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God is in Charge
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How Motherhood Brought Me Closer to God

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God is in Charge

Over the past few weeks of sheltering in place, I’ve…

Caught my four-year-old daughter using roughly 40 sheets of toilet paper and LOST MY MIND…

Found a forgotten half-full package of flour on the top shelf of the cabinet and celebrated like we’d just struck crude…

Watched an elementary school principal trying to conduct a Zoom meeting without putting the 100 participants (many of them small children) on mute…

Discovered all the Sharpie and marker art my four-year-old added to our hardwood floors and sofa cushions while the rest of us were busy trying to figure out school at home…

Transformed my living room into a soccer field for my boys’ rainy day Zoom soccer practice…

Yelled to my rowdy children during a Maundy Thursday livestream church service, “BE QUIET AND LISTEN TO HOW JESUS DIED!!!”…

Teared up watching Dave Matthews perform a Paul Simon cover in his bathroom.

It’s been a strange time. I’ve enjoyed being together with my husband and three kids and felt grateful for having a home, a yard, and plenty of food (and even some toilet paper), but it’s been hard not to dwell on the cloud of fear and uncertainty hanging over our heads.

I knew we would need a schedule to survive, so I threw together a quick one with time for reading, journaling, writing, math, and even some baking/gardening/sewing. I have often bemoaned, even here in this blog, that I am tremendously unqualified for most of the tasks that come along with parenting (nursing, cleaning, cooking, child psychology…math). But here I could add to our schedule one of the few things I am qualified to teach: Bible study, since I was a religion major as an undergrad and have a master’s in theological studies. We decided to start each day of our homeschooling with Bible study.

I gave my kids several options for study, and they chose Genesis. We began reading, using my The Life with God Bible, my daughter’s Jesus Storybook Bible and the boy’s NIVs. I have always wanted to be more regular with Bible study with my kids, more than just teaching their Sunday School classes twice a month, but other than Advent, I’ve never been very good at making time for it. Well… now we have time.

We opened our Bibles that first day and read about God creating the world. I felt tremendously reassured by this reminder that God is in charge. The next morning I got off the phone with my good friend who is a nurse, shaken to my core by the things she was telling me, and opened my Bible again. Again I was reassured by the reminder that God made us and called us very good. As we talked about sin and all its consequences in the world, about the people in the ark and how alone and afraid and at the same time sick of each other (sound familiar?) they must have felt, I realized that this study was helping me so much more than it was helping them.

When it comes to learning about God with my kids, I always think I’m the teacher and discover I’m the student.

Like many of you, I would guess, I’ve found this time to be filled with ups and downs. There have been hard times, yes. The fear and uncertainty has kept me up many nights. We are all adjusting to being home together, and it’s been very challenging to keep all three kids occupied and, at the same time, make sure they attend all of their various Zoom meetings (SO many Zoom meetings).

But there are so many blessings too. My husband has not lost his job. We are all healthy. We’ve experienced many little acts of kindness, such as friends dropping off three dozen eggs they’d scored at Target so we could dye Easter eggs. We’ve even tried to throw a little kindness out there into the world. We’ve enjoyed lots and lots of family movie nights. My boys are learning to cook and do the dishes (!).

Since my husband is working from home, he can stay home with my daughter while I take a bike ride with the boys. I don’t know how many years it’s been since I’ve actually been on a bike, something I used to love. Turns out I still love it.

But the best part has been reading the Bible together. Our study is far from perfect. I get frustrated when my kids bounce all over the room while I’m talking or when we’re talking about the covenant and they find it reminds them of a favorite YouTube skit, which they must then recount in great detail.  All this time together brings some of my weaknesses and shortcomings to the surface.

And so it is comforting to read about the weaknesses and shortcomings of the people of God, from the very beginnings of creation. And how God loved them anyway and was able to accomplish great things through them.

When my children look back on these days, I hope one of the things they will remember, amidst the bike rides and the movies, will be the way we lit a candle together each morning and opened our Bibles. I doubt they’ll remember any of the specifics of the theological insight I try desperately to impart to them, but I hope they will remember this time as a small oasis of calm in our otherwise chaotic days. I hope they will remember God’s stunning love for them. I hope they will remember God is in charge. And to be as grateful for those two things as I am.

What You Do After Cancer

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I drive to the medical center trying my best to distract myself with a podcast I’d saved just for the occasion, but once I check in and sit down it’s no longer possible to forget that it’s time for my yearly mammogram. And once you’ve had breast cancer, you’ve lost the illusion that such things […]

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Find Your Flow

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  When I speak to groups of moms with young children, I ask them to close their eyes and think of the last time they felt themselves relax into the moment so much that they lost all sense of time. When I look around the room I can see panic in some of the women’s […]

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Mom, I Don’t Pray

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“I don’t pray,” my ten-year-old son said the other day at the dinner table, and my heart just about stopped. “What?” I said. “What do you mean? Why not? What happened?” My head filled with even more questions. What had I done wrong? Hadn’t I taught and modeled prayer for him? Was he going through […]

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When You Feel Like You’re Not a Good Enough Mom

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I studied all the wrong things in school. Based on my daily life, I would have been much better off had I studied nursing, nutrition, defensive carpool driving, physical therapy, and child psychology. Some housecleaning and organization courses might  also have come in handy. Unfortunately, my degrees are in international relations, journalism, and theological studies. […]

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Cancer-Free: A Resolution of Gratitude

On December 28 I went to the cancer center for my yearly mammogram. Because my initial surgery to remove my breast cancer was in December, this anxiety-producing ritual now falls at the end of each year. It’s been 18 months since I finished treatment, chemotherapy and radiation, and although I now take tamoxifen to prevent […]

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Teaching Kids to Talk (and Listen) to God

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I once shocked a bunch of kids while giving a children’s sermon. I told them it didn’t matter if they bowed their heads or even folded their hands when they prayed.  That they certainly could pray while kneeling with their hands folded and their heads bowed, but that they could also pray while lying in […]

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