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I am not helpful


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Well all I can say after spending the last 2 months in charge of getting social security numbers for our kids is it’s a good thing Josh Hughes was in charge of our adoption. Because if I had been in charge we never would have gotten to Uganda in the first place. I am an administrative disaster.

When Josh started working on our taxes 2 months ago (because he is NOT an administrative disaster and he starts working on taxes in January), he hit a standstill when he realized we don’t have SSNs for Eva and Titus and thus cannot claim them on our taxes.  Whoops! So he was like, “I guess I’ll just have to figure out how to get those,” and I, being such a helpful wife, was all, “No, you’ve got a ton on your plate right now. I can do it, honey!” Only I’m not helpful at all because I only just got the job done this morning. Only if everything goes perfectly and we get the cards when the very patient lady at the social security office said we will, will we be able to send our taxes in ON APRIL 15.

To Josh’s credit, he does not get at all irritated when I’m completely incompetent. I’m pretty sure when I told him I’d do it he already knew this is how it would go down. But he just gently asked me about it once a week and I’d go, “Oh right! Yes, I’m on it.” And then this past Sunday, he reminded me, still gently but perhaps a little more urgently, “Hey hon? You know it’s April this week right? We definitely need social security numbers for the kids.”

Now, lest you think I was just sitting on my butt doing nothing all this time, here is how it actually went down.

I filled out the applications for Social Security cards (so far so good) and began to go through our massive pile of adoption paperwork to try and deduce what I’d need to apply. And when I say massive, I mean massive.


And again I say, it’s a good thing Josh was in charge of all that.

Anyway, after about 10 minutes I thought, Yeah, I have no clue what I’m looking for. So I just decided the entire pile was going with me.

After stopping by the Social Security Administration office, though, and seeing about 70 people in the waiting room, I went online to try and make an appointment. But you can’t make appointments online. Because apparently it’s not 2014. Not that it would have made a difference because they don’t DO appointments for card applications. My conversation with the guy went something like this:

Me: I need to get social security cards for 2 of my kids.

Man: You mean they already have numbers and you just need to get the cards? We don’t make appointments for that.

Me: No, they don’t have numbers yet. They’re adopted…

Man: Well, they still probably have numbers, just not cards.

Me: …from Uganda.

Man: Oh. Well. Um. They need actual numbers, then. We don’t make appointments for that, either.


So then I just showed up with that crazy pile and waited. And then went over the whole thing with a super nice lady (seriously, every person at this place was the best, especially considering they have really hard jobs). In the end she said, “Ma’am, you need some sort of proof of residency. The computer won’t even let me move forward.” But they don’t have passports. And they need social security numbers to get passports. Riiiiight. So she told me to call USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, in case you were wondering). And I almost cried. I wasn’t really dying to talk to them again.

Look, unless you’ve got your head in the sand you know that we’ve got a few immigration problems in this country. So the average person you talk to when calling USCIS is just waiting for you to be a crazy person. Or an illegal alien. But when you adopt, you become VERY familiar with USCIS. So you kind of have to push through and convince them that you’re not crazy, which is kind of a pain. Also the wait time to talk to a representative is over 2 hours. ALSO the closest USCIS office is 3 hours away and I wasn’t driving 3 hours to be told something I could find out over the phone. I’ve been to that office already and no thank you.

Anyway, when I finally DID talk to someone there he asked me about the kids green cards. This is the part of the story, by the way, where you start to realize how DUMB I am. Because I responded, “Uhhh. I don’t think we have green cards for the kids. Are we supposed to?? Doesn’t their legal adoption make them U.S. Citizens??” I can seriously picture this guy hitting his head against his desk in response. Apparently I AM the crazy person he’s expecting me to be.

So, about this time, my friend Tricia, who is a CPA, informs me that I should just be able to get them Tax ID numbers since they’re our legal dependents and they don’t qualify for SSNs. Yay, Tricia! You’re the hero!

