The Opportunity of Discipline

Author: Kimberley Mulder

I hate having to discipline my children. I hold awkwardly and begrudgingly the parental authority that has been given to me. There is nothing that causes my heart to sink faster than my children’s disobedience and disputes. I can be in a fantabulous mood all day but when that door bursts open and in tumbles a wailing child followed quickly by a yelling one it feels like a massive vacuum suddenly sucked away my mood and energy. Honestly, if I am not careful this scenario can wrench my attitude into despair and discord for the rest of the day. It is in these times that I am seeing the situation as a burden rather than the opportunity it is offering.

What is the goal of discipline? Certainly good citizenship is a goal, as is building good habits. However, these are lesser goals. The great goal of discipline is to teach us to trust God. This is true whether discipline is enforced from outside (think parenting), or internally adhered to (think self-discipline). To keep our relationship with God healthy and strong he instituted an intertwined dance of trust and discipline. Every sin is, in some way, a distrust of God; discipline was meant to guide us away from the lies we believe and back to the heart of the One who loves us.

Kimberley Mulder DisciplineDivine discipline strikes me as art. God gets His message across to us, His disobedient children, in so many ways. Reading the Bible as a standard is a two-dimensional reading of a three-dimensional text. The dimensions of God’s discipline are so deep and high and loving, so personal that the receptive child will feel the gentle pressing of His words in the scriptures, and have it bring out conviction like a hologram that has turned to reveal the picture. At other times, in love that we cannot understand, He abruptly blocks a path like a shutter capturing a black and white image.

Imagine the Father painting His discipline throughout history. The base layer is the creation of the Israelites and the ten commandments, then throughout the Old Testament He adds the foundational characteristics through particular sudden strokes (like Saul’s downfall in 1 Samuel or Jeroboam’s legacy of war because of his idol worship in 1 Kings.) The prophets add depth to the horizon as they envision God’s desires and cry out to the Israelites to return to God. But when Jesus walks onto the canvas the picture becomes alive and complete. The details are added as the broad strokes of the old covenant are built on and covered by the fine, personal, lines of forgiveness.

Jesus touches and teaches individuals that it’s the heart the Father is trying to reach through discipline. He doesn’t want outward conformists and inward sinners. In John 8 the Pharisees ask him how to discipline the woman caught in adultery. But Jesus tells these conformists: “Let any one of you who is without sin throw a stone at her.” This masterful stroke drives right into their hearts. Then he deftly highlights the beauty He is painting with the finishing stroke of forgiving the woman.

So, as a parent, I want to emulate God’s purposes in my discipline. The trajectory of all my efforts is not to make good kids who will obey all the rules. Rather, it is to develop their trust in God above all.

Discipline Kimberley MulderI want them to trust me too, which means I must be trustworthy. Are they seeing and feeling that I have their best interests in mind? If I am reacting, then I don’t have their interests at the forefront. Do I listen to them carefully, giving them space to be heard? Do they see me making every effort to be fair? I hope they will reflect on their growing up and see that the consequences I placed on them were part of what shows my trustworthiness and God’s. This is a lot to embed into the hot scenarios that we encounter daily with our kiddos! That is why it is so important to spend time intentionally thinking and praying about our discipline strategies.

For some of us we need to see the discipline in our childhood as our Old Testament and let Jesus lead us into living his new covenant as we discipline our kids. Do you react harshly wanting to simply squelch a behavior? I confess, I do at times because of my upbringing and lack of intentionality. However, Jesus doesn’t squelch, ever. He probes into the pain and sin, illuminates, addresses and then extracts it with his truth and forgiveness. He does it in a way that draws us near, not pushes us away.

If you struggle, as I do, to allow Christ to renovate your discipline, I encourage you to intentionally address it. Certainly pray and read the gospels to gain insight into Jesus’s way. Seek out classes on discipline that are grounded in His way. Talk to parents who you have witnessed disciplining with grace and wisdom. Employ forgiveness. Learn to evaluate your response before you execute it. My oldest sometimes gets frustrated with me because I take too long (in her view) to answer or discipline. I remind her that I need to take the time to carefully process the situation with Jesus so that I don’t react in a sinful way. And when I do riff off a reactionary consequence to her (always to damaging effect!), I have gone back to her and apologized. Then we evaluate what an appropriate consequence would be for the situation.

Let’s internalize God’s loving discipline and intentionally learn the art of building trust through the opportunities that the disobedience of children and others bring to us.


