately feel bad about myself and my attitude.

So, let me tell you this: It’s real life, and NO ONE in real life cherishes every moment….even the mom on Instagram who tells you to do so.

So, this year I’ve learned to have grace for myself. I should definitely try…like really try…to cherish every moment and I should pray when things get ugly in my heart, when I start to feel discontent and bored, but, because I’m human and because I’m imperfect, I won’t be able to do it all of the time. I just won’t. And, in those moments, God is still there and I can rejoice in the fact that his mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). In fact, He is able to give me mercy to get through the next minute, if I just rely upon Him…if I just let Him.  

So, I guess you could say I’ve reached these conclusions: post pictures of your babies, rejoice in differences (regardless of what people smell like or what people eat), find some new mom to love on, fight for balance, and give yourself grace.

Cheers to learning together.

Getting to a Place of Honesty

From the get-go, I have to tell you that I am self-plagerizing most of this post.  (To be honest with you, the idea of “self-plagerizing” seems completely dumb, but it’s a real thing, and according to ethics, I have to tell you that this is not the first time many of these words have been typed out and I’m supposed to cite the original source…totally dumb.) So, just so you know, this post is a reprocessed version of a VERY low-key talk I gave to a group of women last week. Some, though a minimal amount, of the words are literally copy and pasted from my notes, but most, though not all, of the thoughts are completely recycled.

All right, now that the annoying part is over…

Over the past few years, I’ve been traveling though a tremendously weird season in my life – a season of asking myself and God a lot of hard questions. Questions concerning who I am in this somewhat new season of motherhood, questions concerning my purpose right now, questions concerning why I struggle with the things I’ve been struggling with, and, mostly, questions about God’s character – mainly surrounding the area, of “If God is good, then why does he allow really bad things to happen to the most vulnerable of people?” It’s a question, that I felt as though I had always had to the answer to – really, I think it was something that had never really bogged me down, so I just didn’t stop to think about it – but then, for whatever reason, the perfect stream of events seemed to happen, and I found myself really struggling with the question.

If God is good, then why?

I mean, it’s been one heck of a season…and it hasn’t been fun.

A few months ago, my husband and I were driving home (or to, I can’t remember) New Mexico, and my husband started talking to me about this “wearisome season.” He challenged me in my approach to wrestling through things (basically, he pointed out that I wasn’t wrestling at all – I had given up on seeking God and wise counsel concerning the question) and that he was concerned about how my questions were manifesting themselves in my life – in my actions, thoughts and words.

So, encouraged my him, I opened up to my community group about it. I asked that they pray for me as I prayed for my own heart, and then, later that week, I did it. I prayed.

Being a Christian for a while now, I knew that prayer was going to play an instrumental part in “getting through” this wearisome season, but I think that, deep-down, I still had my questions about God’s character and, therefore, wondered if praying to Him was the right thing to do. I think I felt bad about my questions and, therefore, felt conflicted about talking with Him about them. Could I really pray to someone who I questioned? Could I be completely honest with Him about one of my messiest places? What would happen?

The truth is, I’m not the only one who has ever gone through a difficult season. And I’m definitely not the only one who has ever asked God questions.

In the book of Psalms, we see a group of poems, songs or prayers called the “Laments,” and these psalms are…well…kind of depressing. But it is here, more than in any other place in scripture, where I personally have found some of the greatest examples of what it means to be truly honest with God. I mean, in these laments, I see bluntness and full-throttled transparency, which ultimately has taught me that I don’t have to place boundaries on my honesty with God.

I mean, let’s look at Psalm 13:1-4.

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, ‘I have prevailed over him,’ lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.”

Most scholars believe that David wrote this Psalm. Although scholars don’t know the exact context of this Psalm, just from reading it, we can sense what David is going through. He’s sorrowful – maybe even completely depressed – feeling somewhat abandoned by God (see note below), and we even get a sense of confusion.

But the point is, David is honest with God about these things – he is honest with God about his despair and his questions in the midst of trials. 

In Psalm 55:1-15, we read another Psalm thought to be written by David. In this Psalm, David expresses a lot of intense things to God. You should definitely read it yourself, but just in an overview we see that in verse 2, he says, “Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan because of the noise of my enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked.” In verses 4 & 5, we read, “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me […] horror overwhelms me.” And in verses 12 & 13, we find out the source of all of David’s discomfort when he writes, “For it is not an enemy who taunts me – then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me – […] But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.”

