So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

As I sat with my friend one evening for coffee, I could tell his heart was heavy. He looked about 10 years older and as if he hadn’t slept in weeks. We talked for a while and I could tell he was trying to divert any sense of struggle in his life to shallow subjects like sports and politics. It was a strange feeling because I could tell he was just about ready to burst and yet so eager to put on a front of confidence and it’s all good.

So, after a few minutes of awkwardness, I started to put the pressure on and it didn’t take long for the anger and bitterness to start flowing. “It is supposed to be a place of safety! They’re supposed to be good people! Church is not supposed to be this hard!”

And there we had it, all out in the open.

He told me how much the church had hurt him. How he wasn’t even sure God existed anymore. How people in the church can be so hypocritical.

It wasn’t the first time I’d had this type of conversation. Many have been hurt by the church in ways I can’t even imagine and this is a very serious issue. There is nothing light or insignificant in all of these stories, but let me try to shed some light on how these scenarios usually play out. There are three camps people usually fall into when the church has hurt them. (I’m sure there are many different camps in between these three, but follow along with me as I describe the ones I have seen.)

The first goes like this:

They get hurt, they get angry, they say things that are hurtful, they get bitter, they isolate themselves, they don’t think all of this pain is worth it, they turn their bitterness towards God, they doubt God, doubt turns to unbelief, unbelief turns into a false sense of liberation from a God that allows evil in the world, purpose is questioned, more hurt happens, idols let them down, identity is lost, isolation feels like the only way to keep from getting hurt, depression sets in, low self-esteem follows, and life seems meaningless.

The second goes like this:

They get hurt, they get angry, they say things that are hurtful, they get bitter, they isolate themselves, they don’t think all of this pain is worth it, they stop going to church, they run away every time they see anyone from church, they constantly say I love Jesus but hate the church, they get lonely, they wonder why no one is reaching out, their sense of victimhood has turned into their identity, they don’t grow in God, their worth is found in things that always let them down, more hurt happens, depression sets in, they cry out to God and never feel His presence like they used to.

The third goes like this:

They get hurt, they get angry, they say things that are hurtful, the guilt is heavy from their reaction, they draw near to God instead of withdraw, they call their fellow brothers and sisters to talk, they confess their sin of the things they said in retaliation, they pray for boldness, they rely on the promise that all things happen for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose, they pray more, they cry on the shoulders of brothers and sisters, they pray for healing, they pray for their enemy, they confront their enemy, their enemy slowly becomes an image bearer in their eyes, they forgive, Joy follows, peace is felt which transcends all understanding, they look back and see how this experience brought them deeper into the Love of Jesus and his bride, the church.

As you can see, these three scenarios all have a few things in common and a few things that separate them. There is hurt, anger, and retaliation in each case, but bitterness and isolation set them apart. When we let bitterness set in, the enemy deceives us into thinking that isolation is the easiest and best way to deal with our hurt.

When the enemy wants us to give in to his will, he usually tells half-truths to hide a whole lie.

It is definitely the easiest thing to isolate yourself, but completely wrong if we desire healing. When bitterness is present with isolation, the battle has been won by our enemy because he knows that he will not stand against the church if the church continues to be united in prayer and worship.

So how do we fight the hurt that comes from the church? We use the church!

We have to realize that when we say the church has hurt us, what we are really saying is that someone in the church has hurt us. Giving up on the church because of someone else’s hurtful action is a double-edged sword because not only do you have to deal with the hurt, but your whole support system designed to deal with that hurt is abandoned. No wonder so many people are hurting!

When people in the church hurt you, fight the isolating bitterness of the enemy with the unified body of Christ, the church.

Dear Child, God Sees All of You—And So Do I

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mom and young son painting together

Math has always come easily to him. Even from the beginning stages when we counted wooden blocks on the living room floor, the numbers just came to him. “How many blocks are there?” I asked him, pointing to the scattered row of blocks. I expected him to count them. He was only three or four years old. “Six,” he answered promptly. “Yes . . . but how did you know that?” I asked hesitantly. He had not taken the time necessary to have counted them. “Three and three are six,” he replied. And on it went. The math came easily,...

Keep Reading

Jesus Meets Me in Motherhood With His No Matter What Love

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother embracing daughter in sunlit room

My toddler was that kid on the playground—the one who would push and bite, erupting into a tantrum and needing to be carried home screaming. As I would carry my child to the car, the other moms looked at me with sympathy, confusion, fear, and . . . judgment.  Parents of challenging kids know this look well. We see judgment everywhere we go. I knew others were judging me, and I knew our challenges were beyond the normal bell curve, but as an overwhelmed young mom, I did all I knew to do: I blamed myself.  At my lowest, I...

