Nicki Koziarz

Mommas You Have The Right

A few weeks ago one of my daughter’s came to me in tears. She held up her phone, words escaped her. I took her phone and looked at something someone from her school had just posted on Instagram.

It was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen.

It isn’t my story to tell, so that’s as far as I’ll go. But I don’t write this article today to simply share something disturbing that happened to one of my girls.

I write this article today as a plea to moms across the United States and the World.

It is time for us to become consistenly involved in our kids social media.

When my girls received their phones, it came with a contract. A binding agreement that they would take care of their phone, use it for appropriate reasons and that they would be financially responsible if something happened to the phone. But that contract also came with a clause.

The Momma Has The Right clause.

The Momma Has The Right clause states, at any moment, of any given day, for any reason, I may pick up their phones and look through them. That’s right: text messages, Instagram accounts, Tweets, emails … if its on there, I can look through it.

And I do.

Sound a little helicopter momish?

Well, while I hardly blink at fickle opinions of me, let me share with you why this is so incredibly important to me today.

I am a mom who loves other moms.

For most of my motherhood journey I have invested time, energy and efforts into mom-centered groups. My best friends are moms and I try to take time to get to know as many of my girl’s friend’s moms as I can.

But I’m seeing something so tragic happen within the motherhood sisterhood.

We are becoming parenting cowards.

Our kids are like little super geniuses because they have access to every piece of information they’d ever like to know. We are intimidated by how incredibly smart they are. And we just are not sure if we can stay a step ahead of them in this game of technology.

We can’t. Therefore, we don’t try.

So we say things like, “Oh, I just don’t have time for that.”

And no, we don’t have time for this!

We juggle complicated schedules that no mom in any other generation has had to deal with and we have bought into the lie that to have peace is to have quiet.

So, we toss those kids phones because it does just that … keeps things quiet.

But momma, the things happening on those phones are anything but quiet, sweet or simple.

Our kids are being rated for everything … the type of picture they take, their profiles, their clothes, and their hair. Mean girl tactics have escalated to new levels thanks to the instantaneousness of picture posting.

And our kid’s feeds are filled with desperate cries for attention and help.

We tell ourselves they need privacy and excuse ourselves out of the entire ordeal.

I don’t judge parents who don’t allow their kids to have access to social media … to each his own. But can I be honest? If I took my girls off social media now it would be the easy route for me.

Seriously. Having to listen for God’s discernment in knowing when to pick up their phones, watching their facial and body expressions change while they are scrolling and asking who is so-in-so … it can be exhausting.

But at the end of this raising children journey, I would rather be completely exhausted from investing all I had then wondering if I did all I could.

I’m not some foolish woman who believes there’s a perfect formula for raising our kids and protecting them from harm. But I believe in the power of having access to what my kids are doing and being exposed to in all things, including social media.

And I won’t close my eyes and pretend like it’s not happening. Because it is.

Mommas, pick up those kids phones. You have the right. Let's stop being afraid to enter the hard, unknown places with our kids. 

And when you do find something which might be going against the values you are instilling in your kids … talk about it.

Don’t yell. Don’t freak out. [Learn from my mistake.] 

But I can promise there will be rolling eyes no matter what.

The rolling eyes. Oh the rolling eyes.

And maybe your kids won’t hardly listen to what you are concerned about. But the point is they will know you are present in this very un-present world of theirs. And even if they act like they don’t want you there, they need you there. 

10 Commandments for Becoming You

The bathroom mirror seems to be the culprit of these types of conversations within me. I stand there day after day bushing hair, examining wrinkles and blemishes, looking into my tired-worn-out eyes, while wondering… who are you really becoming?

The truth is, these days I’ve let too much noise in. Understanding who I am becoming feels hard to determine. I feel stuck, like there’s a me trying to get out, but I find myself living in the leftovers of so many life situations.

I guess I always assumed that by the age of thirty-four I would know exactly who I was and where I was going.

But now it seems most days I’m not sure I will ever arrive at that confident place.  

And so, as I try to unstick my life process today, I’m thinking through what it really means to become … me.

I’m giving myself these permissions, these orders, these Ten Authenticity Commandments so to speak… to help me stay true to myself while becoming myself. Maybe if you are feeling a little lost today they might speak to you too…

1.You shall live as though life is a process of becoming.

This process of discovering who we really are isn’t something we simply awaken to one day. Life’s peaks, valleys and plateaus all lead us through this process.  While life has a start line and a finish line, much of the in-between isn’t so definable. But each day has something to offer in the shaping of our souls.

