When the Ancient Paths Seem So Lame

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The light turned yellow, then red, and I slowed to a stop. I hung my arm out the window and glanced at a park near the intersection. There, a disheveled mom was chasing a three-foot live wire with a bowl cut. I watched until the car behind me honked.

As I pulled off the line, it hit me: That’s me. My kids are teenagers, but they haven’t stopped running. And I’m still huffing and puffing behind them.

The teenage years seem to cause parents to either chase harder or quit running altogether.

I’m a chaser, through and through.  Continue reading

The Mom Behind the Machine

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I used to go to my room to cry.

I would hold it together until I fixed a snack for one child, pulled down a toy for another, and assigned math pages to two more. Finally, with trembling lip, I’d hustle down the hallway to the privacy of my bedroom.

There, my God and my pillow absorbed the tears. Because someone called with bad news. Or I didn’t get my way in marriage. Because it was the wrong time of the month. Or mothering and homeschooling four kids was just plain lonely and hard. Continue reading

Our Effin’ Summer Plan (It’s not what you think…)

A couple of people have asked me to post this. I hesitate for fear of people thinking I’m a parenting expert in any way. THAT IS NOT THE CASE. At. All.

However, I have tried various ways to keep my teens active, learning, helpful, and growing over the summer. About four years ago, I came up with this plan, and it stuck.

Enough set-up. Here’s what we do. Not perfectly. Not without grumbling. But it seems to keep us out of trouble… Continue reading

When Your Dreams Don’t Fit You… Yet

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I entered the room and found her studying her reflection in the mirror, a girlish habit that sends up a maternal red-flag. “Do you like it, Mom?”

She was trying on a hand-me down dress given to her by an older friend. She tugged at the ill-fitting neckline and bodice; her body not yet the shape for its womanly cut.

I gotta give her credit. The girl dreams big.

And she’s a lot like me.

She pulled at the fabric and shifted her body until her reflection matched how she felt: bigger, older, and like someone else.

I’m honored to be featured at God Sized Dreams today. Please follow me there to read the rest of the story…

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In Between the Drop-Offs and Pick-Ups

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We sat in the parking lot with our mouths open wide, every parental fiber wanting to march in there and drag our son back to the car.

Van loads of middle-school girls wearing booty shorts and skin-tight t-shirts giggled into the mixer.

“Is there a volleyball game tonight?” I asked, hopefully. Continue reading

When Two Is More Than Three

Chris Sardegna
Chris Sardegna

It was another hard day of no leggings, yes pants. Homework first, FaceTime second. No eyeliner, yes blush. Talking, hugging, slamming doors…

Being a middle school girl -even a fun, beautiful, smart one- is rough.

And being her mom is exhausting.

It was the dark time of night when confidence turns into confusion and anger becomes fear. Even though I was in bed, I knew sleep probably wouldn’t come, but definitely not if I didn’t do one more thing… Continue reading

Freedom

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I remember the first time I got in the car to drive myself. At age sixteen, there was nothing like being out from under authority, making my own decisions, and answering to no one… even if only for a short trip to the grocery.
 

I felt so independent with the radio blaring and only one hand on the wheel. I hung my arm out the window so it could ride the wind, warned the world about “The Grand Illusion” with Styx’s Dennis DeYoung, and peeled off the line a little too fast when the light turned green. No one could tell me to slow down, turn down, or settle down.
 
After I parked, I caught a glimpse of myself in the store window, strutting across the parking lot and swinging my keys.
 

And there, in my reflection, I saw freedom.
 

Young adults and young countries both have that look. Out from under the dictators of their lives, they can finally sing their own songs and wave their own flags. And strut their stuff.
 

We Americans feel so invincible with our secure borders and prosperity. We let our fat arms ride the wind, swing around our rights, and worship the images in our mirrors.
 
And why shouldn’t we feel great? We are so blessed to have our own soil, to safely worship in our own churches, to own our own homes, to pursue our own callings. We truly have the sweetest spot on earth.
 

But still, we are not free. And we know it.
 

We sing about “putting boots in their ass” and we dress in our flag’s colors, but no one admits that secure borders and dress blues don’t keep fear away.
 

We fly Old Glory and rise to pledge allegiance, but no one lets on that they are too weak to stand up to the winds of pressure.
 

Once a year, we go outside and shoot fireworks to light up the night sky, but inside and every day, we shoot-up or drug-up to avoid the pain of living in darkness.
 

From ten-thousand feet up, we are the picture of freedom. But the view from within our homes and our hearts reveals that we are trapped by terror, caged by culture, and enslaved to our addictions.
 
But this is not an American problem. It’s a human problem. All around the world, babies of all colors are born with a liberty bell ringing in their hearts, placed there by our Creator. We all have an innate desire for freedom and all that it offers.
 

Because God wants us to be free. All throughout the Bible, He holds freedom up as something good that He offers to all of us.
 

”For you were called to freedom, brothers.” Galatians 5:13a
 
But we have gravely misinterpreted the tolling in our hearts. Foolishly, we have been duped by the Grand Illusion. We listen to voices that tell us that the worst place to be is under someone else’s thumb, and we stop short of the freedom to which we are called. And we settle for a lesser version offered by a Prince of lies. 
 
Freedom is quiet, countercultural, and sometimes even looks like slavery. So we dismiss it. 

For the shiny keys in our hands, the anthems playing on our radios, the power of our engines revving beneath our feet…they all distract us from what’s more. From what’s better.
 

The process is necessary, I suppose. We must experience, to some degree, an imitation of freedom so that we know that it’s not what it claims to be. We are wise after a coming of age when we find out that the absence of authority isn’t freedom at all.
 

Not at all.
 
At sixteen, on the outside looking in, I thought I was the picture of freedom. But also at sixteen, I believed that I was the center of the universe. And my heart was far from being free.
 

But my Rescuer pursued, and offered me His freedom.
 

The freedom that comes not from taking up arms, but from One who laid down His life.
 

The freedom that waves not in a flag of glory, but in the blood-stained cloths found in an empty grave.
 

The freedom that sings not songs of power or pride, but of grace and humility.

The Way to this freedom is narrow and off the beaten path, but near. 
Freedom is found in the Bell Ringer. He is the Way. He is the Rescuer. 
 

Freedom comes through submission to the One who breaks through the grand, American, and human illusions to pursue His people across every wave of grain and purple mountain…
 

..so they may know real love, protection, and freedom.
“…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32



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