Helping Our Kids With School Jitters & Anxiety / Leading Our Kids by Example

Those first day school jitters can be tough. And for so many of our kids, those “jitters” come throughout the school year.

In first grade, my daughter went through a time where she didn’t want to go to school for days. Every night at bedtime, she cried and complained of stomach aches. We brought her to the doctor for an x-ray since it had happened so many times and she seemed to be in a lot of pain, but everything checked out perfectly.

We finally realized our daughter was experiencing anxiety. We prayed together and I affirmed her. And, then someone mentioned a practical way to me to help her get through it.

I took my daughter to the store and let her pick out a special stuffed animal. I told her that it would help her get through the anxiety. She walked straight to the grey bunny on the shelf and said, “That’s the one.”

She named her “Peace”.

That night was the first night in a long time my daughter slept in peace. We continued praying for our daughter and reading Scripture with her. And, each night, she held Peace tight.

Anxiety disappeared for about eight months. Then, the stomach aches and tears returned. She didn’t want to go to school again. I held her close and comforted her.

That morning, we packed Peace in her backpack. At school drop-off, she clung to me with tears covering her cheeks. I wanted to take her with me to protect her from those painful feelings.

But I knew my daughter needed to see for herself that she could indeed get through the day and that she would be just fine. Seeing this would help her overcome the anxiety. I told her that the Lord would keep her strong and that Peace would be with her.

My daughter ended up having a great day and was stronger because she learned that she could do it. She later said, “Mommy, my tummy aches are gone!”

Some anxiety does indeed require more serious interventions. But, in my daughter’s situation, encouragement, prayer, and a simple stuffed animal named Peace was just what she needed.

Lord, we pray that you would be with our children as they walk into their schools. Fill them with your peace, your confidence, your presence. Protect them by the power of your name. I pray for their teachers – that you would guide them and give them strength. I pray our kids would be drawn to great friends and that they would be lights for you. I pray that you would replace any anxiety with your peace and that they would get their confidence from you. In Jesus’ name, amen. ❤️

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jesus (John 14:27)



Just as Jesus took the time and heart to SHOW us how to love and serve, we get to do the same with our kids.

When John 13 takes place, Jesus knows he is about to endure the cross. In the midst of all the emotions he must have felt, “having LOVED his own who were in the world,” he bent low and washed his disciples’ feet. His disciples didn’t understand why Jesus would take that place of humility and do that.

Jesus told them, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you…As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:15, 34

What Matters Most in Raising Our Children & A Fun Idea for Those With Multiples

My article just published by ForEveryMom: “What Matters Most in Raising our Children”:

Parenthood can be confusing. There are so many decisions that we are often left wondering, Did we make the right choice?

Which sleep and feeding schedule should we follow for our babies?

How should we discipline?

Should we homeschool our children or send them to public or private school?

And the decisions go on and on. As parents, it’s easy to feel that our children’s entire future depends solely on us making the right decision in any and every situation.

The good news, parents, is that we can breathe – everything about our kids’ future does not hinge on every. single. decision we make.

But the thing that matters most in raising our children is love…

Do we show our kids love through giving boundaries and consequences when they’re needed and follow through?

Do we tell our children to help with chores, not only because they’re required to or for allowance, but also because it’s a way to love us and the Lord?

When correcting our kids, do we let them know that we’re working on the same things and are in this together, so they don’t feel like we’re constantly pointing our fingers at them?

Do we show our kids the love of Jesus by asking for forgiveness when we’ve treated them wrongly?

Do we remember to laugh in the everyday things with our kids, so joy and love can supersede tiredness and frustration?

Do we teach them to care more about what the Lord thinks than others’ opinions?

Do we show our kids love by saying no to them at times, so they understand that the world doesn’t revolve solely around them?

Do we encourage them to be compassionate and reach out to the lonely, not because they have to, but out of love for the Lord and others?

Do we teach our kids to tell the truth not only because lying breeds consequences, but also because it hurts peoples’ hearts and the Lord?

Do we teach our children the beauty of grace so that when they make wrong choices, they know they have the chance to ask for forgiveness and make a better choice next time?

Do they know that when we fall short, we don’t need to run, but we can keep seeking him, because he fully loves us as we areand where we are?

