When God Says “Wait” Is Now Available! Gratitude! Links! Free Stuff!


Fourteen years is a long time to wait.

When God Says “Wait” hits bookstore shelves today! (Here’s where I stop typing and indulge in an embarrassing jig that can only be described as “Riverdance meets Rhythm Nation, but without the rhythm.”) I am SO EXCITED, but wow, what a long journey it’s been.

Fourteen years ago, a vicious case of jet lag kept me up all night and gave me a strange gift: an idea for a story I had to tell about characters I met that night, but felt I’d known always. By the time sunrise set the Atlanta skyline ablaze, I had penned the first two chapters of a novel and outlined the entire plot. By the time my fellow Atlantans were stumbling to their coffee makers, my career path had changed; life had changed. I was going to become a writer.

If you had told me that night that I would spend the next fourteen years pursuing that crazy dream (and seriously, writing is a crazy dream), I don’t know what I would have done. I suspect a truckload of chocolate would have been involved.

In the past fourteen years, I have written more hours than I could count (I suspect the hours actually add up to years of life at this point). Spent thousands of dollars on coffee and conferences. Run over one laptop with my car. (ACCIDENT. Seriously. I can explain.) Worked another laptop so hard it finally just choked and died.

Along the way I have indie published two books, The Thirteenth Summer and The Tender Years: Parenting Preschoolers (coauthored with my wonderful mom, Geri), and those valuable experiences taught me so much about hard work and the joy of simply sharing words, and life, with readers.

Meanwhile, after an agonizing struggle with infertility, Kevin and I had three kids in less than three years and lived to tell the tale. (The tale involved more poop and vomit than one sentence can describe, but even so, it was a life worth living. A tale (mostly) worth telling.) After a while we had a fourth child, because hey—what’s one more?!

Along the way I have discovered that my husband is THE BEST HUSBAND IN THE UNIVERSE. I always knew that, but now I know it more. He loves all of my work—even the stories aimed at twelve-year-olds. He has always taken this writing thing seriously, long before anyone besides him was ever reading my words. He generously gives me writing time. He sends me to conferences and views every dollar spent as investment, not expense. He tolerates my coffee habit, having accepted that creativity requires caffeine (and occasionally champagne). He doesn’t get hurt feelings when I trail off mid-sentence, lost in a sudden plot-twist revelation. When I get manic, he takes away my coffee and makes me take naps. And all the while, he’s just so daggum cute and funny and faithful.

Along the way I have found the greatest BFF-slash-writing-partner any writer could have, who knows what I want to say and how I want to say it better than I do; whose soul-stirring writing takes my breath away.

When God Says Wait in Barnes & Noble

This is my writing partner, Emma, in Barnes & Noble yesterday, with copies of my book! This is the same B & N where we met and have shared countless happy writing hours! Also, I helped her pick those fabulous boots. 🙂

In the past two years I have discovered the joy of connecting with people through words and scripture and silly stories right here on Lizzy Life. I cannot describe the joy this community has brought me. How I have loved sharing life with you here—giving you glimpses into our wacky world and hearing how our stories intersect with yours. You have helped me not write alone, not learn alone, not live alone.

Along the way I have found joy in writing with God. I cannot describe the intensely intimate and transcendent spiritual experience it was to write When God Says “Wait” with God. Every day writing was a day spent in constant communion with Him. Every day I prayed, “Fill me up and empty me out.” Every day, mystical as it sounds, He whispered words.

Along the way I have had the privilege to work with godly people whose courage, excellence, and giftedness blows my mind: my agent-slash-book-warrior Jessica Kirkland, who fights on no matter the odds. The entire team at Barbour: Kelly McIntosh, who is ever encouraging; Shalyn Sattler, whose heart and talent echo through every email; Mary Burns, who laughed and plotted with me and Shalyn and helped make marketing fun; Liesl Davenport, whose gifts for detail and design had me nearly weeping with gratitude; Laura Weller, copyeditor and comma-wrangler extraordinaire; Ashley Schrock, who designed the brilliant book cover; Jeane Wynne, publicist, cheerleader, and inspiring go-getter; my book launch team, who have made the “preseason” of the book launch such a joy with their enthusiasm and generosity.