But then I got super busy and forgot all about it and didn’t get back to it until Josh, again, GENTLY reminded me to. I sat down to fill out the forms for Tax IDs and it asked for their immigrant visas. So I opened our “Important Documents” file where the passports live but did I mention that I’m an administrative disaster? WHERE ARE THE KIDS PASSPORTS? I searched for them for quite some time and eventually found them tucked into the aforementioned pile of adoption paperwork, much to my (and especially Josh’s) relief.

But as I was copying the info from their immigration visas onto the Tax ID application, I realized THEIR VISAS HAVE EXPIRED. Like 3 months ago. I panicked for about 2 hours that my kids would be deported until Josh got home from work and told me to calm the heck down. And he called our friend who has all the adoption answers. And expert friend said, “You know, you should have received their green cards in the mail after you got back.” Really?

And lo and behold, there in a file in our filing cabinet – NOT the important documents file and NOT the massive pile of adoption paperwork, but a completely separate file that I had started at some point. I am the worst – were the green cards that I had so idiotically claimed we don’t have. Which is exactly what I needed to get social security numbers.

Which leads us to today, when I finally showed up with all of the right paperwork and miraculously completed the process.

Hey, you should totally call me if you have questions about the legal aspects of adoption. By which, of course, I mean Josh, because I will clearly be of no help to you.





I LOVE Pizza


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I know that I’m an adult and should have much more refined taste in food than I did when I was a kid, but you know what? I love pizza. I cannot quit pizza. It is my very favorite food in the whole world. I mean, I have so many great recipes and know how to cook interesting, complex meals, but come Friday night I’m like a 19 year old freshman in college with a need for pizza. Oh gosh, I can practically taste Gumby’s right. now. Remember Gumby’s, my fellow Florida State alumni?? I can remember sitting in my dorm room with Allison #2 (I had 2 roommates my freshman year and they were both named Allison. So they will forever be known as Allison #1 and Allison #2 in my mind) and devouring an entire order of Pokey Sticks. And if you doubted my love for pizza, you don’t after reading this paragraph that has way too many italicized words in it.

These days I make the pizza we eat on Friday nights. I mean, I make the crust. I buy the sauce and the cheese. Come on, ain’t nobody got time for making homemade sauce. And because it’s important that I be able to make pizza at a moment’s notice, I stock my freezer with pizza size bags of shredded mozzarella and my pantry with jars of pizza sauce. Not kidding. Tonight Josh is gone working on a sermon and the kids are (finally) in bed and I thought, I know it’s Wednesday, but it is so a pizza night. And see? Aren’t I so glad I have all that sauce and cheese on hand?? No crust, but that’s ok, bagels will do in a pinch. I’m eating it right now. You don’t know how good it is.

And I guess maybe I just love pizza because it’s bad for you and delicious, but I think I also love it because it is a cherished part of my upbringing. Because you know who else loves pizza this much? My mom. And we ate the same homemade pizza that I serve to my family now every Friday night of my childhood. When she visits me or I visit her on the weekend we always revel in the fact that we get to eat the pizza without making the pizza. My dad and Josh shake their heads. Why are these crazy women so obsessed with pizza?? They’ve resigned themselves to it, though. Like it’s such torture to be served pizza once a week. Come on, guys.

But seriously, my best memories of my childhood, especially my teen years, come from the dinner table with my parents and my brothers. I loved dinner with my family. ‘Til the day I left for college. And then couldn’t wait to get back to it over Christmas and spring break. We talked. We laughed (a lot). We enjoyed each other. And it makes sense. Some of the best fellowship happens over a good meal, enjoying God’s provision and thanking him for it. Meals are how we celebrate and mourn and comfort and relax. It’s just an integral part of how we commune. And I learned all about that in the home.

