179: Mothers Day — My Kids Left the Nest, Now What?

In this episode, Tiffany Ravedutti sits down with Kay Poore and Denise Ward to talk about prioritizing marriage and community in the midst of busy schedules, life changes, and all the challenges of motherhood.


Learning to Be Loved

When I stood starry-eyed across from my husband on our wedding day, I never imagined a day when I’d stand teary-eyed across from him and say, “I give you permission to leave me.”

But that day came, and I remember it vividly.

I stood up carefully from the glider nestled in the corner of my bedroom so as not to wake the infant whose eyes had finally succumbed to sleep. She was our second daughter, and in stark contrast to our first, every moment of rest was cherished because each was hard-fought.

Ever so gently, I carefully placed her in her crib and let out a sigh that, had anyone been around to hear, would’ve given away my best-kept secret: I was not okay.

On most days, I would have slid into the shower and washed away the evidence of my invisible struggle. I would have traded my three-day-old tear-soaked t-shirt for a fresh one and concealed my swollen eyes. I would have told my friends that I was doing great. And they would have believed me.

But not on this day.

This day came long after the “baby blues” were supposed to have subsided.

In the beginning, I clung to the idea that this was temporary and that I’d get back to feeling like myself soon. But hard days turned into tough weeks. I let my husband in on how I was feeling, then the tough weeks turned into difficult months. And the difficult months just kept coming. On the hardest days, between ashamed sobs, I’d whisper things like, “It’s not a good idea to leave me alone today,” or, “It’s not safe to leave me with the girls today.”

Eventually, even the hope of getting back to feeling normal waned.

I had always been a high achiever, exceeding my goals and others’ expectations in the process. But now I felt like I had nothing of value to offer. My husband was managing our business, supporting our team, providing for our family, and caring for our daughters and me.

I felt like a burden.

I saw marriage as a partnership that requires give-and-take. But I couldn’t contribute, making our relationship unfair and one-sided. I feared the inevitable toll my fight with postpartum depression was taking on our marriage, and couldn’t help but think:

How can I be loved if I have nothing to offer?

With the unrelenting thought that our marriage had become too unfair a burden for my husband, I quietly snuck out of the bedroom where our infant was finally sleeping and approached my husband in the next room. I looked him in the eyes and said soberly, “I give you permission to leave. I’m not the person you married anymore, and I don’t know if she’ll ever be back.”

I will never forget the way he responded.

He looked back into my eyes, hugged me tight, and said, “There’s absolutely no way. I’m not going anywhere.”

The conviction in his voice shocked me. I could tell that not only did he mean it, but leaving had never crossed his mind.

He would stay because he loved me, not what I had to offer.

He would stay because his love was steadfast and faithful, not fickle.

He would stay because he delighted in caring for me, he wasn’t burdened by it.

He would stay because he loved me sacrificially, not on a search for what was in it for him.

That’s the kind of love God designed marriage to reflect because that’s the kind of love Christ has for the Church.

We have nothing of value to offer the self-sufficient God of the universe. We cannot perform well enough or do enough good things to earn his love.

 Yet he loves us, not what we have to offer.

We’re short-sighted and stubborn. We wander away from God to chase self-importance and short-term pleasures. When we mess up in great ways and fear that he’ll abandon us, his love answers, There’s absolutely no way. I’m not going anywhere.

His love is steadfast and faithful, even when we’re not.

We’re vulnerable. In this life, we’ll face suffering, grief, and injustice. We’ll mourn, and need, and get in over our heads. But when we cry out in desperation, God hears our cries with compassion.

He delights in caring for us and carries our burdens.

In the gospel, the sacrificial love of God is on full display. Philippians 2:5b-8 says it best:

“…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” 

He loves us so sacrificially, he willingly laid down his life to give us eternal life.

Marriage matters because we adorn the gospel in the way we love, and are loved by, one another. May we love each other faithfully, and sacrificially, and delight in doing so. And may we rest in the love of our Savior who needs nothing from us.

178: How Do I Talk to My Spouse?

Communication in marriage really matters!

On this episode, Aaron & Bethany Lutz sit down with Tanner & Erin Smith to talk about the practicality of communication in marriage.

If marriage is meant to be a reflection of the gospel, how do we communicate in ways that honor our spouse and honor God?

177: Anchor Point – Giving Families Hope

No one is beyond hope: that is the vision behind AnchorPoint, which provides education and empowerment to parents.