Amazing friends have taken time out of their insanely busy lives to read and endorse the book—their generosity with their time and words has meant the world: longtime friends Chip and Pauli Wade, who we met when we were newlyweds and they were both cheerleaders at Georgia Tech; now they serve God in multiple capacities, as talented designers and HGTV stars; Lara Casey Isaacson, a writer friend whose ministry, example, and transparency are inspiring; Andy Lee, a local writer friend whose book, A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called is a beautiful blend of Bible and storytelling; beloved friend Laura Whitaker, who has shared so many waiting seasons with me, and whose work with individuals with special needs is heroic; and devoted friend Marilisa Schachinger, who has also shared my waiting seasons (she was even brave enough to babysit the three-under-three, way back in the day!), and now honors God with her work as a business owner and entrepreneur.

And then there are our parents, Sam and Geri and Bill and Glenda, and our delightfully quirky family members, who have not just tolerated, but supported and encouraged, from the beginning. They have fasted, prayed, babysat, read drafts, given ideas, and picked me up off the floor a thousand times over. My sister Alexandra was enduring a horrific waiting season of her own the entire time I was writing, and her struggle inspired and guided me as I wrote—her spirit, too, is on every page. I could go on for pages about every single family member, but I am every day thankful for every one of them.

And my fiercely loyal friends, who have prayed with me and chosen to walk this journey with me even when the whole process was just so weird and confusing, and they secretly thought I was nuts (and of course they were right). Every girl should be so lucky to have such friends.

And my church family, who have prayed and listened and cheered me on for years, who have not made comments when I showed up to midweek wearing sweatpants, a hat, and crazy eyes. (Sorry about that.) They even let me share their poignant waiting stories in the book.

Much as it pains me and humbles me to say it—this is me, eating my words; Father, are you reading this?—these past fourteen years have taught me the value in waiting. I have seen that good things—maybe even the best things—truly come to those who wait.

The victory is all the sweeter for taking so long. The joy all the richer for following so much rejection, heartache, and doubt. The satisfaction all the more meaningful because it has been shared by so many—and it would not have been shared so meaningfully had it not taken so long. I recognize that; I celebrate what unparalleled joy it is to share joy. The thousands of prayers others have willingly offered on my behalf are staggering. Humbling. Overwhelming. I owe a prayer debt I could never repay.

Above all, I am so grateful to God for allowing me to write this book with Him and for Him. It’s all for you, God… do with it as you will.

Want to download two free chapters of the book? Here’s a link!

Want to check out the book trailer, starring my beautiful friends, and put together by my brilliant brother-in-law? Here it is!

Want to order the book? It’s available anywhere books are sold: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Christianbook.com, even in your local Lifeway. I’d love to hear what you think when you’re through—I deeply appreciate every response, every story, every word you send my way. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

-xoxo, Elizabeth


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When Mugs Break: Lessons in Fear

On Pinkeye, Lice, and Love

When Being a Grown-Up Means You’re Still Growing Up


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13 Readings to Help You Find the Thanksgiving Spirit


13 readings to help you be thankful

Image courtesy of Pixabay

In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m honored to share with you thirteen fantastic articles from blogger friends, all about gratitude. If you haven’t caught the Thanksgiving spirit yet, these will do the trick. Some readings are devotion–style, with scriptures to meditate on; others are essays to get you thinking; a few give practical tips for cultivating a spirit of gratitude in your family life; all will inspire you to feel (and live) thankful! Read one a day, or splurge, Thanksgiving–style, and read several at once—this is the best kind of feast, one that lets you go back for seconds and thirds, without getting a stomachache!

Bringing Gratitude into Your Daily Life as a Parent

71 Ways to Show Gratitude to Family, Friends, and Strangers by Lauren Cormier (Oh, Honestly). I absolutely love this list of fun, practical ideas for ways to show gratitude—things like giving lots of hugs, or doing a chore no one else wants to do. Lauren writes, “By living life in a way that constantly looks for ways to improve the lives of others, we are showing gratitude.” Read the article here

Today’s Lesson from a Grateful Mom by Traci Rhoades (Traces of Faith). Track writes about slowing down the hectic mom-life pace, and choosing gratitude along the way: “When we force things to slow down, things get better… Because the years we have together are gifts. Memories in the making every day.” Read the article here

4 Tips to Teach Your Children Gratitude by Lauren Cormier (for MissHumblebee). This is an insightful take on getting to kids’ hearts, raising grateful kids, not entitled ones. And guess where it starts? “Model gratitude. This may be the most important tip of all since our children learn what they see.” Read the article here

Gratitude Turns Who We Are into Enough, by Meredith Ethington (Perfection Pending). Encouraging thoughts for moms who never feel like enough, who think, “I yell sometimes, and a good mom would never do that… I want peace and quiet at the end of the day instead of loud laughter and kids running through the house wild and happy. Good mothers don’t think like that. But this mother does.” Read the article here

