Five Minute Friday: hidden

It’s been a good albeit long week of summer. We watched a summer movie ($1 at Regal), shopped for school shoes (already!), I had an interview on the Debbie Chavez show, we played at the pool a lot and did a lot of indoor activities trying to stay cool during a sweltering week. Today I take a break and return to the blog, joining in Five Minute Friday.

Five Minute Friday is my favorite of writing link-ups hosted by Kate Motaung. Her description draws me back every week, and the community of FMF keeps me writing – “This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.”


Hidden holds intrigue and promise, like a buried treasure waiting to be found. It’s a new life blooming within a mother’s womb. A long cherished love that awaits the right time to be expressed.

Hidden is also shame-tinged. It’s where I store my latest failure – bolted, safe, secure, for no one to see. If you’ve been abused, you know the burden of a hidden secret.

Hidden is good or bad, depending on what it is we are hiding and why. If it’s the latter – the long-buried secret – it needs the light for healing and freedom. Those sorts of burdens aren’t meant to stay hidden and borne alone. Speak about it with someone safe. Feel the burden begin to lighten.

If it’s the first – the type of hidden that’s like a treasure waiting to be found – I can think of no better analogy for what the Bible calls us children of God: “hidden with Christ in God.” We are God’s treasured ones, kept close and precious. Our glory is waiting to be revealed. 


Imago Dei, housework, and writing

“There are value currencies we operate in most of the time. The leading ones for women are beauty, money, status/fame, and – in some circles – domesticity. What complicates our question of value even further is that we live under the belief that value is scarce. So it’s not enough to be beautiful, but for me to be most valuable, I have to be the most beautiful.”

Thus began a thought-provoking evening with Hannah Anderson last Friday at a local coffeehouse, sponsored by the women’s ministry of our church, Trinity Presbyterian. Hannah spoke with deep insight and intelligence, matched to accessibility and candor that I found myself nodding along with many times. Hannah is the author of the excellent book, Made for More, which was my September 2014 book of the month. I’ve also made her one of my long-distance writing mentors (she doesn’t know that) since I met her last summer when I was beginning to get serious about focusing on writing. She was tremendously encouraging then, telling me about her decision to stop running from her calling to write and to devote herself intentionally to writing for a few years and see where  it went. For her, that’s included her first book released last year, and a regular blog at She’s had speaking engagements arise from her writing, and we who heard her were privileged to be part of her circuit. She talks about “stewarding her message” and invited each of us to walk according to our value that’s not scarce but abundant because it flows from an infinite God. 

The theological term is “imago Dei” – made in God’s likeness. And it all began in Genesis, at our creation when humans were breathed into existence by a God desiring to reflect his very nature. This gives every woman (and man) infinite worth and value. Yet it’s a value that’s been marred by sin, and so we are also all desperately in need of restoration. This value has also been given to us in Jesus Christ (not earned).

And therefore, we are to cultivate the earth – our corner of the kingdom entrusted to us by God, using the gifts he has bestowed upon us. The value is the same regardless of the task, because it’s done as a reflection of who we are. Janitorial work and housework are elevated beyond their menial status usually assigned from within the world’s values. “Big” work like being the President and researching cancer are grounded by the humility that these, too, are work assignments received as gifts from the God who created us. We all have different roles.

In answer to a question of how this could apply/transfer to parenting, Hannah answered with a smile that her favorite thing to do is bring each of her children to their room and give the command, “Cultivate!” We all laughed – and made mental notes to do the same. She asked the question of each of us – “What have you been entrusted with to cultivate? In what work are you called to bring forth fruit? Who are your nearest neighbors that you are to help flourish?” 

And personally, I’m realizing the way I’ve neglected “home and hearth” in order to focus on my “big writing project.” Both are equal. Both are needed. I needn’t be apologetic about my writing, but neither am I to overlook the toilet that needs to be scrubbed or the children who need to be bathed and fed. [Disclamor: they have been regularly bathed and fed – the neglect has not sunk to that level … but it sounds more poetic this way.] These are my immediate opportunities to live out of imago Dei – what are yours?

September Book of the Month

photo credit:

photo credit:

All of you who follow my blog know how much I love to read and how much I love to write about what I’m reading. I want to try something new and do an online book report of my favorite book each month. For September, I’ve chosen Made for More by Hannah Anderson (2014: Moody Publishers).

Her subtitle says it all: “an invitation to live in God’s image,” and her book delivers just that. I’ve found on every page a call to reexamine what it means personally and relationally that we as humans are made to image God. To literally be a reflection of the divine. Have you considered this lately? What dignity that gives you and me! And how far we fall from our destiny every day! But Anderson’s book invites you back, invites me back. To live out of my identity – who I truly am. She takes what’s a basic theological truth and states it in new ways. No small thing for this raised-in-the-church seminary grad whose biggest downfall is that I know it all while my life is far from the truth I profess. Passages like these have given me reason to ponder and to live differently:

“…we are by nature image bearers. So when we turn from God, when we refuse to base our identity in Him, we are compelled to find it somewhere else because we must reflect something. … And as we image this false god, our very personhood crystallizes around it. … When we center our identity on these ‘lesser glories,’ we become defined by them, and we end up defining reality by them as well.”

A natural question that follows is what am I reflecting if not God? In looking at my life, too often I see my gaze shift to materialism, success, and productivity. When I image these “gods,” relationships become transactional, time shrinks to my to-do list, and failure causes me to erupt in frustration and anger.

Anderson calls me back to who I am created to be – who Christ has recreated me to be – with the following:

“The paradox of personal identity is that once we accept that we are not what we should be, we are finally in a place to be made what we could be. … Once we admit the inadequacy of our lives, we are finally able to discover the sufficiency of His. And this is what Christ offers us. He offers us His identity; He offers us Himself. When we are joined to Him, when our lives are ‘hidden with Christ in God,’ we can finally die to our old selves because as His image bearers, we become whatever He is.”

A close corollary and outflow to identity as those reflecting Jesus more than the god-of-the-hour is that it changes how and what we love. We pursue what we love and “what you love will determine who you are and what you do.” How are we changed into our true selves? By loving truly because we know we are truly loved.

In a word, this will look like grace. Generous grace. Anderson again pierces my layers of cynicism as she writes –

“In a world where we routinely hurt each other and where little is certain, being generous is risky business. So we refrain from giving; we hold back; we protect ourselves. And in the process, we become cynical, hopeless people who cannot believe in grace for ourselves because we refuse to offer it to others. …nothing could be more damaging to a society than walking away from grace. Because when we walk away from grace, we walk away from the only thing that has the power to heal our brokenness. … we walk away from the only thing that can make us human again.”

Amen, sister! I would go on, but then you would miss out on journeying along with Anderson through this exquisite invitation to your truest identity. Made for More is by far the best book I’ve read about identity – both identity lost through our false image-bearing and identity found in the hope and grace of Jesus as he restores and transforms us to who we were created to be.

embracing imperfection (July edition): living between “not quite enough” and “a little too much”

I’ve felt my inadequacy this month, which I’ll label under the category of “not quite enough.” Today all it took was hearing about a higher-than-expected car repair bill, which sent my heart sinking. Any cushion – any savings goals? They seem to have fled out the window as that bill fluttered into my text messages. A feeling of being defeated. And it’s not just that. It connects with a larger picture of feeling not quite enough as I seek to parent my “spirited” three-year-old twin daughters. I gave up on bedtime last night. I was doing all of *those things* you’re not supposed to do: empty threats, adult-like reprimands that devolved into harsh commands barked from downstairs – “JUST.GET.BACK.INTO.BED!” I felt as if I didn’t have the energy to get up from my comfy chair and interesting TV show (Parenthood in case you were curious) to do more than that. And you know what? Eventually, they went to sleep and settled down. So did I. But this morning roared to a start just minutes after I had settled into the quiet of my journal, and it felt like “you’re not quite enough” was the banner floating over my head as a mom yet again. 

“Not quite enough” is a shame sentence. A statement connecting to that vague sense of inadequacy we all carry and experience, that lurks behind any attempt to do or to be something glorious. Like a writer. I’m wrestling with feeling “not quite enough” as I long to pursue my passion to write, but feel like I don’t have quite enough time and I’m not sure I have quite enough of an audience and a message and would anyone really publish what I wanted to write?

I’m not quite enough when it comes to being a strong wife for my husband as he endures the challenges of full-time ministry as a pastor.

I’m not quite enough of a good friend because so often I can feel swamped by an over-full schedule.

But then the tone can switch, too. And I feel “a little too much” when I look at the scale and see a number there that feels 10 pounds too high. I was talking to a childhood friend who’s also recently reached mid-30s and we were commiserating about how much more difficult it is at this age and after having babies to be in the shape to which we’d grown accustomed.

