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Posts Tagged ‘mother’

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?  …     Matthew 6:25-34

Faster than an inquisitive toddler.  Able to multi-task from morning till night.  It’s a child safety lock…it’s a roadside work crew…it’s SUPERMOM!

Some days–before my feet touch the floor–I awaken to a ticker tape rattling off details in my head.  Child #1-Dental cleaning at 8:00 a.m., Child #2 and #4-Lunch money for school, Child #3-Program after school, Husband-Stop at drug store to buy deodorant.  Me–Go to work, greet students and parents, manage unpaid accounts, attend a staff meeting or two, and research state education mandates.  Before I know it, my mind has run through the entire day’s worth of activities and I’m exhausted before I even get out of bed.

Have you felt the same way?   Those are the times I have to reel in my heroic delusions (and fear of failure) and take a deep breath.  Nobody is Supermom.  I am just me–able to manage this moment–through God’s grace.  No heroics required–just a mother and wife who loves her family.

Ways to Avoid the Delusion of Being a Supermom

  • List the top 10 priorities for the day and then cross out the last 5.  Any items left undone will still be there for tomorrow’s list.
  • Take a break.  Even a ten or fifteen minute break rejuvenates creativity and energy.  Go for a walk, watch the clouds, exercise.
  • Share the workload.  You can’t do everything yourself.  Rely on your husband and children to pitch in.  (Chore charts are great!)

 

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Some days, I’m sure I’m leaving my children with more baggage than a legacy.  Mommy guilt grabs hold and my mind races ahead ten years.  Turning on the television set, I’m surprised to notice one of my estranged children–now an adult–pouring out his heart to the Jerry Springer or Dr. Phil of the decade.  “Join us today as one of the Kennington children shares How My Mother Ruined My Life and Other Ugly Truths.”

Okay.  I’m exaggerating.  But, there are times I think I should be investing in a counseling fund instead of a college fund.

And then, there are the moments when I know I’m being a great mom.  When a feverish child finds comfort in my arms or I’m huddled under a blanket in the icy rain at a football game–cheering between chattering teeth.

An honest assessment of my mothering leaves a lot of room for reliance on God.  As Stormie Omartian says in her book, The Power of a Praying Parent, “The key is not trying to do it all by ourselves, but rather turning to the expert parent of all time–our Father God–for help.”

By nature, I cling to worry and fear.  Only by entrusting my children to Him through daily–and often minute-by-minute prayer–do I find relief from the burden of concern.  Why?  Because I know God’s power is unleashed in the lives of those I love most when they are given to Him.

It’s a continual struggle…trusting….releasing.  But the power of prayer–or, more accurately–the power of the One to whom I pray reassures me.  Baggage or legacy–these children are mine because He intended it.

Verse for Today  “Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lard.  Lift your hands toward Him for the life of your young children.”  Lamentations 2:19

Scripture for Study  1 Samuel 1:1-28

Questions for Reflection

  • In what way is God directing you to dedicate your child to Him?
  • How have you seen Him interceding in the life of your child?

Practical Application

  • Make a list of prayer requests (current and future)
  • Pray each night with your spouse or on a regular basis with another parent for your children (Matthew 18:20)
  • Keep praying until you have an answer to that prayer.  (Jeremiah 33:3)

 

 

 

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   Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.  The Lord is [a]near.  Philippians 4:4-5

 

Some of us stay-at-home while others wear a business suit from nine to five.  Some of us live in the Bronx–others in Beverly Hills.  Some of us wear a ring on our left hand; others manage parenting on our own.  But don’t we all want the same thing for our children–the ever-elusive happiness?

But, happiness is hollow when it’s based on the promises of the world.  Wealth?  Love?  Career?  None of these are guaranteed to last.  They only provide a temporary–even false–sort of happiness.  Raising our children to gather temporary treasures, find the “right” person, and climb the corporate ladder may make us look good but I believe God gives mother’s a greater purpose in parenting.

What is it?  To share Christ trusting that our little ones might one day know Him–the One in whom and through whom true happiness is found.

As a mother, how do I teach my children about everlasting joy?  When they’re bullied, break up with a first love, or struggle with a learning disability is it possible to share a heaven-focused view of happiness?  What a challenge!  I wish I had the answer.   I’m just trying to rely on God day by day, and moment by moment as I pour my heart into these children–maybe that’s where it all begins.

