Jesus Freak

Listening to Jesus Freak. It’s bringing back the feels.

If you grow up in church, you often grow up thinking that “Jesus Freak” means missions trips and youth conferences and “Official” ministries, titles, numbers of converts and endless Sundays of never resting. A checklist of do’s and don’ts. Checklist Christianity even with the highest of intentions.

As I get older, how it plays out in real life, as an adult who’s lucky enough to live in the US, is less checklist and more day to day choice of attitude and small to large self-sacrifices. It’s loving the people around you and telling them “Hey, the creator of the universe loves you more than you can fathom”, and then treating them as if they are loved and have value in the eyes of our creator. Yes, sometimes being a “Jesus Freak” means not chewing out the person who fully deserves it, but responding in gentleness. It means taking the time you don’t have to be there for someone, regardless of if they’re a “Christian” or not. It means less Starbucks for you and more coffee for the homeless dude on the corner. It means seeing people in the context of their value to Christ, not their value to you. It means loving God, and loving your neighbor as yourself, no caveats.

It’s seeing Jesus more and more as you mature and realizing more and more how much you need Him, and just how perfect He was while He was here, and reminding yourself He’s still alive, just not here. It’s remembering that every person you encounter is created in the image of a Holy God, and Jesus is proof that God longs for each and every one of them to be reconciled to Him no matter what sins they’ve committed.

It’s realizing that Jesus was a REAL PERSON, who REALLY sees us and loves us, not some vague humorless figure from ancient tests whose name we use to prop up our political and societal agendas (thanks to Radio Free Babylon for the much needed modern context!).

It’s the pull to be more like Jesus – who loved perfectly – than to be more like our own reasoning of what a “good person” is, which for me personally calls for more gentleness and patience than I possess within myself.

If you are not an American or in a country that practices religious freedom, being a Jesus Freak, particularly in the last year or so, sometimes looks like being arrested, separated from your family, mutilated and raped, possibly blown up with your children for worshiping the Risen Savior on Easter Sunday.

Whatever being a “Jesus Freak” looks like for you today, I want to remind you, to encourage you, that He is worthy. Whatever your cost, He has paid the ultimate price, not just for you, but for the super annoying person next to you. Following Christ isn’t merely a checklist of things, but a heart and mind that are oriented around honoring God and being more like Christ.

-E

Freedom

“The Lord God has put His Spirit in me because the Lord has appointed me to bring the good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken, to tell the captives they are free, and to tell the prisoners they are released.”

Isaiah 61:1

We first see these words in Isaiah, but that’s not the last time we see them. When Jesus is starting His life in the ministry He goes to the synagogues to teach, and in Luke Chapter 4 we have the first written account of what Jesus is teaching. What is it? Isaiah 61

This powerful message is often overlooked because He’s just reading Scripture in the synagogue. But actually, He is announcing to the world that He is here to fulfill the prophecy. Jesus is announcing His purpose. He has come to set us free.

He is freedom from pain. Freedom from grief. Freedom from oppression. Freedom from illness. Freedom from death itself.

Recently, God has been showing me that He is also freedom from guilt. For so many of us Mother’s Day is a painful time. Losing a child, losing a pregnancy, and infertility come with overwhelming guilt. And even though I no longer avoid church on Mother’s Day, it still brings mixed emotions for me.

Survive. It’s the most basic instinct for all of us, but for moms, we would trade our survival in the blink of an eye to make sure our children would. A mother’s most important job is to keep her children safe from harm.

So when you lose a child, a pregnancy, or when you are unable to conceive, you feel responsible. Even when we know without a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing that we did wrong and there was nothing that we could’ve done to prevent it, you still feel at fault.

This will be my 10th Mother’s Day, yet my oldest child is only five. It’s a very weird holiday for me, and millions of other women, who feel like they have failed as a mother. I am so blessed with two amazingly beautiful children. I am grateful for the opportunity to raise them, guide them, and love them. But, I am still mourning my children that aren’t here, and I still feel guilty.

