every impulse to pray


“Always respond to every impulse to pray…Where does it come from?  It is the work of the Holy Spirit (Phil. 2:12-13).  This often leads to some of the most remarkable experiences in the life of the minister.  So never resist, never postpone it, never push it aside because you are busy.  Give yourself to it, yield to it; and you will find not only that you have not been wasting time with respect to the matter with which you are dealing but that actually it has helped you greatly in that respect…Such a call to prayer must never be regarded as a distraction; always respond to it immediately and thank God if it happens to you frequently.”

Martin Lloyd-Jones

I just wanted to write a quick post to thank so many of you for praying for our Phoebe girl, and asking you to continue.  I read this quote last week in Missional Motherhood and have thought about it so often since.  So many of you have contacted me and told me you are praying, and friends, it is helping!  Phoebe has eaten some things this week that she hasn’t been willing to try since infancy (scrambled eggs!  chicken!).  But we need your prayers to continue, for her, for our family.  So many pressing needs.  It is with humility that I ask for your help by way of prayer, knowing so many of you are facing your own insurmountable challenges and heart aches!  Sending much love and thanks to each of you. ❤


Keep Plowing

11172120 Every year I follow along with the Passion Conference via the live stream. Sometimes it’s just sheer piercing pain to follow along, to hear the speakers calling out to and calling up the next generation, speaking to purpose and destiny.  For the past three years I’ve followed along while nursing babies, while recovering from birth in the hospital, while washing dishes in the sink and surrounded by scattered toys and laundry basket.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not complaining.  I cannot express enough how much I adore this season of being a momma.  It was always a dream of mine to be living THIS right here, babies and a house and just the ordinary work of the home.  Maybe you think that’s a small dream, I don’t know.  When Brandon and I found out our little firstborn was on her way, I didn’t have some big career I was leaving behind like so many of my momma friends.  I had been working service jobs for some time since graduating from college.  So it wasn’t a hard thing to switch to stay-at-home-momma mode.  It has been the greatest joy of my life!

Still, you get a bit in the trenches of it and then you tune into something like Passion and the other ambitions of your heart, the other ambitions for great kingdom work around the world are stirred up again.  They are remembered again.  Oh yes, that’s who I used to be.  I mean, that’s who I still am.  Somehow and somewhere, buried under the piles of laundry, bills, dishes, and dark-circled eyes. Somewhere beyond this little world the big world is still spinning.

It’s hard to not be set aflame with great desire to see the nations glad in God when you watch something like Passion.  And then you sit there amidst your four little walls and the temptation is to feel small.  What is this that I’m doing here?

And then the dangerous question, the question that comes up so often in my heart: Is this enough, God?

Is this enough, in light of all You’ve done for me, Jesus, to just be here cleaning toilets, filling tummies, reading stories, teaching manners, nursing babies, mediating sibling rivalries, folding clothes, running errands?  Is this a worthy way to spend my days?  Is there more I should be doing?  Something more important?

I think any momma who is honest will admit she asks herself that question.

Last night I watched + listened to Christine Caine speaking from 1 Kings 19.  It’s well worth your time to go and read the account in its entirety.  She was speaking about Elisha, how he got his beginnings in ministry.  Did you know that second only to Jesus, he worked the most recorded miracles in Scripture?  Elijah found him plowing, and he became Elijah’s assistant.

Did you catch that?  Elijah found him plowing.  There he was, just working his field, behind a long row of oxen’s rear ends.  A place of anonymity.  A place of slow progress and slow returns.  God found him busy working.  God found him.  While he was being faithful in the mundane, the unglamorous + irreverent, the dirty, the small, the stinky, and anonymous work, God saw him.  God came to him there and gave him a ministry.

Christine Caine was making the point that we simply cannot be resistant to work.  We must be busy working, right where we are, wherever we can be.  If we want to be greatly used in the kingdom of God, we simply cannot be afraid of plain hard work.

Are we looking for importance?  For a big name?  For a glamorous position?  For esteem?  Success?  Money?

