05 Dec 2013

Why your boring days matter (and your photos aren’t ordinary)

There’s a special invitation at the end of this post…..be sure to keep reading.

Perhaps what mothers struggle with the most is the feeling of insignificance.

So much of what we do is simply a repeat of what we did yesterday. The dishes, the laundry, the bed making and toy picking up. Making the meals and cleaning them up again, waking kids up and putting them back to bed.

It’s life stuck on repeat.





Where’s the significance in that?

My story starts there – with a belief that to be significant you needed an important job title and business card and preferably no kids messing it all up. I trained as a corporate attorney and then spent two and a half years working as a legal specialist in an anti-human trafficking program with the UN in Ukraine.

I had arrived. I mattered. I was significant.

And then the most unexpected thing happened – God called me out of the work I thought I was born for and into a passionate desire to encourage moms. And in the process I’ve become convinced that the work of a mother who’s up at 2am with a puking child is just as significant to God as the work of rescuing women from human trafficking

We are raising tiny humans. We are modeling sacrifice. We are championing the next generation. We are showing up when we don’t feel up to it and we are brave because of it. Motherhood is a kind of super hero power. Perhaps all the more so because it is so seldom recognized as such.

We don’t get business cards or monthly raises or year-end bonuses. But we do get to document a lifetime of transformation – we are witness to first steps from toddler years all the way down the aisle of marriage and beyond.

Maybe the most important thing I’m learning from motherhood is that there’s nothing routine about the routine. In the dark and the tired and the everydayness of a life lived on what feels like repeat I have started to feel it —the weight of glory, the glorious  ordinary that is a gift to us who are knee deep in a world where it can sometimes feel like we have lost all the parts of ourselves we used to know the best.

Enter the God who names every part of who we are and what we do significant. Because “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

In the eyes of that God there is no part of our everyday, wash-and-rinse-and-repeat routine of kids and laundry and life and fights and worries and play dates and aching budgets and preschool orientations and work and marriage and love and new life and bedtime marathons that Jesus doesn’t look deep into and say, “That is mine.”

In Him all things hold together.





I’ve got it wrong a hundred times.

I’ve lost my temper, my mind and my favorite jean size.

I’ve caterwauled and threatened to quit and wondered if I was up for the challenge when the finish line keeps moving and there is always one more load of dishes to do.

But we do what we do. We load those sippy cups and the words that need to be said again and again and again. All the “I love yous” and the “I’m sorrys” and we start over and we forgive and we bend lower and remember that leadership in a family is uniquely tied to followership of a Gospel that says the first shall be last and comforts mothers when bad days happen because His mercies are new every morning.

What you experience as the same thing day after day after day is every brand new morning and new memory and new start for your kids.

And you are mighty because you mother.

Because you mix raising tiny humans into the chaos of a life spilled out on business development, or your etsy store, the law firm you started or the art studio you opened. You say yes and open your arms and create wonder for a five year old the night before you have to be at that big presentation.

You go all in even on the days you are right done in.

You mother.

You are the deeper meaning in the rut of routine.

You are the art in the landscape of ordinary.

And this makes you super extraordinary.

And incredibly significant.

Your exhausted, brilliant, beautiful, ordinary, amazing love.

Today I’m joining with singer/songwriter Cherie Norquay to recognize that love. To capture that love. To bottle that love for the days you feel anything but lovely. She’s written a song called, “Your Love,” that is based on the text from the children’s song “Jesus Loves Me”… in fact her youngest daughter sings the chorus near the end of the song in the recording. You can listen by clicking here – or on the special preview she created for us below.


To kick off the album in early 2014, she’s creating a music video using photographs that depict the kind of love that is “priceless”… you know the kind of love that we all long for… unconditional love …so close to mother love, parent love, family love. The love that is always an ever echo of Christ’s love that first loved us.

Cherie’s a long time blog reader here and a new friend. She’s a mama and an artist and she asked me if I’d invite you all to consider sharing your photos, your Jesus loves me this I know – because of how I love my kids, my husband, my grandpa – kind of photos in the video.

As a reminder to all of us, that there is nothing ordinary or boring about that kind of love.

Click here if you’d like to share a “this is what love looks like” photo for Cherie’s “Jesus loves me this I know” video project.

You’ll need to add it to a special Flickr group we created and you’ll note there’s a release for permission to use the photos in the rules to join the group.

And the first 50 people to upload a photo and leave a comment below telling me they did will receive a coupon code for a free “The Art of Motherhood” DayBrightener from (in)courage (does not cover shipping).

I cannot wait to see your photos and how Cherie’s celebration of your ordinary, extraordinary love turns out!





{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    I’m in. Just uploaded photos — ones that remind me that Jesus Loves Me and my growing-up little ones, too!

  2. 2

    I posted two photos. Can’t wait to see the final product!

  3. 3

    I tried to submit a photo but wasn’t able to create a yahoo account because I don’t have a mobile phone. Is there an email address I can send a photo to, instead?