But in Jesus I don’t have to live in that guilt. I have freedom.

It’s not easy to let go. The guilt is oddly comforting. It is easier to feel guilty than it is to trust. It is easier to be ashamed than to be bold. It is easier to sit in chains than it is to break free. But Jesus didn’t come so that we could stay in darkness. He came to set us free. And those He sets free are truly free.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

John [8:36]

So if you are like me, and you are struggling with motherhood guilt this week, let’s pray together that God would lift us out of the darkness and into His light. That we would be free from the grip of guilt just as we are free from death. And that we would be able to forgive ourselves just as Christ has forgiven us.

-S

Today is the day He declares: It Is Finished.

The day our hope is fulfilled in the most horrific way possible. Literally, the best man that ever has, or ever will live, died on this day thousands of years ago, and in that deepest mourning, the greatest redemption was born.

Today, we see the full picture, from Eve to Mary, and the unspeakably great love that our Redeemer has for us, in that while we were yet sinners, He willingly died for us, so that we may be reconciled to our Creator, the price for our sins paid. It is dark and dreary where I live today. It matches my mood, it matches Good Friday.

“It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed”

Luke [23:44]

It’s spring, we’re having a normal spring day. Things die and nourish the soil, then there’s gloom and darkness, and then in a day or two, flowers everywhere will unfurl, given life by the required gloom. Darkness to light, death to life, the cycle we see over and over, the story of our Salvation echoed in creation since the beginning of time. On Sunday we will celebrate how Christ alone breaks this cycle of death, and we will celebrate the Resurrection.

But today, knowing and loving Christ, I struggle with mourning, despite the fact that Christ said not to:

27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!”

Luke [23:27]-29

I think of Mary, who loved Jesus in ways that perhaps no other moral ever will, and how one of Christ’s last words were commanding that his mother be cared for (John:19) “ 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

I wonder where Eve’s soul is, and the relief she and Adam felt when Christ died for the sins they allowed to enter the world.

It’s the Friday before Easter. It Is Finished, the story comes full circle. The head of the Serpent is crushed. It is Good.

-E

Potential

This is Planty. She was my Valentine’s Day present from John.

For those who don’t know, Hydrangeas are grown specifically for holidays like Valentine’s Day or Easter, wrapped in foil and sold at grocery stores generally have a pretty stressful life. According to Plant Addicts “The foil wrapped hydrangea has usually been grown for a one-time, spectacular show. The plant has been fed specifically to produce many large blooms quickly, quite often at the expense of the future health of the plant.”

They are forced grown in pots that are too small and they are trimmed too heavily and fertilized very strangely to produce prolific blooms at a very young age.

Either people don’t want to take care of them because they’re finicky or the plant just can’t handle life after bloom or its pot is too small or it gets put outside too early. There are a bazillion factors that usually result in these beautiful but damaged plants having a short life and being thrown away.

Mine, however, is not dying.

For the last 6 weeks, I have very carefully maintained her indoors I have kept her soil moist, I have transferred her outdoors in a pot that is so small it makes my eye twitch but I know that I have to wait and let her acclimate to being outside for a little while before I re-pot her.

In the two days she’s been outside, she’s put out new growth, all over the place.

New leaves are signs that she’s not dead, she’s still growing and she wants to be big and healthy.

At some point over this weekend, she will be getting a new pot with a custom mixed soil and some proper fertilizer and she will be lovingly cared for by hand

Odds are, she will never be the big, deeply rooted in the earth, prolific bloomer that she was genetically intended to be.

She might! Some people have accomplished this with “foil hydrangeas”, but she might also live in a pot being pretty and green, and only producing 1-4 blooms a year. Even if that’s the case, she will bring me joy.

But the point is, she’s still trying. Despite being plant abused, despite being shoved in the wrong pot with the wrong soil and having weird expectations, she’s still growing, and I’m gonna support her until she’s done.

