Holly Mackle’s wit is matched by her wisdom, which draws me to her like peanut butter to jelly. As I read her words below I can remember so many times when I have listened to myself say things to others (especially my children) while the Holy Spirit directs my words right back toward me. I am grateful for Holly’s permission to laugh at myself while receiving the grace of God’s forgiveness.

~ Dana Smith, Women’s Equipping Coordinator

I imagine I make God chuckle.

And there’s a pretty good chance he likes for me to make him chuckle too, because he made me a parent, which feels like a punchline in itself. God the Father made me a parent…ba dum tsh.

Often, in the course of this whole “raising them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord”-thing, I find myself making statements, course-corrections, mom-ism’s, which are most likely directed toward me, instead of away from me. In case you’re curious, here’s the list, in no particular order.

Choose kindness.

Ok, maybe they are in a particular order. Because I say this one a lot. A lot. And just about every time I say it, it’s a reminder to me to do the same. My big girl has a warrior heart, just like her mama. Warrior hearts get stuff done, accomplished, checked off. But warrior hearts can leave a pile of other hearts in their wake. And warrior hearts carry weapons, frequently wordy ones. {Though sometimes this warrior heart is prone to bust out her wordless “teacher face,” as my husband, David, likes to call it. Yep, need grace for that one, too…}

All the way, right away, with a happy heart.

My sister picked this up somewhere, and it’s a favorite in both of our families. I love how it addresses complete, intentional, and delightedly trusting obedience to a good Father’s plan and purpose. And it’s charming, really, how just about every time I say it I hear the heavenly communion of saints clear their collective throat.

Big girl voice, please.

Oh the whining. We seem to go in and out of phases of it. And when we’re in one…well. That’s pretty much me, too. When I’m in a mood, when I’m in a phase—oh the whining, grumbling and complaining.

Please don’t insist on your own way.

‘Nuf said.

Let me be the mommy.

Let ME, the big one, care for YOU, the small one. *Cue God’s eyebrow raise.

Is this really necessary?

Often said in jest as someone is, say, unrolling half a roll of toilet paper just to see what will happen, this rings true to a whole host of my frequent spinning. {Pun intended.} Fears, over-analyzing, meddling…when I find myself in the same spot again I want to hear the voice of the Father saying, “Stop. Haven’t we been here before? And wasn’t I big enough then? Will I be big enough now?”

Can we be reconciled?

We don’t shy away from big words with our girls. Sometimes big concepts need a big word, and I think this is one of them. When one of us sins against the other, we like to end here, with winsome harmony based entirely on Christ’s completed work in protecting us from having to be perfect people. Les Lanphere describes the mediator Jesus as standing between me and God, with one hand on either of our shoulders. I know just the look on Jesus’ face—I can feel it. All God or I have to do is look to Jesus, see that expression, and know the way has been made.


I am the farthest thing from a perfect parent.

However, I have fairly recently discovered a now deeply rooted and intensely comforting belief, that God created me to mother these two girls. Not my friend’s kids, not your kids, but these two. And if I feel I’m lacking a tool in the toolbox to love them well all I have to do is ask my generous Father to show up for me.

ask your father

David and I have decided our goal in parenting is for our girls to look back and see love. In spite of all our mistakes and flaws, quick reproaches or unattainable expectations, we want them to reflect and remember love. There is much at stake. We don’t want to get in the way of the redemptive work of God in their hearts. When these two covenant babies hear the voice of the Father say, “You are mine,” we want it to sound so right, so familiar, so easy to follow because it’s as if they’ve heard it all their lives. May they never remember a day when they did not worship the One True King.

There is one safe place in parenting for me, just one, and it looks a lot more like me being parented than doing the parenting:

Mama does wrong against God, too. {“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost…”}

I need Jesus to forgive me and give me the power to help and not harm. {“But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience…”}

So that I may bring him honor and do well by the kingdom of God. {“…as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”}

Because God is all about my good and his glory, and I want to be a helpful part of his plan. {“To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.” 1 Timothy 1:15-16}

What lessons has your Abba Father been teaching you lately?


One Step Further:

Where is God calling you to RECEIVE his love in child-like faith?

What would it look like for you to surrender there?

What might God’s love note to you say today?