About the Author

Ashley Hales is a PhD, writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, and mother. Her first book is: Finding Holy in the Suburbs: Living Faithfully in the Land of Too Much (IVP). Connect with Ashley at aahales.com or @aahales on social media.

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  1. “No, our homes will never be enough. I won’t be enough. In my own
    strength I can’t muster a perfect household, nor would I want to.”

    Recently, I was thinking as I washed dishes at the kitchen sink, “If you’re looking for perfection, you’ll always miss the good right in front of you.”
    God said, “It is good.”

    This life here, now, today, it is good. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy the good of family and the here and now of today. Blessings to you and yours Ashley.

    • Thank you for your own encouraging words! I love that so many of our revelations happen in the ordinary dishes-washing moments. Here’s to embracing the good!

  2. This blog tugs deeply on my heart strings, as growing up so much was about performance rather than a feeling of just being accepted & loved for who I am. Thankyou for this beautiful encouraging message, as it gives me renewed hope 🙂 Faith

    • Faith, it’s so easy to use performance as a way to measure acceptance because we can see and earn it. Praying for you as you walk in the freedom of love today.

  3. After all of these years I am still amazed at the way God knows exactly what I need and provides it perfectly! Thank you for this article. It is just the piece in this puzzle of life I needed today.

  4. “When I’m honest, I can feel the pressure and anxiety mount as I wonder if we’ll pass as parents, if our kids will want to come to their childhood home and be with us as peers.” This question sneaks up on me as well. It is a deep trust we must give when it comes to our children. It demands something from us we are still learning to give. I love the image of the father you illuminated here. Great piece Ashley!

    • Thanks so much Chara! I appreciate you being here and commenting. Yes it is such a deep trust, isn’t it? It’s one we get to learn in baby steps and one where the Father comes to meet us too, even in our failure and flailing around.

  5. “When I’m honest, I can feel the pressure and anxiety mount as I wonder if we’ll pass as parents, if our kids will want to come to their childhood home and be with us as peers.” This question sneaks up on me as well. I don’t have that relationship with my parents, so it’s always on my mind and heart…more lately as we begin to visit colleges and prepare for our son’s future. It amazes me that God always knows what I need to hear. Thank you!

    • Oh Lisa, I’m so glad this is something you need to hear! Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m learning to let go of that anxiety but it always creeps in, I suppose. I hope that your college visits will be yet another memory that will draw you son back home when he needs it.

  6. As our children enter these teen years my husband and I have spent many hours discussing our desires to create the “cool” home, where not only our kids want to be but their friends will want to come as well. God has reminded me it is not about how perfect it looks with all the cool toys, but how they feel while they are here. This weekend was a testament to that as we opened our home to our kids friends and fed them and shared the love and comfort of our imperfect home. Our kids thanked us and told us how much fun they had.

    • Leigh, I love your story and that is such a great example. It’s not about the stuff but about the welcome. I love hearing how you did just that this weekend. Thank YOU for encouraging my own heart as my kids get bigger.

  7. I can totally relate to defaulting to anxiety when I start fretting about the future mess ups/brokenness/counseling sessions my kids might end up having due to my own imperfections. Thank you for reminding me that it’s about love and grace for one another and it’s about belonging. Beautiful truths. Thank you.

  8. Ashley,
    God gives us nice homes & expects us to share them. He created us for community. We should be willing to open our homes not just when they are perfect with all the cool toys, but when the people inside want to share the love of Jesus! If we open our homes to friends, & family we are sharing in the goodness of God!
    Blessings 🙂

  9. Do we ever outgrow those harmful and hellish words: “not good enough”?
    So thankful today for community that mirrors back a right way of thinking about my identity, and for God Himself who whispers Truth from His Word about who He is — and who I am.
    Thanks, Ashley — so glad to find your words here today!

    • Thank you Michele for being here. I hate those shame-filled words we keep slinging back at ourselves, don’t you? I have to keep going back to the source and remembering I’m a daughter of the King and have a Father who RUNS to me.

  10. LOOOOOOOOVE this post. I am all about “home” and felt like I worked really hard to make our home a place of love and laughter and learning and comfort and safety and acceptance and refreshment. But when our 4 kids were younger, and we sat around OUR dinner table…I wanted to throw in the towel so many times, because my efforts just didn’t seem good enough for these rat-finks I had given birth to. I had many of the same feelings you wrote about: “What would they remember? Are they getting ANYTHING out of what we are trying to teach them? Do they even LIKE each other? Do they like US? Will they ever come home or will they be so anxious to leave? Good news. They do…and they will. Our kids love to come home. They love God and each other (and us). I firmly believe that it was not anything WE did, but it’s like God took our feeble attempts at “train up a child,” and made them into something beautiful. For that, I am so thankful.

    • marty, thank you for reading and being here. Thank you for your wisdom and story and sharing along with me in the fear and tension and trust. I’m so thankful for your story and your precious children who do love God and their family. A gift!