Tips for Getting In God's Word As A Young Mom

It's  been a while since I had truly felt a long-term passion about God's word. In high school and college I spent a lot of time in scripture, but as I started working, got married and had really little littles, I wasn't spending a lot of time in the Bible. I hunted and pecked here and there, did a few inductive Bible Studies, my time and depth ebbed and flowed depending on what I was involved in and who was holding me accountable.

And with the lack of time, I felt some of my passion for God dry up. If you asked me, I would have told you I wanted a more passionate relationship with the Lord, but I'd tell you that for one reason or another I was just kinda going through a dry spell. And if I were honest with you – if I were honest with myself – I would have told you that I believed God was the distant one, not me.

But really, I was feeding myself a lie. I was the one distancing myself from God – by not spending time with him. My words were not lining up with my actions. I gave lip-service to God, but was only having a quiet time a few days a week, for 15 minutes at best. I often found myself praying one line prayers for wisdom, for God to "give me the words," to be a mother that spoke truth to her children, and drew constant connections from their lives to their God's, but I wasn't putting in the right things to actually get something out.  I longed to have the passion I saw in others, to have their fearless faith and their Biblical wisdom to believe and speak freely of God's redemptive story. But when you're just having your quiet time to check it off a list, not for comprehension or heart change, none of those things are going to happen.

When your well is dry, you'll always be thirsty.

So this past year I started committing to spending more time with God. I started getting up earlier and instead of blogging, surfing the web – or doing anything really – I sat down and spent time in his word. I considered it a meeting, one that I couldn't use excuses to get out of. I told myself that before I did anything else, no matter how much more pressing it was, or how much "fun" it offered, I would give the first part of my morning (even on the weekends) to God. And not just 15 minutes, but as much time as it took to come away with a truth for the day.

I've ended up spending less time here because of it. I don't read nearly as many blogs or books as I used to. I watch far less TV. I do less DIY. I say "no" to more new and fun opportunities that come my way.

But I have so much more love for God.

Slowly, over the past months, the Lord has transformed my heart. Where I could barely focus for 10 minutes on a passage of scripture, I now wake up in the morning, sometimes spending 45 minutes to an hour reading, praying, learning. This is something I've longed for all my life, something I've felt was both bizarre and admirable in others, and something I've felt like I could never attain, especially as a young mom. But life is about choices and I'm learning that I have to give up things – even a lot of good things – if I want to prioritize my relationship with God in my life.

For example, I don't work out. Now don't get me wrong, working out is a good thing, and something of great value, but not eternal value. When I realized I was prioritizing working out over my quiet time, I knew something had to change. For me personally, I wasn't willing to make time for both. (I'm so fighting the urge to write, "didn't have time for both." But as my mom always says, "You have time for what you want to make time for.") I have other things I want to give my time to: here at OA and on my social profiles, Risen Motherhood, friendships, women's ministry at church, etc., so working out quickly came off the list when I knew something needed to go in order for me to grow spiritually.

If you're like me, you've looked at moms that have said things like this and wondered how in the world they can possibly find this much time to be in the word - even with giving up certain things. I'm not perfect of course, as moms, our lives change quickly. Rarely does one day look like the next. And even when we set aside time in the early morning hours before they typically wake up, things happen. Kids get sick, they wake early, we go on trips or spend time single parenting for a while. We have a lot of "seasons within a season of life," but we can still prioritize our relationship with Christ and spend time in scripture.

Maybe you can't give this much time right now, I know how hard the little years are! But no matter how many minutes you actually have to give, it's vital to be in the word every day. If you've been longing to reconnect with God, but have been wondering where he is, might I encourage you in having a daily, purposeful quiet time? Over time, I promise you, you will begin to feel the passion again. He promises that his word will not return void.

Here are a few things I've learned about getting in a consistent, intentional quiet time no matter the season you're in:

Try to find a consistent time.
This is huge. For many young moms I've talked to, they've found first thing in the morning before their kids get up is best. Admittedly, there are some seasons where this is simply not achievable, but once you have a little more routine, a little older kiddos, if you can swing waking up before the rest of the house, I highly recommend. But if your kids are up all night or routinely up at 5 a.m., try to find another part of the day that typically works - nap time, before bed, on the train to work, don't feel like you have to structure your day like anyone else's. You do you.

