The story in Nehemiah 4 made a huge impact on me when I read it. As the Israelites are rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem after years of captivity it says they worked with one hand and held their weapon with the other in case of attack. As we do the work God has called us to, we must be like the Israelites, ready to fight when the enemy attacks.
What do you do when a friend is suffering? What should you say? Whether it’s a miscarriage, cancer, addiction, or depression it can be hard to know what to say and that often keeps us from reaching out. But there is one simple thing we all need…
Do you ever feel invisible?
Like you might be doing the most important work in the world, but no one notices.
You could be raising the next great scientist, artist, human rights activist, or just decent human being that treats others with kindness. Lord knows we could use more of those (i.e. Charlottesville, Las Vegas, Orlando, [insert city of choice here]).
Here I am trying to raise those decent human beings. I’m trying my hardest, and it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. It, certainly, isn’t glamorous. This morning I cleaned pee off the floor RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE TOILET. Take two more steps, kid! TWO!! You’re a dude. All you have to do is stand in front of the toilet and aim!
I am so immersed in feeding, wiping, cleaning, teaching, disciplining, I can hardly find myself in it all. Where is Lisa? Who is she? Have my duties so absorbed me that without them I am invisible?
I find myself searching for answers in wrong places that seem right… my job, my husband, my kids.
”Job, did I do well? Pay me what I’m worth. Give me the recognition I crave.”
”Husband, who am I? Tell me I’m valuable. Tell me I’m worth your time.”
”Kids, am I doing this right? It seems like this all-consuming role is my sole identity, yet I feel like I’m constantly failing.”
I know I am not alone in this. I am so sure of it. Our worth as women gets attacked over and over again in this world. In the workplace. On the Internet. Among friends. In our own minds. How do I battle this?
This week the unsettled feeling grew stronger, and I entered church Wednesday night with expectation. I desperately needed to meet with God. My feeble attempts to make time for Him at home had not been enough. It was during the song Reckless Love when the Holy Spirit so clearly spoke,
“You are priceless. I gave everything for you. I gave everything for you. I gave everything for you.“
My worth is not found in others’ approval of me. It is not in sweet accolades. It is not the number on my paycheck. It is not even in the words or actions of my husband and children.
My worth is found in One who is greater than I, and, yet, He gave everything for me. Sacrificing His very life that I may live. I have to meet with Him daily. I have to lean in and listen to His voice. The approval and recognition for which I long, flow freely from His mouth. And how much sweeter are those words when they come from someone who knows my very best and my very worst?
He has seen me parent well, and He has seen me yelling at my kids at 5:00 when I’m trying to make dinner and the baby is fussy and Josh still has another hour of work. And He says, “You are priceless.” He has seen me pull off a damn good event, problem-solving the heck out of a wedding, and he has seen me flub my way through stuff I know nothing about. He says, “You are priceless.” He has seen me display patience and kindness with my husband, and he has seen me be downright mean to the man I love. He says, “Daughter, you are priceless.”
It was in that moment of worship with tears streaming down my face that my soul found rest. In Him. I find rest. In Him I find my worth. And while that moment was transformative, the attacks will not stop. Daily, I enter a world that tells me a woman is worth nothing. Daily, I must meet with the One who tells me a woman is worth everything.
Maybe it’s because my mom was one or maybe it’s because I know how much work it takes to be a mom with help from a husband – let alone by yourself. Whatever it is, my heart goes out to the single mommas.
I remember when my mom was single… We lived in a one bedroom duplex, and at five years old I was thrilled to share a bed with my mom. I would have had no idea it was because she couldn’t afford a place with two bedrooms.
I remember my mom making me scrambled eggs to eat. And now I wonder if I was eating eggs, because they’re cheap or because it was easy and she was tired from working all day. The memories I have I see in a different light now that I’m older and also a mom.
I remember grocery shopping and not being allowed to buy squeeze-its. You know, those sugary-sweet, brightly-colored drinks in squeezable plastic bottles with faces on them. I’m a 90s kid! They were too expensive to pack in my lunches. But I remember how excited I was when my mom bought them as a special treat for me!