So it’s something I definitely strive for. I so desire to make dinner every night like my mom did. To faithfully provide good food for my family to fellowship over. Truthfully? I’m not so great at it yet. At least half the time we feed our kids chicken nuggets and we eat after they go to bed. But we’re getting there. Honestly, I think one of the biggest struggles, and I think this is true for a lot of women today, is I just expect way too much of myself. My mom did not have the food network, the cooking channel, facebook, pinterest, instagram or anti-anything-that-wasn’t-grown-in-your-garden websites. She wasn’t constantly bombarded with famous chefs, thousands of pins and pictures of other people’s awesome gourmet food. She had a rotation of meals that were good and simple and that’s what we ate. And we loved it.

Oh, don’t get defensive. Of course you should try new recipes and take advantage of the millions of ideas you can get at the click of a mouse (or touch of a screen. It’s not 1999, Katie). I’m honestly a better cook because of Ina Garten and The Pioneer Woman. It’s helpful. But don’t heap unrealistic expectations on yourself, and don’t think that the most important thing is that you make awesome, super-healthy, gourmet food. (Unless you or your kids have food allergies. In which case it is totally important). Looking back on all those family dinners together, I honestly don’t remember a ton about the food. Well, except the pizza, obviously.  The important thing was that we were together at dinner. That is the thing that remains for me. Well, that and an slightly unhealthy obsession with pizza.

(I was going to take a picture of my bagel pizza for this post but I ate it already. Whoops.)


March Reading


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I like this reading update thing I’m doing if only because it forces me to read things all the way through instead letting my inattentiveness do me in. I have read half of at least 50 books. It feels good to actually finish these last few I’ve read!

This month I finished up Mere Christianity and that led very nicely into Timothy Keller’s The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness. In the chapter on pride (The Great Sin), Lewis says, that the truly humble person “will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all” (128). In his book, Keller basically expounds on this idea. Only he does so by expounding 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7, where Paul says “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself.” Paul has learned, because of the gospel, not to think less of himself or more of himself, but to forget himself.

Keller says that “the truly gospel-humble person is a self-forgetful person whose ego is just like his or her toes. It just works. It does not draw attention to itself. The toes just work; the ego just works. Neither draws attention to itself.” He goes on to talk about how, for the christian, the verdict is in. We are declared righteous because of the work of Jesus. And to focus once again on our own actions, as though they will save or condemn us, is like “being sucked back into the courtroom…we should not be there. The court is adjourned.”

I commend this book to you. Everyone should not just read this, but own it. It’s like 50 pages, you can read it in an hour. But it’s something I know I will go back to again and again, a great reminder of the need for the gospel in every moment of every day.

I also read Nancy Wilson’s book, True Companion: Thoughts on being a Pastor’s Wife. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book to everyone, because it is pretty specifically for the wife of a man in ministry. But it was a great encouragement to me. One of the challenges of this season in the Hughes house has been that I just have to be all-home all the time. When I need to decline other opportunities for the sake of my home I can feel restless and impotent. And if I’m not careful I can forget that the most important thing I do is care for my husband and my children. This book was a great reminder of the holiness inherent to loving and managing one’s household.

So now it’s March. Am I the only person who kind of freaks out about March? For some reason January and February feel like practice months, and then in March I think, wait, it really is 2014 isn’t it? Agh! Only 3 months left of school! How did 2 months of this year already slip away?! What am I doing with my life?!

Ah, but March is also Spring Break month. Hurrah! Spring Break doesn’t mean quite what it did before marriage and children, but it is a nice respite from the hectic every day routine. We can take things a little more slowly. And this year our family is so blessed to be able to go to the mountains for a week. We can. not. wait. This mom needs to chill. And her husband definitely needs to chill. So we’re pretty stoked. Also Charlie’s birthday falls that week and our kids are all still young enough to think that Charlie’s birthday concurring with our trip to the mountains is the most amazing thing that ever happened. Who needs friends and a party when you get to have your birthday in the mountains with your family?!!!

With that trip in mind, I have decided to tackle ONE book this month. Which might sound rather lacking in ambition except I’m planning on reading Eric Metaxas’ biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. And it’s huge. I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages. I’ve had it on my kindle for like 2 years. But every time I think to start it seems such an undertaking. I’ve been itching to read a biography, though, and this seems like a good time to start. I’m hoping that a week in the mountains will provide lots of reading time. We shall see.

