One Better

For the record, it was Todd’s fault.

I don’t even remember the specifics of our “disagreement,” but I am quite confident he was in the wrong. I don’t back down as readily as some of my “really good at being submissive” friends, and I recognize that it’s something I need to be better at doing.  For some strange reason, I seem to forget this factoid when I am knee-deep in self-righteous bickering and convinced that I am one witty comment away from victory.

But this particular night, I bit my tongue. I stepped on my pride momentarily and offered the kind of olive branch that was (sadly) uncharacteristic of me when I am mad (and also, right. Just in case you hadn’t picked up on that part).

I saw Todd’s face settle, assessing me in order to see if this was just a gimmick to lead up to my final blow, and it made me cringe. He knew that I could, and he was waiting because he assumed that I would.

But I didn’t.

I told him I was sorry and that I didn’t think it was his fault (that part was kind of a white lie. As previously stated I am convinced he was in the wrong. Carry on.)

As I looked at his face softening, I thought about the day I walked down a long aisle to get to him, knowing he was the only one I would ever love this way. And what in the world was I thinking right now? That somehow me proving how smart I was would change our marriage and make him look at me the way he did from the other end of the church?

So I stopped myself. I took a breath and apologized.

And in my head I heard the words, “You can do one better.”

And I did. In fact, I did more than one better because as soon as I started going I couldn’t stop. All I desired was to feel like I had built him up and swallowed my own ugly pride.

It turned out well, as you can imagine, and I walked away from it feeling like I had done the right thing.

I’m not saying it’s easy, but these two words have helped me make some really good and life-giving choices over the past several weeks…

One better.

I walk through the family room and notice a cup on the floor. I absentmindedly pick it up and start to walk to the sink.

One better, Ang.

So I go back, straighten the pillows, quickly gather the books scattered on the ground, and deposit the kids shoes in the shoe bin where they belong.

My friend calls to tell me about her business trip and all I can think is that I have deadlines that are crushing me and I don’t have time for the details. I catch myself, close the computer, and tell her I want to go on the porch so I can focus on what she’s saying.

It was just one better.

My daughter comes to me after having her feelings hurt, and I have a great talk with her. I mention Scripture I think will help her, I hug her, and I tell her I want to pray for her. It was good, but I knew I could just do one better.

I asked her if she wanted to go get a hot chocolate at the coffee shop down the road. We had a blast. When we got home, Todd had started making dinner and I told him I appreciated it.

And then I deliberately walked over to him, took his face in my hands, and told him what a good man he was.

It’s hard to do everything, but it isn’t hard to just do one better.

Make a note to yourself today and hang it where you will see it. As you walk through the day, instead of feeling like you can’t do it all, just remember-you don’t have to.

You will not believe the way these two little words start to shape your hours and your heart…so go ahead…do one better.

I dare you.

No wait, I DOUBLE dare you (see? It works for everything!).

  • Elaina

    I’m not a wife. And I’m not a mom. But my career is one where I am serving and caring for people (and always on call at that). In my personal life, I find myself retreating — not wanting to get involved, dreading the phone call from a friend. Or I find myself doing as little as possible to meet the needs of the people in my own life. This post is a powerful reminder to me. Or maybe it’s more appropriate to say…a powerful conviction. Thanks, Angie.

  • Modupe

    Oh my oh my! Thanks for that! Totally needed to hear that. Am currently on a ‘one better’ program (self started). So much blessing in it.’And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.’ Galatians 6:9

    • Bethany

      I love that verse. Thanks for posting it so I could be reminded.

  • Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience

    ‘One better.’
    Because One who is the best gives us more of Himself to do just that.

    How you minister to me, sister! More of Jesus!

  • Lisa

    This really touched me, infact….I needed to hear this TODAY before facing a situation in which I struggle and I was battling the need to cancel and shrink back…but those two words will get me through today, its a shift of focus! Hopefully I can keep hold of this and apply it in every scenario. Thanks so much for sharing x

  • Lisa Marie

    Thanks for this encouragement Angie! What a better place we could make our homes and our workplaces if we modeled Jesus love by doing “One Better.” That is the right kind of last word to get in. It very effectively moves the focus from ME to others. I miss you, Jess and Ann so much from the book club. Having a hard time waiting patiently for May 15th!

