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Tag Archives: Mothers

  • Peace: Unreasonable doubt or incomprehensible peace (scripture to combat mommy guilt)

    Posted on August 7, 2014 by Family Christian

    Bekah writes for  I Prefer My Puns Intended, a blog that explores the fact that life can be punny.  Her articles span topics like faith and family as well as education, wellness, and dapper infant style.  The titles of her posts may be cheesy, but the content gets feta.  Sorry. Better.

    I thought I was doing pretty well this morning.

    Little bear woke me up at 6 a.m., he ate at 6:30, and we played from 7:00 until 8:00.  He has gotten strong enough to sit up with the boppy and play with his toys.  It was an exciting playtime for this proud mommy.  I looked at the clock and thought, ‘if I leave now and run at my fastest pace with the stroller, I can be back in time for his nap time.’  It was a good plan.  I could, realistically, tick all of the boxes off of my very full mommy planner before our playdate.  Then, we could have the day free to do anything. No mid-afternoon sweltering run; just a nice, cool morning jog to start our day.

    Combatting Mommy Guilt

    Well, unsurprisingly, I didn’t hit my goal pace of 10:00/mile with the Bob.  I was struggling with side-stiches, which has been a new thorn in my side during my postpartum training. I was about a minute over my pace and six minutes away from home; my run had crossed over into nap time.  Most mommies know what happened next.  Little bear began to cry and fight the sleep he so desperately needed.  I felt horrible. There was nothing I could do but keep going and try to make it back home, ignoring the irritating pain in my side and devastating pain in my heart.

    And then, another runner passed by.  She was a tall, slender woman who looked to be in her mid-forties, and perhaps two miles into her run.  She glanced down at my little bear, and up at me.  I smiled, but she cocked one eyebrow up and pursed her lips.  It was a momentary glance that stuck with me the rest of our run home. ‘I bet she thinks I am such a selfish mom; I am sure she is wondering why I am out running when I should be tending to my baby. Am I selfish?’

    Little bear is asleep now.  He went right to sleep as soon as we made it home. No harm, no foul.  He will probably sleep for another hour or so.  So why do I feel so guilty?

    My mother-in-law once told me, “motherhood is guilt.”  Oh, how right she was.  My typical worries span the length of the day:

    Did I let him talk too much in his crib before I got him up for the day? Was he uncomfortable in his crib because of his dirty diaper and I waited too long to change it? Is this diaper rash my fault? Did I feed him enough? He threw up, did I feed him too much? Am I making enough for him to grow taller? Should I take him in to see his dad while he gets ready for work, or will that bother his morning routine?  Did I wake up his dad? Should I make myself breakfast? Should I just play with him and wait to eat when he takes a nap? Should I put him on his tummy now or will it upset his tummy? Am I interactive enough? Did I hold him too much? Did I hold him enough? I checked my phone.  I remember that article about checking my phone too much and missing out on time with my kids.  Will I teach him bad habits if I keep checking my phone?  I care way too much about how many people read what I have to say. The TV was on.  Bear saw the TV and watched it for a few minutes.  I remember those articles about how screen time ruins little brains.  Did I scar him for life? Did those two minutes of screen time delay his speech development? His eyesight? His language acquisition? Did he exercise enough? He is rubbing his eyes, but it isn’t nap time. Should I keep him up? If I keep him up too long he won’t sleep and then it is my fault for not putting him down soon enough.

    …and that is just a typical morning in our home. Imagine what your mind can do when your baby cries in public places; on a plane; in a restaurant…the guilt is unbearable. The doubt is unreasonable. Instead of looking to the real heart of the issue (i.e. baby is tired, hungry, or needs to be changed), moms tend to put all of the blame on their shoulders.

    In Psalms 38:4, David talks about guilt;

    My guilt is like a heavy burden.  I am sinking beneath its weight.

    Any moms in this boat? Pun intended.