2016-11-02 13.10.06Kimberley Mulder is a contemplative at heart who deeply enjoys the company of Jesus in the day-to-day of caring for her family of 5 (plus a dog and a cat), teaching English to immigrants, growing her garden, and writing. Currently, her walk with Jesus is taking her more deeply into writing as she leads a spiritual formation group at her church, and records the reflections and connections Jesus gives her to share with others.  She treasures the truth that God’s Word does not go back to him without accomplishing the purpose for which he sent it, and that that Word is embodied in our lives. (Isaiah 55:11)

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When We Hear of Another Mass Shooting…

Vegas. In the middle of the dry and the desolate, man has crafted a place where lights and golden-gilding cover luxurious arch ways ushering people into glossy portrayals of Dante’s nine circles.

In timeless, windowless, oxygen-infused casinos where multisensory stimulation waits around every corner, it is easy to forget both sun and moon, and just keep going, eyes wide, watching the continuous show. Until the sins everybody thought would stay there creep too close. On the night of October 1st, 2017 evil preformed its deadly dance and shot across the sky stealing the breath of over 50 people.

500+ injured.

Thousands traumatized.

Another mass shooting.

I want to ask “When will it stop?”But I find that to be an unanswerable question. For I have learned this truth—I live in a fallen world.

image2I was a senior in high school the year the Columbine Tragedy shocked the nation and infected people with a new brand of fear. It was like nothing I had seen before. I remember sitting by the television, still, shaken, and unsure. What? How? Why? I went to school the next day, finding myself cowering from the group that wore trench coats, and looking at my classmates with suspicion. It hadn’t required courage to walk into class the day before; this day it did. Still numb, I listened to my favorite teacher as she lamented the tragedy with tears and placed her hands protectively over her pregnant belly. She had to be asking herself, would she be willing to die for us?

Ten years later, I stepped up in front of my first class as a student-teacher, and I had to ask myself the same question. By this time, running students through lockdown drills was common practice, so I instructed them on how to hide in case of a gunman. I remember assessing how many students my body could shield. I am not naturally morbid, but as a teacher I needed to know how I would protect the students entrusted to me? Whether this is asked of our teachers or not, many consider this part of their job.

Before Columbine, it seemed that gang members were the gun carriers to be afraid of, terrorists seemed far away in other countries, and schools, churches, and movie theaters felt safe. And now, we risk developing a callous on society’s collective heart as we accept the mass shootings as an unavoidable reality. We clutch our chests, breathe out a helpless, “Again?!” Then we move on, because we just can’t handle the depth of the carnage of innocents gunned down.

The secluded white male young adult has become the face to fear, and he is everywhere. But again, in this label, I think we have it wrong. The problem isn’t a group, racism, or a religion. Nor is it gun control, mental health, or bad parents. There is chaos created by these things, but they are just symptoms of the deeper problem: evil. A problem too big for humans to address. This is why we feel so helpless to make it stop.

I hope for legislation that might actually be productive, but I won’t be writing laws anytime soon. I will vote, but I will also do my best to make the most of my time. I am determined stand against evil in whatever way it presents before me.

If Christians are to be lights in a dark world, we must stop fighting against each other, and every little piece of culture that threatens our comfort. We need to be who we are through Christ—righteous, more than conquerors, and carriers of the good news that offers a choice of who we will serve.

A good God or an evil world? On which side will we stand?

image1 (1)There is a war going on: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.-Ephesians 6:12

When we forget that this unseen battle is being waged for souls, the works of those submitted to wickedness stuns us. When we are forced to remember that evil is real, let it remind us to fight harder, love deeper, and pray continually. I have no answer for “When will it stop?” I trust that victory will come, but I do not know when. In the mean time, I pray for those mourning, I refuse to harden my heart, and from the depth of my being I cry out “Have mercy Lord Jesus.”


chara-donahue-head-shotChara Donahue can often be found with her nose in a book and coffee in hand. She enjoys freelance writing, biblical counseling, and speaking to women when her four kids are out playing with dad. She holds a MSEd from Corban University and is passionate about seeing people set free through God’s truths. She is a regular contributor at iBelieve and her words have appeared at Christianity Today’s Women Leaders,(in)courage, Patheos, and The Huffington Post. She longs to be a voice that says, “Hey we are in this together, and there is room for us all.” You can find more from Chara at One Anchored Voice, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

This post was adapted from and earlier version first published at Venn Magazine

Messy Learning

One of my biggest surprises when it comes to parenting is how non linear it is. I always imagined that once I taught my child something, that we could just move on to the next thing. That once she learned the alphabet song,  she would always know it and we could build on that. It’s been much messier than that. She might know the alphabet song for a time and then months later “Q R S” have mysteriously disappeared and been left out entirely. Not to say that my children never retain anything, but it requires so much more relearning and repetition than I expected.

