So, You’d Like to Be More Flexible?

In the fall of 2012 our days changed forever. We officially became business owners on September 25 when Biggby Holland opened its doors to the public for the first time. God has used this business (now three coffee shops, not just one) to profoundly bless our family.  These businesses have given Mark a place to work and walk in his giftings.

These businesses have also been the tool God has used to grow this careful, scheduled, planning, reliable, quality-time driven momma to become much more flexible.

In the first months of our business being open I saw Mark only when I drove out to the store–he would be home for 5-6 hours and spent those hours sleeping beside me.  A month after opening, I was unsure if he’d be at Charlotte’s first birthday party, until he pulled into the driveway. During those months of being primarily a single parent, friends & family would regularly make comments like, “I don’t know how you’re doing this with such a good attitude,” or “I wish I was more flexible like you.”

Though the first months are far behind us, if you own a business, you understand the requirement for flexibility does not diminish.

One store is out of hot cups–Mark takes off to grab more and deliver them.

Our toaster is broken at the first store and the grinder won’t work at the second–no Mark for dinner.

Managers quit, staff is sick–Mark is working 70 hours making drinks + the hours to actually run the business.

I share just a few examples with you, not to complain, but to paint a picture for you.  If you’re anything like me, you don’t like plans changing at the last minute–especially when they involve your husband missing dinner with the family, or putting the kids to bed by yourself and explaining to them why daddy is gone tonight, or finishing the last half of a birthday party without him.

When these situations first started, I would get angry, and I’d let Mark feel my anger with my short or exasperated tone of voice.  In my heart, I was having a mini temper tantrum because things weren’t going my way. But, God loves us too much to leave us as we are.  He kept allowing the situations, and kept allowing me the opportunity to (a) throw a fit or (b) access His help by the power of the Holy Spirit and choose to respond with a sweet and gracious spirit.

Thankfully, most times, I now choose option (b).

I still get regular comments as I did in those first months, “I wish I was more flexible like you are.”  Well, if you’d like to go with the flow better, like I (usually) do now–I have good news for you!  Flexibility has nothing to do with personality and everything to do with faith.

Either I believe God is sovereign or I do not.  If I do believe He is sovereign, then I accept that the espresso grinder, broken toilets, and sick staff are not out of His control. So, when my plans change unexpectedly, and my response is to grumble, I am grumbling against the One who orders my steps and plans my days.

So, when I respond sweetly to these demands for “flexibility,” I am really just flexing my faith muscles–faith that God is who He says He is and that He loves me and is deeply invested in my good–not necessarily my temporary comfort but my eternal character.

So, mommas, whether you’re an easy-going middle child momma or a first-born planner, you can flex those muscles and be as flexible as you choose to be.

When It’s Time to Start Talking Back

A few days ago, I finally knelt down in front of my pantry and pulled out three empty cracker boxes, crumbs shuffling around at the bottom, and shoved them into the kitchen trashcan.  I put the tomato sauce and corn & black bean salsa from Aldi onto the canned vegetable shelf, and pulled the lidless raisins from in between jars of pizza sauce to set them back near other dried fruit. The pantry was just one of the many places showing signs of neglect from the last 8 weeks.

After discovering we were pregnant, I wasn’t surprised by the nausea that began, like clockwork around week 6, and the extreme fatigue that accompanied it.  I wasn’t surprised that my one load of laundry a day rule –washed, dried, folded, and put away–turned into a once a week event of Mark helping me fold a mountain of laundry just so Beckett could have clean pajamas to wear. I wasn’t even surprised at the intensity of the cravings for things I haven’t eaten in years — Steak & Shake’s cheese fries, Crazy Bread, Cool Ranch Doritos.

We have been dreaming for a while of having a fourth child, and the pregnancy was not unexpected. Nope, what took me by surprise was the deep fear I felt before I even took a pregnancy test. The calendar was a clear indicator for me of what we had imagined and even hoped would be true.  But, for several days, I refused to say anything to Mark or take an at-home-pregnancy test. If being pregnant became a reality than all my fear associated with this pregnancy also became a reality.