It is a vacation so no judging if I just end up reading Better Homes and Gardens and Vanity Fair all week.

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Since Josh and I decided to adopt independently, meaning that we didn’t use an agency, we kind of bypassed the usual required classes and meetings of the adoptive process.  Now, obviously, since I didn’t experience the process through an agency, I don’t know much about it, but I do know that most offer, and some require, classes that will prepare parents for the process as well as for life with an adopted child. I imagine it being somewhat like teaching someone to swim before letting them get in the pool, or at least offering them a flotation device. Whereas we basically just fell into the deep end and it was sink or swim.

With regard to all of the legal steps required to bring a child home from another country, I think we could have used a flotation device. If only because completing all of those legal steps was basically like taking on a second job for Josh. And while we had a family who had gone before us guiding us, it was still a lot of work on our part that would have otherwise been delegated to an agency.

But with regard to all that preparation that’s offered…well, I just don’t know if I regret missing out on that. We didn’t attend any classes. I never went to any support group for moms with adopted children. Or for moms with children of a different ethnicity than their own. I didn’t attend any seminar on doing a black girls hair. We didn’t do a lot of research about helping kids adapt to a new culture. And while we may have missed out on some helpful information, we also didn’t develop unrealistic or narrow expectations. We just kind of dove in.

None of those things are wrong. And for some I think it can all be very helpful. And for some, especially those who may be adopting children with special needs or a history of abuse, they are necessary. But I think, if I may say so, that our culture is obsessed with having it all together. We are obsessed with our plans. We love to make sure we’ve got it all figured out ahead of time. It makes us comfortable. And that incessant need to have everything perfectly mapped out can sometimes hinder our willingness to step out in faith. And even if we are stepping out, we may be doing so with no faith at all, but simply a reliance on our own ability to anticipate, prepare, plan and execute.

Let me tell you, we spent a month in Uganda, never knowing what the next day would bring, completely immersed in a culture that doesn’t make plans (because it would be pointless to do so). At the time I hated it. It stressed us out. We would ask our Ugandan friends over and over, “So when are we going to get the judge’s order? So how long does it take to get a passport? So how long should we expect to be here?” We were like broken records. And they would just smile and tell us to relax and repeat that they have no idea because there is no certainty regarding these things. It was infuriating.

But it was perfect. It’s what we needed. We needed to be put in our place. We needed to see how deeply we had fallen into the American illusion of control without even realizing it. Because our entire lives are based on our plans. We have schedules and routines and planners and it all makes us feel like we’re in control. But only One can have control. And we’d better let Him have it.

And because every child is different, and no two adoptions are alike, I think it is probably wise to not prepare too much. It would be much better to pray. A lot. (Or maybe what I’m trying to say is that when and if you prepare for anything God is calling you to, you should do so praying hard). And ask God to make you ready for what you are about to do. Only He knew Eva and Titus, and how they would fit into our family. We couldn’t have prepared for that no matter how much we tried (and we didn’t try much!).

In this sense it is a lot like having a baby. Before we had Reagan, I read at least 3 books on pregnancy, birth, and the first year. I asked every single one of my friends with kids a million questions. I freaked out about everything that could go wrong. I grasped at control. And in the end, I had Reagan and felt like I’d been hit by a bus and said what every first time mom says. Nothing could have prepared me for this.

Of course we should plan and prepare. You know I’m not saying we shouldn’t. As much as I learned from our experience, I don’t live in Uganda. I live here. And if we just stopped planning altogether we wouldn’t function in our society. But let’s not rely too much on our plans. Let’s not be owned by them or driven by them. There is nothing sweeter than turning to our Savior, Jesus, and admitting our full dependence upon Him. He delights in this. This is what faith does. And it allows us to see His hand in all things, to thank Him when it does go according to plan, and to trust His goodness when it doesn’t.



