About the Author

Lisa-Jo is the best-selling author of Never Unfriended and Surprised by Motherhood. Her newest book, The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You invites us to get a good look at our middles and gives us permission to embrace them.

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  1. Lisa,
    Even my husband will say sometimes, “You know, you can be really hard on yourself.” It’s true, I can be my own worst critic. God is not pleased if I flog myself with my own stick. Just the opposite…He looks at me and says (I envision), “I made you. You are my highest and best creation. I formed you out of love and then sent my son to die for your sins. I see you through the blood of Jesus and in My view all the cracks are filled in.” I’m so thankful that I have a God who has already filled in the cracks – when I’m crabby, when I lose my patience, when I’m late for the game, or burn dinner, or complain to much. He even fills in the cracks when I completely lose it and say something I regret to someone I love. Jesus died for my sins…it is finished. It is not the cherry on top, to God, if I am hard on myself to boot. His love is steady, constant, unchanging no matter what I do. Knowing that nothing can separate me from His love allows me to walk in freedom…freedom from being hard on myself when I come up short. I envision God saying, ” It’s finished…I’ve filled in the cracks… I love you NO MATTER WHAT…go in peace and freedom.”
    Blessings,
    Bev

      • That’s so true Lisa-Jo!
        I’m going to make myself a note to pray that God would help me to receive his love! Right?!

    • Aw just read the thread of these comment and had a “I love you guys” kungfoo panda moment! Isn’t it amazing how we don’t know each other in the flesh but we can share our hearts! I feel loved and encouraged and hopeful just reading your words! Thank you girls!!
      Tania from NZ (26and still no man!)

  2. Oh.
    Our kids so need the message that there’s nothing they can do to make us love them less . . . or more.
    And this is the message that God repeats all throughout Scripture about His beloved children.
    I needed to hear it today, myself.
    Thank you.

  3. Wow!
    That really hit home for me. I just had the same discussion with my daughter yesterday, but applying it to myself has never crossed my mind. I am constantly reviewing lists and how I come up short everyday. Thanks for putting things into perspective.

    • “But applying it to myself has never crossed my mind” – right? Crazy how we can lavish love on our kids and then be surprised that God would want to do the same for us! 🙂

  4. On a day I woke feeling especially alone, sad and “not good enough”, this message is just what I needed. Thank you!

  5. Oh my goodness, Lisa Jo, this is a mirror re-write of the first chapter of the book I am writing, Surprised by His Love. I just put the finishing touches last night. It’s all about the chart my mom kept on the cupboard door, the chore chart. If we did the chores we got red marks. If we didn’t we got black ones, that crossed out the red ones. We also got behavior points one way or the other. At the end of the week our allowance was based on the remaining red marks.

    I grew up with the sense of never being good enough. There were always black marks that erased my approval record. It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that God repeated to me, almost verbatim, what you told Zoe.

    I’m in my 70’s now and I’ve made some progress over the years, yet there are still tag tail remnants that surface.
    This morning I woke up wondering if what I wrote was ‘good enough’ for publishing. Then I opened email and your new post. When I read your script I was shocked. It was as if you’d been here last night reading my text. I could almost hear Abba shouting, “Well done.”

    You’ve given me the confirmation to keep writing and trusting that His love is unchanging. In His eyes we are all ‘good enough’ and loved beyond all we can imagine.

    Thank you Lisa-Jo. <3

    • Oh Mary Ellen! I can hear Him shouting, “Well done!” too. And just lavishing His beautiful red blood with all its marks of approval and acceptance and delight and radical, never giving up, never running out, never conditional love down around you. Tears in my eyes as I think of how proud He must be of you!!

  6. I can’t get past the fact that she is already 5…..good grief! 🙂 Now, to go back and read this again! 🙂

  7. It’s so easy to be ruthlessly hard on ourselves at times. It’s true, we often hold ourselves to a much higher standard than we should. And, I’ve found this a hard habit to break! We’re none perfect and won’t be on this side of heaven. Still, I work on it and some days I fail, but I’m a work in progress after all. We all are! 🙂 Thanks for sharing. It’s always nice to be reminded that God loves us always, even on our messiest days when we’re not quite able to love ourselves. Let’s choose to believe that. We’ll be better for it~

  8. There is such freedom in the truth of knowing how deep and irrevocable Gods love for us is. To sink into that love on days we feel unlovable, is to walk in faith and discover a peace that makes me cry with gratitude. Thank you for your reminder today!

  9. This is one of THE loveliest columns EVER! It actually brought tears to my eyes. Keep writing, my dear. You have been blessed with such insight and with this God-given gift, continue to bring happiness, courage, trust and love to all who read your words.

    God bless you always!

  10. this message resonates well in my soul. will be passing it on to my precious sons today!
    let us remember, though, it’s the love of God that draws us, His blood that saves us; but only obedience to His Word that will allow us to hear, “well done!” in the end.
    yes, be loved… and finish faithful.

  11. Both of our boys are adopted. Each has struggled with a sense of belonging at one time or another. From the time they were small, I’ve told them (over and over) that there is nothing they can do to make me stop loving them. Sometimes I forget that God loves me that same way. Through certain situations in my own journey, I’ve come to see (and most of the time to believe) that God loves me—and each of us—perfectly, passionately, and completely. When we can embrace this truth, we can walk in a greater confidence that, even when we blow, it, we are loved. That even when we fall short, God loves us. I’m learning to walk this out daily. And I’m praying our boys understand this truth as well.