She’s a $15 plant. And I’m excited for her. I have deep faith in her. I will care for her daily, even though she’ll likely never reach her full potential.

How much more does our Creator care for us, root for us, and get excited about even the smallest progress, regardless of how broken and abused we are? Regardless of how we feel about ourselves when our blooms have fallen away, and we’ve been pruned for our own good?

Were Planty a human, she’d probably not be feeling so great about herself right now. She’s had a rough go, and the thing she was specifically grown for – those lovely blooms in February – are now long gone. But it’s okay. I’ve got plans for her that she cannot possibly comprehend, and I’m gonna take care of her, as long and she’s willing to keep growing.

-E

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 

 

Matthew [10:29]-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

The Holding Pattern

As I type this, I do not know what day it is (update: I checked, I’m typing this on Thursday). My whole house is sick with some fantastic viral ick. My husband (the highly functioning autist with Tourette’s), who rarely gets sick, and has had a fever one other time since our daughter was born in 2014, has had a fever for 3 days. There’s so much snot you guys. Ugh. Everyone is grumpy. I have made two trips to Target for supplies, one trip to the pediatrician to check the ears, lungs and confirm viral ick, and as of last night, my own throat feels like it’s made of sandpaper. We’re all tired, we’re all grumpy, we’re all just hanging out, waiting to be well. There’s no way out but through. Waiting to be through, sucks.

I’m whining. This is a very first world problem, and I am unspeakably blessed that I have insurance and money for Tylenol and a mom who sends my child Amazon love packages of new crayons and coloring books. I am very grateful that viral ick is the worst ick we’re dealing with right now.

These last few days have reminded me of some past phases of my life when things were less than awesome. When we were completely broke, for example. When we were waiting for my husband to get a new job, sitting on the couch through the third trimester of a high risk pregnancy, waiting for my daughter, or when I was 26, waiting to test results to see if I had cancer. I have friends in Ministry who are waiting to hear about their husbands getting a job at a church, and friends who are waiting to be approved as foster parents. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

It’s a hard thing for such finite creatures who from a young age, are well aware that their time in this life is limited. Waiting to run in a new direction, waiting while healing be it physical or emotional, waiting through growth.

We’ve talked on the podcast about waiting when we talked about Zerubbabel rebuilding the Temple. There are other places in scripture that talk about waiting, and patience and one is in Isaiah 30. Here the scripture talks about warning God’s people against going into Egypt, being stubborn, and not waiting.

It starts with this: “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine,” (can anyone besides me relate to this?), and goes on for 16 verses to talk about what happens when you don’t listen to God. Then in verse 18 the tone changes, and talks about God’s graciousness – “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice;  blessed are all those who wait for him.”

If you’re reading this, and you’re in a period of waiting, I just want you to know God knows you’re frustrated. He knows you are waiting. He knows it’s hard. You have not been forgotten, you are not in some sort of cosmic time out like a bad child (unless you’re in the belly of a whale), and your Heavenly Father is not uncaring about your inner turmoil. You will be blessed for waiting and trusting in Him, even when it’s hard, instead of fleeing to Egypt (or going into work while you’re still sick).

The Lonely Island of Motherhood

ZI8. It’s amazing how three little characters can produce so much stress and yet here I stand trying to focus on something else, anything else and I can’t get those three characters out of my mind. Deep breath, eyes closed. Nope, they are still there. ZI8. It’s been 8 minutes now, maybe I can relax. Nope. Neck is tightening up. Eyes closed again, try to listen, roll my head from side to side to try and release the tension. Deep breathe. Here it comes. 15 minutes. Maybe it won’t happen today.

There it is. I open my eyes just in time to catch the 8 scroll off the screen. I know what it is. Well, at least I can relax now. I know my fate. I stand there for just a moment longer to soak in this last moment. What is this intense standoff you ask? It’s just another morning at church.

