I am the Gate-Keeper

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When our children were in their infancy and toddler years, I held the strong conviction of keeping the children at home much of the time. This was, in part, because they were sixteen-months apart and I did all I could to get through each day (and night) as a happy, thriving mother. At the same time, I also believed deeply in the early, quiet growing years where children – like little seedlings – could put down their roots and start life safe in their nest.

Life has changed since then. We are starting our fourth year of homeschooling and we live in a different city with no family nearby. Our son is passionate about rugby and we spent every Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning last winter out in the cold helping him follow his heart. Our daughter is a lover of people – and I mean that in it’s truest sense, she loves people. She needs to have people in her life.

So, with an almost 8-year-old and a 6.5-year-old we spend more time outside the home than we did in those first few years. However, my conviction about the importance of staying home in childhood has not decreased, it has in fact, deepend even more. The challenge for me now, as their mother, is to deliberately and carefully safeguard our home life.

I am the gatekeeper of our life. I need to discern well what comes into our home life as well as why we leave it’s safety.

At times through their childhood thus far, I have often felt that I was holding back the dam of the world and it’s values. Busyness, parenting styles, media, twaddle, pressures, surface relationships, status quo… Cracks have appeared when I haven’t been strong enough or when I haven’t been paying attention. Thankfully, the Lord helped me see when too much of the dam was starting to get through. And He always helped me repair the cracks through prayer, new habits, and changing directions (like our new season of homeschooling).

It’s a constant responsibility and the nature of defending the dam/gate changes as the children grow and change. Now that both children can read, I’m guarding what they do or do not read. Now they have more opportunities for outside activities, I am helping guide their choices about what will best suit our whole family life. Are they mature enough for this movie? Can I trust them with this responsibility? What children will be in that activity?

There are no blanket rules on these issues (in general). Each family will accept different activities and different books and different friends. Discernment, wisdom, and prayer guide us as we gate-keep our family life.

And this doesn’t just hold true for our children, either. We need to be the gate-keepers of our own lives also. We must hold on to the true priorities God has called us to in this season – our husbands, our children, our homes, and our churches. If we say yes to this opportunity, am I saying no to my children? Will my husband suffer in some way if I say yes?

Elisabeth Elliot is a mentor of mine. God brought her across my path in the early years of our marriage and her thoughts on Biblical Womanhood have shaped me deeply, especially her book Let Me Be a Woman. In her book The Glad Surrender (which is about personal discipline), this quote about our time – and therefore, our priorities – has always stayed with me:

If we really have too much to do, there are some items on the agenda which God did not put there. Let us submit the list to Him and ask Him to indicate which items we must delete. There is always time to do the will of God. If we are too busy to do that, we are too busy.”

Elisabeth Elliot, The Glad Surrender

As we search the Scriptures, we can see clearly the will of God for a woman who is married and with children: our family and our home. It is His will that we be immersed and busy with this. Anything else that we hope to do ought to be carefully checked over at the gate. We are home-keepers.

This is not a popular thought today. And sadly, even within church communities women are pressured or are tempted to let in too much. For me personally, the only thing I am committed to outside of our family is helping with our local homeschooling community. That is enough for this season of my life. I have done more, and less, since becoming a wife and mother.

We must keep that idea of seasons in our hearts, too, as that is a God-given truth. This season of marriage and motherhood demands a certain amount, ordained by the Lord. This is good. Let us submit to this season and wholeheartedly stand watch, discern, check, and keep over the precious lives God has given us. There is no more important role than this.


Encouraging Podcasts for Christian Women

Podcasts are such blessings for Christian wives and mothers today. Sometimes we just don’t have time to sit down and spend a good chunk of time reading a good book and journaling about it. But, through the gift of technology, God has raised up some wonderful women who have one purpose: to encourage us in our walks with the Lord and to serve our families with our whole hearts.

There are so many podcasts out there. But there are a handful that I return to, even listening to episodes from years back, because they continually encourage and equip me. If I’m washing the dishes, painting the stairwell, or having a rest during our daily ‘quiet hour’, listening to these podcasts have fed my soul.

Here are my five favourite podcasts for Christian women!


Thankful Homemaker


Ah, Marcie is a true Titus 2 mentor. I love listening to her podcasts immensely. The Lord has used several of hers, especially about Self-Discipline in the Home, to really convict and edify me in my role as wife and mother. She has the wisdom, the grace, and the love of living a seasoned life. This is my go-to podcast.

At Home With Sally


Sally Clarkson has been influential in my walk as a mother. It is through her that the Lord spoke to the desires of my heart of being a whole-hearted mother. It is through her that He planted the idea of homeschooling. Now, seven years into motherhood, Sally continues to encourage me and speak to my heart. Sally calls us higher and that is something I am so thankful for.

