Got a babysitter today so I could write. 👑
I got an email last night from a reader who asked how I could recommend authors who have such differing opinions on topics like homosexuality, feminism, faith, etc. In short my answer was “How could I NOT?” If we really want to learn more about God, about who he is, about what he’s doing in the world, then I truly believe we need to be open to the idea that just because someone has a different point of view, or even theology than us, it doesn’t mean they don’t have anything worthwhile to say. If we were all to attend seminary today, we’d be instructed to read books by a wide array of theologians and Christian authors. We’d read books by universalists and calvinists, papers by complementarians and egalitarians, dissertations by people on both sides of the homosexuality debate. Just because we read something doesn’t meant we check our brains at the door. Nor does it mean we abandon our consciences. Most people who are writing about these things are writing because they CARE. Because they love Jesus, because they keep coming back to His words, because they love the world and are genuinely trying to navigate how to process some of the more complex areas of life. I read books by men who have staunch anti-feminist views all the time, and while I deeply disagree with them, I still believe they love God and therefore don’t reject the whole body of what they have to say. We all, everyone who has accepted Jesus, have an important view of who God is that is worthy of listening to respectfully. But I really believe that when we start rejecting the God in others, we have started down a slippery slope. Jesus’ prayer for us to be one is actually so. much. harder, and more important than we give it credit for. Do they know us by our love? By our respectful disagreements? Or do they know us by who we burn at the stake? Who we ostracize and demonize? Anyway, on that note, if you want to check out more reading guide for the Christian Feminist, check out the link in my bio. 😜
Took this picture yesterday in the @homedepot parking lot when the worst of our problems was that we had a toilet that was weirdly clogged even though it hadn’t really been used. Chris was inside buying a heavy duty plunger and we were gonna move on with our lives. And then we didn’t. Spent the rest of the day sorting through our 💩💩 covered belongings in the basement while the plumbing company informed us we would have to gut our newly remodeled bathroom and rip up a couple of the floors. Not gonna lie, it was little demoralizing, and I woke up sad. But one thing that struck me was how cheerful the people we’ve worked with have been. The plumbing company representative came in like an actual superhero in boots, not only cheerfully sorting through the crap, but bringing a lot of joy and hopefulness to the atmosphere. He patiently explained the insurance process to us, answered our questions, stayed until 8pm last night explaining how he was working to make our home safe and clean. And this morning I was greeted by the worlds most cheerful trash haulers. They were kind, helpful, chipper and efficient even though they were hauling other people’s poop covered trash at 8am in the morning. It’s really helped put things in perspective. Yes we’ve lost a lot and it’s just the beginning of cleaning up this mess, but we have insurance and we have savings. We have family in town who were able to get danny out of the house and feed him dinner while we cleaned up (thanks @caela.nico + Jon!). We have a place to live while our floors are being pulled up that is in town. We are healthy and no one has been hurt. We are blessed. And if those guys can go from house to house cheerfully wading through strangers’ poo, I can find the joy in these circumstances too (although @chrisrend just looked up from his phone and said “I would like this home in Santa Barbara.” 😂😂😵🙈) But while I’m sure I’m not done being sad about this (held back tears this morning as the baby clothes I had saved got loaded into the back of the dump truck) but it makes me want to resolved to come into crappy situations and make them better because I’m there. ☀️ ps. DONT FLUSH YOUR BABY WIPES PEOPLE!
There’s something that takes over you when you’re creating something for your kids— a sort of obsessive excellence driven by love and a sneaking suspicion that nothing is really ever good enough haha. Maybe that’s why this album took 2 years to write. Maybe that’s why this project feels so significant. Maybe that’s why it needed to be written. Proud of this man (and the rest of the team!) who wrote this album and poured their whole hearts into it. Yeah we want you all to like it, but nothing really compares to the feeling when your kid stops what he’s doing to watch the speaker play Go Anywhere, or claps his hands to King of Me. I hope that as you listen to this album today you get a sense that we’re inviting you into our family worship. Made by a family FOR families. Because our kids aren’t just the FUTURE church, they are also the CURRENT one. Hit the link in my bio to listen to SPARKLE. POP. RAMPAGE. Oh! And follow us @rendcokids!!
Bone broth and vitamin D. Seriously determined to not get the stomach flu the rest of the guys have in this house! Nobody has time to be sick around here. 😜 in other news #SparklePopRampage is out tomorrow so that makes things better!
