Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

Kristi F

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.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

Taking Responsibility for Our Actions

Teaching our kids to take responsibility for their actions and choices can be difficult but is a gift we as their parents can give them.

How many times now do we turn on the news, listen to the radio, or overhear someone express how someone else’s actions forced a certain reaction from them.

I hear it all the time in our house of 5 kids. “But s/he made me do it!”

Anytime that phrase “he made me do it” gets thrown out, I can’t help but chuckle. (Not only because my first instinct is always to laugh, but because I remember trying to place blame on someone else too.)

I mean really, who wants to get in trouble for their actions?  No one!  It’s so much easier to try and pass the buck than to accept responsibility…or is it?

This is another lie that Satan tires to thrown our way.

Taking Responsibility Provides Relief

It may be difficult to accept responsibility, especially when we royally goof up, but it provides a relief too. It forces us to confess and repent, and it takes the weight off our shoulders of hiding what we have done.

Yes, we still have to face the consequences but we can beg and plead for grace. Grace is often extended when we readily admit that we have done wrong and are actually remorseful over it.

It’s when we try to cover up our guilt to save ourselves that we pile on the consequences. We see this as adults and we see this when dealing with children.

I didn’t do it…

As an only child, I often tried to blame spills and messes on my cat.  Blaming the cat became a habit that was difficult to break.

One day I accidentally, ran into a potted plant and instead of taking the time to rectify the situation, I just went on with my day and when my mom asked about it, I blamed the cat.

I was quickly caught in the lie because the cat had died a few weeks earlier. So not only did I get in more trouble, but I gave my mother a reason to question my truthfulness.

Losing her trust was more difficult to deal with than picking up the dirt would have been.

Taking Responsibility is Empowering

Teaching responsibility is a lesson we must teach through our examples more so than our words. We know that kids always focus more on what we do than what we say. Gifting the example of putting our pride down and choosing to act right no matter what anyone else does, will bless them throughout their life.

I tell our kids all the time:

No matter how the other person reacts, you get to choose your reaction. 

So whenever anyone acts in a horrific way towards us, instead of sinking to that level, we can choose to be kind and remind our kids that Jesus calls us to love everyone no matter how they react towards us.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
– Jesus, Luke 6:27-28

Isn’t that empowering! It’s exciting to think that our moods and actions are not dictated by someone else. When we teach our kids this, they then can stop thinking they are a marionette puppet in someone else’s puppet show. They can know the truth that their choices have the power to do good in a world full of evil and they do not have to be overcome by it. Praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ who through his Spirit can gift us the ability to love those who hate us and try to mistreat us!

Let’s take that stance with our children. It’s our responsibility to teach them to take responsibility for their actions. It takes time, patience, and consistency, but our families and our society will benefit greatly from it. More importantly, our Lord will be glorified because of it!

 

Becoming a Parent Who Is Slow to Anger

Becoming a Parent Who Is Slow to Anger

Kristin J

Kristin J

I am a happy wife and mother to my amazing husband and beautiful little girl and we are living the good life just outside of Oklahoma City. I was born and raised in Houston, Texas where both of my parents serve as ministers. With God’s great guidance, I ended up earning a degree in children’s ministry from Oklahoma Christian University! I am an extrovert and love to make friends and have deep conversations. My days are filled with the duties of motherhood and homemaking but when I find a moment to myself I enjoy reading cookbooks, blogs, and Karen Kingsbury’s books. I have a slight addiction to facebook and pinterest. Holidays are my favorite days. I love to cook meals that make people happy. I have a passion for family ministry and bible class teaching. Most importantly, my greatest desire to is to know my heavenly Father more each day.
Kristin J

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Becoming a Parent Who Is Slow to Anger

How often do you find yourself feeling angry toward your children? This is hard question to ask myself. I make significant effort to be gentle, but truthfully, it is quite often that I notice myself raging inside as my eldest, almost 4 years old, is becoming more familiar with right and wrong.

My moment of internal strife might play out in this way:

Why won’t she just listen and obey? What if someone gets hurt? What if she behaves like this in Bible Class? 

I can’t let her act like this! I have to show her who’s boss! 

In my anger, I lash out. The power struggle begins.

I make irrational statements in awful tones. I give ineffective punishments.

I feel horrible. She feels horrible.

Later on I hear her talking in the same ugly tone. Hmm… where did she learn to speak in that way?