On this episode, Rachel Chester talks with Debbie Simmons, founder and CEO of AnchorPoint, and Amanda Ring, Executive Director of Hope Community, about the many ways AnchorPoint comes alongside parents from prenatal care, parent education classes, financial planning, and much more, in their effort to value life and provide tangible hope for all types of families.


Who Should I Marry?

This question is often asked as people are looking for Mr. Right or Miss Perfect.

We want to believe that God has this perfect person out there for us to marry and there is a lot of pressure trying to decide who is the one.

Marriage Matters: Date Night Ideas!

We have to learn to invest in our marriages. Like anything else we invest in, this requires thought and effort. One of the simplest and most powerful ways to invest in marriage is through intentional time together.

Here are some date night ideas from our staff at Clear Creek Community Church for you to try out with your spouse! Have fun!

1. We love to make a date of stand-up paddle boarding on Clear Creek or taking a walk on the marinas or beach after dinner. – Brigette Swafford, Communications Assistant

2. Go to the grocery store with your spouse. Each person has five minutes to pick five ingredients that the other person has to make into an edible dish. Good luck! – Debbie Cummings, Students Assistant

3. Riding bikes! Some days we ride around our neighborhood or down to the library. But recently we discovered we could take our bikes with us to our son’s soccer practice at the park. So instead of just sitting on our phones, watching the practice, we get to engage together. – Elizabeth Hauser, Arts Assistant

4. Lego date night! Pro tip: download the LEGO app so one person can read paper instructions and the other can look at the digital ones. – Kyler Smith, Creek Kids Associate

5. Our favorite day date is renting jet skis on Clear Lake and then docking for lunch somewhere like Boondoggles or Sam’s Boat. – Aaron Lutz, E96 Campus Pastor

6. Our lives are busy and we’ve struggled with making consistent time to have date nights. We have enjoyed buying tickets to a series of events, like season tickets to Broadway at the Hobby Center, or the Houston Symphony, or a series of concerts. Having tickets to a group of events ensures that we have regular date nights. – Lance Lawson, Church on Wednesday Campus Pastor

7. We really love adventure more than a simple dinner. We will drive to Galveston, sit on the patio at Murdoch’s and then go antique shopping and walking together in Galveston. – Nicole Haas, Egret Bay Assistant

8. One of our favorites is a day date to one of the museums in Houston (Houston Museum of Natural Science or the Museum of Fine Arts) along with lunch at a restaurant or food truck we have never tried before. – Rachel Chester, Clear Creek Resources Director

9. We are always looking for something new to try: cooking classes, a new sport like pickleball or indoor rock climbing, or a progressive dinner where we pick a different restaurant for appetizers, entrée, and dessert. – Ryan Lehtinen, Egret Bay Campus Pastor

10. We love to go to restaurants with a patio, great food, and just sit and talk over a long dinner. We are boring, but this is the best way to just be together and actually talk without little kids interrupting! – Courtney Ricketts, Egret Bay Worship Leader

11. LIVE MUSIC! We love to head to a concert and then hit up karaoke after! – Aric Harding, 528 Worship Leader

12. One of our favorite date nights is game night! We buy a new board game or even play games on Netflix together. – Tanner Smith, Prayer Ministry Director

151: Christians in the Workplace – Conviction, Compromise, and Caring for Others

Our faith impacts everything, including our work and family, but what does this actually look like?

How can our faith intersect with who we are and what we do all week long?

In this episode, Lance Lawson sits down with David and Emily Lantz to discuss the perils of busyness, faith in the workplace, and where we find our identity.


150: Mommy Wars — Stay at Home or Work Outside the Home?

Our faith impacts everything, including our work and family, but what does this actually look like? How can our faith intersect with who we are and what we do all week long?

Stay at home or work outside the home?

In this episode, Rachel Chester sits down with Allison Swenson and Donya Lawson to talk about how mom’s working inside or outside the home can cause judgement, guilt, or rigidity.

How To Invest in Your Marriage This Summer

What if this was the best summer of your marriage?

Check out this video for three simple ways you can intentionally invest in your marriage.


141: Talk to Your Kids About Sex

This generation of kids is inundated with images, pressure, and misinformation about sex.

They need guidance, honesty and truth – but having those conversations is intimidating, to say the least.

How can we talk to our kids about sex biblically and lovingly?

Rachel Chester discussing the importance of having these conversations with Lance Lawson, our Director of marriage and family ministries and Crystal Bruning, mother of 3 and a leader in student ministry.