Real Love


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Our Pastor’s wives meet monthly to share what’s going on in our lives, strategize about how we can better serve/pray, and to pray for one another (And, of course, to eat something that’s high in carbohydrates and drink a ton of coffee).

Last month when we met I shared that Josh and I have never been closer than we are right now. I laughed and said “I know it doesn’t make sense! But it’s true!” Why doesn’t it make sense? Because this year has been insaaaaaane, of course. If there were any year that should have been hard on our marriage, should have left us distant and frustrated, it was this one.

Our church hired two new pastors and we adopted an entirely new ministry model.  It was also Josh’s busiest year in ministry yet.  So that alone would have made this a more challenging year.

But add in the fact that we decided to adopt 2 kids from Uganda last February, went to get them in June, came back with them in July, and went from 2 to 4 children just like that, and that way madness lies. Like I said, if any year should have broken us, it was this one.

And it did. But not in the way you think.

Last night at dinner, Josh and I exchanged our cards for Valentines Day, our tenth Valentines Day together (don’t know how that happened). We got each other gifts, too, but since my husband cannot wait more than 5 minutes to give a gift once its in his possession, we exchanged gifts in January. So last night it was just the cards. Well, mine was just a card, and his was a BEAUTIFUL FIVE STANZA POEM THAT HE WROTE HIMSELF. I don’t deserve him. My card was cheesy, but what I wrote in the card…well, it was cheesy, too. But the point of what I said was this: This has been our best year. I’ve never loved or respected Josh more. He’s never loved or served me better. And this only makes sense because of Jesus.

When it comes right down to it, it is the world’s definition of love and marriage that doesn’t make sense. Because the world says love is a feeling. It says that romance is driven by feelings. It says that as long as we can keep that feeling going, we are okay.

Look, I like lovey feelings just as much as the next person, but can we all be honest and admit they aren’t LOVE. They may or may not last. They may come and go with good seasons and hard seasons. But either way they cannot sustain a marriage. They are not pillars of a house. They are the nice decorations on the inside. I love having a beautiful home, but nice home decor is kind of pointless if the pillars of the house are weak and everything comes crashing down. Obviously this analogy breaks down at a certain point, but I think you catch my drift.

Feelings shift and change. Especially when the going gets tough. When Josh and I were engaged we had this huge fight one night in the car (mostly because we were sick of being engaged, I think), and once we had cooled down a bit he kind of jokingly asked, “Do you still love me?” And I sighed and said through my teeth, “I’m choosing to love you right now.” He burst out laughing and so did I. But he almost always tells that story in premarital counseling because he wants people to know that there comes a moment in every relationship when you do NOT have loving feelings toward a person, but you choose to love them.

This love, the love that is a choice, can only really come from knowing and loving and imitating Jesus. And from Him living in and working through you. You might not like that, you may want to try and find a way to do it on your own, but it’s true. We are told in Scripture, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” True love is a complete laying down of self. And I love myself way too much to lay my self down. Unless I’ve got the Spirit of God Himself making it possible for me to do what His son did. Which is exactly what happens for those who have called on Jesus as their savior.

So when I say this year has been our best, what I really mean is that it has brought us to our knees. It has brought us to the end of ourselves. I can remember sitting in our room in Uganda, the kids asleep in the bed next to us, admitting to each other how much less spiritual we are than we thought we were. We’d emptied our savings, we’d been in a completely foreign country for three weeks, we were struggling to know these two new kids of ours, we were desperately missing our girls back home, we had no idea how much longer we’d be there, and we had to admit that we couldn’t do any of it. We were totally dependent upon Jesus.
Of course we are always that dependent. It’s just that the comforts of this life dull our awareness of it. Our dependence came into sharp focus on this adoption journey. Real love would be required of us, for each other, for our children. And we’d only find it in Jesus.




That month in Uganda was amazing for us. We wouldn’t trade a moment of it. We learned more about each other, more about our weaknesses and our strengths (though it mostly felt like weaknesses). And aside from all that we learned spiritually, we got to do some totally new and exciting things together. Like attend a traditional introduction ceremony, stand on the shores of Lake Victoria, and lead worship together at a village church (and you should know, Four Oaks, that that will never happen here. And you should be thankful).

