Discipleship · Mentoring · Motherhood · Parenting

Loving Your Child Through It All

Adorned Series #13

Hectic school routines, multiple discipline issues, outrages and temper tantrums, messes, stresses, spills and strong wills might describe your mothering yesterday, but I’m here to remind you that there is grace for the task in front of you today, dear mom!

Many women feel so overwhelmed at their task of mothering.  I can remember wondering what it would feel like to just hop in the car mid-morning and head to the grocery store.  That’s my high energy time!  I thought about how fun it would be to be able to just GO!  But I was a homeschooling mother, with two girls to train and educate.  Our days were full and I usually went to the store at the end of the day when I was weary.  However, it was not a sacrifice!

Those kind of situations feel like they’re lasting FOREVER.  But guess what I did yesterday?  I went to Kroger early in the day!  

I’m here to encourage you moms not to lose sight of the important task you’re facing.  Your job as a mom is such a high calling!  When Adam named his wife Eve, he was saying she is a life-giver.  That’s what you are!  It doesn’t matter whether you gave life to the children in life naturally, through foster care, or adoption…you are a Life Giver!  What could be more important than that?  You are on assignment from God to pour into those children the Truth about their God and about their need for a Savior.  

I think it’s important that we keep connected to the days when we were asking God for these children.  Or even if they were “surprises,” God says they are blessings from His hand! 

Psalm 127 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:

God said to Abraham of Sarah in Gen 17:16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.

Too often, we take the blessings of God and turn them into cursings.  We bemoan how our life has been put on hold, how sleep-deprived we are, that we are always on-call, that we don’t have a life outside of cooking, teaching, and cleaning up spilled milk.  

In her book Adorned, Nancy said,

You wouldn’t be human not to wear down at times under the strain…and most people will never see the sacrifices you make to parent your children.  But if you’re not careful, if you’re not prayerful, if you let the days just pass by without being determined to sue them for God’s highest and best purposes – to remember the real reason you’re doing all this – then the blessings He intends for you in this season may slip through your fingers.  And your children may miss out on the vision of God’s love you were intended to give them. 

The answer is doing what you do with God’s help. 

Hear some fresh reminders from an older mom:

First, let me remind you that the children in your home are blessings.  When older women are teaching the young women to love their children we remember that the word for love is  Phileo, the friendship kind of love.  We are not their buddies, we’re their mother, but we have the kind of love for them that enjoys them.  Do they feel that coming from you, or is it more resentment?  Ask God to help you enjoy them TODAY. Enjoy them when they’re loveable.  Enjoy them when you have to discipline them again.

Secondly, let me remind you that your children are in your home for a relatively short period of time. I know…it feels long right now, but trust me, you will soon be watching them march in graduation or walk down the aisle to be married and you’ll wonder how that ever happened! Make the time while your children are in your home count!  Have fun!  Be spontaneous!  Laugh! Smile at them!  Play games.  Craft.  Bake together.  Hang out in the back yard. Pray with them. Read God’s Word to them.  (The psalm for their age) Put your phone away.  Look at them.  Hear them speaking to you!

Thirdly, let me remind you to show loving affection.  Do it with your words.  Say, “I love you.” Do it with your gestures – give the hug, the pat on the back. Your children need your motherly affection. Even if your children are older, they still need your love and words of affirmation. Notice not just the bad things, but notice the good! 

Recently after I’d spent time with one of my girls I sent her a text and told her how proud I was of her and that I loved her.  She responded, “You don’t know what that means to me.  I feel like I’m so self absorbed and unpleasant most of the time. I love you, too!”  I had no idea she was feeling disheartened, but when the Holy Spirit prompted me to write her, I realized that those words were just what the Lord wanted her to hear.  (I miss those opportunities many times! Ugh!)

Fourthly, realize that they must be your priority. People are more important than things.  An immaculate house, a perfect yard can wait.  Let them play in one room.  Let them hang out in the yard.  Be the cookie mom who invites the neighbor kids over!

Nancy reminds us that sometimes the best way to prioritize our children is to prioritize time with God.  I have my Quiet time in the morning.  Often one of the girls would need something while I was praying.  They would knock, then come in and find me on my knees, praying for my own heart, for them, and for our school day.  Without that time, I would have fallen apart even more often!