    Some days, I find myself sinking in this endless sea of guilt.  Guilt, however, is stumbling block to righteousness and real relationship with Christ. If you aren’t a Christian, it is simply an obstacle to a fulfilled motherhood.  Instead of praising God (or celebrating the fact that we kept our baby alive through the night), we replace our joy with worries.  For Christians, this robs us of our witness.  For all mommies, this guilt gives us anxiety.  Here are a few scriptures that I use in order to replace worry,  doubt, and that ever-present “mommy-guilt” with joy and peace in the Lord.

    1. Take away my guilty thoughts.

    “Scrub away my guilt.  Wash me clean from my sin.” Psalms 51:2

    Am I sinning when I worry too much? Yes. Anything that takes me away from giving the glory to God is a sin.  I need to remember to let it go.  God has equipped me to be the mother that little bear needs. And that is enough.

    2. Remember the goodness of God.

    “You have forgiven the bad things your people did.  You have taken away the guilt of their sins.” Psalm 85:2

    It is so important to remember that God doesn’t keep a tally of our sins.  Or, if you want to think about it practically as a mom, he takes away our mommy-mishaps.  He promises to “take away the guilt.” We just have to let him.

    3. Direct us in how to “let it go.”

    “For my yoke is easy; my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30

    God has given us the power to leave our worries with him and take on a much lighter load to carry.  We just have to praise him in all that we do, and seek him first. Don’t seek to be the “perfect mom.” That particular role is elusive and impossible to attain. We are not gods, after all.

    4. Become healed from guilt.

    “Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for you are my praise.”Jeremiah 17:14

    No where in that prayer are the words, “my children are my praise.”  Parenthood is oh so important. We are tempted to believe that our children are our everything, however.  This is not the case.  God promises to heal our worried hearts and save us from the sinking ship of guilt if we focus on him.

    5. Release the guilt given to you from other people.

    “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

    I once read a Buddhist fable about a man walking up to Buddha and criticizing his teaching, sincerity, and intelligence.  Buddha said nothing and the man walked away.  An onlooker asked why he didn’t respond and Buddha simply said, “when someone offers you a gift you don’t want, you throw it away.  I refused to receive the negativity the man was offering, so I didn’t respond.”

    That really stuck with me.  God has promised us peace; the world gives us anxiety.  I would much rather choose peace; and yet some days I am riddled with guilt.  This particular scripture is so important when it comes to mommy-shaming, or even those sideways glances when you’re a few minutes from home and your baby starts crying.  Mommy guilt is real, but God’s peace is a much greater alternative than bearing it all on your shoulders.

    6. Live in the abundant peace that surpasses understanding.

    "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4: 6-7
    Paul suggested that the people of Phillipi live a life filled with the peace of God that “transcends all understanding.” All mommies want to know if what they are doing is best for their children.  Somehow, God beckons us to live each day apart from the full satisfaction of knowing whether or not we made the right choices moment-to-moment.  Living in the worry of our guilt will never bring us satisfaction.  As our children grow, the guilt will only carry higher stakes.  The sooner we release our anxiety to the one who rescues, the sooner we can live a life separate from our guilt, and full of the presence and peace of God.

  • Moms: Let's Make This Pledge

    Posted on October 10, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called 'Today,' so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)

    I really want to be a great mom. I want to raise kids who love the Lord, are respectful, kind, and smart, and all the other things we want for our kids.

    So, I pray. I read parenting books. I teach manners, kiss the skinned knees, and help the teen process her first broken heart. I plan the family dinners, the date nights, and the vacations. I keep track of who needs what and when. I set the appointments and the discipline parameters and the alarm clock so we can get up and do it all again tomorrow.

    And through every minute, I am hyper aware of my frailties and faults.

    My heart wants to be incredibly patient and organized and excited about reading books out loud.

    But then I get tired. And overextended. And suddenly my day finds me getting snappy, losing track of all those papers sent home from school, and skipping pages to hurry to the end of the book that started off with such promise.

    There is a gap between my desires and my reality.