Hoarding a pile of these kinds of verses to keep in mind as I mentally gear up for our flight tomorrow. Not sure how this fear of flying has gotten so extreme lately, but I know these kinds of verses— the ones that unabashedly believe in God’s goodness— are the ones that make it okay. Love how the Message says it “People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” Matthew 6:30-33
Wow. What a month. Multiple video shoots, several gigs in England for Chris, road tripping around Ireland, a new ministry launch (@rendcokids ⚡️🎉) and a family vacation, turning 30, lots of laughs along the way. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, but I’m so thankful for it. Four more days in Northern Ireland, we’ve had the best month! Photo: @jude._.thompson
Does anyone else treat September 1st like it’s second New Year? Being in Northern Ireland has been AMAZING, but it’s also been the busiest month I’ve had in a LONG time. After a chill first week, it’s all snowballed into chaos (really fun chaos, it must be said!) but still a bit crazy. Work outs have been suspended until further notice, routine is a long-lost friend, bedtime has been whenever Danny goes to sleep and trying not to fall asleep between multiple readings of Good Night Moon. But don’t we all feel this at the end of summer? I usually think of September as a second shot at my New Years resolutions, but I think this September I feeling it even more. Gonna try and take a minute to process what my specific goals are for the rest of the year and share them once I’ve figured them out. Hope your summers have come to a beautiful close! ✨
Chris asked me this morning if I had any “wisdom” for turning 30 today. LOL. 😜 But I told him the one thing I’ve really learned in the last few years is to trust my gut. That little voice that tells you when things feel wrong or that you need to wise up. To trust the eternity placed in your heart and lean into your instincts, conscience, inner voice. Also to always pack your swimsuit (thanks Rend), dry shampoo solves most problems, and to remember that if you’re cranky you’re usually either hungry or in need of a walk. This is 30 and I already love it.
Being your mom is the best, most challenging, rewarding, beautiful thing I’ve ever done. Love these last few sandy days of summer before you turn two.
Haha died laughing when I saw this picture— Danny having the best time, Chris having his face squashed under his hat. 😂 But also thought it was a pretty accurate picture of parenthood too. If he’s having fun we’re all (kinda!) having fun 😜 Family holidays in full effect for the next 24 hours!
Been having so many conversations with people about all the Christian public figures who have recently denounced their faith. I cannot pretend to fully know their circumstances, but I do believe this— if your faith can’t bend it’ll break. If you never learn the tools to process and discuss doubt, if you never truly let go of judgement of another person’s faith journey and comparing it to yours, you will burn out. I only know because I’ve been there so many times myself, and only come back when I realize the expectations I place on my faith are being put there by culture and not God. I can’t help it, I believe in God, I believe in Jesus. But I also believe “spiritual growth” sometimes looks countercultural. So for anyone who feels like they’re teetering today on the edge just know I love you and I get it. I hope you feel the freedom to explore your faith no matter what that looks like. Because you see, the edge is good. It’s the frontier, the horizon. We need courageous, compassionate people on the edge helping us all grow into new spiritual territory. ✨ photo: @jude._.thompson Ps. And if you’re someone who has let go of their fundamental faith I beg of you to not trade one form of fundamentalism for another. Allow yourself and your belief system to be more nuanced than that. Allow shades of grey and opposing views exist in your brain-space.
