Am I Focused on the Smudges or the Sunshine?

Last week tucked in between rain and unseasonably cold temperatures we had two very pleasant days of warmth and sunshine in my little nook of the world.

So often on these warm sunny days, I find myself watching my four children playing in the yard from the bay window in our kitchen. As I watch my children playing outside, sun streaking through the windows, feeling it’s warmth and enjoying the extra brightness that sunshine brings inside our home, I feel shalom for a moment. Wholeness, peace and beauty.

On this particular day, I found myself feeling shalom and enjoying beauty one minute and finding faults the next. I took my eyes off the beauty of that sunshine streaming though the bay windows in my kitchen for a moment and I began to see first handprints all over everything; windows, television, fireplace, then computer screen. And next the tiny specks of dust resting on the surfaces of my cherry furniture. My gaze turned from beauty and instantly I saw imperfections and smudges all over the place. Sunshine has quite a way or exposing beauty and smudges.

It is a tough battle for me not to grab my version of a glock 19, the windex bottle, and distract myself from that moment of rest, shalom and beauty by getting caught up in the busyness of shooting down smudges. Doing is the nature of my flesh. Rest has always been counter to who I am. It is the work of the Spirit maturing inside of me to hold still and fight to take my gaze back to the beauty and shalom of that sunshine.

I cannot see beauty when I am bustling about focused on destroying dust and shooting down smudges.

I can only see beauty when I still myself. (Psalm 46:10)

When I lay my arms (that trusty bottle of windex) down and see shalom despite the smudges.

And as I have thought about his moment over the past week I have been convicted that my entire life is lived this way. I am so quick to take my eyes off of bright, warm, all encompassing beauty and focus and fret over tiny imperfections. Once I find one tiny imperfection, I tend to see them all.

I live this way with my kids. My children could have one hundred good days at school and a handful of bad, but that handful of bad tills up every single imperfection I see in them in my heart. When I take my eye off of beauty with my kids, I easily forget whose they are. I see them for how they live, what they do right and where they fall short instead of seeing them as covenant children of the Risen King.

I live this way with my husband. I could come home from being away at a women’s retreat or spending the day subbing at school. Every time I am away he has folded the laundry, taken all four kids swimming or to the amusement park or something else extraordinary, but I find myself taking my gaze off that beauty and finding faults in tiny details of crumbs on the counters and toys strewn across the floor. I fail to see all of the beautiful ways he loved our children while I was away when I focus on the condition of my home.

I live this way with myself. When I turn my gaze from beauty, when I forget to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith (Hebrews 12:2). It is so easy for me to see my imperfections and let those imperfections take hold of my gaze. I so easily focus on the smudges in my own life and fail to see the sunshine. I fail when I focus on seeking the approval of others, what I did right or what I did wrong, drinking from the unsatisfying cisterns (Jeremiah 2:13) of performing the role of parenting well or my reputation in the community and the church.

And as I reflect on standing there in front of that bay window in my kitchen I believe I am feeling God’s nudge to fight to focus on the sunshine.  To lay down my arms of wanting to constantly work on buffing away smudges instead of basking in the beauty of my Savior. When I keep my gaze on Him, the smudges are still there but pale in comparison His beauty.

In my nook of the world I want to automatically focus on the sunshine and forget the smudges. When I start to feel my fretting heart beating a little bit more quickly when it comes to housework, parenting, marriage, ministry, I want to be quick to ask myself: Am I focusing on the smudges or the sunshine?

In my nook of the world I am fighting to remind myself to keep my gaze on Jesus. To focus on sunshine and feel shalom, wholeness, beauty and peace. To dwell in the shelter of the Most High God, feel His all encompassing beauty and rest in His presence. (Psalm 91). To be still, lay down the doing parts of my nature and walk in the path God has called me to. A path of freedom and rest. A path with eyes fixed on Him.

What I Love About Sundays

Most of you know these things about me but for those of you who do not… it is important I catch you up on where I am in this chapter of the story God is writing for me.

I have four young children. My boys are eight, six and five. My daughter is three. My husband is a pastor of a church in a denomination called the Presbyterian Church in America… say that three times fast.

Every Sunday, I get to go to work with my husband. Bring my kids. And sit in the front row.

In my dreams Sunday mornings are well, easy. There is a whole song about it. Easy Like Sunday Morning. So soothing to think of that song. In my dreams I hear that soothing instrument and Lionel Ritchie. And in my life, in this season, I wish this song were my truth. I want you to think it is easy and a joy and a delight to go to my husband’s work place on Sunday mornings. After all, his work is for Jesus.