Devotional Thoughts on Gratitude

Which Letter Is Yours? by Jeanie Shaw (My Morning Cup). This is a hilarious rewrite of the letter Paul wrote to the Philippians. He had every reason to complain, and yet he chose joy. But what if he hadn’t? “Nobody really cares about me…everyone is just thinking about themselves. Well, except maybe Timothy and now he’ll likely go to you and then you will ‘need’ him.  Sheez…what else do you want?” Read the article here

One Thing to Be Thankful for (that’s Not Based on Your Circumstances), by Ellie Fulton (Gumption). Ellie writes about the wondrous reminder that God is always at work in the details of our lives, to bring us to him: “God worked in the very details, every day, of these twenty souls. And I was reminded—it is not just those twenty people. God has worked in the very details, every day, of my life since before I was born…and he keeps doing it…” Read the article here

Giving Thanks, by Debbie Williams (Blogger Loves the King). Debbie writes a simple reminder to live (and thank God) intentionally every day, not just on Thanksgiving Day: “We may not be able to change our circumstances, but we CAN change our attitudes to attitudes of gratitude.” Read the article here

How to Have a Real Thanksgiving This Year, by Stephanie Robertson (Barnabas Lane). Seeking a true Thanksgiving, the kind that begins in your heart and not with your fork: “Heaven forbid we put more preparation into the meal we eat or the way we eat it on Thanksgiving than the way we really experience and really have Thanksgiving.” Read the article here

Monday Thankfulness: Simplicity, by Destin Wells (Arrows of Content). Destin writes about finding joy in life’s simple, daily blessings: “We don’t have much, but we have everything we need. We aren’t wealthy in terms of money, but anytime I spend a weekend doing simple things with the ones I love, I feel like the richest person in the world.” Read the article here

Looking for family devotion ideas? I’ve written a couple of devotion ideas to teach gratitude to kids: A Fun Family Devotion to Teach Kids Gratitude, and A Fun Way to Teach Gratitude to Kids of All Ages.

Gratitude During Hard Times

Choose Gratitude, by Sarah Philpott (All–American Mom). I loved this reminder that gratitude is a choice, even we’re struggling, or suffering, or grieving: “Anchor your soul in gratitude for what the Lord has done.  You might not be rescued from the storm, but you can look around for the beauty in the midst of the upheaval…in the midst of the tempest choose to cherish.” Read the article here. (Sarah blogs about miscarriage and pregnancy loss, so if you or a friend is going through this, Sarah’s blog is a great resource.)

Giving Thanks: Not the Usual Suspects, by Bonnie Lyn Smith (Espressos of Faith). This Thanksgiving, we’re all wondering, how do we find gratitude in the midst of so much fresh pain and terror in the world? What does it really mean to pray for our enemies? Bonnie writes, “…Good rises up in horrifying circumstances, and I have the privilege to pray for change and sometimes to participate in it… I cannot be as self-focused when I am willing to pray back the dark.” Read the article here.

You Are Alive! Savor It, by Christine Carter (The Mom Cafe). If you battle depression during the holidays, this post will encourage you, helping you find ways to savor life even when it’s hard, or you’re not up for the daily grind: “Despite those hard days, those trying trials, those sometimes suffocating sacrifices we endure just to get through the day, we are aliveWe haven’t been taken from this world, just yet.” Read the article here.  

This Is Living, by Jennie Goutet (A Lady in France). Jennie lives in Paris, and had a birthday in the midst of the recent tragedy—and yet she found joy and light in the midst of heartbreak: “Outside it’s dark and it feels like the night is only getting darker. It feels like the heavens are weeping over the tragedies without cease. But we, my friends, are lit from within.” Read the article here


Want more parenting tips and devotion ideas? Sign up for my monthly parenting newsletter, and you’ll receive a free download with seven two-minute devotions to do around the breakfast table with kids!


If you enjoyed these readings, you might also enjoy: 

A Fun Family Devotion to Teach Kids Gratitude

10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Open Up

13 Scriptures to Help Siblings Get Along

These Days of Small Things

When Being a Grown-up Means You’re Still Growing Up

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A Fun Way to Teach Gratitude to Kids of All Ages


teaching kids to be grateful via @lizzylit

Image courtesy of Pixabay

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we’re all looking for ways to have a thankful spirit, and to encourage our children to be grateful. Last week I posted a super silly way to teach kids about gratitude. 