Here, we see David being honest with God about hurt, rejection, oppression, and fear. We also see him being honest with God about the betrayal of a friend. Whether that betrayal was caused by King Saul’s desperate pursuit for David’s life in 1 Samuel or his son Absalom’s conspiracy to steal the kingship from David in 2 Samuel, we can’t be sure, but because of these things, we know that David is not a stranger to being betrayed by someone close to him. AND he’s honest with God about it. 

And laments like this just keep happening…here’s one more.

In Psalm 51, believed to be written by David after he was confronted about committing adultery with Bathsheba and then murdering her husband to cover it up, we see David being honest with God about his sin, the impact his sin has had on his life, he desire for forgiveness and cleanliness, and his request for restoration.

I mean, it’s heavy stuff.

The great thing, though, is that these somewhat pessimistic laments don’t end here (though I believe that honesty is a beautiful thing). Actually, these laments tend to end on a positive note – in declarations of who God really is.

In Psalm 13:5&6, we read this…

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

In Psalm 55:22 we read this…

“Cast your burdens on the Lord, and will will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”

And in Psalm 34, which is well believed (though not for certain) to be written after David confessed his sin with Bathsheba and his sin of murder to God, we read this…

“I sought the Lord and he answered me and delivered me from all of my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. […] The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (v. 4, 5, and 16).

In all of the above verses, we see that David is honest with God about things that are really bogging him down. He is confessing sin, describing hurt, asking questions, and wrestling with God about why things are the way they are, and ultimately, in this, he finds the rest, peace and relief only the Lord can provide. Now, the Lord doesn’t always change his circumstances – David still had to run from Saul and his son Absalom is killed in battle, and God allows one of his other sons to die as an infant because of his sin with Bathsheba – but God communes with David’s soul, reminds him of who He is, and He gives David the strength to carry on.

Turning to God in prayer or song, takes David out of his own head – out of his own self-dependency – and reminds him of who God is and that He can be trusted.

This was my experience, too.

When I prayed to God – when I stopped trying to cope by myself and was actually honest with him about my concerns, my doubts, my questions, my sin, my lack of understanding, my frustration, and my pain – it felt as though a heavy weight had been lifted. Just to be clear, my circumstances didn’t completely change. I still see tremendous hardship and loss the lives of those I love. I still mourn at the death of innocent life, and the injustices that kill and keep people enslaved. Those things – the things that still cause me to question sometimes – are still happening, but in prayer – in being honest with God – I was reminded that He is God and I am not and my heart began to reflect upon and understand the idea of his goodness once again.

And more than anything, being honest with God in prayer allowed me to stop depending upon myself – my own coping mechanisms, rationalizations, compartmentalization, distractions, etc. – and forced me to instead lean into God. I mean, He is the one who knows and understands everything.

So, what are you struggling with that you need to talk to God about? How are you trying to depend upon yourself instead of depending upon God?

God is big enough to handle our hardships – we don’t have to run from Him or hide our questions, concerns, emotions, sins or struggles. I mean, in reality, He already knows they are there.

God is big enough to handle our hardships – so be honest.

* The laments contain a lot of emotion – a lot of feeling words – and we know that just because someone feels something, doesn’t make it true. So, just because David felt as though God had abandoned him doesn’t mean God really did. However, God created us with emotions and God himself has emotions, so being honest with God about them – regardless of whether or not your very real feelings are rooted in the truth of the situation – seems to be a part of the process of being transparent with God.


The Fiddle Leaf Fig, Someone-Somewhere, and How They Have Changed My Views on Trendiness

This post has been a LONG time coming. It’s been a topic of discussion for me and pretty much anyone else who would listen to me talk about it for over four months now, and has been a stress factor for me for over six weeks or so, as I have sat down multiple times to write this post until I had to give-in to the truthful, yet anxiety provoking, “You-should-be-studying-instead-of-doing-this” dialogue in my head.

However, now that my counseling exams are over (PRAISE THE LORD), I finally have the time to tweak it and finish it, so here you go.

Here are my totally random thoughts on the Fiddle Leaf Fig (yes, the indoor plant) and the person who made it cool. (Random, I know, but just hang with me for a bit.)

During the months of May, June and July, I was on the hunt for the perfect Fiddle Leaf Fig. (I would call it hunting, but my husband might call it obsession.) I knew we needed a little something green to add some more color to our overly navy and cream living room, and I knew I wanted that green to be in the form of a plant, but I also knew that we weren’t really “plant people” and that anything we bought would die, so I bought a fake one – one that looked really good online but in person was puny and crooked. (I mean, look at the picture.)

