My friend Mackenzie stopped by for breakfast this weekend, and we sat on the couch under soft blankets in the morning light to catch up. We exchanged stories of the mundane and the miraculous in our lives. Then, she shared an update that struck me as profound. She described how she and her husband are becoming foster care certified to take in pregnant teen girls. These girls are often terribly vulnerable: kids themselves carrying kids and choosing birth. They’ve already faced the unspeakable trauma of entering the foster care system, and many are victims of trafficking. I pressed her for more about their why, their journey, and their heart in this decision that will change their lives forever. In essence, she explained, they are seeking to live life right in step with the God of comfort, care, shelter, and justice as described in the Bible. As they have prayed, they […]
Want to love your friends well? Pray for them.
The Lord has taught me more about friendship in the past year than almost any other concept. Here in Washington, D.C., healthy friendship is modeled all around me and afforded to me. I am part of many intentional, life-giving relationships and have had the honor of watching countless people in my church, community, work, and school environments be in relationship with others in this same way. Through observable examples as well as intangible revelation from the Lord through His word, He has not only revealed His vision for human-to-human relationship — He has also revealed what it means for God to be my friend. Now, finally, as a 24-year-old woman settling into my independent life and faith, I feel equipped, able, and free to behave in the way I believe a good, godly friend should. So, what does it actually mean to be someone’s friend? My friends and I often […]
How can I keep giving my life away?
I recently hosted my friend and her little girl overnight while they needed a place to stay. In reality, though, my whole community hosted her through how they equipped me: My friends Emily and Austin gave me the bed she slept in My friend Lauren gave me the recipe for the Chicken Pot Pie that was in the fridge My friend Kristin helped me assemble the dresser in my room My friend Megan gave her the car she used to drive to my house My roommates Lisa and Cierra helped clean the house My friend Sarah gave me my bedside lamp My landlords Andy and Kristi provide a great, safe, and well-maintained house for us My friends Garrett and Mindy sparked the vision for where I live A group of friends from church helped me move into this house last year In other words: I can welcome her because I […]
Help! There’s No One to Disciple Me!
As the pastor’s wife of a young church in a young city, I hear and feel the need for discipleship within our church. There are people hungry to be poured into by older men and women, desiring to grow in their relationship with God, and just want some guidance on how to do that. But the overwhelming perception is that there are no older men or women who are available to disciple them. (Remember: our context is in a young church in a young city. They’re kind of right…the older people they’re looking for are few and far between!) So, what do you do when you desire to be discipled, but you don’t think there’s anyone to disciple you? What is Discipleship? First, I suspect that perhaps our view of discipleship is more narrow than the full Biblical picture of discipleship. After all, a disciple in the Bible is simply […]
Don’t Stop Believing the Best About Others
Cynicism and suspicion. Those were the two lenses through which I was viewing our friends when we drove past them gathered outside for a cookout to which we weren’t invited. Immediately, my heart sank. “Why weren’t we invited? Did I do something wrong? No, I don’t think I did anything wrong, they’re just being inconsiderate and cliquey.” And not long after came feelings of hurt, forgottenness, and ultimately disdain towards them. As I processed with Adam later on, he encouraged me to think through some of the other possible reasons they hadn’t invited us. He pointed out that we had just gotten back from a vacation earlier that day and maybe they hadn’t realized we were home yet. Or maybe since all their kids are similar ages they were having a little get-together for their school-age kids. Or maybe it was a last-minute plan without time for any proactive invites. […]
“I’m not depressed, but…”
In the beginning, when the world grinded to a halt and everyone stayed home, I received a huge dose of validation as a stay-at-home mom. Suddenly people were realizing exactly what I do every day, and how demanding it is. After several weeks, we all settled into a new routine and got used to the new norm. The good feelings of validation wore off, and I started to feel the struggle. But I’m a stay-at-home mom. It’s literally in the name. I’m supposed to have the stay-at-home thing down. DOWNWARD SPIRAL Initially, it wasn’t too different from our day-to-day. The biggest change was we were no longer going out. We were no longer having play-dates. We were no longer doing our activities. You see, “stay-at-home” is a misnomer. We actually go out a lot. So we, like everyone else, were stuck at home and feeling the struggle. However, now I […]
Living on Mission: Are you my neighbor?
This is the second part of my thoughts about Living on Mission. For its companion, read Living on Mission: What is it Anyway? What was your favorite Bible story growing up? Maybe it was the story of Noah and all the animals, David and Goliath, Joseph and his very colorful coat, or Jesus walking on water. For me, it was the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). (I actually called it The Good “Cemetery,” but hey, I was little, ok?) I’m not really sure why it stuck with me all these years, but I do know I was drawn to the person who saw a person in need and helped. When the Pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest command is, the second part of His answer included: ”Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). It may lead you to wonder who your neighbor really is. This is the exact […]
Top 5 Blogs of 2020
At All The More, 2020 gave us a deeper belief in our mission to encourage one another, all the more (Hebrews 10:23) via our online community. This year brought many new milestones — hiring our first employee, Kylie, launching our first book study on the Book of Psalms, and bringing on new contributors from outside of the U.S. We have much to be grateful for in this community, and that includes these top 5 blogs of the year that encouraged you — our readers — greatly. It encouraged us as well! So, without further ado: Our most-read blog of 2020: What I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage by Natalie Mayo “A spouse who loves Jesus more than they love you can ultimately love you with a truer and deeper love that comes not from their own volition, but from God. His love is truly never-ending and far better than […]
Home for Christmas
The pandemic has brought about a lot of changes this year. For one, it has invoked a whole new meaning to the phrase “home for Christmas.” Sure, our holiday plans look quite a bit different this year, but one of my primary laments is I deeply miss church. Many parts of the United States differ in their various COVID restrictions, but where I live in California, we have not been able to gather as a Body since March. Our church is one of the larger churches in San Jose, so we have had the ability and resources to produce a lovely online service. We can still have “church from home.” We still have worship. Our pastors still teach and speak to our hearts. We have had baptisms and guest speakers and missions updates. We take communion – separate but together. We meet for Bible studies, prayer groups, and other ministries […]
Changing the Narrative: From Our Imperfect Story to His Redemptive Plan
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A season overflowing with joy and gratitude as we reveal in belonging, surrounded by our loved ones. With long-standing family traditions and the anticipation of creating new memories, it all seems so festive, so perfect—but not for everyone. For some, it’s a season defined by grief, reminded of the things that are no longer and the things they have yet to experience. My Internal Story I feel so alone. Fear not, for I am with you. I feel forgotten. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. I feel abandoned. I have loved you with an everlasting love. Grief has been my quiet companion. It waits for me when I wake up and lingers as the day ends. It accompanies me every single day, demanding to be seen, heard, and felt. With unexpected family turmoil, reminders of hopes deferred, […]