Figure out distractions and get rid of them.
I found that having my phone nearby was a big distraction. Sometimes I like to look things up on the internet as I'm studying God's word, but my phone had too many alerts and access to too many apps for me to stay focused. I try to put it in a drawer while I study and look things up on a computer if I need to. You could even just put it on airplane mode for a time.  Within the first couple of days of doing an intentional quiet time you'll figure out your distractions - deal with them quickly so they don't set you off track.

Put things where you can easily access them.
I keep everything for my quiet time on a desk in my living room, so I can quickly grab them in the morning. I keep my regular bible, a journal for quiet time notes, a prayer journal, the ESV Study Bible, pens and highlighters with me on the couch while I study. In addition, I have several reference books on the shelf above the desk so they're easily accessible if I have a question come up.

Have a plan.
This. Is. Huge. I've always found that when I'm in a formal Bible study, I'm much more committed to spending time in God's word because I have a plan and accountability for what I'm actually doing. But I've also found that I like to change things up and often find myself running on tangents with questions and wanting to study other things.

I'd like to write on choosing quiet time structures more, but lately I've been doing the material for a summer study I'm in with my family in about two mornings, then the other five days I spend working through a word study or larger passages of scripture. (I use the plow and trowel methods, this post is a great overview!) I'm currently blazing through the Old Testament, and it's amazing what you can learn when you 1) read for comprehension, not just to get your daily reading plan done and 2) read Judges close enough to the Psalms (or any two books of the OT) so you actually get some of the references that had always gone over your head before. I also really enjoy using the inductive study method. I grew up using it in my church, but Jen Wilkin has a great book on it too.

There are no rules!
Remember, there are no true rules when it comes to quiet times. It's between you and the Lord. Don't be afraid to change up what you're doing, or if the day is a little out of whack and you can't fit in your normal amount of time, don't toss in the towel. Do what you can, even just leaving the Bible open on your counter so you can look at it throughout the day is better than nothing. Don't compare what you're doing to anyone else - especially not to me. For a time I felt like I needed to learn specific things in a passage, or study some of the most popular books of the Bible, or spend a certain amount of time studying. But if I've learned anything it's to allow the Lord to direct my thoughts and my time. Some days, I really do just have 15 minutes, other days, I have an hour. I can trust that he'll guide me in the right things to study, bringing the right things to mind, and allow the truth I need to hear stand out in the time he's provided.

Get accountability.
Telling someone else to check in on you is a surefire way for you to get your rear in gear and actually read God's word. Swap emails or Voxes about what you've read, send each other texts to let each other know you've done it, or even have a weekly playdate to discuss what you're learning. Accountability is a great way to grow with others and to motivate you on those extra tough days.

What tips would you add?

Mothering When The World Is Scary: Raising The Next Generation To Change The World

This has been a scary couple weeks for our world. I watch the news with a stomach ache, wondering how my children will grow up, wondering what more horrors they will see and experience. I wonder for their physical safety, political freedoms and what damage will be inflicted on their hearts as they grow and mature. I feel hopeless as to how to protect them, like the world is spinning out of control and we are merely along for the ride, no matter how dark and scary it gets.

There's a question that's been swirling in my mind, a question my friends and I keep asking each other, keep asking ourselves: "What kind of world have we brought our children into?" And more importantly: "What can we do about it?"

So what is a mother to do when the world seems to keep getting scarier? What can we do?  How do we respond to the frightening things we're seeing happen on TV, on the internet and even in our own cities, in our government, at our children's schools and with their friends? How do we deal with raising children in a broken culture?

When I hear about the shootings, the refugees, the political corruption, the terrorism the bombings, the racism, I know my first response is to lose heart, to lay awake at night worrying and agonizing over the devastation in the world and feel helpless concerning my children's future. But as a mother who fears God, this is the exact opposite response that I should have.

It will not do us or our children any good to live as fearful mothers.

God has called us to to be steadfast, faithful women, women who trust in his promises, who believe what he says to be true. When we take him at his word - when we eradicate our unbelief, we can live in a radical way that's counter-cultural to our world today. We mothers can watch the news without despair, because we know God is sovereign and has a much bigger plan than what the 10 o'clock anchors are reporting. No matter what awaits us, or our babies, we don't have to fear because our hope is not in today.

We can live with a rare fearlessness - because we have a hope in God's great redemption story - that even though today I am drowned in grief and sorrow over what is happening to African Americans, to police, to the LGBTQ community, to the Syrian refugees, and so many more innocent people, I can still live with trust in God's great mercy and love for his people - that someday, all will be redeemed. No more tears. No more pain. No more fear. No more suffering or shootings or protests or fighting or people fleeing for their very life.