 

 I would love to know what your tips and ideas are for teaching your kids about this concepts.  Feel free to share with us! 

 

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There’s always a moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in. Graham Greene

From the beginning, my ideas about parenting were flawed. I thought of it almost like a mathematical formula. If Dave and I just plugged in the right amount of love, guidance, and opportunity then our kids would follow Christ unswervingly, rebuff mainstream culture, and discover their passion in life. Rebellion? Struggles with identity? Not a chance–after all, a(b)=ab.

Of course, you already know how wrong my assumptions were. Even when Dave and I do everything we can to keep our children from hardship or lead them toward a faith in Christ, they  need to make their own choices, decisions–even mistakes. Just like we did (and do).

But, I believe those choices and mistakes will result in something more beautiful and powerful than I could have imagined. The one who is struggling to understand how (and if) his faith intersects with life? He’ll embrace Christ and discover his purpose–the reason he was created–when God draws Him close; not because his mother made the decision for him. And the boy who wants to do everything perfectly? He’ll encounter freedom in amazing ways. Freedom from unattainable standards. Freedom from concern. Freedom in Christ–because of Christ.

This doesn’t let me off the hook in any way. Being a parent means I continue to invest my love, time, and limited abilities in the lives of my children every day. But, I need to take a deep breath and remember that if there were a simple parenting formula then I wouldn’t need to rely on God in this messy, wonderful, overwhelming business of raising children.

Instead, I’m on my knees, in prayer, and dependant on the One who loves my children even more than I do.

3 Reminders for Stressed Parents

God knows our children intimately

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
      how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
   Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
      all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
   The days of my life all prepared
      before I’d even lived one day. (Psalm 139-15:16)

When we don’t know what to do for our children, rely on the promises of Scripture

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.

Trust God’s decision to put these children in your care.  He will work through our parenting–despite our imperfection.

God saw to it that I was equipped, but you can be sure that it had nothing to do with my natural abilities.

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You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.  Psalm 30:11

“Mom, will you teach me how to dance?” These sweet words were the first Connor said to me this morning.  With a heart full of mother-love, I shuffled around the bedroom in red pajamas with my son–dancingThe little boy was gone and in his place stood a young man on his way to adulthood.   What a wonderful, bittersweet thing to behold.

Sometimes my heart aches when I slow down to notice these fleeting moments.  I long to keep Connor safe within the circle of my arms.  Protected from struggles.  Sheltered from storms.  But, growing up means stepping onto that dance floor–without me.  And whether or not the music is fast or slow, erratic or calming, I know he’ll adjust–not because of something I’ve done to prepare him, but because the One who gives us a reason to dance will be there.  Singing tender words of comfort when there are tears; whispering “Follow my lead” in moments of uncertainty, and celebrating life’s joys with the child he created.

Teach him to dance, Lord. 

 

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More often than not, my mornings consist of reminders, reprimands, and rushing.  Did you pack your jacket?  Change that attitude, little mister.  If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all.  Then, my children scramble out the of the car–backpacks slung across their tiny shoulders.  I won’t see them again until the sound of the bell sends them rushing out of the building–laughing and ready for a snack.

As I pull away, I’m consumed by “mommy guilt”.  Did I remember to tell them I love them?  Were my words more than just directives or critiques?  Will they know they’re prayed for today?  Did I say anything nice?

There are times the guilt is well-earned.  Sometimes my words fail to build up my children, husband, friends, or even strangers I encounter.  As Proverbs 16:24 reminds us, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb,  sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

Tomorrow–whether I’m in the midst of the morning rush, the dinner hour, or the bedtime routine–I’m going to slow down enough to remind those around me of how important they are to me.  I’ll tell them they are a precious gift in this life.

Then, I’ll let the “mommy guilt” go–at least for the day.

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I have a confession to make and a realization to share.  The confession?  It begins with the birth of ourfirst child. One glance at his precious, wrinkled, newborn face and I knew Ben was destined to attain great things.  I imagined him on stage, standing in front of thousands of people as he humbly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize.  Or, perhaps he would demonstrate such athletic skill that one day he would boast a cherished Olympic gold medal around his neck.

