Intentional Motherhood

At All Costs

At All Costs

‘Let’s go change your diaper,’ I chirped in my sing-songy ‘mom’ voice.

We headed toward the stairs. Stepping up, my slipper caught a rough joint in the wood, and the world flipped in slow motion. We tumbled toward the wooden landing with no possible way to prevent the fall. 

‘Protect the baby at all costs.’ 

I’m not sure it was a cognizant thought, but instinctively I turned my body to take the brunt of the fall. It didn’t matter if I’d be battered and bruised, protecting him was more important. 

As the adrenaline subsided and his safety was evident, my tears flowed. My baby could have been seriously injured. I cried and prayed, praising God for his protection over my newborn.

Of course, this scenario could have gone much differently, like a trip to the emergency room. But even so, God is still the protector. 

Because God eternally protects his children at all costs. 

Though it doesn’t always come in the form we want it to, the Lord protects. He may not spare us from grief or trials in this life, but his view is deeper, down to our very souls.

Jesus accomplished the ultimate protection on the cross. He turned his own body to take the brunt of the ‘fall.’ He was bruised and broken, but protecting his own was more important. And he protected even unto death, absorbing the full measure of wrath that should have been hurled at us.

Because Christ made God favorable toward us, all we receive is grace upon grace. 

Therefore, I can rest. I might fear injury, sickness, or even death, but I can entrust those fears to the one who has ultimate control. I don’t have to be a perfect mom. I can’t be a perfect mom. Accidents will happen. I’ll make bad decisions. I’ll sin against him. But I can run to the God who perfectly parents me, recalling grace.

I’m still pretty new at this parenting thing, but it’s safe to say I’d die for my son. But I may not always be able to protect him. 


So, I speak truth to my heart. God eternally protects his children at all costs.

Help us Spread the Hope of the Gospel

Help us Spread the Hope of the Gospel

Not too long ago, a missionary mom emailed to share a story with us. She told us she was using the podcast as a means to meet new moms in a foreign country. Many of the moms she met wanted to learn English, so she shared the show with them and quickly gospel conversations began. Another mom told us she was struggling in her faith after the birth of her second child, but after interacting with the ministry on social media, she decided to get back to reading her Bible and spending time with God. A third mom messaged us about an unbelieving friend she was praying for and witnessing to for two years. One day the friend finally showed interest in the gospel—she wanted to talk about what she heard on the R|M podcast. A husband recently messaged us to say he’d noticed a change in his wife. He felt it was due, in part, to God using the ministry in her life.

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This is just the tip of the iceberg. Each week messages pour into our inbox, telling powerful stories about God’s work through R|M. While every person has a different story to share, there’s one common theme: God is on the move, he is changing hearts and lives, drawing mothers to himself.

Give Me Your Eyes

Give Me Your Eyes

My oldest daughter often declares ‘Eyes!’ to my grandsons.

She wants to ensure her directions, encouragements, and proclamations are clear and heard. After all, two three-year old twins and one four-year old have multiple distractions at any given point in the day; wrestling, jumping, cars, towers, forts, tools, and you-name-it are all viable contenders for their attention.

As moms—and grammies—we’re really not so different from our active preschoolers and bouncing toddlers.

There are multiple noteworthy attention competitors in our lives. Piles of laundry, social media, exercise, driving our kids to and from their activities, concern over the milestones our children “must” achieve or exceed, what our friends are doing or not doing, meal planning, and the rest of our mile-long list make for impressive, excuse-worthy reasons for distracted mothering, and, worse, distracted Christ-following.

Jesus, too, summons us with, ‘Eyes.’

The only way to persevere on the motherhood track is to ‘fix our eyes on Jesus.’ When we veer off-course, looking away from God for our satisfaction, relief, pleasure, or sustenance, we’ll miss his message for us.

Col. 3:1-2 says, ‘If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.’

