When Shall We Fold Socks?

I’m putting off laundry to write this. 

There’s always laundry. And dishes. And crumbs on the floor. I feel the constant pressure to do the next chore to keep the house in order. Then my child asks me to read a book. But, the laundry! 

This is when senior parents say, “Enjoy your children while you can! The laundry can wait.” 

It’s so well-meant. It usually comes from people who dearly love their own now-grown children and miss the sweetness of soft toddler snuggles, the warm feeling of a child pressed against you asking for one more chapter. They want to free young parents from the tyranny of maintaining Insta-perfect homes to enjoy their children. Read the book; the laundry can wait. 

Unfortunately, my laundry has already waited, and so have the dishes. If a young parent has expressed distress about the pressures of housekeeping and childcare, they have already let the dishes go. Eventually you’re out of sippy cups and clean underwear. 

Stress and overwhelm aren’t unique to parenthood, and neither is dismissive advice. We tell overworked friends, “Just leave work at work.” We tell lonely teens, “It’s just high school; you won’t care in a few years.” Unfortunately, being told “don’t worry” doesn’t solve our problems. 

Do Not Worry about Your Laundry

“Enjoy your children,” spoken to a parent who feels overburdened, or “Just leave it at work,” spoken to someone against a deadline, can feel like an added pressure. Not only must you meet your ordinary responsibilities, but you must also have a sense of peace or appreciation about it all!

And yet, Jesus taught his followers, “Do not worry”:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25)

Although it’s phrased as a command, the tone of this section of the Sermon on the Mount is not a burden laid on a shoulder already heavy with anxiety. Instead, it’s a gracious release. We don’t need to worry about even our basic needs, because “your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matthew 6:32). We are God’s children, adopted in love, redeemed at the dear cost of his Son’s blood. If God provides for the lilies and the birds, we can be assured that he will also care for us, his beloved children.

God provides for his children in many ways. A primary way is through the church body, the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. When we see another member of the body struggling, it’s a call to action. 

When explaining the vital connection between faith and works, James highlights the importance of putting action behind our words. “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?” (James 2:15-16). Jesus Christ is the ultimate display of this: He not only met many physical needs during his earthly ministry, but he also put aside his glory and laid down his life to meet our deepest spiritual need, atoning for our sins on the cross. Following his example and empowered by his Spirit, we are also to meet one another’s needs as we are able.

Telling young parents to enjoy their children, without also offering to help with the dishes, or telling a student to ignore hurtful remarks from classmates, without also helping them find a safe community, places the burden back on the suffering person. Instead, we are called to “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). 

Please don’t hear me wrong. Telling people to enjoy their children and suggesting healthy work/life boundaries are not bad things to say. Tone and timing go a long way in making advice land well where it’s needed. All I’m saying is, if you’re about to tell a young parent to let the dishes go, maybe be prepared to pick up a dishrag. 

But Seriously, Do Not Worry about Your Laundry

But Jesus really did say, “Do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’” or “When shall we fold socks?” (Matthew 6:31). Okay I added that last one. 

So if you’re the parent putting off laundry, or the employee under deadline, or the kid dreading school tomorrow, how do you just … not worry about it? 

First, take comfort. Your heavenly father knows your needs, and he cares about you (Matthew 6:32). 

Second, check your motives. Jesus tells his followers to, instead of worrying, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). Do you want to keep a clean house because you want to feel good about your own ability to do it all? (That’s my hand raised, it’s me.) Or do you want to keep a clean house because God has placed this home and this family in your care, and you want to serve them well? 

When our eyes are set on the kingdom of God, our measure of success changes. The cleanliness of the house takes second place to whether my kids see the gospel in me as I love and serve them—which includes providing a safe and comfortable home. Meeting the deadline takes a backseat to doing your best work, not for man but for God (Colossians 3:23). Getting treated badly at school will always feel awful, but it becomes an opportunity to model grace in a setting where people expect cruelty. 