I put it in one of our guest rooms where it is rarely seen.

That night, as I was expressing my feelings of Fiddle Leaf defeat to my husband, my husband looked at me and simply said, “You only want this plant because someone, somewhere decided that the Fiddle Leaf Fig was THE indoor plant to have. Someone, somewhere decided it was cool.”


And then it started happening.

From that moment on, I began noticing that, in fact, every interior designer that I followed on Instagram ALSO loved the Fiddle Leaf Fig. It was on my feed constantly, and it seemed to be everywhere I went including a trendy new restaurant in Dallas, a boutique hotel we stayed at recently, and at the nursery – where it was severely over priced.

I mean, check this out…


And my favorite…


My husband was right.

I didn’t creatively think of the Fiddle Leaf Fig. I just followed the current trend right into obsession – and it was all because someone, somewhere decided it was cool. 

As I’ve been reflecting on it, I think this is the way most any trend is, regardless of category. Look at fashion, for example. The mid-thigh short (for men) has come back full-circle since the ‘80s. In the realm of home decorating, mid-century modern is “in,” just like it was in the middle of the 20th century (wink, wink), so everyone is redecorating. Oh, and remember the word “tight” or “tite” when it was used a synonym for cool? It’s not really a cool word anymore, but “basic” is. It’s a synonym for boring…and it was trendy as of a couple of months ago. (Sigh.)

As I’ve been reflecting on it, I’ve decided that my husband’s observation has kind of ruined my life. Everywhere I look, I now see people wearing the same things and instead of seeing a “cool trend,” I see the influence of Someone-Somewhere. And it’s really been bothering me.

For example, the other day I was walking around Target when a group of young adult females walked in. Instead of noticing their pretty smiles or admiring the fact that they seemed completely surrounded by friends (a good thing in most situations and the things that I would have noticed before this Someone-Somewhere realization), I only noticed the striped shirts and the white sneakers.

And I felt defeated and thought to myself, “Someone-Somewhere is a really powerful person and when did we start giving him or her so much influence in our lives?”

I guess the answer is that we always have.

I mean, let’s just look at our recent “hair history.” When I was in middle school, it was cool to wear butterfly clips. Every day, I would spend 20 minutes delicately placing pieces of my hair into them and then I would spray the heck out of them with hairspray – so much so that the clips would stick to my fingers when I went to take them out of my hair at the end of the day. Gross, right? But, Brittany Spears was doing it. In high school, all of the girls “scrunched” their hair. For those of you younger than me, that means you would lather up your wet hair with gel and literally scrunch your hair as much as you could until you had a crunchy mess on top of your head. Totally weird – but it was totally “in.”

There’s also a reason why people used to get married in bright blue polyester suits and ruffled white shirts but don’t anymore.

So why am I so annoyed?

Well, first off, I think I’m just annoyed by what my new perspective means about me, personally. I think I used to equate trendiness with creativity (*see note below), but now I’m seeing trendiness as the opposite. And if I wasn’t wearing black distressed denim, a camo t-shirt, and some white sneakers while writing this post, I could simply sit back in judgment of others and laugh (just kidding, obviously) – but no. I’m wearing things that might be considered “trendy” – things that Someone-Somewhere heavily recommended – so, in reality, I’m simply a follower, and, worse yet, a copier. And I hate it. I mean, really hate it.

Secondly, I’m annoyed because all of the ways I have tried to justify listening to Someone-Somewhere have failed me. For example, a few months ago, one of my friends told me, “Hey, it’s okay. I think it’s important to wear things that make you feel comfortable with yourself.” Yea, but then why am I no longer wearing the Jincos that made me feel comfortable (especially the ones that I LOVED and spent $100 of my own money on) in middle school? Or why can’t I bring myself to wear the dress I bought for a formal eight years ago to the fundraiser I’m supposed to go to next month? It just doesn’t add up. The other common thing I have heard is this: “It’s important to feel pretty because then you will probably perform better, and, in fact, you’ll be setting a positive first impression which can go far.” I can handle the second part of this statement, and I simply chalk it up to “just the way things are,” but the first part of the statement still bothers me. Why did I used to feel pretty wearing butterfly clips in my hair, but, today, those same clips would just make me feel dumb?

Ultimately, all of my rationalization has led me to this conclusion: I still deeply care about what others think about me – especially when it comes to the way I look. AND, in fact, I find some of my worth there.

