How Motherhood Changed my Perspective on Mother’s Day

My Mother's Day perspective has changed through the challenges and exhilarating moments of motherhood over the years. All I can say is thank you, Mom.

My Mother’s Day perspective has completely changed through the challenging and exhilarating moments of motherhood. Each year has added to the fullness of the beauty of mothering.

I’ve learned Mother’s Day is for celebrating BEING a mother. I’ve learned that card company expectations are the enemy of joy, while macaroni necklaces, dandelions, and crayola cards are priceless.

I’ve learned to celebrate the messy work of being a mother.

As my daughter is growing independent, my role is shifting from primarily physical needs to more emotional and spiritual guidance, which is teaching me so many new aspects of motherhood.

Nothing taught me to appreciate my mother more than motherhood itself. #ThanksMom Click To Tweet

Being a mother has taught me to appreciate my mother more with every challenging stage and new accomplishment in my daughter’s life.

Previous years, I’ve focused experiencing Mother’s Day, since motherhood was a long awaited answer to prayer, but as I inscribed my mom’s Mother’s Day card, I was struck by how much I still need to thank her for the million thankless jobs of motherhood.

My Mother's Day perspective has changed through the challenges and exhilarating moments of motherhood over the years. All I can say is thank you, Mom.

Thank you, Mom for reading me a thousand books, some a thousand times, even when you were tired, even when dinner needed cooking. I remember quietly reading about a silly detective with an umbrella and knowing I was loved. I developed a love for stories and words and discovery on your lap.

Thank you, Mom for getting up before we did everyday and making breakfast. We probably complained about the cold cereal one day only to pitch a tiny rebellion the next over oatmeal or scrambled eggs. I’m sorry about the Grape Nuts episode. To be fair, I still think it’s gross. šŸ˜‰

Thank you, Mom for the hours you put into keeping house without many modern conveniences I take for granted. It was never done, never perfect, and you kept on doing it. Now, you even sometimes come do it at my house.

As I look around the chaos in my living room today, I wonder how you kept everything so spotless despite our efforts otherwise.

Thank you for all the secret tears you must have shed in frustration when we wouldn’t stop arguing, broke your favorite vase; tears cried in hurt when we screamed that’s not fair or I hate you in teen angst, or times you cried from sheer exhaustion.

Thank you for the years of sleep you gave up in the raising of three young ladies, nights you were up until you couldn’t see straight, nights you couldn’t sleep until hearing the door three minutes past curfew.

I may not have understood the sacrifices, but I couldn't miss the love. Thank you, Mom. Click To Tweet

Thank you, Mom for Bible stories and rides to school, swimming, play practices, for all the clothes and formal dresses you quietly stitched in your free time.

Thank you for the million ways you invested in my life, putting aside yourself to develop character in me.

You didn’t get it all right, but neither will I.

While I may not have understood your sacrifices, I couldn’t miss the love.

And I can only hope my daughter will be able to say the same about me someday.

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The Best Way to Explain Easter to my Kindergartner

What is the best way to explain Easter to my sweet kindergartner? She knows the story, she knows Jesus, but I want to help her understand the depth of His choice to go to the cross for us.

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What is the best way to explain Easter to my kindergartner? She knows the story, she knows Jesus, but I want to help her understand the depth of His choice to go to the cross for us.

We’ve been devotionally traveling through Jesus’s last week, reading about Palm Sunday, discussing how Jesus’s humble entrance into Jerusalem on the donkey fulfilled ancient prophecy.

Can you imagine any of our politicians choosing that entrance?

We read about the Last Supper and Jesus’s washing the feet of the disciples. Discussing the cultural significance is hard with a five-year-old, so I got out a small tub of hot water and washed her feet. She washed mine.

We ended up tickling more than anything, but learned how humbling it is to wash someone’s feet, what a tender act of love it is, demonstrating how to love like Jesus, willing to serve in the humblest manner.

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But when we started talking about the cross, it seemed like she had the words, but missed the message. As I tried to explain Jesus dying, she started rattling off Bible stories from memory.

What is the best way to explain Easter to my kindergartner? She knows the story & Jesus, but I want her to understand the depth of His going to the cross for us

How can I explain Easter to her?

I’m glad she has those stories written on her heart, but we all need to experience Easter every year as a fresh encounter with a sacrifice far beyond what our selfish natures can comprehend.

We all need to encounter Easter as the most tremendous sacrifice the world has ever known. Click To Tweet

So I stopped and decided to explain Easter in a way that would be more relatable for small children. I used a story, like Jesus used to do.

