School, Seasons and Sad Momma’s

I want to take just a minute to encourage moms today.  From one who has been there, I realize that this time of year can be an emotional roller coaster for women who may feel they aren’t needed in their children’s lives quite like prior years.  My only longing is to give a biblical perspective to guide a mom’s heart.  So, here we go…

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Late August can only mean one thing for children – school is back in session. For some of their momma’s, there is relief of no more slamming screen doors, frantic baseball schedules and camp-bound teens.  They greet the fall and its changes with a happy sigh and open arms.

But for some moms, this school session brings sadness because they’re not just staring at lunch boxes and back packs; they’re staring at the changes it has brought. Perhaps…

  • One child has left home to head to their first year of college. 
  • A daughter is in their last year of elementary school.
  • A son is in his last year of junior high.
  • All children are out of school and out of the home due to graduation and/or marriage.

The type of changes could go on and on, but the truth is, every year we live is going to be full of what we often stiff-arm – a change in the seasons of our life. Here’s a beautiful reminder in God’s Word in Ecclesiastes 3 about the seasons of our lives:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

God has given us a mother’s heart to love our children, to love parenting and nurturing them, so how are we to deal with an end or a change of those seasons? How can we find joy and a reason to move on when our role is different and we don’t feel quite as useful or needed as a mom?

  1. Think on Truth. We are commanded in Philippians 4:8 to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. Therefore, if I let myself constantly think about those early days of my child’s life, and how much I miss when my girls were toddlers on teenagers, all I have to do is look into their current photos to realize that that is not the truth for today. Today they are grown, married and moving on in God’s will.Thinking about the truth of today could remind us that our kids are maturing; they’re developing into people that can serve God. Are they doing what we raised them to do, to serve and love God? Wonderful! Praise His name! If they’re away from the Lord, we can remind ourselves of the Truth that the Word we poured into them will not return void. God loves them more than we do and is pursuing them. What comfort Truth gives!
  2. Enjoy the memories of former days with a proper perspective. Isn’t God gracious to allow us the blessing of being able to remember those past seasons? It’s fun to flip through photos and recall the years now behind us. But while you’re recalling those times, be honest with yourself and remember that those days also brought some hardships.We home-schooled our girls almost completely through, meaning I was a home-schooling mom for twenty years. While I loved it and was thankful for the opportunity to pour into my girls’ lives, I remember days when I just wished I could go to Walmart alone! Some days I tired of dissecting earthworms and reading book reports. It’s easy to focus on the highlights and get discontented with here-and-now. Be real when you’re looking back.
  3. Honor your children and God when you reflect. If this next description is you, I honestly mean no ill, but I ask you to consider the reality for a minute. What adult wants their mom to post pictures or comments about their child, desiring that they were “a little boy once again?” I’m sure none of us would have wanted our mother-in-law to post toddler pictures of our husband because that’s how she wished she could see him.  What girl wants to be remembered today as only what she was many years ago? If we really want to honor our children and be respectful of them (and their spouse, if they’re married) we will remember those former days only in our heart, and not on social media. Being considerate of their maturity is one small way to honor who they are today.How can we honor God in the way we remember our past seasons? Don’t think that your best days of serving Him was when you had children at home, or when they were littler, or more needy of you. Do you have a mate? Are you pouring as much energy and time into him? Each year as your children need you less, transfer that energy to your husband.  If you have a ministry at church, give it your all. Find a younger woman to mentor and be a blessing in her life by spending time in God’s Word, working on projects together, praying with/for her and helping her in this busy season of her life!

I’m really not trying to get hate mail, but I only desire to encourage women to live as God would have us. Today is a gift from His hand, meant for serving, enjoying and laying up treasures in heaven. Don’t regret what’s gone – reboot and move on! This is a new season, Mom! Thank the Lord for yesterday and ask Him for a new opportunity to get out of bed, then put a smile on your face and be happy today!  That might just mean going grocery shopping…alone! =)

What has been the most difficult time in your role as a mom?

Refresh your “momma” heart,

Family Friday – Ten Things This Mom Would Do Again

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My mommy days are behind me now, and as I’m watching others in this special, yet demanding role, I have done some reminiscing over the years when my girls were young.  I have plenty of regrets, as all moms do, but I’m not going to dwell on those, because I can’t change them, and because doing so would not fall under the Philippians 4:8 things I should think about!  It’s in the past. But there are things that were so good about those days.  As I think back, I remember things that we did that I would definitely do again, if I had the chance.

Here they are:

  1. Be a stay-at-home mom.  I’m so thankful that I was there for all but 9 months of both of my girls’ lives.  The nine months I worked were the longest months of my life!  I hated being taken away from my family and my home.  I was under a teaching contract, and I kept my word to the prinicple, but when the school year was done, so was I!  My husband and I decided that it was best for me to pour into our own children, rather than someone else’s!
  2. Be relatively poor.  Does that sound strange?  I would have never anticipated saying that!  Our churches did the best they could to care for us, but when the girls were young, things were tight.  Very tight. As I stated above, I was a stay-at-home mom, so we lived on my husband’s salary alone.  We homeschooled, so we had book fees and satellite costs, which were a large chunk of money every year that we never had on hand.  We were in ministry all those years, and we needed time away – times to rest and refresh as a family and recharge our spiritual batteries and physical bodies.  We had growing girls and we entertained missionaries and guest speakers, so groceries were another cost that stretched us.  Where did we get the money for these things?  We prayed.  Our inefficiencies ran us to our all-sufficient God.  He provided for us in amazing, life-changing ways!  Had we had all the money we wanted or needed, it wouldn’t have taught us to depend on Him so greatly.  Being needy turned into a great blessing.
  3. Read aloud to my girls.  One way we entertained ourselves at bedtime, around the kitchen table, in the car, or on a blanket in the backyard was through books.  We read a varied kind of books, and they were carefully chosen, and opened a whole world to us, even while we stayed home.
  4. Use God’s Word in discipline.  We always sat down and talked with our girls in their bedrooms at discipline times.  We explained from the Scriptures what they had done wrong that God considered sin.  This kept us from acting quickly out of anger (we sent them to their room and we’d cool off before addressing the issue!).  They knew it wasn’t just that mommy and daddy didn’t like what they did, but they saw it in God’s Word, and it guided their thinking and changed their behavior.
  5. Laugh and have fun.  We had lots of laughs as a family.  I should have laughed at myself more, but we shared many fun times around games, out in the snow, in the car playing the alphabet game, baking in the kitchen, or building a fire in the backyard.
  6. Be faithful to Sunday school and church.  It’s not just because we’re a ministry family that we went to church.  We love being in God’s house and with God’s people!  Worshiping, singing, reading Scripture, giving our tithes, and fellowshipping with other believers helped all of us to grow!
  7. Show outward affection and say, “I love you.”  We’re a “touchy” family, in that we hug and love on one another.  Using words to express love between parents and children is so important.  Our children learn how to love by watching us.  The first place they should feel acceptance and unconditional love is at home.
  8. Leave the girls once in a while to go on a date with their dad.  We were making a stronger home for them, and they lived through the trauma of it all!  A parent can feel really guilty leaving a crying child, even though they’re in great hands with grandparents or other caring adults, but without those times away, your relationship will get stagnant, and you’ll only discuss things like empty milk jugs and unfinished homework!
  9. Spend time alone with God every day.  When the girls were small, this time was limited, but I would read what I could and pray over each of my family.  Sometimes it came a verse at a time, with interruptions in between.  Sometimes my prayers were while I was ironing their clothes.  It was then that I’d pray for the one whose clothes I was pressing.  I often left verses on cards around the house so I could meditate on that passage.  Those “little moments” fed my soul and kept my heart right with God so I could parent them and point my girls to Christ.
  10. Marry my girls dad.  I let them know often how much I loved their daddy and how God brought us together.  He had to be my first priority because that’s God’s order.  Why?  Because God knew that I’d be where I am today – an Empty nester, and He wanted my home to be just as fulfilling now as it was when our daughters were here.

And you know what?

It is.

What are you doing right now that you know you’ll be glad you’re doing as a mom?  Keep doing it!  What are you regretting?  Ask God how to change it and watch for how He steps in!  

Refresh your children by being the mom God will enable you to be by His grace.

With love,

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Rest During Motherhood

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Yesterday after enjoying dinner at a quaint restaurant we stepped out into the garden area in the back and came upon the scene in the picture above.  Two little baby ducklings were waddling about, over the rocks, down the embankment and into the water.  They were continually on the move and right behind them was their momma, honking out her warning to us, the intruders.  She never let them out of her sight and was right on their heels as they investigated their surroundings.  It was so sweet to watch.  That Mommy duck was very busy!  She was constantly moving – trying to keep up with her little ones.  I wondered if she ever wanted to just sit on the edge of the pond and take a break!

My heart went out to Momma duck, and  my mind also went to the nature and roll of all mommies.  We protect, we oversee, we guide, we stand guard, just like that momma duck was doing.  God puts it in our hearts to want to provide that safety for our little ducklings, and if anyone or any situation could harm them, we’re ready to honk out a good warning.  .But let’s face it, weariness steps in.

We  keenly teach the safety of helmets for bike riding, the “left, right, left” method for learning to cross the street, holding scissors with the point in their hands, and refraining from talking to strangers.  We discipline, teach, and correct, as we follow our children all over their little pond.  It’s exhausting work being a mommy.

All moms get to the exhausted point from time to time, and the desire to sit at the water’s edge and just let those children “swim on their own” for a while is a huge temptation.  A mom may put the kids in front of the television for a while so she can rest.  She may send them to their room, or lock herself in a room where they can’t reach her for a while.  There’s certainly nothing wrong with a child learning to play on their own, or watch a limited amount of quality television, but there may be better ways to get a break from swimming after your ducklings.  May I suggest:

  • Get together with a few moms at a local park or a Chick-Fil-A play area and let them play with other children while all the mommy ducks visit and supervise.  Those moms that meet you there will be as needy of a time away and will be thankful you were willing to send out a Facebook request or email to ask them to join you!
  • Attend a story time at your local library.  Your children will be engaged in hearing a story and perhaps having an activity and you can sit back and enjoy a moment of secondary supervision!
  • Exchange baby sitting with a friend.  You keep her children one day and she keeps yours another day.  Go out alone.  Enjoy some coffee and a book,shopping for groceries, or getting your hair cut and styled.
  • Utlitze your church’s programs.  If you love your church enough to be there to grow as a believer, then you should be able to trust the workers with your children.  Send them to Sunday school, children’s church and VBS.  This is the BEST time for you to be able to worship and grow in services.
  • Pray about your husband giving you an hour or two away.  Approach him at the right time and ask when it would be a good time for him to sit with the kids while you get out.

Being a mommy is hard work that is non-stop, but unlike the mommy duck I watched, you can provide opportunities for refreshment and rest so you’ll be able to continue swimming with the ducklings!

Refresh yourself in the thick of motherhood!

With love,

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