Monday, June 24, 2013

Doormat Words

By Elisa Morgan, Publisher of FullFill

The seasonal winds had picked up, scattering pale pink petals across my front porch from the potted geranium I’d tucked into what I thought was a protected corner. Just a few weeks earlier, I’d carefully troweled dirt about the roots of the plant before pressing it in place and watering it secure. I stepped back, adjusted the door wreath of fake forsythia and then took in the worn mat at my feet. Frayed threads, a pattern rubbed out by treading feet. Definitely needed a replacement there.

At Target I surveyed my options: floral. Nope had enough of that going on already. A foamy stone pattern. No, had that before. Needed a change. There was a tall column of worded mats – announcing mottos, commands, values. I considered the options:

A two-word greeting that read one way entering: HELLO and another way exiting: GOODBYE.

A warning: BEWARE OF DOG.

A whimsical: WIPE YOUR PAWS!

And the simple: Welcome.

I thought about that last one and discarded it quickly. Too trite. Too open? Too much of a promise? Too uncomfortable. Did I want this word plastered across the doorway to my home?

I paused.

What about the doorway to my heart? What word would I put on its doormat to communicate to all who approach? W-E-L-C-O-M-E. An open entreaty. A positioning of receptivity. Eagerly and delightedly accepted. Admitted gladly. Freely invited or permitted. With nothing expected in return. I’d like to say that’s the word I’d choose. But do I?

More often I post DO NOT DISTURB. I like my life the way I have it thank you very much. I’m busy with it. I’m not interested in another agenda: yours.

Then there’s COME BACK LATER. I want to choose who enters and when and how far.

NO SOLICITING. Leave me alone with whatever you’re selling, whatever you want from me.

GONE FISHING. I’ve taken off to places unknown and am unavailable until further notice.

I smirk – what about BEWARE? I think I actually have put this sign out from time to time in a particularly grouchy season. Oooohhhh…so telling, these doormat words.

In the aisle at Target, I sense the need to push further – beyond human relationships. What word do I put on the mat of my being when God draws near, when he lifts his divine finger toward the doorbell of my soul?



W-E-L-C-O-M-E. Come in. All the way. You are freely invited and admitted. I eagerly and delightedly accept you. Disturb me – deeply. Come now. Come, bringing your agenda for my life, including all you bring with you. Sell me whatever you know I need. I will stay and receive you. I am safe with you no matter my mood.

The point is made. I bend to select a thatch of plain brown. Bare of any words, it is ready to display the choice I need to make on a daily basis as I open the door to whomever and whatever arrives on its rectangular surface. To bar…or to welcome.

Elisa Morgan is the Publisher of FullFill. She is a speaker and the author of She Did What She Could, The NIV Mom’s Devotional Bible and the soon to be released, The Beauty of Broken. Book Elisa for your event at or connect with her on Facebook at Elisa Morgan.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Training Ground

By Kay Wyma,

I never thought much about parenting before I had kids.

Granted, I thought about my parents, since I was their kid. I thought about my friends’ parents, since I saw them often. What they allowed compared to my folks. Who was fair or not fair? Did they laugh a lot? Yell? Were they old? Young? Laid back? Tense?
My thinking about parenting had more to do with how it affected me than anything else.

Now that the tables are turned and I am the parent, I think about the whole subject of parenting a lot more. The more I think about it, the more I realize it is training ground. Training our kids to learn and lean into God.

The parenting topic arose, as it often does, with a friend in the same boat. The parenting boat. That boat that keeps sailing as we keep fighting the to control the rudder.

“It’s funny,” she said. “We thought we could ‘plan’ our family. And that parenting would be so rewarding. Cute outfits. Sweet artwork. Cheering from the stands at a baseball game. Birds singing. … And yet here I sit. Our family looks different than we thought it would. And we doubt ourselves every day. Then wallow in our inconsistencies and beat ourselves up.”

Obedience was our topic du jour. So she continued. “And we want – maybe even need for our kids to be perfect. So we stress obedience. And we spin it in the light of perfection. Obey to be good.”

What is it about obedience? Why is obeying so important? It’s a theme we see often in Scripture. In the NIV, the word obedience shows up 223 times. And apparently, “to obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) - which is saying a lot. (See also: the book of Leviticus.)

But we get mixed up about just what/who we are to be obedient to – and why. The world’s standard is that obedience = perfection. If I do x, y & z…then I’m good. This obedience for perfection thing is a prison, the ultimate in shackles. It matches perfection to works rather than love.

As I think about it, I’m convinced God wants us to obey not to be perfect, but in order to increase our faith. To obey his commands is to remain in his love. And to trust him. In fact, I must trust him to obey. I must believe him in order to obey. Which leads directly to faith, being sure of what I hope for and certain about what I don’t see. (Hebrews 11:1-2)

Perfection with God is only attained through the grace-filled sacrifice of the One and only One who is perfect. How beautiful to rest and abide in that perfection as we walk less than stellar days on this earth! Soak in his love, swim in his grace, marinate in his Word.