  • Leigh


    I want to take a brief moment and thank you Angie. You and your husband Todd, by sharing your story of Audrey Caroline, have been of great comfort and resource for my best friend Kristin and her husband Pete. On April 4th, they gave birth to their son, Shai Nelson Hathaway – and for 17 beautiful minutes, loved him in this world and ushered him home to His father. I had the privilege of meeting and holding this handsome boy as well – my “nephew” in many ways. Shai had anencephaly.

    Kristin chose “I Will Carry You” as one of the songs at Shai’s funeral, and continued to find comfort in your faith and the faith of your family through your book and your music. It is no small thing, to bring comfort to other members of the Body. And usually we cannot be aware of how we contribute to the love and peace of God’s mercy. But today, I just wanted to take the time to tell you here, in case you see these comments.

    You have my enduring gratitude and understanding.

  • Kris

    Yes. I love this. We CAN do one better, which will lead to another and another… Bless you for this! God is faithful.

  • Southern Gal

    You must have been in my house yesterday when I gave my son what for for not doing exactly what I said. I didn’t offer to help him and I’m sure he was probably a little overwhelmed. Thanks for urging me on to do one better for my family and for Him.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s hard to do everything, but it isn’t hard to do one better. . ”
    I love this. Moments of Him clearly noticed in a day where I sometimes can go through the motions and not really take time to see Him at all.
    I need to allow these moments. God calls us to these moments if I listen.
    I will take this with me today. . a beautiful, sunny day in Georgia.
    Thank you for ministering to me.

  • Danelle Townsend

    The “anonymous” comment above is from me. So excited for the moments I forgot to leave my name.
    Love to you!

  • RitaS

    One better….something I really do need to keep in mind and act upon as a person with little patience. It makes me realize that I need to focus and appreciate what I do have vs. what is not and show that appreciation to the man I married more often. Thanks Angie!

  • Norma

    I really, really needed to hear this- thanks!

  • Patricia

    Thank you for this today! Makes me think, I CAN DO THIS. Deciding that we don’t have to wait for the next opportunity to make things good and righteous and special….Do it right away! ~ One Better ~ love it!

  • Deb Martell

    Love this reminder. “One better” is so absent in our world most of the time. We would get most peoples attention and have them wonder what makes us different if we practiced this. Thank you for the encouragement today as I go off to work. I will keep those words front and center and hope to make a difference in the environment that God has placed me in!

  • Jan

    I love this post. I am going to put a link after one of my posts. This is excellent and exactly what Christ wants us to do. I am so like you in temperament and only Christ can help me get past “I am right” and “do it my way”. I did this so much early in my marriage I would hear “yes dear” every time. For the past 10 years after committing myself to Him, there is less “yes dear”. Thank You, Lord. Blessings on your marriage,

  • kendal

    okay. this steps on my toes. all of them. thanks for the reminder. the call – to live out life as christ intends, giving our all to those he has put in our lives.

  • Dale Carroll-Coleman

    Beautiful words dear sister. Thankful for your gracious reminder and challenge to all of us. We need to move these feet of clay and find this place of freedom in Him.. Freedom to love as that example shown to us each day by Christ.

  • susan

    Every time I get ready to leave a room I asked myself what one thing can I do to make this room look beautiful. Straighten a towel, close a toilet seat, put papers in the recycle basket, put one thing away and by the end of each day the house is looking so much better just by doing one thing. It is the same thing in a relationship…do one better. I will start today. Thank you for the wonderful reminder. susan

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  • Dea

    I was reading Mark 5:21….. this morning and I hesitate to bring up the passage (I know your story Angie) because Jesus chose to raise the child from the dead—but he did it after he overheard Jarius’ friends tell him to not bother Jesus anymore (regarding healing her) because she had died. Jesus went on to Jarius’ house and did the impossible.

