Somewhere There Is a Woman…

Somewhere there is a woman rocking a baby in the middle of the night. She is exhausted and tired, and as she rocks back and forth, she cries silently into his curly hair. His head tucked up under her chin, his chubby hands holding onto her, she holds him tightly and prays, “Lord, make me the momma he needs me to be. Show me how to love him, teach him, raise him up to be the man you have called him to be.”

And the Lord hears her prayer.

A world away, a woman holds the hand of her small child. The young girl hops over each crack in the sidewalk, her pleated school skirt and ponytails bouncing as she jumps. Filled with hope and responsibility, she prays, “Lord, make me the momma she needs me to be. Show me how to teach her confidence and compassion. Guide me as I teach her about beauty, and grace, and love for you and others.”

And the Lord hears her prayer.

The sun has set and heavy eyes have finally closed as another woman goes in to turn out the light. As she leans down and kisses the heads of her small children she whispers, “Lord, make me the momma they need me to be. May I always be an example of how to trust in you, look to you, and follow you all the days of my life.”

And the Lord hears her prayer.

In a small hospital room, the sun is just rising on another day without answers. A woman carefully repositions the blankets and tucks the special worn teddy bear under her son’s arm. She sits on the end of his bed and prays, “Lord, make me the momma he needs me to be. Show me how to be strong. Show me how to trust. Never let him see my faith waver, because you are good, and we will choose to trust you.”

And the Lord hears her prayer.

A woman holds a test in her hands. It is positive this time, but she is scared. She slides down the wall onto the cold tile floor and prays, “Lord, make me the momma this baby needs me to be. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I know that you will be with us. Help me to hear your voice as you lead us.”

And the Lord hears her prayer.

Around the world, there are woman just like you. Women who pray for their children to know God. Women who pray for safety, and health, and peace, and wholeness. Women who pray that they might know what to do next.  Women who are desperate for answers. Women who cling desperately to hope. And women who will choose to trust above all.

I don’t know where you are today. I don’t know what circumstances surround your prayer. But, today, I get to remind you… wherever you are… That you are not alone. You are already the momma they need you to be,

And the Lord hears your prayer.

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What Millennials Really Want from Church

I am a millennial and I grew up in church. I lived church. Some of my earliest memories involve Sunday School lessons and nursery friend playdates. Some of my oldest friends to this day I made in church over 20 years ago. I have a ton of “behind the scenes” memories of the inner workings of a church. I have been many different denominations. I have attended churches of every size. I have eaten more potluck Wednesday night meals than you have eaten hamburgers.

My husband’s story also involves church. He grew up faithfully attending a congregation with his family nearly every Sunday. He knows the same hymns I do. We were taught many of the same Sunday School lessons. He knows the reverence for the sermon and respect for the pastor. He learned the importance of the fellowship of the body of Christ. But somehow, he sat through all of it, and missed it. My sweet husband explains that he came to know Christ the summer that we met. He says that he didn’t have any understanding of what it really meant to love Jesus and follow Him despite all of the hours that he spent in the building.

The more I talk with others our age, the more I hear stories with the same theme. In the last few months I have heard account after account of individuals who grew up in church and feel as though they missed it. They sat through countless church services and know the traditions, but they do not know Jesus.

This is why millennials are leaving the church.

It’s not because the church doesn’t have a cool worship band, or fancy lights or stage. It isn’t because the pastor hasn’t updated his look to sport skinny jeans, a beard and tattoo. It isn’t because the church doesn’t have a Starbucks or eco-friendly restrooms… Even though this is what some might say attract people from my generation.

If you want to attract a millennial, you need to be authentic.

We have been advertised to our entire lives. We know when we are being “sold” on something. We can tell when you’re trying. We can tell when you’re desperate. At the end of the day, it isn’t about anything you could do to your building or your service that will draw us in…

It is the authentic love of Jesus and His people that will make us come back.

What pushes us away? We are repulsed by dry traditions and lack of intimacy with the Father.

We don’t want to go to Church to be reminded of everything we aren’t supposed to do or believe. We want to go to ask the tough questions and seek Jesus in the answers. We want to connect with others who are just as passionate about pursuing Jesus and loving those He calls us to love as we are.

We feel disconnected in services that teach about morality from people we know are morally flawed. We don’t need lessons on morality. We want to hear the PURE GOSPEL and stories of how to live like Jesus. The closer we are to Him, the more our lives will reflect the character of Jesus Christ. We need fewer lessons on how to polish the outside of the glass and more teaching on how to be filled with the love of Jesus! We will have a hard time listening to these messages if we know the pastor doesn’t live it.