Messy Sarah ClewsPredictably, I also expected my walk with Jesus would be more linear. Instead I find that the more I know Jesus, the more I realize what a mess I am and how short I fall. Those lessons in humility I hoped I had learned in my early 20s? I find I’m learning them all over again. I’m so thankful that I am in relationship with a God who acts as a loving Fatherloves me just as I am, and meets me right where I am.

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 (NLT)

It was one thing to try and live a life honoring to God when I was single, with no kids, and very few financial responsibilities. Now, the stuff of life—financial strain, three small children, exhaustion, surgery (4 in the last 5 years!) recoveries, job shifts, changes in friends/community— chips away at my fragile veneer and reveals my own selfishness and controlling tendencies. When some of these props are taken away or changed, I find that I’m often just a hot mess. But in this mess is exactly where God is working.sarah clews mess

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6

God won’t give up on me. And he’s not expecting me to have it all together. In fact, He is most glorified when I admit what a mess I am.  Each time he says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”(2 Corinthians 12:9)

So I bring him the untidiness, shambles, and mishmash that linger within me and ask, “Teach me again, Lord Jesus.”


sarah-c-squareSarah Clews is a wife, mother of two little girls, and prolific reader. She received her BS from Corban University in English and still loves writing. She helps her husband run their martial arts school, and in her free time, enjoys sewing, experimenting with makeup, and reading blogs.

Messy No Longer

Scrubbing. Dusting. Washing. Vacuuming. If there’s one extra-biblical theologically-sounding statement my family believes in, it’s “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” With three dogs & four humans, our house can get messy. Even if it’s been less than a week since cleaning, the dirt and grime stealthily builds up.

Messy Sarah DohmanI dread the beginning of the whole process, but I love the end result. There’s nothing like a clean toilet and uncluttered surfaces. I truly admire a dust-free house, even if it only lasts a few days. There’s something triggered deep within my soul when the weekly chores have been completed. I can rest in knowing I have a window of time to enjoy the clean sparkle.

Much like my admiration for an unsullied household, there’s something to be said about a washed life. This world is in a recurrent state of mess. Violence, natural disasters, broken families,  and there are even parts of my own heart that are just plain ugly. Can I tell you how grateful I am for Jesus, fixer of the broken things? Healer and redeemer of all the messy and unlovely.

Jesus, lover of my soul, lived a perfect life. He always directed his followers back to God the Father. And in his utmost and flawless timing, he gave up himself on the cross so that there could be an end to all the mess and stains that separate us from God. Isn’t that incredible?

Peter, one of the early church fathers and a disciple of Jesus, shares,

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action,and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”-1 Peter 1:13-21

Sarah Dohman Messy (2)We were “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers.” Our uncleanliness, this separation from God was and is multi-generational. This is a perpetual cycle of sin that can only be ended by the perfect blood of Jesus. Jesus’s death and resurrection conquers all. He takes the mess in our hearts and wipes it clean. We are not required to clean ourselves up over and over as we come to God, but can rest assure that Jesus finished the work that has ensured our holiness. He washed us with His blood and it removed all filth.

As the world aches, and our hearts wane, I am praising God for his son. His clean, pure, holy son. Who looks at my mess and says, “I love you anyway.” Let’s not waste any time trying to scrub ourselves clean. It’s exhausting and futile. Instead, let’s kneel at the feet of the One who loves us at our worst. Jesus can and always will be able to handle our disarrayed lives, and transform them into something beautiful.


sarah-dohman-squareSarah Dohman is a nurse, kayak enthusiast, coffee addict, microbrew lover, globe trotter, adorer of friends and family. She has a weakness for donuts, runs in 5k races, and cannot get enough tea and books. She loves writing more than talking (and she talks a lot), can be seen at Target frequently, and is loving life in her thirties. She believes God has called her to this space to bring joy and encouragement through words to friends and family, near and far. You can find more from Sarah at her blog or on Twitter.

August Printable: My Strong Fortress

As the summer days begin to wane, schedules fill and life begins to find familiar rhythms. If this shift in seasons feels overwhelming,  Psalm 18:2 is a good place for your thoughts to rest. Sarah Dohman has provided this free printable for you, so that you can have a visual reminder of where true refuge lies.

Psalm 18 2

Click here to download your free printable!

July Printable: A Watered Garden

Here in the middle of summer people can begin to feel emotionally parched, but the Lord can satisfy. Sarah Dohman wanted to remind us of where the water for our souls come from with this month’s free printable.

“The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11

May the word of God water your roots so that you may bloom into whatever comes next.

