Melissa is an Okie with a Texas heart. She is a wife and a mother of four. After having taught in the classroom for 8 years, she now happily finds herself as a stay-at-home mom. In any spare time, she enjoys leisure reading and also enjoys writing on her blog (chroniclesofakeeper.com). Out of all the little adventures of life - her greatest joy is found in her relationship with God. Walking in His grace, living in His peace and resting in His redemption is something she is very passionate about sharing with others.
I look on, my gaze resting on her smiling face. She reaches her hand for the stem before her and gently plucks it, her smiling eyes turning around to meet mine. I have watched her harvest the dandelions of the field on many occasions, but this time was different. Like iron lead, so was the lump that I found resting in my throat. I worked to etch the soft tendrils framing her face full of wonder and glee, this moment, I wanted to freeze in my mind. I listened even closer to the sound of her giggle, burning its melody into my memory. The escalator of time that she was standing on was weighing heavy on me. I watched her blow the seeds into the wind. I drop another memory into my motherhood time-capsule. The words are swishing around in my heart, “The days are long, but the years are short”. The sunlight dances on her hair; and I ask for not a moment to be wasted.
Before the bloom
These are the years where the soft buds of our children are forming. We only have so long, or rather so little time, before the blossom appears. If we are not careful, the blossom will have taken place and left us missing out on the joy and wonder of the bloom. A blossom never returns to the bud, time does not allow for such wishes.
The days of growth are crucial – they are the slow days of tending. If we are so focused on the task, we miss the joy of who it is we are caring. Sometimes we look so forward to seeing the blossom, that we forget about the wonder of the bud in-waiting. Tending the tender buds, guarding for the day of its blossom – it is a task of patience, resilience, and attentiveness. But then the bloom… and the years of attending the bud are but a memory. While the blossom will be beautiful and we will love its new season of growth, I imagine there will be an ache in the remembrance of caring for the bud.
So, as the laughter flows, let us give thanks for the years before the bloom. In the stormy seasons, let us ask for wisdom where we have to guard and tend buds carefully. When joy falls like rain, let us tuck away those memories and store them for when seasons of drought come along.
The years before the bloom are hard, but they are also glorious.
As we sit here, let us remember the gift of time-present. Laundry will eventually lessen, the messes will gradually stop showing up in various spaces of our home, and sleep will find its way back to us again. But what we have right now…we will never be able to recapture. It happens and it is over, just like that. The winds of change blowing through can not be sucked back in and held.
We cannot pretend that everyday will be perfect. But we can pray for every day to be captured for God’s glory and our good. We can begin by asking for a shift in our mindset and attitude. Let us be the ones who take the little time we have with our children and cultivate it well. The time-capsule of motherhood is before us, may we fill it well.
Ideas to nourish time with your children
Spending time in God’s Word together.
This is about enjoying God with your children. We can easily turn this into a lesson for them or we may approach this dryly…Enter into this time with reverence and awe. Point to the holiness of God and His goodness. Be in wonder of Him ALONG with your children. Make this time about worshiping Him.
I am an Oklahoman by birth, a Texan by current living situation, but claim the world as my playground.I love to travel and hope to someday soon take our family on adventures to far off lands, where we can share God with others and experience all the wonders He has created.
I am a mother of 5 crazy, homeschooling children ages 10 & under, wife to an amazing man, and daughter of the King of the Universe!I enjoy reading, making my kids laugh, cooking, all things natural, learning to play guitar and dusting off my piano skills.One day I hope to run again, but until then I’m learning patience.
As a mom of 5, our Bible Time has looked different over the years. The last two years we have settled into a pattern that I am loving and the kids seem to do well with too. Since a friend asked what Bible time with our kids looks like, I decided I would share and hopefully encourage you in your Bible time too!
I posted a sweet picture of our 3rd child on Instagram and Facebook prepping the table for our Bible Time mid-morning snack. I am always amazed at how God’s word delivers exactly what we need to hear. On this particular day, we needed to be reminded that we are each invited to feast with God, but in order to do that we need to put ourselves and our excuses to the side.
What Our Bible Time Looks Like
1. It’s Flexible
We try to have our Bible time daily, but that doesn’t always happen. I would say at the moment we are running at a 90% success rate. We typically have Bible time around mid-morning, once all the kids are awake. We have one late sleeper. Since we homeschool, we can be flexible and I really enjoy it.
So sometimes we have our Bible Time at mid-morning, sometimes during lunch, and sometimes we have it at night over dinner with their dad. And other times we do it before heading off to bed.
Again for us, being flexible is key. Every day looks different, but most days, we have it mid-morning.
The location is flexible too. Many times we gather together in the living room, sometimes at the kitchen table, other times on the back porch while they snack and draw with chalk, and sometimes on the school room floor while they are putting puzzles together.
As long as they are paying attention and not causing a distraction, then I will allow them to color, play with legos, or color when I read longer passages.
2. Start with Songs & a Chant
Once the snack has been prepped and my precious daughter, who loves to present the food prettily has done just that, we start to sing. First, we sing the Books of the Old Testament, then the Books of the New Testament.
Then we pat the Bible while we sing the “B-I-B-L-E” song and add “YIPPEE!” to the end. It just makes it more fun!
Then, before I open to the passage we are reading for the day, I say/chant the following:
The Bible is the Word of God. Everything in it is true. It tells us all about how much God loves YOU!
Now, that our kids have heard it so often they, I pause and they fill in what I underlined above. Often times, they race to see who can say it the fastest. Sometimes, they finish before I can even start.
Recently, I also started asking if both the Old and New Testament go together or if they should be kept separate. I want our kids to understand this is one seamless story. We can’t just pick up in the New Testament and think we will understand what’s going on. We need to know what the Old Testament says to get a complete picture and understanding of the Bible all together.
3. Fuel the Soul & the Body
I typically present a snack along with our Bible time. This is for a few reasons:
#1 – It helps them gather together. My family eats several times a day. For some the mid-morning snack is what they call second breakfast and they will always come running when food is available. #2 – They are eager for me to start. Mainly, because they are not allowed to start eating their snack until I have started the Bible lesson. #3 – This keeps their mouths closed so they can listen better. When you have 5 mouths that like to give commentary, it’s a nice treat to be able to keep them engaged and listening.
4. Now, it’s time for the Bible lesson.
Several years ago, I became convicted about what we were reading for our Bible lessons. At first, I was using children’s bibles. They were ok, but they left out all the good details and even many of my favorite stories.
I believed that it was a good thing to read the whole Bible in it’s actual context to our children, instead of just working on surface details. God is in even the smallest details and I didn’t want them to miss out on his amazing ways by skipping what He has deemed important to share with us.
Of course, I remember praying about this and thinking,
“God, there are some parts that aren’t really rated G but your word is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. It is good for teaching and rebuking and our family really needs to be taught, so as we come to the parts where I want to cover their ears, please help me explain it to them in a way that honors you and teaches them how to love you.”
And what God started teaching us was truly amazing!
Now, I will say, that I may wait to read over Song of Songs until their married. That book just might be a marriage gift to them. It’s a great book, but obviously still praying about that one! LOL!
Using a Chronological Bible
We started reading the chronological Bible, which was fantastic for me too. I wanted our kids to understand the timeline of the Bible. I remember being so confused as a kid and an adult about what happened when, so the chronological Bible allows us to read the Bible as one whole story instead of a bunch of little stories.
We have had many wonderful conversations around stories that I may have skipped over had it not been for asking God to help guide our conversations and their hearts.
It was just like the Holy Spirit gave me the words and helped me out.
We read the passage then talked about how God created marriage with Adam and Eve. Anything outside of what that relationship looks like is wrong. We don’t have to talk through every wrong situation and I didn’t even point out the details after reading over it. We simply reflected on that if we know what God is wanting us to do, anything outside of that isn’t following His ways.
I can’t help but think about the richness our kids would have missed had we decided to hang back and wait to expose them to God’s word until an appropriate age. What age is that any way?
Using the Timeline
Every now and then we have to pull out my favorite timeline to figure out when someone lived or what time period an event happened. I love to be able to place the Bible timeline along with what we learn in history, because surprise – it’s all part of the same history!
When we pull out the timeline, I’ll remind our kids that they too are part of this timeline. They are just as important as the people that we read about in the Bible. God has a calling for their lives too. He wants them to share God with others and encourage others in their faith just like those in the Bible encourage us to follow God too.
Reading through the New Testament
Reading through the Chronological Bible with kids takes a looong time. We still aren’t finished!
Sometimes we will read one little passage and discuss it. Other times we will read pages and pages. It just depends on their temperaments at the time and where our conversations take us.
We made our way up past Job and past the conquering of most of the Promised Land. We read through the teachings in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, some of which are hilarious!
Then, I decided to jump to the New Testament. We read all of Acts and now we are reading Luke! LOL!! We totally got that backwards, but that’s ok. I love reading Acts, so we will probably read it again after reading Luke. Then go back to the Old Testament.
I love reading the New Testament in light of the Old Testament because pretty much every principle mentioned in the New Testament can be found in the Old. So we like to talk about the similarities and see the points Jesus makes about each topic.