    I bet this is true for many moms, so we should all understand those hard places, right? But somewhere in the day-to-day, we can forget how important it is to support each other as moms and sisters in Christ. We can forget the need to foster a sense of community. And as soon as we forget these things, it's much easier for thoughts of judgment to creep in.

    In those moments, it's crucial to remember that being a source of encouragement for others is biblical. Our key verse, Hebrews 3:13 tells us to "encourage one another daily" so that we aren't "hardened by sin's deceitfulness" which causes us to judge.

    So, I was just wondering if we might all make a little pact together today. To build each other up. To not judge one another. Ever. Even when we parent differently. Even when my kids act like I never taught them manners.

    Might you give me the benefit of the doubt? Just assume it's a bad moment, but this isn't an indication of all our moments.

    And then I'll give you the benefit of the doubt when your child messes up.

    Or I hear you snap in Target and make threats to your kids that betray every good intention you had that morning. When you prayed. And read the parenting books. And taught manners, kissed skinned knees, planned the dinner, and all the other zillions of things you did so well.

    Instead of judging you, I will love you.

    And maybe you can love me too.

    Yes, I think we moms should pledge to encourage one another each day. And never judge one another. We're all desperately trying to do this mothering thing right.

    Dear Lord, forgive me for not extending grace at times to others. I am a woman who desperately needs it, so I should be a woman who freely offers it. Help me to build others up and to love them as You love us. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    Think of a mom you know who really needs encouragement and support in this season of her life. Make a list of three things you could do or say over the next few weeks that would communicate intentionality and love toward her.

    Power Verses:
    Ephesians 4:29, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)

    1 Thessalonians 5:11, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Clinging to Christ in the Middle of the Hurricane - Natalie Grant

    Posted on October 8, 2013 by John van der Veen



    In the opening lines of “In The End,” the spirited but poignant unplugged track that wraps her latest album Hurricane, Natalie Grant puts it as plainly as she ever has in dealing with the troubling storms we all face: “Can’t catch a break/You’ve had your fill of old clichés…”. Emerging from a dark, spiritually challenging time in her own life, the multi-talented singer/songwriter—a Grammy nominated, five time GMA (Gospel Music Association) Dove Award winner for Female Vocalist of the Year – breaks through the well worn and cheerful, but not completely truthful, phrases that often leave those who are struggling in need of more.

    Natalie and I sat down (with her daughter, Sadie, on her lap) and talked about what went into her new album. The ups and downs of life. Times of depression. Times of joy.

    After reading this, you'll hear what Natalie has always been and still is passionate about. Christ and His work.

    John: Natalie, it’s been a while since you have had some new music. Would you mind sharing about your new album, Hurricane?

    Natalie: I’ve had a lot of life happen in those three years. I think if you look back just even at my releases over the past 14 years, I’ve never made records quickly. Those artists that can turn around records every 18 months, my hats are off to them. I don’t know how they do it. I’ve always usually gone about two years, but this is the longest I’ve ever gone between a release. I knew about a year ago that they were going to come to me and say, okay, it’s time to start making a record, and I literally at that point thought I’m just going to say, fine.

    Bring me ten songs. I’ll sing them, whatever. I just don’t have space in my world for this right now. What’s funny is that it sounds like such a cliché, but it’s so true that when we’re completely at our end and thinking, “I’ve got nothing, I have absolutely nothing in the well,” God shows up and always says, “Okay, I finally have you where I want you, and you’ve got nothing, but I’ve got something.” I ended up writing more on this record than I’ve ever written on any other record.

    John: I was going to ask, to say, I think I read that you wrote about eight songs or so; is that right?

    Natalie: About eight out of the ten tracks, yes.

    John: What is that like compared to other records?

    Natalie: It’s way more … I’ve always written about at least half, but to write 80% of the record is more than I’ve ever done before, and those songs--those eight--were really my songs. Sometimes I’d be in a co-write situation, and even though I was in this, these songs were really birthed out of my own personal journey over the last three years. I think when I came into this process so empty, I had given birth to my third child and went through a lot of post-partum depression.