Do we show our kids what it looks like to seek him? To read his Word? To pray? To love others? By our example?

Do we bring Jesus into ordinary moments by sharing affirmations like this from time to time…

Thank you for loving your sister and the Lord well by putting away her laundry. 

Thank you for washing my plate without me asking – wow, you loved me so well by doing that.

When you reacted calmly to your brother’s hurtful words, you really loved him and the Lord well.

When you said thank you to the cashier, you sure showed her respect and that she matters.

I love how you asked for forgiveness after that bad moment. That is exactly how Jesus gives us hope – he turns ugly moments into beautiful ones.

If our children’s actions are driven by obligation or force, they will soon tire. But, if their choices are motivated by love for the Lord and others, they are more likely to continue.

As John Townsend, Christian counselor and author said: “The more you try to force your child to do or not to do something, the less effective you will likely be. Remember you are helping your child establish self-control from the inside, not parent-control from the outside.”

When we guide our kids in doing things out of love and not force, they will experience more freedom and joy in following God’s commandments to love the Lord and love others.

We get to be the ones by our children’s side, walking them through life, guiding them in how to love the Lord and others in everyday moments. And it is joy to my soul.

As we raise our children, instead of getting absorbed in making the “right” decisions, let’s rise to the greater call of teaching our children what it looks like to be motivated by love, to follow Jesus, and to seek the Lord first and always.

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This article was previously published by ForEveryMom: What Matters Most in Raising our Children.


For those of you with multiples who came home from the hospital on different days, this is a really fun way to celebrate each of them individually.

We call it their “Homecoming Day” (my husband’s idea). They were all born on April 1st, but Gracie came home from the NICU after 2.5 months, Brooklyn 4 months, and Bates 5 months.

It’s become a sweet, sweet time where we go all out celebrating each of them as though it’s their b’day, but just with our family. We decorate the house with streamers and balloons, and they get to pick out the food we eat throughout the day, their cake (such as Brooklyn’s donut cake!), and they also get one gift.

After such a long stretch and difficult time in the NICU, the days they came home from the NICU were ones of pure joy, and it is so much fun getting to celebrate them each year.

Those of you with multiples know that sharing their birthdays with siblings can be a bit tough, so having their own day to be celebrated is just another sweet reminder that they are indeed special.

“Children are a gift from the Lord;
they are a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3

Hope in Jesus & Facing Peer Pressure

With all the tragedies we’ve heard about in the news lately, and ones we haven’t heard about, these words spoken by Jesus offer us hope here and now and beyond this place.

When our children face tough times, let’s remind them of these powerful words in John 16.

And, to all those walking through a difficult time right now, we are lifting you up. ❤️

“And surely I am with you always.” Jesus (MT 28:28)



Facing Peer Pressure

Jesus’ response to the Pharisees challenging him is so powerful. It’s a great example for our kids on how to face peer pressure. In Jesus’ words:

“I know where I came from and where I am going.”
“I am not alone.”
“I stand with my Father.”
“The one who sent me is with me.”


Two Words Your Kids Need to Know & When You Rise at 3am, the Lord Sees…



My recent article published by For Every Mom:

The Two Words Your Kids Need to Know

“The reality quickly surfaced that we can’t protect our kids from every bad conversation and influence. Instead, we need to equip them.”



While watching the new Lion King, our daughter nestled between us, grabbing daddy’s hand and mine. As we sat there watching the movie, our eight year old, holding our hands tight, I had a moment.

I thought, what a gift that this daughter of mine trusts me, wants to be close, looks to  her daddy and me.

We get to be her comforter, protector, and refuge. Out of all the people in the world, she looks to us.

This morning I thought about how the Lord must love when we also look to him as our comforter, protector, and refuge.

How he must find joy in seeing us depend on him, trust him, grab his hand, and follow him. He loves you. You are His. Look to Him.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1


Sibling Arguments & a Gratitude Journal


Sibling arguments are inevitable. But, if there’s a way to limit them, I sure want to.

Yes, my kids still argue, but this verse has been a wonderful motivator to not repay insult with insult, but with blessing.

When one of my kids chooses the latter, I celebrate it big time.

