What Is a Kingdom Woman?

I love being a mom. Occasionally strangers in the store will express their condolences that we only have boys and I am quick to point out how much I love having boys. I love creating a home, putting flowers on the table and snuggling on the couch with books. I am deeply invested in my husband and these four boys and their good. But they are not my goal or my aim or my purpose. They are not what I live for; they are not my highest calling. My worth is not tied up in how clean my house is or how successful my husband is or how well my kids behave. I’ve grown increasingly convicted that we, as Christians, easily build an idol of home and family.  Homes and families are things to steward for God’s glory, not altars where we worship or the fulfillment of who we are.

This whole thing, all of life, is about Jesus. Nothing else. There is no cookie-cutter image for women besides Jesus. The “ideal Christian woman” usually isn’t based on the whole canon of Scripture, but rather on just a few verses, pulled out of context and robbed of their beauty. There are strange ideas circulating about what it means to be a woman, so let’s recenter as often as we need to.

Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Pssst…that doesn’t mean seek God’s kingdom and get a husband or a baby or a new job either. Go read the whole context.)

Instructions on Repeat

Not only do I do the same things every day-hello laundry and dirty kitchen floor- I say the same things everyday as well.

“We don’t call people names.” “We don’t hit our brothers.” “We need to speak kind words.” “Keep your hands to yourself.” “When we have work to do we need to do it with a good attitude.”

It’s easy to think that I only repeat myself to the boys. It’s because they are young and they haven’t had much practice and they need reminders. But I’ve found I need reminders as well. I’ve found that I spend seasons of life repeating the same things over and over to myself.

Show up. Work hard. Be faithful.

Whose Mission Is It Anyway?

I’ve been a tad obsessed with gender conversations and a Christian worldview over the past year. This has started for a variety of reasons and continued because a lot what I keep reading online (even from Christians that I respect and mostly agree with) was not meshing with what I was finding in the Bible.

I think we should tell God’s story. I think we should live God’s story. Do I have the corner on truth on this topic? Absolutely not. Am I going to God’s Word asking to know His heart? Absolutely. I hope this is something I grow in for the rest of my life.

However, I kept bumping up against this theme of women being subordinate (actual word a prominent theologian repeatedly uses about women) or secondary or servants. Or a theme of hierarchal marriages where the woman is beneath or under or less than her husband. (I’m just going to skip the theological issues with that umbrella model.) Or a theme of women only being equipped for a very tiny portion of life. I couldn’t figure out where this came from. Now I know where it comes from (we’ve discussed it on multiple podcast episodes) but I also realized that part of the story is actually missing.

For the Mama Who Never Finishes the Work

I’ve been a mama for over seven years now and each time we’ve added a baby it’s added a lot of work. Laundry, middle of the night feedings, more food, more discipline. All the good stuff lives on work.

I have just tackled the added work and went with like a machine. Not only did I do this but I felt like I had to. That’s what good women do. Good women have a clean house; they have perfectly-behaved, beautifully-dressed kids; they cook organic, from scratch dinners, etc, etc, etc, with all the cultural standards (bonus points if you’ve been taught they are Biblical as well) for mamas.

At some point you think I would figure it out. But honestly, I like taking care of my family and occasionally I’m a slow learner.

Then I started coaching ball last year and toned down a lot. There was regularly laundry waiting to be folded. We ate in the van frequently. I constantly tried to juggle cleaning and doing school. Then we had another baby and summer happened and I’ve been forced to slow down.

Why Every Woman Should Pay Attention to Her Clothes

A couple weeks ago I was combing through my closet trying on different outfits for church. I tried my fun black dress with a sweater and then put it back. I tried on a maxi skirt but couldn’t find a shirt I liked with it. I put on a denim tunic that was cute but not nursing-friendly. Finally I pulled out the same pink shirt I wear at least three times a week and my maternity jeans.

I didn’t feel too discouraged because I have gotten better at giving myself grace. This body was a home for a child for nine months and if it doesn’t like my regular clothes that’s perfectly fine. Honestly, those clothes probably all would have looked fine to someone else. But I didn’t wear them because I didn’t want to direct my attention to them.

One of the reasons I curate my clothes is so I don’t have to pay attention to them. I want to put them on and feel good in them and then forget about them. I don’t want to feel self-conscious or like I need to suck in my stomach or tug down my skirt or waste any time worrying about my clothes. Clothes matter because when you feel confident and comfortable in your clothes you stop thinking about them.

That New Baby Life: What I’m Enjoying Now

Luke is almost three weeks old now! In some ways it feels like he’s always been here and then I realize it’s only been a handful of days. Here are a few things that I’m enjoying in this postpartum season.

Reading

Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan: This book is one of my favorites that I picked back up the night before I had Luke and I’ve been reading and praying through it since then.

Summer to Thrive Guide by Jess Connolly: Really, our big summer goal is to adjust to our new rhythm with another baby. The guide is an excellent place to start if summer leaves you flailing. (It is the freebie you get if you sign up for her newsletter and it’s a good one on its own.)

Ephesians 4-6 printed out from Bible Study Tools: I printed mine at 50% scale to leave the awesome margin space for notes. I stuck these papers on a clipboard and it’s super easy to read and take notes now while I’m feeding the baby. Ever tried to write in your Bible with just one hand? Not a good idea.

How Self Care Works for Me

One of the first things my oldest learned in his kindergarten curriculum was the days of creation. It always strikes me that God used six of His days to work but He reserved a whole day to rest. A whole day when He, God Himself, never gets tired and never sleeps.

We mamas do a lot of creating and making. We make beds and we make tiny humans. We make dinner and snacks. We make grocery lists and we make routines that work for our families. We create the environment that our families live in every day. And there’s a big battle over rest.

God made our bodies with a need to rest. Even our minds need rest from constant work and stimulation. Motherhood is often portrayed in our society as the position where rest is no longer attainable. It’s got to be a special kind of arrogance to think we no longer need to conform to God’s design.