Click Here to Grab Your Free Printable!

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The Legacy of Adoption

Author: Kimberley Mulder

My daughter was born and abandoned. This is a fact I cannot change. It deeply affects her sense of the world and herself. She, nor I, can separate ourselves from this legacy—as painful as it is. In fact, disowning or denying it equates to putting a rock in a crack to create a path, only to find that the rock pushes the sides apart. Then we are left with a greater divide.

I too was born into a broken legacy. Adam and Eve brought forth this terrible break from the Provider of our needs, both physical and spiritual. We cannot separate ourselves from that which our forbearers passed on, nor can we change it, nor prevent continuing it, for that is a fact of the world until God’s kingdom comes fully.

Care and ConnectionWe are sure to leave a legacy of need. Even beyond our physical, cellular level which clamors for touch, food, water, and shelter, our spirits are born with a screaming cry for care and connection.

God sees. God foresees. God made a way to rescue us from our old legacy not by removing our needs, but by meeting them.  God changed our legacy by adopting us, giving us Himself, all His loving care, and all His delight.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!” -Psalm 33:12

So Jesus came within our legacy of need and brokenness. Fully human and fully God, He experienced His spirit’s cry for connection. Each of his prayers a cord stretching across the gap connecting God and man. Each healing another cord of love drawing God and man together. Each teaching another cord of revelation of God’s heart to man. Then God wrenched those cords tight, drawing the sides together, closing the gap humanity’s fall had created. With the might of his self surrender and self sacrifice on the cross Jesus met our greatest need. The temple curtain ripped, the day turned to night, and God suffered so that we no longer had to. He gave us a new legacy.

Adoption LegacyTo live into our new legacy we must still walk honestly through the old legacy—with Jesus. The more I bring my needs to God, or allow him to excavate them in order to meet them, the more I am able to say with words and actions to my adopted daughter: “I see you. I want to meet your needs so that you can feel safe and worthy, to be with you in the legacy you find yourself.” As I do so, I am entering the legacy of Jesus—the legacy of love, healing, and connection, and I am, with every prayer and participation in every healing, drawing the cords of loving kindness across the crevice in my daughter’s heart so that she too can grab hold of the legacy Jesus holds out to her.


Readers, How has your legacy been redeemed? Tell us in the comments.

2016-11-02 13.10.06Kimberley Mulder is a contemplative at heart who deeply enjoys the company of Jesus in the day-to-day of caring for her family of 5 (plus a dog and a cat), teaching English to immigrants, growing her garden, and writing. Currently, her walk with Jesus is taking her more deeply into writing as she leads a spiritual formation group at her church, and records the reflections and connections Jesus gives her to share with others.  She treasures the truth that God’s Word does not go back to him without accomplishing the purpose for which he sent it, and that that Word is embodied in our lives. (Isaiah 55:11)

Free Anchored Printable: April

April showers have been raining down and we are happy to bring you a hope-filled free printable of our theme verse designed by Sarah Dohman.

“We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” Hebrews 6:19-20

 Hope. Some might be unmoved by the word hope. It can be thought of as theologically soft, or seen as a foolish ideology. Hope isn’t frilly, passive, or weak, but it is fierce, active, and central to everything Christians believe, but we often need to be reminded of its strength. That God has given us the hope that He has conquered sin and death and made a way back to Him through His son Jesus Christ as the anchor for our soul.  We love our readers and pray this month’s printable be a reminder of that.

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Click here to get your free printable!

Peace and Forgivness for the Restless and Angry

Author: Linda L. Kruschke

 I feel a pang of anger each time I see a Facebook post or Internet meme stating that abortion is murder. Not because I disagree. I do not. I am angry, because I didn’t know until it was too late.

These calls to save the babies are important, because what one doesn’t know can kill. I know now that babies can have a heartbeat as early as 4 weeks after conception. I know now that 20 weeks after conception they can feel pain. It is even possible for a baby born after only 23 weeks gestation to survive outside the womb.

abortion-crisis-pregnancyThe doctors and nurses at the clinic where my abortion was performed didn’t share that information with me.

I’m angry that they didn’t provide me with choices or give me the opportunity to make an informed decision.

I’m angry that they didn’t ask how I got pregnant. I was raped, but that didn’t concern them.

I am angry that the pro-life movement spends so much time focusing on the babies that they often forget the women (or quite often young girls) who have been traumatized by the abortion industry.

I’ m angry that the supposed pro-choice movement in this country often denies the facts from women facing crisis pregnancies.

I believed the lie that an abortion was the only answer to a crisis pregnancy.