Always remember that your husband is your priority above your children.  He will still be with you when they leave! How does this happen? When they’re young the children need you almost constantly, but as they grow and mature, make sure that you are making time for your husband. Make sure you’re spending MORE and more time with him as the years pass. Go out on regular dates. As the children age, make them more and more independent so they are ready to step out, and you are not their crutch and they are not yours.   Spend MORE time talking, dating, praying, dreaming as each year passes.  You don’t want to be looking at a stranger when your kids are gone! This was not God’s plan. 

Motherhood is a roller coaster ride.  It’s full of joys and sorrows.  If you have a child away from God, spite your efforts and prayers, don’t give up.  It’s always too soon to quit. God loves them more than you do!  Keep living out that overflowing life of a believer.  Show them the joy of a Christian who walks with God.  Be there for them.  Keep loving them.  Text them.  Talk to them.  Don’t be afraid to speak of biblical things…it’s to be overflowing from your life.

Keep on being a life-giver.  By our responses, our words, our affection, our encouragement to our children or the children God puts in your path, we can be life-givers all the days God gives us on this earth!

Refresh your love for being a nurturer to the children in your life by remembering how well your God loves you, how patient He is with you, and how He disciplines you in kindness and mercy.  Then in good days full of praise and achievements, and in difficult days full of correction and biblical instruction keep on loving your children well.

Child training · children · Grandparents · Parenting

That Special Child

This week I heard a message by Chuck Swindoll that just stopped me in my tracks. Part of the reason is because of the Truths of the Word of God that must be applied to my own life as I continue in sanctification. He spoke from Matthew 15 when Jesus was answering the question the disciples asked about who would be the greatest among them. Do you remember what Jesus did?

He brought a little child and set them in the middle of the group of disciples. He told them, If you want to enter the Kingdom of heaven, you must become like that little child ~

  • Unpretentious,
  • Full of trust
  • No agenda
  • No hidden desires
  • No secret sin
  • No guile
  • Authentic humility

Matthew 18 goes on to say ~

Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones.

It’s easy to look down on a child, isn’t it?
They can seem insignificant.
They can be difficult to deal with.
They are needy.

But Jesus values children. He says we must be like them to be saved. We admit our sinfulness like a child. We trust like a child. We love like a child.

Are you valuing the children in your life? Perhaps they are the children in your home. Maybe they’re your grandchildren. Are there children in your neighborhood? Do you bump into youngsters at church or the park or the grocery store?

Each one is important. Each one has special gifts. Each one has a need for Jesus. Do you see them? Do you take time to speak to them, to make them feel important and noticed? Or do you overlook them?

Then there are other children. Here’s what Chuck Swindoll says about them…

There are those who are weak and fragile and they can’t keep up.
Then you slow down. Take time for them. See the value in them. I love the scene where Jesus talks about future rewards and says,

Matthew 25:40 I was sick and you brought me something to eat. I was in prison and you visited me. I was thirsty and you brought me something cool to drink,

The one hearing it said,

When did we bring you something to eat, or see you in prison and visit you, and when did we bring you something cool to drink?
Jesus’ answer is,

Inasmuch as you’ve done it unto the least of these, you’ve done it unto Me.

Inasmuch as you’ve done it to these who couldn’t keep up,
these with special needs,
these with congenital brain damage,
these with physical conditions that hinder them from being able to run like the other children,
or to have coordinated bodies like other fast-moving and well-coordinated kiddos.
Guard against devaluing a child or discounting them.

Every child is precious to God. Every child is valuable just the way they were born. Don’t lessen their importance in your home – or in this very world. He or she may be just the one to turn this world upside down for Jesus Christ simply because of their “special-ness”.

Children have a way of reaching the hearts of people like none other. See them for the treasure they are and thank God that He brought them into your life so you could watch the things God will do through them and their unique gifts.

Let’s esteem children, every single one of them, as much as Jesus does.

Child training · Parenting

How To Build Confidence In Your Child

There are lots of things that I forget – like why I’ve gone downstairs, the name of a visitor at church, or sometimes my own age, but there are particular memories that stick in my mind like concreted stepping stones in a garden.


