So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I walked by Pier One the other day and I grieved a little. I saw a couple trying out wicker furniture and poking around at the glassware and looking all carefree. I know I shouldn’t have, but I found their joy so irritating. Having four kids under the age of 7 has meant a Pier One dream has taken a backseat to my Fischer Price reality.

We are definitely in that stage of life where my husband says on a near daily basis, “This is why we can’t have nice things.” Like when the boys decided they’d make a game of cleaning, but instead ended up putting several dents in their freshly drywalled walls by launching their toys (unsuccessfully) at the toy box. Or when a child decided to do some artwork on the ceiling of the van. Or when a child ripped holes in his pillowcase by attempting to use it as a sleeping bag. Come to think of it, it’s not just that we can’t have nice things, we can barely have things at all.

So in this season of life where in the time it took me to make pancakes one night the boys managed to unroll an entire roll of toilet paper around the bathroom floor, it just doesn’t seem to be possible to keep a tidy house. In some ways this makes me feel like a failure on a daily basis. As the homemaker of our family, isn’t it my job to make this house presentable? This constant struggle has made me ask a simple question:

What would Jesus dust?

All Photos by Rebecca Tredway Photography
All Photos by Rebecca Tredway Photography

It’s a question that’s been haunting me for awhile as I struggle to make choices that honor God in the daily messiness that is motherhood. If cleanliness is next to godliness, then I’m in real trouble. But then I remember that that little nugget of wisdom isn’t actually in the Bible.

I remember when I was a freshmen in college and attending my first college graduation ceremony. Looking through the program I saw that different GPAs were awarded with different designations. You could graduate cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude depending on your grades. I have always been a goal oriented woman and I knew I could make it my goal to graduate with highest honor, but I also knew achieving that goal would come at a price. Could I graduate with highest honor and also with quality relationships? Having worked a job to pay for my tuition? With volunteer hours as a Sunday School teacher for a little girl with Down Syndrome? Investing a year as a Resident Assistant? While planning a wedding and preparing for marriage? I’m sure there are others who could, but I couldn’t. I knew pursuing the goal of a perfect GPA wouldn’t be God honoring for me because it would mean sacrificing some more important things.

I see that same logic playing out in my daily goals at home. I could have a perfectly clean house. But it would mean I become a slave to my home. No more bedtime stories. No more home cooked meals. No more legos or play doh, or puzzles, or Littlest Pet Shop. I want my kids to enjoy their home. I want to enjoy it too and sometimes that means relaxing about the fort that’s being built in the living room by a preschool engineer. The dinosaur battle happening under the kitchen table is a lot more fun to watch when I’m not fixated on getting that ankylosaurus back into his wicker basket home.

1383623_10152001275927784_142433557_nBut that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on some kind of cleanliness standard for my home. I am learning that letting the messes pile up around me keeps me from being able to serve God in ways that are important to me. If a friend drops by and there’s a mountain of unfolded laundry on the couch, I am not likely to let her in. It’s hard to focus on reading my Bible when I’m staring at the dust bunnies under the bookshelf. If I need to make a meal for someone, it helps if the dishes are washed and the pantry is organized. If we get the call tomorrow that a foster child needs a place to stay, I need to have space to set up the pack n’ play and be able to grab appropriately sized clothes out of storage. And let’s face it:  Kids play more peacefully and I can be more calm and creative in an organized space.

. . . Find the conclusion of this article at A Musing Maralee. . . 

Maralee Bradley

Maralee is a mom of six pretty incredible kids. Four were adopted (one internationally, three through foster care) and two were biological surprises. Prior to becoming parents, Maralee and her husband were houseparents at a children’s home and had the privilege of helping to raise 17 boys during their five year tenure. Maralee is passionate about caring for kids, foster parenting and adoption, making her family a fairly decent dinner every night, staying on top of the laundry, watching ridiculous documentaries and doing it all for God’s glory. Maralee can be heard on My Bridge Radio talking about motherhood and what won't fit in a 90 second radio segment ends up at

Fall into the Arms of Jesus, Little One

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Child walking

I have three younger brothers, so I know how crazy and wild boys can be. Lots of falls, cuts, scrapes, bruises, broken bones, and even a couple of head stitches. My husband has two younger brothers. He’d always tell how they used to jump from the banister down two floors onto the glass coffee table. Why anyone would do that, I have no idea. Pure madness and chaos.  Right now, I have a little baby boy who’s only seven months, but I know he will probably be just as wild as his uncles and dad. But that doesn’t mean I’m...