I could stay angry, but I feel God’s Spirit remind me that anger and vengeance are not mine. What is mine is forgiveness. And when I focus on God’s forgiveness, knowing He understands my regret and desires to heal my broken heart, peace begins to grow.

This is when I realize that God hasn’t called me to try to change the hearts and minds of those who are pro-choice or to condemn the methods of those who are pro-life. What God calls me to do is to bring His message of mercy and forgiveness to women. Women, like me, who have endured the trauma of abortion and sometimes feel like there will never be rest for their soul.

Peace is offered in Jesus, who died to pay for all our sins, including aborting the lives of our children. He will forgive all. His forgiveness binds the broken heart.

abortion-forgivness-hopeAre you among the millions of women who have had an abortion because you believed you had no other choice? Were you pressured by your boyfriend or husband, or perhaps even by an abuser? Were you single, with insufficient income to care for a child, and felt there was no other choice? Did you see your whole life’s plan ahead of you, a plan that didn’t have room for a child, and were told you had no other choice?

Do you live now with regret and heartache over the child you aborted? Do you struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts but don’t know why because you’ve buried the guilt over your abortion so deep you aren’t even consciously aware of it? Do you long to be closer to God but somehow feel that you will never be good enough for Him?

Dear one, you are not alone and you are loved. You are not the mistakes you have made and the wrongs you have done. You are loved by God and He desires to heal your deepest pain and hurt, to bring you forgiveness and peace. You only need to lay this burden—a burden that is much too heavy for you to bear alone—at the feet of Jesus. His truth and love will set you free to live in His peace.


Readers, If you have experienced the pain of abortion. We are praying that you will find the growing peace that Linda has experienced through Christ. He hides us in His righteousness and sees our failings no more. There is great freedom and hope in Jesus.

lindakruschke-at-kyrasLinda L. Kruschke is a wife, mother of one young adult, sister, aunt, friend, recovering lawyer, and follower of Jesus. She is the author of two poetry books — Light in My Darkness and Rejoice! Rejoice! — both available on Amazon.com. She blogs at Another Fearless Year  about faith, life, and whatever else comes to mind. In her spare time she enjoys reading, listening to music, traveling, playing ball with her dog, and cooking delicious meals for her family. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

An earlier version of this post first appeared at Another Fearless Year.

Renewed Strength

I have been in a season of constant minor sickness amongst my family. Be it a common virus or my children having a bout of Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, it never seems to stop. It is one thing after another during these winter months, and honestly I feel isolated which gets depressing at times. I have needed to skip out on events that I would have loved to be at, not been able to see the faces of friends I love dearly, and let my husband go to things I no longer can, so that my children and I can rest. I know I chose rightly, but alas, often find myself feeling lonely.

Losing physical strength from being sick, even with a common cold, can cause me to reflect on life in an interesting way. I want to feel better, now. I want my kids to be better, now. I refute the persistence of the waiting process, because I feel like I miss out on life. In fact, I even sometimes succumb to despair and wonder if we will always be weak and never get better. Full health and capacity never to be seen again.

Then I reflect on this amazing passage from Isaiah:

renewed-strength“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31

I am reminded of where the renewal of strength truly comes from. It is not just from being at peak physical health, because that can quickly fail me. It does not come from a fun night out with my friends or husband, because the next day quickly approaches. It does not even come from a week long vacation in Hawaii even that can be totally exhausting.

True renewing strength, the kind that lasts and upholds us through to the end, can only come from God. Nothing that the world has tried to offer me as the cure to my weariness reaches beyond the moment and into the eternal places. Time with my Lord, and true devotion to Him, is what gives my soul strength to press on and take heart.

strength-renewedI run to my savior in prayer, telling Him every worry and desire that is in my heart. I long to hear from Him in those desperate moments; I long for Him at every moment. So I spend time reading His word and drawing on the timeless truths that He generously gives through the Bible. I look for Him through the colds and chaos and find He is bigger than it all.

Receiving strength from the One who knows the depth of my weakness, He who created the whole world, the Savior who cleanses my heart, only here do I find the renewal that will last. As this passage in Isaiah says, He gives power to the faint, and He increases our strength. Our bodies will grow weary, yet He can make us soar. Truths like the one found in Isaiah encourage me when I feel like giving up and  awaken my desire to turn to the God who sustains us for all of our days.


britney-squareBritney Bradley loves being a wife to her loving husband, Brian. She is mother to 3 girls (so far) Ruby, Cora, and Lily, as well as auntie to 8, and friend to many. She has always dreamed about marriage and motherhood, and is now navigating God’s will each and every day in these realms. She enjoys writing when she gets a chance, and of course, coffee.