One such memory is when I got my first job at the age of 16. I was to be the person up front at Hardee’s restaurant. Understand that this was back in the days before computerized cash registers. I was to write down the order correctly, bag it up, take the money owed and return the correct amount of change.

I was a bit fearful about the last in that list of tasks, and my wise mom knew just how to help me. She gathered up some currency and a fist full of change, and we practiced. She was the customer, and I the restaurant employee. She didn’t make it easy, either. She would give me $15.02 when her bill was $12.57. She taught me to count backwards, first deducting the two cents from the fifty-seven. Now their total as $12.55 – it was from that total that I would make change. She would make me count it out loud, starting with the .55. “Fifty-five, sixty, seventy, seventy five, thirteen dollars, (and handing over two ones) fourteen, fifteen.” Total change was 2 dollars and forty-five cents. That kind of practice with her made me confident to go to work. On my first day at my job, my cash register was ten cents off at the end of a busy day. I was proud of that, but sought to perfect that during my time there.

I took that practicing idea with me into my own parenting days, understanding that practice at home gives a child confidence when they go into the world to accomplish a task that seems daunting. Here are some of the things we practiced:

  • I would have my girls use our play phones and practice making calls to 911, reporting that their mommy had fallen and needed help!
  • We practiced speaking to people at church or visitors that were coming to our home. “How will you greet Mrs. So-and-So? Look her in the eye, and speak up so she can hear you say your name. “Let’s try that again.”
  • We practiced walking in a lady-like manner
  • We practiced asking questions to an employer from whom they would seek a job.
  • We practiced sharing a testimony at church.
  • We practiced how to care for a child they were babysitting.

Practice does indeed bring progress, but it also gives confidence and the know-how to do the right thing when called upon.

What is your child/teen facing in the near future? Are you teaching them adequately so that they will feel prepared? Of course, we need to remind them to depend on the Lord’s help, but it is our job to give them the tools they need so they will be qualified and able to do all things heartily as unto the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

How do you practice situations with your children ahead of time?

Family life · Marriage · Parenting

Four Lies You May Be Believing About Your Family

Four lies

One lovely evening we invited friends to come over after church.  We sat around our fire pit watching the flames spit embers upwards and the smoke billow into the night sky.  Then to get the group talking, my husband suggested we play a game called,  Two Truths and a Lie.  Each person has to come up with two truths about themselves that others might not know, and then throw a lie in there somewhere.  We were to guess which one was the lie.  Do you know what the hardest part of that game is?

It’s not hard to come up with a lie – it’s difficult to come up with two truths to share!!!!

Not only is that true in a game – it’s also true in real life!  It’s just easier for us to listen to a lie than for us to listen to (and believe) the truth!

After our game was over, the fire put out, and my week got started, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered someone believing a lie in their life! Could you identify one you might be believing about your family?  There are many, but here are four lies I think are running rampant in our homes:

  1. This marriage is a mistake. 
  2. Things will never change.
  3. My child will go through the typical phases (like terrible two’s and teen rebellion).
  4. This stage of life is going to last forever!

Let’s counteract those lies with Truth:

  1. This marriage is a mistake. Once you said, “I do,” you marriage became a covenant between you and your spouse and God.  No matter the situation and happenings before you got married, God doesn’t want you to ditch this marriage – this covenant after you pledged your life and love!  He wants you to stay married and display the Gospel – Forgiveness, mercy,  and grace. When we promise to love ’til death, God desires we allow Him to work in our marriage because it IS His will.
    So today –Commit yourself to this marriage and stop thinking about what it would be like to be with someone else, or in another circumstance.  Pour yourself into this marriage like it was the first day you were married.  Make a difference in your husband’s life today!Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (separate).
  2. Things will never change. The previous truth about marriage isn’t meant to make you feel hopeless.  To say, “Things will never change” is to doubt an omnipotent God!  He is able to do MORE than we can ask or think.  As long as you are living – there is hope, because God is also alive and on the Throne!
    So today – Trust Him to answer and intervene in your life! Keep praying, believing and watching for what an all-powerful God can do!
    Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
  3. My child will go through all the typical phases. Your child was uniquely designed and created.  They were born with an old sin nature that will need to be dealt with.  A strong-willed child needs a different kind of approach than a child who is withdrawn.  But with biblical guidance and prayer, they could completely bypass those “expected” kinds of behavior.  Every child has a will and when that will is bent towards Christ and obedience at an early age, they won’t be little angels, but could avoid much heartache they could cause for themselves.
    So today –  Train your child in God’s Word and ways.  Surround them with godly people, biblical discipline and teaching, places and activities that will be the Truth their young heart needs.
    II Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  
  4. This stage of life is going to last forever!  I know that when you’re changing diapers,  chasing toddlers all day, caring for an elderly parent, or dealing with a hard season in your marriage, you think it’s never going to end, but I’m here to tell you there will could be day when you will look back and realize how quickly the time passed!

