July 20, 2016

The Conversation Is Open, But Will You Have It?

I grew up in a town stamped and molded by racial issues that were never discussed. On a few occasions, perspectives on race were danced around, touched on with incendiary language that, as a child, made me turn hot and fidgety, or visited with short and fiery bursts of opinion by people I loved and respected. In high school, a student's confederate flag shirt set off a race riot, complete with classroom walk-outs and news media stationed around the boundaries of campus, but I couldn't tell you the details, because I didn't pay much attention. I didn't have to.

In our little town, racial divide was everywhere around but stubbornly ignored at the same time. It seems we believed that if we didn't talk about it, racial division and discrimination wouldn't actually exist. I certainly never acknowledged to my diverse friends in marching band what was happening around us, nor did they to me, and somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that to talk about race was too shameful, too fraught with danger.

My senior year in college, I took a class called Civil Rights Rhetoric. Every Tuesday and Thursday, I sat with my mouth agape, intently listening to the details of the Freedom Summer, the integration of Little Rock High School, voter registration, and nonviolent protests. We watched grainy footage of  speeches and read Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail. I couldn't believe all of this had happened just 30 years prior and that no one had ever told me about it. I was a 21-year-old adult learning for the first time that there had even been a Civil Rights push in the 1960's.
Photo: Ernest Withers
We were assigned a paper on the subject of our choice. I chose my hometown; I'd heard that my very own high school had been forced to integrate in the 70's after long resisting it. I wanted to know about it, so I began interviewing my neighbors and even the very judge who ruled for forced integration. As I prepared to interview him, my parents pointed out his house as we drove by. It was a house I'd passed thousands of times on the way to church, one that had always appeared shadowy, as if it wanted to hide, closed in by the self-protective bars on its windows. I wondered what had caused the judge to put those bars on his windows, but I didn't have the courage to ask him when we sat for the interview.

When I spoke with adults that I'd known all my life and heard them talk about integration, it was strange. I'd never heard anyone talk so openly about it, but all along a question pounded in my head: How has this not been important to talk about? Why have I not heard these stories before?

I knew the answer. Because in their minds it was "done," done like something we're embarrassed of and want to shove deep in the closet, done like a closed book that we never intend to open again, done like it never happened or is buried so deeply in history that it seemingly has little bearing on the present.

After that class, I quit talking about race again, because my finished coursework seemed to take away my permission to speak and ask freely. Instead, I've quietly read up on it, my interest insatiably piqued by what I learned in college.

However, in the past few years, I've begun having conversations again. They started when a black family visited our church, whom we invited over for dinner. After we finished our meal, the conversation turned toward their church decision. The wife asked, "Is it OK if we join your church?" She wasn't asking for permission. She was referring to the color of their skin. In other words, "Will we be accepted? Will our children be valued and loved?" I was literally speechless, immediately racking my brain for something done or said that would have given them the impression they were unwelcome. And so began a conversation on race, church, and the experiences they've had in their professions, in churches, and with their children. Their openness and honesty gave us permission to ask anything, but even more so, their answers challenged my perspectives and perceptions about race in America.

They joined our church and have since become friends. Conversations with them over the years have taught me how much I still don't know, and they've taught me to forever be a learner.

But primarily they've taught me that race is not only okay to talk about, but that we need to talk about it.

It only took me decades, but it struck me for the first time recently that, as much as we (rightly) love our country, it was founded--FOUNDED--upon institutional sin. The basis of our country's economic success was slavery. We (we, meaning white folks) don't like to think about that. We don't like to look at our country's sin so directly. We don't like to think there could be generational consequences for it.

As a Christian, however, I believe that we can and should take a good look at our sin, because Christ has made a way to cleanse us from sin. We don't have to be afraid to acknowledge slavery, lynching, Jim Crow laws, and the existence of racial injustice. To do so isn't to denigrate law enforcement officers--people doing a tireless, thankless job who deserve our respect--or to choose sides according to skin color. As a human race, we are a people who mistrust others different from ourselves, and we must acknowledge at the very least our apathy and indifference to the experience of others. If we desire unity and harmony in our nation, the way it starts is not to wait for the "other side" to agree with our perspectives and ideas but through our own confession and repentance before Jesus. We must acknowledge our nation's sin, weep over it, grieve over what it has done, and confess it before God and one another. Jesus' gospel teaches us that confession and repentance lead to forgiveness and reconciliation first between God and man and then between men.

