toppling the queen


Even the most novice chess player recognizes the most powerful piece in the game– not the king, nor the bishops, the leaping knights or the eager pawns– but the elegant, versatile queen. She moves powerfully across the board influencing the moves of every other piece.

My sister recently suggested Satan is working extra hard to discourage me because I am the queen of my household. Not the ‘dripping diamonds, bring me a cake’ sort of ruler, but the ‘my actions shape everyone else’ kind.

I’m a believer of the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other, perhaps not literally, but in theory. C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters– chronicling the advice of a senior devil to a junior one– lies well-worn at my bedside. I do believe we are each tempted in unique ways. I consider myself relatively unimportant: I don’t make any money or have important connections, most days I talk to very few people outside my home. In church I’m leading activities for seven Cub Scouts and I’m pretty shy about even updating my Facebook page. Ask the world, and my influence score is shockingly low.

But for my children and the people around me, I DO matter. And I can’t be toppled by those minions whispering, “you make a mess of everything!” “what is wrong with you?” “why do you even try?” In fact I’d very much like to be one of those women who when I get up in the morning the devil says, “Oh no! She’s awake again.”

My little chess mavens taught me the best way to defeat the queen is to distract her; create all kinds of chaos around her, then take her down. Our world could scarcely contain more distractions for women– beauty secrets, social networks, PTA, Pinterest– we are expected to hide our wrinkles, watch our weight, serve the community, maintain a career (at least a little something on the side), all while nurturing children, making dinner and cultivating a happy marriage.

We are all, each of us (mothers or wives or not) more powerful than we believe. I love the concept in Acts describing the Christian missionaries preaching to the ‘chief women’ of the community (17:4). These missionaries understood women as the spiritual barometer of their cities and towns. Yes, men may hold most of the leadership positions in ancient and modern churches but it’s women who sway families, groups of youth, communities.

For me, staying on my game means making choices, eliminating too much busyness and shutting out the voices of discouragement. I’m determined to ignore those minions whispering cruelties in my ear– “you can’t” “you’re worthless” “you’re too sensitive.”– I’m brushing them off, stomping on their little tails and sweeping them out my back door. I need to live boldly, happily and guide my children along with me. No influence?! Look at these people I’m sending out into the world– honest, smart, good and kind.

No one can take me down; I’m the queen.

March 1, 2012
March 9, 2012



  1. Linn

    March 7, 2012

    And just when I thought I couldn’t adore you any more..

  2. annie

    March 7, 2012

    I wish we were friends. (In real life.)

  3. Dovie

    March 7, 2012

    tru dat

  4. Blue

    March 7, 2012

    You should know just how grateful I am that you are going to be Backup Queen this weekend. Gives me (and Princess Bunch) great comfort to know you’re on the chessboard in case of need. And nothing beats a powerful, righteous Queen! ♥

  5. cristie

    March 7, 2012

    you are a Queen if ever there was one.
    you are wonderful beyond description.
    you will continue to stand true and strong.


  6. Rachelle

    March 7, 2012

    Whoa. Goosebumps. Love your attitude and fully agree with a mother’s influence. :o)

  7. Kit Linkous

    March 7, 2012

    how did you know I needed this today? call me and let me tell you about it when you get a minute.

  8. Cath

    March 7, 2012

    Long live the Queen.

    And yes, sweep out those snarly little demons. Your influence is greater than you know, even outside the walls of your home. I love you.

  9. Mormon Women: Who We Are

    March 7, 2012


  10. Stephanie

    March 7, 2012

    Great post! I think I need to read it every morning.

  11. Lisa

    March 7, 2012

    Here here…and long live the queen!

    And just for the record, those minions do not stand a hint of a chance against Michelle the queen…not now, not ever!


  12. MissMel

    March 7, 2012

    Unfotunately, this Queen has been taken down a few times, but the secret to my chessboard is that I RISE UP AGAIN EVERY TIME! Thanks for writing this, Michelle.

  13. Tracy

    March 7, 2012

    LOVE THIS. A LOT. And YOU. A LOT. xoxo

  14. Claudia

    March 8, 2012

    A mighty, beautifully sensitive, talented queen at that! So happy to rule along side you.

  15. christine

    March 8, 2012

    I just love this. Love this SO much.

  16. jenjamin

    March 8, 2012

    Your “influence score card” is off the charts for me. Thank you for your words. Every time, thank you. And yes, mothers are indeed queens. xo

  17. Tiffanie

    March 8, 2012

    I so needed to read this. Those little minions visit me every. single. morning. without fail, the moment I wake up. I’m going to picture them being stomped and swept out the door tomorrow morning.

  18. k. novella

    March 8, 2012

    michelle, i just love this! and i love you! i wish in our ‘somedays’ i get to meet you and thank you in person for the shining example you are to me! you lift my spirits!

  19. Joey

    March 8, 2012

    Michelle, I don’t know how I came across your blog, but I am so inspired by you and your family. Thank you for sharing all these gems!

Comments are closed.