    That’s something that I didn’t give a voice to for a long time because first of all, I think that there is a stigma—or was in my mind--that women want to stay in their pajamas and eat ice cream all day if say they have post-partum depression. But I soon learned that that is not true, that it is a real problem and a darkness that can overtake a woman, and oftentimes as a Christian. I think we’re so ashamed to say that we are struggling with depression, because somehow it’s going to reflect on our faith or our relationship with the Lord, but then throw into the mix being a Christian artist where you’re supposed to have your life together and get on that stage and sing your encouraging songs about the Lord. Where you’re expected to say all the right Scripture verses, and I think that I put some of that undue pressure on myself, but really, I think, I enabled myself to stay in that pit for longer than I even needed to.

    I really struggled with a lot of depression after the birth of Sadie and found out that a very close family member was struggling, not just with drug addiction, but with heroine addiction, which was tearing my family apart. Three months after that, my father had died of cancer. It’s been quite a journey the last three years and a testing of my faith like I’ve never faced before, and so these songs have really come from a deeply personal place.

    I feel like I’ve always had songs that have been like that for people that are connected because they’ve been about a real life story or journey, but typically, they’ve been about someone else’s story, like “Held,” which was written about a couple who lost their baby and “In Better Hands,” which was written about a little boy and a fire. All of them were personal stories, but they weren’t my story. These songs are my stories, and I think that’s what really makes this project different for me.

    John: Do you think, be it a man or a woman, married or single, that one has to go through some form of wilderness or hardship in their life to really understand what it means to be that close, to identify that closely with Christ?

    Natalie: Absolutely. I think that the challenge is finding the closeness when there isn’t the hardship, because in our human nature, we’re just wired in our fallen state to do it on our own, and we’re wired that when things are going well, somehow we don’t “need,” or we don’t think we need the Lord quite as much. We don’t recognize, I think, our need for Him in the good. In the bad, we cling to the Lord like never before. I think the more hardships we walk through, the more we experience our faith at a deeper level; it’s what helps us understand that faith when we’re actually on the mountaintop.

    John: Those are good words. I think a lot of people forget about that as they encounter Jesus. I think they think that to some extent, being a Christian is all kind of the rose-colored glasses syndrome, that everything is hunky-dory and fine.

    Natalie: I think that that could be an entire interview for another day. Honestly, my soap box is because there’s so much false teaching that’s prevalent in our culture and especially in our nation that if you just have enough faith, if you just are a good enough Christian, then you’re going to not have any health issues. You’re going to have a big house. Your marriage is going to be perfect, and if somehow those things are not well in your life that that has some reflection on your faith in Jesus. I think that that teaching, which is especially prevalent in the United States, has done so much damage to the believer’s walk with Christ.

    John: Natalie, as an individual, if I or my wife were to open up to a close friend, we know that a lot of times, what we share if I’m sharing with another brother in Christ, what I’m sharing is very personal, and it usually stays just between the two of us. It seems to me that what you have more or less outlined on this album is that type of conversation where you’re just kind of allowing everyone to see what’s been going on in your heart. What is that feeling like to know that people are going …

    Natalie: When you say it like that, it’s not so fine! [laughing]

    John: I’m sorry. I don’t mean to scare you, but to some extent, you’re throwing yourself out there to say, here I am. I’m a follower of Jesus, and I’ve seen that wilderness. What is that like?

    Natalie: Yes. You know, honestly, it has been very scary, and it would have been a lot easier just to have them bring me ten really nice, say all the right Christian cliché songs that would have pushed all the right buttons and gone number one on Christian radio, but I think there is so much beauty in the wrestle. Do you know what I mean? In the struggle. And in the dialogue of honesty, there is such beauty in that, and I’ve only discovered that in the last several years that the more honest and transparent I become, the greater connection people seem to have to my artistry.