    • 4

      Hey Sara, you should be able to sign into Flickr with a gmail account as well – they offer that option too. Would that work?

  4. 5

    What a great project! I uploaded a pic and left a comment on Flickr. Thanks!

  5. 6
    Sahsha Kochanowicz says:

    I’ve been trying to post pictures.. and chose to upload in group- but they aren’t showing yet… Hopefully they just have to be approved first maybe??

  6. 7

    I uploaded a photo. This is a beautiful idea.

  7. 8

    I sing this song to my babes every night with their names in it. Left you three photos:) {themrshuggins).

  8. 9

    I left a photo! :)

  9. 10
    Sahsha Kochanowicz says:

    got it to work now.. :)))

  10. 11

    I uploaded mine! :-) yay!

  11. 12

    Just loaded our recent family pictures! Anxiously anticipating the arrival of our twins from Africa! It was beautiful to look through the already posted photos!

  12. 13

    What an amazing idea. Can’t wait to see the video.

  13. 14

    I left a photo Thanks for the opportunity!

  14. 15
    Kit Jordan says:

    Hi there, just shared a photo with the group! Thanks a bunch

  15. 16

    Just uploaded a photo — so sweet to see others’ additions, too!

  16. 17

    Amazing and beautiful, blessed to be able to share my photos! :0)

  17. 18

    lovely. I left 2, but I don’t need the gift. (Minimizing!) Please pass on the blessing. :)

  18. 19

    I uploaded a couple of photos. What a neat project! I loved looking through all the other beautiful photos.

  19. 20

    I uploaded a photo…love this! :)

  20. 21
    Kathie Steele says:

    Fun project! I added a couple pics of my cutie :)

  21. 22

    Oh my you can’t know how much I needed to read this today. I struggle SO much with feeling insignificant as “just” a mom.

    Also, I uploaded a picture and can’t wait to see the final product!

  22. 23

    What a fun thing to be a part of! I love the moms supporting moms here. :)

  23. 24

    Added some!! What a fun way to look through pictures :)

  24. 25

    Love this. Thank you for continual reminders that it is through Christ’s strength not
    our own that we glorify God in our mothering. Uploading pictures now!

  25. 26

    I added one of my favorite every day pictures. My youngest daughters loving riding their bikes :)

  26. 27
    Carrie Luster says:

    Just added 8 photos! I hope that’s not overkill.

  27. 29
    Rebecca Parrott says:

    Just uploaded a selection of family pics. The other pictures shared on there are wonderful and really show a lot of love! Thanks for letting us be a part of this project.

  28. 30

    Just added my fave recent pic. My son, nephew and cousin were all sitting by the river having a guy chat about turtles and fish. It was precious.

  29. 31

    I uploaded a birthday breakfast pic from yesterday. Can’t wait to see the final video!

  30. 32

    Love this, and I think I added a photo???? Not sure. But loved the post and as always blessed. Love you

  31. 33

    I uploaded…love this post.

  32. 34

    I left a picture of my oldest (3) loving on her baby sister (2months). This moment made my heart melt! :) and I was so glad my phone was close by to capture it!

  33. 35

    Lisa, I’m breathing this in deep today. Reading this particular post resonated so deep within. ::tears:: THANK YOU! I’m in. Uploaded a photo of my sweeties. This is a beautiful idea! Much love! <3

  34. 36

    Uploaded a photo! It’s one of my favorites. Cuddling with my new son on our (my husband and I’s) last day in Ethiopia. We returned 3 months later and brought him home. You can oogle at his cuteness, it’s ok. ;)

  35. 37

    so fun and such a beautiful reminder. thanks for the opportunity!!!

  36. 38

    I’m not a mom and these days I feel like my life is boring with a capital B. Get up, drink coffee, lurk on social media, shower, dress, and go to class if I need to then come home and sit around some more. I look for the interesting or the extraordinary but can’t find it. Instead of writing about it on my blog I ask, “Who would want to read about my day in class or another meeting?” I probably wouldn’t. What would you suggest?

  37. 39

    Lisa Jo-I don’t mean this as criticism bc I love your writing. But as a suggestion, is there any way you could write more words of encouragement for ALL mamas? I feel like I’ve read variations of this post many times-encouraging those who stay home. I know your goal is to encourage all, and I think you could easily do that by talking about how it’s just plain hard! Up at night, calming tantrums, wrangling them into clothes, coaxing them to eat, teaching them new things, discipline, etc. Please, please do some posts that include all of us drained, strained mamas trying our hardest :). You are great–and you really have a gift! Keep it up :)

    • 40

      Hey there – thanks for this note. It’s helpful feedback because when I write it’s actually from the perspective of a full time working mom. It’s not intended just to encourage stay home moms. So maybe I need to find a fresh way to help highlight that. Have you read these ones by me on working and mothering? Thanks for the reminder to keep as wide an angle lens on this motherhood juggle as possible:



      • 41

        Thank you for addressing this. Your blog is one of my favorite ones because when you write, I feel like you are speaking to the hearts of mothers who both work outside the home as well as stay at home full time. There are some many other blogs out there that I have, in this season, had to walk away from because of how specifically they address SAHMs. While I don’t believe those authors are trying to be exclusionary to WAHMs or WOHMs, often that’s the message I receive and my take away is a further bruised heart and complete discouragement.