Finally, use your resources. God has promised to provide for you! Now, God doesn’t always play by our rules. He may not provide a maid; or an extension; or a comedic series of harmless accidents that leave your bully hanging from the school flagpole by a wedgie, leading to a heartfelt reckoning where enemies become friends. 

God has provided a community in his church. All those people who told you to let the dishes go might just be willing to scrub a pot because they know from experience how precious it is to spend time with your kids! They’re only little for a little while, so I’m told.

Asking for help is hard, both logistically and in principle. We live far apart from one another, often siloed in our single-family homes. Our culture prizes independence and personal responsibility; we don’t dig around in other people’s private lives and problems, and we expect the same from others. That’s not God’s model for his body! 

Immediately before he laid down his own life for his bride, Jesus washed his disciples’ dirty feet and instructed them to serve others as he did. Asking for help gives others the opportunity to serve like Jesus.

Photo credit

Links for the Weekend (2022-10-21)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Keith & Kristyn Getty, Rend Collective – Rejoice

Here’s a new song from the Gettys’ newest album. The song is called Rejoice.

A Call to Raise Daughters Wise to Domestic Abuse

It’s easy to chuckle at the macho threats of a father against a man who wants to pursue his daughter. It’s much harder to do the more loving and wiser task—helping young women learn how to spot men who might be likely to harm them.

You cannot predict future abuse, but being informed about abuse dynamics can help you discern if a man is characterized by concerning tendencies. An abuser’s heart inclines him to see his life through a lens of entitlement, and thus to see others as either assets or obstacles to the desire he’s supposedly entitled to. Where it gets dangerous is when he uses his influence and strength to diminish the influence and strength of those under him to get what he wants.

How can I be sure I’m saved?

Here’s a short video from Ligonier Ministries giving a wise answer to this common question.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called God’s Work and Our Work, Hand in Hand. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!

Thanks to Phil A for his help in rounding up links this week.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (2022-09-09)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Money’s Not the Problem

Paul Tripp reflects on problems that we have with money, and what those problems can tell us about deeper matters.

Your financial life is always determined more by the desires of your heart than by the size of your income. To the degree that you ask money to provide for you what it was never meant to provide, to that degree you will find it very hard to be careful and disciplined in your use of money. Money can’t buy you a satisfied heart, money can’t buy you peace and happiness, and money can’t buy you a reason to get up in the morning. Money isn’t meant to be your source of comfort when you are hurting or of hope when you are feeling discouraged. Money can’t and was never intended to give you life. To ask money to do any of those things will always lead to money troubles.

The Messy Home of Blessing

Raising children can be really hard. This article reminds us why that hard work is worthwhile, despite what others might say.

Whenever God gives a child, he’s entrusting us with a precious and eternal heritage — a new life that will never end, and that, Lord willing, will grow to change and shape the world in all kinds of ways (maybe even having children of their own). Their impact on eternity will easily outweigh whatever work the world holds up as more meaningful and consequential.

Jesus Wants You to Know You Are Weak

Even Christians need to be reminded that there is no such thing as self-reliant Christianity.

Why highlight this point if we are already gospel people? Because we need constant reminders. Jesus reminded His disciples that they were already clean because of the word he had spoken to them (John 15:3). This motley crew of ragamuffins didn’t have it all together and neither do we. We are so forgetful. We often do our devotions and move into the workday as though the weight is completely on our shoulders. We treat our vocations, our hobbies, our parenting, and sometimes even our ministries as though we don’t really need much help. We’re like the adopted child who keeps trying to prove to his parents that he is part of the family.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Caroline Higginbottom called Toward Mending a Divided World. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (2022-03-25)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Don’t Expect Instant Gratification from Your ‘Quiet Time’

Jen Wilkin has some great reflections on our expectations for devotional time. Read the article to catch her memorable analogy of a debit-account approach versus a savings-account approach to devotions.

If you have ever walked through the valley of trial, you know what it is like to find years of faithful deposits bearing dividends. A patient, long-term approach is key. The Book of Ezekiel may not fix your day, but it may just sustain you in a lengthy trial if you give it your quiet times. The formational profit of spending time in the Word is more likely to emerge over 15 years than 15 minutes. 

