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This is the Real Work of a Christian Mother

Being a Christian mother was all I wanted, but now, sometimes, I find myself chasing my own agenda or earthly rewards, missing the real work God has for me.

Being a Christian mother was all I ever wanted, but now that I’m here, sometimes, I fashion myself a writer. I sit on my couch, mug of coffee brewing inspiration inside my head, believing that sharing my tiny words are worth the tedious hours buried behind my computer.

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I sometimes even believe that my writing is the noble work I’m doing with my present days.

I sweat ink and bleed commas and stumble my way through learning all this techno blogging rot to share my faith with the world. And feel accomplished when someone I don’t know reads and shares my post. I can get pretty puffed up about it.


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But over the past few months, I see God taking me through an obstacle course towards real humility, a complete laying down of self. And I realize, I may be doing the most noble work of my life as a Christian mother, not writer.

My writing isn’t so incredibly exceptional the world cannot do without it. The only thing that makes this blog worth reading is when God supersedes my ego and grabs hold of my keyboard, letting me write in desperate humility about my challenges and faith as a Christian mother.

Am I missing the REAL WORK of being a Christian mother focusing too much on my own agenda? Click To Tweet

Today was a day full of tiny chores: scrubbing the grimy counters again, dusting the creepy cobwebs, washing dishes, cooking meals then washing those dishes, teaching homeschool, and patient parenting when she wanted attention the second I started something else.

And I felt myself grumbling. Why do I have to do all of this busywork when I could be doing something more important? And I felt God nudge me rather harshly.

Being a Christian mother was all I wanted, but now, sometimes, I find myself chasing my own agenda or earthly rewards, missing the real work God has for me.

But this IS the real work of Christian motherhood!

Don’t you know that learning to serve, to clean, to do the hard work that no one notices is the REAL work, the real work on your heart.

You know how hard life has been lately? And you see the way I’m growing strength and perseverance in you through the hard and disappointing? You see how I’m building your faith and softening your spirit.

Don’t you realize how much motherhood builds Godly character?

So I climbed the ladder to make my stepsons’ bunk beds instead of asking my husband to do it. I searched the house for a missing wallet. Then did the laundry they left and a few more loads to boot. I cleaned the kitchen, started dinner, organized the Tupperware that would be a mess again in five minutes. I ate lunch with my daughter instead of rushing to do something “more important.”

God is teaching me what joyful, humble service looks like through being a Christian mother.

Jesus didn’t wash the disciples’ feet because they were dirty. He did it because humble service is important.

Jesus didn't wash the disciples' feet because they were dirty. Humble service is important. Click To Tweet

I’ve learned more about the heart of Christ cleaning toilets, picking up dirty underwear, and vacuuming floors than anything else I’ve done. Because real service serves not to be seen, but point, point to Jesus.

Except by God, He sees it all. And just when I needed reminding, this video came across my newsfeed. Makes me cry every time.

I will keep writing and planning for future seasons of life, but God has given me this brief season to be a Christian mother, learning and teaching faith, humility, and grace.

When God tests my life’s work as 1 Corinthians 3:10-14 teaches, I don’t want to have missed the REAL WORK God asked of me, building character and deep faith in myself and family.

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War Room – 3 Reasons Christians Should Watch

If you didn’t race to see War Room the week it was released and now aren’t sure you want to – Are you wondering why waste your precious quiet hours after bedtime on anything other than Hallmark’s countdown to Christmas?

Let me share my thoughts on War Room as a movie enthusiast, Christian, and mom who rarely gets to watch a movie in its entirety.

3 Reasons Christians Should Watch – WAR ROOM

1. It is Christ centered.

If you’re choosing between this and reading the Bible, pick the Bible!

But if you’re choosing between this and Scandal or Walking Dead, then put your focus on things worthy of attention (Phil. 4:8)

Mainstream media has become a toxic waste dump with more and more plot lines that are anti-God, portraying Christians as hateful hypocrites.

So, if you’re going to watch something, and most of us do . . .

Watch something that builds God up, that puts His name in our homes and on our tongues.

The last few weeks, my daughter and I have been watching Little House on the Prairie. At least the first seasons, most of the theology is sound. The characters face real struggles between believers, with sin, are counseled against pride and revenge. God and Jesus are mentioned regularly.

And I’m blown away that this show used to be on secular network television!

If we want more Christian media, we have to support Christian media. War Room is produced by Christians, the actors are Christians, the plot and story line focus on God and prayer.If you didn't rush out to watch War Room when it was released, and aren't sure you want to now, let me share 3 Reasons Christians Should Watch War Room.

2. Prayer matters

While many Christians struggle with some of the contrivances of the film,  (i.e. life is not often so neatly solved, and God doesn’t always answer our prayers in an easy or painless way), we can all suspend reality some for an overwhelmingly positive message about the importance of prayer. Jesus used fictional stories to instruct and inspire, called parables.

  • Many new believers considered prayer important for the first time.
  • Many non-believers heard God’s message through this film and Christian discussions.
  • Many Christians renewed their focus on prayer after this film.

I went home and made a WAR ROOM, did you?

