The Four Friends: A Lesson in Compassion

I read in the book of Mark today a very familiar story. It’s the one about the paralytic who had some pretty amazing friends. Jesus was speaking to a crowd so large that there wasn’t even room to enter through the front door. No elbow room here. The man could not get in to see Jesus because he was physically unable to move his own body. That was the first challenge. The second problem came in the form of a crowded room. He had friends, though. Friends who knew his deep need, knew that Jesus could help him, and cared so profoundly for him that they had to get him to Jesus.

When the front door didn’t work, they resorted to the roof. They “removed the roof above where He was. And when they had broken through, they lowered the mat on which the paralytic was lying”. These friends had some unshakeable faith and some serious tenacity. They literally would not take “no” for an answer when it came to getting their friend to Jesus.

Big Faith

As I read this encounter this morning, I was struck by the following verse: “Seeing their faith, Jesus told the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven.'”  This is followed by words directed at the Pharisees in response to their questioning whether or not Jesus had any right to forgive sins. Leave it to the Pharisees to have an argument while a man comes through the roof! Jesus then heals the man.

Let’s go back to the faith part. The faith of the friends.I think these four friends are pretty spectacular. They gave up their day and physically worked hard to get their friend to Jesus. Even though seeing Jesus was impossible, they found a way. I get the impression that these friends knew the paralytic very well. Perhaps they had watched him live with this disability and had felt his pain with him.

Bring Them To Jesus

I want to be like them. I want to be the type of friend who has lived with the needs of others and loves them so deeply that, no matter the obstacles, I’m bringing them to Jesus, especially, when they have no strength to do so on their own. When my friends are strapped for faith, I want to carry the load. I want to know them so well, that I actually know when they are in need.

Are They Really “My People”?

Can I be this for the people I so enthusiastically call “my people”? Am I willing to inconvenience myself for the benefit of a friend or a neighbor? Am I willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of my friends’ spiritual, physical, or emotional well-being? I may not tear a physical roof off a building or lower them down on a mat but can my friends count on my prayers of faith to hold them up when they are too weak to pray for themselves? Can they count on that text message of encouragement or the card in the mail that lifts their spirits? Can they rely on that meal or offer to babysit when they are too overwhelmed to know which way is up? Do my actions reflect those of the 4 friends? Or do I spend my time, like the pharisees, focused on the law instead of on active compassion.

I want to be like the four friends. I really do.


Help me to live like the 4 friends lived. I want to live with sacrificial love as the banner of my heart. Help me to see beyond the every day inconvenience to the eternal impact of a simple text message or unexpected meal or card in the mail. May I find myself on my knees more than using my fingers to tap, tap the “I’ll pray for you” comments on Facebook.  May I truly know my neighbors and my friends to the point of knowing their needs and desires. Help me to walk with them through their most paralyzing days and rejoice with them in the miraculous days that follow. And when my faith waivers, may I be so richly blessed to benefit from the love, faith and strength of those carrying my mat and ripping off roofs to get me to Jesus. And like the man in the story, whether it’s my miracle or the miracle of a friend, may You be glorified.


So how do we reconcile the parenting advice that we've been given with reality? What do you do when the outcome isn’t what you hoped for or expected?

Parenting Advice: What to do when it doesn’t work

My husband and I started our parenting journey almost six years ago. As a matter of fact, this time last year,  I was approaching my third trimester with my first child! Oh the advice I would give first-time mom Patty! Here are three things I would say to myself across the table at a coffee shop if I could go back in time. But since I can’t go back in time, perhaps I can save you dear mom some trouble. 


Please ASK FOR HELP! If I could, I would go back tell myself:”Stop acting like you’ve got it together!” I can’t tell you how many times, I would hear people say to me: “I don’t know how you do it.” I wish I had been brave enough to say, “I don’t. Can you help me?” I would have included my husband more in the earlier days as well. He wanted to help but I looked and acted like I knew what I was doing. He helped as needed but let me do the heavy lifting of child rearing because I was too stubborn to let him in. That is until I got overwhelmed and had a meltdown in the middle of the night while he slept. That night changed everything and birthed our team parenting approach. It was a hard lesson, but as a result, I began to realize that just because I gave birth to these kids it didn’t mean I instantly upgraded to super-mom model.


Please throw out all of the parenting books! Well, maybe not all of them. The ones that promote a certain rigid system or project a specific end result do not even deserve a place on your dusty shelf. Books about parenting need to be approached like a buffet. Take what looks good and give it a try. If it doesn’t taste good, you don’t have to keep eating it. When reading a book or an article or a blog post…yes even my words, consider who you are and your family dynamic. Does the idea seem like something that could work? Give it a try. If it doesn’t seem like a good fit, don’t try it! I am not the first and I most certainly will not be the last to say this: Children need love and their basic needs met. If you can do this, and I know you can and will, the rest will eventually fall into place. The goal of parenting is to raise responsible, kind and loving adults. I promise you, your child’s college admissions counselor will not care AT ALL if your child slept through the night at 8 weeks.


Breathe and trust yourself.  You’ve got this precious momma! You know what’s best. There’s more advice and opinions and methods about parenting than there are people in the world! With all that wisdom and perspective, it could be very easy to become overwhelmed and fearful of making mistakes and choosing the wrong path for your child. Let me set you at ease with these two sentences.

You will make mistakes.

You will raise confident, kind, beautiful children who will love you despite the mistakes you will make.