Excellent Parenting is Remarkably Ordinary

Parenting advice is no magic potion, and yet we can learn wisdom from those who have gone before us. In this article, Brad Hambrick shares three simple parenting encouragements that we all probably need.

Yet, when you talk with an adult who is fond of their parents and grateful for their upbringing, their stories don’t sound exceptional. Their parents of these well-adjusted young adults don’t come across as Jedi masters who daily dispensed profound life-changing proverbs. Their weekends were not filled with epic family vacations. The “moments” we want to create as parents are not usually the focal point of what these young adults appreciate most.

To Ben on World Down Syndrome Day

Andrea Sanborn wrote this tender celebration of her son Ben for World Down Syndrome Day. She included some great pictures, too!

You changed our understanding of worship, of prayer. Of faith. Yes, and of the goodness of God who loves the weak, the wounded and the marginalized.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Turning Thanks to Praise. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!

Thanks to Maggie A for her help in rounding up links this week!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (8/20/2021)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Reflections from Week One of an Empty Nest

Jared Wilson writes about the next stage of life and ministry as he drops his youngest off at college.

One thing I keep coming back to in the midst of my nostalgia about my kids’ youth — and, admittedly, in my niggling fears about things I did wrong or at the least could have done better — is that watching your kids grow up and leave the nest is kind of the point of parenting. Sending them out was the goal all along. I do hope of course that our kids remain close to us relationally throughout adulthood. But our job as parents was not to coddle them into codependence with us, but to raise them to love Jesus and neighbor, to train them to be mature grownups. All of the raising in the home and the church was training for their followship of the Lord outside. That was the whole point. It’s silly to run the race to the best of your ability and then begrudge the finish line when it approaches.

Does the Book of Proverbs Over-Promise?

How should we think about those proverbs which don’t seem true in our experience? Are the Proverbs just probabilities, or is there something more going on?

We will partially see these promises in this life—that is, unless God calls us to a higher form of blessing. But, in Jesus, we will see them fully in the next. No one has ever lived the conditions for these promises more perfectly than Jesus Christ, yet God called him to something higher than mere earthly prosperity.

Six Dangers of Podcasts

John Piper offers some potential dangers associated with listening to podcasts. (Of course, the dangers are offered on a podcast, so there’s that.)


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (7/23/2021)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Moms and Dads: Show Your Need

Here’s a profound reminder of an important parenting truth: our children will learn much about how much they need Jesus when we show them how much we need Jesus.

If the true north of our parenting is drawing our children to God, there is nothing more powerful at every stage than showing them that we desire God every bit as much as we want them to. If a healthy parent-child relationship is characterized by trust, vulnerability is a must. Few things strengthen trust in any relationship more than entrusting the other with intimate stories of our failure and hurt. A parent-child relationship isn’t exempt from this reality. Discretion is undoubtedly needed. A child should not be asked to wield burdens too heavy for them. And yet, withholding our failures from our children stunts our relationship with them and their relationship with God in profound ways.

Seem or be?

“Do you want to seem holy or be holy?” The question driving this article is a vital one for us to consider as we pursue growth as Christians.

The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill

This podcast series from Christianity Today is ongoing. Its subject is the late Seattle megachurch Mars Hill and its controversial pastor Mark Driscoll. It helps to explain a lot about the modern American church.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

I Am Not Enough

When my son was born, due to stay-at-home orders we had none of the external resources we had planned to lean on. Play dates and church programs for our daughter, housekeeping and childcare help for us, even parks and library outings disappeared overnight. 

It was just Zack and me—and we were not enough.

We were not enough to be the sole source for our two-year-old’s social interactions. We were not enough for the bottomless needs of a newborn. I struggled and usually failed to live out the fruits of the Spirit while tired and stressed. Of course, we had never been “enough,” but before we could hide behind all the things we used to supplement our own parenting. 

It’s crushing to know as a parent that you are not enough for your kids. 