What is happening in our country isn't about police officers vs. the black community, as if we have to choose sides. What is happening is what happened for me during that Civil Rights class and the dinner with our friends: these events are opening a conversation that we too often resist or don't know we need to have. There is an opportunity springing out of the blood and tears of our neighbors. The question for each of us, especially for Christians who have been given the ministry of reconciliation by Jesus Himself, is simply this: will we have them? Are we willing to engage the conversations with people who are different than us? Are we willing to ask questions of real people and listen to them? Are we willing to love our neighbor by first seeking to understand them? Are we willing to love our neighbor by reaching out first?

It seems the wound we hoped had healed never actually did. The black community has been trying to say this for a very long time. Perhaps everyone is now ready to listen. So now what? We must do what the wounded do: examine it, clean out the impurities, and address it in a way that brings true healing. The only way toward the unity we desire is through the powerful love of Jesus, made tangible as we seek to serve one another, not kill and blame one another.

If you want to read more to gain understanding about the racial divide in our nation, I suggest these resources:

July 13, 2016

Four Simple Ways to Help Friends Who are Hurting (and an Update on My Husband)

Yesterday felt like a normal day: my husband went off to accomplish a full day's work, the kids and I ran errands, and I squeezed in a bit of writing before cooking dinner. After the past month, I've a newfound gratefulness for these mundane tasks and everyday occasions. A normal day is very much a good day.

My senses were heightened by my husband's accident, likely because his were dulled by the severity of his concussion. With everything in our lives under my care, I've been on red alert for weeks, unable to sleep well, constantly protective of my husband, and trying to give my children a summer at least somewhat unaffected by our circumstances.

I slept for two hours last Friday afternoon, went to sleep again at 9 that evening, and then slept for two hours on Saturday afternoon. That's telling, not only of how exhausting and stressful this tremulous situation has been, but that I was finally able to sleep so soundly. Something has shifted. My husband is slowly coming back to himself; we are returning to normal. 

That's not to say that everything will return to normal. At least I hope not. Funny how difficult trials release to the surface what's been held down at the depths of the heart. We've been no exception in our own trial, as we've experienced the urgency of our idols--idols of busyness, self-sufficiency, self-importance, and control, idols begging for attention we've not been able to give in our weakness and desperation. What a blessing to see them so clearly, to have a moment to stop the treadmill of life and look around a bit, to realize that there are in fact ways we're living that are making us crazy and dishonoring to God and one another. I'm taking furious notes as the Lord begins to draw conclusions in my heart, and I'm praying for God to do the work He wants to do in us.

I also have taken copious notes on how to minister to others who are in crisis, because we've been so generously ministered to by God's people. I could tell you stories--many of them--of how God prepared to care for us in advance, and how the simple words and actions of others brought me to tears. Online readers, thank you for your messages and prayers. In-real-life friends, thank you for every meal, card, text, hug, prayer, and email. You've helped us through. I've taken notes from you, so I can remember what to do when someone I love is in crisis. Actually, I took notes for all of us. Here's what I've learned about coming alongside sufferers from those who have done it well for me:
Take action, any action. Don't wait for someone else to take the lead. Don't wait for permission from your hurting friend or wait for her to ask for help. People in pain don't actually know what they need, but they are relieved when you offer specific help. Text them something like this: "I'd like to bring you a meal. Is tonight or tomorrow better?" Offer to take a caregiver's children so they can rest. Send gift cards for food delivery. Write a card and drop it in the mail. It doesn't really matter what it is, as long as you do something.

Check back in again. In our situation, I didn't feel that we needed anything just after the accident, but as time stretched on, life became much more unmanageable for me. After putting people off at the start, I didn't know how to ask for help when I actually needed it, so it was extremely helpful when friends checked back in with me about needs or simply brought over food.

Acknowledge the emotions and stress of the situation. Meeting physical needs is so helpful, but hurting people equally appreciate when their friends acknowledge the difficulties inherent in unexpected circumstances. One of the best things someone said to me was, "There isn't a right way of doing this." She was referring to my caregiver role and the communication role I'd taken for my husband, and her words gave me permission to not be OK. In whatever way you do it--even if it's just a simple hug and an "I'm praying for you," it's vital to acknowledge what is happening for the ones who are suffering.