I have to admit, I kind of hope this next year is easier than the last one. That maybe a little bit less will be required of us. That maybe we can sacrifice a little bit less. But I pray the opposite. Because I know the truth, that there’s joy in learning real, sacrificial love. More of this kind of love, please.

I want to SLEEP


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This morning when my alarm went off at 5:30, one of my first thoughts was, “Oh my gosh. Charlie didn’t wake up in the middle of the night.” And then I smiled, seriously SMILED, at 5:30 in the morning because I had been allowed to sleep all the way through the night without interruption. This is how much I love sleep.

It’s funny how mad I get about just one middle of the night sleep interruption these days. After all, didn’t I survive having a newborn twice? So you’d think I’d be totally patient about it, because it’s not as if she’s waking me up every 3 hours and then making me sit with my eyes propped open for 20 minutes so she can have a snack. But, honestly, the DAY that newborn phase is over, I go back to being shocked, SHOCKED, when I am woken up in the middle of the night. “What are you doing?!” I want to cry out. “We had an agreement, you and I! I sustain your life for the first 6 months and then you let me SLEEP.” I have a tiny bit more patience when they’re sick. Tiny bit. But that’s it.

So right now, Charlie is in one of those phases where she wakes up in the middle of the night most nights. And I tell myself not to let it drive me crazy but then I’m woken from my deepest REM cycle by the cries of a 3 year old whose blanket doesn’t feel right or book fell off the bed and all my rationality goes out the window. “Charlie. Move the blanket. Reach down two feet and PICK THE BOOK UP. I do not need to be in here for this nonsense.” If she’s going to the bathroom, she can’t just go to the bathroom and get back in bed. She has to stop by my bed, wake me up to tell me she has to go potty, use MY bathroom, cry about how bright the bathroom light is, and then cry when her pants are back on crooked. And then she needs me to carry her back to bed after all of this emotional exhaustion. And then when we get back to the bed we discover that a book has fallen on the floor and we’re back to square one.


The thing is, this really only lasts about 10 minutes, at most, so why does it irritate me so?? Because sleep is one of my many, many idols that I’ve got to put to death. It’s the idol I’ve had to put to death in order to FINALLY start getting up early to read the Word of God and talk to Jesus. And it’s not that sleep is BAD. Obviously sleep is good. God created it for our good. But, of course, we create idols in our hearts when we look at something good God’s created and love it more than we ought to.

From everything I had read and heard, I expected that parenting would be a sanctifying adventure. But that sleep deprivation that came when Reagan was a newborn was the first of many moments that made me go, “Ooooohhhh. I see.” Because I just couldn’t do it. I became an emotional mess. I cried every day, multiple times a day.

I recently heard a woman on NPR describing the three ways people respond to newborn sleep deprivation. She said there are people who handle it really well. Who don’t need as much sleep anyway and aren’t too phased by having a newborn. And then there are people who are somewhat affected. They get really cranky and snippy, but they push through it and are able to function. And then there are people who completely fall apart. I’m in the last camp.


(I don’t even remember this. Or which baby that is. That’s how badly I handle the sleep-deprivation.)

So the reason this is (or has the potential to be) so very sanctifying, is that holiness comes when we admit, “I cannot do this. I’m desperate for your help, Jesus.” And he does it for us. In that sense, that season was a miracle for me. Because I felt like falling apart but I didn’t. I cried all the time but then I had joy. I had to face the fact that I felt like I couldn’t be happy and functional without 8 hours of sleep a night and then learn that sleep is not better than Jesus. Depending on Jesus is actually better than sleep. Well, my body didn’t think that, but my mind learned it. And continues to learn it, obviously.