When are eyes aren’t on him, the laundry pile will seem monstrous, the energy-sapping lack of sleep will feel unending and overwhelming, and the sheer strength required for parenting will seem out of reach.

When our mothering and grandmothering eyes roam from earthly thing to earthly thing, we miss the joy and the eternal hope God has called us to.

Eye contact with our Lord and Savior helps us rejoice in our salvation and the gift of salvation available for our children and grandchildren.

Moms, grammies, we help little ones all day long and all night short. We cannot help without our Helper.

He beckons us—eyes on your Helper.”

For the Mom Who Keeps Blowing It

For the Mom Who Keeps Blowing It

I looked at my husband across the couch and heard myself say, ‘I’m tired of blowing it, of sinning the same way over and over again with our kids. Can’t I trade this in for another sin or something?!’

Ever since I can remember, I’ve fallen into what some have called the ‘performance trap,’ setting standards for what it means to be a good friend, a good student, a good wife, a good mom, even a good Christian.

But having young kids exposed my sin again and again. It felt impossible to ‘perform’ in this role, to hit the benchmark I had in my head of what a good, Christian mom should look like. I’d hold it together for awhile, but eventually I’d totally blow it. Feeling terrible, I’d apologize profusely to the kids and try to make it up to them. Then, I’d pull up my proverbial bootstraps and determine to do better next time. But, inevitably, I’d blow it again. And the cycle of sin and shame and ‘trying harder’ would repeat.

Sometimes, when I felt really frustrated and defeated, I wanted to give up and declare: “This is just part of my personality, and parenting is so hard!”

But this is not the gospel!

In his mercy, God repeatedly brought me to a point of desperation. God helped me realize that no amount of staring at my sin, or beating myself up, or ‘trying harder; would ever help me hit that standard.

God taught me to fix my eyes on Christ, who already fixed his eyes on me in love.

In Christ, we meet God’s standard.

In Christ, we’re free from the condemning power of sin.

In Christ, we’re free from the enslaving power of sin.

In Christ, we still struggle with the presence of sin.

In Christ, we never outgrow the gospel.

Our journeys in motherhood aren’t over. Though we’re growing, we’ll still blow it. But we can ask our kids for forgiveness and point them not to a perfect mom, but to a perfect Savior.

We can walk in the good work of motherhood in an attitude of worship, resting, and rejoicing in the undeserved friendship of Jesus and point our children to the same.”

What Does It Mean for a Mom to Have Freedom in Christ?

What Does It Mean for a Mom to Have Freedom in Christ?

Ask a group of Christian moms (even seemingly similar ones) questions on parenting practices, social media use, and the specifics of modest dressing and you’ll will get various responses based on past teaching, present circumstances, and personal conscience.

Is it okay for believers to disagree on these points? How does our freedom in Christ apply within scripturally gray (and sometimes contentious) areas of daily life?

As Israel was delivered from the bondage of slavery by God, so we are freed from the clutches of sin by the work of Christ. By grace, God makes unregenerate people alive in Christ. The Spirit enables us to turn from sin as we cling to Jesus in trust. Sister, if that is true of you then are free indeed!

You are set free to enjoy and delight in God.

Where the gospel and essential orthodox beliefs are at stake, we contend & admonish. Where lesser matters are involved, we ask questions and invite discussion but try not to divide. The Spirit that guides you into all truth is also at work in your sister and it is before him that she stands or falls. We exercise our liberty according to the principles of scripture and we allow others the same freedom of conscience, trusting that we all serve and desire to honor Christ.

So momma, what does it mean to have freedom in Christ? It means you’re free from the penalty, condemnation, and guilt of sin. Right now, you’re free from the control of sin as the Spirit empowers you in the word. And you’re being conformed to the image of your Liberator.

You’ll be like Jesus—and this is the full consummation of your freedom!

We Can’t “Mom” Alone

We Can’t “Mom” Alone

I can count the events that changed the trajectory of my life on one hand. And this moment launched me into motherhood.