Send passages of Scripture. Stress, uncertainty, and emotions can certainly cloud our ability to think clearly. In the weeks after Kyle's accident, I found it difficult to focus when I'd open my Bible. I needed to be able to think about our circumstances through the lens of God's love for me and for my husband, but I sometimes felt too exhausted to even think at all. When friends or church members would send me passages of Scripture, it was like a drink of water in a parched land and an instant perspective shifter. They pointed me toward my Rock and one true sense of hope.

I've been told that it will take up to two months for Kyle to be at 100%. We're definitely getting there! Yesterday, he worked out for the first time since the accident, his sense of humor (one of my favorite things about him) has returned, and he'll be back in the pulpit this Sunday. Good things, all.

Many other good things are also on the horizon: I turn 40 on July 24 (another good time to stop and evaluate life, right?), and I will soon be sharing all the details about my new book, Messy Beautiful Friendship, which is already up for pre-order on Amazon even though it releases next April.

How about a few other good things? 

1) Remember the friend I asked you to pray for? Her brother suffered a much more severe brain injury than what Kyle did in the very same week. The doctors weren't sure if he would live, but I'm happy to report that he is doing well and is in rehab in Atlanta. Praise God!

2) Some of you are drowning in "not good enough" this summer. You're obsessed with comparing yourself to other believers and with trying to figure out what you're "supposed" to be doing as a Christian. There is no joy or freedom in that place, and I can say that from years of personal experience. My good news for you is that I wrote all about these very things in my book, From Good to Grace, and the ebook version is only $1.99 through July 14 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! Grab it, girl!
3) And, finally, and perhaps most importantly, I have been reading and listening to the beautiful voices speaking out about the turmoil in our country. I will be writing more about racial division and my hope for racial reconciliation through the gospel in the coming weeks, but I wanted to share a few posts that I've found helpful as I've been prayerfully considering this issue. I'm thankful for those who are speaking up:

How Talking to Your Kids About Race Helps Fulfill the Great Commission by Judy Wu Dominick
Trillia Newbell is doing a wonderful series on racial harmony.
Spanning the Racial Divide with Authentic Love by Sarah Beals
Lastly, I wrote a little something on Facebook about what I've learned from my black friends.

Again, thank you for your prayers and concern for me and for my family. Let me know what good things God is doing in your life right now. I'd love to celebrate with you!

June 23, 2016

A Personal Update and Request for Prayer

A week ago Monday morning, my husband Kyle asked me if I had anything going on in the afternoon. If not, he said, he'd like to come home from work early, spend time with the kids and then take me out on a date in the evening. One glance at the calendar and I breathed a sigh of relief that nothing was scheduled, because I really wanted to spend one-on-one time with my husband. I missed him, even though we'd been in the same house. We'd been unseparated but also moving beside each other, grinding it out under the demands of home and ministry that had seemed weightier than normal for months on end.

I heard the door open at 3:30 pm that afternoon from where I was sitting in the dining room and rushed in to greet him, eager for the time we'd planned to be together. When I turned the corner, however, all I saw was blood. He stood there, staring at me, his raised hands covered in the blood he was trying to catch as it dripped off his face.

"I need your help," he said, matter-of-factly, as if he was requesting my assistance getting groceries out of the car. Yes, I could see that.

"What happened? Tell me what happened," I said over and over, searching his eyes for answers, rushing simultaneously for paper towels to wipe his face and find the wound causing the blood flow.

"I don't know. I don't know what happened."

And then I remembered the moped scooter. A friend, away for the summer, had loaned it to him, and he'd ridden it that day. He'd actually owned one himself many moons ago and had ridden it everyday to work, an easy shot from our house to the office.

"Did you have an accident on the scooter?" I asked, frantic for answers.
All he could do was nod. He couldn't tell me any details, because he couldn't remember them. He couldn't tell me if anyone had stopped to help him or how he'd gotten himself home after whatever had happened had happened. He just kept bleeding and staring, and it finally dawned on me that I needed to get him to the ER.

