Molly Kennedy

Mystery Thursdays

By Molly Kennedy

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Summer is coming and with school about to let out, it’s time to get creative with many open days that lay ahead.

Jen Hatmaker has some great articles about surviving summer with her five kids which have resonated with me. I have adopted one fantastic idea called “Mystery Thursdays.” Jen has this to say about the activity: “Thursday is not a sacred cow, it is just the day of the week I’m about to snap. The kids know we’re going somewhere fun, somewhere cool, but it’s a surprise. We’ve gone to every lake, river, park, exhibit, concert, and attraction in a 150-mile radius.”

I adopted this practice in the summer of 2015 when my girls were 12 and 9. Four years later and it continues to be so much fun! We have done the following (if you are looking for adventure ideas):

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  • Celestial Seasonings Tour

  • Denver Trolley and Little Man Ice Cream

  • Denver Cat Company

  • Bowling at Lucky Strike in downtown Denver

  • South Park in Fairplay and then Beau Jo’s for lunch

  • Touring the University of Colorado in Boulder with my parents who graduated from there

  • A concert by a local orchestra

  • Riverwalk in Golden and the Golden Library

  • Coffee and journaling at Barnes and Noble

  • Swimming

  • Restaurants

  • Hikes

  • Picnics in parks

  • Movies

The only rules are...it’s a mystery, so they can’t find out beforehand! They can ask yes or no questions once we are in the car and en route. Sometimes friends come with us so the girls have fun guessing who we are meeting as well.

Now that they are teenagers, our schedule has become more complicated, but we still try to do mystery adventures when we can. We also switch things up. Last summer, the girls planned a Mystery Thursday and then put it on my GPS so I would know where to drive.  It was a restaurant, and they still allowed me the honor of buying lunch.

Sometimes our schedule works better for a Mystery Friday or a Mystery Tuesday Night. Last fall, I put Kennedy Mystery Vacation on our mutual online calendar, and it blocked out a few days for us to escape at Thanksgiving.

The next mystery adventure that is sitting on our calendars is dropping the first week of June--heading to the Toby Mac concert at Fiddler’s Green!

More than the activities themselves, I think the fun is in the mystery and in doing something together that is out of the norm. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be done at a certain time of day. (I’ve got you, working mamas! I am one of you!)

Psalm 118:23-25 says,

This is God’s work. We rub our eyes—we can hardly believe it! This is the very day God acted—let’s celebrate and be festive! Salvation now, God. Salvation now! Oh yes, God—a free and full life!

Going into summer and praying for FUN for you this year; fun in the mundane, fun in the extraordinary, and fun in the mystery.


Highly Favored

By Molly Kennedy

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When I think about a woman in the Bible who was deemed “highly favored,” my initial thoughts go to the woman from Proverbs 31--a woman who is worth more than diamonds, trusted by her husband, respected by her children. She’s a businesswoman, a seamstress, a cook. She has a good attitude and is kind and wise. She always looks like she is coming from a modeling appointment. Clearly, she has the hand of God on her life. I can almost hear her singing with the animals while she’s weaving her purple cloth. If only she would have written a book on personal growth.

And yet...the woman in the Bible who was considered highly favored was Mary, the mother of Jesus. What does a highly favored life look like in the Bible?

  • Pregnancy as a young teenager

  • By God

  • A fiance who was contemplating divorce

  • Raising a perfect son

  • Having your heart torn apart when your son is arrested, beaten, and crucified

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The highly favored life is not always an easy life. I think this is especially true for moms in 2019. When we get on social media and see other moms doing it better. When we are so tired with a brand new baby that the thought of having to go to the store makes us cry. When we run carpool in our pajamas and hope we don’t get pulled over. When our kids’ choices make us hit our knees and beg for deliverance.

And yet...God doesn’t make mistakes. He didn’t put you in this generation with these kids and cross his fingers. He knew you could do it. He knew you could do it on your best days when your kids look up at you with love in their eyes. He knew you could do it on your worst days when you yell and belittle.

Psalm 8:3-4 (MSG) says,

I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous, your handmade sky-jewelry. Moon and stars mounted in their settings. Then I look at my micro-self and wonder, Why do you bother with us? Why take a second look our way?

Why indeed? Because we are highly favored. You, my friend, are highly favored.

What is the best thing that is happening to you right now as a mom? Do you know why that’s happening? Because you are highly favored.

What is the hardest thing that you are going through right now as a mom? Do you know why that’s happening? Because you are highly favored.

The dictionary defines “favored” as preferred or recommended. According to biblestudytools.com, the original Greek word is charitoo, which means to honor with blessings or to compass with favor--how gorgeous is that?

You are highly favored by the most interesting, most powerful, most beautiful King in the world. Just sit in that for a minute. He is absolutely crazy in love with you. So straighten your crown, sister. And no matter what is happening with your kids today, smile and rest in the fact that you are chosen, adored, and absolutely enveloped in God’s favor.

And so are your kids.


Grateful Thoughts on Motherhood

by Molly Kennedy

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I’ve never had anything I cared about more passionately, wanted to be good at more desperately, felt less competent to handle, and was more eager to sacrifice my life for.

I love this quotation about motherhood.

On Pre-Motherhood:  Reflecting back to when it was just me and Kurt and our dream to be parents.  My introduction to motherhood was not what I had expected it to be. Our first few years of marriage were a whirlwind of four pregnancies, one preemie, two miscarriages, and two c-sections, one of which was an emergency.