As I’ve gotten deeper into parenting (while, admittedly, I am still quite the newbie to parenthood), I’ve gotten better at learning what I can feasibly take on and what is going to put too much strain on the family. It’s still so hard to say no sometimes. Yes, there is pressure and guilt, whether real or imagined, from a culture (even the Christian culture) that places such a high premium on productivity, activity, and busyness.

There are a lot of opportunities that I would love to be a part of. Even hearing about global and foreign needs can make me so restless at home. Is this really enough, God, when children are starving? When children are being trafficked? When there are so many who are still unreached? It feels wrong in some ways to just be investing into my own home and children when the need is so great. Yet I know it is “my field” right now.

My husband and I recently went on a little “visioning” date for the New Year and over the course of a few hours worked through Jennie Allen’s “dream guide” and then discussed it together. One of the things I am most convicted about afresh this year is to be wholly given and devoted to my primary field, which is Brandon and my children. I’m often busy mentally at home with girlfriends, fellow mommas, this blog space, and responding to needs in these spheres. While that’s all so good and important, it can’t be that I’m neglecting my kids in order to “minister” elsewhere. I’m so convicted that, as for me, the very best and firsts of my strength must be given to my immediate family (1 Tim. 5:8). If there are scraps of time and energy and resources left, then of course, I am eager to invest it in others as much as I am able. For me the struggle is often getting that backwards, and the result is a husband and children who are getting the scraps and leftovers.

But if you’re like me do you ever wonder, what, then, do I do with these burning desires in my heart to participate in these other kingdom works? When I’m aching to go to Africa but have no means? When there are needs at church that I simply cannot logistically work out a way to help with?

Maybe it’s not revolutionary to you, but the realization hit hard last night while watching Passion. “PRAY the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matt. 9:38) Send the workers into the harvest, Lord! My field here right now may be very small, very tucked away on an obscure little anonymous and unseen plot of land. But I can pray. I can pray the Lord of the harvest to equip and send workers out into the field. I can pray for souls to come to salvation, for all nations to be made glad in Him. I can pray for daily opportunities to plant seeds while I’m plowing this little muddy field.  I can trust that at some point, I will be the worker He sends into that field.  But in the meantime… this right here is the field I’ve been sent to: DSC_0068 DSC_0072 DSC_0081 For the one so desperately wanting to contribute, you are contributing to the work by raising children up in the fear + admonition of the Lord. God has entrusted you with these children, these precious lives, and you, in all the world, are the best equipped to love, to suffer long with, and train up these little lives.  That’s why He gave them to YOU.  If you don’t invest in them, who will?

Don’t miss this precious and most important work right in front of you because the global need is beckoning and your former freedoms haunt.

With that said, let’s not discredit prayer as a major contribution. But, see, it too is unseen. It feels small. It feels unimportant and, once again, anonymous. God sees. God hears. The God who beckons us to pray for Him to send out workers, He will honor that prayer with a harvest. A harvest of workers in fields where we cannot work.

If we are not willing to grow smaller in our labors for Him we can never expect to be used greatly by Him.  It is the humility of our plowing the prepares us to serve Him in more public endeavors with humility.  You see, while we are busy at our plows, He is also turning the soil of the hardened ground of our hearts, breaking up the hard clods of pride there, making us soft, broken, pliable, ready, available, open.  Preparing us, accustoming us to decreasing, that He might increase.

What an incredible God we serve, who both calls and enables us to co-labor with Him.  What an incredible God, who always reminds us that the servant cannot be greater than his Master (John 13:16), who takes us from one place of serving to another.  In the end, no matter what plow He has sovereignly placed in our hands, let us serve Him there with great humility and joy.  Let Him find us working!

Learning about Prayer


Lately this sweet little one has had a renewed interest in praying.  For a while she hasn’t wanted to pray when we’ve asked her to, and we haven’t pushed it.  Recently she’s been spontaneously praying throughout the day or asking to pray at meals or bed time.  Her prayers are so sweet, so profound even though she has no intention of being profound.  Often she asks the Lord to help her obey, thanks Him for the wonderful life He’s given us.