A Sufficient Grace

Paul also confronted his own weakness, a mysterious “thorn.” He pleaded with God to remove it, but God did not. Paul wrote:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9–10)

When we are not enough, God’s grace is sufficient. God’s grace is sufficient to preserve my kids through hardship and loneliness. God’s grace is sufficient to forgive my failures, like when I snap at my kids because I’m just done with today. And by God’s grace our weakness makes room for the power of Christ to fill us with the ability to serve and give and love when there’s nothing left in us. 

We are not called to hide our weaknesses or project an image that we’ve got it all together. Paul says he boasts of his weakness, because that makes it clear it is Christ at work, not himself. 

A Sufficient Gospel

God working through weakness sits at the core of the gospel. Paul points out in the following chapter that Christ himself “was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God” (2 Corinthians 13:4). Christ became weak, so weak that he died, and through his “weakness,” God demonstrated his power to save. 

We can lay at Jesus’s scarred feet the places where we feel we are not up to the task. Jesus doesn’t ask us to be enough; he asks us to lean on him. Much like God gave Paul his thorn, he places things in our lives—like pandemics and newborns—that we are unable to handle. These things drive us back to the cross, reminding us that we do not live by our own strength but by Jesus’s power through the Holy Spirit. 

*Record scratch*

There’s a rub here: Some days I still find myself feeling spent by 11 a.m., and Jesus has yet to show up to watch my kids while I take a nap. What does it mean to live in the power of Christ in the day-to-day? 

A lot of prayer, for one. Prayer has (at least) two benefits. One, you truly are soliciting supernatural help from the Lord of the universe. Two, the act of praying leads you to rehearse the truth of the gospel. I find myself repeating back to God his own truths, like God’s patience with us and Jesus’ boundless sacrifice. Bringing these truths to mind can put your own struggles in context and lead you to have more patience with, say, the sixth time you’ve asked the toddler to put on socks. Totally hypothetical example.

God also placed us in a community. It was hard to take care of my family without support—because God designed people to need one another. Christians individually and the church collectively are God’s literal hands and feet in the world. It is unlikely that Jesus will personally show up to do my dishes. But he might remind me that my soapy hands are being used to serve the tiny neighbors in my home, just like Jesus’ pierced ones served me. 

In those early weeks of my son’s life, I felt numb with the truth of my own inadequacy. God had placed more on me than I could handle, and it was crushing me. While I could have happily gone my life long without such a stern reminder, I have also never seen so clearly that every step was not in my own strength. God—in his mercy!—places overwhelming circumstances in our way, not to cause us to rise to the occasion, but to drive us, like the crack of a whip or the sting of spurs, to himself.

Photo credit

Links for the Weekend (7/31/2020)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

You Will Regret Giving In

We who belong to God often do not take sin seriously enough, and we therefore don’t fight against temptation with all our might. Garrett Kell provides four strategies to combat temptation.

God rarely touches our lives in such a way that we stop loving some long-ingrained sin immediately. But as we fight sin and pursue him, he changes our affections. We begin to love what he loves, and hate what he hates. Our confidence in willpower fades, and our hope focuses on Jesus, who was tempted and yet resisted in all the ways we have not (Hebrews 4:15).

The Mission Field I Never Expected

Rachel Wilson had grand visions of working for the poor or oppressed or enslaved around the world. She didn’t know God would have a far different calling in mind for her as the mother of two children with special needs.

For those of us who are mothers (and fathers), God wants us to esteem the field he’s given us. It’s not a tiring distraction from the true mission field we should be tilling; these are our people, for us to reach and for us to be trained and transformed as we do. Not only that, but in our giving, as we willingly lay down our lives, he smiles on us, because as Christ explained, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40, NIV). All the sacrifices, the diaper changing, the feeding, the dealing with meltdowns—they cannot be worth it if they’re just for our children. But they’re not. Ultimately, they are a perfume poured out for him.

How to More Wisely Consume News

We have more news—and more options for consuming the news—than ever before. How should we as Christians exercise discernment in this area? Bryan Weynand writes about virtues of wise media consumption and then offers some practical steps.

