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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Jensen

Life-Giving Strokes (A Grateful Mom)


Welcome to my blog series that is focused on gratitude called, "A Grateful Mom." I hope you will follow along and be encouraged as we become a little more joyful, a little more humble, a little more grace-filled, a little more lovely, and a little more grateful.

When I first became a brand new, stay-at-home mom, I felt a little lost. I was grateful to be able to stay at home with my sweet little Emma, but that did not change the fact that it was lonely. Having previously been an Elementary School Teacher, I was used to being around people, lots of them! I was used to a high level of structure. This new life as a stay-at-home mom required me to establish new rhythms and routines for myself that would meet my needs- physically, socially, and emotionally. What did these routines look like? Baby steps. At first, my routines entailed ordinary measures like getting dressed and ready for the day, and putting on makeup. As I got more used to taking care of a newborn, my daily routines unraveled and became a bit more intricate. I included a morning and nightly facial skincare routine, reading God’s Word, and memorizing scripture. Eventually, I joined a MOPS group which gave me something to look forward to and connected me with other moms with similar struggles and triumphs, each week. 

I encourage you if you are a new mom, or a more seasoned mom, to start noticing daily strokes you take that are life-giving. Also, take note of the daily strokes you take that are draining or leaving you spiritually dry. Try to start taking those life-giving strokes daily, and eliminating the ones that are draining from your life. 

For me, putting on makeup was life-giving. Taking a walk or jog was life-giving. Not getting a shower or failing to get out of my pajamas before lunchtime felt draining. Small habits add up and change our lives for better or for worse. Begin to notice and partake in all things that are life-giving in the throes of your daily life.

A good measure of “Is this life-giving?” are the following questions: “Does this infuse me with a sense of accomplishment?” “Does this make me smile?” “Is this something that I love doing and lose myself in (in a good way)?” “Does this bless my life or the lives of others?” “Does this make me feel alive and invigorated?” “Does this make my heart sing?”

I hope and pray that you’ve thought of a few things that bring light to your life. Begin to establish these life-giving strokes as daily habits. Research and science show it takes doing something about 66 times for it to become an automatic habit (https://jamesclear.com/new-habit). This is the goal! We want our life-giving strokes to become automatic habits, daily incorporations that we do without hesitation, superlative to-dos that put air into our lungs. Make a list of your life-giving strokes that you want to practice more often and establish as habits. My list includes putting on makeup, journaling, five minutes of concentrated prayer, reading the Bible, making the bed, doing a load of laundry, jogging, cooking dinner, relishing a quality Christian nonfiction book, and of course, writing. These don’t have to be things you do every single day, currently, but should at least classify as weekly endeavors, and be things you desire to incorporate more often into your daily/weekly lifestyle.


My Life-Giving Strokes








When we paint life-giving strokes, we create a masterpiece for God’s glory. Our lives depict an image of his holiness when we move our brushes according to the goodness of God. Our identities become rooted in his own when we incorporate practices and godly disciplines that draw us closer to God’s heart. 

Dedicated habits require devotion, intention, and sometimes rote rigor, initially. But with practice, with repetition, by the grace of God, and through the strength of his might, our lives will become formed into his image. Our paintings will resemble his glory and depict his glorious plan for our lives. Adopt a heart of gratitude, each day by incorporating small habits that lead you to the foot of the cross. Bow your heart in humility through life-giving strokes that take you back to the basics of living for and worshiping Jesus. Let every stroke, stipple, pattern, texture, shade, accent, zigzag, dot, line, and swirl you make praise the Lord.

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