We feel remarkably responsible for the state of the world, and feel like it is our duty to do something …anything… to make a difference. We are passionate about compassion. We are givers. We want to invest into ministries that make the world and the people in it healthier and bring them closer to Jesus.

We are Truth seekers. He came that we might know Him and by knowing Him know the Father. Right? If you can point us to Jesus – to His personhood – to His reachable presence, we will follow you. But if you want to paint a veil of religion that makes us go through traditions and ceremonies to reach God – then we’re out.

After all, we are just as happy sitting on couches in living rooms planning on how we will reach the world for Jesus than sitting in stuffy loveless services. The mission isn’t to gather the good people. The mission of the Church is to love people like Jesus did. With a love that heals, delivers and sets people free. Our outrageous love for them should be transforming, not condemning.

We desperately want Jesus. We want Him to be real in our lives and our relationships. We want to feel His love burn in our hearts to the point that we cannot help but give it away. We want to put our hands in His scars not because we don’t believe it is Him, but because we just cannot believe that He would come near to someone like us. Your own stories aren’t going to be good enough for us. We want to experience His love for ourselves, and we want to come to church to connect with others who feel the same way.

If you want a millennial to come to your church service, you only need one thing – Jesus. If He isn’t on the guest list, then we’re not interested in coming either.

I try and stay in touch with my readers on a personal level through social media. Share this post to pass it on, and then click here to find me on Facebook.

What if You Could Go Back to the Beginning?

Hey friend,

I know that there are days when it is hard to love that spouse of yours. I know that there are moments when you don’t know how you’re ever going to make it. But I have this idea, and it just might change everything. But first, let me tell you this story.

One night, my husband and I found ourselves in the middle of another stupid argument.

I slammed our bedroom door, and threw myself across our bed like an overly dramatic character in a Disney movie. My husband followed me into our room. “What are you so upset about exactly?”

“That’s the problem! You really have no idea. Do you?” I shouted.

“I would if you told me,” He answered. “Are you really that upset about dinner? I’m sorry I said the green beans were gross, but they were. They were basically raw, and you know that I don’t like crunchy green beans. But I was eating them wasn’t I?”

“No. It wasn’t just dinner! Do you really think we are fighting about food?”

“Then, what was it?” My husband asked innocently.

And I couldn’t tell him. I couldn’t tell him because if we are being completely honest, I would have to go back to the day that we began our relationship.

After all, that was the day that the list began. No, it wasn’t written down on paper. It was the list that I didn’t even realize I was making. It was the list of all of the times that he did something wrong, or frustrating or hurtful, and instead of addressing it, I just ignored it and added it to the pile of silent offenses.

Truthfully, at the time, I thought I was doing a good thing. I thought that I was just “letting it go” instead of making a big deal about it. Unfortunately, the way I think that I let things go, and the way that I actually let things go are two different situations all together.

Because without even realizing it, my pile of silent offenses is growing.

- The time that he chose to spend time on his phone browsing Facebook instead of talking with me.
- The time that he didn’t help me give the kids a bath because he was tired even though he knew how tired I was as well.
- The time when we first got married…
- The time when we first moved into our new house…
- The time when we were first new parents…
- The time…
- The time…
- The time…

Until there are nights like the one when he said he didn’t like my cooking, and we end up fighting about green beans – when it wasn’t the green beans at all.

It is never really about the green beans. Is it?

But, friend, what would it be like if we looked at our husbands/wives and saw nothing but love? What if we could go back to the day before they said the hurtful words, broke our trust, hurt our hearts?

What if we could tear up the list?

What would that be like to wake up and pretend like it was our first day as husband and wife… or even our first day dating each other. To wipe the slate clean and instead of responding with guarded hearts and through painful pasts… to treat each moment as if it was the very first time?

Sweet friend, you have so much love to give – and so do they. What if today you decided to just start over?

What if?

Friends, I’m taking this challenge to treat each day with my husband as if it was our first day together. How would I speak to him? How would I interact with him? Would my heart feel differently if we just started again at the beginning?

Sometimes, we can’t go back – but we can choose to start again for the sake of our marriage.

Will you join me? You can either share this post with your spouse or take this challenge without them realizing it… like a secret.

If you want to take this a step further, use the contact form to send me your email address. I will email you a daily challenge!

(Don’t tell my husband, but I started taking my own challenge a few weeks ago… and well,  just try it and see what happens in your marriage when you do. It might just be an answer to prayers.)

As always, friends,

I try and stay in touch with my readers on a personal level through social media. Share this post to pass it on, and then click here to find me on Facebook.