But my reality. Hmmm. Even on the best of Sunday mornings, Sundays for me, are about as easy as well, the Tasmanian Devil. Dirty-dust-cloud and spit-swirling-chaos.

745 Kids upstairs. Make beds, get dressed, brush teeth.

825 Kids downstairs. Shoes, breakfast, dog out. CLEAR instructions about kids cleaning their own plates.

850 Me upstairs. Try on at least four different outfits. Stress about looking too wrong. Not pastor’s wife enough. Dry shampoo my hair. Daughter upstairs while I make-up. She wants to know about all of the eight items I put on my face. What they are and if she can use them. We have an argument because I NEED TO BE ON TIME and I don’t have time to do this on this day. I stress again about looking wrong. But reassure myself in the mirror that wrong or right to humans, I am enough. Because of Jesus I am enough. Breathe, smooth my half-washed hair again. Say it again. Because of Jesus I am enough. 

915 Coats are strung across the small wooden table which was my mother’s and sits right behind my sofa. Kids did clean up their dishes. (Hallelujah Chorus) I leave the crumbs. My pre-four-children-self hates this. I shut her voice down, I can’t be that girl anymore. I give the first “get in the car” warning. I’ve had coffee but still haven’t eaten. I am caffeinated but hangry. Dog comes in. My oldest mostly cares for her and gives her what she needs to been happy while we are gone.

918 Someone has to pee. Or poo. Or the dog pooed. Or peed. My life revolves mostly around poo or pee. Vomit sometimes too but mostly poo and pee. Today it wasn’t that. Today it was about a plastic piece of fake lipstick. My daughter was in tears because one of her brothers stomped on her Anna lipstick and it had mud on it. Tell brother that the most important job he has on Sundays, is to be a peacemaker. For his mommy, for Jesus. Be a peacemaker. Go back inside to rinse mud off fake lipstick.

924 Try not to get crazy-eyed and loose my crap in the driveway. I am almost always crying or yelling by this point. Hangry lighting is not my best lighting. Breathe. Also notice stain on the skirt of the outfit that took me way too long to choose. Sunday School and Adult Community Groups are in six minutes and I have a four minute drive so skirt with stain it is. Breathe again. Check the mirror. Say I am enough. Because of Jesus. I am enough.

928. Heck who am I kidding sometimes 935. Pull into Sunday school drop-off circle and cheat park because this is the easiest way to get my four children into my husband’s workplace while I am hangry with a stained skirt and dry shampooed hair. Battle the Pop-a-Shot basketball hoop, my new nemesis which has been perfectly placed near my cheat parking spot. Shoo boys away from giant idol and into classrooms where each of them are welcomed by the very BEST Sunday School teachers a boy could have.

940 My three year old cries because I’m abandoning her. She uses those words. Abandonment. Knife to my heart. I know it’s developmental. I know she will be okay. I am beyond late for Adult Communities.

942-1000. Get stopped by friends in the hallway or heck, I stop friends in the hallway. I’m an extrovert. Sooooo. Late. For. Community Groups.

1000-1030. Go to Community Groups. Overshare waaaaaa-y too much. Feel insecure about oversharing. (Make note to no longer attend Community Groups to spare everyone from my oversharing.)

1030-1045. Pick up boys and army crawl pass my daughter’s classroom because if she sees me the abandonment argument returns.

1045 Worship begins. Inhale. Exhale. Pray that the visitors and members who are here don’t hate the fact that me and my three boys are sitting here with this giant mess of markers, notebooks, Bibles and crafts from Sunday School in the front row and that our chaos does not distract them from Jesus. Really need to be praying that this chaos does not distract me from Jesus. Also praying no one needs to pee or poo.

1046-1110 Try to keep crazy eyes and disappointed sighs towards my children to a minimum. I hear the whispers of my name in my children’s counseling sessions when they are grown. My mother was always so stressed out in church. She was hangry. And crazy-eyed.

This all goes on. Even after I drop the children’s church eligible kids off for their developmentally appropriate church program and am left with one kiddo there with me in the front row.

I hear nuggets of what my husband is saying. What God is saying.  Jesus opens my ears to what I need to hear. The Word in my lap and it being taught is the thing I crave most. I mark up my Bible with the little I can absorb.

