Dear Fellow Mothers,

Do you remember the days when you had a little tiny purse because you didn’t need that much? My purses used to be about five inches tall and eight inches wide. I had a little wallet, some keys, my trusty hair-pick from the 1980s, and some Chapstick. And somehow, mysteriously, I survived.

20130204-103154.jpgNot any more, baby. I have this big old leather thing that could maim someone if I lobbed it at their skull. I know that I could easily survive with a small purse again, but it turns out that I am now a mother, which means my purse is no longer my own. Now my purse is full of things that help other people survive, and I get to carry it. I’m like a mule for my children’s survival. I’ve got Band-Aids in case they bleed. Tic Tacs in case they get bored in church. Children’s Tylenol in case they spike a sudden fever. And this doesn’t even cover the non-emergency stuff they hand to me to keep, like the green plastic monkey that Caleb got at a restaurant. That poor little thing lived in the bottom of my purse for months until I found it by accident and let it see the light one day.

20130204-103209.jpgAnd then I named a book after it. So I guess being my kids’ mule isn’t the worst surprise about motherhood. There’s a Green Plastic Monkey in my Purse will be coming out in a month, and the book is full of all sorts of surprises that motherhood hands us. Our wee little purses turn into mammoth bags that take up entire portions of the car. Our bodies sag in ways we didn’t realize were possible. We find we have no patience. We are shocked to find out we don’t know how the answers to most of their questions. We are surprised to find we need God’s grace and wisdom from morning till night.

20130204-103202.jpgSo, my friends, what’s in your bag? What surprises has parenthood handed you? I want to know. I want to know if they’re tactile things floating around in your purse, or emotional surprises that have left you feeling vulnerable.

In Matthew a story is recorded where Jesus sent out His disciples on a little ministry trip. He gave them the following directions before they left:

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions:…”Do  not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff…” (Matthew 10:5, 9,10)

I would like to note that Jesus was sending twelve men, not twelve mothers. I’d like to see how that would have worked out differently if they had been mothers! But His point is still valid for us today–He provides for our needs. He wants us to be dependent on Him, not on the stuff we carry in our bags. Are we trusting Him, or our own provisions? Now there’s something I’m going to have to think about all day long. Where am I putting my trust? What about you?


P.S. I realize this would be a logical place for a photo of the green plastic monkey in my purse. But once Caleb saw the trinket again, it was gone. The last time I saw it, it was in two pieces under the seat of my car. So my next book might have to be titled There’s a Green Plastic Monkey Broken to Bits in the Buick. Nice alliteration, don’t you think?

7 Comments on The Stuff in Our Purses

  1. Susan M. Houtrouw
    February 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm (5 years ago)


    I can’t wait for your book! You are so gifted in you’re writing 🙂

  2. Jessie Clemence
    February 4, 2013 at 3:47 pm (5 years ago)

    Susan, you are too sweet. Thank you! I’ll sign your copy at small group. 🙂

  3. memyselfandkids
    February 4, 2013 at 5:15 pm (5 years ago)

    It is posts like these that make me happy to be a man.
    Please dont mane me w/your bag for saying so.

  4. Jessie Clemence
    February 4, 2013 at 6:50 pm (5 years ago)

    I think you are safe. But it’s a good thing you are out of maiming range.

  5. memyselfandkids
    February 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm (5 years ago)

    I don’t know – that bag looked pretty big.

  6. Diana Steketee
    February 4, 2013 at 9:18 pm (5 years ago)

    Loved all the bags! I think the “baggage” problem also extends to others in a caregiving role. I tend to have toys and markers stashed everywhere and our kids are grown! I want my copies of your books signed sometime, too

  7. Jessie Clemence
    February 5, 2013 at 10:52 am (5 years ago)

    Well, you are in luck. We’re having a release party at Baker Book House in GR on March 2 at 10:00 a.m. It’s so close to you! I hope you can come.