So how do we reconcile the advice that we receive regarding motherhood with reality? What do you do when the outcome isn’t what you hoped for or expected? Two plus two surely equals four but finding a rhythm might not be as easy as a math equation. I could piece apart each of the posts in this series and tell you how either my children or circumstances have myth busted the majority of my suggestions. Not everything. Those coffee dates are still precious moments alone with my husband!

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Parenting has and always will be hard, and although there are some excellent strategies and advice available, we all have to forge our own parenting path. Parents and children come in all different packages. Some kids are by the book while others are not.

I hope these past few months of parenting tips have brought you insight, inspired a few ideas to try out, and perhaps given you success and a little hope. More than anything, however, I hope you leave this series knowing that you are no doubt the BEST person to mother your precious brood. Why? Because you love your children fiercely. If you don’t know the answer, you will search, experiment, cry, pray, and try, try, TRY again until you figure it out. You are in it for the long haul. And that super power, precious momma, is more valuable than all the parenting advice in the world.


You’ve got this brave momma! Go change the world one diaper at a time.


So how do we reconcile the parenting advice that we've been given with reality? What do you do when the outcome isn’t what you hoped for or expected?

Want to read the entire series? You can start here with the Introduction: Bringing Home Baby, Again

Your Postpartum Body: How to Care for it After Baby

Your postpartum body represents a love-hate relationship. This body gave birth to a beautiful gift that you adore but it’s hard to not loathe the frumpy form staring back at you in the mirror.

What do we do when the body that birthed the most beautiful babies doesn’t feel so beautiful?

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Here are 5 things you can do to regain your body after baby.

# 1 Learn to love your body

A healthy self-image is very difficult to maintain before kids, so after having a baby it can be torture to stare back at the reflection in the mirror. Please remember this:

“You created the deepest parts of my being. You put me together inside my mother’s body. How you made me is amazing and wonderful. I praise you for that. What you have done is wonderful. I know that very well.” Psalm 139:13-14 (NIRV)

This verse is amazing. Consider how powerful it is now that you’ve given birth! God knit your sweet child together in your womb. God made your child wonderful. The act of growing your precious baby inside of you was a wonderful act of God. Your amazing body didn’t cease to be amazing once your child was born! Love your body where it is right now. 

This is honestly difficult for me as I approach 2 years postpartum carrying extra weight from my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies. I’m not talking vanity pounds, either. I’m working hard to get to a better place physically but having babies and getting older makes these changes quite a bit more challenging. I need to love my body as it is on my way to where I’d like it to be. I encourage you to do the same.


#2 Move your body

It’s hard to find time for yourself and to exercise with children around. It may take some creativity but you need to love yourself enough to make it a priority. 

This past summer, I would do a plank when I woke up and when I went to bed and, on my best days, take a 25 minute walk in our back yard while the kids played. I literally walked the fence line. It wasn’t glamorous and it was so monotonous but it got the job done!

Now I’m walking to pick up my son from school as often as I can. People probably think I’m crazy pushing the other two kids in the double stroller in the heat but I need to move my body and this is how I can make it happen in this season.  There are other options as well. Most gyms provide childcare and there are many mom meetup groups that walk the mall or local parks. I know a mom who does CrossFit first thing in the morning while her husband stays home with their sleeping children.  When she gets home, he leaves for his workout. That’s making it work!

#3 Eat better

Notice I didn’t say cut out certain foods or try this eating plan. Just eat better. Ask yourself each day: “Am I eating better today than I did yesterday?” This is hard for me. I’ve eaten the wrong things for so long that I am having to learn how to eat the right things again. I’ve invited friends to help me on this journey. As you learn to eat better, I encourage you invite people to help you on your journey as well.

#4 Don’t compare!

I know you know this but very few people go from their maternity clothes to their pre-pregnancy clothes in those first few weeks. Now some do and that is very awesome for them but most women take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to settle into a comfortable post-pregnancy weight. Notice I said comfortable. Sometimes the number on the scale is not the same, but a number on the scale or a tag size on a pair of jeans does not define your worth. Love yourself AND your postpartum body. This is your journey and the method and progress will look differently from woman to woman. 

#5 Count your blessings

Mine are Dom age 5, Charlee age 3 and Devin age 21 months.

What do you do when the body that birthed beautiful babies doesn't feel so beautiful? Here are five things you can do to love your postpartum body.


You Are Mom

The addition of children affects the way you take care of your body. Learn to love your body right where it is, take better care of it, don’t compare, and count the blessings that this body birthed. I’ll leave you with one final story.

We changed the sheets on our bed last night and tossed them in the laundry room. Our eldest jumped into them like a pile of leaves and sighed saying: “This blanket smells like mommy!!” It melted my heart. It also made me think of the many times as an adult I’ve caught the fragrance of my mom after an out of state visit. Whether it was on the seat belt in the car, on the couch cushions where she slept or in the sweater I loaned her, the feeling her scent evokes is just beautiful.  My thoughts toward my mom are sweet and so tender. I love her because she is my mom not because of a number on the bathroom scale. Please know that you are loved by your precious children and you are loved no less because of your size but loved all the more because you are MOM.

five things you can do to reclaim your postpartum body.

Your Turn! What are you doing to reclaim your body postpartum? What creative exercise regimens have you adopted during the little years? Are your kids older? Share some hope from the future! Comment below. 

You can read the series Introduction here! Bringing Home Baby, Again

You can read last week’s post here! Your Kids and Social Life

Next Week!

What do you do when the advice you’ve read here or been given from others doesn’t work? Join me next week for the final installment of this series as we hash through the tough seasons that no amount of advice can fix.