In a short ten minutes, I went from exhausted pregnant woman, resting on the couch after traveling, to exhausted pregnant woman who couldn’t sit down because of a phone call that changed everything.

Nervous energy pulsing through my veins as I said to my husband, ‘Are we crazy? Does this make sense? Can we really do this?’

We’d prayed that God would allow us to adopt from the foster system. We hadn’t been specific about timing, and welcoming a newborn into our home four months before our biological child was due caused more than a handful of questions from concerned friends and family.

When we received the call, our ‘nursery’ consisted of any empty room with a glider and a Boppy pillow. Not exactly ‘everything you need.’

Word travels fast. The next morning at church, people provided a barrage of baby gear and diapers. While our heads were spinning with details, our church presented a beautiful picture of God’s love for his people.

During that transition, our church held us closely. They met our needs and loved us well. They even washed our dirty clothes. (Talk about being Jesus’ hands and feet!)

As our church provided for our needs, I was reminded of God’s perfect provision in Jesus, and his love for the Church—that he loves the Church like a perfect husband loves a wife.

Everyday we have the opportunity as the Church to be a picture of God’s love through the gospel to the world. We, as the Church, have the opportunity to teach truth clearly not just in word but in deed through the gospel.

As a new mom, my sweet church provided for me physically, but also gave me the blessing of accountability, guidance, and intercession.They consistently pointed us to the truth, building on the foundation of Jesus himself as cornerstone, acting as his body.

May we be his hands, feet, and mouthpiece too as we love our neighbors well, revealing the character and the goodness of the God we serve.

Where Are We Going? Leading Your Family with a Gospel-Centered Vision

Where Are We Going? Leading Your Family with a Gospel-Centered Vision

The most effective parents I know are those who communicate a vision to their kids—those who say, ‘This is who we are. This is who we follow. And this is where we’re going.’

These are parents who take into account the unique giftings, talents, and challenges within their family and work together toward God’s purpose for their family.

In Matthew 28, Jesus gives his disciples one last important charge before he went back to heaven: ‘Make disciples.’

Now, sometimes we read this charge with overseas missionaries in mind—they have gone out into all the world and are making disciples in other lands. But did you know that as a parent, you also have a wide-open mission field right in your own home?

Although the reality of faithfully and daily discipling our kids can be hard, discipleship is simply helping our children see what their faith in Jesus means in the day-to-day.

When we craft a family vision, we’re asking our kids to take this journey of discipleship along with us.

We tell them who we are and where we’re going as a family.

We teach our kids the characteristics of the Christian life that we value most.

We help them see that living a life of following Jesus is the most fulfilling and exciting way to live.

How do we begin to figure out a vision for our family?

Gospel Hope When You Feel Like You’re Not Enough

Gospel Hope When You Feel Like You’re Not Enough

I’m exhausted.

Literally. As in I’m physically, emotionally, & mentally reaching the end of my strength most days. At no other time in my life has opening my eyes in the morning been painful,—oh, how it hurts.

I’m not the polished, level headed, organized mom I aspire to be. In fact, I’m more aware of my inability than ever.

Yet somehow here, in the mere minutes of prayer before my kids wake, despite my sleep-deprivation & all the details that must be managed for the day, yes, in my weakness, God is meeting me.

He’s showing himself strong & keeping his promises.

In 1 Cor. 1:8-9, Paul writes, ‘For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.’

Do you see it? The trial Paul experienced exposed his weakness & forced his reliance on God. A few verses later, he writes:

‘For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory’ (v. 20).

Slowly but surely I’m learning to rejoice in the inadequacies that bind me to Jesus & release me to abide in him. I’m finding freedom—not guilt—in the fact that I bring absolutely nothing to the banquet table & yet his banner over me is love.

I’m learning to find joy in seeing Christ work through my weakness & in spite of me, for his own glory.