Here’s another devotional idea to encourage gratitude—for kids and grown-ups:

We did this activity last year with a small group at church, and credit for the idea goes to Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome. (We had a room full of adults and kids, including my very loud toddler, who had a lot to say all throughout the devotional!) We started by reading some scriptures about gratitude, then Kevin handed out notecards and pens. He asked us to write down things we were grateful for in different categories:

  • an activity we enjoy
  • an experience we’ve had
  • something we own
  • something in nature
  • a person outside our family circle

Then we took turns sharing what we’d written. This devotional was so fun because it made us stop to appreciate the simple things, experiences, and people in our daily life that we are grateful for. Sometimes when we think about gratitude we make it big and virtuous and intangible—”I’m thankful for relationships,” “I’m thankful for freedom,” “I’m thankful for grace”—and while those things are wonderful, they feel kind of . . . theoretical. It also helps our hearts to think, “You know, I’m grateful for my new shoes. And I’m grateful that I get to take piano lessons. And I love jumping in piles of raked leaves.”

I especially loved the way this devotional got adults and kids involved, sharing our thoughts together! The kids had a lot to say, and we all laughed and smiled a lot. Everyone left thankful and happy, feeling more connected to God and to each other.


Want more parenting tips and devotion ideas? Sign up for my monthly parenting newsletter, and you’ll receive a free download with seven two-minute devotions to do around the breakfast table with kids!


If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy: 

A Fun Family Devotion to Teach Kids Gratitude

The Tradition that Teaches Kids to Give at Christmastime

10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Open Up

13 Scriptures to Help Siblings Get Along

These Days of Small Things

When Being a Grown-up Means You’re Still Growing Up

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A Fun Family Devotion to Teach Kids Gratitude


how to raise thankful children

As we begin the holiday season, we’re all looking for ways to encourage our kids to be grateful. Here is a family devotion we did last year with our kids to encourage a thankful spirit. We called it…

“Overflowing with thankfulness. Literally.”

How’s that for a creative title?!

Anyway.

This devotion comes with a super silly illustration, but our kids loved it. We started by reading Colossians 2:6–7: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

Then we gathered around the kitchen table and I asked if they wanted some milk. I put a cup in a bowl, and started pouring…  and pouring… and pouring… until my kids were gasping in horror and the milk was spilling out all over the top of the cup, filling up the bowl. The milk was overflowing! We talked about how our gratitude should be like that—so big that we just can’t hold it in, and it spills out all over everything.

Then we stuck straws into the bowl (germs? what germs?) and let the kids drink the milk from the bowl.

teaching kids to be thankful via @lizzylit

Of course, this turned into a milk-bubble-blowing fest. Who says the Bible can’t be fun?!

raising grateful kids

You could do variations on this devotion with a bowlful of marshmallows or even a basket full of toys.

Here’s to a holiday season that’s overflowing with thankfulness . . . and fun!

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Want more ideas like this? Click here to sign up for my monthly parenting newsletter, and you’ll receive a free download with seven two-minute devotions to do around the breakfast table with your kids! 


You might also enjoy these posts:

Two-Minute Devotions (Scroll through the list for a whole series of devotion ideas.)

When Your Kid Won’t Stop Whining

13 Scriptures to Help Siblings Get Along

5 Foundations in Early Parenting

10 Ways to Get Kids to Open Up

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Childhood’s a Blur…and So Are the Pictures


how to slow down and enjoy childhood via @lizzylit

We didn’t do the last day of school right.

All six of us woke up late—we had already started easing into slack summer bedtimes a few days early, and we all slept in.

So the last morning of school turned into a whirlwind of cereal-shoveling and lunch-packing and gift-wrapping, all to a frantic soundtrack:

“Please tell me someone found that library book!”

“Quick, tie a bow around that teacher gift!”

“Mommy, did you remember to buy water bottles?”

“I forgot—just grab your broken Thermos.”

“Mommy, you promised!”

“WHERE’S MY SHOE?”

We stumbled out the door, a flurry of backpacks and uncombed hair and teacher gifts with bows half-tied. We made it just in time.

After the kids sprinted to class, I knocked on the door of my son’s second-grade classroom for the last time, to deliver his teacher a gift from her students: a framed photo collage, our attempt to preserve a memory so she could keep it forever.

This spring she had organized a 24-hour “Skype-a-thon.” Mrs. L and her students camped out for 24 hours at school, Skyping other classrooms in time zones they could never contact during normal school hours. Mrs. L found a way to stretch class time long enough so her students could meet other children across the globe.