1145 I now am aware that I have four kids to pick up/get to the car on my own and three boys I need to unglue from the Pop-a-Shot before I can them out the door. Breathe and prepare for the chaos awaiting me in five minutes. For the dirty-dust-cloud and spit-swirling-chaos.

1148. Final song. The Doxology.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. 

Praise Him all creatures here below. 

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts. 

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen

I know the words. I know them well. But in this moment. After I make sure my son is signing them, I stand with eyes closed and I listen. I barely sing a word. I stand with ears fully opened. I listen to the voices of my community. I breathe each word and note in deeply. This is my Sunday moment. In this season of life– I’m grasping at truth wherever I can get it. And this Doxology. These voices all around me. That beautiful Amen. I want to stand in it forever. I don’t want it to end. I want to hear it all week long.

This is the moment that makes it for me on Sundays. I love my husband’s sermons, he is a gifted preacher of God’s Word. I love listening to what I miss via audio on Monday morning.

But I cannot get that community Amen from a recording. You can’t pick out each individual voice and rejoice in the fact that one day you will sing this Amen with them at the feet of Jesus. The Doxology. The stillness. The skirt stains. The crazy eyes. This is where I stand in my story of this Sunday morning, with my community, in my chaos and I forget all the moments where I based my worth on how well I executed being at work with my husband with my four kids in the front row and remember why I am there.

To Praise Him. With how little I have to give. Feeling hangry, unraveled, unworthy, dirty-dust-clouded and spit-swirling–almost always on the verge of big hot-mess tears.

That Amen, that community. That is what I love about Sundays. That I can come as a Tasmanian Devil. Hangry. That I am worthy of that Amen because of a Jesus who died for me. Not when I was perfect. But when I was a skirt-stained hot-mess. That Amen. Those people singing it together. To Jesus. That makes all the swirling around worth it. That’s what I love about Sundays. I feel His goodness surrounded by community. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

One is Silver and the Other’s Gold

Years ago, I could not wait to turn eighteen, graduate and leave the childhood home I grew up in on Sycamore Creek Drive. I wanted a fresh start and I never wanted to look back. I had many happy memories in that place but my inability to deal with my grief as an adolescent left a lot of those happy memories in the dark shadows of the ever looming grief I kept beneath what I believed to be was a tough-girl exterior.

And for a few years after high school ended I was able to make a fresh start for myself in a new place. I moved my life to Kentucky, attended school, started my first job, met my husband and got married.

However, I still held my grief beneath a tough-girl exterior. I was able to numb myself with positive things during my years in college and the early years of marriage. Things like an over-achieving course load, good grades, and countless activities and all around busyness which was a step up from the numbing drugs I had chosen during my days in high school; troublemaking, chasing boys, skipping school, drinking and a severe addiction to mixed cassette tapes- the fast-forwarding, flipping over to the other side, the rewinding- all to orchestrate the perfect anthem for car dancing from the from seat of my purple Dodge Neon.

Either way I look at how I tried to bury emotion and grief, whether it was the accolades or the vices of addition, I found myself severely attracted to things and tasks and extremely disconnected from people. When I acknowledge where I am tender I can see that I have completely lacked deep emotional intimacy with others.

Relationships are such a tricky, tender place for me and as I follow up on my last post, Changing from the Inside Out this past year I discovered this one sentence in a beautiful book on vulnerability,

“When we don’t acknowledge how and where we are tender, we’re more at risk of being hurt.”

Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

When I was a child, I remember singing an old Girl Scout song with my mom while I wore the prestigious brown brownie vest laden with colorful patches, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”

And over time as my arms outgrew that brownie vest and my mother passed away from breast cancer when I was a freshman in high school it became extremely difficult to listen to happy songs or think about how precious people are because I had lost something so dear and so precious. My heart hardened in my grief and this childhood song along with many others became distant whispers. These are the happy moments I lost in the shadows of that looming grief. And this is the place where relationships became a tender place for me.

I had friends. The Lord has blessed me with so many amazing people in my life. So many more than I deserve. But in burying grief, ignoring it and not wrestling through it I completely lost the ability to be emotionally intimate with anyone.

Years later, as an adult I was introduced to the God of the Bible. The verses from scripture seemed to go from words in an old dusty book on a shelf to God’s words to me, His redemption story of the world and how my life was a tiny thread in all of it.