In this way, the hard work of motherhood is a gift, a sharp lens through which we clearly see our own weakness & our Savior’s all-encompassing strength. This was never about us or our motherhood journey. Our every life circumstance is orchestrated by his grace for his pleasure.

He knew motherhood, like life, would lead us here—to the end of ourselves, so he made a way for us to experience the joy of confessing our weakness, surrendering our strength, and resting in him.

This is gospel hope.


Tending Your Garden

 Tending Your Garden

One of the challenges of being a mom is that most days are spent doing things that don’t feel important. The tasks you accomplish are quickly undone—laundry, dishes, picking up toys. Whether your days are spent primarily in an office or at home (or in an office at home), every mom understands that motherhood can seem a bit like shoveling snow off your driveway during a snowstorm, and it often doesn’t feel like ministry. 

So what is ministry, exactly? 

One way to think about ministry is a person or agency through which image-bearing and disciple-making are accomplished within particular spaces. 

In Genesis, we read that God planted a garden called Eden, and he placed Adam in the garden to work it and keep it. Adam and Eve were not commanded to work and keep the whole world; they were to work and keep the garden in which God had placed them. 

If I could go back and give myself a pep talk while in the midst of raising babies, I would clap my hands and say with great enthusiasm, ‘You are doing real ministry right now! Real ministry is not only ahead of you when you do a podcast or complete an in-depth line-by-line Bible study on the Minor Prophets. I know it feels like a lot of wiping, but you are bearing God’s image and raising children to bear his image. You are promoting life and doing good work in the space God ordained for you. And it matters.’

So embrace the wiping. Embrace the chaos and the endless laundry. Don’t just embrace it, enjoy it. 

Instead of lamenting the unwanted limitations that accompany being a mom of young children, focus on the hugs and the way their eyes light up when you pick them up from school. Sing the song for them again today, and read the same book tonight. 

You have been given meaningful work to do. The God of creation has given you the ministry of bearing his image, making disciples, and tending your garden.

Mommas, We Speak From the Overflow of Our Hearts

Mommas, We Speak From the Overflow of Our Hearts

I yelled at my daughter the other day. Not a gentle ‘Don’t do that, honey,’ kind of correction, but an angry, ‘What on earth were you thinking?’ reaction.

She, in turn, yelled at her two year old brother for making her do it, and pretty quickly there was a lot of frustration going around for a little bit of spilled sparkling water. A simple misstep halted my child’s creative idea on a nice day, and there we were, yelling at each other as if the offense merited some sort of punishment.

After we cleaned up, I thought about how quickly that moment went from fun to frenzied. Rather than parenting my children with the patience and instruction they need, I responded to a common sibling squabble like I was one of the siblings. 

If a mama speaks out of the overflow of her heart, my overflow had been speaking loud and clear, pointing to the fact that I wasn’t guarding the sources filling my heart-well.

The problem is really simple: it’s me. My heart is. My misplaced worship is. The idolatry of my time and performance is. And the way I feed these things by comparing myself to other mothers, that’s the problem.

And the way I’ve sought to fill my life with the things God tells us will not satisfy—these are the barrier between me and the mom that I want to be. As I’ve escaped to worldly influences, I’ve robbed my soul of the fellowship with my Savior that it needs, and I’ve seen firsthand the difference between the overflow of a heart filled with treasure and a heart filled with idols.

Motherhood is one way God makes his goodness tangible, and I am learning each day that to be the mom I want to be, to experience that goodness, I have to begin with a posture of humility; which is sometimes as simple as the choice between one of the many temporary comforts fighting for my affection, and repentance. Simple, pure, childlike repentance of my sin. Because we’re all in need of saving from the thing that keeps us from God and from one another.

But the best news for all of us is that grace is already there.