Why is it that anger is the first instinct for so many of us, especially in regards to parenting? I believe most parents have good intentions. We want our children to act respectfully and we burn inside when we can’t convince them to cooperate. We are desperate. I believe that James, the brother of Jesus, and servant of God, speaks to the heart of this issue.

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19-20

Anger Won’t Bring about Righteousness Living

In our Bible Class we recently studied this passage, and though James doesn’t specifically mention parenting, my heart couldn’t help but hear these words from a parent’s perspective. How often am I angry with my daughter because I want her to live righteously. Yet anger won’t bring about this righteousness- in myself or in my daughter. It is my experience that hasty anger often only brings about shame.

Let’s read on to hear the solutions that James offers.

“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:21-22

“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:26-27

Righteous living is something that our children will learn through a lifetime of observation and loving instruction. James makes it very clear that being religious is about guarding our hearts and humble service.

Do our children see that in us?

Do our children see that we are humble and compassionate, ready to listen, and slow to become angry?

Do we have a tight rein on our tongue when we speak to our children?

There are many different styles of parenting, and I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers. Often parenting requires direct and assertive responses, but I believe this can be done gently and in love. It is my conviction that the instruction to be slow to anger also applies to our interactions with our children. Does this mean that we will never be angry? No, of course not!

It means that our instinct will be patience,  kindness, and gentleness rather than anger.

We will have open arms and listening ears.

When it is time to be direct, we will try to stay calm. We will be our children’s “safe space.”

This type of parenting does not come naturally for me. I pray multiple times each day for the Lord to help me. I boldly pray for the fruit of the Spirit to be displayed as I interact with my daughters. This passage in James was a strong reminder that I need to make a conscious effort to tame my tongue and be slow to anger in my responses to my children. I absolutely can’t do this on my own. I need Jesus to work through me as I train up my children in the way they should go. We all need him to!

Praying Over Our Hearts

I’d like to end this thought with a prayer.

Father God,

You are our Heavenly Father and we praise you and thank you for wonderfully making our children. Work through us as we train them in the way they should go. In us, express your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Help us to be slow to anger, with tongues that are tamed through faithful dependence on you. May our children see glimpses of you in our interactions with them. Forgive us for our selfish ways and for the times we respond poorly to our children. Give us strength and help when we need it. Soften our hearts and help us to find your joy every day. 

In the name of Jesus, Amen 

 

 

Praying Secret Agent Prayers

Praying Secret Agent Prayers

Kristi F

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.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

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Playing Hide and Seek is one of the funnest games for kids. But what if we added a twist and created a game with prayers? A game where others get blessed, but don’t know by whom?  This is the Secret Agent Prayer Game!

Praying Like Secret Agents

To explain how to be a prayer secret agent, grab this month’s free Family Time Training Activity called Secret Agent Prayers.

It’s perfectly explains how there is a time and a place for everything and that includes prayer.

Sometimes, we pray publicly where others can hear and sometimes we pray secret agent style!

The Blessing of a Secret Agent Prayer

Knowing that someone has taken the time to pray specifically for you is one of the biggest blessings in life. But keeping that prayer anonymous can be difficult and a LOT of FUN!

First we start with praying about for whom we should pray?

God knows who needs extra blessings and prayers today. So let’s ask Him.

God, you know you needs extra prayers today. Who can I send a prayer to today?

Whomever comes to mind, write a prayer for them.

You can also write a prayer for someone you might see that day or someone who has blessed you!

Here are some ideas:

  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Other Family Members (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc)
  • Teachers
  • Neighbors
  • Workers from businesses you frequent
  • The person who is on the street corner
  • Missionaries

I had each of our four older kids whisper into my ear who they chose to pray for so that the others wouldn’t know.

Now, write out the secret agent prayers!

Writing out prayers is a wonderful gift both for the writer and the recipient.

Sometimes, asking a child to write out a prayer might make them freeze. If you need, prompt them with your own words or let them copy these words onto their own paper.

“The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

It’s fantastic if your kids will write it in their own handwriting. It shows an extra level of care that one took the time to personally write the note. But if they can’t write yet, let them color and add their own flair to the written prayer.

This should be something fun and enjoyable, so if writing is a sore spot for kids, then find a way to allow them to personalize it. Maybe, clip out letters out of a magazine and allow them to glue the letters onto a page.

One of our kids, jumped up and down excitedly asking if s/he could include a picture drawing with the prayer. Whatever gets them excited to pray for someone else is great!  Let is be as simple or intricate as they are willing to create.

