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Many Sparrows | You are worth more. {Motherhood. Faith. Style.}

Hi, I'm Kayla.

I’m happy you’re here. I’ll go first: I’m a full-time journalist turned work-at-home writer. I’m hitched to a shaggy-haired pastor and we’re smitten with two wild + crazy boys: Joseph (4) and Asher (1). I drink strong coffee, I like pretty things, and I believe there’s beauty in the broken.

I hope this little space will encourage you to find worth and live a story worth sharing.

Let's do this.

What is Many Sparrows?

This little corner of the Internet aims to encourage women, spurring them on to find worth and live a story worth sharing.

God tells us He cares about the little things — even down to a teeny, tiny sparrow. And if He cares about a little bird, how much more does He care about us — who are worth far more than many sparrows? Let’s dwell in the truth that He loves us with an arms-stretched-out kind love. Let’s rest easy, knowing we’re valued, loved, and worth more than we can even fathom.

I’m a person who’s blemished and blessed. All good things in my life flow from Jesus. My mission is to reflect his generous, grace-filled love with all my heart, soul, and mind. I’m passionate about shedding religious cliches and living an authentic, Kingdom life. Sometimes I get frustrated and often times I fail. I’m a work in progress.

Find Your Worth & Live a Story Worth Telling

Faith

My heart is to use this corner of the Internet to make much of Jesus. To use my words to reflect the creator of all things who gives extravagant grace, who radiates beauty and light in a very dark world.

Style

I’m a mama of two little boys, and sometimes I just need a space to talk about things like shift dresses and wedge booties and dry shampoo. Let’s share our secrets, shall we?

Motherhood

Motherhood is messy. My hope is that my words + stories can be an encouragement to you in your parenting journey.

Happy Thoughts

Couldn’t this world use a little more joy? Whether I’m recounting a sweet story or sharing a book review, maybe these little posts will bring some happiness your way.

all of God’s children

#prayforcharleston All of God's Children Jon Foreman Hope Racism Many Sparrows Blog

That sweet boy up there? That’s my beautiful son who hasn’t yet experienced the dirt and pain of this world.

Sometimes, I can’t write. The crushing burdens of this broken world feel like they’re physically pushing down my words.

#icantbreathe

Because no paragraph can speak into the pain. Where do I begin? I’m just me. My voice feels false and weak and part of the problem, not the solution.

The problem is systemic and hidden and personal and overt all at once.

The problem is racism.

The problem is a word that everyone is acquainted with but no one wants to touch.

Not me. Them, sure, but certainly not me.

Couldn’t be me.

But it is. It is me. It is you. It is all of us.

Nine of my brothers and sisters in Christ were shot in God’s house because of the color of their skin.

This is not okay.

This pervasive culture of violence. The vile sickness of polarization. The bigoted stench of racism.

Not me. Them, sure, but certainly not me.

Couldn’t be me.

But it is. It is me. It is you. It is all of us.

I want this world to be better. I want everyone to know the deep and high and wide love of a God who came to earth as the least of these to bare the burdens of the weight none of us could on our own.

Among the shards of hurt, I have to believe in a hope.

A hope in a Creator who says, I made her. I made him. I made you. I love you. I love him. I love you. She is worth everything. He is worth everything. You are worth everything. I love her so much I will enter into her suffering. I love him so much. I love you so much. I will make things clean. And you can join me.

Are you really ready to pay for love if it costs you everything?

I’ve been listening to Jon Foreman’s new album The Wonderlands: Sunlight and when his song All of God’s Children began playing, I couldn’t stop listening.

Would you listen to this song? Listen and pray and listen some more? Listen to our brothers and sisters who have been shouting for so long, waiting for someone to listen.

I want to say, not on my watch.

I believe in a God who cares down to the last detail — down to the teeniest, tiniest sparrow. So I will care, too. I will use my voice and my hands and I will try. I will try to leave this world more united — more woven into the grace of God’s Kingdom — than how I entered it. I need to do this for my children. My family. My brothers and sisters in Christ. My tiny place in the Kingdom.

Peace on Earth.

On Earth as it is in Heaven.