All in All: How Jesus Transforms Our Relationships

All in All: How Jesus Transforms Our Relationships

“It was one of my first ventures out into society as a new mama. We were visiting the home of some new friends & he started crying a little bit. Then, it got louder & I excused myself to the other room as I attempted to quiet him.
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I tried bouncing him. I tried singing lullabies. I tried feeding him & changing his diaper. Still he continued to wail.
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All my visions of motherhood were crashing down hard as I tasted my own failure to soothe this real-life baby.
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Fast forward a few weeks. I’m listening to scripture on audio as I fold laundry. One short phrase rings out strong. It’s the second part of Colossians 3:11, which says, ‘But Christ is all & in all.’
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That is, he is everything, everywhere, for every moment. He provides the meaning & purpose & beauty—not just for some days or some people—but for all & for everything, even this moment as I fold my laundry, even that moment when my child is crying and crying, even when I am crying myself. 
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Jesus is the beginning, middle & end of my story & your story & everyone else’s story.
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We live in a world where relationships tend to be defined by divisions & distinctions. This is the reality of my heart—that I look on others & instinctively measure myself as either inadequate or superior in comparison.
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But there is something bigger than all our differences, bigger than all the measurements & status. Christ is bigger. He is all.
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When we look at ourselves & at others, we look for Christ, in & through all our differences. We are no longer worrying what others think of us or racing to prove ourselves, to peg ourselves as inferior or superior to another mama. Rather, we clothe ourselves in humility. 
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We’re on a treasure hunt of sorts, looking for Christ, searching to delight in His glory in those around us & his grace in our own weaknesses. We’re living out this identity as a people holy & dearly loved, freed to bear with each other & forgive each other & live in peace as one body.
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Because Christ is all & is in all, we can live in sweet peace & experience genuine love.”
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More from @jennywrenreed on the blog! Link in profile.

Planting Seeds of Gospel Hope

Planting Seeds of Gospel Hope

I spent much of my high school and college years intentionally building relationships with unbelievers, sharing the gospel with strangers, and passing out tracts. I even wanted to bring this message to other nations as a missionary. 

But God was leading me to a different season than I imagined for myself. A season that didn’t look like typical missions work or much of an evangelistic opportunity. I was to become a wife and mother. 

My interactions with the outside world were mainly the cashier at the grocery store, the children’s librarian, and people at the park. My limited interactions were fraught with countless interruptions, distractions, and little moments of crises.

I didn’t understand how this desire to evangelize matched up with motherhood, especially the part of motherhood that involved changing diapers and cleaning spit up. And I would feel guilty for not actively sharing the gospel with someone else.

But I was thinking about motherhood and evangelism wrong.

When Jesus walked this earth, he made disciples. He called them to come and follow him. He didn’t share a brief three point sermon, knock on a door, pass out a tract, and then walk away. He walked the same roads as his followers and traveled in their shoes. Jesus went the distance.

Because making a disciple takes time. 

I can change the baby’s diaper as an expression of a type of sacrificial love that reflects Jesus. I can teach both my boys that the gospel is their only hope for change and right living, while I reach out to the mom next door. I can love my children and the mom from story time. They are both my neighbor. 

When I offer my children grace, love, and acceptance in their failures I’m pointing them to a greater version of these things in Christ. Just the same, when I extend an invitation for a playdate with an unbeliever I’m reflecting a greater invitation from the Savior. 

I’m being faithful where God has me.


I can trust God with the new seeds I plant now.

Debunking the Ideal-Mother Identity

Debunking the Ideal-Mother Identity

‘What do people think of me?’

Our attempt to shape the answer to that question can control our lives. It’s often there in the home furnishings we choose, the table we set & the planter we place on the patio. It can be there in the car we drive, the books we read & the places we choose for vacation. By means of our clothes, our weight, our gym routine & the interior of our home, we are so easily driven by a craving for an acceptable answer to that question.

It can begin before our children are born. 

As our baby grows within us, we seek advice & do research on how to be the best possible mother. We note what other moms do & how they do it, setting standards for our mothering techniques along the way. Our goal is to distinguish not only good from bad, but better from best. 

