Some thanks to my brothers


Over the last few years, God has had me on a fumbling journey into ministry, marriage, and motherhood. I don’t have a thing for the letter M, really, it’s just that these three words hold so much weight because they have been the avenues God has used to shape me the most.

When I walked onto my Bible college campus in Cincinnati, eager and ready to study the Bible, one of my first meetings was with my academic advisor, who was there to help me select courses based on my proposed ministry goals. I enthusiastically expressed my desire to serve in ministry of some kind, maybe student ministry, and he let me know that it might be best to consider going into children’s ministry since not many (if any) churches would ever hire women for positions in student ministry.

I was shocked. I had never heard of this. My home church had women who served in ministry roles of all kinds, and I didn’t know some people thought women couldn’t use their gifts to minister to others because of their gender.

So I switched my major to music ministry because I could carry a tune. Then I realized I couldn’t figure out how to read complex music to save my life, and after many hours of struggling just to turn on the software to help me study music, I had a come-to-Jesus moment in my dorm room at 1 a.m., realized this was not my thing, and changed my major to biblical studies and general ministry.

Then something incredible happened. During my junior year of college, I got a phone call from my (new) academic advisor that a church in North Carolina was looking for a student ministry intern, and specifically wanted to hire a female to help grow their ministry to teenage girls. I went to visit, accepted the internship, and spent my senior year of college in a beautiful, southern town learning how to work in a church and ministry setting. It was a hard, brave, and beautiful year.

By far, though, one of the things I cherish most about that year was how much my two supervisors poured into me. They saw something in me that I couldn’t see yet, and they called it out when I was too afraid to pursue it. “You’re made for ministry,” they said, “and you have a gift.” I have to tell you very honestly that this terrified me. For all the right reasons, and then a lot of paranoid, made-up ones. I had heard some unkind things about my gifts and my gender going hand-in-hand, and it made me, at a minimum, nervous.

Something started that year, though, that gave me confidence. My student minister from high school wrote me a letter, too—encouraging and challenging me to keep pursuing Jesus and His calling on my life. I started opening my eyes and looking for the ways my brothers were encouraging women to use their gifts, and to my surprise, I found many.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, there’s a scene where Judge Taylor acknowledges a request that women and children be removed from the courtroom. While he denies the request, he says, “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” And while I can tell you a lot of stories about the things that have been hard, I can tell you more stories about brothers who have encouraged me, who have gone before me, who have defended me, who have challenged and respected me.

Maybe my perspective has changed, or maybe I’m looking for something different these days. Regardless, today, on International Women’s Day, I want to honor and thank my brothers. Your support, encouragement, and affirmation of the women you know and work alongside means so much, more than you know. Your voice is a loud one in this conversation, and the words you use to affirm your sisters in Christ are heard clearly. We are grateful to you, for the ways you push and challenge us to grow and follow Jesus, first, and to use the gifts He has given not for our glory but the glory of God and good of humanity.

Thanks, first, to my dad, who always pushed me to think critically and deeply. Thank you to my husband, Kyle—you already know all the words I can hardly find to express my gratitude for you. And a big, long thanks to my brothers in Christ: Todd, Jeff, Jon, Shawn, Jamie, Nick, Danny, Aaron, Matt, Jake, Petie, Don, Greg, Jim, Neil, Eric, Jared, Anthony, Jay, Brian, Brett, Dan, Paul, Ron, Taylor, Ryan, Justin, John, Nate, Travis, David, Mike, Tyler, Nathan, Sean, and Josh.

To my sisters in the United States: let us remember to be so grateful that we live in a country where we have the freedom to vote, to use our gifts and voices, and receive an education. We live in a time where we don’t have to choose between gentleness and leadership, where we can seek both hospitality and knowledge of God—a world where we can nurture the children God gives us and do work we love and supports our families. Let us be so grateful, and let us not forget our sisters around the world who do not have the same. May we use our energies to fight on behalf of the voiceless.