I recently received this child’s book to review and it seemed appropriate to dig into it this week with my daughter.  It is part of an “interactive, fun-filled series that uses a train locomotive theme as a method for teaching kids core Christian beliefs and principles.”  Some of the other books in the series cover basic theological topics such as baptism, church, faith, grace, salvation, worship, etc.  The series is inspired by the familiar scripture in Proverbs:

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22:6).

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Naturally, the book and the accompanying CD start off with the child’s song “Get on Board, Little Children.”  We listened to the whole book on CD as we turned pages and then listened to many sweet children’s bible songs about prayer sung by a chorus of children.

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My little one enjoyed the book but kept asking who the children were, what their names were.  I think it was maybe difficult for her to connect with it since it wasn’t written in story form but more conceptually.  I’m not sure what the target age is for this series but it would probably make a great homeschooling resource or supplement to bible study time with kids who are early elementary aged.  The book ends with a simple quiz about the concepts covered.  I thought it was a sweet, easy-to-use resource that we will return to.  And we will definitely listen to the CD as well!

What strikes me is how naturally prayer comes to children.  How they don’t try to dissect and understand prayer, but rather just talk with their heavenly Father, sharing the ramblings of their little hearts.  How much we can learn from them about prayer!

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Tyndale House Publishers sent me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  My review is not required to be favorable, and the opinions expressed are my own.

How to Turn a Bent Soul

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If anyone needs to pray, a momma needs to pray!  But the weary days.. the discouraging days.. the days when your brain is so fried trying to multitask 173 different things at once and answer the children’s incessant questions.  Kindly.

How to pray?  What to pray?  Often throughout the day, many of us shoot up our thoughts, our ramblings, our pleadings, our worries to the Lord, talking with Him over everything.  And we know He gladly hears + receives these prayers, as we know He tells us in Psalm 62:8 to pour out our hearts before Him because our God is a refuge for us.

Maybe like me, many of you struggle with prayer.  You can find time to fit other disciplines into your day, but taking time just to sit and do nothing but talk over specific needs and desires with the Father?  It feels like an unjustifiable luxury (especially in light of the dishes waiting to be washed, the laundry that needs folding).  It is hard to quiet our busy souls, our busy minds, and to feel allowed to sit before Him in stillness and pour out our hearts.

But sometimes we need help.  Sometimes we don’t know what to pray.  Sometimes we don’t have a lot of time to pray, just minutes squeezed in while we wait in the school pick-up line, or the line at the grocery store, for pete’s sake!  It’s times like these that we can learn to lean on the prayers of others, the words of others that may give expression to the groaning of our own souls.


This little book is a sweet companion for mothers.  It is small (and light) enough to fit easily in your purse and have with you or simply to keep it tucked in a spot where you can turn to it daily for help and encouragement.  There is a topical prayer for each day, ending with scripture, enabling you to journey through the prayers each day of the year.  Or you can flip through the topical index in the back to find words for the particular struggle or need, with topics such as fear, anger, conflict, comparison, marriage, money, guilt, regret, worship, etc.  I have found it to help me to pray more specifically for myself and for my children.  I am also finding myself turning to it at a particular time each day when my soul is most distracted, and turning my thoughts and words back onto the Lord.  Maybe I’m the only one, but I find my soul naturally bends away from God in the course of the day.  Prayer is such a mystery to me, how it works, even (dare I say it) if it works, or if “working” is even the goal of prayer.  But maybe “turning” is what prayer is about.  Turning again to the Lord.  Turning back to Him.  Turning over to Him what we are wringing our hands over.  Turning back what has bent away.  Re-turning.

“For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” {Isaiah 30:15}

I would highly recommend it to all the mommas looking for a small and simple prayer help!  It would also make a lovely gift for a new momma.

“Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.”  {Hebrews 4:!6}

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*Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  I am not required to present a favorable review of the book and the opinions expressed are my own.

On Confession


“At the root of our lives, we are ‘bent’ away from God.

We admit, perhaps with tears, that we love the things of self

and yawn in the awesome presence of God.  

We acknowledge that we obsess about our whims

and recoil from self-sacrifice.”

Timothy Jones : The Art of Prayer