Keep Reading

10 Tips to Banish Teenage FOMO

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen with red hair smiling

Do you ever feel like the whole world is having a party—and you weren’t invited Maybe you worry about being included in the right groups or invited to the right sleepovers. Maybe you envy the relationships you see at school or youth group or feel jealous of the perfect social media posts showing others making memories together. If you’re a teen in 2022, you’re probably well acquainted with the fear of missing out. Knowing or wondering what you’re missing or who is getting together without you can leave you feeling lonely. It can leave you lonely and a little blue....

Keep Reading

I’m So Thankful For This Little Family

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Toddler boy and infant girl, color photo

I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, and praying for a life like I have now. Praying for a man to love me, to be loyal to me, to want a family with me, to provide for me, to show me what stability felt like and what it felt like to not ever have to worry . . . and here he is right in front of me. I remember my teenage self dreaming, hoping, praying for a house I could make a home and raise my family in. Here it is right in front of me. But most of...

Keep Reading

How I Like My Coffee

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and daughter drink coffee

I like my coffee with hazelnut creamer and a dash of almond milk. I like my coffee cold and neglected on the countertop because I’m busy soothing my new baby boy, the one who has made me a mother. In my long robe and slippers, I pace the kitchen floor and hold my swaddled son close to my heart. When his fussing grows quiet, I can hear the ticking of the big clock in the den. The dawn slowly reveals itself, brightening the kitchen in increments. It’s hard to imagine keeping my eyes open until he’s ready to nap again....

Keep Reading

Compassion Holds My Heart

In: Faith, Living, Motherhood
Child hugging mother

I lean my head in through the window of his van. The first thing I notice is the funny smell. Like cigarettes. And maybe body odor. The second? His tired, wrinkle-lined eyes. They’re dull, lethargic even. My daughter scrunches up her nose. I give her that look and try to hide my own misgivings. But Compassion climbs in the car with me.  And as the taxi driver guides the car toward our destination, I ask him about his story. Turns out he’s been driving all night. Till 5:30 this morning. Taking people home who were too drunk to drive themselves....

Keep Reading

I Was the Girl Who Ran Away From God

In: Faith
Woman standing in grass, black-and-white photo

I was the girl. I was the girl who’d do anything to get high as a teenager. I was the girl who craved love and just wanted to be wanted. I was the girl who wasn’t afraid of anything. I was the girl who stopped believing there was a God. I was the girl who said I would never go back to church. I was the girl who was certain none of it was real anyway because I was wasting my time going places like that. I was the girl who let the heartache and disappointment of this old world...

Keep Reading

I Prayed for You Before I Knew You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding baby, color photo

Baby, I have prayed for you—even before I knew who you would be.  I prayed I would be a mom one day when I was too little to know what I was praying for and again when I really thought my body would not be able to carry a baby. I prayed for you.  I prayed every day as you grew in my belly that you would be healthy, happy, and strong.  I prayed at every doctor’s appointment and scan that I would hear your heartbeat loud and strong.  I prayed for your arrival—for you to be safe and for...

Keep Reading

Dear Mom, I Miss You

In: Faith, Grief
Grown woman and her mother, color photo

Dear Mom, Yesterday I went over to your house. I was hoping you would open the door, but Daddy greeted me with his sweet smile. Yes, he still has a mustache. The one you hate, but I did manage to trim it up for him. I cut his hair too.   We talked about you over coffee and waited for you to join us, but you never did. He’s doing his best to do this life without you in it, but his eyes are clouded with memories and mixed with pain. He misses you, Momma. RELATED: I Didn’t Just Lose...

Keep Reading

Spaghetti Sauce Faith

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Mother and little girl holding a bowl of spaghetti, color photo

It was Sunday afternoon, and I was loading my grocery cart higher than I ever had in my life. My husband and I, along with our two kids under two years old, had been living with his parents for three months. We moved from our Florida home to look for a house in Georgia, and they graciously took us in. This was the day I loaded up on groceries—filling an empty refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. My shopping list was all the things. I needed to buy the smallest of table ingredients like salt and garlic powder to the big things...

Keep Reading

Dear Introverted Mom, Take that Break

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman outside with book and food

I am alone, in a hotel room, 20 minutes from home, lying back in the crisp bed, feet propped up on billowing white pillows. A good book is in my hand. The large window beside me overlooks the Mississippi River as the sun slowly sets and people unwind for a southern Louisiana evening in downtown Baton Rouge. I’ll probably order room service for dinner. I spent the afternoon at the coffee shop across the street, sipping on a deliciously caffeinated beverage carefully made to my liking. I ate a delicate snack filled with fruits, fancy lettuce, and expensive cheese while...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!


Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime