Most Popular Articles of 2014: Year In Review

2014 was my first year of writing at JessConnell.com. Since we’ve nearly reached the year’s end, I thought I’d do a quick “year in review,” to give you the opportunity to read any articles of interest that you may have missed.

For each month of 2014, I’ve shared the “top” article, and my personal favorite. Let’s get going.

JANUARY 2014

  • TOP ARTICLE: Who Is The Captive: Your Thoughts, Or YOU? “Our minds are so easily taken captive by anxiety, gossip, lust, greed, rage, criticism, bitterness, envy. But we can begin taking our thoughts captive in every moment. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO TAKE THOUGHTS CAPTIVE?”Who is the Captive: Your Thoughts or YOU?
  • MY FAVORITE: The Sovereignty of God in the Waiting Room of Life “The waiting rooms of life happen to us all, and often without warning.
    • Waiting for the tests to reveal, “What is this illness ravaging my body?”
    • Waiting for the right employer to offer a position.
    • Waiting for a proposal from the man you hope will ask.
    • Waiting for word back from a friend after a disagreement
    • Waiting for a positive pregnancy test after miscarriages or months of experiencing disappointment each month while we’re “trying”

    Our natural inclination in those moments is to stress over delays, and with increasing tightness to clutch control of the situation. The waiting room of life is where the rubber hits the road when it comes to God’s sovereignty.” waiting

FEBRUARY 2014

  • TOP ARTICLE: Stress, Yelling, and SIN “Thinking back about 8-9 years, to the moment when I first yelled at our children, (in a very stressful time, incidentally), and I remember thinking, “I won’t always feel so frustrated. He won’t grow up with a yelling mom. I just yell in rare circumstances, when I’m pushed to my limits.” But guess what? I’m still yelling. Surprise, surprise. (Let this be a warning to you, young mom with one toddler who just started yelling: SIN DOESN’T KILL ITSELF. THESE THINGS DON’T JUST IMPROVE ON THEIR OWN. STOP THIS THING NOW BEFORE YOU WAKE UP TO IT WITH A WONDERFUL, WOUNDED ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD STARING BACK AT YOU.) My friends (who I so DESPERATELY NEEDED to square with me) squared with me. Here’s what they told me…”Stress, Yelling, & Sin
  • MY FAVORITE: Romance is Unique, Not Universal “Every Valentine’s Day, our culture screams out definitions of romance according to purchases and plans (chosen by the commercials, of course). It makes me wonder:
    • How many women and men are being held hostage to a standard of “romance” that doesn’t even, really, matter?
    • How many husbands are guilted into buying things their wife may not even want?
    • How many wives feel unloved if their husband doesn’t do “x”, despite the fact that he’s a good man who shows love in other ways, 364 other days of the year?”

    Romance Is Unique, Not Universal 

MARCH 2014

  • TOP ARTICLE: Watching Our Children Leave (My Mom wrote this one!!!) “Many of my friends and loved ones have commented to me lately, saying things like, “Oh, I just don’t think I could handle it if my children lived far away from me”, or “We couldn’t take it if our kids moved away”, and it got me to thinking. Many of these people “dedicated” their babies to the Lord, and have watched as their grandbabies were taken to the front of the church and “dedicated” to the Lord. …let’s think about what that day of dedication is all about.”Watching-Our-Children-Leave-300x300
  • MY FAVORITE: We NEED What We Would Never CHOOSE “Through my own mess and exhaustion I can say that I am seeing God soften and shave off areas that have needed His editing for a long time. I needed to be humbled and broken. I needed for some of my comforts to be stripped of me. I needed for Him to give me what I would never have chosen.”We NEED What We Would Never CHOOSE

APRIL 2014

  • TOP ARTICLE: Seasons of Life and Homeschooling “Like parenting in general, it helps me when I think about homeschooling in terms of seasons. Each season has its own unique joys, its own unique challenges, and each is discernibly different from the one before.”Seasons of Life and Homeschooling
  • MY FAVORITE: He Makes Me Lie Down “God knows what I need better than I do. He is my Father who knows me better than I know myself. He knows when I need rest. He knows when I would take on more than I should. He also (conversely) knows when I can do more than I am. The Psalmist said, “He makes me lie down…” And sometimes, that’s exactly what He does.” He Makes Me Lie Down

MAY 2014

  • TOP ARTICLE: 4 Questions to Help You Evaluate Parenting Advice “If you are a first-time mom, or just beginning to make some of these life-impacting decisions about parenting and discipline, I want to encourage you to ask yourself four questions about whatever advice you are contemplating.”4 Questions to Help You Evaluate Parenting Advice
  • MY FAVORITE: Wives, Submit To Your Own Husbands ” This isn’t about who mows the lawn, who writes the checks/pays the bills, or what sort of skills or hobbies we possess. These character-driven roles are clearly gender-defined for the Christian marriage. But it doesn’t stop there. If it did, we’d all be complementarians.Notice Ephesians 5, verse 24:
    “…as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”

    Whoa… THAT’s the sticking point, right there. I can hear already the objections:”

    Wives, Submit To Your Husbands

JUNE 2014

  • TOP ARTICLE: 21 Ways to Help Your Family Thrive Through Transition “In not-quite 14 years of marriage, we’ve lived in 13 primary residences, and in 8 temporary living situations (each 1-2 months). 5 of those residences were overseas, and almost all of those moves were with children. A number of you have asked me to write about how we’ve stayed sane and content through so many changes, especially with children. So here’s my list:”21 Ways to Help Your Family THRIVE Through Transition
  • MY FAVORITE: A Skillful Producer (Part of my Proverbs 31 series“The Proverbs 31 woman can really become burdensome if you see it as some sort of cookie-cutter picture for all of us, rather than looking at the big picture of the passage as a whole.Is this entire section prescriptive? Are we really all supposed to do all of this? While having little kids?! And the answer, friend, is “no.” But this productive, gifted lady is the sort of woman that is praised here, and so we can purposefully look at her life and learn from it. Look at her. She’s skilled in a particular area (fabric/sewing) and she uses it to bless everyone she comes in contact with:A Skillful Producer

JULY 2014

(I only posted once in July, because we moved into our house.)