I go grab the screaming baby from the nursery worker and do the little dance to get him calmed down and then head to the cry room to catch the rest of the worship music and Bible study. And as my son snacks and plays happily in that little soundproof booth I see it happen to someone else. And a few minutes later one more time. Each time I watch the mom gather her things and head towards the nursery. They know they aren’t coming back. And each one settles into a different spot where their child won’t bother anyone else and just maybe they can at least catch the gist of the message while juggling sippy cups, goldfish, and toys. And while we are with 150 other women gathered together, each of us is completely alone.

For any mom dealing with separation anxiety, you know exactly how this feels. Motherhood is the best thing that ever happened to me. But when I transitioned from working mom to stay at home mom, I was also surprised to find out just how lonely it would be. From the outside, stay at home moms seem to be surrounded by people all day. Never having to leave your kids, time for playdates and mom groups, Bible studies, and carpools sounds like the promised land compared to early morning commutes, daycare drop-off, 5 o’clock traffic, balancing bath time, homework time, dinner time and family time in just a few hours in the evening.

But full-time stay at home moms have the benefit and burden of being with your kids ALLLLLL the time. From the moment they wake in the morning to the last excuse to get out of bed one more time at night they are there. They create a barrier to any personal relationships. Not intentionally or maliciously of course but it’s still there. They are within earshot of every conversation. They dictate where you can go (thank you restaurants that still have play places). They require your focus. It’s almost like walking around in a fishbowl. You can see other people and sort of superficially communicate with them but there’s always a barrier there to making any real connection. When I went to work they may have been on my mind constantly but physically there was no barrier to connecting with people. I could have honest conversations. I could invest in other people. I could focus my attention. I could finish things (at the office anyway). Even if they were just co-workers or clients I could have real interactions with adult humans.

But when I left that world to be at home all the time I realized that I didn’t have any friends who lived in this world. And everyone I met already had friends and, being in their own little fish bowls, they really couldn’t add any new ones. So I was alone. More alone than I’ve ever been. Until one sweet mom reached out to me. She’d been in my shoes before and she knew what it was like to start over in a new place trying to build relationships with a baby on your hip and a toddler to wrangle. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to call her a friend and she probably has no idea what an impact she has made on my life.

So if you’re the mom who has lived through this phase of life, please don’t leave us. Yes we are going to be late sometimes because someone had a bathroom emergency as we were walking to the door, and yes we are gonna want to go to chick-fil-A every single time we meet up and yes we are gonna cancel on you last minute because someone woke up with a fever after being totally fine the day before, but we need you right now. We need you to see us and talk to us, not just about how big the kids are getting or what the newest baby trick is, but we need you to ask us how we are doing. What are we worrying about? What is making us feel like a failure? And don’t worry we don’t need you to fix it, or give advice, we just need to know that you felt the same way at some point. Like we aren’t alone.

And if you’re the mom right now who is feeling completely isolated even though you are surrounded by people all day, please know that you are not alone. It’s okay to want to connect with people and it’s okay to be sad when you aren’t able to. And if you’re still trying to find someone to connect with and just need to hear that we’ve been there and that it does get better. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and we’d love to chat with you. Not because we are therapists, or your new best friends, or have some course to sell you that will solve all your problems, but because we are moms who have felt alone and sometimes still do.

-S

Weak Vessels

Happy Friday!

So the “Weaker Vessel” verse has come up several times to me in conversations over the past week, regarding the differences between men and women 1 Peter 3:7 :

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

I just want to remind you today if you’re struggling with this, if someone is telling you that being a Godly wife is akin to being a doormat/maid/sexbot, if any idiot is telling you that your place as a “Godly” woman is to be lesser, or if you feel “weak” in your body, that this verse is talking about physical weakness, which is why it specifies “vessel”.

And yes IN GENERAL, our female bodies are weaker than most men’s. Biology. I didn’t make the rules. My vessel has Endometriosis and PCOS and gets migraines, it’s significantly weaker several days a month than my husband’s because of my female specific internal organs.

