When You Feel Homesick

April 24, 2017

The clock reads 12:15 a.m…then 1:15 a.m…now 2:30 a.m., and I lay here, still awake. Unable to sleep
since waking with one of the kids who needed to use the restroom. Unusual for me, as I am typically able to fall back to sleep quickly, but tonight my mind begins to race with all the changes coming to our lives.

I wonder about where we’re moving, if it’s right. As I toss and turn and fret, a familiar feeling begins to rise in my chest, a fear, yes, but more than that, an ache. A familiar homesickness that sends me back to moments and memories of childhood where I longed for nothing more than to hug my mother's neck, smell her familiar scent, and know at once that I was home.

Home. A place you feel loved and known and know well yourself. For me, home has always afforded me comfort and safety. And this unsettledness, this homesickness I feel—can’t be shaken anymore by the embrace of my mother. Now I am the mother, loving my children, calming their fears.

But homesickness rises in me just the same and, as silent tears slip down my cheeks, I find myself whispering to God, “I just want to feel like I am home again.”

When Parenting is Holy Work

April 17, 2017

God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. Matthew 5:3 (NLT)

“Mom, can you make a window for me?”

The little voice was calling me from across the living room. Sighing, I turned from my laptop in the kitchen and looked over at my 5-year-old, standing expectantly by a large cardboard box, a pair of scissors in hand and hope writ large across her upturned face.

“Just a minute, Noelle,” I sighed, trying not to let my irritation over the interruption show. Tim and I were about to leave town for several days, and my to-do list of loose strings felt more like a rat’s nest of tangled threads, weighing me down. Our trip was two short days away and I already felt panicked over not finishing everything in time.

I returned to my correspondence, until a small voice piped up again: “Can you do it now, Mom?”

Frustrated, I turned to admonish her for lacking patience but, at just that moment, felt a small whisper inside:

What if this is your most holy work today?

The question made me pause. My to-do list felt endless, my house needed cleaning, laundry and dishes needed washing. I had editing and writing to do, and the organizations I work with needed tasks finished before I left town. All of those things felt important, necessary. I have people counting on me, I warred inwardly, silently.

But the quiet voice urged again: What if this is your most holy work today?

I have to admit that I pray for wisdom often as a mother because I know that, in my own power, I’m not cut out for it. I can be selfish; I’m not always brave. Sometimes I feel inadequate and unskilled, my degrees and life experience rendered meaningless.

Friends, I’m not enough.

But I believe—in a way I never used to—that motherhood is a calling. And that maybe, when God talks about being poor in spirit, this feeling of vulnerability—that in my own power, I am unequal to the calling I have received—is what he means and is the catalyst required for me to see how much I need him. Often, the mark of a true calling is the recognition that, in our own power, we are unequal to the task and could never accomplish it on our own.

For a long time, I hesitated to say that motherhood is a calling. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe it was important but because I know many women who may not have children, either by choice or by circumstance, and so giving motherhood that kind of privileging felt unkind. But I have come to believe what Holley Gerth says, that all women are mothers because all women bring life to the world in some way. Motherhood looks different to different people. With that said, I recognize my other callings, too. I’m called to be a writer. I'm called to be sensitive to those around me, overly empathetic in a way that can be challenging. I’m called to live generously. I’m called to volunteer with organizations that help others. And, I’m called to be a mom.

Refocusing on my daughter, I cross over to her. We talk about optimum window placement for her toy dog's “house,” adding one on each side and removing the top flaps. And as I sit beside her on the carpet, I resolve: Yes, this is my most holy work today. And I'm going to approach it that way.

Ponder: List one or more of your callings. Do you feel like God has equipped you to fulfill those callings? In what ways do you need to lean on him in order to fulfill them?

Pray: Read 1 Samuel 3. Though God may not speak aloud to us, he does communicate to us through his Word. Today, pray for the wisdom and discernment to listen to God and the truths he is revealing to you.

Act: Consider the callings you have received. Are there areas in your life in which you need to reprioritize in order to fulfill them? Today, prayerfully consider if you need to reconfigure your schedule, finances, or priorities.






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No risk, no fun

April 10, 2017

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6


It was a warm, sunshine-y day in late January as we stood on a gently curving path leading us toward the Sedona Red Rocks. The sun's rays felt like molten gold on my pale skin, and I watched as my children skipped happily back and forth along the meandering trail - running ahead before circling back to the slowly ambling grownups.

As we approached the base of Bell Rock, a giant rock that vaguely resembles a bell but looks, to me, like a double scoop of reddish oozing ice cream plopped onto the hard earth, we couldn't help but notice the tiny, ant-sized people standing at the very tiptop of the rock.


Noticing those foolishly intrepid souls, my daughter turned to us and with excitement in her voice, asked if she couldn't pretty please climb to the top, too. Sharing a glance that must have communicated our reluctance, my husband and I started quietly discussing whether or not the climb was doable and, more importantly, safe.

Safety Nets

April 3, 2017

The other day, Kyle asked jokingly why my friend Julie and I argue—or what I like to simply call banter—so much.


“Because she is safe for me,” I responded without thinking. And it’s true. Together, through our mutual love and respect for one another, we are allowed to dream big and ponder ideas that sometimes feel too heavy to bear alone. We've logged years of vulnerable and trusted conversations, so much so, that bantering honestly feels safe with her like few other people I know.

She is a safety net for me.

This morning, I picked up my youngest child, only three, who stretched out her arms for comfort after a perceived slight. As I whispered tender words in her ear to soothe her wounded heart, I realized I am a safety net for her.

Later, as I was cleaning up dishes and cutting vegetables for supper, I wondered: Do I do this often enough? How can I be better at loving those around me, unconditionally?


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