Keep Reading

Dear Girl, Give Jesus Your Mess

In: Faith, Living
Woman holding Bible, color photo

Oh, dear girl, Give Jesus the mess. Your mess. The mess you think is too much or too big or too unbearable. The depths of the mess. The very worst of the mess. Lay it at His feet. He knew you long before the mess existed. Nobody knows your mess like Jesus. I assure you—this will not catch Him by surprise. Even when you do not understand, even when it is most difficult, even when you have your head buried in your hands. Praise Him, for God wastes nothing.  Even when it feels like opposition is coming at you from...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love Is an Endless Pursuit

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child on bike, color photo

I look at him and my heart breaks into a million little pieces. It simply hurts too much to know he hurts. He is my heart, and it squeezes and revolts when he struggles. I want to close my eyes and hold him close, and when I resurface, I want the world to be different for him. Look different, smell different, taste different. But, it remains the same, this pain.   In the beginning, when he was in my womb, I held my hands on my stomach and his tiny feet kicked me back. His bodily imprint on my skin. He...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Brings Me to the Floor and Jesus Meets Me There

In: Faith, Motherhood

I recently came across a short memoir writing competition with the theme, “Places that have made me, changed me, or inspired me.” I could write something for that, I thought. I’m by no means a jet-setter, but I do have a passport. I spent my 16th birthday in Russia on a three-week mission trip. During college, I lived in Thessaloniki, Greece for a four-month study abroad program. After my British husband and I got married, we settled in the UK, where we’ve spent the last 10 years. And now, I’m back in my sunny Florida hometown. These experiences and places...

Keep Reading

I Will Be a Friend Who Prays

In: Faith, Friendship, Living

You mentioned it casually. They had found a lump in your breast again. You’ve been here before, and maybe that means you better know how to navigate it. Except how can we possibly know how to handle such things? What emotions lie hidden behind your words? You tossed out words like lumpectomy and biopsy as if you were sharing a grocery list. I don’t know you well yet, but as you spoke the words, I had a deep desire to let you know I’m sorry. Seated around the table that night, you asked us to pray for you. I committed...

Keep Reading

I Wish I Could Tell You There Will Be No More Mean Girls

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and two daughters, color photo

Tonight before bed while I was tucking you in, you seemed really down. You are normally bubbly, talkative, full of laughter and life, but tonight you seemed sullen and sad. I asked what was wrong, and at first, you didn’t want to tell me. But then you shared with me what was breaking your heart. You told me about a mean girl. You told me the hurtful things she said and the unkind way she acted and the sneaky way mean girls bully by making you feel left out and less than.  It made me sad and angry. I didn’t...

Keep Reading

In the Hardest Moments of Motherhood, I’m Reminded to Look Up

In: Faith, Motherhood

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon, and you know the scene—I step on a tiny Barbie shoe as I’m walking to the sink. I shove it to the side with my foot and release a heavy sigh. I momentarily think about picking it up, but my back is aching from bending down to gather up treasures all morning. I place my half-filled coffee cup into the microwave to re-heat it for a second time. I need just an ounce of energy to get through the afternoon. My daughter heaves another basket of toys up from the basement, step by step. I can...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God’s Glory Shines Brightest in the Hardest Parts of Life

In: Faith, Living
Woman's hand with chipped nail polish

Half of the fingernails on my hands still show remnants of nail polish. It looks pretty awful. People might notice it and think, Really? You can’t take just five minutes to wipe off the chunks of color that haven’t flaked off already?  And I could. It probably wouldn’t even take five minutes. It’s not that I don’t have the time or that I’m being lazy. I just don’t want to.  You see, my daughter painted my nails almost a month ago. She’s five—they were never pretty to start with. They were sloppy with small strips at the edges left unpainted....

Keep Reading

God Tasked Us With Raising Beautiful People in a Fallen World

In: Faith, Motherhood

Today, I watched my little boy put an oven mitt over his hand and mix up an imaginary meal. Like any mother would be, I was touched to see my son enjoying himself—playing fearlessly in the Children’s Museum and exploring with many fun and creative toys. He would open the wooden fridge and purposely put a spatula in a specific compartment. Though his reasoning was not known to me—or anyone else for that matter—you could tell he had a plan for that metal spatula, and it was to be in that freezer. RELATED: The Secret No One Told Me About...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids


Proven techniques to build REAL connections