Spring Breaking

I meant to say that I was going to be a little silent this week, as it’s my kids’ spring break. And my goal for this week has been quality time and fun (in between work stuff, of course).

And we have had a LOT of fun:


  • We went to Atlanta and saw our friend in Seussical: The Musical
  • Spent time with the Gamma and the Papa
  • Paxton has slept until about 9 every morning (which is enough fun in and of itself)
  • We got off the mountain and had lunch at Sonic and played games at the Fun Factory (our version of Chuck E. Cheese)
  • Jaana & I had a mommy-daughter date day and had lunch, saw a movie and went shopping
  • I’ve slept until at least 8 every morning (and one day until 9!)
  • We’ve been to Target TWICE
  • Jaana had a sleepover
  • I am slowly but surely catching up on my DVR full of ridiculously delicious television

All in all, it’s been awesome and it’s only Thursday!

So I might do Five Minute Friday tomorrow…or I might not. Just depends on how tired I am from all the fun. (And how discouraged I am that my clothes are ill-fitting due to an overload of the Cadbury Mini-Eggs and none of the running.)

So anyway. I might see you tomorrow, or I might see you Monday.

Have an amazing and lavishly blessed Easter — may the resurrection of our Lord be new and fresh to you this weekend.


We rejoice at the positive pregnancy test and immediately plan the colors of the nursery. If it’s a girl, it’ll be Tiffany Blue and if it’s a boy, grays and navy. And when the ultrasound time comes and we find out the gender we immediately pick names. In the span of 20 minutes we’ve considered and tossed out close to 50 name options ranging from family to traditional to unique to modern spellings of traditional names.

As the pregnancy grows we plan our clothes and the baby’s clothes. We plan the diaper bag and the wipes holder and plan the car seat and the window shade and the high chair. We plan our birthing process and what we’ll wear in the hospital and what the baby will wear home.

When our child is born, we plan the feeding schedule and the sleeping schedule and the pooping schedule and the playing schedule. We plan visits with family and friends to show off our bundle. We take time to pack the bag and have extra clothes and extra diapers and extra wipes and extra everything in case we’re stranded for a week solid.

As toddlerhood begins we figure out where they’ll go to Mother’s Morning Out and for how many hours a day. Then we finalize a preschool and Halloween costumes and Christmas outfits and Easter baskets and decide if we’ll even celebrate Halloween or Santa or the Easter Bunny at all.

Careful thought about every single aspect of our child’s life, planned out from the moment we peed on a stick.

But then, if you’re like me, you wake up one day and your daughter is almost nine and you realize you’ve been very happenstance about this whole mothering thing, regardless of all your planning.


And I suddenly there’s a sense of urgency because if I’m not intentional now then I’ve lost the most formative years before she’s a full-fledged teen. (tweet)

And all the planning for nursing and outfits and preschool was nothing compared to the planning I need to do now.

So now — today — I begin. With intention. With determination.

First, I hit the ground with my face to the floor and let my pained heart bleed out to the One who gave her to me. I thank Him for the gift of raising a daughter, even when I was scared to death about raising a girl in a world with Facebook and Twitter at minimum. I ask Him to fill me with wisdom and discernment and confidence and boldness that I might say no when necessary, bestow grace when it’s undeserved and hold firm when I want to waver.

Second, I cover her with Truth. I pray the word over her, that her heart would be guarded from lies that the world wants her to believe. I pray that no weapon formed against her would prosper and that He would hide her under His mighty wing. I pray that she might always find refuge in Him alone. First. Always. I pray that her daddy would continue to dote over her and fawn over her, displaying the Father’s love for her here on earth, just as he always has.

Third, I stock up my arsenal. I gather books and resources galore that will help me navigate in these choppy waters of tweendom. Resources from Secret Keeper Girl and books like Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl and Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters. I read and highlight and cry and pray as my eyes are opened to the importance of this time in her life. I call on friends who have walked this path and know what’s ahead of me. I ask them for prayer when I’ve had to make tough decisions that leave me feeling like That Mom. I soak up wisdom from these friends and pour out thanksgiving to them and God for their covering.

Lastly, I let go. After all the tears and prayers and books and talks, I have to open the cage and let her fly. I have to trust her to make tough decisions. I resist the urge to rescue when her heart is hurt by a friendship. I have to comfort and love and release and watch in so many ways and it makes my heart ache, but that’s what I’m called to do. I have to trust Jesus in her. I have to trust God. I have to. For after all, she was His first. He’s just entrusting her to me for a time.

When I was six months pregnant and had that glow and eagerly anticipated what Jaana would look like and how she’d grow up, I didn’t imagine she’d be as amazing a child as she is right now. I also couldn’t have imagined the depths to which I would feel for her.

I knew I’d love her fiercely, but I didn’t realize how quickly I’d be willing to punch out another child for hurting her feelings. Or how often I’d want to isolate her in a bubble so she wouldn’t be subject to any pain or difficulty or change. Or how her pain would literally make my heart stop.

