Motherhood is not a hobby

“Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom ‘baby itch’? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? …

Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.”

Click to read about motherhood and the gospel in “Motherhood is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)” by Rachel Jankovic.

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Bigger

i asked him for friends.
he said,
dream bigger.

i asked him for a home.
he said,
dream bigger.

i asked him for time,
the right heart,
the people to love,
the outlet.
he said,
dream bigger.

i asked him for strength,
for upholding me.
i asked him for guidance,
for hope,
for support,
for endurance.
he said,
dream bigger.

i asked him to know him more.
he said,
dream bigger.

i asked him for patience.
i thanked him for blessing.
i thanked him for
over, and over, and over
again,
never failing.

i asked him for clarity.
i asked him for focus.
i asked him for her,
heal her heart.
please, please.

he said,
dream bigger.

i asked him, and
he always pushed
one step further.

one more stepping stone.
one more landmark.
one more effortless act of grace.

i thought about what
i could be.
he said,
dream bigger.

i asked him for someone to love me.
did he say
dream bigger?

Glasses of grace

“Some of us–whether we have experienced real unfairness or not–look at all of life through this lens of fairness. We are always assessing what we really deserve. We are always aware of other people’s successes or failures. We are always cognizant of whether we get recognized or ignored…

But there’s another way to look at the world, another way to experience life, and that’s through the lens of grace. With these glasses on you’ll reckon that most days are a whole lot better than you deserve. And on the really hard days, you’ll fight to believe that God is working even this for good. With the glasses of grace, you’ll smile when other people succeed. Instead of experiencing life as a series of disappointments and occasions where you were not given the treatment you deserve, you’ll experience life as a gift. You’ll see grace all around you.”

Click to read “The Glasses of Grace” by Kevin DeYoung

Why I write what I do

If you picked up a copy of The Santa Clara on Thursday, you saw my face in there! I was included in a feature highlighting four student bloggers. My friends and fellow bloggers, Joanne Santomauro and Hannah Miller, were also featured. Click here to read Sharing Their Stories.

I was interviewed for the article by Michael Rosa, a fellow student of mine in Nonfiction Writing. His main interview question was this:

You have a unique outlook in your blog that I haven’t seen very much of with any other student bloggers. How has your faith affected the way you see the world, and thus the way you blog?

This question really got me thinking. Why do I blog about what I do?

I write about God.

A lot.

Not everyone who reads my posts is a Christian. Not everyone who reads this believes God exists, or believes in God the same way I do.

So why do I blog the way I do?

The banner at the top of my homepage has the answer: Acts 4:20. When commanded to stop speaking about Jesus, the apostles Peter and John proclaimed, “We cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

I write about God because I cannot help it.

I choose to center my life around Jesus and surrender every day to Him. Including every blog post.

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
– Acts 4:8-12

Wo-manning up

One of my favorite pastors is Mark Driscoll, an evangelical Christian pastor from Seattle. He and his wife Grace recently published a book called Real Marriage: The Truth about Sex, Friendship, and Life Together, which was received with a firestorm of praise and controversy due to his frank discussion of sex and boldly-stated complementarian views.

In the book and in his preaching, Driscoll does not hesitate to call men, particularly husbands, to a high standard of living. He uses Scripture to challenge them to live out of deep humility and repentance, ensure provision for their families, and love their wives sacrificially, as Christ loved the church.

It’s easy for fangirls like me to hear Driscoll’s preaching and cheer, Yes! This is what the men in the church need to hear. This is how men should act. But it’s much harder to recognize that the challenges he gives to men also apply to us.

I’m a girl, so I don’t have quite the same responsibilities as the men Driscoll calls out. But the challenges and responsibilities of women are of equal weight. We still need to live out of deep humility and repentance, care for our families, and love our (future?) husbands sacrificially.

It’s much easier for us to get angry alongside Driscoll, shaking my fist at those people — men — and rave about how they are not stepping up and need to get their game faces on. But we can’t call men out on the specks in their eyes without first looking at the planks in ours.