Family Time Training
We also like to throw in some Family Time Training Activities. They have a free activity every month. But they also have an activity vault filled with activities on almost any Bible subject you might want to delve into and help your kids understand.
5. We Pray
We tend to close out our bible time with kids in prayer. It is a good time to practice letting the kids pray. Allowing them to think of things they are thankful for and who we can pray for, provides glimpses into their hearts. It even lets us hear what they picked up from the Bible lesson that day.
These are the things we do during in our Bible time with kids. Some days go exceptionally well and the discussion flows and other days they are eagerly awaiting when they are excused. But what is important is that they are hearing God’s word. They are being trained to listen to it, absorb it, and talk about it. They are hearing the truth so they will know how to fight the lies with the truth.
Each time you choose to sit down with your child(ren) and study the Bible, the devil will not like it. He will try to make it not worth your time and wish it was just over and done with, but take heart! Getting God’s word into the souls He created is so worth it. When it seems like a struggle, know goodness will eventually come from those moments! May God bless you as you dig into His word with His children!
I am a recovering Army brat who loves to travel and start new adventures. My handsome husband and I met at Oklahoma Christian University and he whisked me away to Kansas. So, I bought some ruby red high heels and made Topeka my home. I have a rough and rowdy Princess 4-year-old girl, amazing twin boys (almost 3) and a newborn baby girl who all make every day an adventure. We are grateful to be part of an amazing church in Topeka who regularly challenges and encourages our whole family. I have been both a full-time working mom and a stay-at-home-mom and/or both at the same time at one point or another. I am constantly seeking God’s wisdom on “balancing it all” and following His plan for my life, not mine.
When I read this article, I was a new stay at home mom and I felt alone.
Alone and burdened; inadequate and overwhelmed. The struggle surrounding the self-created isolation was real. I don’t know if the author of the article is a Christian, but the longing for a daily fellowship or cohesive community rang true to my soul.
And then I remembered I had that available to me in spades.
At least I should…within the body of Christ; fellow believers and fellow moms in all stages and situations raising their children to love the Lord. Truly, this is the fellowship we crave isn’t it?!
Psalm 133:1-3 (ESV) says:
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes! 3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
How good it is when we dwell in unity, it is like precious oil on the head.
My heart swells when I read those verses and think about my relationships with other Christians, most especially my “mommy friends”. Sadly, our culture and society has pitted us “mommies” against one another for various reasons and “atrocities” we commit in our life choices. Stay at home moms vs. working moms, moms of one vs. moms of twelve, moms of _______ vs. the world.
We all struggle.
Whether we work full time, stay at home or anything else in between, I believe we all continue struggle with feeling alone in our choice, like a lone warrior on a quest for well-adjusted children. The pride that often rears its ugly head in motherhood sometimes fosters a defensive or competitive spirit even in the most subtle of ways, or even insecurity because we are guilty of not giving each other grace. It’s even harder to give ourselves grace. Then we feel discontentment.
1 Peter 4:10 (ESV) says: 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
All of our lives look as unique as the people Christ created us to be even before we were knit together in our own mother’s womb. As women of God, we should have an abundance of grace for other moms. We are called to love one another and many times, that looks like grace. It is so much easier to have grace for others when our heart is right with the Lord.
Sometimes it’s hard though…
sometimes we are angry about our own situation, or at the very least disillusioned as to what life or motherhood was supposed to look or feel like. Sometimes we feel displaced or overwhelmed, inadequate, or just plain exhausted. Sometimes it seems easier to run away. During these is when we need to remember Galatians 6:2 (ESV):
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Everyone struggles with contentment.
I am convinced that every mother, no matter what her situation, struggles with contentment in her “version” of motherhood. For me, I struggled with it the most after I had my first child. I found myself in a situation where I wanted to stay home but couldn’t (which hurt), but at the same time I struggled with loving my career and knowing that God had called me to do certain things outside the home. Then after my twins, I struggled with a calling to stay home with my kids in this season. I have been completely double minded, living on opposite spectrums of “my heart’s desire” searching for how to follow Christ’s will for my life. It seemed endless. Truly, the double mindedness of our own human hearts is at the center of the “mommy wars”.
You know what finally helped me find contentment and grace?
That community I mentioned. The body of Christ. Sisters in faith who listened, who mentored and who pointed me to God’s Word. A community of believers who challenged me in my double minded thinking, but also challenged me to understand that God’s will in an individual’s life is ultimately between that person and their Father.