    I don’t no why some are lifted up to live on the earth and others are lifted to the glory of heaven. But I do know that the unbelievers were told to wait outside. Only those with faith really got in on what Jesus was doing.

    Is that not how we are? We think or say, “Why bother?” We laugh because we think we already know the outcomes for our lives and those around us. We live like we have our feet and our hearts stuck in concrete and we have no choices about living out our faith to bless others. How often do I say “Why bother and even laugh that acting on behalf of others could impact their lives in any way that matters?”

    Jesus “one bettered” that day. He set an example for me—for all of us who say we follow him.

    Your encouragement made that passage very practical for me today–to get out of myself and take the steps I must to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world. How often because of unbelief, am I on the outside looking in? (Oh, me of little faith.)

    Bless you, Angie

    Thanks for the insight Angie.

  • Anna @ path of treasure

    “It’s hard to do everything, but it isn’t hard to just do one better.” Yes indeed this is do-able! Beautiful.

  • Beth West

    I like to begin many of my days by “pinning” a verse, saying or motto to it. One of my most used has been “Keep calm and carry on.”

    I love “One Better”! Thank you.

  • tc

    A beautiful and inspiring challenge! Thanks! I’ll try.

  • Beth Werner Lee

    I too needed to hear this beautifully written word of encouragement. I love how one better isn’t a competitive better but an energizing whisper from the Lord. I want that! My local homeschool email group just had a post about praying through your do-list which reminded me of the practical ways we can give our day to God and one better is another. Thank you, God is speaking!

  • Monique

    Wow. This is perfect! I’m totally taking the challenge! :)

  • Ashley

    I LOVE this post Angie!! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • colleen @ thegiftofmondays

    one better. i hope this phrase stays imprinted on my heart. one better. i love that thought. that notion that in every moment we can do, and be, and love…one better.

    “it’s hard to do everything but it isn’t hard to do just one better.” a great thought for a perfectionist like me who often loses sight of what’s really important because i’m focused on checking things off my to-do list.

    one better. that will be me today. and hopefully forever.

    thanks for the inspiration!!!

  • Shari

    I needed this today. Thank you.

  • Susan

    Perfect. I would stamp “one better” to my hand if I could to help me remember, because oh how I need this. It’s in my nature to not back down when I think I’m right {or know I am}. But it hurts my husband and I to do these rounds of back and forth quarreling, and submission is my daily challenge. I love how you’ve added “one better” to everything else, too. Brilliant. Thanks, Angie!

  • Dawn

    Thank you for this. I need to work on this too. One Better….two small words, but a huge impact!

  • http:/www.linda' Linda

    When the words are true they just slam into the heart. These are such good, true words Angie. Thank you for saying it so well, so honestly so, so encouragingly. You bless sweet girl.

  • Heather conrad

    I loved this! Great encouragement, practical application, a phrase to tuck in my mind. Learning how to ask for a Mary heart as well and seeing am aging changes that only the Lord can bring, abundant living. Thanks for writing!

  • Amelia

    I love this phrase and your examples are so applicable. I heard you today at Women of Faith in Columbus and it was definitely one better. Thank you so much.

  • Paola Rarick

    How Simple and inspiring. I thought I would just take this wonderful piece of advice and just walk away and put it to use, but I will do 1 better by taking the time to encourage you. You have been gifted by the Lord with a magnificent way of communicating to others and you are using it for the Lord’s glory. God Bless you!

  • Suzann

    This hit me. It hit me hard. Where I live. It’s funny how God does that, isn’t it!? He knows just where we are and what will get through to us. Such a simple little thing, “one better” but really – so effective. Imagine if we all did just one better. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your heart, your experience, for being obedient to God. For making a difference.

  • Jessica

    Thanks for this…I needed to hear it after this week. Time for a perspective change.

  • Leslie

    I needed this…and felt compelled to share it…one better. Good stuff. Thanks!

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  • Justine

    This post was a really great reminder that we can always do one better. It was really something that I have needed to hear. The past week I have really felt that I have just been settling with my decisions and not going one step further. Thanks Angie for a great post.