Confidently Called


Jennifer has had a couple of uears break with her podcast (and I think blogging too), but there are still so many gems there that her podcast just keeps on feeding! However, she has recently released two new episodes and they are fantastic – especiallu the one about Home with guest speaker, Jen. I also loved the one with Amy Roberts about creating anchors in our homeschool days.

Raising Arrows


Speaking of Amy Roberts, I just love her grace and wisdom. There are so many pressures today for us to just have it together. Do you feel that too? With put together pictures on blogs, or stunning images on IG – there are unspoken messages everywhere for women to just be perfect. I have gone off IG for that very reason. But Amy? She is a mother of a lrage family and she knows that life is not perfect. Yet, she encourages us to just keep moving forward. I love that about her. She is like a warm hug!

Risen Motherhood


This is one of the most popular podcasts out there for Christian mothers – and I know why! It’s Christ-centred, Word-rooted, and plain od’ encouraging. I haven’t listened to tonnes of episodes, because they tend to be slightly longer, but the ones I have listened to have been just such a blessing. A recent interview with Jani Ortlund (her book Fearlessly Feminine is one of my favourites) was just so rich and heart-warming. They have a book too, and many resources for your walk with Christ.


 So here they were! Have you listened to any of them? Do you have any suggestions?


worship encompasses all of me

“Our devotion results in a conscious yielding of every part of our personality, every ambition, every relationship, and every hope to Him. Submission to God’s will is the true heart of worship.” ~ Barbara Hughes, Disciplines of a Godly Woman

Have you ever found that you have lost your way before the Lord?

It comes on slowly, I believe. Sometimes it stems from struggles, from trials, or from big life events that suck us into the pressing needs of the moment. Sometimes it comes over time, the flower has lost it’s bloom, the fire it’s spark.

I have forgotten that, to worship my God, it encompasses all of me. Sometimes I think that one area of my life can be hidden from Him, or I tell myself that it doesn’t matter if I am slack in this way because in other ways I am doing my best. Sometimes I think that worship is just when I read my Bible, or sing a song, or pray.

But no. The Bible is clear that, when Christ fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system, worshiping God no longer was contained in one place, by one animal. Worshipping our God and Creator requires all of my life.

Let All That I Do

Have you drifted away from this truth? Have you held back parts of your life that you believe don’t come under His rule?

Friend, like me, we need to submit all of our life to our Father. All that we have is from Him and, because we were bought with a price, our sacrifice of thankfulness and gratitude is pouring out our own lives to Him.

How I eat needs to be worship. (This is a big one for me.)

How I spend my time needs to be worship.

How I wash the dishes, smooth out the bedspreads, pull up the weeds, wipe away the soap marks in the shower all need to be worship.

How I homeschool the children needs to be worship.

How I respond to my husband and be a pillar to him needs to be worship.

Even what I watch or read or listen to needs to be worship.

“Every single time I confess my self-reliance and submit my life to God’s will in a particular area, I am worshiping God – as surely as any sincere Israelite offering a lamb in obedience to God’s plan.” ~ Barbara Hughes

The worship of our God and our Saviour must encompass all of us. There can be no place for stubbornness, self-reliance, self-delusion, or ignoring of truth. It is hard to face sometimes, in moments it may feel impossible. But true worship to our true God is a whole life, whole body, whole spirit sacrifice and service.

Let us start this new week, humbling our hearts before Him, confessing our self-reliance or the hidden things (that are not so hidden to Him), and submit all of ourselves once again to Him.

Let us truly, and deeply, and consciously worship God in our daily life, offering all that we do with thankful hearts and willing hands.



Helping Our Husband’s Pursue Their Passions

For years, I have felt guilty for living my dream. 
I never wanted a career. I loved university because I loved studying and not because it was a stepping stone to something else. All I wanted was to learn about things I love, get married, have babies, and be a homemaker.
By God’s kindness, I have been living that dream for eleven years. I am so thankful and frequently feel full of joy, praise, and humility that He would have this plan for me. Yet, like I said, I have often felt guilty for being able to.
You see, often our dear husband’s don’t get to live their own dreams. 
If your husband is like mine, he is a man of integrity and takes his role of provider very seriously. He works hard, believes deeply in duty, and gets up every morning – even when his body screams for more sleep – and goes to work.
He enjoys his job. He’s worked hard to get where he is. But it isn’t his dream. 
In the last year, the Lord has brought us to a point where I have been able to ask him, “Honey, if you could do what you really wanted to do, and not worry about duty for just a little while (because life isn’t always about duty), what would you do?”
And he replied, “Some dedicated time to study the Bible.”

