a day in the life... (a mamawell exclusive)

come in!

you’re always welcome here! i’m sharing on @themamawellinstagram account, but wanted to invite you over here to the neighborhood. i write regularly about urban life, family life, church planting life, and writing life! you can click on the about page and read more. what i want to do with this post is show you a day in the life of our family!

we moved to San Francisco in 2010 to start a church in downtown where we now have 3 services with over 60 nations represented. we left family on the east coast, but have created a community of friends and family. our four kids are at three schools: charter, public, and catholic. we have one car and even that’s a luxury in the city. our kids ride in the mini-van, bus, and train to school and ben gets to work by foot and train. our city is transient so we say just as many “hi, my name is” as we do, “good-bye.” our kids see everything here. it brings about conversations that i wasn’t having until college and is growing compassion, empathy, and a faith that is all their own. i wouldn’t want to be anywhere else doing any other thing! it is all by the grace of God, a community of believers, and the power of prayer that we are thriving as a family in one of the most influential cities in the world.

how we do life in the season we are presently in:

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I haven't always been this way

I believe God set up life to pick up friends along the way. You too? So many of you, God has given to me in this San Francisco season and I’m so very glad you’re here. But I see you and you and you and know that our paths crossed in the town of six traffic lights, in the hills of Virginia, in college ministries in Louisiana and Alabama or in the oasis of Missouri. Perhaps you already know I haven’t always been this way…

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my mom doesn't blog. she cracks me up with her texting. yet for years, she's been speaking to my heart and no telling how many hundreds of others in Bible studies, casual conversation, and alongside my dad in ministry.
she spoke to me through a quick email just the other day.
it's easy for me to give and receive great advice from authors, speakers, and people that are just a few steps ahead of me. I am like a sponge more so these days as we are finding ourselves in many adventurous, unknown scenarios.
my mom gently reminded me today that all is good, as long as I am 'SEEKING HIS COUNSEL.' she adds, "wisest thing to do by far." i am arriving at the conclusion that because our generation is connected at so many levels, mostly through technology, we can give and receive more information than ever before. but because we can gain so much information just by tweeting, kindling, facebooking, texting, and googling, we often fill our minds full that we leave very little room for the Spirit of God to teach us.
who said what and what who said is what we want to know! (that's clever, huh? that came from my head late tonight. it might not even make sense to you, but it's deep to me!) read it again.
with this being said, reading every parenting book is not going to make me a great parent. talking to church planters is not going to guarantee a successful church plant in the city. giving pre-marital counseling doesn't mean our marriage is completely selfless and happy.
so I am reminded to seek Him first.
thanks, mom.


what can happen to a stay-at-home mom?

she can cocoon and control.

of course, that's never the intention, is it?



the infant stage closes the blinds, silences the smartphone, but not so that we can't stay in touch with the world virtually.

we refuse girl's nights out. we decline the evite. we take a raincheck for the playdate.

our hands are full. there's no time for rest.

just when the feeding, changing, and playing is done, 

it's dishes, laundry, and grabbing a quick bite to eat.

we cocoon.

"it's just better this way," is what becomes our mantra.


"our better way" becomes control.

we structure home and family in such a way 

that only we can do it.

we can't leave for fear he won't do it right.

we work our errands around the little one's schedules for fear our day just might crumble.

we push back friendships. 

"they'll understand," we assure ourselves.

we know God gets our busy lives.

"He can wait," glancing at the Book of promises by the bed.

cocoon and control.

the little ones begin to toddle.

we pull back the shades and let worldly voices in.


our culture softly screams,

"buy organic. 

create the invitations homemade. 

sign them up young."


fear grabs you,

"you'd better stay here. 

there's not much you have to offer out there.

besides, who would take care of home and family?"


your reflection in the mirror echoes back,

"look at you. you're a mess. 

you've got everyone thinking you've got it all together, 

but seriously, come on.

 who are you fooling?"


i've cocooned.

i control.

i allow those voices to speak loud and harsh.

they provoke me to respond and whip me to follow.

i hold ever so tightly to my precious kids as if i am the protector and defender. as if i can bar the doors and withhold all evil. 

i insure my domain. i pop anyone's hands that try to toy with my structure. i've got it all planned out. i reign everyone in and give them commands. 


who am i? and what have i become?

gothel, the woman raising rapuntzel in the tower?

making "my way" appear perfect while all the while life was never intended to be lived in isolation.

rapuntzel loved gothel as mom. she heeded her words,

 but knew there was something more.


friend, this is not about your kids. 

this is about me and you.

for if we can get this right, we give our kids freedom.

it's sure time we squirm our way out of the cocoon

and be who we were intended to be -

 beautiful creatures made to fly above circumstances,

to move through seasons at various paces - some crawling, some fast, some flittering, some still.

soaking in the moments.

let's be honest.

butterflies capture attention. 

the kind that says, "there must be a God." 

the kind that says, "i want that freedom."


it's never too late to relinquish control.

to live like you don't have it all together.

to let your kids thrive under your husband's care.

to let some fresh air in and get out in the fresh air. 

to look back in the face of culture, fear, and our own reflection and say, "i choose today to let go and be free."

for my sake and the sake of those i love.