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  • Lib

    I’m always up for a challenge- thanks for humbly weighting about how being right doesn’t equate to being happy. True buoy is one better than being right…

  • Stefani @ SimpleMidwestMom

    Wow Angie, I started reading this thinking, “Wait, was Angie in our kitchen this morning listening to me and my husband argue?” Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Sharon

    Just terrific! Already taped a post-it note on my computer and am looking forward to the”One Better” way of life!

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  • Danica

    Thank you for sharing this … it definitely struck a chord with me.

  • Amber

    I just got home from my bridal shower. The women passed around a journal to write notes of advice and encouragement to me on love, faith, marriage, and life as a future pastor’s wife.
    I’m writing “one better” on the next page in the journal- I love it!!
    Thank you for sharing this. I know I will never regret doing “one better” in my marriage (as well as in all my relationships)!

  • Sherri Ohler

    This is fantastic. Your examples are so real and each is something that I would encounter almost everyday. Thank you for this, I believe it’s going to bless my whole family!

  • Mela Kamin

    How did you know my day was like this? My hubby & I were just discussing showing grace to someone who has hurt us. I’ve also been intentionally avoiding someone because of the work it will take to help out. Now, I see how doing one better can be done in small ways & still make an impact. Choosing one better will make a big – no, HUGE difference. I’m going to talk to my kids about this too. I love the idea of putting up a sign – I need all the reminders/help/coaxing/conviction I can get. I’ve always liked getting the last word, I’m super competitive & I’m a bit of a show-off – now here’s a way to harness all that “weakness” and use it for good. I can one-better the situation & this time, it won’t be self-serving or out of vain conceit – it will be used to leave someone else one bit better. That’s cool. Thanks!

  • Becki Woodsmall

    Hi Angie! I just spent the weekend with you at Women of Faith. What a great job you did telling your story! I used many tissues Saturday. We laughed, we cried, and God showed off in you! We were right in your line of vision on “the porch”. I felt a real connection with you! I’m a mom of 5 and a grandma of 5. You felt like my own daughter!!
    Thank you for going to that bible study with your little marked bible and giving your life to the One who loves you best!!

  • Kelly

    This hit home! I often am irritated with my hubby and kids because they don’t operate on “Kelly time,” which is right now, not in a few minutes. Or even better, wonder why hubby can’t read my mind and just do things with out me asking (fussing).

    Thanks Angie! I needed the wake up call to do one better. That’s not so overwheming.


  • Misty

    So glad for these simple words of wisdom!! Thank you so much for such a good reminder. I am just reading this for the first time today and I must say if I’d read it the day it came to my inbox, I am confident it would have helped me avoid an argument with my husband last night. The part about not “backing down” and “one witty comment away from victory” is so me and I really don’t like that part of myself. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone in this and that it is ok to let him win or apologize even when it is not my fault. Swallowing my pride to do this is always so hard for me but it is part of the surrendering process that is a must. THANK YOU!!

  • Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight

    I really needed this today.
    ‘Cause today? I don’t wanna do one better – I don’t wanna do anything at all. Especially not for the one who hurt me. But even if he did? What if I do something better anyway?

    Gonna go put up a note for myself.
    Thanks, Angie.

  • Kathy

    Okay Angie- I can’t get this out of my head! I’m on the fence of being slightly annoyed with how it creeps into my “awesomeness” and how it completely transforms my thoughts in an instant… ;)

  • Diane

    Hi. I never comment here but just wanted to say thanks for this AWESOME post. It is so true!! It hit home with me … touched me right in my heart that this is something I could, no wait, should do. Must do. So thank you. Thank you oh so much!!

  • Georgia Jan

    Angie! This is absolutely precious and I love it so much. I’ve been married for almost 34 years (June 11) to a wonderful man, a pastor. Our marriage & ministry have been so blessed and I’m loving the season we are in…some say “empty nest.” But he will always correct them and say, “it’s not empty…my bride is still here!” We have 3 little grandblessings and I am so thankful.

    Thank you for touching my heart today in such a special way…I can’t wait to apply this to my life.