One day we will be with him in eternal glory, and no matter what happens to us today, we can trust our future is secure. We can mother fearlessly with faith, because of what God has done in the past and hope for what we know he will do in the future. We trust that he is sovereign over all, that he is still fighting for us

To be honest, I find myself daily crying out, "I believe, help my unbelief!" I am not perfect at this, is anyone? But when we put this into practice, when we study God's word, when we spend time talking to him and walking in his ways, we can admit this is a hard truth, but that we know it IS truth. And slowly, surely, our hearts are transformed.

And when we have this truth (as elusive as it can feel at times) embedded deep in our souls we can raise our children to understand the same.

So what does our world need? What can we as mothers do?

We can raise our children to weep for a loss of life. To have mercy on the helpless. To know that all people are created in the image of God - and no matter the age or race, all have value - every life matters. We teach them to have eyes for the hurting, hands for helping, hearts of bravery and valor. We teach them to love God's law, with a deep conviction for truth, yet great mercy and empathy for lost and hurting souls.

What we can do is impact the next generation.

If we want to see our world changed, then we start with our own children. We must train them to love righteousness, to have a deep compassion for the pain and turmoil the world is in, yet understand how to stand up and fight for truth.

You are raising a world-changer, mom.

You are enormously, vitally, part of the cause to change the world.

You are shaping souls in your home, every, single day.

In everything you do, every bedtime story, every breakfast conversation, every walk to the park or drop off at daycare, you are shaping them to someday change the world.

When you talk to your children in the car about loving their black friends well and not placing stereotypes on them, you are shaping them. When you treat your gay family member with respect and love in front of your children you are shaping them. When your children watch you swing by a birth center to stand up for a helpless baby in the womb's right to life, you are shaping them. When you email your politicians, serve on PTA or walk to the mailbox to send money to a cause Middle East, you are shaping them.

Our children are taught, not in lengthy, great, eloquent speeches, or in a few, random moments of awkward talk about Christian values when they are teens - no, they are shaped and transformed little by little, though living life with you each day.

Your children will learn to live their life by the wisdom of God when they have watched you, their mother, model it for them day in and day out.

This is a weighty responsibility. But it is an investment that is worth more than anything else we will ever do.

We are the gatekeepers of our homes, and we will likely have the greatest impact on our children's lives - on what ultimately shapes their opinions, loves and values. We must teach them to become leaders in their generations, deep thinkers and high action-takers, shaped by a love for what God loves.

Our children will be world-changers when they learn to live different from the world, with a deep reverence for the balance of unity, mercy, truth and grace.

When we see horrific stories covered on our news, it should not make us fear and want to hide, it should spur us on to become even more committed to raising our children to become protectors of the helpless, Godly messengers to a lost and broken world. When we have no fear for our own futures (however bleak and full of suffering they may become) we can raise our children confidentially, radically, to rest secure in the same future hope we have in the coming return of Christ.

Moms, if we can unite in this truth, if we all would strive to raise our own children with this hope and truth deep in their souls, then someday, an entire generation will rise up that loves moral goodness, values life, protects the needy, bears the burden of grace and acts in love! It will be a generation like we've never seen before, one that is dedicated to the good things of God, to shaping our culture towards righteousness, towards the way it was originally designed.

When all hope seems lost for our world, there is something you can do, and you're doing right it now. So go, live life with your children, remembering that you are making an impact on generations to come. Your responsibility as a mother is great, but it is not on your shoulders alone - Christ the King has given you all that you need when he gave his life for yours on the cross.

Me and my little world-changers.

When You Doubt God's Goodness (enCourage)

It was about a year ago the doubt began. We had just moved across states, a three month old and a not-quite two year old in tow, living in temporary housing while we renovated a house. I didn’t necessarily want to move, but a new job opportunity for my husband called, and I agreed, wanting him to pursue his dreams. As the weeks ticked by with a colicky newborn, and nap-striking toddler, and no friends or family available for support in a unfamiliar city, the doubt grew. Slowly at first, but soon spreading, infecting, deepening its roots in my heart.

 As I watched my toddler play with the handful of toys we brought to temporary housing, I found myself thinking about all that had happened: the move, the baby, the toddler tantrums, the long hours my husband worked, the colic, the loneliness, the fear – the feeling of abandonment by God. I was wallowing in self-pity, feeling unloved and unseen by a Father that I had always been close to. I began to believe the lie that I am the orphan, knowing I have a father, but never feeling his love, joy and affection for me.

