Encouragement for Moms, pt. 3

As a mom there are times when I honestly feel like I’m just not sure if I am doing this parenting thing right! How do I raise my kids in Christ? What does that mean? How do I handle different parenting moments?  Discipline?

There have been moments in my life when the reality that is parenting overwhelms me!  I want to do this SO right. but how do I do that?

My third and final encouragement in this mini series is this, seek after wisdom!

Proverbs 2:1-5 says, “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”

I don’t know about you but I need that wisdom and knowledge from God! We only have one shot at raising these kids up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. One.Shot. That adds all kinds of pressure!  We have one opportunity so we had better do it right!

The good news is, Christ says that if we seek after God’s wisdom, we will find it!

What does seeking after wisdom look like?

I’m sure this won’t surprise you when I say it but, getting into God’s Word daily and spending time in prayer are your top two ways to seek for wisdom!  That alone time with God is invaluable! Pouring over God’s Word and spending time in prayer will help to better equip us as Mom’s! We need a lot of wisdom raising these children, so let’s get on our knees and ask God for it!

Another way to seek after wisdom and find encouragement is to stay faithful to church. Pastor’s spend hours studying God’s Word each week and the Lord gives them messages straight from Him for us! How are we going to hear what God has for us if we are not faithful in attending services?  I remember a time when my dad was not living with our family and we had no other vehicle but the one he drove off with.  We lived maybe 1/2 a mile from our church and my mom was determined that she and her children would be faithful to church no matter what.  Even though our lives were full of uncertainty, our home was kind of a mess, she wanted her children in God’s house. So you know what we did? We buckled on our church shoes and we walked all the way to church. It didn’t matter what was going on at home, we would be in church every time the doors were open. I do not look back on those times and resent my mother for making me go to church.  Instead I am thankful she loved me enough to take me, even if it meant we had to walk there.  I think that is a beautiful testimony of my mother.  It was never a guessing game or even a question if we were going to church Sunday and Wednesday.  Rather a, “we are leaving for church at this time and you had better be ready by then.”  Our children need to know that Sunday is different than any other day of the week. It is the day we go to church and everything else can wait.  I want this kind of testimony in my family!

Next, seek out godly council from older, godly mothers who have raised their children well.  This council can come in a few different ways.  One is through actual relationships with other women in your church or that God has brought across your path who love the Lord and all of their children love the Lord as well and are living for Him.  Ask them questions!  Invite her over for coffee and ask for wise council on child rearing.  This is actually a Biblical thing to do. Titus 2:4 states in reference to older women, “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,”  Seek godly advice from women who have been where you are and survived to talk about it!   Wisdom from older godly women is priceless!

Another way to seek out godly wisdom is through listening to or attending conferences on the home.  I often turn to Sermon Audio and search out sermons on the home because I oftentimes crave messages like that! {You can find some great messages on the home by any of these speakers listed in my precious post here.} Listening to them helps me keep my focus, realigns my thoughts, gives me insight and helpful tools that I can practically put into use in our home. Also, investing in good books by trusted authors on the home are very beneficial.

Ladies, being a godly mom will take discipline and work on our part but these things are worth our time and energy!  We are investing in the lives of our children and we only have one chance to raise them right! We will never have it all down perfectly, and God never requires that of us. However, we can run to the One who is perfect and knows how we ought to raise our children. Keep asking, seeking, knocking! God wants to help us be the best Mama to our children that we can be!  Let’s draw closer to Him!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

 

PS: If this has been an encouragement to your heart, please feel free to pass it on!

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Encouragement for Moms, Pt 1

Nine years ago my husband and I were full of anticipation!  We were about to become parents to a little girl and we were ready for this new adventure!  We had read a lot of books, we had a plan together, we wanted to take on parenting and just knew it would work out exactly as we planned.

Then she came.

Funny how that works out, right? We think we have it all together and then reality comes and we get humbled.

Though she was cute as a button and we have loved the journey of parenthood, we learned real quick like that we really didn’t have it all together when it came to parenting! Our first was an easy baby, never exerted a strong will, was very compliant and sensitive.  Then God gave us our second born.  A little boy who by the age of two had me envisioning him as a teenage delinquent and questioning my ability to parent at all!  My ideal of having it all figured out as a parent crumbled as my child was the one screaming in the store and throwing himself down in a fit of rage despite our best efforts of consistent training!  It was a journey the Lord knew I needed to go on to help me learn more about Him and chisel away in me what was not reflecting Him.

