Your medical questions answered with pediatrician Hillary Lewis

Do you remember all the questions you asked the pediatrician about your first child?  

I remember one particular appointment when my daughter was about six weeks old. 

I showed up at the doctor’s office with a list so long it barely fit in my SUV. The questions seem silly now, but I asked things like: How do I know when to change diaper sizes? (Duh, when the others don’t fit). And how do I know if the crib bedding is overstimulating her? (Thanks a lot, Babywise).  

Bless my heart, and thank goodness for patient pediatricians.  

Today we have the chance to collectively ask our medical questions to Dr. Hillary Lewis. 

Dr. Lewis is a pediatrician in Dallas who loves the Lord and is raising three kids of her own.  

Much like the litany of questions I asked all those years ago of my pediatrician, I’m bombarding her with some of our most common medical questions when it comes to our kids (and not how to determine diaper-sizing).  

We covered topics like: 

  • Physical concerns of COVID 
  • The emotional toll of COVID
  • Acne from masks
  • The COVID vaccine and its implications for our kids
  • Thoughts on the Gardasil vaccine
  • The age we can begin to see signs of ADD/ADHD
  • Balancing faith and science in our families 

I took one for the team and tried to ask the questions we’ve all been wondering about but haven’t actually voiced. Praying it’s as helpful to you as it was for me!


Praying for our kids: Marked by hope

Remember in the book of Numbers when Moses sent the twelve spies into the promised land to scout it out and report back on the status? 

After forty days of reconnaissance, ten of the twelve spies called a kibosh, saying there was no way the Israelites could succeed in taking the land from these giants.

Of course, there were the lone dissenters, Joshua and Caleb, who believed that with God’s help there was hope and even victory awaiting them. The whole debacle left God disappointed with the Israelites (understatement) but also brought to light a bright spot when God applauded Caleb for having a “different spirit.”   

It’s this different spirit we’re talking about in today’s podcast as we pray hope over our children. 

We’ll take a look at Caleb’s life and see how his different spirit came from living with a God-drenched mind, giving hope even in the most hopeless of situations.  

We’re facing an epidemic of anxiety and depression amongst our kids that has gained footing during this pandemic. There’s no better time to be praying that our kids find the hope that comes only from Jesus.  

Let’s anchor our prayer time in this verse this week:

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:31). 

Can’t wait to pray together! 

Parenting teenagers with Dr. Ken Wilgus

I’m glad you’re joining us this year on Pardon the Mess as we’re dusting off some areas in life that may need a refresh in 2021. We’re talking about improvements to be made in our spiritual lives, parenting, health, and finances. 

This week, licensed psychologist Ken Wilgus is talking with us about parenting teens. If you don’t have a teen yet, no worries, because you can never prepare too early for navigating the treacherous waters of adolescence (just  kidding—kind of). 

Dr. Wilgus shares his ideas behind “planned emancipation,” the strategy of preparing our kids for adulthood by carefully and progressively letting go of our control in key areas of their lives. 

We talk about this in the context of giving freedom in the music they listen to, the friends they pick, and even the state in which they keep their rooms. 

Brace yourself, it’s going to take a little bit of moxie to make it through some of this! 

As a mother of two teens, I can report firsthand that Dr. Wilgus has a great recipe for helping us raise kids who are prepared for adulthood without driving ourselves (and them) crazy in the process. 

Glad you’re with us today! 

In this with you,

Cynthia Yanof | Pardon the Mess

P.S. - If you haven’t already, take a minute to grab a copy of NOTEWorthyKids: 50 Encouraging Notes Every Child Needs to Receive. I’m so excited about this project and can’t wait for you to get it for your family!


Praying for our kids: Marked by compassion

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” —Exodus 34:6

The first characteristic God used to describe himself to Moses was compassionate

It’s amazing to think that we serve a God who is sympathetic to our struggles and burdened by what budens us. Knowing this, it seems only fitting that we focus on praying for our kids to be marked by compassion in their own lives.  

Henri Nouwen describes compassion as this: 

Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears.  

