Every Woman a Theologian
—  Hope Deferred is Still Hope —
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Dear friend,
TW: miscarriage
She wandered into my office while I was having tea-time with Ivan, a weekly tradition with each of our kids. She came out holding a picture book, a book that arrived with a note: “We are praying for you in this season of loss.” A book I set on my desk without opening because I knew the story in its pages too well.
“Mama,” her little voice trembled. “Is this what happened to you?” She turned the book toward me, displaying a father sitting with his toddler son on the sofa while the mother sat, face in hands, on a bed in the background.
Barely able to read, she figured it out. She knew intuitively what the image meant.
“Yes,” I said softly. “Do you want me to read it to you?”
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So we did. On a blizzarding Sunday she sat on my lap, turning the pages of the book, turning pages on our life, reminded that even when we can’t see God’s goodness… it is still there.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, and His mercies never come to an end.” My voice cracked; she bent her head in my arms. 
“It’s ok to cry,” I whispered. 
“I miss my baby sister or brother.” She whispered back. My tears dropped silently as her little back shook, until she got up, wiping her face fiercely with her forearms like little children do. She disappeared back into the office to be alone, re-emerging later with a crumpled piece of printer paper in her hand.
She left this note 👆🏼 on the ottoman.
 “Sorry that you lost your baby. I cried too.”
We wondered if it would be too much for them, too early to tell; but telling the story has instead been an opportunity to show our children faith is both the substance of things hoped for and the strength to see beyond hope deferred. “Hope deferred is still hope.” Marilynn Robinson writes, and such a hope is not in a thing but in a Person. Which is why, even when dreams don’t come true, I can still say God is good. My hope was never in a pregnancy. It was, and is, in Christ.
I have not spiritually bypassed my own grief. I do not pretend all is well when it is not. Sometimes I am sad. Sometimes I am happy. Sometimes I am both. In all of it, I have a kind God; a God who is the Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief. He did not take my baby. This broken, fallen, world did. And He offers all of Himself to me in that brokenness, a grace I hold in my hands and pour into the hearts of my living children.
To all acquainted with this grief: I am sorry that you lost your baby. I cried too.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
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Lonely in a crowded room
unseen, unknown, unwanted,
into this emptiness He enters
and speaks His seeing,
enough to fill the cup to overflow.
No human hand can remedy the lack
but it is His honor, the essence of His heart.
How many times will we offer 
empty cups
to empty people
while He stands with a pitcher in His hand?

Spring Launch Faves (Thursday!!)

The spring launch is THURSDAY and there are so many delightful items in this collection! I cannot wait to see what you enjoy. Here are a few things I'm excited for:
  • The new Quick Theology series: We have four new women's topics coming this time! I love the design for these new covers and the topics we're covering are relevant to every woman's walk: Singleness, Motherhood Culture, Reframing Pregnancy, and Women's Work. 
  • A new Verity Home candle: We burn candles year round for a cozy, homey vibe. These woodwick candles are the ones I use at home!
  • Where is Jesus Redesign: BACK in stock with all new illustrations! This book takes your kids through the major covenants of Scripture.
  • Brass Bangle: Our jewelry this time is this ethically made bangle that is the perfect spice for any outfit.
Set your alarm for 10 AM ET THURSDAY February 22nd!
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At Home with Phylicia

Last week someone asked a question about disciplining (and therefore, discipling!) two year olds. I'm no expert, but I have had a two year old three times - both genders - and I have learned a few things that helped me along the way. 
  • First, to have teachable kids you must be a teachable parent. That means if you are constantly judging other people's parenting styles, rigid in your approach to parenting (whether authoritarian or gentle, rigid frameworks often point to pride). It is hard to receive advice from older, experienced parents if you have a mile-long checklist of qualifications they must meet. Be teachable and willing to sift advice with a humble heart.
  • Second, keep instructions short and to the point. Say what you mean and mean what you say. You don't have to be harsh to be clear and direct! Don't overwhelm a toddler brain by constantly repeating the same phrase, counting to three ten times, or giving endless options. Here are some examples:
    • “You may have this banana, or you may have no banana. Which would you like?”
    • “I see you're upset. Would you like a hug?”
    • “Because you hit Katie with the truck, the truck is going away for a while. You can have it back when you are ready to be kind."
    • “Ivan, come here please. 1-2-3. Okay, since you didn't come, you have to sit with me for five minutes."
  • Third, always have time for a tantrum. Tantrums are where discipleship happens. This is where the training begins in honor, self control, kindness, and love. We get to teach our kids how to bring their emotions to God, honor others with their behavior, and look to us when they need help. In other words: look at tantrums as an opportunity, not a roadblock. If they make you late - oh well! You're parenting, and that's pretty important.
  • Fourth, disciple consistently in the calm times. When they are not dysregulated, make a daily habit of teaching them what TO DO, not just what NOT to do. Talk about the attributes of God and how He comforts us. Teach them what restraint, kindness, love, and affection look like. Lay down the rails of truth so, when a tantrum does come, they have familiarity with the alternative. Get ready to do this for the long haul - but if you do, I promise… it really does pay off.
for the awakening,