As my husband and I have journeyed through parenting for almost a decade, we know we still do not have it all together and we are in a constant state of learning, but the Lord has been so good!  We are still right in the middle of the training years and maybe you are also!  I just want to take a few minutes over the next week and share with you a few things the Lord has taught us in our short time as parents.  I hope these posts are an encouragement to you right where you are!  Again, we are definitely not perfect parents, nor will we ever be, but by God’s grace we are learning and my hearts desire is simply to encourage you in your parenting journey!

When it comes to being a Mom the first and best thing we can do for our children is pray for them! prayerWhat should we pray about?  Pray about everything!  From the moment we found out we were expecting our children we began praying for their salvation.  We have asked repeatedly that they will see their need for Jesus as their Savior from a young age and that they will accept Him!  The most important decision of their life needs to be bathed in prayer!

Pray that your children will walk closely with the Lord all the days of their lives and as they grow physically ask the Lord to help them grow spiritually. Pray for protection over them! When my husband and I pray for our children, we even go so far as to ask the Lord to blind the eyes of those that would want to do our children harm so that they cannot even see them.  Pray for blessing on their life!  Pray for strength and for their faith to grow as they will go through trials.  It may seem odd to think of our kids enduring trials, but as they grow they will go through some difficult seasons and they need encouragement and prayer as we walk with them through it.

As a parent, we know our children well and we see their strengths and weaknesses. Ask the Lord to help them lean on Him and ask for His help to overcome temptations.  Pray that your children will be tender towards the leading of the Holy Spirit, that they will grow in wisdom and discernment. Pray for their purity in every aspect. Ask the Lord to bring godly friends and influences into their lives {and be sure to guard against ungodly influences}. Friends make a big impact on us do they not? Godly friends for our children are so very important! There really is no limit to what we can bring before the Lord in prayer for our children! Also, let me mention right here how important it is for our children to hear us pray for and with them. Let the testimony in our homes be that our children always knew Mom and Dad prayed for them!

While you are praying, don’t just pray for youprayer1r children but pray for yourself as you raise them!  Proverbs 22:6 is a well known verse about child rearing.  “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  My husband and I often find ourselves asking the Lord for wisdom beyond our years to know how to raise our children up in the way they should go. Parenting is hard work, but is always worth the effort!  We will need God’s constant strength and wisdom to be consistent and  faithful in teaching and training them.  Ask the Lord to help you take the opportunities He creates to teach your children about Him.  Opportunities present themselves every day to point our children back to Christ, the problem is we tend to not always recognize them as opportunities.  Pray that you will be a godly testimony to your children. This can be tough right?  When we are at home we feel we can let our guard down, but that only gives the enemy ample opportunity to pounce.  It can be through lack of patience, inconsistency, lack of discernment, a harsh tongue, or even distractions.  Oh how we need to be in prayer much more often then we are on behalf of our kids!

The Lord has used my own children to often humble me and make me realize how much I need God’s strength, wisdom, and discernment in parenting! Being a Mom has taught me much about my need to depend on God for helping me parent the right way!  I have eaten humble pie! I have had to apologize to my children, I have had to confess my faults to the Lord and there are some days when I just feel like all I did was fail all day long!  What does Proverbs 24:16 say though? “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:”  It may have been a rough day, but tomorrow morning we will get up, pray over our children and ourselves, by God’s grace we will depend on Him more, and it will be a better day!

Don’t forget to also stop and praise the Lord for answered prayer! As we look back we can see how God has faithfully brought us through to where we are.  He has grown our family and brought us closer. Even on the tough parenting days, there are MANY things to thank the Lord for!

I just can’t say enough about how much prayer needs to go into parenting!  Prayer accesses the power of God that we need to do our job diligently, faithfully, consistently.  These children are such precious gifts from the Lord, they are worth getting on our knees before God and interceding on their behalf.

Join me next time as we continue this mini series on encouragement for moms!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