Happy International Women’s Day, friends, and a special thanks to my brothers.

listening, reading, and watching | november

What better way to usher myself back into blogging semi-regularly than to tell you what I’m listening to, watching, and reading? I’m almost always doing all three in some form or fashion, so this should be easy (and fun).

Listening to: 

I’m still on a steady diet of podcasts (here’s a great how-to guide of how to listen to a podcast if this is unfamiliar territory for you!) as I spend a lot of my free time driving, cleaning, or grocery shopping. Podcasts are perfect for these moments because I can press play on my phone, put my ear buds in, and enjoy a discussion on something that interests me while doing a menial task that would otherwise drain me. It’s like having your favorite radio program on demand. So, here are a few I’m loving right now:

Sorta Awesome with Megan Tietztumblr_inline_nrmritRh5e1tpy7v1_500
I love this podcast because it’s fun, entertaining, and conversational. It actually feels like you’re sitting down two good friends and chatting about everything from the deep to the ridiculous.

Here’s one of my favorite episodes with Laura Tremaine all about how to host an awesome party. Hint: it’s not about making everything perfect.


NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour
Another favorite from NPR, all about books, television, movies, and music. Here’s a recent episode that I particularly enjoyed, with a full summary of and commentary on Tom Hanks’ career. Do you consider him the mayor of Hollywood? In this episode, the hosts talk through what makes Hanks so relatable, and that most of his fame revolves around him playing warm and decent characters (with a few exceptions that didn’t work very well). If you like pop culture, you’ll love NPR’s pop culture happy hour.

In the Room with Ryan Huguley 1500x1500sr
This is a new-to-me podcast within the past couple of months, but I’ve enjoyed his interview style and the people he chooses as guests. Most of the shows are Ryan and another person he interviews, with discussions ranging from ministry, life, reading, work, etc. Here’s a recent interview I loved with Jen Wilkin from The Village Church in Dallas, Texas.


Here’s what’s on my book table this month:


Rising Strong by Brené Brown51K5xunS2RL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_
Is it annoying to tell you that I loved Brené Brown before she was cool? Well, I did, and I still do. Brené’s work on vulnerability, courage, and shame has changed my life. I’m reading this alongside a friend, so we’re taking it chapter by chapter. I’ve loved it so far.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway79873-cover
Do you have books you should have read by now, but just haven’t for whatever reason, and you’re a little embarrassed by it? That’s how I feel about most things by Ernest Hemingway. My husband is a huge Hemingway nerd, and for no good reason at all, I haven’t read much of his work. So I’m fixing that this year, starting with The Old Man and the Sea. 

Watching . . .

Well folks, prepare yourselves for boredom. I do not love any fall television this year. All of my shows ended last year–and yes, it was a hard year. I’ll push through, don’t worry, but let’s recap: Parks & Recreation, Parenthood, and Mad Men all ended last year. Those were the only shows I kept up with or made time for, and now they’re gone. While this has been good for productivity levels, it’s been a bit painful for entertainment purposes. So, ready for this?

Seinfeld p183875_b_v9_ab
Hulu released the entire Seinfeld series this fall, and we’re making our way through it. I had seen bits of Seinfeld growing up, as my parents loved it, but had never watched it all the way through. Also, Kyle and I might have dressed up as Elaine and Jerry this year, and we also won the award for “Best Overall Costume.” (I would share photos with you, dear reader, but my husband is intensely private and he married me, the poor guy. He has his limits, you know?)

So, that’s it! What are you watching–is there something I’m missing? What podcasts are you loving? And what book can you not shut up about? Let me know in the comments.

an update of sorts

Hi, friends.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I didn’t intend on taking a 9-month hiatus from this space, but back in March I moved into a full-time role at our church as the content director (which I love), so our family moved some things off our plate while we made the transition together. This corner of the internet has been one of them.

It’s probably no secret to you at this point that for the majority of my pregnancy I was wrestling with a lot of big questions about motherhood, calling, and work. I was asking questions about what to do and what was right and what was wrong, as if there were clear answers. After a couple of years into parenthood, I slowly realized that there is no “right” way to do any of it and that every family makes decisions based on who they are and what their reality is. This has been incredibly freeing for me as I’ve stepped into a new season as a full-time working mom.