    I feel like it started when I allowed myself to start talking about how I struggled with an eating disorder. I started to have this connection, which went so far beyond a song. I loved that. I thrived on that because I felt in that, I found my ministry more than just a musician but having something that I felt was going to be lasting fruit. I think that in finding my own voice, and I say this all the time, giving voice to the depression I was facing, that is when my healing started. I think that oftentimes, when we’re facing hardship or we’re walking through the wilderness, it’s almost easier to stay there than … I know that sounds backwards, but it’s … I don’t know if I’m making any sense, but …

    John: You are.

    Natalie: Sometimes it’s easier to stay in our mess than to actually get out of it, and the things that we know we need to do to get out we almost run from because we become so used to being a victim and all that. It’s just easier to stay there. For me, when I started to give voice to what I was facing and be honest and real in my own life, it became more than just, oh, I’d write some good honest songs. It actually is where I started to find my own healing, and I have to believe that having the courage to be honest will help others do the same thing.

    John: Now for the record, I’ve listened to the album I think three or four times since I got it yesterday morning. For the record, this album is not a sad album. This is not a dark album. You certainly are confronting those things, but there’s a string of hope that goes through every single song on this record, and it is powerful.

    Natalie: Thank you. I giggle when I hear that because it thrilled me because that is what I think is the mark of this record is that I’m going to say all the stuff that I went through. You’re going to listen to this record, and I think it just bursts with hope, and that’s what’s so, so just amazing to me about what God did through the process. I can say, listen, I have these songs that are full of light, even like full-on pop like “Closer to Your Heart,” the opening track, sounds like it could be on Top 40 radio, but the lyric says, “Here I am once again crying out on the floor,” so it still has this lyric that is this weighty heavy lyric to this really full of hope track and music.

    That’s what I wanted because that’s the result of hope to me. It’s not that in the moment everything is right and perfect, but it’s that’s why I’m singing these songs because that’s what I was living. I was singing these songs because that’s where I know I was going, and I was going to get there, and so I wanted the song and the record to reflect the truth that hope is what keeps the light on in our darkest moments.

    Hope is what keeps us taking one step forward and continuing to move. Maybe we’re barely crawling, but we’re moving forward. I feel like hearing you say that that’s what this record sounded like to you. It really does make me giggle with joy because that’s what I wanted it to be.

    John: That’s awesome. Natalie, you are a wife. You’re a mom. You’re Dove Award winning. You’re Grammy nominated. You’re an actress. You’re a philanthropist.

    Natalie: [laughs] Who are you talking about [laughing]?

    John: Natalie, some people look to you and say, obviously, you have it all together, and I think from the testimony that you just gave, you would say, hey, yeah, I am doing those things, but at the same time, I’m also normal. What would you say to the mom who has got babies at her ankles right now, and she kind of feels like she can barely get through just one day, let alone juggle small group, Bible study, nursery duty, church, all those other extra things?

    Natalie: For me, it’s one of the reasons as well that it’s important to me to be so honest and transparent, because I feel consistently in my life like there is this myth that surrounds me that I have it all together, and I get asked about this all the time. “How do you do it all?” I’m like, I have no idea because if you would have been at my house today, you’d clearly say that I don’t have it all together [laughing]. I might do a lot, but doing a lot does not mean that we’re doing a lot well.

    I feel like in my own life… I can only speak from my own experience… most days, I fall flat on my face and something struggles, something fails, something isn’t quite what I hoped it would be. I fall in bed at night, and by the grace of God, He wakes me up the next day, and I try it all over again, and hopefully what I learn is that I can’t do it without a personal relationship with the Lord, and that’s aside from trying to plug into the Lord with my husband or trying to make sure that my kids are learning the Bible verses.

    All of that aside, I’m talking about just me and Jesus, and if that means 15 minutes when I can hear my kids at 6:00 am in the morning on the baby monitor, for 15 minutes, nothing’s going to happen to them. If they’re kind of crying in their crib, if they’re talking, they’re going to be just fine. I’m going to take 15 minutes for Him, or even hit the floor to cry out to God and say, “Okay, I do not have the ability to do what I need to do today on my own, but if You called me to it, then You anoint me to be able to do it.”

