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Devotions

A Light Without a Light Bulb and Hot Dogs

I’ve spent years with others’ lights shining around me, and proudly so. The sister who’s an international speaker, the brother with the military accomplishments, the sister whose career in design led to opening many businesses, the sister with a halo you can see from outer space (corporal & spiritual works of mercy are her special gifts).

For most of my twenties, I felt like the light without a light bulb. Yes, I’m an attorney but didn’t practice for that long. Yes, I’m a writer but don’t have any books. My nebulous online work wasn’t easily described in a quick blurb at the extended family BBQ. I was mostly “just” a stay-at-home mom and for those early years of mothering, shouting over the din of the crying passel of children to assure my aunt who was refilling on hot dogs, “I do love every minute of it!!

“For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:16-17). So besides maybe my aunt someday finding out that I didn’t love every minute of three kids under four, how we have lived with our light, our loves, our gifts will be evident to God.

Sisters, you may be the overlooked one in your family or maybe you’re the academic all-star. You may be dying of boredom at staff meetings or the one presenting, fully caffeinated. You may think you don’t know who you are or what you have to offer, especially in comparison to your sister in the flesh or sister in Christ. But maybe we’re all missing the point.

You have the LIGHT. You have the light of God’s joy and truth right here, in this one recklessly beautiful life of ours. We have access to it, knowledge of it, and encouragement to pursue it. Will we?

God’s not taking a talent show at the end. He’s not measuring how fabulously we could describe you in one sentence. He’s deeply desiring us to choose a life illuminated by Him.

You have the light of God's joy and truth right here, in this one recklessly beautiful life of ours. // @wholeparenting Click To Tweet

These stunning stain glass windows in Sainte-Chapelle in Paris have undergone restoration, inspiring the thousands of pilgrims to deeper prayer and awe of God’s light in their lives.

Nell O’Leary is a recovering lawyer turned blogger, speaker, and sewer of baby goods while tending to her husband and four kiddos in the great city of Saint Paul, Minnesota. She serves as Managing Editor for Blessed is She and can down a hot cocoa in no time flat. Find out more about her here. She is the editor of our Blessed Conversations Series and guide for the Gift of You course

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Pam Castillo
    September 23, 2019 at 8:59 am

    I was “just” a stay at home mom too. I always felt less than for that. Other moms worked, had careers, always were doing more than me. What was wrong with me that this was all I could manage? Now I’m 61 and my children are adults. I’m still at home as the primary caregiver for my severely disabled daughter. And I still feel less than because this is all I can manage. I imagine it must be really difficult for this generation of moms with social media constantly showing them how they fall short.
    I guess we just do the best we can with all the brokenness and mess we are. We all struggle and fall short. And we’ll never have it figured out here. You’re right, though, we have Him; we have the Light. That’s the thing to remember. The only thing, really.

    • Reply
      Nell O'Leary
      September 23, 2019 at 11:47 am

      Thank you, sister, for your wisdom!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    September 24, 2019 at 10:33 am

    Wow! Thank you for post. It touched me.more deeply than I expected. ❤️

  • Reply
    Mary
    September 24, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    Thank you, Nell! When I read, “God’s not taking a talent show at the end. He’s not measuring how fabulously we could describe you in one sentence. He’s deeply desiring us to choose a life illuminated by Him,” it really resonated with me. All God asks is that we take His hand, pick up our cross and follow Him. He does not ask us to look at others and what they are (or are not) doing. He does not ask us to wish we were different than we are. He simply wants us to accept ourselves as a gift He created. He wants for us to simply follow Him, In this way, our lights will truly shine, for He will be illuminating them with HIs love and grace.

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