One thing a fuller schedule magnified, however, was the lovely and painful reminder of my limitations. I can usually do about three things well at a time, and if anything else gets on that plate, everything else suffers. So, right now, my focus is primarily on our family, our people, and my work. Other seasons will allow for other things, but right now, a simplified and full life is what I’m chasing after and resting in.

Thanks for hanging with me. I’ll pop in again soon.Wilson-99

seeking God over parenting theory

photo credit: The Siners Photography

Hi friends. I’m over at The Lookout Magazine today talking about how in the early days of parenting, I tried to be a perfect mom and then eventually began to rely on God instead. Here’s an excerpt:

I had a conversation with myself this morning, and it went like this: “My son’s 20-month appointment is coming up. I should probably research what vaccines he’s going to get, but I’m seeing Jayla today and I need to remember not to talk about it because she is very offended about vaccines. 

“I wonder if he’s getting enough nutrition. He didn’t eat fruit last week and has declared war on vegetables. Maybe he won’t grow this year. What if he doesn’t grow? Must remember not to ask Betty about it because she’s a vegan and would die if she knew my kid was on a steady diet of chicken and more chicken. 

“He didn’t sleep last night. I wonder if he’s teething. Must remember not to mention that to Susanne because she believes in the attachment theory and would shame me forever if she knew I didn’t go rock him back to sleep.” 

That sounds like a fun conversation to have with yourself at 6:30 a.m., right?

Read the rest here.

from the archives: granola & glasses of milk

photo credit: The Siners Photography

When I was a new mom, my friends surprised me: they loved me in ways I didn’t know I needed. This is a post from the archives about what I learned about caring for friends going through postpartum after experiencing it myself. This conversation is by no means complete, so if you have anything to add–jump in the comments and let’s learn from each other.

Originally written May 13, 2013.

On a Tuesday afternoon, a week after Keegan was born, my phone rang. I recognized the area code, so I answered, hoping it would be someone with answers to something.


“Hi, is this Anne Wilson?”


“Hi, Anne! I’m one of the nurses from your hospital. I was just calling to check in and see how you and your baby are doing.”


“So . . . how are you doing?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? Honey, are you crying?”


“Oh, sweetheart. It’s going to get better. I wouldn’t go back to the first few weeks with my first for anything. I know it’s so hard right now, but it does get better.”

When? When does it get better?”

I was standing in my kitchen, letting the tears flow into the sink with water running, hurling down handfuls of granola, forcing myself to eat something—anything—that resembled nourishment and substance. I was in full-on-ugly-cry-mode, the kind that makes everyone in the room uncomfortable, and all I could think was, “When will this baby sleep?” I was exhausted, nerve-wracked, and recovering from a serious surgery. All my hopes and dreams of childbirth, nursing, and motherhood seemed to be laughing back at me and the only word that came to mind when I looked into my son’s eyes was simply . . .


Nothing was going as I planned. Nothing seemed to work. Where was this feeling of euphoric love mothers wrote about, spoke about, told stories about? I didn’t feel it; I could only think about sleep. And now that I know him, I so desperately wish I could go back to that time, stare that woman in the face, and say, “You can do this. All those people who say ‘it’s going to get better’? They’re not lying to you. It will.

A few friends have asked us since if there was anything that would have helped us through that time. And honestly, there isn’t. We just had to make it through. But, there are some words of wisdom I can share with those that are close to someone going through postpartum.

A few disclaimers: I am not a psychologist or a doctor. I write this purely as someone who’s been there, not an expert. Also, every woman is different. Some may snap out of it (like I did), and for some, it may linger for months, if not years. If you are close to a woman battling postpartum depression, be her advocate and delicately tell her if you think she may be suffering from depression. There is no shame in getting help.

1.    Love her well, and from a distance.
I don’t mean that you can’t go over to her house. I wanted to show Keegan off to the entire world. But try not overstay your welcome, as it can be very nerve-wracking for the new mother (and father). She’s just trying to keep her head on her body, and the added pressure of hosting a guest for a long period can be a little much.