Impossible?  No.  Unlikely?  Absolutely.  I had succumbed to a common belief—The Myth of the First Time Mother.  Maybe you’ve never heard of this particular myth.  Well, if you’re at all like me, you have probably been part of its storyline before.  Let me explain.

Like most stories, this one introduces a few main characters who deal with a specific conflict.  My particular version involved our little boy, my husband, and me.  Our problem?  I bought into the idea that fame, fortune, or feats would secure my baby’s position in life.  As a result, other proud play-group mommies (who also found purchase with this myth) and I compared developmental achievements as if the baby to walk, talk, or crawl first somehow ranked above the other children.  One mother might brag, “My child is in the 95th percentile for height AND weight.  He slept through the night before he was even a month old.”  And someone would respond, “Well, Jenna already started potty training.  They say it’s a sign of intelligence.”

Inevitably, these conversations caused a lot of consternation and concern.  Was I reading to my child often enough?  Shouldn’t he know his sight words before kindergarten?  If we forgot to register for pee-wee soccer had I eliminated Ben’s chance for sport stardom as a twenty-something?

Finally, around the time our third child joined the family, there was a twist in the plot.  For almost two years, Seth endured the confinement of miniature casts and discomfort of daily stretches.  Other mothers avoided making comparisons to their own babies and instead offered apologies for Seth’s condition.  But, in my eyes, neither Seth’s imperfect feet nor his clunky shoes impacted who he was.  The realization?  I love and appreciate my children even more fiercely for their imperfections than for their accomplishments, resiliency, or intelligence.

Yes, I still have dreams for my children.  On occasion, I imagine them performing at Carnegie Hall or serving as an instrumental diplomat in a far-off land.  More often, though, I remove unnecessary expectations.  It’s not what they do or how they look, but who they are that matters.  Even God gently reminds us, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7)

Today, look for opportunities to remind your family and friends of their importance to you–

not for what they do, but for who they are.

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Call me a doubting Thomas, but I never believe Colorado’s weathermen. The Farmer’s Almanac, my son’s makeshift barometer, and grandma’s arthritic fingers all prove more accurate than local predictions.
Fortunately, God’s word is far more reliable and trustworthy than the Weather Channel. Unlike the storm threatening on the horizon, He is unchanging—a source of protection and love in every season of our lives and through any circumstance.
Friend, remember that whether you are in the midst of the storm or basking in the sun, God remains constant. As Psalm 18:2 says, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.” He stands ready to offer His strength. Why not find refuge in the Rock today?

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Teach your preschooler practical ways to love others using this simple activity.
First, assemble a booklet made of blank construction paper. Join your preschoolers on a “picture walk” as you look through magazines. Help your children find pictures of people who are demonstrating love. Ask such questions as, “Can you find a picture of someone being helpful? Do you notice anyone sharing? Praying together? How else might a person show they love somebody?”
After deciding on a few pictures, cut or tear them out of the magazines and glue onto pre-assembled booklet pages. Using the pictures as a prompt, discuss ways you and your children can love other people. Give your child a supply of crayons and a piece of paper labeled with the words, “I can show love to (name) by (action).” Attach the personalized page to the new book and place it in your family library.
Review-
1. Read the book together during family devotions.
2. Create additional pages as your children discover other ways to express love.
3. For each day of the week, choose one person to whom your children can demonstrate love. You might bake cookies together, draw a picture, or pray for that person.

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“I thought I would be the perfect mother. Then, I had children.”

The words drifted from the cars’ speakers as I pushed the dashboard button. I smiled, agreeing inwardly. I remembered all of the dreams I had of being that sort of mother, too. My goal wasn’t lofty. Angry words? Never. Consistency of discipline? Always. Great attitude? Every day.
You may have guessed…I haven’t come close to living up to my ideal. I’ve regretted words, failed to know how to discipline, and feel overwhelmed or irritated on a regular basis. Do you relate?
In my shortcomings, I’m reminded that God is the perfect parent. His love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8). If I rely on His word, turn to Him for understanding, and trust His direction for the children He has given me then I can give up the idea of parenting perfectly. I’ll do my best and trust that God–the One who is perfection–is working in their lives despite and through my imperfection.

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