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

Failure or of Great Value?

There I was, pushing my shopping cart and trying to hold it together.  My toddler was not interested in sitting in the cart, holding onto the cart, or even acting as if I was their mother!  Their desire to run around the store was overwhelming their very being and if I could just get the cart out of the way and get this toddler to the car life would be so much better.

I could feel the stares as my toddler protested their confinement.  Embarrassment, guilt, frustration, and even the feelings of failure all washed over me.  “Why can’t I get this parenting thing right?” I questioned myself as I carried my flailing little one.

If I really knew how to mother my children, fits in private or public would not happen, right?  My children would always obey no questions asked.  They would never ask “why” or pout.   I could shine my “Good Godly Mother” crown daily as I adjusted it on my head.

But there I was, daily finding myself frustrated, in tears, wondering if this consistency of discipline would ever pay off, especially with my strong willed child!  “Mom Failure” seemed to be burned across my forehead and without realizing it, I had allowed my mothering to become what I found my value in.  If my children were quick to always obey and did not throw a fit, I would feel I was doing well on the mommy scale.  The days where the strong will reared it’s head and my child acted as if they had never been disciplined in their life, I felt I was failing.  The thing is, my husband and I have a strong willed one, which meant battles pretty much came up daily.  Because of this, I felt I was apparently failing, therefore in my mind I had little value.  I walked around feeling the weight of failure so incredibly heavy and my child was only 2!

Then one day during my quiet time with the Lord I felt the Holy Spirit prick my heart.  “Child of mine, find your value and worth in Me!  Your worth in my eyes far surpasses your understanding and it goes much deeper than your parenting struggles.”  Basing my value on my ability to mother was akin to that of a roller coaster ride!  Up one day and waaaay down the next!

I love the verses in Isaiah 43, the beginning of the chapter when it says, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” and skip down a little bit….. “Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee.”  Friend, God loves us!  Let’s let that truth soak into our heart and mind a little bit.

His love for us does not change based on how well our children behave or any of the things we do (or don’t do)!  Our value in His eyes does not diminish when we have “off” days, or try to find our worth in other things.  His love for us is steady, constant, unchanging.  Our value in His eyes stays the same, no matter what!

I was so used to finding my value in something other than Christ that I needed His help to show me how to find my worth in Him and Him alone.  When we ask the Lord for His help, He delights in answering!  When we strive to do it on our own, our pride stands between us and Him and we find ourselves feeling empty and alone.  We have to remember that God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. {James 4:6}  I sure need God’s grace in heaping doses, don’t you?

Help me to remember, in the heat of the moment, or dealing with my child’s temper tantrum, that my worth is still found in you!  I am not a failure!  I am simply raising a sinner in need of your saving grace!  Help me to point this little one to you….. and please bend their will in the direction of submission before I have a breakdown!” I pleaded.

Slowly the “Mom Failure” sign across my forehead began to diminish.  The more I looked to Christ for my value {instead of looking to my mothering skills for that value}, the more contented my heart was.  When emotions run high it is easy to get caught up and carried away in them, isn’t it?  Letting how we feel speak to our soul instead of feeding our soul truth.

The truth is, I am a sinner saved by grace, raising little ones in need of that same saving grace!

Here I am, 9 years into parenting now and I still have so much to learn, but praise the Lord He is willing to teach me!  He sees every single one of my victories and failures and He still says, “I love you just the same.  Keep looking to me for your value.  You are so precious in my sight!”

Friend, wherever you are today, my prayer for you is that you also find your worth in Him!  Not in beauty products, or fashion clothing, husband/boyfriend, children, popularity, none of those things will fill your soul like that of Christ!  Let’s find our worth in HIM!

 

Many Blessings,

Wendy

 

 

ps: If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it with others!

 

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!

Keeping a Vertical gaze instead of a Horizontal One

I live in a home that can at times be filled with little “policemen/women”.  Our oldest is the typical oldest child, she wants to make sure everyone is doing right and if they aren’t she will let them know.  My middle child wants to make sure the youngest is doing right and if she isn’t he is quick to inform at times.  My youngest, the two year old, well, she just mimics what her older siblings do to her 🙂   We have had many discussions about tattling and informing.  Does any of this sound familiar in your own home?