The lies crept further in telling me that I was overlooked by God, unremembered, passed over. I was disappointed with God and questioned his goodness when he didn’t answer my pleas. I was asking him for a change, for the good gifts he promises me in his word, but as the weeks ticked by with nothing but the same struggles, I began to question if God cared for me at all ... to read more visit the enCourage blog. I'm honored to be guest posting over there today!

Backyard Camping & Becoming A Mom of "Yes"

Why is it that summer days always seem to go so much more quickly, and the weeks feel so much fuller? As a SAHM to two under three, it's not like my schedule changes at all. There's no "last day of school," summer camps or sports, so I'm still trying to figure out why it feels like we're running around like crazy to get things done. Lately, between adoption paperwork, outside projects (like Risen Motherhood) and traveling, it's been hard to really slow down and enjoy the summer.

I feel like I'm often having to say, "no," or "hurry up," or "we don't have time for that," and after a while I realized that was about all I was saying. So halfway through June, I decided it was time to change my tune, and become a mom of a bit more "yes." With the longer days, it's easier to keep the kids up later – and easier to keep their good attitudes with all the fun things there are to do outside. Eli's been asking to go camping since Christmas, so one random Saturday when he asked yet again, instead of thinking about how much work it would be and how late a bedtime he'd end up having, I just said "yes."

"Yes! Camping! Wonderful idea!"

You shoulda seen the look of shock on that kid's face.

So Mike and I set up the tent in the backyard and I grabbed a snack for the kids since I knew it'd put off dinnertime (and bedtime) quite a bit. I love pulling out snacks like FLYJOY bars, since they have such long-lasting, healthy energy from ingredients like quinoa, chia, flax and nut butter. Colette can get pretty fussy in the evenings, but having something to munch on quickly puts her in a good mood. As soon as the tent was up, both kids had a blast just playing in it while it was empty – in the future, I plan on setting it up on random days just as a clubhouse for them to play in.

As soon as we brought in Eli's sleeping bag, he promptly requested that we all go immediately to bed and he put all his gear in the little tent pocket while "sushing" all of us as loud as he could. First time I've ever heard that kid request to go to bed.

Of course, what's camping without a campfire? After we put Colette down inside (the beauty of camping in your own backyard), we built a fire and made s'mores with "marsh-pillows." As soon as he was done with the sweet treat, Eli continued his requests to go to bed immediately, so I went inside to sleep in the AC and a bed with a mattress, and Eli and Mike had a "boys night" sleeping under the stars.
Even a week later and every time I ask Eli what his favorite part of his day was, he still says, "When I went camping with you and daddy and made "marsh-pillow s'mores." 

And that my friends, is why it's worth slowing down summer – and becoming a mom of "yes."

This post was sponsored by FLYJOY. 

Four Truths of The Christian Life: Takeaways from TGC Women's Conference 2016


Thoughts have been swirling around in my head for days, and I've been nervous they'd slip away before I had to chance to write them down. Last weekend I attended the TGC Women's Conference, and four days later and I've finally finished unpacking my bags, and now I can unpack the truths I learned. While this is in no way a concise list, these were the things that bubbled to the surface – but it took all my might not to just write down a carbon copy of my notes for you all.

So many good truths were shared and I fear the below won't even do it justice. But I thought I'd share, to process the "big things" further, and in hopes that you might find an encouraging along the way.

It's a matter of the mind. 
I'm a long-time Christian conference attendee. I've been going to conferences since I was in Jr. High and most of them end with a high, high, HIGH emotional high – the last night's talk a capstone to make you sob and recommit something – or your entire life – to Jesus. And this is not always a bad thing, but I've come to realize because it's so focused on the emotions of the heart, it's often short-lived. I've always walked away from a conference "on fire for Jesus" (or something like that), but fairly quickly hit a valley when I'm no longer sleeping next to my best friends in a hotel.

At TGCW, there was never a "moment" or a major sob-fest where I could barely breathe. Instead, I came away with my head throbbing over all the new truths I encountered and ways I wanted to change and develop my thinking. Jen Wilkin talked about how the Christian life begins with the mind, and the importance of Biblical literacy in shaping our thoughts: "Right thinking starts with right desires, which creates right actions." She charged us to "prepare our minds for action" – to battle for holiness and against passions. And the only place I'm going to get right thinking is from reading and engaging in God's word.