Most importantly, include who it is for BUT do not sign the prayer with your name!

Remember, it’s a secret agent prayer, so they will be blessed without knowing who did it.

Time to Deliver our Secret Agent Prayers

Now, it’s time to put on your secret agent hats and deliver the prayers. This might take some extra thought.

You want to deliver the prayer without the recipient knowing who it’s from. It’s ok if they find out but then it’s not a real secret agent prayer.

How to deliver your secret agent prayers?
  • Tape a secret agent prayer to a neighbors door or car window.
  • Send the prayer in the mail.
  • Slide it inside your friend’s locker at school.
  • Place it on your teacher’s desk.
  • Slip it into a book that the person is reading.
  • Write a prayer on the mirror so others will see it with the shower steam.
  • Hide it in a lunch box or a cereal box.

What other ways can they think of?

Interestingly enough, a couple of our kids chose to pray for people who we cannot deliver a letter to at the moment. For example, one wanted to pray for a homeless lady s/he gifted something to a couple of years ago. Another wanted to pray for their great-grandmother who has already passed. We talked about how even though we can’t deliver a physical prayer to them, we can still pray to God who will use that prayer for his glory.

Teaching our kids to pray anytime about anything is the most important lesson to gift them!

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:18

Become a Total Access Member Now from August 23 – 28, 2018!

Family Time Training activities help us teach our kids and grandkids how to live out what the Bible teaches. Get access to all their activities that can be done in 20 minutes or less by becoming a Family Time Total Access member. 

The opportunity to become a Total Access member only happens a few times a year and now through August 28 is one of those moments. Since you are a Creating a Great Day reader, you can get an extra 10% off the annual membership just by using this discount code – CGDFAM818

Don’t miss the opportunity to unlimited access of 100s of fun Bible activities for your family! Check out the details here: members.famtime.com.

I love to use these activities when my kids have a question and I’m not quit sure how to explain it in a way that will stick. These activities help biblical concepts stick in their minds for years!

Be encouraged by these Family Time Training Activities as well!

Delayed Gratification Knocking Sin Out of Our Lives Kindness Cookies Prayer Wall

The Years at Home Filling Our Time-Capsule Well

The Years at Home Filling Our Time-Capsule Well

Melissa W
Follow Me

Melissa W

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.
Melissa W
Follow Me

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.

Capturing moments

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.
  • Explore nature together
    • Here is a book that can help you along with this.
  • Unplug.
    • A time set aside that is device-free. No phones, tablets, or screens of any kind. Be present with each other. Laugh together. Enjoy conversation with each other.
  • Read books together
  • Start a new hobby together
    • Learn how to – knit, draw, cook, bake, build, etc. Let this be a group effort
  • Visit a local farm to pick fresh fruit.
  • Play board/card games

 

Starting some of these things (or all of them) might be difficult, but it will be worth it. Don’t waste away the years. Hold on to them and may your time spent in them be rich and beautiful.

 

 

 

 

What Bible Time with Our Kids Looks Like

What Bible Time with Our Kids Looks Like

Kristi F

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.

Latest posts by Kristi F (see all)

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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.

For example, when we read the story of Lot and his daughters. I remember thinking,

“What in the world am I going to say?”

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.

One of my older son’s favorite stories is when the ground opened up and swallows Korah alive. Now, that’s a story that definitely speaks to many things, especially how to react in a situation when you don’t agree with the leader God has appointed and how to handle your anger.

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!

How do you do Bible Time with your kids? 

 

Check out these great lessons for kids!

Knocking Sin Out of Our Lives Kindness Cookies Prayer Wall Delayed Gratification

Grace, Contentment and a Glass of Wine

Grace, Contentment and a Glass of Wine

Elizabeth P

Elizabeth P

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.
Elizabeth P

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Grace and contentment.

These are perhaps two of the most difficult concepts to grasp as a mother. The glass of wine…well that’s just well deserved.

Becoming a mother opens a whole new realm of inner struggles and identity searching. Let’s face it, I’ve prayed for patience, wisdom and strength more in one hour today than I ever did before kids.

I recently read a blog about raising children and being a mother in a community rather than in the relative isolation that modern society in America tends to accept as normal.

The blessings that require so much fromWhen 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!
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!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
life forevermore.

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.”

and a glass of wine - CopyEveryone 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?

 

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