Love Wins. The End.

December 8, 2014

You would think that after several years of marriage, the luster would wear a bit thin on love.

And if I’m honest, there are days when it does. 

My sweet family -- living proof that Love Wins
Days when we’ve stepped on one too many tiaras in the living room or Noelle is waving scissors suspiciously close to Elise’s eyes or both girls have seemingly forgotten how to do anything but whine piteously. Days like this past Friday, when we’re scrambling to rid the Hoarders-like mess from our mudroom in preparation for a party and Tim tells me, “That’s it! No more online shopping! We have TOO MUCH MAIL!”

But in a lot of ways, I’m more comfortable at 31 than I ever was at 22, the age I was when Tim and I first met. 

Sure, I probably fit our culture's definition of beauty a little better at 22. I could still squeeze into a bikini without (mostly) flinching, yet I still worried endlessly about my chubby legs and squishy arms. Which seems funny to me now, considering I had no idea how much worse it would get: I didn’t know that chin hairs weren’t just something Grandma Jo got in her final years. I didn’t know that weird wrinkles on my face would make me wonder what kind of expressions I consistently make to achieve them. I hadn't experienced a Muffin Top, and I still knew what my original hair color was. My arms didn’t have a second wave, my belly didn’t have stretchmarks, my legs didn’t show a fine tracery of veins underneath. 

And yet, it was so easy for me to fall into the trap of striving to look "better," and my confidence and self-esteem wavered depending on my circumstances.

When I think about all that now -- about how my belly is growing larger by the day, and it’s hard to even see beyond it to shave my legs (which seems pointless in the winter, anyway) -- I'm so thankful that I'm not 22 anymore. 

Because it’s so much easier to feel comfortable with this life, this body, these foibles and faults that I have, now that I’m finally hearing the right messages from those close to me. Not that life-giving words weren't being spoken to me at 22, I just don't think I really listened. There were too many days that I let positive words get drowned out by the expectations that our culture shouted at me. 

Because in the ups and downs of marriage and parenting and friendship and faith, when it comes down to what matters in life, here's the message I hear at 31 that I ignored at 22: Love Wins.  

And so tonight, when Noelle sobs for 30 minutes straight because she has to go potty for the third time and I'm so frustrated that I just want to turn off the monitor and bury my head under a pillow, I pause and take a deep breath.

And instead of issuing threats for her to get back into bed or angry words to make her hurry up in the bathroom, I gather her in my arms and sit in the little-used, forgotten rocker in her bedroom corner. As her small body stops thrashing, as she sighs and curls her hands into my sweatshirt, I feel profoundly grateful. Thankful that, for once, I got it right. 

Because when it comes to parenting and discipline, Love Wins. 

And earlier today, I’m reminded of how profound the message really is during a conversation with Elise.

Elise: “You know what Papa says he loves about me?”
Me: “What?”
Elise: “Everything.” And then she smiles. 

Because when it comes to feeling accepted, Love Wins. 

And I'm once again profoundly grateful that, for once, we got it right.

Need a little parenting encouragement? Check out our book Grace for the Imperfect Mom: A 31-Day Invitation to Refreshed Mothering. We're right there with you, Mama.



Don't forget to check out the acts of kindness posted daily this month on our Facebook and Twitter feeds -- we'd love for you to join us! Have no idea what we're talking about? You can find all the information about our third annual Advent Acts of Kindness and 5 Ways to Balance Giving and Getting in Kids' Christmas Traditions along with free printables, great ideas and lots of helpful links!

Today we are linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee for TellHisStory.

Make A Difference Mondays is a weekly linkup designed to encourage and inspire us to live each day on purpose—making a meaningful difference in someone’s life in even the smallest of ways. Five women regularly co-host this link-up. Read on to learn more about the vision, mission, and how to link up!

Mission: Our mission is to provide a consistent gathering place for like-minded women to build online connections, share inspiration, and provide mutual encouragement and accountability as we seek to live intentionally and make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Vision: Every Monday we invite bloggers to link up any blog posts that encourage women to live life on purpose, including testimonies or goals from your own life, small acts of kindness or service, creative tips or ideas for showing consideration to others — the possibilities are endless. Our objective is to use our God-given time and resources to his glory! 

Also, just a heads-up: the Make A Difference Mondays team has created a Facebook community group to stay in touch beyond the blog posts AND we also have a new #MADMlinkup group Pinterest board: Make A Difference Mondays Pinterest Board.




  1. Oh my! I loved the line, "I had no idea how much worse it could get." Laugh out loud funny! Great blog today, my friend!

  2. Precious and priceless! Thanks for hosting Make A Difference Mondays Kristin!

    1. Thanks, Sybil! It's our please to fill in as a host! :)