Returning to work + Fighting to believe the truth about it

Encouragement for returning to work after maternity leave

Today marks the end of my maternity leave… Or, rather, the start of my return to work. I’m a ball of mixed emotions as I drive to the office today.

A huge part of me mourns the hours of my week that will no longer be devoted solely to meeting the physical and emotional needs of my daughter. I’ve spent the past 8 weeks learning how to care for her, anticipating what her needs may be and constantly shifting my priorities from my needs to hers. Very little during that time required me to shift my thoughts from her to something else. Those eight weeks passed in what now feels like the blink of an eye, although I know some of those nights felt like an eternity in themselves.

Related Post: Adeline’s birth story

But a small part of me fights to speak truth into my sad heart this morning. That small part reminds me that I’m acting out of obedience to God by returning to this job. I know this responsibility is a calling he has placed on my life – a calling he has given me in addition to motherhood and being a wife that I want to walk in because above all else, first I am his daughter.

My job is completely a gift from God; it’s one of the several loud, tangible examples I’ve seen of his grace in my life over the past two years. In fact, about this time last year I realized this job was the dream job I didn’t know my heart desired!

But I now know motherhood is another job I didn’t realize my heart desired… I had no idea how much I’d want this and never want to turn back.

So as I drive to work today, I’m reminding myself of these truths, because despite the changes this new season of working and motherhood will bring, I know I’m walking in God’s desires for me and my family.

When I go to work, I get to spend part of my week exploring how we can help people encounter God each week through the arts. I get to brainstorm and bring to fruition these ideas with people who are passionate about making the gospel known to our community.

When I go to work, I’m surrounded by people who inspire me to grow and be better. They inspire me to renounce selfishness and remind me this life is about more than just myself and my wants.

When I go to work, I get to lead my community in meeting God through song. What a joy and what a responsibility! I don’t take Sunday mornings lightly. What a privilege to gather freely as a community to preach truth to ourselves, to each other and to unbelievers who visit with us through the words we sing in those songs. I am incredibly grateful that God has entrusted me with the responsibility to lead part of his people in this act of obedient worship each week.

When I go to work, I get to use my gifts as a musician and grow in them! I get to collaborate with other musicians and be inspired by their discipline and talent. I’m driven to further develop my gifts and that brings me incredible joy.

When I go to work, I get to help provide for my family. I’m not leaving Adeline for my own selfish gain (not that “me time” isn’t a healthy thing for moms to have each week!) – I’m leaving her so that I can help keep a roof over her head, clothes on her body and food on the table! I am glad I get to help demonstrate for her the discipline and value of work.

When I go to work, I am walking faithfully in one of the many callings of my life. I’m renouncing Satan’s whispers that I’m neglecting my daughter or that I’m not qualified or that I’m not creative or talented enough for this job. And boy does he try to lure me away with those lies! Motherhood is another string for him to twist in my heart. No – when I go to work, I am honoring my commitment as a follower of Christ, as a wife to Jacob, as a mother to Adeline and as a woman who values growth, hard work and chasing a dream and life she loves.

So when I need to remember why I’m going to work, I’m going to re-read this post and ask God to use me, to make those hours count for his Kingdom and to help me remember the freedom I have to do so joyfully.

Ladies, no matter what your season of life looks like – whether you stay at home or go to work or do a mixture of both, live this season faithfully! If you are struggling with where you’re at, I encourage to to sit with the Lord and ask him to show you why you’re there. And then write it down! When Satan tempts you to sink into the lies that where you are isn’t enough, read that list to remember God’s truth. And then walk in it confidently! All of the seasons of our lives and motherhood look different, so don’t worry yourselves by comparing yours to the people around you… You matter right where you’re at, right now. As I press “publish” today and drive into work, I’m praying for each one of you reading this, that you’ll believe the truths God has for you in this season instead of Satan’s temptings to despair.

Mama, you matter right where you're at, right now. Whether that's at work or at home. Click To Tweet

Thanks for your encouragement as a new mom these last 8 weeks! I hope we can continue sharing so much more encouragement with each other!

What’s an area of your life that you are struggling to believe is purposeful or valuable?  Claim that truth today and ask God to help you believe it!

25.

Another year full of firsts and lasts. Today is my 25th birthday! My quarter of a century, I’m-officially-halfway-through-my-twenties birthday. And so much has happened.

This past year I changed jobs, leaving my first out of college “real” office job to come on staff at our church as a Worship Arts Pastor at our new campus. I was (and still am) blown away by the ways God ordained every small step in that process – I love getting to use so many of my gifts in my profession. And what a privilege it has been to stand up with my peers and lead us all in proclaiming the truth of Scripture, confessing our need for God, and showing up week after week to worship through corporate services. I am wowed by all God has done in my own heart through this job.