It is not a fear of a difficult pregnancy, or even losing this precious miracle–though, we have walked through miscarriage, “Crib for Sale” and my heart aches deeply for those who have also walked through it, especially multiple times. But, this was not the fear fluttering around inside of me, just looking for a good place to set up camp.

Walking, this past year, through my sister-in-law’s fight with leukemia has left me still declaring that God is good, but wondering what that really looks like. In the last year I have learned that He is faithful, but He is not afraid of suffering like we are.  He is good, but His good plans do not often align with our ideas of good plans. He is mighty & able, but His timing is different and healing does not always come all at once, but sometimes in painfully slow increments.

My fear indicated that I was believing a lie.  The enemy taunted me with something that sounds like this, “Look at what your God has allowed your precious sister to walk through, what might He allow for you or your baby?” For several days, I tried to combat the fear by simply ignoring it–but, that gave no relief, just moments of forgetting.

I only began to experience freedom from my fear when I dragged it, kicking and screaming, out into the light. I told my husband and a dear friend exactly what the enemy was taunting me with–they reminded me of God’s deep love for me. And, then, I followed Jesus’ example and  talked back to my adversary.  I told him,

“You are exactly right.” Not what we typically say to the enemy, right?

“You are exactly right. I do not know what God might allow me or the ones I love to walk through on earth.  I have very few guarantees about my time here, but I have some eternal promises you cannot touch.  I have eternal life with my Father waiting for me and the worst days on this earth are the closest to Hell I will ever get. Philippians 3:20 tells me, I am a citizen of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And I am eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.”


I have been declaring since my sister-in-law was diagnosed in February that we can trust His love and it is a sermon I keep preaching to my own wandering, wavering soul. If your enemy is taunting you with a lie that produces fear, worry, or unrest, let me help you.

  1. Bring the Lie into the Light. The enemy loves isolation and secrecy–have you ever noticed he most often comes after you when you’re alone (or lonely)?  Find a Jesus-follower you can trust and tell him/her the enemy’s lie he is trying to sell. (If you don’t have someone, e-mail me at and let me speak life to you).
  2. Talk Back to the Enemy. Use the truth you know or search the scriptures until you find something you can shout back at the enemy.  Say it aloud–he is not all knowing and he cannot read your mind.  Let him hear you declare God’s truth every time he tries to sell you that lie. Here’s a great place to start finding a scriptural truth to throw back at him.

A Father’s Day Post in July

Because our men need it

Because it doesn’t have to be Father’s Day for me to need a reminder about building up the most popular guy in our house.  Here are three ways to help your man be a father you & your children admire.

1. Let him play the dad way–I tend to be the one chosen by my girls to play Barbies, and my boy loves to snuggle me and read books–but all our people know Daddy is the go-to guy for some good old before bedtime armpit tickles and games of chase around the living room. Refrain from correcting him, telling him to be careful, or reminding him he is riling them up.

Remember what Charles Swindoll wisely said, “Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” and let your man make deposits in his own way.


2. Let him discipline the dad way–It is not uncommon for us moms to leap to our children’s defense and knock our husbands legs out from under them.  “As we moms often spend our days immersed in the details of little lives, we make hundreds of mistakes, and as we grow, we trust God to honor our hearts, and as only He can, make our mistakes work for good in our children’s lives.” Can’t we do the same for our husbands?

I have fallen into this trap plenty of times, which is why I have an entire post on the topic, “Let Him be the Dad: Stepping Back when Our Husbands Step up.”


3. Let your concerns be voiced to your Heavenly Dad— many of us have heard the saying, “Have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?” What if we ask ourselves this question before offering any constructive (or not so constructive) criticism of his dad-ways? What if we shared our concerns with the one who truly knows the hearts & needs of our children? Let us pursue the one who has entrusted them to our care with our heart’s concerns, and include our hubbies in the conversation when and if the Lord tells us to.

Everywhere on Facebook us mommas are told our job is hard; we are told to let go of the little things, to not be so hard on ourselves, to remember that what your children really need from you…is YOU! I don’t see dads getting these same kinds of exhortations or permissions to just be with their kids. Let us decide that regardless of the size of the dad cheerleading team outside of our home, the cheering inside our home will be deafening.

Let’s hear it for those dads!