Even though I had heard stories from the Bible before and sat in mass almost every Saturday night I had never read the Word of God for myself; but once I read them, it was like the piece I had been searching for underneath the empty accolades and addicting vices was finally sitting right in my lap. I had ears to hear God and a heart prepared to receive His perfect peace.

Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” Mark 4:9

One of the very first verses that brought me so much joy and freedom was from 2 Corinthians 5:17:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, The old has gone, the new is here!

In Christ, I believed I could start over completely. This is what I had wanted for so long. To separate the old from the new. To just be new. To start a new book for myself entirely. I wanted to forget the dark shadowy places, completely. I misinterpreted this to mean I could completely let go of the person who I was before I had those ears to hear.

The young girl listening to Girl Scout songs, the sad motherless girl, the troublemaking-disconnected teenager and the over-achieving sorority girl. I was given a new life and the freedom to start new.

My first few years as a new Christian I experienced a major identity crisis. When starting my new story, I had no idea who I actually was anymore.

And then. After so many years of running away, God called me back to a place not too far from my home on Sycamore Creek Drive. Just sixteen-point-three miles away to be exact.

And after eight years of living sixteen-point-three miles away and thirteen years of reading that verse from 2 Corinthians, I have discovered that God wasn’t leading me to start a new book but simply a new chapter. That my whole life, my entire story is bound together in the same book. I can’t just forget about who I was or dismiss it completely. God was writing a story for me from the beginning and my story is incomplete if I leave out the moments I left in the shadows on Sycamore Creek Drive. The highest peaks and the lowliest shadowy places are all apart of God’s work in my life.

This past year, as I looked my grief in the face and decided I would not be defined by it I was lead to a rediscovery of relationships with the people who I left back in those early chapters. The people and the relationships I have worked at restoring have been like neat little bridges to the stories of my past.

Some of those bridges which I believed to be the strongest have collapsed for reasons in which I can’t explain or understand. But many of them, even with all my running away, even in the dark shadows, by God’s grace those bridges remained sturdy and strong enough to step on, to walk on. Those bridges left in the shadows have had a foundation that was strong enough to walk towards someone else on the other side of it.

It has been terrifying to walk on those bridges. But it’s been a journey back to who I really am.

Some of the bridges have collapsed completely while I was standing right in the middle of them.

Some of them have needed desperate repair.

Some of them were shaky but the person on the other side met me so much more than halfway across and walked alongside me all the way back.

Because it sucks to face the dark places of your life. It is scary to face the ugly parts of yourself. But it is good to have others help you gather up the happy places and uncover them from the shadows.

And as I have been walking on those bridges back to who I used to be I have been thinking about that song. The one about old friends, new friends, the silver and the gold.

New friends are silver. They are precious but more easily tarnished simply because of the newness of the relationship. But the ones who make it through without tarnishing are precious.

Both relationships, old and new are valuable.

But the old relationships. Those relationships are gold. Like gold, the old relationships, the ones where the bridges have surprisingly stayed intact in the shadows, those relationships are gold. They are solid.

The laughs are still the same. You can tell your horrible jokes safely because your sense of humor is known and (mostly) unoffensive.

Those old relationships like gold have been portable, I’ve been able to carry them with me, they have made me who I am.They cannot be counterfeited, they do not perish and those old relationships are much more rare.

I have been surprised that I could come back to where I came from after so many years of running away from it. But in walking those bridges I have found precious, rare treasures.

And as I walk these bridges to my earlier chapters I am discovering that the gospel frees me to be vulnerable and emotionally intimate with others. That God is making me new by peeling back my layers of grief and He doesn’t want me to forget the old chapters but to see them with a new lens.

And I have not completely arrived in the area of emotional intimacy with others. I am still very much scratching the surface.

“It would be nice and fairly nearly true, to say that ‘from that time forth, Eustace was a different boy.’ To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses. There were still many days when he could be very tiresome. But most of those I shall not notice. The cure had begun.”

C.S Lewis, The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader

But in Christ, God is making me new. He is calling me to uncover the shadows and walk bravely in His love. That the God of the universe knows the early chapters completely and in His redemption of me I am fully known and deeply loved.

The more I discover the people who knew my dark-shadowed times will still laugh with me and rejoice with me and the more I walk in the truth that you can be fully known and deeply loved- these things free me to grow confident in my emotional intimacy with others. A cure is beginning.

Even though I out grew that Brownie Vest, the song is still true. It necessary to make new friends but just as necessary to keep the old. Both are the bridges to all of our chapters in all of our stories. One is silver and the other is gold.