2.You shall pay close attention to the people you are surrounding yourself with.

That saying, “you become most like the five people you spend the most amount of time with,” it’s true. Do you leave the company of those five people feeling inspired and better about yourself or anxious and fearful of everything you said? Choose your five wisely.

3.You shall embrace where you are not where you wish to be.

Life is short. Assume today is all you get. We cannot really live by chasing the “one-day” scenarios. What if this is it?

4.You shall have permission to change your mind.

That color you thought you would love until the grave and now you hate it? It’s ok to change your mind. That job you worked so hard to get but now your just not sure? It’s ok to change your mind. Living as you is messy and complicated. It’s ok to change your mind, even more than once.

5.You shall do something each day that makes you feel alive.

We will lose ourselves no faster than when we stay in the cycle of busy and go. What is it that makes you feel alive? Is it snapping a picture? Feeling dirt beneath your feet? Watching the sunset or rise? Is it laughing until your core hurts? Press pause on busy and make a mad dash each day towards those things that make you feel alive.

6.You shall not believe the life you live is second best.

No matter how small someone makes you feel, what the world screams you need more of or the lack of something you have today, this life is your life and it’s the number one life for you. And it’s a great life —if we see it that way.

7.You shall keep your excuses in check so they will not become reasons to stay the same.

There will always be things you need to work on. Staying healthy, having the right thoughts, working harder, working less… there is always room for personal improvement.

8.You shall love your peculiarities rather than try to hide them.

The way you snort when you laugh. Your expressions on selfies. How you narrate your dogs life. The way you slurp spaghetti noodles. Your really bizarre Starbucks order. These are the beautiful things that make you, you.

9.You shall love yourself in a way that reflects Gods love for you.

Those moments where you just don’t like yourself? They will come. But remember, love covers a multitude of wrongs. [Proverbs 10:12] Give yourself grace.  Grace for your failures, grace for the bent places in your life, grace for the process of becoming you.

10.You shall stay in the shadow of someone long enough to learn what you must learn but then you must move to your own sunlight.

There is a time to learn, a time to sow, and a time to grow. But then there is a time to shine your light and help others find their own. Know when your season of shadow is done.

What about you? Which of these do you need the most in your life right now? I’d love to hear what’s going on with you in the comment section today. 

She Decided, Today is Different

It’s the same stupid fight again and again.

You were supposed to stop by the store; I was supposed to pick this kid up.

It’s the redundant load of laundry again and again.

The missing socks, the torn jeans, and the spaghetti stained shirt.

It’s the predictable drive to and from work again and again.

Wait for the light to turn green, pause for the train, make that last phone call of the day.

It’s the expected social media feed.

I’m mad at the government, no one likes me, see where I am and you’re not.

Dear life, you can wear a girl’s passion down.

But then that same girl lays her head on her pillow; she drifts off to sleep, dreaming of being in another place, in another season. The moon drifts over her house. And then the sun peeks through her blinds at a very early hour.

And something is stirred within her…

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun. Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” –Isaiah 43:19


Sometimes life needs a new rhythm.

{For I am about to do something new.}

Sometimes routines need to be bumped. 

{See, I have already begun.}

Sometimes spreading ourselves so thin makes it impossible to fully involve ourselves with the things we once loved. {Do you not see it?}

When we find ourselves in the ruts of the wilderness need different path. And some days we need to just wake up and with a conscious decision that today is the day something is going to be different.

Because we forget the power of the Gospel message, how following Jesus isn’t meant to just make us feel better. It’s a path of continual renewal.

And when life’s paths become passionless often we replace theology with therapy.

Retail therapy. Vitamin D therapy. Friend therapy. Project therapy. Food therapy.

The world offers us a slew of paths to make our lives more fulfilling. But at the end of each of those paths is the same result: more wilderness.

But we, as followers of Jesus, are not looking for the same path everyone else travels down. We are looking for a new way the midst of normalness.

We need a path that leads from faith to faith.  

{I will make a pathway through the wilderness…}

On the path of faith to faith, we can find God in the mundane-every-day moments of life. 

{I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.}

So today, I’m making a decision to stay on the path of faith to faith. It allows me to find hope in the expectation of the possibility that today can be different.

Today can be the day of new beginnings.

Today can be the day of renewal. 

Today can be the day of an increased presence of God in our lives. 

Today can be the day we just decide, its going to be different. 

I pray you’ll join me…

Conversation: What do you wish could be different about your life today? I'd love for you to leave a comment and share your thoughts on this topic.