A few days ago, one of your friends was really naughty. Her mother told her to do something that she didn’t want to do. So, she threw a tantrum and was just awful. What should her mom do? She deserves a punishment, doesn’t she?

My sweet girl nodded.

Ā But punishment is not fun. So would you take her punishment so she doesn’t have to?

She looked at me in shock, her brow furrowing, “No!”

But you love your friend, won’t you help her out?

“That’s not fair! I didn’t do anything!” She whined.

Exactly, neither did Jesus. He never did anything wrong at all, but he took your punishment, my punishment, and the punishment for everyone so we could go to heaven. His sacrifice paid the price for our sinful choices so we can be forgiven.

Romans 5:8 ESVĀ  But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

When we didn’t deserve it, when we can’t ever earn it, Jesus died to set us free.

Her eyes widened and the smallest understanding crept into them, “oh, Mom, I guess, I should think about others, I’ll take her punishment, but I don’t really want to.”

I’m not really going to punish you, but does that help you understand what a tremendous sacrifice Jesus made for you, for us?

When we didn't deserve it, when we couldn't earn it, Jesus took our punishment to set us free. Click To Tweet

For the first time, she asked me to explain Easter, what it meant for Jesus to hang on the cross. We discussed the whipping, the crown of thorns, and the nails that held our Jesus to the cross.

Our day ended with baking resurrection rolls, a neat remembrance that the tomb was empty, Jesus conquered the grave.

I know I’m a forgetful sinner. I have to encounter Christ’s sacrifice and my redemption anew all the time. I have to be brought to my knees over my selfishness, face to face with my weakness so I can better understand the strength of His sacrifice.

As a mother, I just pray to explain Easter and keep Jesus real for her everyday.

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Valentine’s Day Tradition

Free Valentine's Day John 3:16 Printable with love tank filling traditions to celebrate Valentine's Day with your littles.

Our Valentine’s Day tradition started a few years ago. She was just old enough to start understanding that there was a holiday, and it involved presents and chocolate. I mean, what else does a girl need to know? She was all in.

But I wanted to find just the right way to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family. When I saw John 3:16 written so the word VALENTINE was created, I knew that was the message I wanted for her, because it was the message I know I still need written on my heart.

It helps remind us to celebrate Christ’s coming everyday and focuses on Godly love, not just romantic love.

But I have all these cute ideas and by the time one holiday is put away, the next one is looming. I had always wanted to be the fun pinteresty mom that makes every holiday special, but frankly, those suckers sneak up on me like ninjas.

Free Valentine's Day printable for your children. Fill their love tank with God's love. Click To Tweet

One trick I’ve learned is to keep everything grouped together and labeled. For Valentine’s Day, I keep everything in a clear project folder I can just pull out and put up.

Our Valentine’s Day tradition is that we post a handwritten copy of the John 3:16 Valentine’s Day printable (link at the end of post) on her door. Then everyday we add a heart with a character trait we love about her. This is day 1.

Character hearts for a Valentine's Day tradition that will build self-esteem.

I used colored construction paper and just cut out several different sizes and colors of hearts, but you could buy heart shaped wall decor or doilies from Walmart or Dollar General if you wanted.

We start on the first and go through the 14th, but you can do however many days you want. You could start on the 14th and go through the end of the month as well.

Free Valentine's Day John 3:16 Printable with love tank filling traditions to celebrate Valentine's Day with your littles.

What I really love about this tradition is that my daughter spends the month of February being told she is loved and special because she was fearfully and wonderfully made by her creator and was so deeply loved by Him that he sent his Son to die for her.

Psalm 139:14 ESVĀ  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

My daughter has many wonderful traits, but I made a point to choose traits that I really want to encourage in her: her faith, her kindness, her curiosity, her joy.

We read each trait together everyday as we add the new traits to the door, so she gets to be reminded of each one. Then we continue to read them everyday until the end of February.

This tradition will build on the love we show her daily to create a memory of being valued for who she is. We can fill her love tank with pride and self-esteem based on the qualities and gifts God has given her.

Valentine’s Day Printable

And establish a good foundation for what true love looks like for the Valentine’s Days her future holds.

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I Disappointed my Daughter for Christmas

Yes, I deliberately disappointed my daughter for Christmas, and I think it was the right decision. But it was so hard to stick to my guns. Am I a mean mom?

Yes, I deliberately disappointed my daughter for Christmas, and I think it was the right decision.

But it was so hard to stick to my guns.

She had asked for a $5 set of orange and blue ponies with hair to brush and braid, a minion toy, a Barbie that rides a horse that really walks, and a big white horse like her friend has.

