All posts tagged Grace

Working Mom’s Devotional: Should We Force Kids To Go To Church?


“Mom, I don’t want to go to church this morning.”  My fifth-grade daughter protested as I woke her from a deep slumber.

“But Anna, you missed church last week.  Plus, next week you have a volleyball tournament.”

“I can’t move, I’m exhausted.”

“That’s because you had a sleepover Friday night.”

“Well, I’m too tired.  I just want to sleep.”

“Anna, please do your best.  This is important.”

I closed her bedroom door and walked downstairs.  This conversation is going no where.  I’m the parent, I just have to set the rules.  It’s not like I let her skip school when she’s too tired.

I thought back to my own mother on Sunday mornings.  She never let us sleep in.  Not in a million years.  I could have been on my death bed, and she’d still drag me out of bed on Sunday morning.  So what if my father stayed home to read the paper and smoke cigarettes, she would never dream of skipping church.  And sometimes I resented her for it.

I don’t want Anna to resent me.  I don’t want her to think that her faith is a set of rules.  That we just need to tick a box and show up to appease God.

But I also don’t want her to miss out.  We make time for the things in life that are important.  Even when we’re tired.

Grace-based parenting is harder than it sounds.   The answers may be simple.  But execution is complicated.  I’ve read the books.  I understand that each child is different.  I understand that as parents we must set an example, and that actions speak louder than words.

I also know that on my own, I lack wisdom.  That only through prayer and the Spirit of God will I have the discernment to know when to hold firm and when to let go.  That God is doing a work in my children through his amazing grace.  That more often than not, I need to engage.  But sometimes, as they get older, I need to get out of his way.

As I cleaned up the breakfast dishes, my husband started the car.  No sign of Anna.  She had slept through breakfast.  As we walked out the door, she stumbled downstairs with messy hair and sleepy eyes.  She was dressed and ready.  Breakfast could wait.


Do you struggle with grace-based parenting?  If we ask God for wisdom, he promises to give generously.  

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:15

Working Mom’s Devotional: Will We Choose Guilt or Grace?


I’ve been a pretty absent friend this year.  In between a demanding work schedule, aging parents, and my own over-stretched family, I’ve barely had time to write let alone invest in friendship.  Let’s face it.  Quality relationships take time.  Maybe too much time during this busy stage of life.

But I know deep down that relationships are worth the effort – especially during this busy season of life.  And the holidays are the perfect time to reconnect .  Even if I haven’t been a model friend in 2013.  Which is why I invited four dear friends to lunch the week before Christmas – to let them know just how much they’ve meant to me this year.

We were supposed to meet for lunch at noon (I sent out the invitation, remember?).  I was looking forward to putting aside the holiday rush, turning off my cell phone, and eating a slow but satisfying lunch in the best of company.

But I had one of those crazy Monday mornings.  From the moment I woke up, I was “behind” and  couldn’t catch up.  My first 30-minute meeting turned into two hours.  I looked at the clock. 12:45.


My heart sank.  I had missed the special “friendship” lunch – the lunch that I was supposed to be hosting!

Why should I be surprised?  This is indicative of my year.  I make plans, but they always seem to change.  I tell myself, “I can do it, I will hold it together!”  But then I find myself back pedaling and feeling out of control.  Wishing I was someone who doesn’t invite her very best friends to lunch and then stand them up!

But these are also the moments when I have a decision to make.  Will I choose guilt or grace?  Will I beat myself up and throw in the towel?  Or will I jump in the car, put the pedal to the medal, and receive a heavy dose of grace (albeit an hour late)?

Thankfully, I arrived just in time to wish my friends a Merry Christmas.

If I could replay last Monday morning, I would have done a few things differently.  But what’s done is done.  My failed Christmas lunch teaches me a lesson I need to learn over and over again.

Grace always gives me a second chance. 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

God is so good that he reaches down and gives me a second chance.  He knows in advance that I’m going to be an hour late for that Christmas lunch.   But he doesn’t condemn me.  Instead, he gives me a choice.  Will I wallow in regret?  Or will I seize a new moment?

2013 is almost over.  I can’t change last year, no more than I can change last Monday morning.  But I can choose grace over guilt.  And rather than replaying in my mind what could have been, I can move forward in confidence that God gives me new mercies every morning.  He is never caught by surprise.  Even when I don’t show up to lunch.

Are you ready for a fresh start in 2014?  

Why Working Moms Need Duck Tape and Grace

Duck tape

“I just can’t do it anymore!” 

I shouted to God, as if he couldn’t hear me.  I almost forgot about another first-grade birthday party.  In the midst of unpacking boxes last weekend,  I pulled out the invitation with no time to spare.  Of course, I also forgot to RSVP. 

So I did what any resourceful working mother would do.  I looked for something to re-gift, grabbed some tissue paper, and searched for a gift bag.

“Abby, it’s time for Bella’s party.  Hurry up and get dressed!”

She quickly obliged.  Yes, she is used to fire drills.  The only problem?

When you are in the middle of moving, you can’t find anything.  Let alone a gift bag for a party you forgot about. 

The solution?

Duck tape.  I had plenty of duck tape in plain view.   

