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Allison Althoff
Allison Althoff
Natalie Lederhouse
Natalie Lederhouse

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May 10, 2013

This Mother’s Day, Make a List of Things You Resent about Your Mother

Oh, and then throw it away.

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When I was four years old, I got my left ring finger stuck in a belt sander. It sanded off my finger nail, and much of the skin beneath it. My mom made woodcrafts, and I’d been “helping” her while she sanded something down, cleaning off the sawdust from the table, the floor, and in a not-so-brilliant move, the powered-on sander. The cloth I was using to dust got stuck in the rotating belt, and my finger quickly followed. My mom turned it off as quickly as she could, and as tears rolled down my eyes, her soft, strong arms carried me from the basement up to the living room. We sat in the big pink chair in our living room for what felt like an eternity, my mom rocking me back and forth, holding a cloth to my hand, me crying, and eventually, her crying as well.

That’s the kind of mom she was, and still is. She felt my pain so deeply, it caused her pain as well. I’ll never forget that day, and the intense love I felt as my mom wept over me. I remember thinking that I’d never felt safer.

Continue reading This Mother’s Day, Make a List of Things You Resent about Your Mother ...

May 9, 2013

5 Tips on How to Parent Well

How to guide your children without controlling them

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We encourage our children to strive for achievement. We try to shield them from the dangers of the outside world. We're concerned for their emotional well-being. What's wrong with that? As my friend Barb passionately says, "It's our God-given responsibility to care for and guide our children." As Proverbs says, "Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching. They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck" (1:8-9).

But are there times when the best thing we can do for our children is back off? Dr. Grace Ketterman, a Christian pediatrician and psychiatrist, states that "your most important task as a mother is to enable your child to gradually become independent." But how?

Continue reading 5 Tips on How to Parent Well...

May 8, 2013

Overcoming ‘Mother’s Day’ Guilt

Kids mess up. Guess what: It’s not your fault.

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Recently while cleaning out one of my dresser drawers, I found one of the many “contracts” my husband, Gene, and I made with our daughter Katie to encourage better behavior and family relationships. Katie’s high school years were turbulent. I remember thinking one morning after she left for school: I wish we could have one morning that we don’t fight before she leaves.

Of course, I was the primary one in conflict with her. Her sisters tried to steer clear so not to upset her and be on the receiving end of a verbal jab. Gene didn’t clash with her like I did. In an effort to be a good mom, I tried to talk with her and pull out her thoughts and reasoning for whatever not-so-good decision she had made. I became her safe place to process her messy emotions in her messy way. I did my best to help her unpack it all and make sense of it. But often we clashed—big time.

Continue reading Overcoming ‘Mother’s Day’ Guilt...

May 7, 2013

Donald Miller on The Mentoring Project

The New York Times best-selling author on the importance of mentorship and his appreciation for his mother

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New York Times best-selling author Donald Miller grew up in a world of women—his mother, sister, and a nearby aunt—and recently spoke with TCW about the unique challenges of a fatherless boyhood. The voice behind Blue Like Jazz, To Own a Dragon, and more is thankful for his mother, aunt, and father-figures brought into his life at various points, and is currently sharing the blessing of mentorship and guidance with fatherless boys across the country through advocacy and training organization The Mentoring Project.

“Eighty-five percent of the men in prison grew up without fathers,” Miller says. “I'm convinced America's hope lies with the church stepping in to mentor the fatherless.”

The Mentoring Project
is a nationwide movement to support single moms and their children by providing practical support for single moms, providing basic needs including help with household repairs, for example—and other resources. Here’s what Miller had to say to TCW about the project, and his thankfulness for his mother’s influence in his life.

Continue reading Donald Miller on The Mentoring Project...

May 6, 2013

Conflict, Bitterness, and Resentment: Overcoming Fall-Out with a Friend

Negative thinking blinded me from seeing my friend as she really is

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I’m not one to confront conflict with courage. So I was not looking forward to meeting with one of my church friends last week. It would be no ordinary get together. No cooking experiments or shopping—it was a meeting to figure out why we couldn’t get along.