        I hold fast to who I am in Christ and who He has called me to be as a wife and mom. I also am careful to not resent the job that He has so faithfully provided for me because through it, I help provide for my family. So often, the sacrifice of women that is written about addresses women who have given up jobs to be home, but there’s also a sacrifice required of women who work outside for their families so they can provide. How I wish there were more writers like you who acknowledge that other kind of sacrifice. Thanks for your ministry and for your transparency. You have encouraged my heart countless, countless times.

      • 42

        …and I did so hope that this paragraph would wrap up in both arms the full work of carrying a full work load as well as the mothering load. My heart is for you. I am for you.

        “And you are mighty because you mother.

        Because you mix raising tiny humans into the chaos of a life spilled out on business development, or your etsy store, the law firm you started or the art studio you opened. You say yes and open your arms and create wonder for a five year old the night before you have to be at that big presentation.

        You go all in even on the days you are right done in.”

      • 43

        Thank you so much for replying, Lisa! I know you want to encourage us all, so I guess that’s why I just wanted to give you a little (maybe unwanted, sorry! :)) feedback….sometimes the talk of it being a boring job, all day job, etc., makes it harder to speak to me knowing that i have a whole other job on top of my most important and amazing job :) and yes, i have absolutely read your posts about working mom’s. grace for the working mom is what led me to follow your blog, and i still read it every now and then!!!

    • 44
      Jennifer H. says:

      Kmh, really? I don’t feel that way at all, and I’m a stay-at-home mom. I thought this paragraph in particular covered many bases:

      “Because you mix raising tiny humans into the chaos of a life spilled out on business development, or your etsy store, the law firm you started or the art studio you opened. You say yes and open your arms and create wonder for a five year old the night before you have to be at that big presentation.”

      Don’t ALL moms regardless of working outside the home or inside the home have to deal with laundry, dishes, meals, etc.?

      • 45

        I didn’t mean it to start a debate, really! I just wanted to let Lisa Jo know that sometimes it doesn’t feel like “I” am included. It probably speaks to you without question because you ARE a SAHM. Yes, I see that paragraph, but this, among a number of other posts speak to the idea of having a “boring” job, a boring day, a job nobody appreciates, a job without a bonus or paycheck, etc. Yes, it is absolutely true that I do all that on top of my regular job, but when you read it knowing you do have a job outside the home all day, sometimes it just doesn’t speak to you as much (the whole boring day, monotony, unappreciate job thing). I adore Lisa, and was just asking for some more posts that don’t focus so much on it being your day job kinda thing.

  38. 46

    What a beautiful project! And I loved these words, so good and soul-nourishing. Thank-you for reminding me of the worth of this job.
    Oh, and I uploaded a couple of pictures. =)

  39. 47

    Just added a photo!

    Mary, momma to 10

  40. 48

    Just added one!

  41. 49
    Rachel Hurst says:

    I posted mine first thing this morning :) I’m not sure they are what you are looking for though.

  42. 50

    I always cry when I read your blog. Thank you for that emotional release. Please keep doing what you do! Can’t wait to see the finished video. Great arrangement of this wonderful classic!

  43. 51
    Melissa Dunham says:

    Thanks for letting me post a picture! How fun to see sooo many other great photos and blessings!

  44. 52
    Phoebe Fuller says:

    Thnaks so much for the opportunity to be a part of something so special!

  45. 53

    Photo uploaded! Such a beautiful project!

  46. 54

    Photo uploaded

  47. 55

    The day is not even over and I just want to share that I am overwhelmed by the love I see in these photos…. Wow! You guys are awesome and I thank everyone who is participating in the music video. I will continue accepting photos through December, so you still have time over the holidays to capture more special moments and share them. Thank you, thank you! I can’t wait to work on this project. I know I will be in tears and the final product will be a work of love and community… true sisterhood of mothers standing side by side as we sacrificially raise our beautiful blessings God has bestowed upon us.

    Motherhood one place we have the opportunity to experience the love the Father has for us…. and yet…. even greater love than that…. isn’t it amazing!?

    Please feel free to share this post with your friends and family members and encourage them to share their photos too!

    Blessings to all of you!

  48. 56

    Uploading one now – what a beautiful post!

  49. 57
    Chris kennedy says:

    Uploaded a few of my favorite photos. Thankful that He loves me, this I know! Love your music!

  50. 58

    I feel like you were talking to me in this post. I’ve been struggling with these things since I graduated with my Ph.D. in August and decided to stay home with our four kids five and under. My life feels like a never-ending ground hog’s day some times. Feeling encouraged though!!! Thanks for this post!

  51. 59
    Elaine Pool says:

    While I’m probably over the first-fifty-limit, I had to share a photo of my youngest daughter & her daddy.

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