Today, we will look at the story of Joshua and Rahab, seeing God’s compassion in action as he spared Rahab’s life and even elevated her to be included in his own lineage.  

I’m challenged to revisit compassion in my own life and pray for the Lord to teach me to see the world through his eyes and respond as he leads. 

Join me in praying compassion for our families this week. 

“Goliath Must Fall” with Louie Giglio

“No matter how many times you’ve tried before or how loud the voice is that says you’ll never be different than you are, God says something else today. You. Can. Live. Free.”

—Louie Giglio, Goliath Must Fall

I’ve never really loved January and the post-Christmas letdown.

But the one thing I do look forward to each year is the opportunity to make adjustments in my life, allowing me to live more purposefully and biblically.

That’s why Pardon the Mess is kicking off 2021 with a month of shows speaking to the spiritual, circumstantial, physical, and financial ways in which we live. It’s practical advice each week on living more fully and freely in Christ.

Today, Louie Giglio joins us to talk through the spiritual aspects in our lives that may need some tweaking.

Louie is pastor of Passion City Church and the founder of the Passion movement. Having devoted his life to working with young adults, he shares the number one thing he believes our kids need before leaving for college.

We covered so much in today’s show, but here are a few highlights:

Living with “congruency” in our lives

Louie’s personal battle with anxiety and the role humility has played

Questioning God’s timing and his plans for our lives

Helping our kids win the battles against their giants

I’m so thankful you’re here, and I can’t wait to kick off 2021 exploring new ways to live and parent fully in Jesus.

Praying for our kids: Marked by truth

I can’t think of a better way to begin the New Year than by coming together to pray over our kids. I’m thankful to each of you for joining me every week as we pray for our kids and for his guidance in parenting them.  

This week we’re praying that our kids are marked by truth. 

As we do this, it’s important to define truth. We live in a culture of moral relativism, meaning truth is subjective and personal. But God’s word tells us the real story of truth: 

  • “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” —John 14:6 
  • “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” —John 17:17   

As we pray for kids marked by truth, we are praying that they have the discernment to go to Scripture no matter what they are facing. 

Kids marked by truth will not waver with every opinion thrown their way. Kids marked by truth will live with a higher standard, even when it’s unpopular. Kids marked by truth will hear the lies of the Enemy and recognize them as just that: lies. 

Living in God’s truth is a critical calling on our kids’ lives. Let’s kickoff this year praying this over them.   


A prayer challenge for 2021 with Chrystal Evans Hurst

Happy New Year’s Eve!  

Not that anyone asked, but I’m all in when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.  

I enjoy planning new healthy recipes, dusting off the gym membership, and even reading books on how to better parent these kids in my house. But, like most people, my resolutions lack resolve after about six weeks.  

However, this New Year I want to be especially intentional in implementing the things that will help me grow spiritually. I’m hoping to read through the Bible again, change up the way I pray, and dare I even mention journaling (at which I’m awful so I can never fully endorse).   

As you think through ways to refresh your time with God in 2021, you’re going to love our chat with Chrystal Evans Hurst today. Chrystal shares her heart behind the 28-day prayer challenge and how this book is based on the struggles she’s faced with her own prayer life. 

I really loved her wisdom on praying with our kids, specifically praying Scripture over them. That’s another thing I want to implement for 2021 in my own house.  

Go back and listen to Priscilla Shirer on the podcast last week if you missed it, and then tune in today to hear her sister Chrystal Evans Hurst on our show.  

Oh, and please don’t miss Chrystal’s vulnerability in sharing the hard places the Evans’ family has faced recently, as well as working through unanswered prayer.  

As we gear up for 2021, let’s resolve to do the things that will cause us to know God better in the New Year. I can’t wait to do it together. 


Praying for our kids: Marked by protection

I’m praying you had a wonderful Christmas with your family, taking every opportunity to celebrate the birth of our Savior. 

As we wrap up 2020, it feels like there’s so much to digest and reflect on after all we’ve been through. It’s crazy to think back to last year at this time and consider all the things we didn’t realize were heading our way. 