How do I know that? Because I’m not going to stop wearing “trendy” things. I’m not going to wear a neon windbreaker suit unless it comes back in style (please…no), and I’m going to keep wearing my white sneakers even though everyone and their dog wears them because I have to be considered “cute,” “well-dressed,” “fashionable,” or whatever because if I am not considered these things, I will probably feel worse about myself. 

So, why am I sharing this?

I actually don’t know all of the reasons. I know part of this rant is because I believe that motives are important and that we can get lost in our pursuits unless we examine them often. But I think another reason is this: I need a change of heart.

As a believer, I know the rightful location for my identity is in the Lord. It’s not in having a house that’s well decorated or having a certain type of jeans, but the struggle is definitely real. I know, too, that my worth is not determined by how I look. I mean, God pursued me when I was trying to completely run from Him. He led me to the truth of the Gospel – that He loved me and that He wanted me to be His, that He sent his His son to die on the cross because there was absolutely nothing I could do on my own to earn salvation, and, yet, He wanted my sinful self to know Him and to experience life with Him. He led me to Himself so that I might experience His love. He found me – and you – worth all of that. 

So, why do you wear what you wear? Why do you buy the things you do? What is Mr. or Ms. Someone-Somewhere trying to sell you? Are you buying it? Does it make you worth more?

OH, and by the way, I abandoned my quest for the perfect Fiddle Leaf Fig. Instead, I bought a faux palm. My friend, who has some inside sources, told me they were going to be the “new thing.” And I love it and stare at it often.


* I do think there CAN BE creativity in trendiness. For example, Someone-Somewhere who decided that we should wear faux leather pants is probably a truly creative person. I’m just questioning my own creativity in following their lead. I also think that you CAN take creative liberty in following someone else’s lead, which would also fall into the creative camp. These are the moments when I feel most okay about the influence Someone-Somewhere has on me.

The Problems with a Misplaced Identity

All I can say is it’s been one heck of a five months.

Just to update you quickly, we had a baby on November 15th (I’m sure most of you know this by now..wink wink), and I’ve found motherhood to be shockingly more enjoyable than I could have ever imagined. Thankfully, our little guy is a pretty easy, and his little smiles have a special way of keeping me going whenever I find myself exhausted. Some days are hard, but I continually feel blessed by the Lord and am incredibly thankful that He has given me the gift of being our little guy’s mom.

Okay…now on to why I am really posting. 

For the past 3 months or so I’ve really been wrestling with – and at times deeply struggling with – the concept of identity.

If you have read past posts, you know this is an area that I tend to tread on quite frequently, but it seems that every season of life presents new challenges for me in the areas of understanding who I am, how I was created, and what it all means in light of how I am called to live my life. My identity struggles in middle school looked differently than my identity struggles in high school. Some of my struggles in high school fell off by the time I got to college, and many of the things I struggled with in college have completely dissolved by now. But now that I’m 30, I have found myself with a whole new box of them.

That’s life, huh?

Today, if you were to ask me, I would tell you that I struggle most with wanting to be accepted. If I wanted to be super analytical, I would tell you that this struggle has probably been at the root of most of the identity struggles throughout my entire life – starting from the time I was five (when I can really remember things) – but I’ll spare you all of the analysis and just get to the point.

Recently, I have been reminded of an old conclusion: Regardless of where one seeks to place their identity their placed identity controls almost everything about them whether they are aware of it or not.

Let me paint it out this way.

When I was head-deep in my addiction to exercise and restrictive eating (a nine year battle you can read more fully about in earlier posts), all I could think about was what I had eaten, what I was going to eat, when I was going to exercise, and what could potentially get in the way of me doing both of these things the way I wanted to do them. I thought my worth was found in being fit – it was where I placed my identity.

How do I know I placed it there?

Because the minute these things were threatened, I would completely flip out. (Like the one time I was home for a weekend from college and it started hailing so I couldn’t run. I cried, got angry, and threw a shoe across the room because my addiction – my identity – was being threatened.) Another indicator of my misplaced identity was how I talked about eating and exercise. I mean, I could tell you anything you wanted to know about calorie, fat and carbohydrate content in food and which exercises you should do if you wanted to work on your triceps – AND I talked about it ALL of THE time. Most of the time doing so in order to prove to myself and others that I was the person I wanted to be – the “fit one.” (Check out Matthew 6:21 here.)

I needed to prove that I was worthy of placing my identity there.