May we be reconcilers. May we be people worthy of the calling.

Not me. Them, sure, but certainly not me.

Couldn’t be me.

But it is. It is me. It is you. It is all of us.

When the things that you can’t hold onto
Are the ones that you wish you could keep
Are you really ready to pay for love
If it costs you everything

All of God’s children
All of God’s children
Shining underneath
Shining underneath

I believe in a world that’s beyond me
I believe in a world I ain’t seen
Past the glass
The shotgun shacks
The violent, faceless, racist facts
I believe in a world that’s made clean

All of God’s children
All of God’s children
Shining underneath
Shining underneath

Underneath these scars
Underneath these wars
Underneath the bullet holes
We still don’t know who we are
It’s shining underneath

Oh I’ve been waiting for love to give birth
For new life to show pain it’s worth
Oh I’ve been waiting for peace on earth

Like a newborn child,
Like a newborn child
Shining underneath

Is there a well that won’t run empty
Is there a friend that can’t be bought
Will you find him when you’re thirsty
To learn the lessons that can’t be taught

All of God’s children
Shining underneath
Shining underneath

the conversations we need to have

nature-sunset-person-woman

In light of all that’s trending online right now about a certain person coming from a conservative, extremely large family, my heart has been heavy.

I have no interest writing about pseudo-celebrities or drudging up drama. And I certainly don’t want to use the pain and suffering we see in the news as click-bait for my blog. That’s not what I’m about. What I am about is using this little corner of the Internet for good. I want to share my heart and reflect God’s big love, and in this season of motherhood, I want to encourage other parents walking this road, too.

Which is why I’m going to talk about something: Abuse. Specifically, sexual abuse in children.

Honestly, I hate typing that out. I want to put my head in the sand and live in a world where it doesn’t exist. But as a parent, I’d be failing miserably if I did this. Because abuse does exist. Statistics show it’s real, it’s prevalent, and it needs to be talked about. One in five girls will be a victim of sexual abuse, according to the Crimes Against Children Research Center. A 2003 National Institute of Justice report found that three out of four adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well. This is not okay. We need to bring things to light so we can take action against it happening again.

Experts believe statistics, as shocking as they are, are probably even more devastating due to underreporting. (I have heard friends, family, and church members, and my heart breaks for the pain you’ve suffered — a lot of times very secretly. This pain crosses generations and race and economic status and largely isn’t talked about. I think of you brave women (and men) all every time I read another sensationalized article, and I want you to know that you are loved and being hurt is never, ever your fault. Ever. If you’re the parent of a child who has been abused, I’m so sorry either of you ever had to experience these horrors.)

I think about the time I was a college student church volunteer, leading a small group of 6th grade girls, when one sweet girl started sobbing, sharing how she was repeatedly abused by her father, who was now in jail. She felt like she had to forgive him and wanted me to tell her how. I had no idea what to say or what to do.

I refuse to sit by. I can’t put a bandage on the world, I know, and I can’t always protect children, but there are things I can do — and you can do — to help create a safer, better world for the most vulnerable. I’m not a trained therapist, counselor, or social worker. I have no expertise, only the belief that we can do better. As parents, we have a pivotal role to do everything we can do create safe environments for our families.

I keep coming back to four pieces of the puzzle:

