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.
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
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.
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 is messy. My hope is that my words + stories can be an encouragement to you in your parenting journey.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So where does that leave me?
If I want my boys to be messy and brave, then I need to be messy and brave.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
As we celebrate Mother’s Day, I think about the wisdom nestled into this African proverb.
I look at this photo of women living across the globe who fight cultural oppression and opposition to farm coffee beans to provide for themselves and their family, and I remember. I remember that we were never made to do it alone.
Jesus said the greatest commandment is this: To love God, and to love our neighbors.
Love. God. Others.
This seemingly simple statement changes everything.
Our hearts. Our families. Our neighborhoods. Our world.
I think about the mothers around the world, doing the holy work of parenting and emotionally and physically providing for their families.
About the universal truths of motherhood, as well as the experiences and struggles that I honestly can’t begin to fathom.
Later this month, my friend Britt, a fellow busy mama of little ones, is joining a team of runners to participate in the first-ever Run Across Congo, supporting, celebrating, and empowering women and mothers in farming communities.
“The Congo means so much to me because my son is Congolese. Kai came into our family through adoption two years ago. (I’m an advocate for family preservation and adoption should always be the last resort). What a better way to fight for family preservation then through advocating and raising funds and awareness for women to have sustainable incomes?” Britt says. “I want to do something help the people of Congo develop sustainable jobs and make positive changes in their communities so families can stay together. This also helps children stay with their families, which creates less orphans.”
I first connected with Britt because her son Kai has sickle cell anemia — just like our son Joseph. Her beautiful family (Surfers! Can you tell?) also opens their home through foster care. They’re truly living out the Kingdom of God, and it’s beautiful.
“We are running for women in the Congo — mothers and widows — who are all raising families and hoping for a bright future through a sustainable job such as coffee farming, ” Britt says.
The Run Across Congo, a 7-marathon, 7-day expedition, will raise awareness and funds for the inspiring female coffee farmers, farming families, and cooperatives working toward gender equality in the region. Britt is running the Great Lakes region of Africa for 185 miles, visiting villages and farming communities with organizing partners, On The Ground and Twin, which have existing relationships with coffee cooperatives and local officials.
“Running is a great way to advocate for any cause — it gets your attention. I’m running this distance because the people of DRCongo mean so much to me. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to raise awareness and funds for these women farmers to start up a sustainable business for themselves and for their families,” Britt says. “DRCongo is a war-torn country and is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman. A lot of these women are raising children alone. With a sustainable business such as coffee farming, they can feed their families, send their children to school, and pay for medical care.”
Awareness and funds raised from Run Across Congo will have several long-term impacts, including gender equality and women’s empowerment programs, creating access to knowledge, land and income beyond coffee. Funds will be used to empower and educate female farmers to run their own lives and businesses and create a brighter future for coffee communities affected by civil war in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Funds will go three places:
- To women coffee farmers. “The funds we raise will go to purchase coffee trees, land use, and advocacy in country. The DRC is very gender biased when it comes to purchasing from women. Women selling coffee beans for instance at the market are passed over. We will be working with our partner organization in the Congo called Twin, who will help with the advocacy part on the ground in Congo,” Britt says.
- To the purchase of sewing machines for widows of soldiers who protect Virunga National Park. You can find the documentary Virunga on Netflix. “Rebel groups often poachers come into the park and poach endangered mountain gorillas. Oil companies have their eye on one of Congos most precious resources,” Britt says. “These soldiers risk their lives to protect this land. These soldiers killed leave behind families.”
- To a hospital. “Lastly, we’re funding the expansion of a hospital where women and children walk for up to four days come and seek care for sexual abuse. Congo has the highest amount of rape then anywhere in the world,” Britt says.
For Mother’s Day, we have a chance to enter into this opportunity to provide mercy, compassion, and empowerment to mothers and families around the world. It’s a privilege and honor and joy to loving one another, and this is an incredible opportunity to love in a very tangible way.
Please consider joining me to support Run Across Congo, and pray for Britt, and all the women she is running for.
“The Congo became part of our family forever,” Britt says. “I’m running for family.”