    Think back to something you did two years ago.  Perhaps it was a significant birthday, a special vacation or a wedding.  Doesn’t that seem like FOREVER ago?  Life is fleeting.  Children grow up. Changes smooth out eventually.  So  what do we need to do?  Learn to enjoy today.  Look for the blessing in the opportunity before you.

    When my mother-in-law had lung cancer, I cared for her in Hospice care in our home.  During those long days, I was exhausted and felt very overwhelmed and wondered how I could keep going. But in six very short weeks, she was in heaven and I was thankful for each day we got to care for her and spend time with her.  I look back on that time and it seems so short!  I don’t remember the hard things nearly like I remember the blessings!  I remember reading Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven to my mother-in-law.  I remember the night my husband and I got to go to a Bed and breakfast for a night away to rest in the middle of this time, and I remember the blessing of friends who helped by bringing meals, and came and sat with her so I could attend church.  Nothing on this earth lasts forever.
    So today – In the midst of long work hours that your husband is pulling, leaving you alone, or while you’re waiting for God to bring you a spouse, or while you’re cleaning up chocolate milk from the walls and floors, look up and find something for which you can be thankful! Look for the blessings and keep a mind on the truth that the clock is ticking!  Remember, too, that Christ could come at any moment and it will ALL  be over, and forever more we’ll be rejoicing!
    James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Thinking the Truth takes intentional effort.  Keep your heart focused on that which is right.  As Jesus said, The truth will set you free!

Refresh yourself with truth about your family,

Discipleship · home · Marriage · Motherhood · Parenting · refreshment at home · Refreshment in marriage

Keeping Children On the Peripheral

Image result for mom and dad
Many homes today put the children at the center of the home.  Everything revolves around them, their wants, and their preferences.  Of course when you have a baby in your home, you have no choice but to make them the center.  But often we fail to allow them as they grow to move farther away from the center to the peripheral.  Let me explain.
In the book, The Disciplines of the Home by Anne Ortlund, Anne makes a statement I had never heard, but totally agree with and have taught in principle:

In the home, children should be on the peripheral.”

She goes on to say that if children are at the center, when they are removed, there is a huge gap in the husband/wife relationship. Do you think it’s remotely possible not to make your children the center of your home?
How does one go about not putting them in that place when they require so much time, attention and discipline?
Anne didn’t detail this point, but here are my thoughts –
  1. The children shouldn’t dictate what is going to happen in your home. “I don’t want to go to Pizza Hut for supper! I want to eat at McDonald’s” It’s not that they can’t make the choice sometimes, but when Mom and Dad have made a decision, it should stick.
  2. Mom and Dad need their own time. Children sleeping with their parents should be a rare occasion. Bedtimes give Mom and Dad an opportunity to talk, spend time together playing a game, or share a snack.
  3. Parents need a date night. Don’t let the children’s cries keep you from leaving them occasionally. Let them know you’re going away to make a better home for them.
  4. As the mom, recognize your husband’s needs and make sure you’re meeting those before doing extra things with/for your children. Are you always jumping up to do something for them, and don’t spend time just being with him?
  5. Be sure you’re spending your recreational times together as a couple and not making it the norm for one parent to be running here with one child, and the other taking another child there. Be a family.

We all know that children have many needs – especially when they’re little, but the tendency is to keep allowing them to be needy and being the very center of the family’s circle where the parents ought to be.

Take a good look at the circle of your family; who’s in the middle and who’s on the peripheral? Does there need to be a change?

 

With love,