Driving to the party, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.  Abby will have the only gift wrapped in duck tape.   Will she feel bad once she notices her gift is out of place?  What will the other mothers think of me? 

I thought about turning around.  After all, I hadn’t showered, didn’t have make-up on, and knew we would be 10 minutes late.   But sometimes I have to remember it’s not about me.   Abby didn’t seem to mind.

When we got to the party, I apologized to Bella’s mom profusely.

“We’ve been in the middle of moving and I was traveling all last week.  I’m really sorry we forgot to RSVP.”

She reassured me that everything was “fine.”  I counted 10 girls sitting around a circle.  Then I counted 9 goodie bags.  

My heart sank, yet these moments of imperfection teach me to let go:

This is where grace comes in.  As a child of God, I don’t have to earn anything.  I am holy, blameless, forgiven, and even redeemed by the blood of Jesus.  This doesn’t give me a license to screw up; it just gives me the freedom to be the best wife, mother, and lawyer that I can be.   (Chasing Superwoman, p.215)

Do you find yourself telling God, “I can’t do it anymore”?  How does grace free you from having to do it all?

Working Mom’s Devotional Dealing with Reverse Guilt

Working Mom's Devotional

We talk a lot about working mom guilt at home.   But what about working mom guilt at work?  Working moms tend to feel badly about leaving the office early, taking a day off, or even relaxing with family and friends.  I really hadn’t focused on this phenomena until I read a recent Huffington Post article on Reverse Guilt by Carol Evans.   As our careers demand our undivided attention, Evans describes reverse guilt with all-too-familiar examples:

“I feel this haunting sense of guilt about my work — not my family!” revealed a senior manager during the Q&A at a speech I gave recently. “I’m worried I might let my company down even though I’m going all out every day and then getting on my computer after I put the kids to bed.”

Case in point.  As I stay at home today with my kids, I feel a tad guilty for not being more “productive.”  (Ok, in reality, I’ve had an incredibly busy day making meals, going shopping, doing laundry, making Christmas lists, sorting old clothes for donations, and cleaning closets.  So why do I feel guilty for not working!)

I’ve noticed “reverse guilt” creep in, even with my friends who don’t work outside the home.  They get stressed over the volunteer schedules, bake sales, and expectations our communities place on stay-at-home moms perceived as have extra “time” on their hands.  And they likewise feel guilty every time they say no!

Here’s the problem with reverse guilt.  It robs us from having – and enjoying – a life outside of work!  The easy solution is to turn on the laptop, stay up late to answer emails, or head into the office on Sunday night to play “catch-up” before the work week.

But is this just a band aide solution?  It’s one thing to get your work done.  It’s another thing to refuse to let go.   And if we can’t let go, what does that say about our identity? 

Our Creator recognizes our intrinsic value.  “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepares for us in advance for us to do.”  (Ephesians 2:10)  Knowing I am “God’s workmanship” doesn’t give me a license to become a slacker at work – to the contrary, I am motivating by grace, not guilt, to do my very best. 

This is where grace comes in.  As a child of God, I don’t have to earn anything.  I am holy, blameless, forgiven, and even redeemed by the blood of Jesus.  This doesn’t give me a license to screw up; it just gives me the freedom to be the best wife, mother, and lawyer that I can be.   (Chasing Superwoman, p.215)

How do you deal with reverse guilt?  Will you allow God to define your value – rather than your achievements at home or at work? 

[Get a jump start on holiday shopping!  Chasing Superwoman is currently available on Amazon for $6.00.  Working Women of the Bible will release in March 2013!]

Grace For the Race, By Dena Dyer

More often than not, life can feel like a race.  But there’s good news for busy moms who need encouragement, laughter, and a spiritual kick in the pants on the journey. 

Meet author Dena Dyer.  Dena is a kindred spirit who loves chocolate, community, and  Jesus.   And she writes Grace for the Race with heart and humor.

This encouraging devotional is for moms of all ages and stages.  Dena celebrates her roots, laughs at her mistakes, and invites us to join her in defying the unattainable standard of “perfection.”  From struggling to nurse her firstborn to being annoyed at the neighbor kids, Dena hits home with a healthy dose of reality.    In her words, “I’m betting that since Jesus was a carpenter, He doesn’t mind a little dust.” 

A woman after my own heart!

But Dena doesn’t stop with a rant.  Instead, she turns her readers to higher ground.  Each devotion is filled with a spiritual truth, a practical story, and a powerful take-away.    Grace for the Race has a universal message – grace not guilt –  for all mothers.  Dena doesn’t “pick sides” between working and stay-at-home moms, something I particularly appreciate about her message.

“Let’s not judge one another for the decisions we make about working or staying at home, nursing or bottle feeding, cleaning or hiring help, and homeschooling versus public schooling.”

Dena also talks candidly about the storms of life  — such as her battle with depression and struggles to let go of her deepest fears.  This isn’t another one of those “feel good” devotionals that takes us ankle deep.  Instead, Dena takes us deep into our souls – to the point where grace alone sustains our journey.   Why else would we dare to keep running?

“And, I might add, it’s the grace that helps you forget childbirth and the early weeks so that – against all common sense – you decide to give your child a sibling.”

Do you need some grace for your race?  Check out Dena’s devotional here!