And what a beautiful thing to teach and train our kids as we navigate the obedience road with them. Encouraging them to trust us when we tell them, “Hey, walking in that street … not a good idea. Consequences on the other side of that one, Bud.”

Can my child trust me? Only so far. But I can train them in obedience. I can teach them to listen to someone other than themselves … even when they want so badly to go against authority. I can train them so they can taste obedience.

Then maybe they will lean into obeying their heavenly father in whom all trust safely lands.

Kay Wills Wyma is the author of Cleaning House: A Mom’s Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid He Home of Youth Entitlement, available in the FullFill Store. She blogs at

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Graduation Speeches: Influencing Change

By Carla Foote

‘Tis the season for graduation speeches. If you don’t happen to know a graduate this year, you can still benefit from the speeches - the online news is full of the wisdom of Oprah (telling Harvard grads to learn from failure) and Ben Bernanke (telling Princeton grads that much has been given to them and much will be required).

As a big fan of the inspiration of graduation speeches, I was in my element during my daughter’s recent commencement weekend. The speeches started on Thursday at convocation, continued Friday at awards ceremonies, Saturday at graduation and culminated on Sunday with the baccalaureate mass. And I was taking notes on every one – because I think in many ways, the speeches are not just for the graduates. The practice of reflecting on the past few years and thinking about what is ahead, which is the formula for most graduation speeches, is useful for all of us, regardless of age or season of life.

One speaker, who was addressing students involved in social justice activities, reminded the graduates that even though they strongly desire to make a difference in the world, they can’t control other people’s choices and outcomes. Sobering words for those who might idealistically be pursuing change, but a good reminder for all of us who are involved in leading and influencing people.  We can want the best for others, we can work for change and provide opportunities for people to learn and grow, but we can’t make change happen in other people’s lives.

Even with those realistic but potentially discouraging words, this speaker exhorted the students (and all of us) that working for dignity and opportunities for all people was a worthy calling.

As I thought about her words, and the truth that people are worth investing in, even if we can’t change them or make them take positive steps, I was reminded of the risk that God takes with each of us, in giving us free will. He provides opportunities for us to learn and grow, he wants the best for us, he wants us to make good choices, but he gives us the ability to choose – for good or not. And he still risks it all for us.

So we lead, we influence, we serve, we care, we love – knowing that we are powerless to force change, but we do it because of the value of each human life, that each person is worth the effort. That is a truth to reflect on, whether you are a 22-year-old graduate, a 53-year-old mom, or some other person of influence.




Carla Foote is the FullFill blog manager, publishing manager at MOPS International and does editorial consulting at, along with being the mom to a recent Georgetown graduate. She is looking forward to the next graduation in a couple of years when her son completes his Ph.D. in Economics.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Walking the Tightrope of Dust and Divinity

By Aubrey Sampson

Mooooommm, the potty is raining

I was on the phone with a web designer discussing the ever-elusive “Platform,” when the toilet began to overflow. My three-year-old had crammed so much toilet paper into the poor thing, that it had no choice but to transform into a pressurized pop bottle, exploding. Everywhere. 

Needless to say, I had to reschedule the phone call, putting my social media presence on pause for another day.

There’s a saying in Jewish wisdom: “Keep two pieces of paper in your pocket at all times. On one write, ‘I am a speck of dust.’ On the other, ‘The world was created for me.’ ” The idea being that there is a delicate balance between the holy and the ordinary.

I love to serve my family, but I am just as passionate about my calling and ministry outside of the home. As a mom of three young children, finding a way to maneuver that balance is at best untidy. I tiptoe out of bed in the morning to study scripture and pray; if I’m going to be honest, I spend most of that time praying my kids stay in bed a few minutes longer. I ardently fight against injustice, making phone calls to senators and local leaders, but only during naptimes. I mentor young women, but they have to brave the cheerio-laden path to my kitchen table, while we talk about their own callings over the sounds of car crashes and the smell of dirty diapers.

Women are shifting paradigms in leadership because no matter our role—single, married, SAHM, working—we are thrust into lessons of sacrifice, multi-tasking, and finding our voice in the midst of the daily. We know what it is to honor our God-given vocations while simultaneously mastering the mundane. It is precisely because of this unique training, not in spite of it, that women have something commendable to bring to the public arena, the church, and the world. 

In Luke 2, Mary sings, “My soul glorifies the Lord. My spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.”

Today, as you walk your own tightrope of dust and divinity, rejoice! For God is mindful of you. He is birthing something in you that is absolutely commonplace, yet undeniably miraculous. It might be a birth in the midst of potty-rain, but it’s still one worth celebrating.   

A stay-at-home-mom to three sons, Aubrey Sampson spends most days in her pajamas drinking a lot of coffee. She is a Risk Coach and Blogger for Women at Risk, International, a member of the Redbud Writer’s Guild, and a featured author in the book Enterprise Social Technology. Aubrey speaks and writes about living shamelessly at and is currently working on her first book for women on overcoming shame.