My kids were upstairs playing and as I climbed the steps to get them, I prayed that they wouldn't be scared at the sight of their father, who was so clearly in need of medical attention. They followed me quietly downstairs and loaded themselves in the car, and as we drove we prayed together. Kyle, who had reclined the seat and covered his face with a towel, asked me, "How did I get home? Did I drive the scooter home?" I answered him, and then thirty seconds later, he asked me the same question again. Thirty seconds later, again. Then he changed his tape on loop to simply, "I'm sorry." He would later apologize to me around 30 times while we were in the ER, and I knew what he was saying. I knew why he was saying it.

When we were waiting for the CT scan in the ER, the details starting coming back. He'd been driving in an area where he'd pulled over into a turn lane to let cars go past, and when he'd tried to get back in the lane, the road was uneven and had caused him to fall. He'd landed on his side, hitting his head (thankfully wrapped in a helmet) and scraping up his face, hands, and arms. He said he remembered laying in the middle of the road, cars stopped all around, and a woman talking to him from a minivan, asking if he was ok. And then, evidently, while blacked out, he'd gotten back on the scooter and driven the final mile home.

I was speechless, to think of my husband in such a state.

And then he added, "I remember thinking that I just needed to get to you. I knew if I could just get to you, everything would be all right."

The doctor came in with the CT scan results and announced there was no brain bleeding. They cleaned his face and arms up, pulled specks of gravel from his stomach, and checked for broken bones. Nothing. The gash in his face had bled profusely but didn't need stitches. He had a bad concussion, but he didn't need even a stitch!

That night, we looked at the frayed jeans he'd been wearing in the accident and thought of how different this could have gone for him. We counted all the ways God was good to him in the accident: no glass on the road, no car ran him over, and even the fact that he'd been traveling uphill at the time and, therefore, moving slower.

However, the past nine days have been difficult. Kyle has been in pain and in the fog of a serious concussion. He slept away most of last week and continues to take time off of work as his brain heals.

At times, I have felt stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious about the future. But then I think of all the ways we have experienced God's faithfulness. I think about the people who have cared for me and who have prayed for him. I think about how his face looked and how he didn't need a single stitch. I think about those jeans.

It's challenging to me that Paul says to rejoice in suffering. Suffering, in the way we've experienced it in these days, has been emotional, jarring, and completely disorienting. It's hard to think clearly when you don't know what the next hour holds. So I don't think Paul is saying, "Be glad this happened to you!" I think he is saying that we should consider what joy can come in the midst of the pain of suffering.

One joy that has come for me is getting to see what is in my heart and how God is refining me. Suffering brings all of it to the surface, doesn't it? I see where I place my partial hope and it's far too often in my husband or my plans or the way other people serve me or a sense of control I think I have. It is a joy to have life instantly put in clear focus and see where true hope is truly found, and that is in God alone.

I'm not saying it's been all peaches and roses and rainbows. At times, as the sole decision maker for our family, communicator of needs, and primary caretaker, I haven't felt as if I'm doing this very well. What I'm saying is that in moments where I want to dwell on any bitter or anxious thought, I'm choosing to look for the gifts in all of this, and I'm finding there are many.

Will you please join me in praying for my husband as he recovers? Will you pray for me as I care for him and my children? And when you do, will you also pray for a dear friend of mine, whose brother also suffered a head injury last week and is in the ICU. His name is Will. I will be taking a break from the blog to care for my husband and family (and celebrate the marriage of one of the pastors of our church!) but will update you soon. Thank you, dear readers. I'm grateful for you!

June 15, 2016

Wild and Free in Ministry: An Interview with Jess Connolly (and a Naptime Diaries Giveaway!)

I remember exactly where I was when I "met" Jess Connolly. I was watching my kids run from Virginia to California to Texas on a huge map painted across a school blacktop in northern California, when my phone pinged. We were a few weeks into a sabbatical after five whirlwind years of planting a church, I'd released The Church Planting Wife a few months prior, and seconds before the ping I'd been thanking God for the gifts in my life (energetic kids included). The phone ping was a notice from a friend, who linked to Jess' announcement that she and her husband were going to plant a church in Charleston, South Carolina. I followed the link, wondering who this Jess girl was, and instantly fell in love with Jess and her passion for Jesus and for other women to know Him. 