I felt “a little too much” when I showed up in my full ballet leotard and tights to the “Mommy and Me” class when all the other moms (except my friend and I) had on t-shirts and yoga pants. Oops. Felt a bit out of place that day!

I can be “a little too much” at a dinner party – too intense, too counselor-esque, too brooding, too withdrawn (all at the same time).

But you know what my real problem is? It’s that I have not embraced “not quite enough” and “a little too much” as part of what it means to be a human dependent on a strong God. A God in whom I am more than enough, not because of me but because of all He gives me and all that He is for me. A God who never views me as “a little too much” because He delights in me. Yet I kick against my human limitations while God continues to shower me with grace. A God who says gently in the stolen, quiet moments (few though they be) that how well today went does not equate to how much He loves me. (Thank you, Gloria Furman, in Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full for that thought!) A God who reminds me that who I am is not what my ever-wavering bank account shows or the scale reveals, but it is forever redeemed, forever loved, forever holy because of Jesus’ forever grace. 

Mind the gap

This is how I imagine my kitchen to be:

Serene, beautiful, spotless. Could be on the cover or a feature story of “Real Simple.” The countertops gleam; all dishes are put away; there are matching Method hand soap and dish soap containers; and the lit candle signals that it smells as nice as it looks.

Instead, this is the typical end-of-the-evening scene in my kitchen:

20130729-214126.jpgAnd what you can’t see in this image is the dishwasher that still needs to be unloaded (it’s 9:30pm), and a pot on the stove that has another pot nested within it (both dirty, of course).

There’s quite a gap between “ideal” and “real.” To be honest, this particular gap doesn’t really bother me that much because I know it’s only a matter of about 30 minutes before the dishes will be put away and it will at least *look* clean even if it doesn’t smell clean or gleam radiantly. These photos illustrate a deeper gap I wrestle with almost daily. I know that I am not alone in this, because I’ve talked to many of you about it and read your blogs where you also honestly wrestle through the gap. The gap between who you want to be – “ideal you” – and who you really are day-to-day. 

In a conversation with my mom last week, she was telling me about a book she’s read lately in which the thesis is, “We all feel like we need to be perfect like everyone else because we compare our insides to their outsides.” Meaning that you don’t see me yelling at my kids and berating them to get dressed with proper shoes (slippers don’t count) and use the bathroom and get buckled into their car seats and etc etc … before you see us walk into the grocery store all smiles, me holding each of their hands.  Nor do I see your inward struggle with what to wear and does your hair look ok and what about this makeup and do these earrings really match. I simply see the beautiful well-dressed woman who walks into church with confidence and style, leading her equally well-dressed and smiling children behind her. And I’m intimidated by you. I feel less than.

I care so much because it could be that your image gives a picture to the ideal in my head. The who-I-want-to-be-but-feel-like-I’ll-never-be. Emily Freeman in Grace for the Good Girl describes it like this:

I am struck by how I have lived in a constant state of high expectation. I compared my current life to the one I thought I would be living.

What do we do with this? First of all, I mind the gap. I remember that my ideal self and who God created me to be are two different people. And who God wants me to be is who HE is making me to be as Jesus’ life overflows through mine. Which includes me being honest about weaknesses and struggle and confessing and repenting of sin. Secondly, I remember that you’re real, too. So I don’t envy you or judge you or distance myself from you because you seem perfect in ways I’ll never be. I befriend you, because you need friends, too, and you have messy places just like I do. I ask how you’re doing, and really listen. I don’t force honesty, but I offer you the real version of me – hoping that will invite you to do the same in case you’re also feeling suffocated and in need of the space to be real as well.

On vulnerability, leadership, and courage

I am a big fan of Brene Brown. She is known as a shame-researcher whose TED talk on vulnerability went viral and pushed her into fame. What she says connects with us as humans who are all hiding yet want to be known. We’ve been doing that since the beginning of it all. See the first act of this tragedy starring Adam and Eve in Genesis 3.

I listened to an interview with her this past weekend, and one sentence has haunted me. In that really good way, of sticking in your mind and being a place you want to return to over and over and over. An idea that you want to incorporate into you, and who you are, and how you live. She said,

Leadership without vulnerability breeds disengagement. 

