I got a tattoo.

For the 18 months leading up to it, I knew what I wanted. Several birds with an olive branch—an homage to each of my children and a reminder to always seek peace. A few weeks after my oldest daughter's adoption, we went together to the parlor. I was so excited. I got my tattoo and my daughter got “her” bird tattooed behind her ear.

As we drove home, I had mixed emotions—happiness, which I expected, but also some reservations, some sadness. And I thought, That’s oddwhy would I feel this way? 

I’m a fairly decisive person; I very rarely regret decisions or choices I’ve made. Once I’ve committed to something, I move ahead without little thought to any other options.

The next morning, I woke up again with the nagging feeling that something was wrong, amiss. I felt  sad and could not explain why. For the next several days, I walked around in a daze, unable to pinpoint my pain.

There were moments I’d sit and cry in my closet, feeling panic wash over me—hating my arm, the tattoo—all of it. I would Google ways to remove tattoos and then wonder why I was doing it.

After several days of covering up my arm so that no one could see it and feeling awash with sadness, I finally sat down and prayed—Lord, what is this about? It’s just a stupid tattoo.

Looking down at my arm once again, I noticed that only half of the image was showing and I didn’t mind it—it was only when you could see the entire picture that I hated it.

Fall is a perfect time of year for kindness! 

With kids back in school and the change of seasons upon us, it's the perfect time to incorporate some acts of kindness into your fall schedule!

Click the link to receive our list of ideas for acts of kindness that kids and parents can do--simply download and save or print off and hang on your fridge as a reminder!

You can also join our Facebook Intentional Kindness Community and follow us on Instagram as The Ruth Experience for additional encouragement, ideas, and camaraderie. 

Finally - have you bought our book, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional?

It is the story of how our families embarked on a one year journey of kindness - our successes, failures and how God redeemed it all in the most incredible ways. If you already have our book and love it, we'd so appreciate it if you leave a review on Amazon. 

We'd love to see what you're doing, so be sure to tag us with your kind acts and use the hashtags #kindnesscounts and #kindnessmatters

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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