I remember when it was my turn to bring in snack at preschool and she made Jello-jigglers – Jello cut out in the shapes of letters. If it were me, I’d be buying the cheapest packaged snack that required no time or effort. How much more did it require for her to go the extra mile without a partner to help?
I remember the pool and the patio we shared with the Brazilian family next door, and how I’d eat their delicious black beans and rice at a kids table with their little girl. I remember playing in that pool out back for too many hours and ending up in the emergency room with an asthma attack late that night. Who was there to support my mom while she was scared for her child who couldn’t breathe? Who did she turn to and ask, “Should we go to the ER?”
I remember when I stole two crayons from preschool because I thought they were the prettiest colors, and I didn’t have them at home. I stuck them in my pocket and forgot about them. Until my mom pulled me aside one day and asked about those crayons. They’d gone through the washer, ruining our clothes including a white pant suit of my mom’s and some favorite piece of my own clothing. Oh how I cried. And oh how my mom probably cried …or fumed. I don’t know, but I know she couldn’t say to anyone, “You take care of this kid. I’m too upset.”
Who was there to help my single mom? Girlfriends? Our church? We didn’t live near family.
Who do you know that’s a single mom? Are we all just passing these women by not recognizing the extraordinary amount of work it takes to do what they do. every. single. day? At the very least, those of us with husbands should be thanking the good lord above that we aren’t doing this parenting thing on our own.
This Mother’s Day I encourage you to reach out to a single mom. Maybe you can offer babysitting or grocery money or kids clothes. Or maybe you can just grab coffee – because all moms need friends.
You’re in bed next to me with our little mini-me-man curled into your side as we both type words onto a screen. I am proud of you. For so many reasons. For stuff like building a business, growing a business, and selling a business. For starting a podcast and sticking with it for a full year even as we both wondered, “Will we ever make money again?” For taking risks I couldn’t fathom – and I would certainly never take on my own if not for you saying, “I have an idea…” For taking the biggest risk of all: choosing to be a dad; raising little humans with the hope we don’t screw them up somehow.
I think it’s the biggest risk one can take. Being a dad. You go into it with no experience and almost as little knowledge on the subject. I’ve seen you in some rough times – difficult seasons. But you had wisdom to reach out to men who have been there – men who traveled the path before you. Thank you.
This season though… you’ve found the sweet spot. You are relishing and treasuring. You are enjoying dad-life to its fullest. And I? I am relishing and treasuring. The shared smiles and laughter when our kids do something precious. The nightly wrestling matches on the living room floor. The soft, sweet dad-voice reserved only for your little girl.
You are an amazing daddy, Joshua. And I am proud of your many accomplishments, but they are nothing compared to the love you have for your children. Your achievements only enhance the love you have for your kids, because I know the motivation behind them is providing for your family and leaving behind a legacy.
Most of all, thank you for modeling to our children the true nature of a man. For being the type of husband I want our son to be and our daughter to marry. Thank you for showing our children how a dad loves his kids and how a husband cherishes his wife. And last, but certainly not least, thank you for bringing fun into our family. Because what is life if we aren’t enjoying it?
Happy Father’s Day.
I’m sharing five of my favorites with you this week!
- Banana Republic
has 40% off everything in store and online right now including clearance (Code: BRTAKE40).I bought a lot, but it’s G’s fault. She kept telling me everything looked good when I tried it on! Also, I had to leave the dressing room twice for her to go to the bathroom.
- The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. You heard me reference it in Strategy 8: Your Pressures. This book brought me to a life-changing moment when I realized I can’t balance everything. I have to let something go, which is what led to this post.
- My new Starbucks tumbler for iced coffee. It’s summatime! It stayed cold for so much longer than those throw away cups!
- Going right along with the coffee theme: the Best Mom Ever mug my kids gave me for Mother’s Day. I’m using it all the time. If you follow me on Instagram you saw my post and how my cute, little man melted my heart when he ran to me with the gift.
- Not a thing, but a moment. When G and I had tea together this week during A’s nap time. We each had our teacups at the kitchen table, and we talked about where she wants to go to pre-k. It was like two grownups having a conversation over coffee… except she’s four, and I’m still not sure if she understands there won’t be face painting at preschool.