Still, as much as the media landscape is a minefield of misinformation, manipulative clickbait, and partisan rants, good journalism remains. Finding it requires intentionality and discipline, yet it can guard us against a frenzy that undermines our ability to trust anything. To this end, I believe it’s helpful to assess media sources through a grid of biblical virtues.

J. I. Packer: A Personal Appreciation from Ray Ortlund

Influential writer and theologian J.I. Packer died on July 17. Pastor Ray Ortlund wrote about the lasting marks of Packer’s ministry.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Erica Goehring called I Have Stored Up Your Word in My Heart. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (6/19/2020)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Of Oceans, Thimbles, and Talking to Your Kids about Death

When death is in the news—at it is during the time of a global pandemic—it may be a good opportunity to talk to our children and grandchildren about death. This takes care, of course, but Alasdair Groves shares a truth he learned from his mother that will help. He also passes along very practical advice about talking to children about death.

So especially if you’ve never talked about death with your kids before, I’d encourage you to find a time soon to ask them what they are thinking about the coronavirus, death, and what scares them about it. Few things are more comforting to a child than knowing that it’s ok to talk about their fears. (It’s ok to share your own fears, too.) Even if you’ve talked to them about death before, it’s still a great time to look for, or even create, chances to have open conversations about the biggest problem any of us will ever face and the Good and Gentle Shepherd who laid down his life to rescue his sheep.

White Flags in Peru: How the Church Is Caring for Coronavirus Victims

I hope you’ll be as encouraged as I was reading this article. I love to hear about God’s miraculous provision and his church’s loving care of people in need. This article describes how a church in northern Peru is helping its community handle both food and medical emergencies related to the coronavirus.

The operating conviction for ongoing action in our homes and community is not only that God is a good and faithful Father who provides, but also that prayer is the power that moves his heart and hand. In our home we began daily prayer meetings to seek God’s favor and provision for our family, church, and community. It was not long before generous donations began coming from unexpected people and places. In a time when we should have been struggling and paralyzed, we moved forward in boldness with the ability to provide for and encourage more than 400 families with over 600 bags of food.

The power of reading…slowly

Tony Payne shares how the shutdown of COVID-19 has forced him to slow down in some important ways. In particular, he writes about how using a different (and older) translation of the Bible has helped him to notice details that escaped him in the past.

There is no question that the NIV is easier to read, just as white rice is quicker and easier to cook and goes down more smoothly than brown. And just as there is a time for white rice, so there is a time for simpler modern translations (such as reading aloud in church). But chewing over the RV has enabled me to metabolize the riches of God’s word more slowly and appreciatively.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Right-Now Blessings of the Kingdom of God. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (5/15/2020)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Quarantine Exposes Our Need for Grace

Joshua Zeichik relates some of the frustrations he’s encountered when working from home during the pandemic and some of the sinful ways he has responded. He turns to James 4 to show us how to take inventory of our hearts when we get angry.

The tendency in all of us, when we feel the pressure of not getting what we want, is to get frustrated with those around us. But when we see that kind of response come out of our hearts, we should realize that God is being gracious with us to reveal an area to grow in.

A Six-Part Teaching Series on Parenting

In 2011 Jen and Jeff Wilkin taught a six-part parenting class at their home church in Texas (The Village Church). The sessions are filled with humor and biblical instruction on how to be intentional with the gospel. Parents of children of all ages will find encouragement in these lessons.

Critique Gently, Encourage Fiercely

Scott Sauls writes about loneliness and how we can find family by belonging to a local church.

How do we experience loneliness-slaying love in the midst of imperfect, messy community? It has been said, “Be kind because everyone you meet is fighting a hard, hidden battle.” As we limp toward transparency and community and friendship with our own fears and insecurities, we recognize that we aren’t alone. We are all much afraid. We all feel more insecure than confident, more weak than strong, more unlovable than lovely, more irredeemable than redeemed. When we see that we are not alone, we can reach out to one another. Don’t underestimate the power of words.  While shaming words can take courage out of a soul, encouraging and affirming words can put courage back in.

Thanks to Maggie A and Phil A for their help in rounding up links this week!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here.