    I have to believe that that’s true, and I have to believe that He’ll equip me to be able to do it. Some days, I feel like empowered like, yep, He did. Other days, I feel like He forgot me today. Clearly, He completely forgot about me today. You know, that is a daily process, and I think that right now in my own life, I’m figuring out that there are just some things that we just have to say no to and that that fear of disappointing someone or … I think that that’s a constant fear, especially in women, that oh, well, if I say no to this or that, well then this person will get upset. Whether it’s my kids or this or that, my job, or my husband. There are just some things that we have to learn to say no to, and I’m trying to learn that same thing right now.

    John: Good words. All right, real quickly, just a couple of bullet questions here. On “Born to Be,” you have a duet with Gary LeVox from Rascal Flatts. What brought that about?

    Natalie: He was awesome. You know, I wrote the song with Brett James who’s a great songwriter. He wrote “Jesus Take the Wheel” and just lots of other incredible songs, and when we wrote it, also with my husband, I just immediately thought this needs to be a duet. I actually had somebody else in mind from the CCM world, and I was like, okay, I think this person would be great on this, and he said, “You know, I think that Gary from Rascal Flatts would be great.” I was like, well, yeah, that would be great, but I don’t know him [laughing]. What’s going to make him want to all of a sudden be on a Christian record? I didn’t really know his story about in the last couple of years, he has rededicated his life to Christ, that he, and his wife, and his mom, and their daughter all got baptized together just last year …

    John: Amazing.

    Natalie: And has had this real rebirth of his faith in his life, and his story, his testimony is really quite beautiful. Brett knows him well because he’s written a lot of Rascal Flatts songs, and so he sent the song to Gary, and he fell in love with the song. What I didn’t know is that he was a huge fan of my music, and so he said it had always been on his bucket list to sing with me, which just sounds funny, but it was so easy. I guess it was just meant to be.

    John: That is incredible! Natalie, what is on your bucket list?

    Natalie: [laughs] I want to see the Great Wall of China. I’ve never been to the Orient and … well, I’ve been to Asia because I’ve been to India, not really close to Asia, right? I’m a failure at geography, so don’t judge me.

    John: Join the club.

    Natalie: I want to see the Great Wall of China. That is near the top of my bucket list. Let’s see what else is on my bucket list. I would love to do a duet with CeCe Winans. She and Whitney Houston were my vocal heroes growing up, and I’m a huge fan of CeCe’s and just everything about her. My other bucket list item would be to really teach my children to swim [laughing]. I’ve put them in swimming lessons twice, and they still can’t so I think I’m going to have to get in the pool with them and really help them figure it out.

    John: That is so awesome. I love that for a bucket list idea. That’s great. Natalie, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today. I really appreciate it.

  • Mom’s Godly Example

    Posted on August 29, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    Turn to me and have mercy on me; show your strength in behalf of your servant; save me, because I serve you just as my mother did. Psalm 86:16

    Mom’s who serve the Lord are a gift from the Lord. Like a cool breeze over a warm sweaty brow they quietly refresh those under their watch. Instinctively, they discern a wounded heart and offer words of comfort. This sensitive servant of Jesus listens for the real meaning behind the spoken words entrusted to their confidentiality. They have attractive moral authority because they model The Way. Mom’s under the influence of Christ relationally influence others for Christ.

    Are you a mom who loves Jesus? Do you celebrate the fruit of your faithful life? Give yourself permission to enjoy the character of Christ that continues to grow in those you have invested in all these years. Behind most godly leaders, parents, pastors, teachers, diplomats, executive assistants, custodians, chauffeurs, care givers and athletes is a praying mom. Because you model Jesus, your child wants to be like Jesus. God gives strength to those who serve Him like momma.

    Truly I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains. Psalm 116:16

    There is freedom when you follow the godly example of your mother. She is the Holy Spirit’s emissary for you to emulate. Serve in the power of the Spirit and you empower humility to have its way in your heart. Serve when you are fatigued and God will give you strength. Serve when you are conflicted and Christ will give you clarity. Serve when you don’t feel like it and your emotions will catch up and care. God strengthens those who selflessly serve like a godly mom.

