Appreciation · Mother's Day · Motherhood

Celebrating Other Moms On Mother’s Day

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Now that we’re into the month of May, we have lots of different kinds of activities on our calendars.  One of those special days is Mother’s Day.  We all naturally think of our own mom and what we can do for her to let her know she’s appreciated and loved, which is wonderful, but I wanted to encourage you to also think of other women you could encourage on this day dedicated to mothers.

Single expectant moms – My small group at church has recently gotten involved with a Continue reading “Celebrating Other Moms On Mother’s Day”

children · Motherhood · Parenting

Training Children To Be Independent

 

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The baby’s  sitting up!

Now he’s crawling!

He’s feeding himself finger foods!

He’s been potty trained!

Those are all happy steps of progress in our children’s lives.  We look for those initiatives and celebrate their arrival, don’t we?  We have to keep in mind as our children grow older that taking ownership of more and more responsibilities is crucial, both for their good and our own!

As our children mature, we must continue to hand over the things we did when they were infants, so that we eventlually “work our way out of a job!”  Moms always want to be moms, but trust me, even though you’re not running their bath water and folding their laundry, your role in your children’s lives will still be necessary, but just not for the day to day responsiblities.

So how are you doing, Mom?  Are your children learning to take responsibility for their personal needs little by little? If you’re not sure, let me ask you a few questions so you can evaluate your offspring’s level of responsibility and where improvement might be needed.

  • Do you find yourself having to repeat commands like, “Brush your teeth,” or “Do your homework?”
  • Do you take care of most of  the daily needs of your child that is more than 5 years-old?
  • Does your child have a list of responsiblities – household chores they are to care for daily?
  • If your child is more than ten years-old, can they take care of themselves if you are gone for a day and night? (I don’t mean they’re left alone!)
  • Can your eight-year old (or older) take care of preparing a simple breakfast or lunch (no cooking on the stove) for themselves? Will they make wise choices?
  • Can your school-aged child that is reading have a time of devotions on their own?
  • Can they also get showered, dressed and ready for the day on their own before school or church?

Every child is different, of course, but you as the parent know what your child is capeable of, and the truth is, they might even be able to do more than you know!  Here are some suggestions of responsiblities and ages in which you could expect them to take over:

  • Pre-school – 3 – 4 years old –
    • Put toys into a toy bin or box
    • Help set the table
    • Fold wash cloths
    • Pull sheets up over bed
    • Take trash to central household trash can
    • Dress themselves with clothes laid out for them
    • Put dirty clothes into clothes basket
    • Feed themselves
  • School-age – 5 – 7
    • Keep room cleaned by putting toys, books away
    • Take dirty dishes from table to counter
    • Set the table
    • Make bed completely
    • Brush teeth
    • Wash themselves in tub (with supervision)
    • Hang up, put away clothes in closet or dresser
    • Read short Bible passage and pray
    • Separate white laundry from colored
    • Fold towels and washcloths
    • Sweep floor
    • Dust
    • Begin to pick out appropriate cothes
    • Help unload groceries from car and put some things away
  • 8 – 10 years-old
    • Keep room clean
    • Clothes hung and put away
    • Strip sheets and put clean ones back on bed
    • Load and empty dishwasher
    • Shower and dress independently
    • Fold laundry and put away
    • Clean bathroom sinks and toilets
    • Choose clothes and dress independently
    • Be responsible for gathering school items – backpack, homework, lunch
    • Have a time of Bible reading, simple sentence journal and prayer
    • Order their own food at a restaurant
  • 10 – 12 years-old
    • Load washer, do laundry
    • Vacuum
    • Be completely responsible for books, homework, and belongings
    • Have devotions with Bible reading, prayer and journal
    • Boys – help with outdoor chores in yard
    • Be completely responsible with showering, dressing, and picking clothes out, getting them clean and putting them away
    • Able to prepare simple meals, graduating to cooking
    • Pack suitcase for vacation
    • Take responsibility for a job like babysitting or cutting grass

Again, these are only a few suggestions, and they’re all probably able to be done sooner than suggested for most children.  A wise parent will allow their children to share the load and will supervise and inspect what is expected.