Tattling can be….. annoying….even frustrating.  We try and teach our children that they should not want their sibling to get in trouble. Often that is what tattling is, isn’t it?

Yet, here I am, even as an adult, and I have a tendency to do the same thing from time to time.

One morning I sat on my front steps and had my mental list of “prayer requests” that were probably more of a list of complaints, ready to lay before the Lord.  Things I longed to see changed and requests I desired answered were shared with the Lord that morning.  On this particular day my thoughts were distracted because my focus had not been upward.

It is so easy to get our eyes looking all around us at what is going on instead of keeping our eyes on the One that can handle everything going on around us.  When our focus becomes horizontal instead of vertical our shoulders tend to slump a bit and our thoughts can get us down.

“Do you see what is going on, Lord?  Where is the faithfulness?” I petitioned.

It was then the Lord prodded my heart and His answer brought with it so much conviction, “Your job is not to make sure everyone else is doing right and being faithful.  Your job is to make sure you do right and are faithful.  Let me be concerned with the everyone else.”

Many times I unintentionally try to carry the pressures of making sure others are on the right path and being faithful.  Faithful to God, to His house, in living right before Him.  I try to carry the job of the Holy Spirit and get discouraged when I don’t see the results!  But on my front steps that morning, the Holy Spirit reminded me, that isn’t my job and I was sticking my nose in His business!

1 Corinthians 15:58 says, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

When we do what God has called us to do and keep our focus on Him, it takes the unnecessary pressure off of us {pressure we were never meant to carry} and allows us to have the energy to keep on doing what we are supposed to do.

When our eyes stay on Christ, we will find it easier to keep our focus on making sure we are living right before the Lord and we are being faithful to Him.

I need to be busy about the work God has given me to do and not try to take on the burden of the Holy Spirit’s work.

As we start this day, let’s be busy about the work God has called us to do!  Let’s not become distracted by keeping our vision horizontal and looking at what everyone else is doing {or not doing}.  Let’s keep our eyes on Christ and be busy with what He has for us to do today!

Wendy

If you have been encouraged by this post please feel free to share it with others!

There Is HOPE to raise Godly children today

I am a mother to three young children.  As a mom I hear all kinds of advice, some asked for, some not.  Everyone has an opinion of what a mother should or should not be doing.  From the start, once a baby is born a young mother is often overwhelmed with well meaning friends and family {and even strangers!} who begin to flood her with “try this”, “never do that”, “this is the brand of clothing and food choices you should make”, “these diapers leak, those are the best!”  Advice swarms in circles around we mama’s.

As our children grow the advice keeps growing as well.  Everything from potty training {and how long it should take…. or how quickly it should be done!}, when to give a pacifier vs when to take it away for good, education choices, and so much more become topics for advice.  The blogosphere has made the “noise” become that much louder.

It can become rather overwhelming and our desire to hide under the bed and never come out may become more tempting than we ever thought possible!  We just want the noise around us to stop!  We want some time to be still and just think for a moment.

When it comes to our children, we as mama’s want what is truly best for our children.  What is best for our children though?  I have read articles, have carried on conversations, have listened as mother’s of grown children have shared stories of their now grown children and different choices they have made.  Their children are now adults and they are breaking their parents hearts.  Recently I’ve heard conversations of parents saying, “I did not make the church that important as my children were growing and now they want nothing to do with God or the church.”  I have also listened as others have said, “I raised my family in church, we were there for every service, and now my kids want nothing to do with God or the church!”  I do not doubt the heartbreak of these dear parents, and it had me as a young mother on the brink of a break down!

I found myself wondering, “Wait, both of these parents had different styles of parenting….. and neither one turned out the way we long for our children to turn out!  Is there really no hope?”

I found myself crying out to God and saying, “Please, Lord, show me there is hope that these children of mine will grow up to love and live for You!”

Here are two truths God has shown me.

First, Mama, we need God I will be the first to admit, I need God’s grace in my life.  I need His help in raising these children!  We need God to not just be a part of our life, we need Him to be our life, to infiltrate it and consume it!  Raising children is wonderful and if God would allow it we would have an entire house full of them, but raising children is also a lot of work.  I need God’s help to do this right.  Spending time alone with God daily is key!  Getting up before my kids, spending time in His Word and pouring my heart out to Him is a must.  Praying constantly for our children is something we need to be doing all throughout our day!