Three years later, I haven't ever met Jess, but we've communicated a bit online. She was a huge cheerleader for my book, From Good to Grace, and she's just the kind of girl who, through her writing, makes you feel as if you're friends. She's also got a contagious joy that is splashed all across her just released first book, Wild and Free, co-authored with her friend Hayley Morgan. I recently corresponded with Jess about what it means to be "wild" and "free", especially in the context of church planting and ministry. I know you'll find her answers encouraging! And, Jess being Jess, she offered to throw in a $100 credit to her online print store, Naptime Diaries, for one lucky reader, so after reading her wise words, be sure to enter the giveaway below. 

CH: What does it look like for you as a church planting pastor's wife to live "wild" and "free"?

JC: Oh goodness! Man, it would be so, so hard to be a church planter's wife if I didn't feel the call to live wild and free. For us, wild means walking in the God-given identity that we've been given by our Father. So walking wild as a church planter's wife means that I feel boldness and joy in the call He's given me, as well as faith in His ability to equip me for that mission. As my husband's wife, as a leader to our women, as a servant, as a mother. I can look to Him and get my approval from Him and NO ONE else! 

Living free as a planter's wife looks like throwing off expectations or burdens that I need not carry. It looks like believing that God told me His burden is easy and His yoke is light and knowing that if I'm feeling weighed down by "should's", I'm probably listening to everyone else and not Him. It also means that I'm free from shame and condemnation. I can't be found and I can't be accused and I can't be criticized in any way that separates me from the love and grace of my Father. 

I'm wild in that I'm a daughter of the King, set free from darkness to bring others to the marvelous light I've been brought to. And I'm free in knowing I've got miles and miles to go, lots of growth ahead of me, and nothing to prove. 

CH: You speak to the fact that women in our culture live under a heavy burden of expectation. How do you resist any unrealistic expectations set by others or even by yourself so that you can remain free to be who God has asked you to be?

JC: Man, that's a great question. I think one of the best ways we can resist the temptation to live under other people's expectations is by ministering to them. If I feel there are women or men or leaders over me that are putting burdens on me that I know I'm not meant to carry - I try to serve them, love them, pray for them, and help them taste some freedom from that burden. The temptation is to feel angry or frustrated or caged - but I think we get so much further when we just want good for others. 

An example of this would be something like... Let's say there's a mom in your community who out-serves everyone! She takes all the meals, plans all the activities, and you know that subtly - she wants you to do the same. Instead of feeling angry with her or insecure beside her, I thank God for how He's gifted her and I make sure she knows that she can come undone around me. I don't shame her for where she's at, because it could be that she IS living in freedom, but I let her know that I am a safe place. 

I encourage her with the truth that she is already enough. Shoot, I'll give her a copy of Wild and Free. But I won't make her my enemy, because she's not. We're all on the same team. And if I can't love her into stopping putting burdens on me, I'll make it very clear that I'm not going to live under those burdens however politely I can. 

CH: In my relationships with church members, I sometimes find myself mentally wavering between feeling too much for them or not enough for them. In fact, I think my greatest fear is disappointing people. What advice would you give me and others who feel that way?

JC: I would encourage you to picture the Father constantly with you! Which, we know, He is! It's not enough to tell you that they really like you and you're doing a great job! Because the sad truth is - sometimes people do think we're too much and often times they think we're not enough. 

But if our Father is constantly with us, it's such a beautiful thing to picture how HE is responding to us. Is He standing arms crossed, asking us to get our junk together? Does He have pursed lips, frustrated that we just said too much or got too emotional or seemed a little too needy? Even in our sin and actual brokenness, is He ever drawing the line and telling us to just quit! Fix it! Be better! Never. 

So I'd encourage women to forget about how the people around them are acting. Think about how God is responding. Let's put our eyes on Him as the only one who can give us approval. And we already have it, in Christ alone! 

CH: In the book, Hayley says, "I feared discomfort more than I believed in God's power, and it was crippling me spiritually." You also talk about how being "wild" also means being weird or uncomfortable. How have you learned to be at peace with discomfort? 

JC: I think a great question to pause and ask ourselves is - what's the goal here? What's the goal in life? Mission? Relationships? Is it to get to the end in tact and well-liked? Is it to gain all the friends and approval? Or is it to worship God and bring as many people with us as we can on the way? When I think about that every single day - I'm left with the overwhelming sense that I'd rather get to the end a little undone, a little weird, a little uncomfortable than any other way. 

CH: What encouragement would you give a fellow pastor's wife struggling with anxiety regarding her role and influence?