Often I feel incredibly overwhelmed by all that I don't know. And at TCGW, it was pretty easy to feel small and inferior when there were Christian heavy-hitters at every turn. As a mom to young children, I often feel like I don't have time to apply myself to God's word the way D.A. Carson or John Piper does, so how will I ever grow in my knowledge of God? But God's not asking me to be Piper or Carson or Wilkin. He knows exactly where I'm at and the season I'm in. God doesn't listen to Jen Wilkin's prayers more than he listens to mine. All he asks is for me to spend time with him, learning about who I am because of who he is. He grants wisdom – "right thinking" to those who ask for it. And so in this season of life, I'm learning not to live emotional high to emotional high, but instead to rest in the steady, plodding, faithful faith I've known since I was a child. To consistently study God's word in the time I have. To find something to study, and learn it. To pick one thing and apply it. To believe in the transforming power of God's word in my mind to transform my desires, to transform my actions.

Sometimes, the right answer is to choose suffering.
I plan to write about this more, but the as the adoption process progresses, I confess that I've continued to go back and forth on whether this is the right decision for our family. I know, I KNOW, deep down that God is calling us to it, but certain things have come up since we started the process that have made me question if the timing is right, and Satan continues to bring lies to mind about choosing something that will make our life "harder than it needs to be."

While much of the conference focused on suffering, Don Carson said something that really stuck with me. "Sometimes choosing the right thing – the hard way – is sometimes choosing suffering." He went on to say that believers should have a place in their life where their life costs something. "You should choose something, not because you want it, but because you should – because you want to be identified further with Christ." I have no rose-colored glasses when it comes to adoption. I know enough friends that have adopted or been adopted themselves to know that my adopted children will bring with them deep, deep wounds of suffering. But I also know enough about God to know that he can redeem all things. That he makes all things new and that his grace will be sufficient for me and my entire family, no matter what we face. It was the perfect truth I needed to shut out the lies of the devil and walk fearlessly along the path to our children. I know adoption is what God has asked of our family – he made it undeniably clear last Christmas – and now instead of wanting to withdraw every time a bump in the road comes up, I will lean into it, knowing I am identifying more and more with my Savior, every time I face hardship and I can rejoice, knowing I am counted worthy of suffering for his name.

"It's family business."
There was a powerful panel one morning on the persecuted church and K.A. Ellis said something that struck a chord with me. "Advocating for the persecuted church is not advocacy, it's family business." Growing up in a family business, this hit home. I started working for my dad as soon as his business started when I was in grade school. Sweeping and moping floors, painting trim and walls, filing paperwork that I didn't even understand how to read. It was an expectation that everyone always pull together and get things done. We always had each other's backs, protected each other and provided for each other - no matter the cost. In a family business, everyone rises together, and everyone falls together. This thinking challenged me to see my Christian brothers and sisters in a new light - we rise and fall together, we support each other, we depend on each other. Even outside of the persecuted church, in my local church, how often do I really have this thinking? One day, my blood family will fade away and I will worship before the King only with an eternal family. If I took the attitude I have for my nuclear family and applied it to the rest of the church, I think I'd be a whole lot more invested. I'd serve more. I'd give more. I'd pray more.

A fearless life because of hope.
Ten minutes of watching the news today and I can't help but be filled with sadness, anger and a whole lot of fear. And it's becoming increasingly clear that as a Christian, I am walking the uncommon, unpopular path – one that often feels lonely, scary and disliked. But a major takeaway from the conference was that I don't have to live as a fearful woman, one that is scared of the coming elections, the shifting cultural values, or the future society my children will grow up in. I live differently from the rest of the world, with an extraordinary courage, a rare fearlessness, that can only be explained by hope of something beyond this world, hope of something more than what I see around me today.

Mary Wilson reminded me that my story is not depended on what happens on the news, in the world. I may be a United States citizen on paper, but ultimately, eternally, my citizenship is in Heaven. My story is the Kingdom story, a redeemed daughter of the King's story! John Piper charged me to live in an odd, peculiar, unpopular way, because I have hope in a reward beyond this life. As a mom, I almost feel like if I'm not worried for my kids and their future, I'm not a good mom. But as a woman of God - I can laugh at the future! I have nothing to fear for me or my kids, because I know ultimately God is in charge. He will provide, protect and care for me, my husband and my babies! No matter what happens to me, no matter what suffering, pain and adversity waits, I don't have to fear! One day I will be with Christ and enjoy him forever – my glory won't happen in this life because I don't need it now – I will be exalted for eternity with Christ! 