Every night for a week before Christmas, she reiterated her list.

I had shopped for her gifts months ahead of time. All the gifts were bought and wrapped. There would be no big white horse under the Christmas tree. I had disappointed my daughter.

My mommy heart wanted to search every website, race to the store, and spend more than I should just to see her overjoyed face Christmas morning. Yet, something said, no, this is a small lesson you can teach her now, for free.

Be happy with what you have. Disappointment brings a grateful attitude not an entitled one. Click To Tweet

We aren’t wealthy, but despite living on one income, we’ve been tremendously blessed to provide her with more than she could ever possibly need.

And she doesn’t understand real want.

I wonder if I’m doing her a disservice by not giving her more realistic expectations for life or age-appropriate growth opportunities.

She had fairly simple requests, but she didn’t need both horse toys. Her Nana had already bought her the Barbie Horse toy, and I didn’t want to overshadow it.

Plus, she was getting a pots & pans set and “Live” pet bird along with boxes of books, clothes, and educational games. She was getting too much already. I wanted fewer toys to spark interest and creativity, not overtake her imagination.

After all the gifts had been opened and we passed around the cards on the tree, including the White Envelope, I asked her, “Did you have a great Christmas?” I wondered if she even noticed.

She looked at the stack of presents around her, her face falling just a bit.Yes, I deliberately disappointed my daughter for Christmas, and I think it was the right decision. But it was so hard to stick to my guns. Am I a mean mom?

I disappointed my daughter for Christmas.

“Well, I didn’t get a big white horse . . . ”

“No, instead you got a tan horse with a barbie. You can’t get everything you want all the time. Maybe another time or you can save up for it.”

She wasn’t devastated. She was disappointed, for a rare time in her life.

And it was good for her. Learning to control her emotions is one of her personal challenges. One unnecessary gift gave her a chance to deal with disappointment on a tiny level and successfully overcome it, gain perspective, and learn to be grateful, not entitled.

While chasing the ethereal ‘perfect’ Christmas for each of my children, I forgot to consider the expectations and lessons I was teaching them. Getting everything you desire for Christmas isn’t reality. It’s commercialism.

Focusing on what really matters (Christ, family, friends, togetherness) is the lesson I really want to teach.

As I watched her process her emotions, she looked up and said, “It doesn’t matter. Jesus is the best gift of Christmas anyway.”

Lesson learned – for both of us.

Giving Tuesday

I found my heart for Giving Tuesday through these words, "Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours." - Teresa Avila

Today we started Advent, marking days toward the celebration of the greatest gift mankind has ever known, celebrating the birth of Christ. How fitting that this year, today is also Giving Tuesday.

We follow days of gluttony and excess, perhaps self-absorption and consumption with a sweet day of being focused on doing good.

How do you find your heart for Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday only started a few years ago, but is growing as more and more people recognize that we need to focus outside of ourselves.

While, a calendar day set to tell you to give can make it feel compulsory, God doesn’t specify what to give or who to give to, HeĀ  just says how – joyfully.

2 Corinthians 9:7 ESVĀ  “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

We give because He gave to us.

As a faithful steward of what God has given me, I use Charity Navigator to research charities to make sure they are really doing good things with the money we entrust to them.

And I give prayerfully, I can’t control the gift once it leaves my hands, but sometimes God asks us to have faith in the giving. We give to the struggling single mom who has taken her first baby-steps into Christ, or the homeless man who might not use it wisely. Sometimes God just says give.I found my heart for Giving Tuesday through these words, "Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours." - Teresa of Avila

Thinking about the beautiful watershed of grace covering me in His eyes through the blood of His son, Jesus, how could I not give, to share that joy by being the hands and feet of Christ.

Christ has no body but yours, No hands, no feet on earth but yours- Teresa of Avila Click To Tweet

I’m reminded of a poem, written in the 1500s by St. Teresa of Avila.

Christ Has No Body

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

I can only pray that people hear Him in my words, see Him in my hands. This poem has written itself across my heart as a reminder of my real place in this world.

If I want the world to see Jesus is real, I have to be their window into who He is.

And I strive to be a better friend, neighbor, mother. I want to be His hands when someone is struggling with a heavy door at the library or His heart when we sat and prayed at Pizza Hut for the person who stole the money out of my wallet,Ā  “if their need was great, that the money bless them, that God would open their heart to Jesus. To help us forgive.”

Even though Giving Tuesday is technically over, giving isn’t a day, or even a season, it is a constant place of knowing what a gift we’ve been given and just wanting to share it.