When our kiddos have these words in their minds and hearts, they are more likely to pause before paying back and to repay with blessing instead.

I love how the end of the verse explains why: “because to this you were called.”

I share with them that as followers of Jesus he has called us to love one another deeply. With a love that doesn’t always make sense. When we repay evil for evil, it stirs up anger and hatred, but when we repay with blessing, it stirs up love, goodness, peace.

When we walk in love like Jesus tells us to, we experience more of his kingdom, his power, him. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus (John 8:12)

Lord, help our kids and us to love one another like this. When we want to repay with anger, harsh words, and frustration, Jesus, help us to be a light for you and react with peace, kindness, and love. Thank you for filling our minds and hearts today. In Jesus’ name, amen.


After a recent move, I’ve found myself wading in ungratefulness at different times. But yesterday morning, I read this verse: “He who sacrifices thank offerings, honors me.” Psalm 50:23

So, each morning, my kids and I have written one or more things we’re thankful for in our “Gratitude Journal”.

When we place our minds and hearts on the Lord and gratefulness, it overpowers the darkness and honors the Lord.

Want to join us in doing a “Gratitude Journal” with your kiddos or just yourself? It doesn’t have to be drawn out – keep it simple and just jot down one or more things you’re grateful for.

Let’s start the mornings by refreshing our minds, hearts, and souls with giving thanks to the Lord. 😊

God’s Love Scar


When our daughter was three pounds, she contracted a life-threatening intestinal infection. After the first surgery, she became sicker, and the surgeon told us her only chance to survive was attempting a second surgery.

Miraculously, she turned a corner and is thriving today {find the full story here:}.

After four months in the NICU, we were over the moon when it was time to bring our daughter home. But then the surgeon leaned over and said, “There is one thing I need to tell you.”

My heart about beat out of my chest. I wondered what was wrong. What would she tell me?

The surgeon said that because of having several surgeries in the same place she would have a really big scar and she was sorry.

I was relieved. “You saved my daughter’s life”, I said. “I will be grateful to you forever. And, I love that scar. The Lord used it to save her.”

From that moment on, we called it, “God’s Love Scar.”

I didn’t want my daughter to ever look at it in embarrassment, but in joy over what the Lord did for her. Her Love Scar tells a story of God’s Love.

Just yesterday, I looked into Brooklyn’s eight-year-old eyes and told her again that I love her scar – that it’s beautiful and that it’s a story of God’s love.

Instead of being embarrassed by it, she wore a look of confidence and smiled.

What is your love scar? Seen or unseen?

What is it that might look ugly from the outside, but is a beautiful story of God’s redemption, God’s hope, God’s love?

Maybe you too should start calling it, “God’s Love Scar.”

Because God is in the business of redeeming and restoring.

Jesus’ scars tell a story of the One who doesn’t stop at brokenness.

He embraces it and wears it. In his hands. In his feet. In his heart.

He took it all. All for you. All for me. Because of His great love. For us.

Through Jesus’ beautiful scars and rising high, he has restored, redeemed, and made all things new.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

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Our kids won’t always…


One of my daughters is my snuggler. She always wants me to tuck her in. Always.
Until this morning.
When she woke up at the crack of dawn, I told her I’d tuck her back in, but she said those words. Those words I didn’t think would bother me.
“Mommy, I’m fine. I don’t need you to.”
My heart dropped and it hit me that my daughter’s growing up, becoming independent.
It’s a wonderful thing, but it also tugs at my heart.
While so many nights I can be frustrated walking upstairs “extra” times to tuck my daughter in, I find myself hoping she’ll ask. That she won’t tell me she doesn’t need me.
Just a little bit longer.
I won’t pressure her or make her feel guilty if she doesn’t. I’ll give her space when she’s ready. And I know it’s a healthy, good thing.
But I sure hope it’s not for a little longer.
Later this morning when my daughter asked “Mommy, will you play Legos with me?”, I jumped at the chance.
When my daughter gets older, she’ll need me in other ways. But now, while she’s still younger and calling out for me, I want to be there. With her.
I get to be there with her. In the small and big moments.
And it is joy to my soul.
“Teach us to number our days that we might gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12