But that’s my vessel, my cursed body, the bit that shall return to dust. Not my spirit, not my intelligence, and not my faith. And this verse is telling men to honor and care for that “weakness”, and reminding them that in the eyes of Christ, we are EQUAL in all the ways that matter, “heirs with you”.

So if you feel weak of body today (chronic illness is no joke, y’all), or if someone is taking God’s word out of context to call you lesser, remember that you are not inherently lesser, or weak, in any way that truly matters to God or Christ.

I also have to point out here that what I LOVE about this verse, is that even in the Old Testament when the daughters of Zelophehad went to Moses for an inheritance – they were Heirs. and now, in the New Testament, post-Christ, we, being female, are heirs with men to Christ’s kingdom. It’s so beautiful.

-E

Celinununu Isn’t Demonic and Hysteria Isn’t Christ-like

Franklin D Roosevelt Library archives (public domain)

Franklin D Roosevelt 1885

In November, Celine Dion and a clothing line called Nununu partnered and realized a gender-neutral clothing line called “Celinununu”.

Nununu is kind of a weirdo brand to some, but as a woman who is a longtime AFI fangirl and whose wardrobe is mostly shades of black and grey, I appreciate that it’s not your standard kidswear. If I were wealthy, my child would probably own a few pieces, particularly this cute skull top.

Unbeknownst to me, gender-neutral clothing with “1984” vibes is a sign of the coming apocalypse and Celine is one of the Four Horse…persons?

This quote from the website seems to sum up what people take issue with: “(Nununu) Liberates children from the traditional roles of boy/girl, and enables younger people to grow on values of equality with the freedom to strengthen their own power of personality based on mutual respect.”

John F Kennedy Library (public domain)

Ernest Hemingway and his Sister Marcelline in 1901


That’s not new (sorry Nununu), that’s old school. As in, genderless children’s clothing is historically accurate. Where did pink and blue come from? Until the early 1900s, boys wore dresses and had long hair until well into childhood – 6 or 7 years old. The picture at the top of this blog is President Franklin D Roosevelt… in a dress. In 1884, this outfit was considered gender neutral for a young child, because boys and girls dressed exactly alike.

 


Up until the 1940s, we dressed boys in pink, as it was considered to be a “stronger color”.
In other words, until very recently, boys and girls pretty much looked the same through early childhood. They were gender neutral.

The comments on the company’s social media are a disturbing cornucopia of ignorance and fear-mongering, far more upsetting than a child wearing clothing that doesn’t loudly proclaim their gender. Is there a reason our children’s clothing needs to sexualize them into one box or the other? Am I missing something?

Gerald R Ford National Library (public domain)

President Gerald R Ford in 1914

Laura Ingraham and Raymond Arroyo of Fox News had some lovely, totally sane and reasonable things to say, such as  “Unless you’re a member of the Addams Family or a satanic cult, why would you dress your infant in this?…It’s bizarre.” from Arroyo, and Ingram, ever the open-minded lady, added “Why would you put skulls on babies? Planned Parenthood!“. Feel free to watch the clip here. Arroyo also claimed that one of the monster toys shown in the add was a voodoo doll. He’s an idiot, that’s a monster, not a voodoo doll. This is called “fear-mongering” and it’s awful.

I can see how someone would find this aesthetic uncomfortable. It’s okay if you really don’t like it,  but here’s where being a mature adult comes in – There’s a huge difference between “I really don’t like this, it makes me uncomfortable” and “ITS SATAN Y’ALL!” When you scream that everything you don’t like is Satan or Demonic, you seem like complete looney toons and discredit yourself (and possibly the church/political movement you loudly claim to be a part of).

Generally, even if you put a child in something gender neutral, eventually they’ll gravitate towards their biological gender. I never put my daughter in pink sparkly stuff (unless it was a gift) as a small child. She usually wore a lot of boy’s clothes because they had dinosaurs. Of her own choices, she’s currently wearing a light up sparkly princess something. Some boys like glittery and sparkly things and that’s okay, they’re still boys.

