I tearfully looked around my office and said one last goodbye. Goodbye to the television endlessly streaming cable news headlines I may or may not need to respond to. Goodbye to the phone constantly ringing off the hook with reporters needing a comment. Goodbye to the clunky cabinet full of news clippings, press releases, editorials and letters to the editor — many of which I’d spent way too much time obsessing over. And goodbye to wonderful co-workers. Men and women I’d bonded with in worthwhile battles.
The seven years I spent at a ministry helping communicate biblical truth about challenging, controversial issues were ones steeped in the trenches. Every interview, every debate with a talking head, every editorial and every press conference seemed to carry with it the weight of an intense spiritual battle for hearts and minds.
Now, I was going home to a beautiful, doe-eyed girl intent upon waging her own war against my sleep patterns.
On my last day in the office, a dear colleague wisely told me, “God is just moving you to another division in His army.” She was right.
The battlefield I was headed towards was every bit as real as the one I had just left.
I love C.S. Lewis’ simple, yet profound depiction of spiritual warfare. “There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan.”
So too is every square inch of motherhood.
These days, the grocery store is often my battleground. I feel it keenly almost every time I run in to pick up some diapers. With all five of my children. The looks and comments I receive are often insensitive and discouraging. The root lie, however, lurking beneath is an insidious, destructive arrow.
“Are all of these children yours?”
“I’m glad I’m not you.”
“Your poor son. He’s the only boy in this huge group of girls.”
The bewildered, crushed look on my children’s faces is a loud cry to put on my warrior paint. After one such comment, my oldest daughter looked up at me and, crestfallen, asked, “Mommy, what is wrong with us? Why do people say those things?”
“Not everyone knows Jesus, sweetheart,” I responded. “And not everyone believes Him when He said, ‘Children are a blessing.’ But you are. So is every member of our family. God has beautifully put us together and we are grateful.”
As mothers, we battle the ever present lies of our adversary — often in a society that belittles the value of our children and tells us our calling is “less than” and that the pleasure and pursuit of self-fulfillment is “more than.”
It’s a lie I battle not just “in the culture,” but in the culture war that rages within myself. Especially after a sleepless night with a little one that no amount of coffee can remedy.
One such morning, I got a phone call from a dear friend and former colleague.
We chatted about all the goings on in her life. Her speaking engagements. Her book proposal. The interviews she was doing with famous authors and notable leaders. The business trips and vacations she’d been taking.
I looked over at my daughter sitting in a tub of water. A tub of water with poop in it. Having endured a night of viral affliction, both she and the water were extra gross. The washing machine was whirring away at ninety miles an hour spinning off nocturnal crap. Frankly, I could have used a Hazmat suit at that very moment.
Jealousy set in. So did that familiar feeling of shame, discontentment and irrelevance.
“You used to be somebody. Now look at you.”
“Don’t you wish you were doing all the cool things she’s doing?”
“Nobody cares about you. You’re just another stay-at-home mom.”
Truth came gently. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:24).
War. We are at war.
My fellow moms, the sunken bags under our bloodshot eyes and the stretch marks around our bellies are medals of distinguished service. The kitchen that may never be spotless and that minivan with petrified chicken nuggets in the car seat is part of the war effort. And on the days when battle fatigue threatens to overtake us, we drink in the truth and maybe, another cup of coffee.
Our mission of love and sacrifice calls out to a watching world, inviting them to find the God who is the essence of both. We are gaining strategic ground and changing the course of eternity. By the grace of God, we will advance — one Costco trip, one sippy cup refill, one tough conversation and one diaper change at a time.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
Get Our Free Ebook!
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
The Psalms is a book that's rich with the reality of what life's like in this fallen world. Here are...
3 Ways to Navigate Personality Differences
Sometimes personality differences can wear on us. Here are three ways we can navigate them in a loving manner.
Surprised By ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood’
If you haven't seen this film, God may speak to your heart through it in ways you weren't expecting.
The Wedding Ring
Are you struggling in your marriage? Here's how a wedding ring helped one wife fight for her marriage.
5 Ways to Live an Out-of-Control Life
Here are 5 ways to let go of control and trust your present and your future to God.
5 Creative Places to Find Prayer Accountability
Do you want to pray more, but are easily distracted? Here are some practical ways to stay focused.
How to Rescue a Day Gone Wrong in Your Marriage
Just because a day doesn't start well, doesn't mean you can't rescue it.
What Women Are Saying
-- Darlene Schacht, author of Messy Beautiful Love: Hope and Redemption for Real-Life Marriages and co-author of Reshaping it All: Motivation for Spiritual and Physical Fitness
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
We are a member of the Amazon affiliate program and regularly use affiliate links. If you purchase an item from an Amazon link we provide, we will receive a small referral commission. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. We only share books, music, and products that our writers personally have used and highly recommend.
Faith4 years ago
When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds
Motherhood4 years ago
Surviving a Strong-Willed Child
Faith5 years ago
7 Ways to Create A Family Altar
Friendship6 years ago
Beyond the Registry: The Ultimate Gift Guide for Expectant Parents
Relationships5 months ago
5 Ways to Teach Your Child to Hear God
Marriage6 years ago
4 Reasons I’m Not Facebook Friends With My Husband
Everyday Faith5 years ago
6 Simple Ways to Give Thanks in the Thick of It
Articles5 years ago
10 Ways Life is Like a Box of Chocolates
Articles7 years ago
How to Lift Up the One You Love
Relationships10 months ago
Facing Our Motherhood Fears
Digging Into Scripture2 months ago
How the Psalms Speak to Our Emotions
Articles8 years ago
June Cleaver Syndrome