We can eat organically, use non-chemical based cleaners, be as “oily” as the next mama, but friend, what our children truly need even more than all of that is a Mama who readily admits, “I cannot do this right without the help of God!”  I need to let the Lord fill me up first so that I can be the right kind of mama to these sweet blessings.   Our children need to see the importance of God in our lives so they will see their need of Him in theirs.  Our relationship with God needs to be genuine, lived out, not just talked about but walked out!

Second, our children need God!  Our oldest never ceases to amaze me in her perception.  Things I would think she doesn’t notice, she does and she questions.  Just this morning she asked, “Mom, why do people come to church but then stop and just give up?  They just seem to give up on God!”  Yes, she literally asked me that.  She has learned at a young age that she needs God and so does everyone else, so why would people just give up on Him?

Our children may never eat at McDonalds and may have the highest GPA, but if we have failed to point our children to God then we have failed as parents. Our children need to see their need for God!  The world, school mates, television, video games, and sometimes even friends will shout {in both word and deed} how much our children do not need God, but we need to be showing them even more how much they do need God.

We need to be teaching them the things of Christ at home, every opportunity we get, we need to faithfully be at church and actively involved in it, we need to be living like a AbeLincolnChristian ought to in our homes as well as when we are out and about.  We need to be showing our children and teaching them about the Lord and their need for Him!  Pray for and with your children.  One of the things my children always hear me pray for them is that they will always walk closely with the Lord and never ever rebel and turn from Him.  I pray this because I truly desire it and also, if/when they are ever tempted to turn from God, I want the prayer their mama prayed over and over to be ringing in their head!  Let your kids hear you talk to God and teach them to talk with Him too!  Don’t just hand them a Bible and say “read!”, teach them to read it and study it!  Have devotions as a family!  Teach them Bible stories, act them out, sing about the greatness of God as a family!

As I have read different accounts of the Israelite’s in the Old Testament, I have seen how this people group went through vicious cycles.  They would follow the Lord and then turn away from Him.  They would see blessings from the Lord but then because they turned their back on the Lord they would see judgments and persecutions, harsh kings would rule, and they would be defeated and enslaved.  They would then cry out to God and He would deliver them and they would follow Him for a season, but then the cycle just kept on going.  Why is that I wondered.  Then one day it was as if the Lord said, “The parents forgot to teach their children about God.  So their children would grow up not knowing God and wanting nothing to do with Him.  All it takes is for one generation to not teach their child about Christ.”

Let’s not follow this pattern!  Mama’s let’s realize our need for Christ and the need our children have for Christ!  Let’s live out our Christian faith, let’s reach beyond the surface and strive to reach the heart!

My children are still young and I am still trying to figure this parenting journey out, but there is hope to raise Godly children in this day and age who will love and live for Jesus.  That hope is called, JESUS!

Two Truths for Mama’s

As a mother my job is to care for and raise my children well.  Like most parents, my husband and I have taught our children to treat each other kindly, to not talk to strangers, as we walk across parking lots we look similar to a mother duck with all her ducklings in tow.  We have taught our children to stop before crossing the street, always tell the truth, chew their food before swallowing and on the list can go!  The typical parental guidance takes place often as we train and care for our children.  But what do we do, when the unexpected happens?  Things that happen so far outside of our control that can quickly escalate to an emergency type of situation, what then?

Over the weekend our family was outside enjoying the beautiful weather….. okay, let’s be honest, we live in the heart of the south, it was muggy outside!  Our older two children were playing in the pool having a splashing good time and our youngest was playing with the sand in the sandbox.  My husband and I were outside keeping an eye on all three when our youngest came up and said in her cute little 2 year old voice, “Mama, a ant bite me!”  I examined her foot that she was holding up to me but she was squirmy and really wanted to get back to playing so I walked with her back over to her sandbox.

We live in fire ant country.  Those nasty critters can build ant beds faster than you can blink your eye!  They are ready and waiting to chomp at anything that gets to close for their comfort, including the tender toes of a toddler.  Upon a close examination we found no ant beds near the sand box and our youngest wanted to keep playing.  I kept an eye on her though and not 30 seconds later she came to me saying once again an ant had bit her toe.  At that point I decided to take her inside and before I could even get to the latch on our fence her toes began to swell up something awful.  By the time we got inside her foot was swollen.  I laid her on the couch and gave her some Benadryl and her water.

