Erin Anderson

Author Archives: Erin Anderson

Does parenthood trump marriage?

Marriage or parenthood? Which do you value more? Is it more worthwhile to work at marriage and being the best spouse you can be, or to be devoted to your kids and raising them to be the best they can be?

Obviously, a lot of us would say, “Do I have to choose?” But a Pew Research study found precisely that millennials (roughly those 18-29) value parenthood far more than marriage. What do we make of that?

A $560 lesson in Prayer

One cold, drizzly autumn night in Chicago, two young 20-somethings made their way to their bi-weekly small group. The day had started over twelve hours earlier. They were tired and running late – never a good combination. They pulled their black Honda Civic up to parallel park on a busy residential city street. The reversing motion began, and suddenly an irreversible, undeniable sound and feeling – side-swiping another car.

How to Stay Married for 49 Years

One of my favorite things this holiday season was the opportunity to celebrate my parents’ 49th wedding anniversary. The older I get and the longer I’ve been married, the more I realize how remarkable this truly is.

I asked my parents if they had any tips or advice that they thought had helped them reach this milestone. Here is what they shared:

Three Babies and God’s Grace

On the same Sunday morning in 2015 two babies were born on opposite sides of the world. Neither are particularly special on the surface – neither famous nor particularly noteworthy. Neither knows of the other. However, news of both of their arrivals, and even on the same day, caught my attention and made my eyes a little misty – in a very rich way.

What is so special about these two seven pound babies?

11 Observations in 11 Years of Parenting

erin-and-jackEleven years ago tomorrow, in a country far, far away, a baby just shy of seven pounds was born. This little baby was thrust into the arms of a 27-year-old girl, who although she had blissfully plowed through nine months of pregnancy, was unaware of all this parenting gig held. Day by day this young mom tried her best, sometimes getting things right, often making mistakes. Now eleven years have flown by and as she prepares to celebrate her son’s 11th birthday, she is more aware than ever how she has been changed, and is still being changed, through her role as mother. As she reflects back over these years, here are eleven observations* (in no particular order).

27 Things to Give Thanks For No Matter What Life Looks Like

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we have to be thankful for. But when we look around and see that our life doesn’t look like what we wish it did, when circumstances are tough, it’s hard to give thanks. And yet the Bible tells us to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18). But how do we do that when it’s hard to find things to be thankful for?

Here are some things that we can thank God for, no matter what our particular circumstances look like. Really, this list is a lot more about God, who he is and what he does, than it is about us. And it mixes in some things that are true as part of how we, as God’s image-bearers, continue to develop and advance creation. And the fact that it’s 27 is really rather arbitrary (and the order is somewhat random too). Maybe you can take this as a jumping off point and think of another 27.

I can be thankful to God that . . .

A Prayer for Election Day

vote-button-3The Bible encourages us to pray for our elected officials. First Timothy 2:1-2 urges “first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Election day seems like a particularly good day for that kind of prayer:

Beauty and the Bible – Part 2

This blog post follows on from last week’s post which discussed the heart of beauty. This week we look at three Bible verses for what we can learn about physical beauty and how Jesus models an approach for us.

1. Physical beauty is fleeting.

Bible Verse: Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next. (1 Timothy 4:8)

Take Away: The Bible is clear that our physical bodies, in their current state, are only temporary. But do we live like that? Do we approach our physical bodies with more attention than they should deserve? How do we talk about our physical body with our kids and others? Questions to think through:

Beauty and the Bible – Part 1

unnamedEarly on in parenting, it became clear that my daughter wanted feedback on her looks. Simply put, she wanted to be pretty. At age 2, she would pick out beads, hair bows, and fluffy-ruffly skirts, and then prance through the kitchen and ask, “Me pretty, Mommy?” As she has gotten older her tastes have improved and she can now put together a pretty awesome outfit and a very articulate sentence, “Do I look pretty, Mom?”

I pause before answering, hearing my own voice and insecurities in her question. What is the question behind the question? Is she really asking, “Do you like me? Will others accept me? Will I fit in?” I don’t know. She is only six. But I do know I don’t want to miss the opportunity to answer her with advice that I want to fill her mind when she is sixteen and asking the same question (and that I want to fill my mind when I ask the same questions still at 38).

How do we talk to our little girls (and boys) about beauty? Emily’s excellent blog post last week rightfully encouraged us to think hard about what we teach our kids about what’s valuable. She critiqued a popular blog post which had discouraged talking about physical beauty in favor of building up the importance of being smart. Emily argued that pushing us away from physical beauty only to aim for intellectual beauty, just exchanges one fleeting idol for another. I couldn’t agree more. And it’s worth stopping and thinking more carefully about beauty itself so that we cultivate the right persepctive and not make it an idol.

Beauty is a very good thing, but like any good thing, it can be a bad thing if used in the wrong way or with the wrong priority. So as we aim to point our children to a right understanding of beauty, what are some things we can do, think, or say?

A Way to Talk with Our Kids About Their Day

Rushing to get dinner on the table, thinking of what still needs to be done before the kids are tucked away for the night. We sit down at the table only to realize that we forgot silverware. Someone spills their drink. We rush through a prayer with one kid falling out of his chair and another picking his nose. We start to eat when a little voice pipes up and says, “Can we do high and low tonight?”