5 Things I’d Tell You: Pregnancy Edition

I love going out for coffee with friends, especially if I can sneak out once the boys are in bed or while they are working on a project with my husband. There’s nothing like sipping a drink or eating a brownie while discussing the best and hardest parts of life. And since I was 20 weeks pregnant this week it seemed the perfect time for some maternity talk. So grab your drink and chill for a few minutes this Friday.

1. I run the gamut of emotions between the wonder of a child growing inside me to the realization that soon this baby will be in my arms and I have to reorient our entire schedule to handle that. When I’m energized I think I can handle it; if I’m tired I’m sure that we’ll never adjust. But we’ve brought home three already so surely at some point we’ll find our footing. (Right?) For that very reason, part of my prep time praying for a coming baby always includes praying that God will prepare my heart and our family.

20 Things to Do Instead of Protesting

  1. Volunteer at or donate to a crisis pregnancy center. (Full disclosure: I’ve done some volunteer work at the center I’ve linked to here which means I can personally attest to the quality of work they are doing if you would like to donate to them.)
  2. Mentor a teenage girl.
  3. Teach a Sunday school class.
  4. Donate items to a domestic abuse shelter.
  5. Give regularly to support a maternity home like this one in Kenya.
  6. Take groceries and dinner to a new mom.
  7. Offer to babysit (for free!) for a single mom.
  8. Support a family in need in your community (think groceries, Christmas presents, reoccuring needs, etc).
  9. Buy from sources that provide income and dignity for women around the world. You could start here or here or here.
  10. Quit telling teen girls that their most important asset is their appearance.
  11. Show up at your city council meeting: be informed and ready to help.
  12. Write/call your representatives about issues that matter to you.
  13. Teach your sons how to treat women.
  14. Teach your daughters to be women of strength and dignity.
  15. Intercede when you see someone being treated poorly.
  16. Don’t watch movies (or listen to music) that treat women poorly. If it’s not appropriate for the President, it isn’t appropriate for anyone.
  17. Build a strong family.
  18. Donate or volunteer with an organization that works to end human trafficking.
  19. Become a foster parent.
  20. Do your next thing in the work God has laid out for you.

Why Your Looks Matter Less Than You Imagine

I had serious self-esteem issues in high school. Didn’t we all. (To those people who say high school’s the best years of your life, I say, “Couldn’t pay me enough to go back.”) Part of it was curable. I did eventually learn to fix my hair better. I learned how to dress in a way that flattered my body and made me feel comfortable. I learned how to put on makeup without getting mascara on my contact.

But you know what? I’m still the same height, aka, it’s hard to find clothes that aren’t too short. I’m still too skinny and lacking curves. I’m back to having to wear the glasses. I never grew Victoria’s Secret model hair. And I almost never paint my nails.

It’s not just that things are the same; they are worse. I’m pregnant with my fourth child.  I’ve aged through the entire decade of my 20s. I have a prominent gray hair by my face and numerous scars on my legs from who knows what. And yet, I feel much more confident in my physical appearance.

When You Want Personal Growth

I went up for the hit at practice and barely grazed the ball. I might not have played volleyball for six years but there was something else wrong with my hitting. So I asked. Even though I was a coach and maybe should have had it all together, I walked over to another coach, who is an excellent hitter, and said, “ok, what am I doing wrong?”

He told me. The next hit wasn’t great (remember that whole six year gap?) but it did feel like hitting when I corrected the problem.

So much of growth comes from being teachable. It was the first thing I told my girls when we held our first practice alone. Learning to play volleyball is, in a large part, based on how teachable you are. Will you be offended when you’re corrected? Will you do what you’re told, even if you think you know better? Will you complete the practice necessary to get better and refuse to give up?

Sports don’t prepare most people for a life of sports. Sure, a talented few will move on to play in college, and an even smaller number will play some type of professional ball. But for most of us, sports is a fun outlet where we can learn skills that will help us in life.

We’re All Older Women

I’ve never been a good fangirl. When I was at Declare Conference in July I did go talk to Kat Lee because when else am I going to meet Kat Lee? At Influence Conference last year I had my picture taken with Ruth Simons and Erin Loechner. But as much as I admire these ladies and learn different things from them I know they are just women. They’ve wanted to pull their hair out in frustration at ten in the morning when the baby is crying and a toddler is clawing at their legs. They’ve had to apologize to their husband more than once (a day) because of a bad attitude or a snippy tone. They’ve also gone to bed at night discouraged with where they are in life and how much they have left to learn.
They are just like me and they are just like you. However, I’m thankful that they don’t allow that to stop them from sharing what they’ve learned. They don’t let the fact that they’re human keep them from using the talents God’s given them to help others. They keep writing, keep podcasting, keep painting because they have a story and they want to help people.
Phylicia and I receive quite a few emails from podcast listeners who lament that they don’t have advisers. There’s no one in their lives to ask their questions about sex, motherhood, and marriage. There’s no one willing to invest in their lives and get involved and see the mess and not run away.

Attention Christian Women: Stop Being Nice

Y’all (you did realize I’m from the South, right?), I’m really passionate about women. Young girls, college girls, single girls. Married women. Women with children. I get discouraged at many of the messages I hear directed at women because they aren’t right or helpful or anything any woman needs to hear.

One of those messages is that girls are supposed to be nice.

Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? What’s wrong with being nice (besides the fact that it’s a little vanilla)? After all, nice means “pleasing, agreeable.”

Except, what if that’s not the goal? Where are women ever admonished in Scripture to be nice? Please fill me in here if I missed it somewhere but I haven’t found it. Nice means you smile (nothing wrong with that), agree with what’s said, and apologize excessively for things that aren’t your fault. And I’m working on that since my husband always says, “What are you apologizing for?” My response is usually “ummm……nothing”

5 Ways to be a Good Friend

Last week we talked about dealing with women who aren’t your close friends. It’s a totally different story when it’s your homegirls. There’s nothing wrong with recognizing that some people earn a spot in your inner circle. Jesus had an inner circle. Everyone should not be allowed the same access to your heart; the ones who earn those places deserve to get a good friend.

I am surrounded by talented, brilliant, caring women. And I call a handful of them close friends. Women I can share my heart with, women I trust with my story and my problems, women who love me and mine well.  Some of them are walking similar paths; some are in other stages of life. I often walk away thinking that they are much better to me than I am to them and that I have so much to learn from them.