But here’s the funny thing (and the fact that is resonating most with me currently) – when you’re wrapped up in your misplaced identity you are not being who you are truly meant to be – the most effective, most stunning, most fruitful you.

In fact, I’ve come to believe that misplaced identities are one of the biggest distractions Christians can face. 

Instead of listening to others, you’re talking or thinking about yourself. Instead of being flexible with your time so that you can serve others, you control how much you serve others so that you can feed the thing you place your identity in – your social calendar, your exercise, your money, or whatever it is for you.

You basically live your life trying to prove that you are worthy of being defined by the thing you are placing your identity in. Once your misplaced identity is threatened – or, in some cases, taken away – you will no longer feel okay about yourself. You’ll feel crushed and you’ll work really hard to defend what you feel like you once had. You will fight to prove that you are worthy of receiving the praise you used to get from people. 

We’ve all seen this play out before. You know, it’s like the uncle in Napoleon Dynamite that can’t stop talking about how good he was at high school football or the women on some TV shows that continually talk about the super rad party they threw over a month ago.

Or, in my case, like the young woman at coffee who has a difficult time allowing others to be praised for their physical fitness and feels like they have to continually one-up the other person.

Yep. That was me five years ago.

It’s all ugly, but I think these are intentional plays on the enemy’s part.

You see, when we are busy defending ourselves – when we are busy trying to prove to others that we are worthy of being defined in the way we want to be defined – we aren’t really present. More than that, we aren’t really loving. We are wrapped up in ourselves, not in our purpose of glorifying God.

I see this in my new struggle, too. (You know, the one where I just generally want to be accepted.) You see, I feel like in order to be accepted, I have to be cool, and for people to know that I’m cool, I have to talk about myself. So, I talk about myself when I really shouldn’t. Sometimes, I’m so distracted by my need to talk about myself, I can’t even listen to the person I am talking to. (You know, those moments when you are fighting to get a word in because what you have to say is more important than what the other person has to say?) In these cases, my motive for talking is selfish and is caused by my misplaced identity (in believing my worth is found in being accepted by the human across the table from me). Instead of loving others, I’m only loving myself.

Ok. So why the rant?

Because I don’t want to be this way. I want to be the secure person who listens first and speaks last. I want to be a woman who delights in the Lord and, because of that, the Lord’s acceptance of me is my true delight.

Yesterday, I read this verse and it resonated with me…

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness…” (Isaiah 61:10).

The incredibly relieving truth is, I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. I’m already accepted. AND, if you’re a Christian, you are, too. 

As the verse above reads, the Lord has clothed me with salvation (the Lord has chosen me to be his and to walk with him here on earth and into eternity) and has covered me with a robe of righteousness (he has declared me to be righteous – declared me to be “good enough” because of his grace not because of my works (Ephesians 2:8&9)). He has accepted me eternally and unconditionally.

And that, my friends, is freeing. It frees me up to think about the Gospel and how I might radiate that to others instead of wondering how I might steer the conversation toward myself. It frees me up to listen to and think about others instead of being all wrapped up in “me.”


I don’t know where you struggle with misplacing your identity. It could be in success, money, popularity, the attention you get from others, or HECK it could be in how good your home looks or in how good of a parent you think are. There are a multitude of options. Just know, you don’t have to fight to prove yourself in these areas. You’re already accepted.

Exhale, and take that in.

When You’re About to be a Parent, and You’re a Little Scared.

I’m officially 39-and-a-half weeks pregnant, which feels…weird.

I think some girls grow up dreaming of the day when they will be a mom. Some of these girls even practice their skills early by playing with baby dolls. They nurture them, feed them, change their diapers, and sing them bedtime songs. They name them cute little baby names, walk them around in strollers, burp them and swaddle them in pastel-colored blankets.

Picture from maternity shoot at 33-ish weeks pregnant. Photo credit to Brittany Strebeck Photography

I wasn’t one of those little girls.

As a little girl, all I wanted to be was a country music singer. Being a mom, at the time, seemed so boring, and way too normal, and the way I played with dolls followed suit. All of my baby dolls, through the art of imagination, were instantly turned into adults. I gave them adult haircuts (if they had hair), and gave them all occupations (most of which involved the music industry). They all had various relationships and interests, and, for the most part, were all given robust personalities.

They didn’t need to be nurtured. They weren’t babies. 