Why would you want to enable your child to learn these things?  To help them be responsible, independent adults who know how to manage in the world and be able to serve the Lord because of their skills.

How do you get there?  Little by little.  Add more and more responsibility and expect the child to follow through.  I found that rewards are excellent teaching tools.  A chart with stickers for a small child works well.  There are lots of ideas on Pinterest you could try, but the point is, do it!  Don’t allow your children to be “drinking from a sippy cup” all the time they’re at home.  They’ll be grateful – if not now, when they’re older, and you’ll have more time to focus on the other facets of mothering as each one of these responsibilities is released into their hands.

What makes it difficult for you to release responsibilities to your children?  

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children · Encouragement · Motherhood · Parenting

A Rope of Encouragement For Young Moms

Each day as a parent can be one of extreme highs and lows, can’t it?  Your child finally gets a truth you’re trying to teach him, and he obeys as a result!  You are rejoicing!  Then an hour later, he has spray painted the cat blue, dumped a liter of red soda on the carpet, and dropped your cell phone in the bath water! Since you really can’t lock yourself in the bathroom for the rest of the day (we’ve all wanted to!), what is a mother to do?
  • Gather your children around you, sit down, and pray.  Ask God to calm your heart.   Ask Him to help the children to obey. Ephesians 6:1 Ask for His help and guidance. James 1:5
  • Administer the discipline necessary for the disobedience.  Proverbs 19:18 Note, this comes after you’ve calmed down and gotten your focus right.  It’s easy to want to dismiss it due to your weariness.  (We all know how much time and energy it takes to discipline properly!)  However, if you let the disobedience or rebellion pass unnoticed, things will not get getter – they will only get worse.
  • Look for an opportunity to have a brief break.  If your children are of napping age, you rest while they’re napping.  Don’t use this time to attack your list of “to-do’s!”  Read a passage of Scripture, listen to some encouraging music.  Drink a cup of tea, read a magazine, or do some little something you enjoy (scrapbook one picture even, make a card, work on a puzzle or crossword).  You need to refresh yourself in a way that will help you to be ready to face motherhood again.
  • Keep things structured for your children.  If they have too much free time, trouble will ensue.  You don’t have to plan out every minute, but keep a close tab on your children.  Don’t allow yourself to be distracted from what’s going on in their world.  Stay connected so you can stay on top of any attitudes or problems, and lovingly correct them.
  • Plan for something fun to do with your children each day. Make a craft, bake something, take a walk while the children ride bikes, go to the library, take lunch to the park.  These activities will give you and the children something to look forward to.
  • Once every couple of weeks, get away from the house and the children.  If you can’t leave the children with your husband, take turns with another mom so you can both have a morning away from parenting responsibilities.  Go do something you love while you’re free!
  • Make sure you’re getting up before the children and spending time with the Lord in His Word and prayer each day.  Even if it’s 15 minutes, it will prepare your heart better than a three year-old waking you by poking their finger in your eye!
  • Keep the children to a regular bedtime schedule.  If they’re in bed by 8:30, then you and your husband will have time together, they’ll get adequate rest, and you can prepare some things the night before that will make mornings unfold much easier.  Get the coffee ready, start breakfast by making muffins, or setting out the cereals and bowls.  Pick up things around the house before heading to bed.  Waking up to a clean, orderly home will help jump-start your day!

These things won’t make your days perfect, of course, but they’ll help things to run smoother.  Take it from a mom who learned from her mistakes – you have to be a step ahead to win at the motherhood woes.  The good news is, with God’s help you will make it – with a few extra wrinkles, maybe, but you will make it!

What are the most difficult times of your day as a mom?

With love,

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Christian Life · Motherhood · Prayer

How To Pray in the Busy Season of Life

When Susanna Wesley, the mother of ten children wanted to pray, she simply pulled her apron over her head.  Her family knew that when they saw her with her head covered they were not to disturb her.  I’d say she was serious about prayer!  She took whatever measures needed to find the time to talk to the Lord.

We’re all busy women, but in certain seasons, especially when children are home, it can be difficult to find the uninterrupted time to really pray.  I’d like to suggest a way for you to have this time with God if you’re in this busy season of life.  I’m going to share a few suggestions in the following video.  I trust it will challenge you to implement these ideas into your day.

