What kind of feelings does that first verse of Proverbs 14 conjure for you?

Clearly this is not a literal statement, right? It’s not speaking about a woman getting out her tool belt and her table saw and constructing a home. It’s about building into a home the things that matter. The things that build up the family, these are the things the wise woman does.

The foolish woman, on the other hand, is (probably) not outside having a demo-day, like Chip and JoJo either, pulling and tugging at the siding or hacking at the masonry to pull bricks down one by one. She is making choices that tear her family apart, or create discord.

You know that saying people like to bat around, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?”

Do you ever hear that and just feel pressure, because that means a lot how everybody feels falls on you?

One crazy thing about motherhood is how we know what a privilege it is, but how we feel so heavily what a responsibility it is.

One of the “common threads” of Proverbs 14 that is a whisper to my soul can be summed up in just two words:

Slow down.

Maybe it would help for me to walk you through and explain — so, I hear it like this:

In verse 2: He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord,

But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.

So? Slow down and listen for the leading of the Lord.

In verse 3: In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride,

But the lips of the wise will preserve them.

So? Slow down and choose carefully which words should pass through your lips.

In verse 4: (I love this one.) Where no oxen are, the trough is clean;

But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.

So? Remember that the goal isn’t a tidy house, a picture-perfect Pinterest life. Slow down and make the messes that are necessary to make the good things that bring increase to your family possible. 

In verse 12: 

There is a way that seems right to a man,

But its end is the way of death.

So? Slow down and choose carefully the way you are going to go.

These days, we are in the midst of a season I like to call “Homeschooling Light.” We have fewer tasks on our to-do list for each day. It turns out, when I have a smaller number of things on the list to do, I somehow seem to get so many more good things done.

When I put less expectations on my plate, I find myself stressing less, fussing less, and saying yes more, and enjoying more.

When a busy day comes along with too many tasks on the list, I jump right back into being fussy, impatient, frustrated and rushed.

Here’s what I want to say to you Mamas, and you precious young women who will be, and are already encouragers to other Mamas. (Feel free to forward my emails as you are led.)

You are enough. You do not need to compare yourself with other Mamas. You do not need to assume the other Mamas are doing this thing and that thing every day, and you should, too. 

Do you know who the Good Lord gave each and every one of those precious children that are in your care to?


Not the Mama next door that you think has it all together and decorates her house so adorably for every season. Not the Mama on Facebook who seems to always know when the cool things are happening and is taking her kids there. Not the Mama at church whose kids never seem to do anything wrong, but always seem like perfect examples of getting. every. single. thing. right.

When my second kid arrived on the scene (like a Hollywood film story, no less) I had this moment where I felt overwhelmed by all the opinions and all the advice and all the choices and decisions I had to make. When I called my Mom from South Africa and told her my struggle, she said the absolute best thing she could’ve said:

“You are that baby’s Mama. No one else.”

So stand a little taller today Mama. Don’t freak out that you aren’t doing all the things that you think the “Good Mamas” are doing. Don’t think your kid needs to be involved in 13 activities per week to have a full and well-rounded childhood.

You are that baby’s Mama. That ten year old’s Mama. That twenty-year-old’s Mama. And more than all the things that that kid could be doing — most of all, they just really need you.

The no’s are often what make the yes’s really worthwhile. Slow down. Know that less is more. You may not even realize it’s happening, but you are building a house that will change the world.

P.S. There’s still time to give! Along with many other miracle families, we are raising funds to benefit the incredible hospital that (along with so many prayers) saved our son’s life last year, since the Children’s Miracle Network couldn’t host their telethon this year. Please click here to give! We’ve set an ambitious goal of raising $4,800 – $100 for every night Blake spent in the hospital. Please help us reach that goal! Thank you heaps and heaps to those of you who’ve already given!

P.P.S. Blake’s story was on the news this week! Click here to watch + celebrate the miracle with us!

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