I want to encourage women who feel isolated or discontent, or struggle with grace, to find a fellow believer in Christ as a prayer partner to hold you accountable for spending time in the Word and seeking Christ. I encourage you to be intentional in finding a mentor, an older sister in Christ who lives out Titus 2 and will teach you. These women can dwell with you in unity, they can bear your burdens and give you grace all while pointing you toward Christ and being a godly mom.
The important things to do.
That’s the most important thing: that we are purposing to grow in our relationship with Christ and disciple our children. Christian women in every stage of life and in every situation are striving toward that same chief end.
I pray that you find community, even here, and for you to know that you are not alone and that other women know exactly how you feel. Have grace on other moms, don’t let your pride, discontentment or defensiveness in your own life cause you to break fellowship with sisters in Christ or keep you from having a blessed friendship.
Finally, go have that glass of wine with a fellow sister or two. Or tea, or coffee. Or chocolate. Just build a deep community of faith in Christ, have grace for one another and be content in your season of life.
Romans 8:28 (ESV): And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose.
Have you ever struggled with being discontent with your life ? What helped you overcome that feeling?
Hello, there! I grew up as a military kid who loved adventure, so I fell in love with and married a military man right after college graduation. The two of us had adventures together as we traveled for a while, but we finally settled in cozy Southern Indiana. However the excitement is still alive, because God has given us four kiddos that I homeschool. I love nerding out on anything from school curriculum to thrift store bargain hunting, from rockin' recipes to theological debates, and pretty much any lively discussion in between. Thanks for reading!
If I were at the Battle of the Alamo, I wonder what I would have done.
Have you ever pondered this? No? Let me explain why this is on my mind today.
In case you’re not from Texas or a history buff, allow me to give you the Cliff’s Notes version of the battle:
Texas declared independence from Mexico.
Mexico didn’t like this.
A pivotal battle occurred at the Alamo.
The Texans fought bravely but were greatly outnumbered by the Mexicans.
The Texans lost the battle, but the bravery galvanized the other Texans.
Texas won its independence.
Here is the part that is getting me thinking today:
Legend has it that Texan General William Travis knew on the eve of the battle that the outlook was bleak. He drew a line in the sand. He asked those who were willing to stay and fight despite the certain doom to step across the line. Anyone else was welcome to slip away.
Almost every single person stepped across that line and stayed to face battle.
If I were at the Battle of the Alamo, I wonder what I would have done.
Well, the Lord put me on the earth about 116 years too late to tell for sure, but He did give me four children. And most moms know child-rearing is a battleground of sorts.
Today, that battleground found me whimpering face-first into a pile of laundry on the floor while my kiddos watched in shock and awe. Yes, friends, it was a sight to behold.
So, as my eyes moistened with tears of exasperation, wetting my newly dried t-shirts, I thought about the choice I was making. Not too long after, I “remember the Alamo” (pun intended). I thought about that line in the sand and the choice those men and some women had to make. Who were they going to choose to serve?
That word resonated. As “choices” echoed in my heart, while my children continued to stand over me in a stunned stupor, my mind shifted to Joshua’s entreaty to the Israelites,
“Then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
The Bible says nothing of Joshua drawing a line in the sand, but I see this as a verbal line in the sand.
If I were an Israelite listening to Joshua, I wonder what I would have done.
I am a mom in Indiana with four little ones watching mein shock and awe. (Remember what am I going to do?)
I ran to the bathroom. That’s what I do. Ah, that line in the sand. Rather than cross that line, I chose to slip away.
Not two minutes later, our middle son darted into the bathroom and placed a card with a Bible verse on the bathroom counter and darted back out. I picked up the card and read the verse. It occurs to me: Here is another line in the sand.
I have a son who believes that the power of God’s Word will pull Mommy out of this “adult temper tantrum.” What am I going to do?
This moment now, like the Alamo, is a pivotal battle.
Humbled, I make the choice.
I cross the line.
I wish I could tell you that upon being reminded that my strength comes from the Lord and His Word, Bible verses to back up this truth rushed from my memory, but they didn’t. All I could pull up was Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.”
It still worked. I began to calm. I was making a deliberate choice to dwell on His Word and not on my exasperation. A choice to serve Him and be led by His Spirit; to follow His commands to love. Love is patient and kind, not exasperated.
Friends, we are all in a pivotal battle every day.
Each morning, as soon as our eyes open, we must choose that day whom we are going to serve. Are we going to serve ourselves and give in to the unstable tossing to and fro of our own wills and emotions? Or are we going to cross that line and serve the Lord, being controlled by His Spirit?
“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
Then just below this he writes:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Face first in the laundry, I was gratifying the desire of my flesh. Our middle son reminded me with the Bible verse card that my strength to cross that line and serve the Lord comes from Him and His Word by His Spirit.