Out of the Mouth of Babes

(Today’s guest post comes from my dear friend Emily, who is the adoring wife of her husband and Pastor, Matt.  They are from chilly, but beautiful Canada and have four children!  I know you will be both challenged and encouraged by her today! )
Emily
I have been a parent for just over 9 years now.  Before I had children, and even now, I love to read good biblically based books on parenting.  I suppose I enjoy it so much because it helps me not feel so alone in my feelings and struggles.  Its nice to know I am not the only mom who has gone to her bedroom and cried (or screamed into her pillow) out of pure frustration.  Its encouraging to know that I am not the only mother who has yelled at her children.  Its helpful to hear from moms who have made their way “through the trenches” and come out on the other side with wonderful words of wisdom and advice that they have learned throughout the years.
I pick up these books and expect that I will learn something from them.  That’s the whole purpose of reading them – to glean knowledge from others.  What I don’t always expect is what I would learn from my own children.  That is something that always seems to take me off guard, but always has great impact on my heart and life.  Let me give you an example.
We have a bedtime routine that we try to stick to in our home.  As with anything, it doesn’t always go the same way, but for the most part, we try to go through that routine each night.  After supper, the kids usually have a little time to play, then its bath/shower time.  Once all that is done, we gather in our family room and have song and prayer time.  During this time, we try to go over what we had studied in our devotions from that morning, and then we sing a few Bible songs and pray.  Then its off to bed (and the half-hour to hour long process that seems to take!  Whew! 🙂 )
A couple months ago, my hubby was gone at a meeting (he is a pastor so this is not a rare occurrence) so I was on my own with our bedtime routine.  The kids were all bathed and in their PJs and we had just finished singing.  This particular night all four children wanted to pray, so we went down the row.  I always love to hear my children pray.  I feel it gives me a little glimpse into their hearts and what is important to them.  Sometimes they pray for silly things, and sometimes they pray for things I didn’t even know was heavy on their hearts.
When it came time for the three-year-old to pray, she started with her typical, “Dear Jesus, thank you for this day.  Thank you for our family…”  More often than not, her prayers are pretty much the same each time.  But this night she added a little something that has stuck with me and been mulling over and over in my head for months now.  Here was her whole prayer:
“Dear Jesus.  Thank you for this day.  Thank you for our family.
Help me to learn to obey.  Help mommy and daddy to learn to obey.
Help us to have a good night.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
When she came to the part about “mommy and daddy to learn to obey” I kind of snickered to myself and thought that was funny and cute.  We finished prayer time and I got all the kids in bed.  Then, later that night, when I was getting ready for bed, I thought back on her prayer and was immediately convicted in my heart.  I had laughed off the fact that she prayed for me and daddy to learn to obey. She hears me pray for my children all the time to learn to obey, usually thinking specifically of learning to obey ME. 🙂  But as adults, we don’t need to learn that, right?  But that’s not true.  Not exactly.
Oh, I don’t “have” to obey my parents anymore.  I am grown and moved on and my husband and I make our own rules and decisions in our home.  I no longer answer to my parents.  But that doesn’t exclude me from having to obey God.  I will never outgrow that one.  And that is one I haven’t quite gotten a handle on, either.
Don’t get me wrong – sometimes its very easy to obey God. Sometimes it is pretty easy to obey.  I don’t even have to think about it.  I say, “Sure, Lord!  I’ll do that!” responding just like my kids do to my instruction – sometimes. But what about the other times when God asks me to obey – to do some “harder” things.  Do I obey Him then?
God has commanded me to be submissive to my husband.  Sometimes that is easy peasy.  Sometimes, I plain don’t want to.  God has commanded me to love my neighbour as myself.  But I will admit – there are some people in the world I have trouble loving and I certainly have no trouble loving myself.  God has commanded me to put nothing and no one before Him.  But its super easy for me to put kids, family, and friends before Him.  These are things God tells me to do EVERY DAY and I struggle with them EVERY DAY.
Sometimes, there are bigger things God may ask me to do.  Have I learned to obey Him?  Eight years ago God called my husband to pastor a small country church in New Brunswick, Canada.  My husband surrendered to God’s leading, and we went.  But even as we were moving, I refused to agree with God.  I did not want to move there and I was mad at Him and my husband.  I hadn’t obeyed so well then.
I have had many health issues in my life.  Sometimes God asks me to go through some difficult and painful things.  And I don’t always willing obey.  I don’t want to obey and I get upset.  I wonder “why me” and stomp my figurative spiritual foot with my arms crossed.  I don’t really obey then either.  Even now, God has been impressing some things that I need to do and change in my life and heart.  But it scares me and I don’t want to obey.
When I tell my children to do something, it almost never is just for the fun of it.  I tell them to clean their room so they can learn responsibility and to learn to take care of the things they have been blessed with (and to keep our house from becoming a huge disaster area! 🙂 )  When I tell them to hold my hand in a parking lot, it is for their safety because they don’t always pay attention to the things around them.  When I tell them to be kind or to think of others, it is to teach them that other people matter and they need to think of others’ needs and feelings.  When I tell them to share it is to show them that they are not the centre of the universe and that they need to be aware of other people.
Everything I tell them to do has a purpose.  I have a goal in mind to help mold them into descent, kind, giving, and God-honouring human beings.
And I believe it is the same with God.  He doesn’t tell us to do something so He can get a laugh out of it.  He doesn’t ask us to obey even when we don’t want to just so He can show us whose boss.  He has an ultimate goal, a purpose, and a plan for not only our individual lives but for the whole world. That is why it is so important for us to learn to obey.
So you see, it may have been a sweet, simple, innocent prayer said off-the-cuff by my 3-year-old.  But it was a sermon straight to the heart for me and a lesson I needed to hear.   I need to learn to obey.  I need to learn to obey God so I can become the person that He wants me to be – the person that He designed and created me to be. Obeying is for my own good.
And now I often think back on that prayer and ask myself one question:  What is God telling me to do today that I need to obey?
I am so thankful that I have wonderful books to read that help me in my parenting journey.  But I am also very thankful for the four little ones God has blessed me with to constantly teach me more about myself and my God.
~Emily Sealy
Ps: If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it with others!