Is there one suggestion that was shared that you could implement?

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children · Family life · home · Husband · Motherhood · Wife's Role

Family Friday – Family Time

 

Family Time.

Mother-Daughter Time

Mother-Son Time

Date night

Conversation time

We all want to spend time with our family, but we’re so busy with everything else going on in our world, how do we do it?

How do we respond when so many others need/want our moments, hours and days, yet we long for more time with our husband?  More time pouring into our children?  Here are some points to ponder when you consider how yo will spend your days:

  1. Establish an eternal perspective.  How will this decision effect eternity?  If it won’t, then is it pressing right now or should I do something else?
  2. Remember when you say “yes” to someone, you’re saying “no” to someone else. Who should I be saying “no” to?  Is this person in my priority order?
  3. Respond to each opportunity on the basis of how it will affect your ability to fulfill your current obligations. Will doing this make it more difficult to do what I have to get done today?  Will doing this help me accomplish what is before me?
  4. Try to do only the right things for the right reasons at the right times in the right seasons.

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Now, how will you spend TIME with your family this weekend?  Perhaps you should start by asking yourself these four questions, then make decisions about what you will/should do!

Your family opportunities won’t be there forever! Grab them while you can!

Refresh your family time,

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Motherhood · trust · Uncategorized · worry

Don’t Connive – Confide

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Years ago I remember hearing a story of a couple who knew God was calling them to a foreign mission field.  They were excited to obey, until the wife heard that there were poisonous snakes there that could strike a blow and kill a person with one venomous bite.  Her (understandable) fear for her children’s safety from such dangers caused her to set her proverbial foot down and refuse to go abroad.  She reasoned that they could give and share the Gospel right here at home where there were far less dangers! The sad ending of the story is that one of the poisonous snakes that inhabit the US found its way to their driveway one day after, and bit one of their children.

I have no absolutes that the story is legit, but would that wife’s actions come to our own mothers’ hearts?  Yes.  As women we could reason lots of things for the safety of our children, ourselves, our home or situation.
But when does our human reasoning become a lack of trust in a sovereign God?
When we step up with a plan that goes against what God has said.

Fear + My plan Image result for not equal sign  Obedience

Just last week I read a great example of this in Genesis 12.  Let me summarize:

God had sent Abraham and Sarah on the journey to the Promise Land.  When they got to Egypt, Abraham became fearful of losing his life for the sake of his beautiful wife.  Soooo, he came up with a plan!  He told Sarah to lie and tell the Pharaoh that she is his sister.  Sarah complied and Pharaoh took her into his palace.  Not longer after, God sent plagues to Pharaoh because of this lie Abraham was living.  When the Pharaoh approached Abraham, he scolded him for lying to him and told him to take Sarah and hit the road (go their way!).

Um, excuse me, consider what Abraham was afraid of (losing his life because of Sarah).

Did it happen?

No.

When Pharaoh learned that she was married to him, he told them to GO!

Like I shared yesterday, when we worry about things instead of praying about them, we ruin a good day!  That’s exactly what Abraham did.  But he also took things a step further by coming up with his plan to fix the problem!  The missionary story I shared at the beginning of this post was the same example.

Now, let’s stop and ask ourselves:

  • Are we being disobedient to clear commands God has given in His Word because of a fear we have?
    Are we showing a lack of trust in a loving, merciful God by our actions?
  • Are we keeping ourselves or anyone else from obeying God due to our fears?

 

Abraham reminds me that all of us can easily fall into the trap of conniving instead of confiding.

Let me share a recent example of  this from my own life.  The flu is pretty rampant in our part of the country right now and it’s showing itself present in our church.  I have 14-month old grandsons who attend our nursery every Sunday.  When I learned that church members were dealing with the flu, my heart jumped into my throat and I immediately thought about sending a text to our daughter to consider keeping the boys home from Sunday services.  But immediately after, the Spirit of God spoke to my heart –

Can you not trust me to take care of them?  Even a sickness, if they got it, would not be overlooked by My care.  Trust me.