I feel like much of my motherhood has been fighting the snares of the devil telling me that I'm not good enough, I'm not doing it right, I'm not thinking ahead enough or training my children well. I've always known that I "shouldn't" fear or worry about these things, but throughout the weekend, the reasoning was solidified for me. It gives me so much freedom to mother with confidence in the gospel hope of the future coming of Christ. To know that I will not receive any reward now – and that's okay! My future reward is so much better, so much sweeter and more wonderful – IT IS WORTH THE WAIT. Oh, how I wish I help each of you mothers out there feel what I feel now! It's empowering to know that life doesn't depend on me. I can live like the great women of the Bible, having faith because of what God has done in the past, and hope for what I know he will do in the future. 

***

And that was trying to keep it concise! There is so much more I could share, but I know this is getting long, and my coffee's getting cold. I've heard TGC is planning on putting all the talks online for free, so if you weren't at the conference, I highly encourage you to take time to listen to some of the sessions while you go about regular life. This was my first year at the conference, but it definitely won't be my last. Anyone else go? I'd love to hear about what you took away!

Why "Give Yourself Grace" Often Falls Short

It was a rare day for both my friend and I. We were in the car alone, coffee in hand, and all the carseats in the back were empty. During the drive, we got to talking about the bible study we were in at church together, about how it's hard, requiring more thinking than our mom-brains have done in years.

"Give yourself grace," I said. "God knows the season we're in, it's okay if we don't get it done each week."

It was a nice thing to say, balm to our guilt, salve to our failings, but was it true?

*** 

A month or two later, I'm on a walk with a different friend of mine. Each of us pushing our double strollers, doling out apple sauce and cashews every ten minutes to keep the kids quiet. We're talking about how we can't do it all. How we try to add something to our plates, and for a time, it seems pretty good, but after a few weeks or months, we start to see our plates cracking and we know something has to give before they crash.

We start talking about how thankful we are for God's grace, how he knows our hearts and how there's grace when we fail. But then she says to me, "You know, I used to always say, 'I just have to give myself grace.' But really, I'm learning I should say, "Come stand in the grace that's been offered to you.'"

And in that moment, I had never heard anything more profound.

***
"Give yourself grace." It seems to be the latest catch-phrase. I'll admit, it sounds good and  I've caught myself saying it multiple times. And sometimes, it's a good saying, a truth to hear when holding ourselves to impossible, unrealistic standards of perfection in areas we don't need to be.

But usually, that phrase can quickly lead us to sticky ground.

I don't know about you, but when I'm truly honest with myself, I often find myself saying "give yourself grace" as an excuse for my sin, rather than something to motivate me out of my sin.

When I lose my temper with my children from impatience, or choose to ignore the dishes in the sink out of laziness, or tear apart my post-partum body out of insecurity, then tell myself, "It's okay that I do this, I'll be better tomorrow, don't worry about it, give yourself grace." What I'm doing is coddling myself by excusing bad behavior and tolerating sin. "Giving yourself grace" skips one giant, vital, all-important step: repentance.

Self-grace isn't true grace at all - it's taking the grace right out of grace, to a point it no longer has any meaning. It's cheapening grace - effectively disgracing, grace.

Cheap grace ignores repentance. Cheap grace ignores the cross. Cheap grace ignores our need for forgiveness. Cheap grace ignores the beautiful, sacrificial redemption story.

Because when you truly understand what Jesus Christ crucified has done for you - when you understand the full weight of your sin and what grace cost: the pain, the suffering, the undeserved wrath poured out on the Son - you will no longer use grace as an excuse to sin in your heart or actions. 

We are not able to pardon ourselves with self-imposed grace, it is based purely on the will and good pleasure of God. Grace doesn't mean you did a little something here or there or even a little bit, grace means you did NOTHING - least of all to impart it on yourself.

Moms, grace isn't about giving yourself anything - it's about receiving and accepting the work that's already been completed on the cross.  We don't give ourselves grace, we accept the grace that has been given to us by God.

And that is true good news. Because time and time again, we will fail – we cannot be perfect moms – but the gospel of grace brings us back to the cross to refine us, transform us and make us new.  It is his grace from beginning to end. It is his grace forever and for always. It is his grace alone.

Come stand in the grace offered to you.