    Moreover, make sure you do not take advantage of the giving heart of your mom. Help her for a change without her having to ask. Anticipate what she might need, rather than waiting for her to meet your needs. Call her before she calls you. Visit her before she visits you. Pray for her before she prays for you. Share scripture with your mother that strengthens her heart.  Most of all, serve Jesus like a godly mom. Continue to be a person worth modeling, because you model Christ.

    Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for godly moms who show us how to serve You.

    Related Readings: 2 Kings 14:3; John 2:5, 13:15; 1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1; Philippians 3:17

    Post/Tweet today: Moms under the influence of Christ relationally influence others for Christ. #influenceothersforChrist

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • The Day My Fragile Identity as a Mom Melted

    Posted on August 29, 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst

    Lysa

    "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

    She had the most angelic sweetheart lips. Eyes blue as the most tranquil oceans. Blonde ringlet curls. Chubby cheeks begging to be kissed over and over. Little hands that instinctively curled around my finger while simultaneously melting my heart.

    Pure sweetness wrapped in a pink blanket.

    And then came the day this little creature pursed those lips, gripped the toy in her hand, tilted her pigtailed head and screamed, "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

    The fuss was over a small red toy my friend had let her borrow. My friend who was much more organized than me. She had brought along toys and baggies of Cheerios to keep the kids entertained during our coffee date. The plan to use this toy as temporary entertainment had worked beautifully. Until it was time to go.

    I could feel a burning flush of embarrassment rush from my chest to my face.

    Of course my friend's child was shining her halo with one hand while happily handing over her yellow toy with the other.

    "Mine! Mine!" My daughter screamed as every eye in the small java joint stared at me.

    I pried the toy from her hand, thanked my friend, and hoisted my kicking and screaming daughter out of the wooden highchair. And then in slow motion, I watched in horror as she knocked my paper coffee cup from my hand and sent it careening across the floor.

    I felt my fragile identity as a mom melt into the puddle of spilled coffee. What happened to my angel? My beautiful daughter was ... not so angelic.

    It's been many years since that day in the coffee shop.

    But oh how I wish I could go back and sit with my little inexperienced mommy self on the drive home.

    I would say, "Your daughter is a child in need of a parent. She needs to be taught. And some of your best teaching opportunities will come when she puts her sin nature on display. Don't fear or fret or feel like this is some sort of failure on your part. Her outside demonstrations are an internal indication of her need for guidance. So guide her. Love her. And always remember to be the parent. Not her friend. Not her buddy. The parent."

    I needed to know what Proverbs 22:6 teaches, "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."

    That daughter is 19 years old now. And is an absolute delight.

    But growing her up wasn't always easy. There were many more times when she put her sin nature on display. And each time I had to choose to be the parent.

    It's not easy to be the parent. It seems less and less popular to tell kids no.

    As parents, we need to set biblical boundaries. Teach our kids the difference between realistic and unrealistic expectations. Not cater to their every whim. Draw lines between what's appropriate and inappropriate for language, entertainment, and the length of a hemline. Model manners. And what it looks like to seek a life of godliness, not just religious activity.

    Glory knows I've been so imperfect with all this.

    But holding the line on being the parent, even when done imperfectly, is good.

    And will be worth it.

    Even in those seasons where you feel as if they're doing everything the opposite of what you've taught them. All that parenting is in them. And the fruit of that will emerge one day.

    Yes, be the parent. Teach biblical truths. Stand strong in saying no even when it's not the popular choice.

    That's what our kids need so desperately.

    And be encouraged, friend ... you're doing better than you think you are.

    Dear Lord, You know better than all of us that parenting is hard. Help me to see each day as a teaching opportunity to raise up a child who loves You. In Jesus' Name, amen.

    Related Resources:


    A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others by Karen Ehman

    Reflect and Respond:
    Take a moment to think: how and what am I communicating to my children?

