family worship (in the midst of chaos)!

Ahh, family worship.  This photo is beautiful right? Looks perfect. No chaos. Children singing and worshipping the Lord. Parents full of joy. Well, not exactly…not at all, really. In the background, right behind that camera, the one who is taking the photo (me) is annoyed and honestly kinda mad. I take the photo anyways because I know God is doing something sweet, even if they are actually fighting over who gets to touch the guitar. There is immense chaos in my heart. A longing for a different stage and age. A mom full of expectations she didn’t first run by God and isn’t trusting Him with when those fleshly expectations go unmet. Eek. What conviction. Even my spiritual hopes for my kids can end up being covered by my own fleshly and sinful desires. And yet, I love this photo because it reminds me of my own need to repent. I love it because I think Jesus loves it – He loves His covenant children in the age and stage that they are in. And, He also loves their parents, as imperfect as we are, He leads us in repentance and hope as we feebly attempt to lead our kids.  Yep – Ryan and I are church planters and pastor/pastor’s wife and even our attempts are feeble!

How to “implement” family bible time, or whatever you want to call it, with your crazy crew of kids can be a daunting challenge that is easily given up on for fear of “doing it wrong”, feeling inadequate, lack of participation from the little people, or likely – simply the pure chaos that can make even the “strongest” parents utter foul words during “bible time”.  Amen?

So, as I encourage myself, I encourage you to embrace the chaos – whatever that looks like in your house.  When it comes to implementing a family worship time, start with where you are and don’t expect it to look how you think its “supposed” to look.  God is way bigger than that!  His plans for your kids – His kids – are greater than yours and He will work through that one bible verse, silly song, bible story, and prayers you pray with and over your kids.  My encouragement is this: just start somewhere.

Here’s just a few ideas – but I encourage you not to read this as a “to-do” list that conjures up feelings guilt, but read it as an encouragement to be simple and start “small” because God does a lot with small things…remember the little boy’s meager lunch that fed at least 5,000 in Matthew 14, Mark 6, and Luke 9?  Bring Him what you have and watch what He does with it!  

~Grab a great children’s bible (Jesus Storybook Bible is one of my favorites!) and start reading together

~say the Westminster Shorter Catechism for young children questions and answers around the dinner table, or the New City Catechism (there’s an app!) to teach them foundations of God, sin, and redemption

~re-read the story together your kids learned at church

~work on memorizing a hymn together (there is SO much great depth in hymns that have stood the test of time),

~make a family prayer journal where you watch how God answers prayers you pray together

~pick a bible verse to memorize together

This list isn’t exhaustive and you probably have way more creative ideas than this. I’m a pretty simple momma though, so we keep it real, simple, and to the point – hopefully pointing them to Jesus over and over again.

Whatever you do, keep at it.  Know that the Lord is doing something, however imperfect or messy it feels.  He’s working in you and in them in far greater ways than you can imagine! Embrace the chaos. Embrace the mystery. But most of all, embrace Jesus together.


Here’s just a few good recommendations if you’re looking: Jesus Storybook Bible, The Action Bible, The Following Jesus Bible ( for kids a little older), The Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook or The Big Picture Story Bible (for younger ones).   Or, for books to go alongside your bible reading The Ology is GREAT and Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing is beautiful as well!



Update: January 2020…I’m not changing this post as I re-read through it and post again.  It’s still true.  I think I’ve grown deeper in it, as I’ve walked and been scared, sad, and mad when my body does things I don’t want it to or doesn’t do things I do want it to.  I hope you’ll find your story in mine.  I write not just for me to talk about MS or what I’m learning, but hopefully because you can read and relate, even though the details are different.  I cry and worship in the mystery and hope that you do too.  I’m met there by an intimate, good, and faithful Father who remains steadfast even when I am not.  Worshipping in the mystery is changing me…so, I hope you can step into my story for a minute for the purpose of seeing more of a faithful and loving God in yours….

I hate mystery. Oh, I know many of you have heard me say that I love it, and it’s “my word” for 2017. I even said “bring it on!” a couple of blog posts ago! Can I be real here? It sucks sometimes. I hate the mystery of MS and having no idea where it will strike me next. Most of the time, I have to will myself to love the mystery of God. My flesh and spirit battle over this – and I mean all out wage war – over this. Worshiping God in this is a choice. It’s not always a feeling or even a desire. It’s obedience. It’s trusting and knowing He is good. He is glorious. He is great. He is gracious. And maybe just as much? I. AM. NOT. It’s my pride that says I can only worship when I’m not anxious or when I’m feeling good about Him. Because if I trust my feelings, I’m saying my feelings are greater than God. I’m saying that I surpass Him in knowledge, wisdom, insight, and glory. It’s straight up sin, yall. But, not only that, my roots begin to shrivel up. When I don’t trust the soil He has placed me in, I begin to die a little because I’m refusing to grow deeper in His love. It’s even rebellion against a Holy God.

Elizabeth Elliot in reflecting on Psalm 16 says: “Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough. All is grace. My Father is in charge! We can only know that Eternal Love is wiser than we, and we bow in adoration of that loving wisdom. The choice is in our willingness to see everything in God, receive all from His hand, accept with gratitude just the portion and the cup He offers. And the secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.

Yes. HE has drawn the lines for me in pleasant places (psalm 16), so, in the midst of still not liking the mystery all that much right now, I say: Thank you Lord. Thank you for the darkness. Thank you for not letting me put my hope in anything but you. You’re too good to me to let me do that. Thank you for being good and trustworthy and kind no matter what. Thank you for being enough and for being the only One who will ever be enough. Thank you for drawing me into deeper trust in you.

So, what’s the mystery for you? What’s the anxiety you struggle to worship the Lord in the midst of?

Not that you need me to, but I invite you to worship God in the mystery, the anxiety, the questions. Worship Him in the soil in which He has lovingly placed you.

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