“Alright,” I said, “Then let’s do it.”
Of course, it took some convincing and my praying for him earnestly, but slowly God has opened doors that we have been knocking on. Financially it will be difficult, but manageable. So, our house is going on the market in just over a month, and we will be moving to another city for three years. 
It is very exciting! And, above all else, I am so excited that my husband has the opportunity to pursue his own dream. Even though it requires sacrifices, I am so willing to sacrifice all that I can so that he can do that. He has, after all, sacrificed so much for me as I have stayed home with the children and, now, homeschool them.
I really believe, if it is possible, that wives should encourage their husbands to pursue things that they are passionate about – whether careers, interests, or hobbies. We only have one life and, just because they have a heavy responsibility, that doesn’t mean they don’t have desires for their life.
Of course, there are seasons where this is just not possible. We are eleven years married now, and this really is the best time. But even giving our husbands an evening or afternoon off a week so they can do something that is them is loving and a blessing to them.
I have seen a mentality around that, because the mother is with her children all the time, then she deserves ‘time out’ more than her husband (who gets time away from the children everyday). But I believe that most husband’s have far more pressure and responsibility than a mother. This is not to say that a mother shouldn’t get time to herself (I’m writing this in bed during my Sunday afternoon rest time). Mother Culture is vital. But, let us not listen to the world. Our husband’s need rest and their own personal vitalisation.

If there is one way you could provide this for your husband this week, what could it be?


Quieting My Spirit in Jesus (So I Can Love My Husband)

Here is a story about God leading me to trust Him so I can love my husband.

There has been a possibility of us going to England for a number of years now. Tim, my husband, has a passion and gifting for apologetics, and there is an excellent school there. When we first applied in 2017 (for the 2018 year), everything was so hopeful – people were encouraging, provisions came from left-field, and we were easily accepted into one of the college’s required. But then, the other university (Oxford, to be truthful) couldn’t accept us for that year, but would hold a place for us for 2019.
Fast forward to this year, we reapplied for both schools. After months waiting, we found out that we were declined at the main apologetics school because of things out of our hands. So we had to turn away Oxford’s place for Tim and, after two years of many up-and-down’s, we were back to square one. It was so confusing and disheartening…What seemed clearly something the Lord wanted us to do for ministry, apparently was not.
And then, things got more confusing.

A friend, with connection within the apologetics school, communicated to us that there had been a mistake and we were actually supposed to be accepted. We just needed to reapply again (for the third time). This, we found out in early March.
By this time, everything seemed so unclear that we had decided not to pursue this door, even with this new encouragement. There seemed to be no strong direction from the Lord. Furthermore, in the up-and-down’s of the previous year, both of us felt drained and thankful for a home to be rooted in.
I have an anxiety disorder and, for me, with all the uncertainties, my anxiety had flared up and I was struggling to even be open to going. Even though I had been the one to encourage Tim to do this, anything to do with leaving home (safe) and pursuing England (bad) caused me to shut down.
Overtime, I had built up in my mind all the negatives and, because stability enables me to function well, I began to see all the things that could cause me to find England very difficult. There was a source of tension between us as I could not even have a discussion with my lovely husband, who was so disappointed, because – in all truthfulness – all I could think about was me.

Turning to the Lord the other night as I went to bed early in a low mood, I opened my Valley of Vision, hoping for a prayer that would turn my heart toward Him and give me wisdom. I sensed that my resistance to England was only partly rooted in my genuine anxiety, there was sin lurking in my heart, and I didn’t know how to find it out. It can get dark in there.
Turning to the page ‘Shortcomings’, the following lines lit up the lurking darkness,

“My sin is to fear what never will be; I forget to submit to Thy will, and fail to be quiet there. But Scripture teaches me that Thy active will reveals a steadfast purpose on my behalf, and this quietens my soul, and makes me love Thee.”

My sin was not being anxious, but to fear what may never be. There are things that my brain does that I cannot control. But when I actively fear and train my thoughts upon what could happen, I sin. I forget to be quiet in the safety of God’s will where there is peace, even with chaos without.
I forgot that God’s will for my life as my husband’s wife is to be his helper. In so many ways, I seek to be a pillar of strength for him, even in my weakness. Going to England causes parts of my brain to trigger off my anxiety, but my will shut down my heart to the possibility. God’s steadfast purpose for me is to love my husband and “do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourself” (Philippians 2:3).
So, we have reapplied. A few weeks ago, neither of us would have believed we would. But our friend asked us again…and again…So, we are listening. It all may turn out, again, that this isn’t God’s will for us as a family. And that would be perfectly good (we are homebodies, after all). But, if it is His will, I don’t ever want to not listen and follow it, despite my anxieties and fears. 
And that is what drives me, even with an anxiety disorder. I love my God, and I want to follow Him, wherever He may lead – even if it is a quiet life at home or flying to the other side of the world with challenges unknown. Sitting and submitting and trusting Him will always keep us quiet under the rest of His care, in those pleasant places.

friend, have you experienced something similar?