    LOVED this post today, Lisa-Jo.

    • Yea, it seems God understands that we need to hear that message as many times over the course of our lives as our kids do. And I’m so grateful He never gets tired of telling us. Thanks for saying, hi today, Jeanne.

  12. Oh Lisa-Jo … thank you so much … you will never know how this blessed me so

    I don’t usually comment except in rare occasions when I am so moved and often I must admit I don’t always even follow my email over to (in)courage but today I was spirit led and my, oh, my how sweet HE spoke to me through your words and message (first to your precious daughter and then to us, so clearly, all of this resonated in me – I had just sent an email from afar to my husband back home for our 40th anniversary that we no longer celebrate. I will spare you the many details as I listen to playlists of romantic songs from our past we once shared … I so needed to hear the words “Beloved. God’s love knows you by name. Not by your lists of mistakes or regrets. But by name.” – yet the full context of your beautiful message will be engraved in my heart this year, keeping me firmly rooted in God’s perfect love (as I’m hearing “I did it my way” on the current playlist-sigh) Oh Father, forgive me for the times I failed and did it my way not Yours. Thank You so much for Your love and the embrace I sensed in Lisa-Jo’s touching example and message. Bless her and the (in)courage team that always are lifting us up, pointing us to You and Your love “The love that burns our lists to the ground. The love that looks at everything we are and everything we’ve done and chooses to purposefully love us through it all. Not despite it all.” So profound … thank you Lisa-Jo! ~Peggy

    • Oh lovely Peggy – thank you for this tender note. And for your beautiful heart that has been loved so long and so faithfully by a God who treasures everything about you!

  13. Your words do my heart good, Lisa-Jo. Thank you. : )
    “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields [her] all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33:12 (NIV, personalized)

  14. Oh Lisa-Jo, while its going to take time for this to sink in, I praise the Lord for these words that you gave. They are Him answering a prayer on how to stop being so hard on myself-something people have been saying to me lately. While repentance and discipline are so needed, the Lord is helping me to see that beating myself is not. With His love and grace, understanding that He loves me and nothing can take that, I can receive His forgiveness, learn, grow, move on. The evil one tries to get us stuck in shame, in doing better out of fear of the Lord’s punishment, not out of love for Him. Christ leads us to freedom 🙂 May we each feel His gentle love today in all our messes, mistakes, and foibles, holding out our hands for the grace to do better out of love for Him, basking in His love for us that is unchanging and enduring forever 🙂

  15. Having experienced and still experiencing so much rejection from children and husband and others that hard to hold onto the unconditional love of God. They tell others they know I love them and always will but give rejection and abuse in return. Appreciate these reminders.

    • This verse came to mind for you, Kathleen: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6.

  16. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5 We disqualify ourselves a lot don’t we?

  17. This has brought tears to my heart this morning. I need remind myself daily that He does not keep score as I do.
    That He alone can judge, yet He does not judge me. Not according to my sins. When I feel I am failing at all I do, I will read and re-read this to remind me of His grace and truth. Thank you Lisa. You are a beautiful mouthpiece of our Lord’s heart.

  18. Thank you for this, Lisa-Jo. I’m wallowing in mom-guilt this week. My oldest has a cast from a broken foot and I still have to send him to Martial Arts camp because I’m a working mom and have no where else for him to go. He is miserable sitting there all day not able to participate and even worse, he is self conscious about the crutches and cast and it hurts! Yet I have to drop him off there anyway and Satan starts whispering my failure at trying to find a way to stay home with them like the “good” moms do. We’ve stepped away from our home church because the Pastor feels if we allow our kids to go to public school then “God help us.” Sometimes Christians can be the most brutal. So thank you for reminding me today that God’s love for me and my family doesn’t depend on our choices or performance. As always I relate to your writing so much and it speaks to my heart.

    • Oh Paige, that mom guilt is the WORST. I can relate. And yes, sometimes church can feel like the loneliest place. Praying this week you find friendship in unexpected places – for your sweet boy too. That someone will come alongside and encourage and take the time to be with you in and through what often looks like a bleak journey. That somewhere along the week you’ll find unexpected comfort and encouragement.

    • Paige,

      Prayers for you and your son. May God send a good friend to come alongside and encourage you. I pray God helps you find a church family that will love you and accept you as you are! May His peace, love and contentment come to you!!

      Blessings 🙂

  19. Lisa Jo,

    I am super hard on myself. Constantly putting myself down or feeling not enough. Some days it’s like no one loves me, I know it’s crazy. I must remind myself of Psalm 139:14 and Genesis 1:26,27, 31. If I am made in the image of God then I am enough and loved. I must realize and accept this unconditional love from God!

    Blessings 🙂

  20. I do not doubt God’s love for me, but I’m just not sure how to use that to help me on the days when my toddler goes into the baby’s room JUST after I FINALLY got her sleeping and I feel like I am drowning in laundry, mail, dishes, meals that need to be planned, and birthdays just around the corner. All of these things are a blessing, I know. I have two healthy kids, a home, a supporting and amazing husband but the busyness is so overwhelming sometimes.

  21. Thanks for the reminder to quit keeping lists or what we have done or not done and instead look at ourselves through God’s eyes.