I got my very own guitar for my birthday last year – an incredible gift from Jacob and my parents that showed their investment in that season of my life and their belief in my success. I didn’t think it was possible, but my love for music has absolutely skyrocketed because of that guitar. I wrote my own songs this past year and mustered the courage to share them with friends and our congregation. Again, a “secret dream” I had been harboring for a long time, really even unknowingly to myself.

We found out we are expecting our first child in August last year. A shocking and, again, incredibly forming experience for us. I don’t even recognize parts of myself because of how much God has changed me over these 7 months of being pregnant so far. I loved being pregnant during Advent and anticipating the coming of the baby Jesus while also waiting expectantly for our own child to make her appearance this year. It has always sounded so cliche to me, but I can only imagine how much God will change me through motherhood. I haven’t even met our daughter yet and he has already done so much work in me because of her.

We received life-changing, world-turning news that threatened to leave us bitter and without hope. But again, God works patiently in our hearts and has done so much already. We still have some serious work to do in our hearts and in healing, but without the bitter, life couldn’t be nearly as sweet. For everything there is a season, after all.

This past year I read a ton of books, invested in deeper friendships, failed miserably with other friendships, laughed, cried, sang like nobody’s business, cooked and meal planned better than the year before and became (slightly) less OCD about having a clean house. God reignited my love for Scripture and grew me in the discipline of meeting with him. Jacob and I watched way too much Netflix, finally canceled the gym memberships we never used and got serious about saving money.

As I look to 25, I see motherhood, a strengthened marriage, further discovery of our giftings and how we can put them to work, new and old friendships blossoming, the humbling beginnings of parenthood and deeper relationships with Christ that infiltrate every thought we have, decision we make, and word we speak. God, I am looking to this year with expectant hope that you will be ever near to us and show us your glory, your plans, and your love. We are waiting with hope.

Who am I anymore?

God has been doing some serious work in my heart over the past 6 months.

I was sitting in bed last night reflecting back on all the huge changes that have taken place over these months, but really over this last year and a half of living in New England! He brought us out to this place we hadn’t ever been, Jacob began his first ministry job, then I began my first ministry job and quit my day job, and a few months later found out we were pregnant.

Growing up, I often wouldn’t try new things or play sports with friends because I was afraid I wouldn’t be good at them. I didn’t want to do anything I wasn’t good at because I felt like that changed my value as a person. (Yikes, I know.) Through college and post graduation, God has been working that need for others’ approval and need to be successful out of me. He’s been teaching me that first and foremost I am his beloved child and that is all the definition of myself I need to feel valued.

As an adult, though, I still fall in to similar traps. My job defines who I am – am I proud of it? My husband’s job defines who he is – is he appreciated? Are we doing work that matters? What I do in my free time defines who I am – musician, writer, reader. Having a baby changes who we are becoming – mother and father. I have let all of these things, which are very subject to change at all times, define who I am. And I think that’s why becoming a mother is so scary to me – it is changing the way I define myself. I will no longer be the young, married without kids worship pastor guitar lady who sings too much. I will be all of those things except also a mom who has a child to consider in how she spends her time.

As soon as I think I’ve got my feet underneath me and I’m ready to tackle what’s been thrown at us, God reminds me he’s in control and he’s the one who holds us up. No matter how many of our roles change throughout life, he remains the same and we can stand firm in being his children.

So I’m making a declaration here. God, we’re in this together and I’m looking to you to lead us to what matters most. I’m so glad we aren’t in this alone.

So. Many. Changes!!!!!!!!!

Man, oh man, it’s been a while!! I can’t believe it’s been five months since my last post – oh friends, so much life has happened! Allow me to fill in the gaps.In February, our church invited me to come on staff in an interim position as one of our worship pastors. It has been a crazy five months between doing that and my other job, but it has literally been a dream come true. I have been passionate about music for my entire life – and serving the church through music has been a priority for me since middle school. So the opportunity to come on staff and be one of the driving forces behind planning our services has been such a joy!

There have been many, many moments I have felt completely inadequate and overwhelmed by the job ahead of me, but again and again the Lord has affirmed me in this role and led the way. He reminded me that this is FOR him, that worship through the arts comes FROM him and he is WITH US in it! Those reminders lift all of the pressure and distractions that so often dirty the waters when we’re asked to step outside our comfort zones. Needless to say, this position has forced me to lean into Christ and also given me the gift of witnessing him meet us week in and week out. Have you ever had a moment where you just think to yourself, “Man! How full life is with God! My heart feels just brimming with thankfulness, hope, joy and LIFE because of him!!”?? That’s how I feel when I think about this being my job.