Unraveling Grief

This very week, nineteen years ago I was riding in the front seat of our silver Town & Country minivan with my father manning the wheel. I stared out the window as we drove down Sycamore Creek Drive, my eyes fixed on the greening grass that streaked alongside the concrete curb.

I was fourteen, six weeks shy of fifteen and my father was about to say something to me in the privacy of that car, a simple sentence which would change me forever. I knew the words were coming. Every adult around me had been locked and loaded with the words for weeks probably bearing the weight of them and waiting for just the right time to delicately let the words leave their lips hoping the words would come out like the gentle drop of a pin instead of like an earth shattering atomic bomb.

I felt the weight of the words before they were even said. I knew they were coming, I was preparing for the earth shattering atomic bomb. As I prepared for the news I rehearsed the best way I knew how. Just like anyone would prepare for an air assault, I toughened up my exterior and pulled up my bootstraps. I was going to face the worst but appear like a strong fortress, absent of emotion, cold, but protected.

As I stared out the window, I heard my father say, “Rach, mom is going to die.”


The words enveloped me. I had prepared for this exact moment and I responded in the best way I knew how. I kept staring out the window and all I could reply was, “I know.” As I stared and attempted to let disengagement consume me I felt warm tears begin to cover my eyes, turning the strong streaking line out my window into a blurry green blob, even mixing up sometimes with the grayness of the curb.

Staring at the green gray blob became too much so I drew my gaze in and I caught my reflection in the window. I saw the tears in my eyes reflected back at me and immediately I remember being overcome with disappointment in myself for not holding it together enough. For not being strong enough. For not preparing well enough emotionally to handle the news. And then the shame flooded in. I knew if I could see my reflection, my father could see it too. I knew he knew I was crying. I didn’t want him to know I was weak nor did I want to appear too emotional.

I felt the responsibly to be strong and brave in the waves of uncertainty and the shattered earth beneath my feet.

So the best I knew how I tried to go back inside my fortress to hide from my pain. I built walls. I hid behind a heavy mask and protected myself with layers of armor.

The armor I hid behind looked different in different seasons. In high school my armor was a tough girl exterior. I don’t think I wore it well but I flirted with rebellion, disengagement, relationships with men, drinking and recreational drugs. Anything I could get my hands on to help me escape my pain, I tried it. But my fixes weren’t fixing. My band-aids weren’t able to hold together the still open wounds underneath the armor and the masks.

I became exhausted from hiding beneath the bad to the bone girl I was trying to be in high school so in college I tried on some new ways to hid my pain from the world. For a season, during my days at Eastern Kentucky University I tried on the armor of busyness. Twenty-two hours a semester, 4.0s, overly-involved, mentor, sorority girl, chair of the committee, changing the world kind of busyness.

I never wanted to be known as the girl with the hard story so I ran from my hard story. Buried it so deep it even became difficult for me to remember my actual mother. I spent so long trying to be strong and burying pain that I lost even the happy pieces of the times I shared with her.


Brene Brown writes in her book, Daring Greatly,

“When we don’t acknowledge how and where we are tender, we’re more at risk of being hurt.”

I had spent so many years hiding from where I was tender that I wasn’t even sure anymore how and where I was tender.

Brown also goes on to write from her own experience,

“Slowly I learned that this shield was too heavy to lug around, and that the only thing it really did was keep me from knowing myself and letting myself be known. The shield required that I stay small and quiet behind it so as not to draw attention to my imperfections and vulnerabilities. It was exhausting.”

From my own experiences in unraveling my grief over the loss of my mother I could not agree more. I spent so many years hiding behind strong personas, I forgot who I really was. I lost myself. And I felt isolated because I never let anyone know the real me. And I didn’t have my mother present to tell me how to snap out of it.

For so many years I hid and then I lost myself. I felt like a balloon, not tethered to anything at all, just floating around.

It has only been in the last five years that I have been able to slowly unravel my misconceptions about my grief. When you are fourteen you think you know everything about the world and about strength but truth is I knew so little about strength, I knew nothing about it at all.

I thought strength and vulnerability were like that greening grass and the hard concrete I saw streaking outside the window on that April morning. Two very different things which before I felt tender I believed would never blur.