Got beyond spoiled this weekend for my 30th. Before I met Chris I had never dated anyone who not only told me he loved me, but who demonstrated it by treating me like a queen. From not eating out for a month so he could save up pennies to fly to visit me, or secretly breaking the bank to take me to dinner, to making sure I had flowers delivered on the day of my graduation and he couldn’t be there... sometimes you don’t know getting boutiques are your love language until you date someone who actually gets you one. 😉 We ended our weekend away with afternoon tea on the river and I was reminded how seriously blessed I feel to be married to the actual man of my dreams. Love you @chrisrend! (Oh and just to shatter any illusions you might have been on the cusp of conjuring that we’re perfect, we still did have one fight this weekend, on a street corner in Noting Hill. But honestly even that reminds me how lucky I feel to have the security in our relationship to express my thoughts and feelings without fear or judgement. Fighting and making up are part of the privilege of marriage, just like the magical times are too. 😏✨)
Son, you’re going to hear a lot of things in your life about who God is and why you should believe in Him. Some people say he’s an angry God, who doesn’t need to explain himself to you. Some will tell you there’s a very specific box with exact dimensions that he wants you to fit into for him to love you. Some will tell you he’s kinda like Santa Claus (who is totally real by the way 😉) doughy and bearded and a bit of a good behavior maniac. Some people will tell you God is more of a feeling than a person. Some will tell you God is in everything. Some will tell you he’s more concerned with his holiness than anything else and you might find that concept confusing. Some might tell you that God is definitely the one spearheading all their political and social opinions. But I hope through all of these chaotic and grasping ideas of who God is you’ll grasp on to one thing as your spiritual compass. Above everything else God wanted to make sure you knew He is love. Not a kind of love that doesn’t make sense, but the kind you feel when you hug me or your dad, and the kind you feel when you get tucked into bed at night. I think he said that because we all know what love is when we see it. It’s not confusing or hard to define. He is love, and he LOVES you. I hope you know that. @rendcokids
No fancy caption or picture, just a post from one real parent to all you other real parents out there trying to figure out what it looks like to raise kind, compassionate, generous, non-judgemental, curious and spiritually authentic children. Chris and I are far from perfect parents— we get frustrated easily, we bicker, we ask forgiveness, we get food stains on our clothes and forget to shower. But above almost anything else these days, we want to be parents who think deeply about how we introduce Danny to God. Many days it looks like putting him down after a long day and PRAYING we didn’t irreversibly $@#! up 😜🙈 All that to say, it brings me so much joy to announce @rendcollective started a kids ministry called @rendcokids that provides the kind of songs about God, identity and faith we felt we were struggling to find for Danny to listen to. It comes out at the end of the month, but if you’re a parent just doing your best too, I’d encourage you to go give @rendcokids a follow. Make some friends in the comments, and get ready because our first song comes out in less than three days!!!
I find myself so grateful for these extended times across the Atlantic. Even though there’s still work to be done, there’s something so good about being away from the usual rhythm of life in Nashville. There’s a slowness and peacefulness I think we all feel when we’re here and I’m grateful we get to enjoy it together. ✨
After a few gorgeous and sunny days exploring Ireland, the rain finally caught up with us now we’re home. This is perfect too.
Back with the fam this week driving around Ireland and praying. As the only American it’s been so interesting processing some of the history and significance of of the band’s spiritual and political history with them. Standing in front of this wall I couldn’t help but think of another wall that’s gone up in my own country. And symbolically, the walls evangelicals like to draw around who’s in and who’s out. The more I walk with Jesus the less convinced I get of the notion that my role in as his follower is to act as his border patrol. While this wall isn’t part of my own history, and I can’t pretend to understand all the nuances and pain it symbolizes, I can relate to what it looks like to feel on the “right” or “wrong” side of social and religious walls, and I can’t help but feel I don’t want to be found helping prop them up. Photo: @jude._.thompson
Rested and fueled for a couple of days of video shoots with the @rendcollective fam — feels like the old days haha. But in all seriousness, this project is one Chris and I have prayed over together quite a bit. Many years of loving and praying for Ireland between the two of us, and it’s going to be fun to get to spend some time as a team asking God to do more than we could ever imagine. ✨
Turns out sweater + bare feet is the perfect weather. You know, like when the sun dips behind the clouds and you get goosebumps? Only to have it reappear with so much warmth you feel like shoes are overkill? Turns out a lot of my life is spent in the in-between. In between cultures, in between political view points, in between beliefs. In this weird space where I feel like I want to be in societal, religious, non-religious clubs, but also not willing to fully wear the uniforms that come with them. Happy to try some sweaters on for size, but needing to keep my feet free to move about. What is it about our world that caters to this desperate need to figure who’s in and who’s out? As long as we humans have been being, it seems we've been drawing thick, definitive lines in the sand. Is it fear of the other? Is it a need to feel seen? We’ve all had those moments when we realize “the other” is more similar to us than we realize (or even like to admit), though few of us are willing to sit in that uncomfortable place and take it in. I’ve seen myself in the religious fundamentalist social media troll— using “truth” like a battering ram to try and make the world align into some kind of order. I’ve seen myself in the political liberal— unable to put my hurt down long enough to listen. I’ve seen myself sheltered and uneducated. I’ve seen myself angry and bitter. I’ve seen myself racist and atheist. I’ve seen myself believing in God, miracles and mystics. I’ve seen myself older than my age and still so very, very young. I see myself in everyone and yet no one because no one else is fully meant to be me. And maybe that’s the point? Instead of only humanizing people we recognize ourselves in, maybe we’re in the differences too. Maybe we’re in it all.