Overnight she helped her students “travel” to every time zone, to places few will ever visit in person—to Palestine, Nepal, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Belgium… 27 countries and 3 U.S. States in all. In those wondrous 24 hours my son and his friends met other students “face-to-face,” talking school and history and favorite soccer teams. They giggled and shared and built bridges, one cinderblock classroom to another, on cheap computers with unreliable Internet signals—but they did it. They pulled it off. She pulled it off.

It was a herculean feat, a one-of-a-kind, world’s-first type event. It was worthy of a photo collage, and so much more—maybe a World’s Best Teacher award, or better yet a Nobel Peace Prize. In lieu of a Nobel Prize, Mrs. L’s students did the best they could: they made a photo collage. The pictures were blurry, taken by weary parents with cell phones in the middle of the night; the kids’ signatures were sloppy, scrawled in their second-grade style… but somehow Mrs. L got teary-eyed anyway. I left to the sound of happy chatter, as she tried to hold on to a few last hours with her students.

But halfway across the school parking lot, I stopped, stricken. I’d forgotten to photograph the moment. I’d been so caught up in it—wanting her to feel our gratitude, wishing the kids could fully grasp this great experience she had given them, this lifelong gift—that I forgot to take a picture to memorialize the memorializing. I stood debating: Should I go back and interrupt, waste their dwindling class time, embarrass my son for the sake of posterity? Or just let it go?

I decided to let it go, but the memory-maker inside me died a little.

And so there will be no Last Day of School picture of my son with his second-grade teacher and the gift we gave her. (Really, the gift she gave him.)

And thanks to our family’s hectic morning, there will be no cute split-screen, first day-last day pictures of my kids on social media, the ones that show how much they’ve grown during the school year. There just wasn’t time.

And that’s the trouble with time, and with childhood… there’s never enough. Not during the school day. Not on the last day of school, or the first, or even in the summer. Because even today, with six vacation weeks stretching out ahead of us, sparkling with possibility, I feel the tug of the real-life calendar: the work that still has to be done, the summer reading list I should probably enforce, the dozens of fun family memories we want to cram into such a short span.

And sad as I feel today about the last day of school, in six weeks I know I’ll be mourning the end of another blink-of-an-eye summer, wishing for more. Wishing for more lazy mornings; for more days that end with sand in the bathtub and wet towels on the floor; for more long stormy afternoons when everyone’s bored and it’s all I can do to keep them off electronics and using their imaginations instead. Those days too will fade, faster than they should.

So it all has me thinking: How do I want to spend these glorious, too-few summer days?

And how should we have spent that last day of kindergarten, second, and third grades? Should we have gotten up a little earlier? Rushed a little faster, pushed a little harder to do it all right, take the pictures, mark the moment?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Because the thing is, on that last morning, somehow the kids made it to school with clothes on—clothes that weren’t photo-worthy, but were perfect for one final romp on the playground with friends. All the teachers got gifts from the heart, and most of the gifts even had crooked bows on them. And all my kids had lunches in hand—composed of weird, end-of-the-paycheck-so-the-pantry-is-bare kind of foods—but still, food. More food than some of the students we met in the Skype-a-thon will ever see in their lunchboxes.

My kids rushed out the door that last-day morning, true to youth. Rushing, rushing—over too quickly, gone too soon.

No, I didn’t stop to photograph it, this fleeting childhood moment… instead we fumbled it together, raced through it together, tried to make each other laugh when we all felt like crying. I didn’t photograph it, but I experienced it with them, as present as time would allow.

Maybe that’s the way our morning should have gone after all.

It’s the way I hope our summer goes, minus the running late part: all of us together, trundling along in a sandy minivan, off to make a mess, and maybe new friends, in a new place. Embracing the chaos, forgetting to take pictures because there isn’t time for anything but each other—anything but now, this moment, this memory-in-progress. Making the most of what time we have. Knowing that even if we stopped to take pictures, they’d turn out blurry anyway.


If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy:

Firefly Nights (The Magic in a Summer Night)

A Letter to My Children’s Teachers, from a Grateful Parent

A Letter to My Child About Your Unfinished Baby Book

Don’t forget to subscribe to my monthly parenting newsletter! As a welcome gift, you’ll receive a free download with 7 two-minute devotions to do around the breakfast table with kids!

 how to slow down and enjoy childhood via @lizzylit

 Photo credit: Sara Engel of Sara Engel Photography