Well, let's be honest. First I'd tell her to buy your book, Christine, and read your blog! I can't think of better resources. Second, I'd tell her to double down on her time with Jesus. To really, really, really seek God and seek His face and worship. Not to necessarily learn more of the Bible - but to start with getting wild and honest with God. I think if we can all commit to being real and honest and intimate with our Father - we're going to be in such a better place for it. He speaks peace better than any advice I could give. He hands out identity and calling and purpose like it's candy. And He points to our influence, giving us yearning and burden and desires to bring other people to Him. 

Let's spend time with Him. 

Grab your copy of Wild and Free now, right after you head over to Instagram to see how you can enter to win a $100 gift card to Naptime Diaries. I love these prints and even have a few (the canvases pictured below) hanging in my home right this very moment. Thank you, Jess, for your generosity! 

June 8, 2016

A Weak Mother is a Good Mother

If there is one thing I want to do well, it’s rearing my children to know God's voice and love his ways. But if there is one area that I feel most inadequate in, it's rearing my children to know God's voice and love his ways, and every other little thing I’m trying to teach them under this larger umbrella, from how to study for a test to engaging in polite social interactions.
I panic when I think of my children embarking into adulthood, typically because I imagine that they’ll have to call me to come tie their shoes or they’ll freeze to death because I'm not there to remind them to wear pants rather than shorts in the winter. Or they’ll spend every waking minute in front of a video game console because I’m not there to monitor every second of their activities. Those concerns, however, pale in comparison to the greatest hopes I harbor for my sons. I want them to become men of integrity and character. I want them to know deep in their bones that walking with the Lord is the path of abundance and joy. But I can barely imagine them driving, much less becoming the compassionate, strong, godly men I pray for them to be.And then I remember that a man isn’t built in a day and to keep my eyes in the moment, to take small steps, to do the next thing. I find myself most overcome with the task of motherhood when I despise the day of small things (Zechariah 4:10) and when I gauge my own strength as a catalyst for the growth of my children. When I look to myself, I am fully aware of how powerless I am. I feel like I should be better at this than I am. Or maybe it’s that I feel like all these things come easily to a “good mother” so I must not be one. I want to be a good mother but how do I get there?
I am so impatient with myself, so quick to throw my hands up in frustration or surrender. And I find myself thinking that God feels that same way toward me: impatience that I’m not further along, frustration that I fail, irritation at my faithless worrying. Those thoughts show that I often perceive God huffing at my weaknesses, wishing I could get it together already, arms crossed and foot tapping. The good thing is, however, that he knows we are weak mothers and that he doesn’t expect us to be anything else. In fact, he wants me to embrace my limits.
He’s been talking to me about this through His Word. Some of it has been conviction. All of it has been hope-filled. The main point he is driving into my heart over and over and over is that I cannot manage my life, I cannot control or change my children, and I cannot work hard enough to produce men of valor. I am weak. I have no authority, nor power, to change the hearts of my children.
But he doesn’t stop there, just driving nails in my coffin. Instead, he points to 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My power is made perfect in weakness.” While I am feeble and weak in motherhood, he is all-powerful. He created my children, he knows them more intimately than me, and he has plans for them that are good. He promises to be strong in my weakness as a mother.
Perhaps this is why motherhood seems so daunting and where I make it far more difficult than it has to be--because I don’t like to admit my weakness. I don’t like to admit my inabilities or acknowledge how little control I have over their hearts and actions.
But perhaps this resistance to weakness is also a resistance to the very power--God’s power--I crave to pulse through their lives and my own.
This, yes this, is a godly mother: a mother willing to acknowledge her weakness before a grace-giving, power-filling God. Through daily dependence on God’s Spirit, he takes our lack of wisdom and our feeble efforts and allows us to be a major cultivator of beautiful fruit in the hearts of our children.
This is so what I want: to know deep in my soul that a good mother is not one who bakes intricate treats, who schools a certain way, who manages her household within an inch of its life, or who has her children in a million wonderful activities. A good mother is one that acknowledges her need for the power of God to enable her to train and teach her children. A good mother is one who rests (and glories!) in the ability of God to change the hearts of her children. She is one who prays and acts in faith, believing that God can take a meager, imperfect offering and turn it into a miracle. A miracle that showcases the beauty and power, not of a great mother, but of a great God. 
This post is a revised version of one of my chapters in Desiring God's book, Mom Enough