I didn’t know it would be like that.

I’ve had to keep myself from crying more times than I can count as she tells me about changing friendships, hurt feelings and how life just doesn’t seem fair.

For all the planning I did as a pregnant woman, I have felt so underprepared to mother, feeling failure at every turn and fear of permanent scarring.

But there are also moments when I’m drowning in the words I can’t find to comfort or guide her, and suddenly as my mouth opens God fills it. He speaks the words that will bring a healing balm to her tiny heart. He speaks the grace that erases doubt and confusion as she nods her head in understanding.

Those are the holy moments. The moments when I truly realize He has equipped me for this job…even if the equipping happens in real-time in a minute-by-minute basis, and not in a stockpile. (tweet)

So I begin my journey of intention starting today, confident in the knowledge that God is equipping me to mother this beautiful girl as I go. I make my plans but keep a loose hold on them to allow for God’s divine guidance and direction along the way.

“The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord shows him what to do.” (Proverbs 16:9, New Life Version)

The Mothers of All Battles

The leave of absence was granted with full enthusiasm, both by the colonel and me, the Good Soldier. I needed not only time away from the battle, but time to regain strength to carry on.

I returned to duty expecting not to get completely exasperated the first day. After all, isn’t a Good Soldier trained to endure? To not be swayed under pressure?

Yet immediately, the grenades were thrown: “MOM! Paxton threw a ball and it hit me in the eye!!”

And the mines erupted beneath every footstep: “MOOOOOMMMMMYYYYYYYY! Sissa won’t let me watch a show!!!”

I had stolen a few minutes to talk on the phone to a friend, and she had the privilege of hearing me respond to each with typical soldier rhetoric: “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT?!!”

My friend, a fellow Good Soldier, quickly realized I needed to engage in battle and hung up the phone. And I proceeded to break all the rules of battle — I didn’t assess the situation or stealthily sneak an attack. No, instead I pounded through the kitchen and up the stairs as loud and as fast as I could, guns a-blazing, so as to instill a holy fear in them before I arrived.

Hark! The Mother of All the Battles approaches.

There are days I pound up the steps like an attack on Normandy, and other days I’m willing to exit my house with hands clasped behind my head in full surrender…waving a juice-stained white flag.

I sometimes think we’d all be better off — this whole bunker — if I hired a Ghost Mother. Someone to come in and take over the duties, writing the story of my kids’ childhood for me, while I still get the byline and the credit. And if that’s not possible, maybe I could just find a foxhole to climb into until an ally comes to fight for me, so I can walk out without scars and wounds.

In the words of Combeferre,

Will you join in our crusade?

Who will be strong and stand with me?

Somewhere beyond the barricade

Is there a world you long to see?

Somewhere beyond the barricade of potty-training and pre-tween-ness is a world where I’m not losing both the battles and the war.

Wars are neither fought nor won alone. Each side has thousands of fellow Good Soldiers, all focused on the same vision. Soldiers who immediately jump in to rescue when a sister is down. Or down and out.

I need partners in this War of the Kids’ Worlds. Women who will be strong and stand with me. Women who don’t offer yet another battle strategy or tactic, or compare how much worse their battles are than mine, or (God forbid) judge me silently — but women who will link arms with me and help cover my back with prayer. Women who won’t leave me to hide in my foxhole, but will simply say, “Chin up, soldier. ‘No Woman Left Behind’ is our motto.”

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” (Proverbs 17:7, NLT)

Women who encourage me to remember I get to start over tomorrow.

I need this woman, and yet I don’t think I am this woman. I fear I’ve neglected the motto and get too focused on only me and my bunker…oblivious to all the battles raging around me and the other Good Soldiers’ cries for help.

“But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” (1 Thess 5:8, NIV)

This thing we do — this Motherhood Warfare — can’t be won with just artillery or might. It isn’t a just battle of brawn. It can’t be. It has to be a battle that engages our spirits, minds, souls and bodies. Because we, almost like Jesus, pour out every bloody ounce of ourselves in desperation that our children be saved. Saved spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. A pleading escapes our souls that their lives would exceed our own. That they would become Great Soldiers one day, not just good ones.

This long-term war can only be endured in communion with God the Father.  A daily pre-dawn intake of Bread and Water, so that after the sun rises and the battle is underway, we won’t faint with fear, anxiety and worry. So that we’ll stay sharp, focused and be able to strategize with intention and purpose.

And it can only be endured in communion with each other — where we share the Bread and share the Cup and remind each other that this parenting thing we do is in remembrance of Him. In remembrance of The One who poured all of Himself out for His children.

I promise to stand with you, praying and cheering and rescuing you from the foxhole when you need it. I promise to enter into communion with you, helping you remember you get to start over tomorrow. Will you join me in my crusade? Will you be strong and stand with me, too?

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, NLT)

 A triple-braided cord — you, me and Jesus. Now get out there and do this thing.