As I got older, and began watching TV shows, I remember liking the parenting style of Lorelai Gilmore, and I decided that if I was going to be a mom, I would like to be a hip, young one like her. The problem is, as I watched the show in later years, I realized that what I truly wanted was a daughter who liked to do and talk about the same things as me. I wanted a best friend. This, unfortunately, is probably not the best motivation for having a kid.

So why am I telling you all of this? Simply because I think this is part of the reason why being 39-and-a-half weeks pregnant feels weird – and really scary at times. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am SO happy that I’m pregnant. I believe children are a blessing, and I am SO thrilled that I get to experience being a mom (and am equally as thrilled to see my husband be a dad). I’m SO excited to get to know our little guy’s personality, watch him grow, and take a very active part in his development. However, this doesn’t change the fact that I’m a little scared. Give me a kid that I can reason and talk with, and I’ll be pretty comfortable, but what am I supposed to do with a baby?

Oh boy.

Over these past 39-and-a-half weeks, I’ve had a lot of time to think about the situation I am in – and I’ve had a lot of opportunities to pray. Every time I pray, it seems as though God reminds me of three important things that have tremendously helped me exhale in the midst of anxiety (I promise this post will come full-circle, just give it time):

Number One: God has already numbered the hairs on our little guy’s head (Luke 12:6-7).

For the first 8 months of pregnancy I was extremely nervous that something was going to happen to our baby boy in the womb, and this truth greatly calmed my nerves. You see, God created this little boy in my belly (sure, he used the mister and I in this event, too), and in this process, God intricately pieced together his frame and decided which genes would collide to create his very personal DNA (Psalm 139:13-16). The fact that God knows the number of hairs on his head points to the fact that God cares about our baby. Knowing God cares about him, helps me let go of all of the “what ifs.” There’s so much that happens in the womb – so much I can’t see. This truth allows me to exhale and rest in the fact that God knows him, and he’s watching over him when I can’t fully.

Number Two: Our baby boy is more God’s than he is ours (Colossians 1:15-17).

I have several friends who have experienced the deep sorrow of miscarriage. Some of my friends have even had to deliver babies stillborn. Throughout my pregnancy, these stories have haunted me. They have filled me with fear and have caused me to question how I would respond if God allowed us to experience the same thing. Ultimately, however, I know that our baby is more God’s than he is ours. If God is over our lives, if God is the one who allows our lungs to take in air, if God is the one who keeps our hearts beating, then he is most definitely over the life of the baby in my womb. If God allows for our baby to die, then I have to trust that God knows what he’s doing – even if it hurts and even if I don’t understand why. God loves our baby boy more than the Mister and I ever could, and this is a wonderful truth.

Number Three: I’m not created to do this alone.

This one brings me back to the beginning of this post (finally). I still have a lot of fears. To be honest, I am kind of scared to be alone at home with a baby for an extended period of time. Sure, part of this fear is linked to the fact that babies are delicate and I could easily do something wrong, but, more than that, my fear is rooted in my tendency to become easily bored and my desire to always be doing something outside of the home. As I said earlier, I wasn’t a kid who dreamed of being a mom – and I most defiantly never wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. My mom worked full-time, most of my friend’s mom’s worked full-time, and I wanted to work full-time. It was that simple. However, when I thought through things a few years ago, I decided that although I WANT to work full-time (that would still be the easiest path for me personality wise), I would probably only work part-time while our kids are really young. And, truthfully, this decision kind of terrifies me. I’m scared being at home with a baby is going to make me depressed. I’m scared it’s going to continually make me feel drained, and I’m scared I’ll grow to be ineffective in the out-of-home world.

BUT the truth is, I’m not alone in any of it. 

There are going to be hard days, days when I want to scream, and days when I might have to break away for some “me” time, but ultimately, I’m not alone in it. The Lord says that he will continually guide me (Psalm 31:3; Proverbs 3:5-6), that He is the vine, my source of nourishment and life (John 15:5), and that he knows my situation fully (Psalm 139:2). There is no way I can be the mom I want to be by myself. I’m not as independent as I think I am. I desperately need Him. 

I know my story isn’t unique. I know there are others out there like me. If you’re one of those people, take heart. God is a good, He loves you, He knows what he’s doing, and He will walk with you through it all. Exhale and be comforted.

(Disclaimer: Whether a mom decides to work full-time, part-time, or stay at home with her kids is a very personal decision. No part of this post is meant to say that one way is better than the other – nor do I think the bible gives us enough to go on for any stay-at-home v. don’t-stay-at-home position. Okay…sorry. Pet peeve moment. I’m done.)