Keep Calm and Mother On!

It was a day I spent kicking myself for simply, well, being me!  Wondering if my failures as a mama {that seemed to be so many!} were going to cause my children to turn from the Lord instead of turning to Him! I sat down at a table, opened up a book I had been reading about mothering and wasn’t two paragraphs in before I found myself silently saying, “Yes!! Yes, THIS is exactly how I feel!”

Have you ever read a book like that?  Where it felt like the author was writing your story?  Somehow she had gotten into your head, read your thoughts, and then wrote a book just for you?  Ya, that was how I was feeling that day.

I was at our local pregnancy center waiting for clients.  It was a slow morning so I had opportunity to read for a few moments.  Another volunteer came in the room, sat across from me and as I set my book down she asked, “Whatcha reading?”

I shared with her the title and a little bit about what the book was about.  To be honest, even though I was enjoying the book, it was at times  reminding me of my failures and I found myself blurting out, “I just want to be a godly mother!  I don’t want my weaknesses and struggles to mess my kids up!”

She sat there graciously listening, she is about 20 years my Sr. and is just the sweetest soul you ever did meet!  I love to hear her pray, I love to be in her presence.  She is one of those people whom you know loves the Lord because He is radiating through her!

“Wendy,” she began, “just remember, even though you have a lot you have and still are investing in your children to grow up and be godly adults, don’t forget God is investing in them even more!   As much as you love your children, God loves them even more and desires for them to walk closely with Him even more than you do!!”  She continued to speak words of encouragement and I felt like a sponge, soaking up her words of encouragement and wisdom.

She was right.

I can easily forget that God desires for my children to walk closely with Him even more than I do!  He has the ability to use our weaknesses to point our children to their need of Him.  Isn’t that incredible?  As He said in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”  Yes, His grace is sufficient! His strength is actually made perfect in my weakness!

I think sometimes we as Mama’s spend so much time beating ourselves up over our faults and failures that it causes us to begin to look more inward than we do looking at Christ.  Satan doesn’t care what it is that takes our eyes off of Christ, just so long as they are off of Christ!  If I am constantly dwelling on, “Yes, I blew it again!” and stay there wallowing in my failure, my eyes will wander from Christ and plant themselves on me!

Don’t get me wrong, it is incredibly important to admit to our wrongdoings, seek forgiveness both from Christ and from the one we wronged, but then once all is made right, get back up and keep going!  Proverbs 24:16a reminds us just of that!  It says, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: “

Here’s the thing, we are going to keep falling.  Encouraging right?! 😉  It’s true though, we all have that sin nature in us.  We will grump at our families, speak more harshly than we ought or intend to, we will be selfish at times and the list can go on!  However, God’s grace is sufficient.  His strength is made perfect in our weakness!  As He reveals our sin to us we ought to confess and forsake it!  Striving to gain victory over it through the help of Christ, but when we fall, it isn’t the end of the world!  Make it right then keep on going!

Christ is investing in the lives of my children {and yours!}, He is molding thkeepcalmem into who He wants them to be, He is loving them and pursuing them even more than I am, and I love them so deeply I don’t even know how to put it into words!!  That’s a lot of love for these little ones!

Be encouraged precious Mama, God is using you to bring up these little ones to follow hard after Him.  Don’t beat yourself up over the mistakes you {and I!} make throughout our days.  Confess, forsake, then get back up and keep on mothering!

*Image courtesy of duckduckgo.com

Grace In Motherhood

Have you ever forgotten about grace?  I have to be honest and say that I have.

The area I most forget about it is in my own parenting.

In the hustle and bustle of child rearing God knows I long to raise the children He has gifted my husband and I with, to love and serve Him as long as they live.  I can easily carry on with my day-to-day routine of parenting though as if it all depends upon me that these children of mine turn out godly.  I sometimes forget that God is in the equation as well!