    Love, Gran Jan

  • amykay

    well… that’s certainly a choice i should make more often! thanks for the (much MUCH needed) kick in the pants :)

  • Erin

    Love this! So easy to remember – “one better!” Ready to give this a try.

  • Carol

    That’s beautiful, Angie! You and Todd inspire me so much. Thank you for posting this!

  • coni

    Hi Angie,,, I really enjoyed this “one better” and hope to try it out,,,I’ve been married almost 40 years, but I can always benefit from great ideas from others! I was blessed to hear you speak at cols, ohio women of faith this past week end! amazing! I knew I would cry, and I did,,,,,,,I lost my baby girl at birth,,,,she was full term,,,7lb,91/2oz,20 inches long,,,,no health problems with her or me,,,,,God just chose to take her to Heaven right away. I was saved as a result of her death,,,,so I now have the assured hope of seeing her again one day! Her name is Danielle Jenay,,,,,,,Thank you so much for sharing. Coni

  • Marianne Evans

    Hi, Angie!

    I’m actually in the midst of writing a novel – Christian Fiction genre – that looks at this very topic! Your post hit the mark:


    This is the way we regroup! Respond, always, with love and trust God to do the rest, and lead the way forward in ALL ways. God bless you, Angie, and great blog! My husband found it and highly recommended it. :-)

    • Marianne Evans

      The <<>>> meant to include this quote from your post:

      I did more than one better because as soon as I started going I couldn’t stop. All I desired was to feel like I had built him up and swallowed my own ugly pride.

      Sorry! :-)

  • Leslie

    Thank you for sharing this! It was lovely and just what I needed today. I will keep this one for future reference because I know I will need to read it again and again.

  • Shannon

    “One Better.” That’s good stuff. Holy Spirit kind of good stuff. Thank you, Angie.

  • Kayse

    This idea has already turned my life around this week! I have 2 yellow post-its that say “one better” around the house – one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. It’s totally given me encouragement and helped me feel able to take care of my family and my house instead of swamped by the hugeness of it all. Thank you! :)

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  • Elizabeth

    I’ve been thinking ‘One Better’ all week since reading this. Thank You :)

  • Aly Allen

    yes, yes, yes! “one better”. this is amazing. why do we always take the path of least resistance? “one better”. i just love it. it could make all the difference in the world. for ourselves and for everyone around us. thanks Angie, for your candor and honesty in letting us into your world, and showing us how God is teaching you! “one better”. it might just change my life :)

  • Coby

    Uhm, OUCH and AMEN! Thanks for sharing this! I KNOW I can do “one better” in so many areas of my marriage and mothering. Beautifully written.

  • Genie Blazi

    I have to tell you Angie that this post has made a huge impact on my life. Not just mine, but my dearest friend. You see, she had been hurt horribly at our church last year…her husband was a deacon…people said hurtful things about them…lied about them, and unfortunately they left our church. They came back after being gone 6 months to try and reconclie…to make things right…but every step has been hard. She can’t get past the hurt…lives in that moment everyday. Those old feelings are daily surfaced…and when I read this post…I knew it was for her. I forwarded it to her(after I read it because of Todd’s tweet about it) and she called me sobbing. She said…”I don’t know who this girl is…but she wrote this for me…for me”!!!! It has changed her mindframe…her outlook. Saturday we had our mommy/daughter tea and this just happened to be when all the bashing began…because of this tea party. I could see her stress as she walked in the door…see that this was weighing heavily on her heart. She walked up to me and whispered in my ear and said “one better”…and she turned and walked over to the woman that was so hateful to her a year ago and started a conversation with her! Thank you Angie….my friend is a different person…her joy is slowly coming back and I couldn’t be happier!!!

  • nancygirl

    oh, this is good Angie…sooo good! I want to remember this and do it today. but more importantly I want to remember and do it tomorrow and the day after…God is calling to me “to do one better”.

  • Sandy Cooper

    This was so perfectly timed for me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


  • Cheryl

    Angie, I am reading this for the first time today and just want to say thank you. This is what I needed to hear. Your ministry is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your heart for the LORD.