Harry S Truman Library (public domain)

President Harry Truman in 1884

We take a huge step backward as Christians and conservatives when we claim that we don’t support transgenderism and then try and force our children into the very modern and rigid gender ideals of pink and blue. So let me break it down: Either we teach our children that they can be/do whatever and it doesn’t change their gender, or we confuse them and teach them that their interests dictate their gender, and have them suppress their natural personalities and interests trying to fit into this post WWII idealism that mostly existed in print ads and cellulose, until possibly someone comes along and tells them they can be themselves, but hey, it means they’re trans. Pick one. 

National Archives Eisenhower (public domain)

Dwight D Eisenhower in 1893 (Bottom right)

Why do I have to explain this in 2018? It’s frustrating. When did having historically ignorant ideas about culture and clothing, then offending everyone you possibly can become a tenant of the Christian faith?

Putting your children in gender-neutral clothing is not demonic. Exposing your children to whimsical art that others find uncomfortable (so long as it’s not violent or pornographic) isn’t wrong. Being weird isn’t evil. The Addam’s Family was a picture of a functional and beautifully weird family who loved and supported each other with parents deeply in love and respectful of one another. Boys who want to stay at home and raise babies are still boys, mommies who work full time and don’t wear dresses are still girls. Skulls aren’t demonic and weird, you have one in your head RIGHT NOW. Spooky. Doot Doot.

For now, brothers and sisters, if you could just lay off the hysteria that turns people away from Christ and any form of conservatism, that would be great. Kid’s clothing in black and white isn’t worth reaffirming someones idea that Christians are ignorant and hyperbolic people who claim anything they don’t like is demonic. Thank you.

-E

Franklin D Roosevelt Library Archives (public domain)

Franklin D Roosevelt, 1885.

The Lie of Homemaker Sainthood & Tiny Idols

Part 1: The Lie

When I got married, I thought my life settled. In my immaturity, I thought “I’ve done it! I’ve found my person,  made him my husband, and I will have Children. In this, I will find myself, and my life’s purpose. I will not be like those other women who ignore their precious babies for careers or leave their husbands to do most of the cooking.”

“I shall be a Good Wife, and a Good Mother, for surely this is my life’s work, as God has outfitted me with a vagina and gifted me a bread pan.”

Around our 5 year anniversary, I hated myself. I had a child, a nice home, and a loving and attractive spouse. WHY ISN’T EVERYTHING PERFECT YET? Until my child was about 18 months old I wrecked myself out trying to make the house clean enough, the sex sexy enough, the dinners good enough, and the quality time with my kiddo quality enough.

It wasn’t enough. When I succeed I felt exhausted by the idea of tomorrow’s self-inflicted expectations and as if nothing  I did lasted for more than five minutes. When I failed I felt worthless. My husband had no idea who he was married to because the woman he’d married was disappearing under a stressed out Stepford wife. I was no longer a person, I was a failure. The more I chased Housewife Sainthood, the more empty I felt, and the further I drifted from God, my husband, and any sort of successful execution of purpose.

I had bought into a lie. A very popular lie that Western Christianity pushes on women possibly more so than it pushes the Proverbs 31 ideal: A Woman’s Sole Purpose In Life Is To Be A Homemaker. This Is Her Purpose & Joy.

There is an increasingly popular and vocal within American “Christianity” that claims a woman cannot be anything besides a mother and a wife. It is this ideology that set me down such a dangerous path early in my marriage. They claim that a woman has no place outside the home, that a woman cannot teach in church, and that she must be submissive to her Husband in all things while leaving out that a husband must also submit to his wife, as we are to submit one to another. In fact, they go as far as to say things like this:

Simply put, when you want more than motherhood, marriage and homemaking you may want more than the LORD has called you to and that spurs frustrations, unhealthy longings and is an awful drain.”

Well, that’s just wrong. One could even say it’s a lie. A lie that misled teachers tell themselves and then others.