After we had Grace, I had two miscarriages. I was getting closer to 40, and I was just done. The pain of miscarrying--not just physically but emotionally--ripped apart my soul. I couldn’t do it again. Grace was just going to have to be an only child. But then...one day, I was praying, and I heard God. Not an audible voice. But a press upon my spirit. God said, Get up and throw away your birth control. Without even a thought or an argument or a question, I did as He asked--probably the quickest response of obedience I’ve ever had. Two weeks later, I was pregnant, and I braced myself for another miscarriage. I was expecting it. I was honestly expecting it until the day I delivered our second girl, Aimee.

On Motherhood: I knew I would love my kids.  I have been blown away by the intensity of it, even after all these years--the love, the protectiveness--how my heart can shatter into a million fragments if one of them is hurting or how it can leap for joy to watch them delight in each other.  I tell my husband all the time I don’t want them to get any older, that THIS is my favorite age, and then they get older, and I have a new favorite age.

I loved them when they were littles, I loved them when they were mediums, and I am crazy about them now that they are teenagers.

Today: Heading into Thanksgiving week, I am thankful for so many things. But in thinking about my girls, I am thankful...

  • That they still want to cuddle with me and hold my hand in public

  • That they look better in my long boots than I do

  • That they have embraced God’s gifts of music and learning and humor--things that have brought so much joy to my life

  • That even when things are tense around the house, they still want to hang out here

  • That they want to have friends over and they are amazing hostesses who plan fun activities--Christmas parties and story writing parties and game parties on a Sunday afternoon

  • That they love their daddy

  • That they serve in the kids’ ministry at church and are highly sought after babysitters

  • That they make handmade birthday presents for their friends; usually baked goods

  • That they are unique people with strong opinions (some that are very different than mine)

  • That they love Jesus

James 1:17a says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.”

I love every piece of this verse. My girls are good and perfect gifts. Lights given to me and to Kurt from the Father of heavenly lights.

Between now and Christmas, I pray that you would have moments to revel in the wonder and glory and light of your kids. In fact, I would encourage you to take time this week to list what you love about each and every one of your kids and express your gratitude that you get to be their mama. And happy Thanksgiving.

Happily Ever After?

By Molly Kennedy

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In John 16:33, Jesus makes us a promise. He tells us that in this world we will have trouble. He promises that. I don’t know whether I should be comforted or annoyed by the fact that life is hard and he knows it. But I didn’t know how challenging it would be to become a mom.

I had always wanted to be a mom. I babysat when I was younger and then progressed to a camp counselor, pet owner, and teacher. My college roommates voted me the most likely to own a station wagon…the irony of that being that I was the last of all of us to get married and have kids!

I knew how it was supposed to be—babies brought indescribable joy.  When I finally got pregnant (after a year of frustration and thoughts of possible infertility), I was thrilled. I had seen friends and family members who loved being pregnant. I looked forward to sailing through my pregnancy and bringing home my beautiful baby. I knew how it was supposed to work.

Looking back, I know now that God will sometimes give mountaintop experiences but He’ll take you on a completely different trail than the one you had planned. And I am a planner. I like seeing the schedule in advance so I know what to expect and what items to take. I prefer a nice, easy ascension where I can stop and smell the columbines, have a sip of water, and enjoy the view. I don’t expect to be clawing my way to the top, hanging by a tiny rope, unprepared for anything.

My pregnancy wasn’t exactly textbook.  Morning sickness—ha!  I longed for morning sickness. I had twenty-four hours a day/seven days a week of nausea for three months. And, as it turned out, that was the easy part.  

In the third trimester, my body started breaking down. My body—my baby’s only home—started to betray me. The doctor told me that the baby was safer outside of my body than inside. My body had become a toxic wasteland, and the baby had to come out—it was seven weeks before my due date.

The doctors started inducing labor. Because of my condition (preeclampsia and HELLP), I was hooked up to extra drugs so that I wouldn’t have seizures (another side effect of this condition). 

I had been in labor for twenty-four hours and was a half hour away from delivering when the baby’s heart rate dropped.  All of a sudden, a whirlwind of doctors and nurses flew into my room and rushed me down the hall. I found out later that my mother and mother-in-law were frantically trying to get my husband into his scrubs (not an easy thing with his huge feet!) so that he could be with me.

Four minutes after we had entered the delivery room, our baby girl was delivered by emergency c-section. 16 inches, 3 pounds 14 ounces. She was whisked off to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; I didn't even get to see or hold her that day because they couldn’t unhook me from all the drugs yet. Not exactly the easy, beautiful trail I had been expecting.  

Since I was unable to leave my hospital bed, and my baby was unable to leave the NICU, I had to use a pump in order to get a few drops of milk for my baby. Since she was so early, my milk hadn’t fully come in yet. My husband would whisk the precious liquid off to the NICU in order to feed her.

The following day, I held Grace Ellen for the first time, and she was beautiful and small and perfect. She stayed at the hospital for twelve days, a miracle in itself because the doctors expected her to be there for at least a month. St. Joseph’s Hospital in downtown Denver and suburban Littleton are not exactly next door but with the distance between Grace and me, it felt like a world apart.

John 16:33 starts with Jesus’s promise about having trouble in the world, but it ends with Jesus saying this: Take heart! I have overcome the world!

Kurt and I brought Grace home on a beautiful summer day. We had finally reached the mountaintop! Looking back, would I change anything? Would I change the journey that I had? The strange thing is I don’t think I would.  Even though God’s plans to get us to the top were not exactly the way I would have done it, He got us there. He was with us every agonizing step of the way. And I know I saw more of God’s glory through the trail He took us on than I would have if we would have had the ideal, easy baby story. 

Gloria in Excelsis Deo. Glory be to God on high….when things are easy but more importantly when things are not.