I recorded this video a couple months ago and in it I say, “Ask the Lord to show you if you are harboring unforgiveness toward someone.” Sure enough he showed me! I didn’t even realize it. The bitterness was from so long ago – a peer who honestly was just mean, but had really made me question,”Am I enough?” I could see that I brought that question into other relationships. All because of a stupid hurt from years ago. Once God brought the person to mind I recognized that every time I had heard their name I’d make a face or maybe a smug remark. Lightbulb moment for Lisa.
What’s crazy is that I had been feeling like something was off. Like I couldn’t quite connect with the Holy Spirit. Like I would pray but there was a barrier that muffled the communication – both ways. Once the Lord showed me I was holding onto this hurt, I gladly exclaimed, “I forgive them!” I will NOT allow this bitterness to mess with my relationship with the Lord! It is NOT worth it!
The barrier that was there is gone. I am so thankful for a God who loves us enough to show us where we need to change. He doesn’t leave us floundering but desires for us to live a life of freedom. Thank God for His freedom!
Dangit! That thing is falling apart and used and worn. I’ve wanted to carry it out on trash day more than once. The community yard sale was the perfect excuse to get rid of it. I was all set to sell it and then…
I tried to rock my baby (read: 2 year old – who will soon be a grown man, graduating college, and getting married) to sleep in a different chair, and it just wasn’t the same. It was bumpy and not glidey. Pokey and not cushy. All I could think of was how I’d never again rock in the chair that I’d rocked both my babies to sleep in for the last 4 years.
The chair where I’ve nursed my babies and snuggled them close. The chair where I’ve read Bubbles, Bubbles and Mr. Brown Can Moo. The chair where I’ve spent hours wishing children would fall asleep so I could lay them in their crib and so many more hours wishing I could hold them forever, willing them to never grow up.
It’s the same chair I’ve sat in time after time with an aching back or sore feet from going all day long. I’d finally take a moment to stop, to rock my little one, and that’s when I’d hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. I can’t tell you how many times the Lord’s whispered to me in that chair. Mostly because it was the only time I was still and quiet; not distracted by the to-do list or the TV.
And oh how many prayers have gone up from that chair! Prayers for protection over my family. Prayers of blessing on my children. Prayers for their future spouses and even for the parents that are raising their future spouses! Prayers for my husband. Prayers for guidance. Prayers that call upon the Lord to act – to do what he has promised!
So much of my life – the parts that are rich with meaning – has happened in that chair. So many precious moments. Heaven help me, but I don’t think I can get rid of that ugly, beautiful, falling-apart, old chair.
I was running in the dark and squinting to see anything. The dim flashlight provided little help beyond the small circle it illuminated. In the dream everything was gray and hazy – mere shadows. I couldn’t see where I was going. I didn’t know what was beyond the next step. Suddenly, I realized I could turn my flashlight brighter with just the flip of a switch. Everything was instantly illuminated. I could see the trees and houses around me. I knew where I was going!
Faith is a popular word. People like it. It’s a feel good word. Have faith. Keep the faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for.
Faith is hope. Faith is trust. Faith is believing. We like these words and ideas. They inspire us.
Obedience is not such a popular word. It’s not found on the inspirational word art at your local Home Goods store. It doesn’t typically motivate or encourage. The connotation is nothing like that of “faith,” and yet, obedience is faith.
When you feel God calling you to let go of something – something you hold dear – it takes an act of obedience, but it is also a step of faith. It’s faith that God has something so much better on the other side of your obedience. It’s hoping, believing, and trusting that God is leading you to something greater.
When God says let go of that relationship, job, unforgiveness, or anxiety He is saying you have to let go, so that you can reach forward and walk into the fullness of something greater than you can even imagine.
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV emphasis my own)
If we could imagine something greater, we would have no problem letting go.
Oftentimes we don’t recognize that what we have is incomparable to what we could have…. if only we took that step of faith – that step of obedience.
What is God calling you into? What does he have ahead of you? What do you need to let go of so you can reach forward with open hands and grasp the unimaginable?