Just a few minutes later I looked at her face and it was swelling up and covered in hives.  Upon further examination, hives were covering her entire body, head to toe.  A quick call to urgent care later we piled everyone in the car and took off for the ER.  Her voice had become raspy and her lips and even her eyes were swelling right up.

Friends, this mama was scared!  As we sped down the road I frantically prayed over and over, “Please God, don’t take her!  Please spare her life!”

As a mother my job is to protect my children and at that point in time I felt completely helpless.  There was nothing I could do to help her take deep breaths, nothing I could do for her itchy hives in her ears, I did the only thing I really could do in that moment and I prayed!

As I think about all of us as mothers working hard caring for and loving our children, there are two simple truths I want to encourage us with.

First of all, remember that God loves our children even more than we do.  As a mama, you know how much love is in your heart for your child!  Though some have tried, no mama has ever been capable of truly explaining the depth of love she has for her children because there just are not words in our language to describe it!  As we ponder on the depth of love we have for our children, think about how much more love God has for them!  After all, He created them!!  He knit them together in the womb, He knows everything there is to know about them!  His love far surpasses our love for them!     Matthew 7:11, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” and I John 3:1,”Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:”  When we stop to think about God’s love for us and for our children, it is truly an outrageous amount of love!

Second, because of God’s deep love for our children, we can trust their life in His hands.  Now that can be a scary thing, right?  Entrusting the lives of our precious children in God’s hands takes a lot of faith!  Trusting that His plans for their lives are far better than our own means relinquishing control we do not so easily want to give up.  Sometimes I think we hold onto our children so tightly because we fear what God may have in store.  However, as mothers we need to remember that God can be trusted with the lives of our children.  He has amazing plans for their lives and He allows us to be a part of those plans!  Jeremiah 29:11 is a great promise! “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
The lives of our children can be placed in God’s hands because He loves them so much and because He is worthy of our trust!  I have been the Mama who has had healthy beautiful children and I have been the Mama who has wept over a child who has died and still from the depths of my heart I honestly say, I trust their lives in Gods hands.  His capable, infallible, gracious, loving hands.

On Saturday I did plead with God to spare my baby’s life, just as any other loving parent would do.  Saturday God saw fit to spare her life and we are so thankful He did!  As we rushed into the ER the dr on call was able to give her medicine right away and within a short while the swelling was beginning to go down and her voice was back to normal.  We praise Him for His love and goodness!

Be comforted and encouraged, Mama!

Ps: If this post has been a blessing to you, please feel free to share it!

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

Tips on Parenting

We had 10 days until we were moving out of state.  I was one week overdue with our first baby and began feeling a bit overwhelmed!  Okay, I was feeling a LOT overwhelmed!  Our baby girl did not want to make her entrance any time soon and I was convinced I would be the first woman ever in the history of the world, to be pregnant forever.

Then, the day arrived.  After hours upon hours of labor and over two hours of pushing, our baby was born.  Oh she was precious {and I was exhausted!} and as they pbabylaced her into my arms for the first time I was overwhelmed with emotion.  Both love for this sweet baby and relief that labor was over, washed over me!  I held this tiny seven pound fourteen ounce baby in my arms and she was our very own to raise!

A few days later and we were ready to be released from the hospital.  Sent out by doctors and nurses to care for this new baby, to meet her every need, to love her and raise her to one day be a godly, responsible woman.  Wait, where was her instruction manual?!  I had never been a mom before!!  What if I didn’t know how to do this?!

Well, here we are nearly eight years later and I am pleased to say that first baby is now in lower elementary and she is happy, healthy, and growing just fine 🙂  One of the first things I learned about being a mama is that….. I didn’t know much about being one!!  Isn’t it funny how we tend to think we have parenting all figured out before we are actually parents?  Then we have children and realize, “Wow, I know nothing about this!”

Oftentimes when people think about having a baby they think only of that, having a baby!  The neglect to realize that babies grow!  They are not babies for very long and though those first weeks and months feel like hard work as we adjust to little sleep and giving the majority of our attention to someone other than ourselves, when our children are older we look back and think, “That time was a piece of cake!”