The conflict began innocently enough with a careless word that led to a misunderstanding. Now more than 18 months later, this unresolved hurt has festered into an unhealed sore, and it has tainted every encounter between us.

Continue reading Conflict, Bitterness, and Resentment: Overcoming Fall-Out with a Friend...

May 3, 2013

My Real-Life Beauty Sketch

I gave up makeup for Lent, and found I really am more beautiful than I think

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I’m more beautiful than I think. At least that’s what the Dove Real Beauty Sketches’ media campaign is telling me. All of this talk about natural beauty reminds me of my Lenten fast, when I gave up wearing makeup for 40 days.

Although Lent has passed, I’m still processing my experience. When I wore makeup on Easter Sunday for the first time in six weeks, I looked at myself in the mirror and thought I looked silly. I didn’t feel like myself. Over the 40-some days of going makeup-free, I had grown accustomed to my natural- looking face. I loved the simplicity of not putting on makeup in the mornings, and I had even begun to see myself as beautiful.

Continue reading My Real-Life Beauty Sketch...

May 1, 2013

Mental Illness and the Church: A Q&A with Amy Simpson

How the church can help debunk myths surrounding schizophrenia

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, an opportunity for all of us to learn more about mental illness, mental health, and how we can offer support to one another. Within the Christian community, this is also a time of unprecedented attention on the topic of mental illness, after the tragic news that Matthew Warren, son of high-profile pastor Rick Warren and wife Kay, died by suicide after a lifelong struggle with mental illness.

In honor of this month’s focus on mental health, we spoke with Amy Simpson, author of the brand-new book Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission.

Continue reading Mental Illness and the Church: A Q&A with Amy Simpson...

April 30, 2013

God is My Refuge and Strength

When our marriage went cold, my greatest source of comfort came from this passage of Scripture

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Last winter, as the snow fell and life became barren, my marriage followed suit. I can't pinpoint what changed. Perhaps it came from years of issues we thought were resolved yet really stayed just below the surface, ready to jump back to the forefront whenever we got into a fight. Maybe it came as a result of the fact that I was working on a big project that demanded more of my time and energy. Maybe it was the seven-year itch I'd heard others warn me about. I can't say. All I know is that everything in our relationship changed and I didn't like it. More accurately, I didn't like my husband. I voiced my complaints. Loudly.

My closest friends knew everything my husband said or did that most affected me. Allen heard all about my heartache and disappointment. He began to feel hopeless and his level of confidence plummeted. As my finger wagged and triggered his insecurities, he retaliated, unconsciously trying to bring me down to where I took him. We began our dance on broken glass.

Continue reading God is My Refuge and Strength...

April 24, 2013

Citizen Way: Love is the Evidence on Free Music Friday

Hear encouraging words from this band of brothers

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This band of brothers from Chicagoland have been on the rise the past several months as their debut single, “Should’ve Been Me,” has climbed Billboard’s Christian songs chart. This week, the foursome released their debut album, Love is the Evidence, which reached #5 on the iTunes Christian and Gospel chart. Ben and Josh Calhoun and David and Ben Blascoe stopped by for an impromptu concert at Today’s Christian Woman offices this week. Here’s an audio clip from their visit with us—an encouraging message for all Christian women:

Continue reading Citizen Way: Love is the Evidence on Free Music Friday ...

April 23, 2013

God is With Us in the Trenches

Why it's important to trust and experience God's presence in the midst of life's trials and tribulations

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I still remember my First Big Disappointment. While I'm sure there had been others—smaller things—before this disappointment, nothing stands out quite like not making the school play when I was in seventh grade.

I suppose it was because it was the first thing I'd wanted—rather badly—that I'd worked hard at, practiced for, tried out for, but been cut from. It was the first time I'd been told, essentially, "You are not good enough."

Continue reading God is With Us in the Trenches...

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