Tonight, convicted that I couldn’t from memory pull out God’s words to back up this truth, I found 1 Peter 4:11 to memorize:
“If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
So tomorrow before I open my eyes, I’m going to do a few things I read here. I will:
First, admit to God that I can’t serve Him without Him.
Ask Him to help me.
Then, trust that He will.
Make the conscious effort to choose to cross the line; to serve Him and not myself; and to dwell on His promises: His words I’ve memorized.
At the end of the day, I’m going to thank Him for His faithfulness.
Tell me, how do you choose to serve God each day?
What steps do you take to cross that line into His service?
How will you choose to Create a Great Day? (Again, pun intended.)
I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life.”
An Invitation to Go Without Complaining
I invite you to take a moment to meditate on Philippians 2:14-16. Do you feel you are following this instruction in your day to day life? Would others describe you as blameless and pure? Does your life stand out in this sinful generation we find ourselves in? Are you holding firm to God’s word?
A few weeks ago we read this scripture in our bible class and I could feel my heart freeze. I immediately remembered the way I huffed out of frustration when my daughter wouldn’t leave my feet. I thought about how I often lamented over the stress of motherhood and the envy I’ve often felt in my heart toward my husband who goes off to work around other adults, and finds himself with 60 minutes of commute time each day to listen to whatever he wants.
As I thought about my tendency to grumble, my chest grew tighter as the Sprit continued to convict my heart.
I love staying home with my young children. It is my first choice, but I admit, the enemy has still found footholds through the challenges that come with my day to day life. The temptation to grumble is not reserved for stay-at-home moms. The enemy hits us all with deceptive ways, no matter our age or circumstance.
And oh, do we grumble.
Scripture gives us a different way to live.
Scripture tells us to live without grumbling. Why? So that we might shine like stars in the world for the purpose of bringing God glory.
Do you know anyone who is always able to find joy no matter the circumstance? A couple of different people come to my mind. These sweet friends of mine are the brightest lights. They radiate God’s love. I’m always so refreshed after spending time with them. It is not that their life is easy, without any strife.
To live without grumbling is more than just ignoring one’s burdens, it is living with the joy of the Lord inside their heart. Philippians 2:16 says this happens by holding firm to the word of life. We must know God’s word, believe it, and put it into action in our lives. In God’s word, we will find two beautiful characteristics to lace our hearts with.
A Heart of Service
Matthew 20:28 says “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” Grumbles often stem from entitlement. Christ, on the other hand, displayed a very sacrificial way of living. We must reflect on our life circumstances and look for the opportunities to serve and bring God glory.
A Heart of Gratitude
“When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed, when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, count your many blessings; name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs us to “give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Embracing a heart of gratitude and continually looking for the blessings in life will not only help us to live more joyfully, but will also align our lives to God’s will.
As I’ve reflected on my tendencies to grumble these last couple of weeks, I’ve been reminded to embrace the season I find myself in, and to serve my family patiently and joyfully. I know that I will continue to grumble from time to time, but I pray that God often leads me to this passage in Philippians. In a world that feasts on entitlement and selfishness we will surly shine like stars from the joy of the Lord, if we serve and love those around us without grumbling.
So go ahead, jot down Philippians 2:14-1. Put it in a place where you will see it often and be reminded of a better way to go through your days!
Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
My middle child, my youngest son, my baby boy, my graduate.
We struggled to have you. You were a gift from God. Even after your arrival, there were complications. You were re-hospitalized at five days old. If we had waited any longer, you would not have survived. We were terrified, but God watched over you. We brought you home and you began to thrive.
You were all boy.
You liked to rough house; you liked climbing.; you liked to “explore”; you ran before you walked. You had your first stitches when you were thirteen months old because you were running through the house on Mother’s Day. You were always on the go.
You are a hard worker.
You have worked mowing lawns since you were five. You worked on our farm. You raised pumpkins, gourds, and flowers to sell. When you turned sixteen, you went and applied for your first “real job”. You kept checking back until they hired you. You were determined to get that job. You worked hard and it was noticed. You became a manager when you were seventeen. A few months later, right after your eighteenth birthday, you got another promotion.
You have matured in life, but most of all, you have matured in Christ.
You have always loved God. You accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior at a very young age. When I could not get you to read anything else, you would always read your Bible. You are the one that always reminds us to pray before we eat if we get in a hurry and forget. You talk to your friends about their relationship with Christ. You set a good example for others and always try to do the right thing.
Your father and I are so proud of the man you have become. We love you and cannot wait to see what God has in store for your future.