Sometimes, though, we wind up not only wanting to be the ideal mom but yearning to be known as that mom. 

If we live self-conscious lives, we harm those we love most & mar our witness of Christ. And trying to live out an ideal-mother identity makes us critical toward mothers whose parenting choices differ from ours. We silently (or not so silently) judge rather than come alongside them to encourage their efforts to love their children. 

It seems counterintuitive, but joy & genuine love result not from being thought well of but by thinking less of ourselves altogether. 

As Christ followers, we can toss ‘What do people think of me?’ out the window. That’s because we’re called to ask a different question: What do people think of Christ? 

When we’re driven by a concern for how people perceive him, we can live free from the bondage of what people think of us. 

As we begin to grasp this truth more deeply, we’ll enjoy the freedom of self-forgetfulness. 

Because our identity is in Christ, we have no reason to fear our weaknesses. After all, those weaknesses are the very place where his strength is most powerfully at work.

As we open our hearts & lives, we become a resource of God’s grace & encouragement to the struggling mothers all around us.

Contentment in Motherhood

Contentment in Motherhood

Stomach bugs. Hitting. Biting. Lice. Bed-wetting. Tantrums. Sleepless nights. Exhausting days.

Each day you wake up with a plan, only to find your efforts dismantled before you’ve even finished your first cup of coffee. Like a rudderless boat tossed back & forth on the waves, our days rarely go the way we hope. With so many ups & downs, plans made & plans delayed, how do we learn the secret of contentment in the season of motherhood?

Is it even possible?

The short answer? Yes, I believe it is possible.

Often, I picture contentment being a moment of stillness when everything surrounding me is calm & peaceful. Beds are made, dishes are done, children are napping, & I’m sitting on a cool porch in the sunlight with a hot cup of tea.

In this situation, I’m hoping for outward peace in my circumstances to work inward peace in my soul.

However, Christian contentment works in the opposite direction.

Christian contentment is an inward assurance in God’s sovereignty & goodness that produces the fruit of joy & peace & thanksgiving in the life of a believer, regardless of outward circumstances.

Notice the difference—Christian contentment begins inward & is independent of daily events & circumstances. Its source is God’s character & his plan, not our own. It’s rooted in the belief that God is working all things for our greatest good—fashioning & shaping us into the image of Jesus.

This belief allows us to view every tantrum & trial as a means by which God is at work in us, not just us at work in our child.

How do we take hold of Christ’s strength? He tells us, ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me & I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.’

We need time with Jesus each day because without him, we’re powerless. He’s the source of strength we need & the refreshment we seek.

We desperately need the truth of God’s word to remind us of the good news of the gospel.

Today, God is at work in every detail of your day. He never forgets you & he always sees you. Take your worries & concerns, hopes & dreams to him. Trust in him, rest in him.

Moms, Embrace Your Need

 Moms, Embrace Your Need

Mom friends—you’re doing it. You’re fulfilling the work of ministry God has planned for you! He’s given you a wonderful gift in your children, and though the days feel long and nights, even longer, this is precisely where he wants you. Right here with your kids.

You’re exactly where you should be.

We can’t foresee all that will happen, but we can anticipate our hearts—our struggles, anxieties, and fears—and proactively preach God’s Word to ourselves.

When you struggle with feeling depleted from lack of sleep, remember that God’s grace is sufficient for each moment, that he will give you what you need with every breath you take.

When you struggle with choosing motherhood over other things, remember that for everything there is a season, perfectly planned by God for the advance of his purposes in the world.

When you struggle with a sense of purpose in the routine, remember that motherhood is a calling from God, an important work of faith and labor of love that images Jesus Christ.

When you struggle with guilt over time in God’s word, know that the basis of your salvation isn’t dependent on this, but on Christ.

You and I can embrace our need for an all-sufficient, perfectly wise Lord and Savior in this unique season of motherhood.

We can praise God for a new grasp of what it means to cling to him—because we know that when we are weak, he is strong.