  • Home Decor & Trendiness: Who Makes the Rules You Live By? “Perhaps you see TV shows or read articles like these and feel obligated, on some level, to live within the decorating limits set by others? And if not these rules, which are you living by? Your mom’s? The ladies in your home group at church? Your best friends’? The “rules” you take in while browsing Pinterest? We all have people who have influenced the way we keep our homes, how we decorate, how we clean, and the way we live.”Home Decor & Trendiness: Who Makes the Rules You Live By?

 

AUGUST 2014

SEPTEMBER 2014

  • TOP ARTICLE: Are You a “Mommy Martyr?”
    “What is a “mommy martyr?” This mom:

    • steps up to “do it all,” taking on more than she can cheerfully do, then feels bitterness and frustration
    • doesn’t ask (but still expects) others to help
    • may keep an internal “list” of all the things she does that no one else appreciates {To read the rest of the list, click on the picture:}

    Are YOU A "Mommy Martyr?"

  • MY FAVORITE: 5 Reasons to Make Love (Even Though You’re Tired) “for the tired mom who just wants a little extra sleep, the woman for whom the initial delight you had in your beloved has faded into a hum-drum occasional physical interaction, the wife who feels exhausted by her children and has been excusing “not having anything left over to give” to the man you pledged your life to… to YOU, I have a few things to say.”Make Love (Even Though You're Tired)

OCTOBER 2014

  • TOP ARTICLE (by FAR the most popular article I’ve ever written): Why Have More Kids? ” Recently, on an older post about exhaustion, I received this comment:
    “I don’t want to offend anyone but why do people keep having more kids if they are already exhausted with 1 or 2 they do have?”

    There are so many answers I could give, but for me, it all boils down to this: 

    "Why Have More Kids If You're Already Exhausted?"

  • MY FAVORITE: Young Woman, I Am So Sorry “This world will seek to convince you that the Sovereign God who created every flower and contour of this world made a mistake when He formed the shapes and colors of your eyes, cheeks, jawline, and nose… when He gave you your skin tone and hair color and bone structure. This world seeks to teach you to believe that IT knows better than your Creator what you should look like. And that ultimately, what you look like is not OK. And I am so sorry.” Young Woman, I Am So Sorry

NOVEMBER 2014

  • TOP ARTICLE: Unprepared for Motherhood: Thanks, Feminism! “Because of Feminism, we have had less training, and less mental preparation for motherhood and daily care of the home than any other generation before us. The vast majority of us … got our degrees, and were prepared to use them in a sterile, professional environment. …our reality was far removed from any awareness of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and the real, daily demands of raising young children.”
    Unprepared For Motherhood; Thanks, Feminism! // JessConnell.com
  • MY FAVORITE: Stop Waiting For a ZAP! “Have you been waiting for the elusive “zap?” What I mean by that is: Are you waiting for something to happen TO you… are you subconsciously waiting for things to change? Let me say something to you that we all need to hear from time to time: There is no magic “zap” that’s going to happen TO you. If you are coasting along through life, hoping that each day will somehow be different from yesterday, you are — essentially — trusting in magic.”Stop Waiting for a ZAP // JessConnell.com

DECEMBER 2014

  • TOP ARTICLE: Convictions & Choices: Don’t Do It Because “They” Do “Just as the world often goes along with lifestyle decisions because of the people around them, Christians sometimes take on the convictions of others around us without actually searching the Scriptures and knowing exactly why they believe and do what they do. Here are some convictions that I’ve seen Christians adopt because of others:”Choices & Convictions, part 1: Don't Do it Because "They" Do // jessconnell.com
  • MY FAVORITE: Are You Ignoring Your “Mommy Radar?”  “Over the years, in myself and others, I’ve observed a tendency toward laziness as moms. I’m not talking about laziness in how we clean, decorate, dress our children, or save money for our family. No, in those ways we can be quite purposeful and diligent. What I mean is this: many of us tend to lazily overlook the things our children are doing, even when those things agitate or frustrate us. God has given us an internal alert system that points us to the very areas on which we should focus in our children…”Are You IGNORING Your "Mommy Radar?" // jessconnell.com

 

2014 was a year full of changes for our family. Our family moved from Texas to Washington. My husband and I have begun counseling couples more purposefully through our local church. It was also, for me, a great year for growing as a writer.

I’m looking forward to 2015 for a couple reasons:

  • I’ll get to meet Luke. :) Our 7th baby (6th son) is due just 6 weeks from today!
  • And I’ll also be releasing several projects (books) I have lined up. (STAY TUNED & SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER TO KEEP IN THE LOOP, IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!)

Blessings to you and your family as you reflect on the year gone by and consider what’s coming in the year ahead!

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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