our first man.

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His eyes, his smile, his heart, his delight…it’s what I notice every time I see my husband play with our kids.

He stretches his arms out, and they leap.

He hovers over like a monster, and they run.

He turns on the lawn mower, and they jump on his lap.

He slips on his shoes to head outside, and they squeal with anticipation.

He lays down beside them, and they listen to his voice.

My husband…he knows how to play. I love that.

My husband…he offers provision and protection and strength. I love that.

My husband…he teaches and cuddles and laughs. I love that.

Their daddy…he’s the first man in my kids’ lives. I love that.

My husband and I have had numerous conversations about our dads and how they’ve shaped us – their words, their tones, their action (or in-action), their jokes, their conversations, their attitude, their work, their presence. We always come to the same conclusion…the first man in our lives have deeply impacted our view of masculinity and fatherhood and how valuable the feminine soul is. And, we also have come to understand, that what we experienced in our fathers has also deeply impacted the way we have come to view God.

A father’s role – it’s powerful. He spills into us in subtle and profound ways.

As we enter yet another “family” holiday this Sunday, I hope to be a voice who encourages us to celebrate the fathers in our lives. Dig a little ways back – to the days when you lived with your father or male caretaker. What do you remember? About him? About his heart for you? About his heart for your mom? About his heart for others? About his heart for God? Who was he? Really. I don’t mean how did he live out of his brokenness and hurt, but rather, in what ways did he image God? What was he amazing at? What ways did he tell the world that being a man was a good thing? For sure there were hard parts about our relationship with our father, but who did God create him to be and how did you see and experience that in him?

And then, if you’re a dad, how do you see those good things in you?

And, if you’re a mom, how do you see those good things in your husband?

And, if you’re a son or daughter, how do you see those good things in your dad? Still. Today.

You may just have gained more than you thought from your dad. It’s amazing how so much good gets passed down. Sometimes it just gets hidden behind fear or work or hurt or shame or others.

Maybe we need to open our eyes a bit wider so that we can see, really see…our father, our husband, their daddy.

And then, let’s shout out and affirm and celebrate what we see…in our home, with our friends, to the world.

So dads…as you sense a little extra love this Sunday, may you know that we are rooting for you. We believe in you. The best parts of you show up in us, in our kids. We love that.

May you know that you are honorable, respectable and good.

And, may you be even more aware of God’s eyes, God’s smile, God’s heart, God’s delight. Upon you.

Happy Father’s Day!



becoming family.

I’ll be honest. Back in the day when I strolled through life more carefree (and sometimes carelessly), there were a few things that when I imagined being a mom, I never wanted to be.

I never wanted to be that mom who desperately yelled her kids’ names, especially in public.

I never wanted to be that mom who sat in the dirty, germy, way-to-loud play area in the mall.

I never wanted to be that mom whose kid screamed at the top of his lungs while I frantically tried to keep him in the cart at the grocery store.

I never wanted to be that mom who sat her kids in front of over-stimulating kid shows because I needed a babysitter.

I never wanted to be that mom who drug her kids around with boogies and snot dripping from unknown crevices.

I never wanted to be that mom who used lollipops as bribery and broke all my own rules so my kid would obey.

I never wanted to be that mom whose car was loaded with goldfish and french fries in car seats and under seats.

I never wanted to be that mom who frolicked around town sporting stains on her clothes…and didn’t know it.

Yet, here I am…that mom.

(By the way, there really should be some beautiful shirt with jewels and glitter and lots of color that sings “I am too sexy for this life” that us moms get to wear whenever we want.)

OK, let me focus…

Before you have kids, it’s SO easy to think of what you don’t want to do, who you don’t want to be, and what you don’t want to look like. Thinking about what kind of parent, what kind of person you want to model for your kids is something many of us don’t do and find hard to do before we enter that role. Let alone, to think about what kind of home, what kind of space you want to create…for one another.

When your growing up years are defined by hard places and faces (or for some, “perfect” places), it’s easy to focus on what you don’t want to do, don’t want to be, as a parent and as a family. But I’m finding that in the midst of giving myself permission to not do the things that were so unhelpful or hurtful, that it’s just as important to imagine and be intentional about what you want to do differently, what you can do differently.

So, I’ve been reflecting and dreaming the last few years…of what kind of home I want to create for my children. As they enter and exit each season of their lives, what will they find each time they enter the door and play and sleep and grow in our house? What will they remember about how we defined and delivered the meaning of family? What picture will be seared into their memory?

For us (and we’re pretty new to this), there are some themes that we hope to be the umbrella over how we step towards our kids, so they are equipped and empowered to step into the world…to show others how good God is and how much he deeply loves…everyone.

You are wanted. You are loved. You are good…no matter what you say or do.

Your body, mind and spirit are worth investing in and connecting with.

We delight in you.

We believe in you.

We celebrate you.

We will be parents who are fully present to you and your needs.

Both brokenness and beauty have a place in our home.

Our home will be a safe place, a sanctuary.

God made you for us and he also made you for him.

Maybe, just start by asking yourselves, “What words or phrases describe our home right now?” Ask your children. Their answers could be surprising. And then, “What words or phrases do we want to describe our home?” Or, maybe, begin with asking God what kind of home he wants to create with you. Listen. Let his voice guide you.

So, as the summer warmth arrives and you find your children running in circles around you (or you around them), and as you experience both the extraordinary and ordinary, find what you do well. Discover what unique gifts your family has to offer. Go after that…in your children, in your home.

And then, may you be an expression of those heavenly things to the world…because you GET to show the world how good God is.