Of course, that crazy newborn phase subsides and I have to learn how to continue to not love sleep more than Jesus when I’m getting the sleep I need. Isn’t that how our idols work? They come crashing down in the moment of stress, when we see how little they can satisfy. But the moment normal life begins again we start to rebuild those broken idols, piecing them back together. But there are all of these cracks in that idol now, so it’s easily broken again. And again, and again. And eventually I pray I just won’t even be able to piece it back together anymore.

I know this all sounds like a lot of thought about something as small as sleep. But I’ve learned, I continue to learn, that these small idols are the real battlegrounds. Sometimes there are huge idols exposed, but generally we all struggle with many little ones like this one. And we need Jesus in the seemingly small struggles as desperately as in the big ones.

So I thank God for the wonderful, restorative full-nights sleep. But I think I must thank Him, too (when I’m over being so irritated. Or perhaps to GET me over being so irritated) when my 3 year old wakes me up every night. Because it’s keeping that sleep idol smashed on the ground. And there is more to thank Him for in that than in getting a good night’s sleep.


February Reading


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Is it February already? Good grief. Well, in January I planned to read A Praying Life and Mere Christianity. It was a super busy month for us ministry-wise, but I managed to finish the former and am about 2/3 through the latter.

You guys, I said it before, but I’m saying it again. If you have not read A Praying Life, read it. Like, go buy it today and start reading it. Now, I’m not typically one to advocate a book that strongly, especially Christian books because Christians gravitate toward the next best-selling spiritual book over going to the Bible. So I will typically say, eh, read the Bible instead. And yes, read your Bible people.

BUT, read this book, too, if you can. Most of us live busy, distracted lives. And we need to go to Jesus. We just want to do do do, but we need to go to Jesus. And be like Mary who sat at his feet. And be like the tax-collector who said, “Have mercy on me, a sinner!” And cry out, as Paul instructed us, “Abba, Father!” And just continually receive the grace that sustains. We’re meant to be constantly repenting, conversing, pleading, praising. Instead we avoid Him, trying to do it all without Him. This is just the tip of the iceberg that is this book. It’s intensely personal, very Biblical, and wonderfully practical. So read it; I promise you won’t regret it.

“What do I lose when I have a praying life? Control. Independence. What do I gain? Friendship with God. A quiet heart. The living work of God in the hearts of those I love. The ability to roll back the tide of evil. Essentially, I lose my kingdom and get his. I move from being an independent player to a dependent lover. I move from being an orphan to a child of God.” (A Praying Life, 126)

I haven’t finished Mere Christianity but I will in the next week or so. C.S. Lewis is so witty and winsome and enjoyable to read. Anytime I read anything by him, I want to read everything by him. It’s reminding me of what a delight it is to be constantly going deeper into knowing Christ. It’s an endless, wonderful journey.

“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.”  (Mere Christianity, 50)

So, I’ll finish that, and I’ve got a couple more books on my list for February.

First, a dear friend gave me True Companion: Thoughts on Being a Pastor’s Wife for Christmas. This is by Nancy Wilson, who spoke at that conference we went to. Aside from her blog posts, I’ve read one other book by her, The Fruit of Her Hands, and I loved it. I read that one early in our marriage and it was one of the most impacting books I read during that season. I commend it to you, but fair warning, it is very Complimentarian (as am I!). If you’re not quite so Complimentarian you might not love it quite so much as I did.

So I’m excited to read this one as well, which speaks specifically to my calling as a pastor’s wife. Plus, look at this cover! The fact that there isn’t a tea cup or woman standing on the beach with her arms flung wide is incentive enough to read it. (Oh hush. I kid, I kid. I love those books, too). But this is a great cover.


I’ll also be reading The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller. This was given to all of our pastor’s and elder’s wives last night at our quarterly meeting, and after hearing about it’s content from our darling guest speaker, I have no doubt it will be wonderful.

Both of those books I just mentioned are fairly short, so chances are, I will actually finish them both this month! Oh, and I’m also re-reading Pride and Prejudice right now, and planning to read all of Jane Austen’s books again this year. Because, duh, you can never have too much Jane Austen.