All of us can think of leaders who engaged us through their own vulnerability, and those who alienated many through their lack thereof. What kind of leader are you? And don’t say, “well, I’m not a leader.” Because you are. Are you a parent? An older sibling? A cousin? A friend? Someone looks up to you, whether you realize it or not. How are you leading? With courage and vulnerability? Or through hiding, trying to cover up and appear as strong?

Here is one working definition of courage, according to Brene Brown:

This is the impetus behind my blogging, my speaking, and my writing. Oh, that it would also be the way that I parent, befriend, mentor, shepherd, and counsel! Let’s do this together. For we the Redeemed have the greatest reason for courage, in the love of God the Father who’s made us forever beautiful in Jesus Christ. Our brokenness is exchanged for his beauty. We are free to be courageous, and to lead through our vulnerability.

If you’re also a fan, what’s one of your favorite Brene quotes? I’d love to hear it.



Identity lessons from “Angelina Ballerina”

I happen to be quite well-versed at kids’ cartoons these days.

I’m not generally a huge TV fan myself, but when it comes to needing 30 minutes to _________ [name sanity-restoring task here: clean, prep a meal, shower, take a phone call from your BFF/etc.], I am not above putting on some kids’ TV which almost perfectly guarantees freedom from interruptions. Today the girls were watching one of their favorites, “Angelina Ballerina.” I love this show. The characters talk in British accents, families are portrayed in a favorable light and the kids actually seem fairly respectful and kind to one another. Plus there’s ballet dancing, and becoming a professional ballerina is a secret dream of mine (that I’ll never realize since I get dizzy when attempting to pirouette). 

I overheard an episode today that connected with this morning’s discussion of the book of Colossians. One friend summarized the main message of this book as: “Who you are in Christ, and how to live according to who you are.” In a word, identity. A favorite topic of mine as one who can easily forget who God’s created me to be, and/or doubts the identity that’s already been given to me and so tries to prove myself through 1000 exhausting enterprises. (“Like blogging daily?” you, my kind reader, suggest. “Well, yes, now that you mention it.” But enough about me – on to Angelina …)

Enter Angelina. It’s her first day at an elite dancing school, and she’s becoming insecure about dancing ballet when she observes her friends doing Irish dancing, jazz, and other modern dance. In a last minute practice, she asks her friend to accompany her by playing any music other than classical. This practice session ends with Angelina in tears, and her accompanist frustrated as he shifts from one musical style to the next to try to keep up with her dancing. Angelina is the next one up after lunch, and the audience feels her despair as she cries.

Enter mom to the rescue. Her mom shows up unexpectedly, asks Angelina why she’s been crying, and reassures her of who she is: a great ballet dancer. She encourages Angelina to be who she is, not try to become someone different to impress her new friends. She’s a ballerina, and she dances best to classical music. This also in fact makes her unique. Being different isn’t any cause for alarm or change, but it’s reason to celebrate her distinct identity. 

We then see Angelina move confidently to the stage and request “a classical piece, please,” to her relieved accompanist. She dances beautifully as she stays true to who she was created to be. A pleasant result is that the other dancers also admire her style, and Angelina walks off the stage smiling.

A few observations about identity come to mind:

1. We get confused when we compare ourselves to others, becoming either prideful if we seem to be “better than” and despairing if we feel we are “less than.”

2. We need others to remind us of who we and that who we are is beautiful and unique.  Do you have friends, family, co-workers, neighbors like this? And when’s the last time you reminded someone else of his or her God-given identity? Do you as a Christian remember who you are? Spend some time soaking up the first few chapters of Ephesians or Colossians for a crash course in your identity in Christ.

3. Being who we are will bring joy and confidence. Living according to who we are means we say “yes” to some things and “no” to others; that we live out of who God’s made us and not who we think we should be. As a mom, the book Desperate has been amazingly helpful to remind me of this in terms of living as who I am as a mom v. “the ideal mom” I have in my head.


Mundane Monday

There are days that are mundane and then something surprising pops out along the way and you feel like the day is now glorious. Like the proverbial sun after the rain, or an extra-long nap time to enjoy some mid-day quiet as a mom, or a breathtaking sunset that you catch in your rearview mirror.

And then there are those mundane Mondays like today where nothing extraordinary happens and you don’t wake up as early as you’d like to so you can start your day “ahead” (meaning all exercised-up and prayed-up and caught-up and READY), and instead your first sound of the morning is the piercing cry of one twin after she was bitten by the other. You take a deep breath, sigh, and answer your abrupt wake-up call. Trying to comfort the one who’s hurting and appropriately mete out consequences for the aggressor. All before coffee and a shower. Yikes.