This week we’re asking for God’s protection over our children. 

It feels like the need for protection has new meaning after the year we just experienced. But can I encourage you to take a few minutes this week to reflect on how God has been faithful in protecting you and your family in 2020? 

As you do this, I want to share an excerpt of a letter I wrote to “Dear Pre-COVID Me” last year. My hope is that it will remind you (like it did me) to thank God for his faithfulness and presence in all of the hard places we’ve faced.  

Pre-COVID me, please know that somewhere along the way you’re going to stop to ask a really vulnerable but important question: God, where are you in the middle of this?

The answer may be hard to find as the days grow longer and the news seems darker. But dig deep. It’s there. He’s there.

You’ll find him in the still small places where he always has been and always will be revealing his greatest glory.   

Look for God in everything from the birthday parades to the family baseball games. You’ll find him in the return of families around the dinner table and the unrushed nightly bedtime routines. He’s on your countless walks around the neighborhood and in the Zoom reunions with extended family.

You’ll feel his presence when you’re playing board games with your kids, teaching them how to cook and clean, and especially when you see your previously overcommitted family finding rest and perspective in a new, simplified routine.

You’ll hear amazing stories of God working through our frontline workers, caring selflessly for the sickest of patients and often at the expense of their own families. He’ll be evident in the melody of pots and pans banging from the balconies of high-rises as people unite in the most difficult of times.

God’s hand will be visible as communities rally together to support local businesses and as friends and neighbors dust off old sewing machines to make face masks to protect each other. You’ll feel his presence when you look up to see the Blue Angels soar through the sky, or even as you look down and find messages of hope in colorful sidewalk chalk.

I guess what I would want you to know is that there are going to be some really hard times to weather, but, in the middle of the uncertainty, there’s an opportunity to reaffirm God’s promise that he is with us, for us, and will never leave us. 

I’m looking forward to praying protection over our kids this week with my friend Jerica Olson on the podcast. Glad you’re with us.

Happy New Year!

Parenting and the importance of identity with Priscilla Shirer

Merry Christmas Eve!  

As I’ve been reading through the Christmas story the last few weeks, I keep going back to the passage in Luke 2 where Luke describes Jesus’ birth and Mary placing her baby in the manger. It’s right after that sweet account in the stable that Luke takes a hard turn to writing about the shepherds hearing of Jesus’ birth by the angels.  

Shepherds, of all people, being among the first to hear the story of Christmas—that’s a good word for us. 

I’m reminded that only in Jesus do those who seem to lack in significance (e.g., shepherds) suddenly become essential characters in the greatest story ever told. It makes me think of the  similar insignificance I’m prone to feel in the daily grind of parenting—so many asks and sometimes little thanks.  

But it’s as the shepherds were simply keeping watch over their flock that Jesus brought them into the larger story. It’s in those seemingly small places of faithfulness in our own lives  that Jesus uses the mundane for his glory.   

We are anything but overlooked with Jesus. He takes our small stories and weaves them in the fabric of HIS greater story.  

Take a few minutes to thank Jesus today for your family. Ask him to remind you that what you’re doing each day for your family matters and has kingdom significance. 

This week as we’re celebrating Jesus, I’m excited to re-release one of my favorite interviews to date on Pardon the Mess. Priscilla Shirer joined us with a powerful message on identity that’s the perfect word as we wrap up a hard year.    

Priscilla is a wife, Bible teacher, mom, actress, and so much more. There’s so much to love about Priscilla, but what always sticks with me is the way she speaks so freely and powerfully about her faith while also practically reminding us of what really matters as we go about our days. 

Priscilla and I had the opportunity to talk about her life as she raises her three boys and how she builds them up with statements of affirmation. She reminds us that living in a place of knowing our true identity in Christ means all of our decisions come from the truth. When we do that, it shifts how we live our lives.   

Whatever you do, don’t miss the last few minutes as she talks honestly about the difficulties her family has faced the last few years and gives us words of encouragement for when we walk hard roads of loss and discouragement.