My dream

One of my favorite bloggers is my friend and Bay Area photographer Yasmin Sarai. She is an incredibly talented budding photographer and Santa Clara alum whom I admire for many reasons. You should click on her name and check out her blog. 😉

Yesterday, she posted a piece entitled “Go Hard” [click here to read], where she challenges her readers not to back down in pursuit of a far-off and intimidating dream or goal:

I have to learn, even if it is at a painstakingly slow-pace.  Piece by piece, I will build knowledge and gain experience, because there is no short-cut to excellence.

At the end of the post, she asked her readers what their big dream was, and what small steps they were taking to achieve it.

I knew immediately what mine was. Want to know? Are you ready for this? It’s silly. I’m a little embarrassed, to tell you the truth.

Well… here goes.

My dream is to be a mom.

Yeah, weird, I know. Most women wants to be moms. But few publicize it as one of their biggest dreams they’ve ever had, at least from my experience.

But for most of my life, motherhood has been my dream. I always tell people that even when I was a kid, I wanted kids. It’s true. Back then, I didn’t know the hard work it took to be a mother (and still don’t know the half of it). I saw motherhood through rose-colored glasses: cooing, giggling, baby powder, cuddles, and joy. I didn’t know the nitty gritty of a mom’s life; my parents’ humility kept me from seeing the endless hard work they toiled through for my siblings and me.

Now, with a little age on my side and a smidge more perspective, I can say that parenthood is one of the hardest jobs in the world. I also know, with all my heart, that I still want it… someday.

But where does that dream fit into Yasmin’s challenge?

  • I can take every opportunity to grow in patience.
  • I can strive to humbly serve my family members and roommates.
  • I can learn to eat healthy foods (to model proper eating habits for my future kiddos, of course!).
  • I can exercise and take care of my body so that I am well-equipped for the physical trials of life.
  • I can steward my finances well.
  • I can work with kids every opportunity I get — volunteering, babysitting, you name it — to get practice.
  • I can learn from mentors who’ve been there — my mom, my dad, my grandparents.
  • I can spend time with God daily, reading the Bible and praying, to grow spiritually.

I think I’ll give it a try.

Current favorites: Come to the Well (Casting Crowns)

Ever since I downloaded the album last month, Casting Crowns’ latest musical effort Come to the Well has been on repeat on my iPod. For some reason — yes, hello there, God — nearly every song speaks to me, calling me to confess, to repent, to pray, to long for God to move in the world around me.

I find my heart resonating with lead singer Mark Hall’s cries to the church (all Christians), who he has called out repeatedly in the band’s albums with words of rebuke and encouragement:
“If we are the body, why aren’t His arms reaching?”
“Are we happy plastic people, under shiny plastic steeples…?”
“Oh Lord, send Your wind into this valley; breathe the breath of life into our souls…”

My personal story is one of self-righteousness — the haughty church kid (and older sister) who would hold my ideas of perfect morality in front of people’s faces, rather than showing them with delight the face of the Jesus I claimed to serve. Hall’s effort to call out the church on its failures is something that often hits all too close to home. And yet, it hurts in just the right way.

So much of this CD brings me to my knees. There is so much beauty and forgiveness to be found in Jesus.

A few song samples:

“Jesus, Friend of Sinners”

This song calls out people on our ability to criticize others without first looking at ourselves and seeing our own failures. The hypocritical Christian, Hall says, is “a plank-eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided.” Wow, what an image. Instead, Christians are to become like Christ, and show mercy as He did at the cross.

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners,
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners,
Break our hearts for what breaks yours


Lyrics here

“The Well”

Jesus gives life and freedom to all who come to him in search for it. Surrendering to Jesus in obedience to Him is truly the most freeing decision we could ever make. This song encourages the hurting, saying that Jesus is the One to whom we can come with all our baggage and struggles, honestly lay everything that we are at His feet, and walk away more alive than before we came.

I was especially struck by the lyrics that mention specific things to surrender to Jesus: “your pursuit of perfection, your fear of rejection…” It’s as if the singers read my mind and saw the weights I needed to drop at Jesus’ feet.

All who thirst will thirst no more,
and all who search will find what their souls long for…


Lyrics here

“Just Another Birthday”

Stemming from Hall’s experiences as a youth pastor, the song tells the story of a teenage girl longing for love while growing up without a father. This song breaks my heart, gives me chills, and makes me smile every time I hear it. It’s best to let the song speak for itself:


Lyrics here