If someone had told me this would have been my life 10 years ago, I might have run away to the middle of nowhere, hid under a rock with a few favorite books, and asked God to let me know when it was all over. I don’t mean to be dramatic, but this is a girl who continued to enjoy sleeping in late in the mornings long past the time when it was probably ok or socially accepted (i.e. – long past college graduation). I’m an extroverted introvert who always scores down the middle on the Myers-Briggs personality test. What that means is that I am energized by time in a group of people, but I am also drained without regular intervals of solitude. My ideal social setting is a deep conversation over coffee with 2-3 good friends, and then a quiet evening at home afterwards journaling or blogging or reading.

I’m with two little people 24/7 whose depth of conversation has dramatically expanded to include sentences like, “I want to eat cookies NOW!” Tantrums aren’t more frequent with either of my twin two-year-olds, but there’s a higher frequency of a tantrum occurring since there are two tantrum-prone kids. They rarely both have hard days, but there’s rarely a day where one of them isn’t having a hard day.

What am I trying to say? Well, that today was a day where there honestly didn’t seem to be a lot of “glory” out there waiting to be found. I’m sure it was there, but I just couldn’t see it for whatever reason. And maybe it’s the ordinary and mundane days that make us appreciate the days that are special or the moments when glory catches us unawares. After a very busy last week, there was something good and refreshing about a day filled with our “regular” activities like laundry and neighborhood walks and a visit from a friend and an afternoon of work and a quiet dinner with my husband post-bedtime.

Perhaps I just found today’s glory after all.

Taco Tuesdays and Romans 1:1

One of my new year’s resolutions has been to memorize Romans along with Ann Voskamp’s “Romans project.” I would like all of you to know that I am two weeks behind. And, in fact, that I have “failed” at all of my New Year’s resolutions that I felt so excited about a month ago. (was it only a month?)

  • Potty training – after two weeks of trials, I made an executive decision that WE were not ready for potty training. When the one twin who seemed to “get it” began screaming “NO!” during every attempt to take her to the potty, I figured that this was a clear message to give it up for now.
  • Focusing on my kids more/technology less – I still find myself in the hard moments inevitably drawn to check Facebook or Instagram or our budget on or the weather or …
  • Doing the “Joy Dare” to focus on gratitude v. complaint. Why don’t you ask my husband how well I’m doing at that? Sigh.
  • “State of the union” with Seth – some progress. Some failure. Like the evening when my version of state of the union turned into a very unfair rant and rave where somehow in my twisted logic he was the one to blame for all of the stress I was experiencing in other areas of life.
  • Scripture memory – see above … or below.
  • Reading 40 meaningful books – progress! I desperately devoured several on potty-training, so that helped give me a head start on this one. But now I’m reading Pillars of the Earth which is a good read but realllly long. 900+ pages, so that’s slowing me down a bit. 

What I’m realizing is that I can’t. I can’t do any of this on my own. I need a living Savior to do what I cannot do and never have been able to do: achieve a state of being right with God. And I need a Savior to offer forgiveness, mercy, hope, grace – and above all this, unshakeable LOVE – for all of the MANY moments I fail not just to meet my own standards, but in sinful rebellion turn away from God towards my idea of what I think will help me in the moment. (Yelling? Complaint? Chocolate?)

Yet this is not a reason not to keep striving towards less sinful patterns, towards more of the Spirit reigning in my heart. This simply changes my motivation and the how-to for doing so. It’s not to bolster my pride and sense of self-sufficiency and make me feel better, but I do so because I am loved by one whose love changes me and I do so only in the strength found in admitting and confessing I have no strength of my own.