So here’s the big news – I am no longer the “interim” worship pastor – they have welcomed me onto the team for the long haul!!! If you had told me I’d be doing this job this time last year, I’m not sure I would have believed you. I wouldn’t have seen tangible steps to see how it could come to fruition. But now, seeing the way God orchestrated so many small conversations, families moving around, and bodies willing to trust God’s leadership just blows my mind. He is so good and his plans are infinitely better than ours.

The thought that week in and week out I get to consider how to usher people into the presence of God and teach people the truth of the gospel through the arts is incredible. I just think how is this even a job?! And how is it MY job?! I am overwhelmed with joy.

I work my last day at my previous job today. This afternoon I will pack up all of my work equipment and over the next couple weeks I’m going to get some rest. We will see some family, work on projects that have been put off far too long, and then dive into doing vocational ministry together. 


I am so ready for this ride. And, Lord, I am so grateful!! I may be around these parts a little more often during this next season… we will see 🙂

You are Loved. You are Enough. You are Worth Something.

Y’all, I’m not kidding. High school is a scary place. The more I get to know these teenagers and they open up, high school is a scary place to figure out who you are.

There are people coming at you from all different directions, assuming (usually incorrect) things about you, calling you names, making fun of the choices you make… I wouldn’t want to be there. Sometimes I feel totally unable to relate – I wasn’t bullied in school. I wasn’t Miss Popular, but I didn’t get made fun of for the choices I made. I was most certainly insecure, and anything someone did say about me stuck… I’m just thankful it wasn’t anything that wrecked me.

I’ve met teenagers who have felt wrecked by their peers. You may have felt that way, too. You might even feel that way now, even if it’s not coming specifically from your peers.

Friend, can I tell you that you are loved? You are so loved. You are loved so much that a man lived his life without sin just so he could take the punishment for our sin. For your sin! For my sin! That’s a pretty dramatic love. It’s literally a love that knew no bounds – he didn’t get halfway through it and think, “Nahh, this is worse than I thought. I’m out.”

There are no abandonment issues in Christ. There is no name-calling in Christ. There is no reason to feel less than loved and cherished in Christ because he so abundantly laid his life out for you in love.

From the depths of my heart, I am sorry for the hurting you’ve experienced in your life. It is painful to hear about it, and it wrecks my heart to realize that your reality has been hard. Friend, I am so sorry. But if the rest of your world is telling you that you aren’t enough, or you aren’t worthy of love, will you please hear this? You are. You are. You are.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into he world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)


Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, no things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 37-39)

Hold strongly to those truths today. You are loved.

On ministry, having kids & the gift of free time

I can’t lie, I went to bed Saturday night dreading my alarm clock in the morning.

I had a day packed full of great things, but also seemingly endless responsibilities – up at 6:30am to get to church by 7:30 for set up/band practice. Leave band practice early by 8:50am to pick up two students for service, sing for two services, tear down and leave at 12:30pm to take students home. Then, thankfully, I got to grab a quick nap to get up again by 2:30pm to grab lunch for Jacob and head back to church by 3:30pm for youth group band practice/set up, then work middle school and high school events until 8pm. Finally, tear down until finished and drop off a few students on my way home. That weight only feels heavy knowing I have to return to my actual job on Monday morning.

But as I sat listening to Jacob give his message to the middle school students, I thought, there’s no place I’d rather be this afternoon. Sometimes the thought of upcoming responsibilities weighs me down, but when I think about it… how else would I want to spend my Sundays? Lying around watching TV all day? Not really.

Our lives are busy, as I’m sure yours are, too. But I’m thankful for what makes me “busy” – great conversations (hard ones!) with students, getting to know the nitty-gritty of their lives, and helping them chase their dreams and overcome things like stage fright and searching for love in shallow places. I’m thankful for early morning breakfasts with great friends, long runs that show me I really can do just about anything I put my mind to and coming home after a crazy day yesterday to a, “Thanks so much for all you do” from my husband.

I’m also thankful for the stage of life we are in right now – young and married without kids. There’s no way I could be so involved in youth and worship ministry if we had little ones running around. While the time for that will come one day, I’m so truthfully content where we are now. To be honest, I feel like we have 80 kids – all the ones we see Sunday and throughout the week at small group and during one-on-one hang outs. My heart literally breaks for these students and aches to do anything for them. So right now, I’m content with our 80 non-biological children, and all the time I have to invest in them. Man, God is so good, and I’m abundantly grateful for these sweet moments to remember that truth so clearly.

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