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.

a dress for date night (and a $75 giveaway!)

PinkBlush Maternity cute maternity clothes, maternity clothing, cute maternity dress, maternity boutique, maternity clothes, maternity dresses, trendy maternity clothes, pinkblush maternity, pinkblush maternity on Many Sparrows Blog

This little babe I’m cookin’ hit 31 weeks, and I’ll be honest: I’m feeling it. I’m to the point in pregnancy where most items in my wardrobe don’t feel quite right and changing from sweatpants to leggings feels like a victory.

With three kids and another on the way, Jonny and I usually collapse on the couch once the kids go to sleep. Evenings consist of PJs and Netflix, and date nights seem like a thing of the past. It’s tough to find the energy at the end of the day to go out together. It’s cold and wintery and it’s always a challenge to find the right babysitter.

But date nights are worth fighting for, even when you’re in your third trimester and you feel anything but beautiful. I’m so grateful for a husband who kisses me on the head and tells me he loves me when I’m eating ice cream straight from the carton, but I also yearn for that time away — just us.

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We’ve been planning a Valentine’s day dinner out for the past month — and I was super excited about it — until I remembered I have this ever-growing bump that adds another roadblock to the date night challenge. Why is it so tough to find non-matronly maternity clothes?

Thankfully, I stumbled upon PinkBlush Maternity, a cute (and affordable) online maternity boutique. I had a hard time narrowing down my favorites because there was so many cute pieces to choose from. I settled on a few, and then asked Jonny what his favorite was for our Valentine’s day date night. We settled on this darling black chiffon bell-sleeve maternity dress from PinkBlush Maternity.

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I love that I found a maternity dress that is super comfortable while still being stylish.

I paired it with a thrifted necklace and some Noonday Collection earrings, and some patent heels I’ve had in my closet for around five years. It’s amazing what a LBD can do to lift your spirits when you’ve been living in lounge pants watching your belly expand!

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Date nights are worth fighting for, and while real love goes way beyond a dinner out, sometimes we need a little nudge to feel beautiful and keep that spark alive, so I’m teaming with PinkBlush and PinkBlush Maternity to offer a $75 giftcard giveaway to their online boutique. There are so many stylish options for date night, and since they’re affordable, I’m sure you’ll be able to get more than one favorite item with the giftcard!

To enter, visit my Instagram. For Many Sparrows readers, you get more entries below, too! (PinkBlush has super cute non-maternity clothes, so even if you aren’t expecting, you’ll want to enter!)
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

the dangerous definition of love

Flowers What is Love What does God say Love is? Valentine's Day 2016 Many Sparrows Blog guest post

Everyone wants to be loved. And most people want to love others in return. But do we truly know what love is?

Today, my friend Katherine Henson is here sharing a guest post about love. Below, she so eloquently delves into the deep divide between God’s love and culture’s misshapen version of it. I’ve been married for 7.5 years, and her words were convicting to me. Katherine shares a bit of her love story, and then digs into scripture to discover how the creator of all things defines love. Believe me — this post will be healing for your heart.

Every where you turn, culture is giving you a “10 Ways to Know You’re in Love,” “The True Meaning of Love,” “Is He Really the One,” “Your Perfect Match Based on Your Zodiac Sign,” “How to Have a Love Like the Movies,” and so on. This culture has folded the corners, ironed out the wrinkles, and placed love in a tiny box with a red bow to hand out. Everyone an expert, and not single one afraid to tell you why you are not.

At some point, we all become victim to this “love-in-a-box” dilemma. We buy in, just hoping that forever is real and we won’t be alone in it.

I cannot think of a better way to depict cultural love than to look at my history of “love.” I can assure you that most of my high school and college years – okay, all of them – where a result of these ideals. There have been few who have come and stayed, let alone come and showed me I was worth a love without requirements. I jumped from relationship to relationship searching for something that might fill this every-growing void of worthlessness and need to be seen.

All I knew was that in order to receive you must give, give, give, and give. So I gave, gave, gave, and gave. Whatever they wanted. Then I waited. I am sure you can assume that the waiting was never satisfied. Not because I did not receive in return, but because what I received was not the answer or the essence of what I truly deserved and longed for.

It looked like this:

By now, she has trained herself to hold back, the good and the bad; little momentous, secretly sweet moments accompanied with forceful shadows. She knew not to disturb, after all, no one wanted to see the dirty and how dare she throw fireworks up in the air for her own good day.

At least, that is what she had come to know as truth. She had come to believe that in order for love to exist, life must fit within a perfect level of functional, folded precisely in her tiny box of a soul. Careful not to get too close to one extreme or the other, wading across the line, just hoping not to lose balance.

It took me until I was nearly twenty-three to understand that love was not about picking and choosing what to hand to someone else out of fear for what they might reject.

Now let me try God-defined love:

Love does not come from outward adornment, such as what we can give of ourselves to another. Rather, it should be that of inner-self. The mingling of a thousand heart strings with another.