So with that said, back to Romans 1:1. I can’t seem to get past this verse phrase – “Paul, [1] a servant of Christ Jesus, [2] called to be an apostle …” I keep switching those two phrases around as I’m working on trying to memorize it. Meaning that I keep saying in my head, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, called to be a servant.” (And sidebar: memorization is not my strong point. I can be familiar with the general ideas and themes of various Bible verses but I am really bad at memorizing them word for word.) I think this shows me how I tend to get this mixed up in my own life. I want to put “called to be a [mom/wife/counselor/Bible teacher]” before the basic identity of “servant of Christ Jesus.” I think this changes everything. If I am FIRST a servant of Christ, and THEN called to whatever I’m called to in a particular season, I don’t complain to those people I’m called to serve or about the tasks I have to do nor do I take it personally if I receive criticism or feel like I’m failing. All of it is service to Christ Jesus. All of my service flows from the One who served me all the way to death because he was motivated by his love for me. This is not a guilt-laden, “Let me try to pay him back.” [I tried that for many years – didn’t work because it’s impossible!] But in the way that I feel about doing a favor for a friend who I know cares about me and who has done many things to show me that. It’s not a burden but a delight. And similar to the friend who strengthens me because she watched my kids for a morning, Christ’s service strengthens me to serve him by serving others out of and with the love he’s poured into my heart by the Spirit. Also, this identity is unshakeable. I am a servant of Christ Jesus most fundamentally. I will never fail at that because God guaranteed that with Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Callings will come and go, but I’ll always be a servant of Christ Jesus. And I’m promised love, acceptance and eternal approval; in fact, I already have it. So no pressure or stress in that! I’m called to live out of who I already am.

Part of this is trying to find joy in what can feel like a pretty mundane stage of life. I decided that naming our days will help me to know what’s coming and will help our daughters to have something to associate with each day of the week. In trying to incorporate many major household tasks, a friend also suggested “Wash Wednesdays.” Unfortunately, our Wednesdays are too busy to do laundry but I liked the alliteration … so here’s what I’ve got:

Market Mondays – we head to the grocery store[s] to stock up for the week. I wish it were as awesome as a local farm market … maybe one day!

Taco Tuesdays – since our small group meets this night, we always need something really easy to cook for dinner. Hence, tacos. And, yes, this means when we host our small group, our house will likely smell like El Paso.

Women’s Bible Study Wednesdays – self-explanatory; highlight of my week. I love studying God’s word with these women. Right now we’re going through 1 & 2 Kings as we look at Elijah and Elisha’s life

Trash-truck Thursdays – because, well, Thursdays are when the trash trucks come through our neighborhood which is the highlight of my 2-year-olds’ week

French toast Fridays – Seth’s day off (since Sunday is a work day for him as a minister) and he loves making French toast for all of us at breakfast

Sleep-in Saturdays – well, one can have wishful thinking … one day, Seth and I will get to both sleep in on a Saturday. For now, we take turns.

Sabbath Sundays – I really do want to make Sundays a day that’s somewhat different from the rest of my week. So I’m experimenting with different ways to do that. At its simplest, it often means that Seth and I both crash for a long nap when the girls nap in the afternoon. Other times, I’ll try to blog or read an enjoyable book I’ve had on my shelf. After having kids, I had to get creative because I can’t really “take off” from the work I do the other 6 days of the week – diapers still must be changed, meals have to be prepared, tantrums must be dealt with – but I did decide that I wouldn’t do laundry on Sundays. I mean, you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. And so that’s my line … and I’m sticking to it.

Jesus Encounters the Woman at the Well – or should I say, Target …

As our community group studies the book of John together, using the fabulous “good book series” by Tim Chester, we come to this week’s encounter about Jesus meeting “A Desperate Woman” (the Samaritan woman at the well, story found in John 4). Raise your hand if you qualify. Yes, I see those hands. One of the questions prompted me to reflect on how Jesus would address me. If Jesus encountered me, probably in the aisles of Target, and talked of living water, what would he point to as patterns where I seek satisfaction elsewhere? What’s my “if only” that I’m living out of? I share this hoping you will relate to this desperate woman and the Jesus who offers her true Life.

“Heather, look at what’s in your cart. You think that once you and your daughters are dressed well and once your home looks like the pages of Pottery Barn, you will be satisfied. You also think once your life is so-called ‘balanced’ (meaning you feel in control most of the time and have enough time to yourself), you’ll feel satisfied. You’ll be able to exhale when your relationships are conflict-free. Not so, my daughter. I watch you run yourself ragged and overspend trying to be satisfied and feel secure. Stop running. Rest in me, in the midst of the chaos of your days. Let me direct you. Live out of the inner satisfaction you’ve tasted before through my Spirit who dwells within you. Live out of the identity you have in me – you are mine; you’re beautiful; you’re more than ‘good enough.’ You’re righteous. Perfect. Complete. The Spirit is there to help you experience these realities, to believe I am true and deeply satisfying, to free you from places you run for temporary, fleeting satisfaction. Drink deeply of my living water. That’s right. You can start putting back most of what you’ve filled your cart with today. And I promise you’re not trading in joy – you will know it more deeply in me, as you always have.”