Motherhood is not wrong and homemaking is not a poor choice (I actually personally believe that society would be better if we had more stay at home parents, of either gender and that many women DO put their career over their families. So do many men). I’m a stay at home mom/maid/cook/personal assistant, and honestly, I love my gig.

However, to claim it’s one’s highest or only purpose as a woman, to claim it’s the ideal to which all women should aspire, to try and fit us into this cookie cutter shape of someone who finds deep spiritual meaning in doing the dishes and sees her relationship with God framed by a husband, 2.5 kids, and a minivan is, well, Evil. Big E Evil.

The biggest (but not only) reason this lie is so damaging – weather we’re telling it to ourselves, hearing it from misled people, or from our own mothers – is because it’s close enough to the truth that it’s very easy to get them confused. The confusion looks something like this:

God’s Plan -> Be a Homemaker
vs.
Be A Homemaker -> Because it’s God’s Plan.

So close, and still so far. It’s like when I use “CHRISTMAS IN JULY!” as an excuse to binge watch claymation and Bing Crosby, and bake cookies. Honestly, I just wanted the cookies and a TV day with my kid, but “CHRISTMAS IN JULY!” ties it all together. It gives it a purpose it lacked and makes it sound cooler than it is. God is not here to justify the raspberry shortbread and White Christmases of my life.

If one starts with the premise that to serve God is to only do one specific thing, then one is cutting out God at the beginning, and using Him as an excuse to prop up one’s idols, whatever they may be. (Remember, God’s will for Esther was to be part of a haram. God’s will for Mary was to be pregnant outside of marriage. Both things that no “Good Godly Woman” would even consider God’s Will today for any reason.). The lie of Homemaker Sainthood assumes the Will of God and then turns to things other than God for personal fulfillment and identity.

If we step outside of what God has for us, If we assume we know His will due to a Great Big Fat Lie that will make us Holy if we try hard enough, or even when we’re doing what God has to us but look to the task and not the Creator for fulfillment, we find an unfulfilling hot mess of idolatry and unhappiness. Our place with the Saints is bought with the Blood of Christ, it is not earned through home labor, no matter how good our attitude about it is.

Most of the misled teachers sharing this lie that I’ve had experience with tend to double down when there’s trouble. Instead of looking at Jesus, they say that God and Jesus want you to look at your family and home. They claim that self-care is selfish, working outside of the home is not your place, and if you’re still unhappy, you’re just not connecting deeply enough with God while you load the dishwasher, so JUST TRY HARDER! If You’re Exhausted But Your Floors Are Clean You Can’t Be Sad Because Jesus Made You To Clean Them Floors! The Problem Is You!


….a Biblical homemaker knows her worth, is confident in her skills and she is irreplaceable. This confidence motivates her to go about her tasks and avoid discouragement. In turn, getting things peacefully accomplished at home brings her joy.”

Nope, sorry. That’s hella wrong. Yes, I said Hella. Neither your worth nor the root of your identity are found in Homemaking and Motherhood. If they are, you have wandered from the Savior.

This blogger then goes on to say “Moms who have lost their identity? Our identity is in Christ, not the role He has given us to fulfill. And empty is empty.” but then gives instructions to double down on chores and vilifies any form of self-care or taking time away from the neverending job of homemaking. While I appreciate her attempts, she’s speaking out of both sides of her mouth. There’s a lot of this in misled teachers, I’ve found. Maybe she needs a glass of wine. There’s something weird going on when a “Christian” blogger vilifies doing what Jesus did.

We’ve said it here before, and we’ll say it louder for the kids in the back: YOU CANNOT POUR FROM AN EMPTY CUP. God doesn’t ask you to, either. The temporary world around us – Christian flavored and well-meaning at times, but clearly removed from God – asks that of you. Over and over again in the scripture, God promises rest, Jesus shows us that it’s important to rest and take time in the quiet to be in a relationship with The Father. It’s important to take time and be a unique person with unique desires and interests outside of homemaking and children because that’s who God made you to be. If your family is gone tomorrow, you are still here, and you still have an identity.