God-defined love does not require one to deny reality of who they are – good or bad. There is no need to pretend to be anyone here, because this love says “I see you, and I love you” or “I am flawed, too.” Raw, unprotected, no gimmicks. No matter where we have come from, this love surrounds us with a sincerity of calm and force that reverberates through every bone in our body.

Here is the difference.

A cultural love is dependent upon a feeling rather than a commitment. A feeling that is, most often, fleeting or dependent upon what we may or may not receive. A Biblical love is a feeling, yes, but more so a commitment based on a personal choice.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Matthew 12:28-31

A cultural love depends on the other person, whether they are lovable or worthy of our love. Or, looking back on my ideal of love, what they can give us that benefits us. A Biblical love is again a choice; we can love the unlovely, the downcast, the simple, the faulty, the quiet. There is no greater example than that of Christ. Christ died for us while we were still enemies of God. He knew what was on the table, He knew the state of humanity, and He loved us anyway. He chose us when no one else would. He chose us when we had nothing to give, but a life full of sin and depravity.

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10

No record of who gave what, who did what, or who was right and wrong. This love is less about self and more about communion with another, a forever clean slate. It is about meeting the needs of another before asking for ours to be met.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5

Many times, the world’s idea of love is to love those who can further your career or those from whom you can get something that you need; this is not a Godly love. Biblical love is not limited to only the beautiful people, or the rich, or the successful. A love without regulations or limits. A mingling of grace and force reverberating through our veins.

Look at the lengths God went to to show His love to us. A love without limits to the extent that He gave His Only Son to show us such a limitless love.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17

Maybe at times the cultural love we see every day is more appealing, perhaps more rewarding in the moment, but there is no love in this world that could match the love that God has shown to us. That is the same love we are called to. Selfless, self-giving, built on a foundation beyond our own selves.

Our culture today has constructed an idea of love that is moving further and further away from true love that is found only in God. Trying to build a false reality of intimacy and truth. When it comes to love, humanity’s version is but a pale shadow compared to the truth of God’s love.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Follow Katherine on Instagram and be sure to check out more of her writing here.

what my toddler’s tantrum taught me

life lessons from toddlers motherhood advice Many Sparrows blog Kayla Craig

“Mommy, I NEED chocolate milk! Right now!”

I placed the baby in her swing and made my way to the kitchen.

“Can you ask nicely, buddy?”

“Chocolate milk, pleeeeeease?”

He asked as he ran to the fridge, swinging open the doors and standing on his tip-toes to reach the chocolate syrup bottle.

“I get it, Mommy!” My two-year-old declared as I reached inside, grabbing the milk.

I snagged a small plastic cup from the cupboard (why do we go through 100 every day?) and placed it on the table as my impatient toddler worked intently on opening the syrupy goodness.

I poured the milk (“A BIG glass, Mommy! BIIIIG!”) and took the syrup from his hands, squirting the liquid gold into the milk, a bit spilling over the side of the lime green IKEA cup. And that’s when it happened.

Threat level midnight. Meltdown of epic purportions. Sobbing and screaming that didn’t stop.

I sighed of exhaustion and prayed for an ounce of patience. “Bud, I’m making you chocolate milk. That’s what you asked for.”

“Nooooo! You’re not doing it right! Nooooo!”

Cue more sobs and me rescuing the brimming cup from flailing limbs. My attempts to mix syrup into soy milk were increasingly unsuccessful. The full-fledged tantrum was escalating quickly. It was only a matter of minutes before the baby — who had finally fallen asleep — would be awoken by her tornadoing brother.

I inhaled deeply, wearily eying my messy kitchen. Nothing I was doing was pacifying the eye of the hurricane, so I grabbed a dishcloth and started wiping the counters, stepping away to let the storm run its course. I tried tuning out the angry screams and flailing limbs.

After a few minutes that seemed like eternity, I felt two arms pulling my legs, a little head ramming into my shins.

“Buddy, WHY are you crying? WHAT do you want?”

I kneeled down and tried to pull out the ounce of patience I had left. Big brown eyes with tears around the rims looked up at me.

“I want you to hug me.”

That was it.

Cut to the heart, I scooped him up and held him close. He wiped his runny nose on my shoulder and his cries turned into soft sobs as he snuggled in. He twirled his fingers through my hair. I rubbed his back. His heart rate slowed to a calmer cadence.

I sat with my growing boy on the crumb-laden kitchen floor, rocking back and forth. I wondered how many times desiring to be seen, heard, and loved manifests itself in screaming, anger and ugliness from us grown-ups. How often does hurt show up as anger, loneliness as pushing people away?

How many times have I been the screaming toddler?

How many times have I glossed over others lashing out in pain, not seeing the hurt hidden in their hearts?

I don’t think my son even knew the needs tucked away in his little soul. He recently had to relinquish baby status to his little sister, and he’s aware another baby is on the way.

I kissed his forehead as the tears subsided, and we headed back to the table, together.

Sometimes it’s hard not to cry over almost-spilt milk.

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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 (5) and Asher (2). We're in the adoption process for a special needs little one and we're also expecting in April 2016. 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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