I cannot minimize the fact that my husband and I do have a tremendous responsibility to raise them up right, however, it isn’t all on our shoulders.  When I forget about God’s grace I begin to feel overwhelmed with pressure and my imperfections stare me down.  How many times have I said to my husband, “We only have one shot at this and I don’t want to mess them up!!”  I see how much I parent imperfectly and love my children imperfectly because of the imperfectness of me!  I fear that because I’m not the perfect mama to them, I will mess them up and cause them to turn from God.

I forget that God’s grace can make up the difference where I lack.

The truth is, I will always parent imperfectly, and God knew that I would when He made me a Mama.  He knew that when He made me a Mama it would cause me to depend even more on Him.  He knew that when He made me Mama it would reveal crystal clear the selfishness rooted deep in my heart, the pride I have, the “perfectionist” in me would struggle over not being the “perfect” parent, and that ultimately He would use Motherhood to sanctify me and draw me ever closer to Himself.  He didn’t call me to be “perfect”, He knew my children would never be able to handle a “perfect” mama.  He knew that He could use my imperfections to point my children to their need of Him as well.  We are all sinners, we are all in need of His grace, not only His saving grace, but His day-in-day-out plenteous grace!

I’m in the trenches of motherhood.  My children are young and I have no idea how they will actually turn out.  I cling to the promises of God, I plead for wisdom beyond my years, I ask for forgiveness of God and my children when I mess up, and I strive to point my children to the One Who is perfect and has enough grace to go around.

Whether we have a “good” day or a “bad” day in parenting, it does not change my standing before God.  No matter how I parent I will not earn more or less favor with God.  Because I have accepted His free gift of salvation, {Ephesians 2:8-9} the cloak of the righteousness of Jesus Christ is over me.  He took all of my imperfections and sins and placed them on Himself when He hung on that cruel rugged cross.  When God the Father looks at me, all He sees is the righteousness of His only begotten Son.  Oh what grace.

So I’m parenting imperfectly, I love my children imperfectly, but God {I LOVE but God moments!} intervenes and offers grace.  He can make up the difference where I seriously lack and He can use the imperfections of my life to point out their need for Him in the lives of my children.  My imperfections are what God can use to draw my children to His saving grace!  I know I will continue to parent imperfectly because I am a sinner, but God!  Motherhood is sanctifying!

In the middle of parenting, don’t forget about grace!  Work hard being a Mama, pray harder for your children, yourself and your husband, do everything you can to point your children to Him, but don’t forget about God’s grace!

The Little Years

I am a Mom, parenting in the little years.  It seems there is a constant need or want that is always present.  Someone hanging on my legs or vying for my attention.  Sometimes it can be weary-some.

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, but I’m also not going to sugar coat anything.  Some days I fall into bed thinking, “Well, today was an utter fail!”

Ever been there?

I adore my children.  I am SO thankful that I have them, but honestly, some days are just plain hard!

Since becoming a wife and Mom I have learned that most often the days I have struggled the most are the days that I have not spent my quality time alone with the Lord first.  I find my patience lacking, my motivation left in bed, and my sense of joy roaming the house hiding from me!

That alone time with the Lord in the morning is what fills my cup.  My cup gets full of God’s love for me so that I can give that love to my husband and my children.  My cup is replenished with joy from the Lord so that I can be joyful and really enjoy these little years with my precious babes.  My mug is topped off with motivation to keep on being consistent in every area, including discipline, prayer, talking about the Lord, sharing His peace with my husband and children.

Spending time with the Lord is what keeps me on the right track and being a better parent.  I find myself asking the Lord, first thing in the morning, “Please, grant me Your wisdom so that I may handle each situation as you would want me to.”  I don’t always handle every situation right and more often then I care to admit my patience runs dry, but the Lord knows I am striving to do my best and I beg Him to make up the difference where I lack. Some days I need to go back to the Scriptures to have my cup filled again.

Parenting in the little years, though it can be waxing, can also be full of so much joy!  True joy doesn’t come from me though, it comes from my true joy-giver, Christ!

I’m reminded of a song I used to sing in our prayer group at college….. it went something like this:

“Fill up my cup, fill up my cup and let it over flow,

Fill up my cup, fill up my cup, and let it over flow,

Fill up my cup, fill up my cup and let it over flow

Let it over flow with love!”

My prayer is that each of us will let the Lord fill our cup each and every morning so that it will overflow with His love so that we can be the Christians He longs for us to be!  To truly express to others the love and joy that can only come from Him!