  • Children need to know surprises are okay, but secrets aren’t. A few months ago, I read this short article written by a mother and counselor outlining a simple way to be proactive against abuse — no secrets. We’re trying to intentionally bring this up in conversation with our four-year-old and two-year-old. First, we talk about safe touch and about what to do if something happened. Then, we talk about how secrets aren’t okay. They can and should tell us anything. Surprises, like for a birthday, make people happy when they find out. Secrets are meant to be kept quiet forever and they’re often meant to make sure people don’t find out something that would make them sad.
  • Children need to be empowered. When we raise our kids in a culture to be “seen and not heard,” we’re fostering a shame-based system that devalues our children’s voices. We can teach our children to have manners, but we also need to teach our children to say no to older children and adults in compromising situations, too. We need to create interactive relationships, and sometimes talk about awkward things, because when we are open to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly, we help create safe and trusting bonds, allowing our children to talk about the good, bad, and ugly, too.
  • Children need to be raised in cultures of respect. Raising children in home and church environments where boys are encouraged to take charge and violence is celebrated is dangerous. When children see that it is good for only men to make decisions, and only men to be in charge, we create an environment where girls learn to be submissive and quiet their voices. When this happens, we unintentionally create a culture that leaves room for boys to hurt girls, leaving victims to feel shame, and to be silent about it.
  • Children need to be seen. I have the privilege of staying at home with my children in this stage of life, and as the weather gets warmer, we’ve been spending a lot of time at the park. I’m all for my children getting to explore without a mom helicoptering around, but I also make sure I have eyes on them at all times. There are some children who we see frequently in our small town park who break my heart. They are young (5-7) and often alone. There have been things they’ve said or done that give me an inkling things aren’t great at home, and they often want to explore the outer edges of the park, out of my line of sight. My children are young and will follow others, so I need to be diligent that they’re not following others into park bathrooms alone, even if it could be innocent. I don’t want my son exploring the church basement alone with an older child, even if that older child was “raised in a Christian home.” There are boundaries and while I want my kids to be free to roam and explore, they need to do it in safe ways.

There’s so much more to say and that could be said. We need to talk about keeping children safe at church. We need to talk about keep children safe with friends. We need to talk about keeping children safe with caregivers.

We need to talk.

Being a parent isn’t easy, but I know I need to be part of the conversation. And that’s why I’m listening to those who know more than me, and trying to use my voice, too.

Further reading:

i want to raise a generation…

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I want to raise a generation of kids that are free.

I want my boys to explore. To be adventurous.

To ask questions, to look at things and wonder why and why not.

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I want to raise up a generation that isn’t afraid to get dirty.

I want my boys to never lose their sense of wonder. I want them to dream and think and do.

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We seem to live in a world where it’s okay to be little, until it’s not.

We create boxes and raise inhabitants for those boxes.

I don’t want that.

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I want my little ones to see life as an adventure.

To dig their hands into creation and to use their dreams and thoughts and words and actions for good.

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I want my boys to know that it’s okay — good even — to ask questions. To venture off the beaten path when their hearts are lead elsewhere.

I want my boys to be thirsty for adventure — even if that journey takes place in their own backyard.

I want to raise children who are bold. Who are brave.

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A billion books are stacked on shelves in stores around the world telling us how to be the perfect parent.

Pages on pages outline parenting philosophies. What’s better. What’s best.

I’m just a young mom of two young children, but here’s what I know: We set the course for our adventures.

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As a mother, I get to hold the map and point out the treasure.

What my boys see in me will — for better or for worse — help them develop their own sense of self. Their own take on the world.

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So where does that leave me?

If I want my boys to be messy and brave, then I need to be messy and brave.

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As parents, we need to let our kids be little.

We need to inspire and encourage them to be the unique, amazing little people they were created to be.

So here’s to more adventures. The big ones. The little ones.

We’re not just raising a generation — we’re changing the world.

It may get a little messy, but it’s pretty beautiful, too.

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all free clear generously sponsored this post, which I’m so thrilled about, because as you can see — my brood is quite messy.

We’ve actually been using all free clear since Asher was born, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. It’s 100% hypoallergenic — and the #1 recommended detergent brand by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians for sensitive skin.

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I love using the mighty pacs — they’re tough on stains, yet gentle enough for our little ones.

We’re also fans all free clear new liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets — Asher has sensitive skin, and has never had a reaction to any of the all free clear products.

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In fact, all® free clear detergent (liquid and mighty pacs), fabric softener and dryer sheets have received the National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance™.

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Hop on over to all free clear’s Facebook page (there may even be a coupon floating around).

Now, let’s go on an adventure.

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hi, i’m kayla

I'm a full-time journalist turned work-at-home editor. I'm hitched to a shaggy-haired pastor and we're smitten with two wild + crazy boys: Joseph (4) and Asher (1). I drink strong coffee, I like pretty things, and I believe there's beauty in the broken. I hope this little space will encourage you to find worth and live a story worth sharing. Join me?

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