But it turns out, today I believe strength and vulnerability are actually a lot like the blurry blob of grass and concrete I saw out my window when I was feeling tender. To see them both blurred together as one thing. That strength requires vulnerability and it takes a whole lot more strength to be vulnerable than it does to pretend that you can just keep marching on and hide beneath armor and masks.

Now I understand that to hide my pain is not strength at all. It is weak, cold and inhuman.

So I have loosened the bootstraps, tried to get rid of my solider boots all together and I am slowly unraveling unhealthy patterns.

I am trying to be more tender. To learn and remember where I am tender.

I am trying to remember my mom. To cry and sometimes shout to myself, “It sucks that my mom is not here.” Sucks is not apart of my regular vocabulary but it seems to fit there for now.

When I let myself remember the emptiness I feel when I think about her it helps me remember that this life is just not the way it is supposed to be and I long for heavenly places where there is no more crying and no more tears.

I try to talk about my mom with my kids because they ask about her.

I try to remember my mom with my brother and sister. Though my vulnerability with them causes tears. I can only share a little and try to remember the blurring vision my tears cause and what I believe that means. Grief is not black and white, or green and gray streaks or little neat steps. I can’t check off the boxes when it comes to my grief.

Grief is jagg-ed and criss cross with both hard edges and smooth shining surfaces. Grief requires a constant unraveling of our hearts.

I try to sit and wait with a hurting heart. I wait because if I try to bandage it on my own, I will never truly heal. I sit and wait on a Good God who sees me while I wait and promises He will bind up the wounds, I only need to wait and be still. (Psalm 147:3)


In the jagg-ed and criss-cross places of grief, I have unraveled enough to know now that it’s okay to lean into uncertainty and earth shattering grounds, to be tender and broken, exposed and known because I don’t have to appear strong at all. That I can delight in the broken and tender places. It is there where I find God glorified. It is there where I see him holding all the threads of myself together. Taking away threads of misconception and binding me up with His promises to me and His truth.


And I’m not all the way redeemed in my grief. I still have so much more unraveling to do. I may have only begun to chip away at the surface. But I have so much more hope. I know there is a real and good God at work in my heart because I never could have been called out from behind the armor on my own. Little by little God is working on me. Making me more aware of where I am tender and helping me see that to grieve is to simply be human.

The Words Of A Father

I’m not sure if he knows it but every night while I am gathering the last things my family needs at the dinner table, I catch my husband lean over and whisper to our oldest son, Tell your mother, thank you for dinner. 

I then see my husband take a bite of his dinner, no matter what I put in front of him and say, Wow, this is so good. 

I know I am not a great cook. I actually don’t even like cooking at all. I follow recipes exactly adding no creativity and I barely know the difference between paprika and cayenne.

But every night. Without fail. Even when the chicken is dry or the vegetables are too soggy. My husband compliments my food and encourages my sons to do so as well by intentionally modeling kindness.

Just last night we had to start dinner without my husband because he was running a little behind and as my children began to eat I noticed my oldest son lean over and say to my second-born, blonde-headed boy, Tell mom, thank you for dinner. 

And then as my second son was reluctant to take a bite, my oldest son said, Wow mommy, this is so good. Everyone should really try this, this is the best dinner ever. 

I was both shocked and thankful to hear my seven year old doing this, passing the intentional words his father taught him on to his brothers.

It made me proud of the man I am married to and the little soon-to-be men around my dinner table.


Being a father matters. The words which cross a father’s lips are powerful. They can be used to build up or used tear down.

As I see my husband’s words of kindness and gratitude being passed on to my sons, I am witnessing the magnitude in which children respond to the gentle and kind leadership of a father.  A father’s words and actions are meaningful and powerful. They can be life-giving and life-changing.

I hear my husband’s heartfelt prayers he has prayed over the beds of our children for almost seven years now being echoed with the same amount of compassion by my three sons. I hear my sons cheering and talking about University of Kentucky basketball with the same level of excitement as their dad and I hear my sons esteeming me, as their mother because their daddy is intentional about modeling it for them.

I am not at all the best cook, this I know, but when I see my husband teaching my sons to say thank you for dinner, I feel loved and I see my husband intentionally raising boys to be good men and good husbands.

This is an incredible undeserved gift my husband gives to me daily, the gift of intentional and loving words in front of our children. This gift makes me want to follow in his footsteps the same way my kids do and spread more intentional kindness with my own words.

The kind, intentional words of a father or mother can change a person.


I am forever thankful that God has given these men to me. Every day with them is a gift.