2.    Be specific.
Most mothers I’ve talked to aren’t sure how to brush their teeth during the newborn fog. So when someone says, “Just let me know if I can help you!” it’s overwhelming and quite frankly, goes unnoticed. We know the intentions are genuine, but we don’t know what to say back. Instead, offer to do something very specific, like, “Can I come rock a screaming baby for you?” or, “Can I come do your laundry?” or, “Can I come clean your kitchen?” Then follow that with, “Give me a time and I’ll be there, no pressure to entertain me.” Then? Show up. One of my friends came over one morning, and after leaving her downstairs for five minutes, I came down to a clean kitchen and empty dishwasher. I could’ve cried. Another friend came one night while Keegan had been screaming 2+ hours and rocked him to sleep while we sat on the couch and stared at each other. Had we had the hydration necessary to produce real tears, Kyle and I both would have cried.

3.    Just go with it.
Your friend might not be recognizable to you for a month (or two, or three). Just go with it. You may go days (or weeks) without hearing back from her after you’ve texted or called. Choose not to be offended. Try to avoid comments (even joking) about how she’s “a little hormonal” or “going crazy.” She knows she’s not quite herself, and she wishes she was, and all she needs now is encouragement, love, and support. Save the jokes for a year from now. They’ll (most likely) be funny then. But not yet.

4.    Feed them.
During our first weekend home with Keegan, Kyle and I went an entire day without eating real food. No, we didn’t eat paper, but we chugged down glasses of milk as substitutes for food because we were that sleep-deprived. I was so grateful for all the people who brought us meals that took mere seconds to prepare. If I thought about it before, I would’ve drafted a letter to give each one of them about the meaning of food and how their gift was like a thousand birthdays. Because it was.

5.    Give the husband a big hug. And a cup of coffee.
I can’t speak to this because I’m not the husband, but from the wife’s perspective, I wish I could go back to that time and thank him so much more than I did. He did everything for us those first few weeks, and I didn’t have the energy to give him the thanks he deserved.

So there’s my non-professional input on how to help a friend who just brought a bundle of screaming love home from the hospital. She is going to be wearing different skin for a while, and that’s okay. Just go with it.

embracing the mundane

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset A few years ago, we were living pretty disconnected and frazzled lives. Kyle and I barely passed each other in and out the door each night, and we were beginning to deprive one another of companionship. When we had Keegan, we decided to make some significant changes in our family rhythms to create a slower life, and in doing so–we redefined the word “boring.”

I’m over at Today’s Christian Woman this week talking about how embracing the mundane has changed the rhythm of our family, and also my spiritual life. See the article here.

other heroes

Mommas who send your little people off to someone else while you work: I know the complicated feelings so well. If you’re anything like me, you feel a mixture of so many things when you drive away: guilt, shame, jealousy, pride, relief, and the list goes on. You possibly wonder if your child will grow up to resent you or love someone else more than you, and maybe—if you’re like me—you feel guilty for enjoying your quiet morning commute.

I want to pop in today for just a quick moment to say something to you, as a friend. I remember the first time Keegan ran to his babysitter instead of me. He saw her from across the room in a public space, and he started pointing to her, flinging his arms open to be held by her. I knew, of course, that this day was coming—and I had anticipated all kinds of guilty feelings for this day. But to my surprise, I was met with very different feelings–ones of peace, joy, contentment, and above all, gratitude.

Here's a picture of mine, by the way. He is loving his life.
Here’s a picture of my boy, by the way. Clearly loving his life.

Everyone wins when we allow other people into our kids’ lives. We win, and our children win. It’s okay that our kids have added heroes in their lives besides us; in fact, it’s good. Because no matter how many trusted adults we allow into their circles, we are the only ones who can be their moms.

So here’s my quick note to say: carry on, momma. Your little ones are having a blast. It’s okay if your little guy runs to someone else sometimes because no one can replace your role as his mom. We need other adults to love our children well in places we cannot, because we’re not perfect (or omnipotent)–and they need so much more than we can give. It’s really, truly good.