Two episodes Sandy and I feel very strongly about are being released this month, and they both are facets of self-care: Sleep and Boundaries. Two things Christ clearly showed us an example of in His life. He took care of himself. He took breaks from the crowd – from His ministry! – to take naps, to eat with His friends, to relax. Do not ask more of yourself than Christ did, because that’s stupid. If Jesus could step back and enjoy a night with friends, so should you.

If you’ve never experienced this Homemaker Sainthood kind of legalism, If you’ve never lost your God-given identity under a to-do list and got a stone from fellow believers when you asked for water, PRAISE GOD! That’s wonderful. I rejoice that your heart has never been bruised in a such a way. I would encourage you to not be so insular and vain that you disregard the hurt of others (that’s been done by “Christians”) or compound that hurt with more legalism because or even mocking simply because you yourself have not experienced such a hurt. Woe to y’all who cause little sheep to stumble, you know?

Many vocal misled teachers take joy in calling the discouragement or even mental illness of others sin. I was that person for years, and it made me ugly inside, and even more unhappy. I’m aware that many do in fact say “We’re not making idols of our families! Hahaha!” while doing exactly that. I don’t really have anything to say to that other than this: Sometimes the biggest lies we tell are the ones we tell ourselves.

I think the reality is that far more women have experienced this lie of Homemaker Sainthood than they realize or are willing to admit to because they think if being a mom and wife doesn’t fill them to the brim that they’re somehow failing, and that they’ve let God down.

Oh Honey, no. Your home and spouse and children cannot bear the weight of your identity and happiness. That is for the Father. The Joy of the Lord is your strength, not the joy of scrubbing toilets. If you look around your dirty house and feel like a failure, you have only failed at chores. That’s it. It’s not a statement of your worth.

-Elisabeth

Teaching our children about 9/11

If you have kids then the anniversary of September 11th always brings up the question of what to tell them. For a lot of us the topic still evokes a strong emotional response and we aren’t quite ready to teach our children about the horrible things that people are capable of.

So what do we need to say and why is it important? If you’ve listened to Episode 4 you know that we believe that God instructs us to be prepared. But what we will talk about more in future episodes is that God also calls us to respond.

If you have young children that aren’t ready to learn about the death and destruction of the day then spend time talking about our first responders, what their jobs are, how we call them when we need help and what we can do to help them.

If your kids are ready to learn about 9/11 I would encourage you not just to share the images and the facts but also share your story of the day. The phrase ‘Where were you’ seems a little overused on the Internet these days but it’s important for your children. Until they have a personal connection to the event it’s just history to them. No different than Vietnam or WWII. At their current age what would they have been doing that day? How did your parents react? What would you have done as their parent then?

I will always remember the point in time where I made that connection. We were studying WWII and I was young and it was boring so when my mother was trying to get me to sit still and focus on our studies I exclaimed: “Who cares!”. Her response changed me forever. With tears in her eyes, she said, “I care. Because my daddy was there.” It all clicked in that moment and it sparked a passion for history that remains in me to this day. Even though it was obviously painful for her (I still feel bad about that mom) I needed that personal connection to make it come alive.

Your story may just inspire a love of history, politics, military, education, healthcare or more in your child. That passion could end up becoming a hobby, a mission or even a career.

But I think the most important thing that we can impress upon our children is just how big of an impact that one person can make. We have to acknowledge that the impact can be for good or for evil. It does no good to forget evil but let the media dwell on that. We must be responsible for teaching the next generation to respond to tragedy with good.

It’s a lesson that stays fresh on our minds on 9/11 but it is also a lesson that can be applied every day. Tragedy will always be around us. While there hasn’t been a recent terrorist attack on our soil there is a massive storm bearing down on our country right now. People will be hurt, people will lose their homes and belongings and businesses and some will even lose their lives. We need to respond and it is our job to teach them how to respond with good.

-Sandy