Raising children is such a blessing and if we’re going to be honest it is hard work!  It is absolutely a gift from God and it takes a lot of time.  How many days have I thought and prayed, “Lord, help me not to mess them up!!  Please make up the difference where I lack!”

I am by no means an expert, I am right there with you Mama’s, in the trenches of child rearing and training! In the 8 years I have been a Mama here are a few things I have learned along the way.

First, pray!  The world wants our children, Satan wants our children.  We are in a spiritual battle for their lives and this mama is not backing down.  I will forever and always storm the gates of Heaven on behalf of my children.  Having children has taught me so much more about how important prayer is!  I don’t know how to raise godly children because I have never done it before!  So I pray!  I pray Scripture, God has said in James 1 that if any of us lack wisdom, let us ask of God and He will give it liberally!!  I need that wisdom!!  I pray that God gives my husband and I wisdom beyond our years to know how to raise these sweet ones entrusted to us by God Himself.  Here are a few of things I pray for about my own children:

~ Pray for their salvation at a young age!

~ Pray they will always walk closely with the Lord

~ Pray for their protection, safety, and for God to bless them

~ Pray they will never be enslaved to sin, but will confess their sins quickly

~ Pray for their future spouse and his/her parents as they raise their children

~ Pray that God will help them to have tender hearts towards His leading in their lives.

I would encourage you if at all possible, pray with your spouse as you pray for your children.  I cherish hearing my husband intercede in praying for our children.

Second, seek wise council.  Find parents who have raise their children well, whose children are godly and ask them for their advice.  My husband and I have sought the counsel of several godly parents and are always desiring to hear godly counsel on both marriage and parenting.  We know we need advice and the Bible clearly teaches that the older are to teach the younger {Titus 2} and that in the multitude of counselors there is safety {Proverbs 11:14}.   Older parents who have raised up godly children who are now godly adults have a lot to offer we younger parents!  Also, books written by good Christian authors are a huge help!  My husband and I often read books together on both marriage and parenting and we have found so many to be helpful resources!!

Third, consistency consistency consistency is also key.  Oh heavens, the temptation to not always be consistent can be tough.  It does not pay off in the long run though!  Consistency is huge!

Fourth, try to incorporate Scripture and teachings of Christ into everyday parenting as much as possible.  There are SO many verses in the Bible that teach character, and discipline, respect, love, etc..  When handling sibling squabbles we often use the verses about treating others how we would want to be treated, a soft answer turns away wrath, love your neighbor as yourself.  {Prov. 15:1; Luke 6:31; Mark 12:30-31}  Do daily devotions as a family, teach your children Scripture, teach them that prayer is important and teach them how to pray!  As they grow teach them how to study God’s Word!  God is the One that will ultimately do the work that needs to be done in their heart.

Fifth, don’t just treat the outward action, try to reach their heart.  The outward actions often reveal the inward man….. what we see on the outside is often just the fruit of what is going on in the heart {1 Samuel 16:7}.

Sixth, remember you and your child will never be perfect, don’t expect perfection.  We are all sinners.  When I do wrong as a parent by speaking to harshly, jump to conclusions, or whatever, the Lord will often convict me of my wrong doing and my need to make it right.  I have also given my children permission to let me know when I sound unkind because how we say things is also important.  What we may need to say has no need to be said in an ugly tone.  It is very convicting and humbling to have had my children let me know in a very kind way that how I said something was unkind.  Yet, it is also a good reminder for me to be careful in my speech and to ask the Lord to filter my words and how I say them.  Asking forgiveness of my children when I have been wrong is humbling, but it also is a sweet time.  My kids are always so quick to forgive and reach out with a hug.  I want them to know how important it is for them to ask forgiveness when they need to and I need to lead by example.

Parenting is the most rewarding and one the toughest “jobs” at the same time.  My husband and I truly desire to raise up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  We make mistakes, our children make mistakes, but our mistakes point out to us how much we all are in need of the grace of God!

I hope this post has been an encouragement to you.  We don’t have it all figured out, we are still learning, but these are a few things we have learned and been taught along the way!  We love talking to older wiser parents and reading books on parenting, but ultimately, wisdom comes from God and we are in need of His wisdom in large doses!  Making sure to spend daily time with God is key!  Keeping my relationship right with God will make my days as a Mama go much more smooth.

Keep on keeping on!