Yes, the flu was evident at my church on Sunday, and my grandsons were there, but instead of fretting and jumping into action, I prayed to a God Who is in that nursery and is aware of their needs.  I can trust Him.

So can you, my friend.

We need to lay our plans down, and then fall down…down on our knees and confide in our merciful, loving God Who wants what is good for us and for our families.

Are you at work trying to take care of everyone and everything, or are you trusting an omnipotent, omniscient God for everything that touches your life?

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children · Christian love · Family life · home · Motherhood · Parenting · Wife's Role · Women's roles

In-Laws and Outlaws Part II

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Jokes about mothers-in-law…there are many.  I remember hearing one about a Greyhound bus going over the side of a cliff, but there was no worry, because the only passenger was the man’s MIL.  Ouch.  Where do those punches come from?  Maybe from people who have gotten fed up with that female in-law who crossed the relational boundaries.  But it’s so easy to do, isn’t it?  We may reason that

  • we only want to help!
  • we’ve been where our children are and we think we need to  give them some good advice.
  • we see our kids getting ready to make the mistake of a lifetime.
  • they need help raising those grandchildren of ours.

The reasons for mother-in-laws interfering are many, but for the most part, they may be very unwelcomed  from our birth children and our in-laws.  It can do far more damage than it does help when it’s unsolicited.

What is a mother-in-law to do if she desires to have a good relationship with a son or daughter-in-law?  Here are a few things I’ve learned (and am still learning!).

  1. Only give advice when it’s asked for.  If you see your kids doing something you think is wrong, pray about it instead of speaking to them.  Trust a sovereign God to direct them just as He directs you when you’re heading down a wrong path.
    That would include little “hints” you might want to drop about your DIL’s housekeeping, lack of meal prep, or careless parenting skills.  Or your SIL’s need to turn off the television, get a job, lead his family or attend church.  Take it to God instead.
    I’ve had to ask both of my girls to forgive me for stepping over that boundary once they got married!  We’re so used to being “mom” that we scold, advise and reprimand our grown kids as quickly as we used to throw our arm across them when we came to a sudden stop in the car.  Let’s fold our hands in prayer instead and ask the Lord to give them wisdom to make right choices.
  2. Don’t demand your children’s presence for ANYTHING. would mean Christmas, Thanksgiving, your birthday, Mother’s Day – you get the idea.  They have lives of their own.  They have a family to care for.  They have burdens to carry.  They have jobs and ministries.  Let them live their lives.  Again, if you feel neglected, take it to the Lord in prayer.  Even if you don’t demand their presence, but you pout because they weren’t there…it’s just as bad.
    Also, be sure you’re building that marriage relationship with your spouse.  Have so much fun together that your kids will know that if they’re not able to come home, you both are fine just being together!
  3. Never drop in to your children’s home without calling ahead.  “Yoo-hoo!” at the front door as you walk in could make an embarrassing situation for you and your children.  It can also turn you into the lady that might be given a ticket to ride that Greyhound bus!
  4. Consider your child’s spouse.  Think to your own MIL and how you liked or disliked when she left you out or included you, as the case may be.  Love them.  Talk to them.  Send a text.  Call them occasionally just to say hi.  Pray for them.  Treat them with respect and give them those kind of words.
  5. Allow your children and their spouse to be adults.  Treat them as such, remembering that you raised them to be independent. Don’t see your son as your little boy.  He’s a man.  Let your daughter be a grown woman. Let go of those early days and let them establish a home as adults.

Remember the story of Ruth and Naomi?  Ruth was said to have been kind to her mother-in-law.  We may cry out – “My daughter-in-law needs to take a lesson from her!  My son-in-law needs to learn to be kind to me!”  But what made Ruth and Orpah want to go back to Bethlehem with Naomi?  She had been gracious to them!  Someone has said,

Maybe if we were more like Naomi,

there would be more Ruth’s.

If you’re guilty of something in this post, be humble and ask the Lord to help you.  You might even need to ask your children and in-laws to forgive you for the way you’ve treated them.  A humble spirit of repentance could be the very thing that will turn those difficult relationships around.

Let’s be more like Naomi today.

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