    Read today's power verses for a better understanding of just how important it is to raise a child to follow after the Lord.

    Power Verses:
    Isaiah 54:13, "All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace. (NIV)

    2 Timothy 3:14-15, "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." (NIV)

    © 2013 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Happy Mother

    Posted on May 12, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.      Psalm 113:9

     

    What makes a mother of children happy? Is it just the child? If so, there would be a world of happiness. Children certainly contribute to a mother’s joy. Jesus said, “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world” (John 16:21). However, offspring cannot be the only reason for a mom’s feelings of fulfillment. In fact, if a mother’s happiness is contingent on her children, she will quickly become discontented. There is a greater source of happiness based on gratitude to God and His glory. She can rejoice because God opens the womb and invites intimacy with Him.

     

    The Holy Spirit initiates the miracle of conception (Matthew 1:20). Pregnancy is a gift from Providence. The Bible says, “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3). Therefore, you can be extremely grateful for the gift of God’s child. Your son or daughter is a stewardship from your Savior. This new life is not competition for your time and money. Rather, it is an opportunity to serve, build your faith, and become more like Jesus. Have you written your Heavenly Father a thank you note for the gift of your child? Happiness comes to mothers who experience hilarious appreciation for the Almighty’s entrustment of children. Be eternally grateful for the Lord’s unspeakable expression of love through the life of your little one.

     

    Of course, children will frustrate you and let you down, just as you have your parents and God. So learn to liberally apply love, grace, forgiveness, and discipline in the same way you administer ointment to their ailments. Teach them the truth of Scripture, model faith for them, and joyfully watch as they enter into a personal relationship with Jesus. The Disciple John experienced this. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4). Mothers experience happiness when they praise God for the privilege of being a parent. Your role as a mom is your glory to God. You smile because you know that as you serve your child, you are serving Christ (Mark 9:36-37).

     

    Therefore, be happy, because your Heavenly Father has blessed you. He has given you the gift of His son for your barren soul and the gift of a child for your joyful service.

     

    Post/Tweet: A mom’s role is her glory to God. They smile because they know as they serve  their child, they serve Christ. #moms

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

  • A Mom’s Mothering

    Posted on May 11, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd

    “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home” (John 19:25–27).

     

    Moms are magnificent, especially the ones placed in my life by the Lord. My mom and the mother of our children, in particular, are emissaries of encouragement. They are messengers of comfort and care. No one loves more unconditionally than mothers. They see only the good and forget the bad. A mother’s love extends way beyond what is required creating a reservoir of hope.

     

    Furthermore, they are not afraid to speak the truth laced with an attractive attitude. It is not unusual for moms to become their child’s best friend. This is a natural outcome of their acceptance and relational relentlessness. Because their emotional intelligence quotient is high, they are able to discern and remedy heartfelt needs in an instant. Indeed, they are compulsive givers with a propensity to out-serve everyone.

     

    “Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing” (Psalm 100:2 nkjv).

    This outlandish outpouring of love concerns me. It does not bother me that moms love so generously. What troubles me is their need for unconditional love. Are moms being mothered to the extent that their needs are being met? An un-mothered mom is a good candidate for a miserable mom. If moms are not receiving what they need in emotional and spiritual support, they whither under the pressure. Like a flower in an arid climate, they need the saturating love, nurture, and security of their Savior Jesus.

     

    Lastly, they value being valued and desire acceptance. They are secure, living in security, and long to be loved.

     

    Lord, lead me to model this for my mom and the mother of our children. Show me how to shower on them what they have rained upon relationships, season after season, in unselfish service. I want to give back to them in the same way they have given to me and our children. I long for You to bless moms!

     

    “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her” (Proverbs 31:28).

     

    Prayer: Lord, lead me to another mother whom I can mother on Your behalf.

    Related Readings: Ruth 1:22; 1 Timothy 5:4; 2 Timothy 1:5; Titus 2:2–4

     

    Post/Tweet: No one loves more unconditionally than mothers. They see only the good and forget the bad. #moms

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com

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