And I’ve personally seen amazing answers to prayer in my own life. In our adoption journey, I literally wept and prayed about waiting for a child. When I finally prayed, “God it is your timing and I trust you. I will wait and accept your answer, even if it is NO” – I got a call less than two hours later we had been matched with a baby girl.

Sometimes God works in fantastical ways because He wants us to see miracles still happen.

3. It is GOOD.

All the main characters were convincing and human. It’s about a marriage struggling to survive modern life, a necessary message in our quick-to-quit society.

I laughed out loud a lot, like coke-up-the-nose laughter.

I cried. I went with the young woman I mentor in Christ, and we held hands, tears running down our cheeks through the ending.

Would all these events fit realistically into one person’s life within a few weeks? Probably not, but I felt much of the theology was sound, the movie was wholesome and truly entertaining in a time when finding both is nearly impossible.

And any movie that puts God and prayer at the center of the story is one I’ll be watching, what about you?

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Rejected Rock or Cornerstone

Do you ever struggle with feeling rejected? Between gossip and judgmental 'friends', we all do from time to time. But what is God's truth?

Do you ever feel rejected?

I have been really struggling with rejection the past few weeks: gossip, slander, unkind messages, ignored phone calls. Praying and working through this issue, I’ve realized feeling rejected has colored on the canvas of my entire life (but I’m in good company).

I remember being happy and confident as a child. Then the first day of kindergarten, I somehow didn’t fit. I was called cruel names. No one asked me to play during recess. A cruel boy ruined my new ‘cowboy’ boots in second grade when I left them in the coat room. I was rejected and bullied mercilessly throughout elementary and middle school.

Sophomore year, it eased up some as my braces came off and my hair grew out from an unfortunate Dorothy Hamill bob that was NEVER a good look. But rejection followed me to college, into adulthood, even as a military spouse. And I internalized being rejected as definitions of ME.

“I am weird.”

“I am unlikable.”

“I am ugly.”

“I am fat.”

“No one will ever really love me.”

“My thighs touch.”

“I always mess things up.”

“I’m a failure as a mother.”

“I’m not worth loving.”

“I’m not a good enough Christian.”

And Satan uses it all, whispering fiercely into my head and heart.

As Revelations 12:10 says, our enemy accuses us day and night. He is the constant liar.

Do you ever struggle with feeling rejected? Between gossip and judgmental 'friends', we all do from time to time. But what is God's truth?

Even just a few days ago, I lay sobbing from the painful sting yet again. If I am doing this Christ-thing right, why do people reject me? Am I even a good person? Am I a good mom? Am I a good Christian even though some people don’t like me?

1 Peter 2:4-8 ESV  As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”

I read this passage from 1 Peter and realized that I’m chosen and precious to Him. Then I wondered why am I giving these people so much power over my life? What gives them credibility? If it isn’t God, why am I listening!?!

1 Peter 2:4-8 'rejected by men, but in the sight of God chosen and precious. Oh <3 this! Click To Tweet

God chose ME as precious. He reached into my miserable little life and calls me beloved child. He is building me into a spiritual house. If I am being transformed by Him, their definitions do not matter.

“. . . whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

I am so easily manipulated by today. I forget that in the end God won’t let me be put to shame if I’m following His will for my life. Just keep taking one step toward Him each day, the rest will take care of itself.

Jesus was rejected and offended people; He made people angry. They rejected Him to the point of crucifixion. And He was perfect.

I’m not perfect. I can’t expect for everyone to love me. I sometimes have ‘openmouthinsertfoot-itis.’ I can keep growing as a person and Christian, but what I cannot keep doing is letting people dictate how I define myself when God already gave me His definition.

1 John 3:1-2 ESV “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”

God’s love defines me. He carves my beauty out of the mud and muck in which I’ve so long been mired.  The Master of the universe chose me before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4).

How dare I hold onto these labels of lies, of blame, and rejection, questioning who I am, when what I will be has not yet appeared?

Oh, the hope in that appearance, that I will someday appear like Him as I labor to be transformed by Him.

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The Faith of a Child

The faith of a child is magical. If we point them in His direction, God truly works in them in ways we cannot understand. Only if we all had such faith.

The faith of a child is magical. If we point them in His direction, God truly works in them in ways we cannot understand. If only we all had such faith.

I realized the incredible beauty in the sweet faith of a child as I watched my daughter developing her own.

I had renewed my commitment to Christ, but hadn’t quite allowed His grace to extend to my mothering. God convicted me that my “perfect” parenting meant I wasn’t letting God be in control of her life.

I was still trying to get it right my way!

For both of our sakes, I needed Him to intervene in my heart, so I could learn to share my faith with her in ways that make it living and active in her life.

Romans 10:17 ESV “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

To build the faith of a child, they needed to see and hear and live God’s word.

I had to demonstrate my faith daily, especially in front of my daughter, making a point to live out loud for Him, which meant talking my inner prayer dialogue with her.

Building the faith of a child required living mine more completely, more transparently. Click To Tweet

We talked about obeying God when I made hard choices, when I lost my temper, when we struggled with using our kind voices.

The faith of a child is magical. If we point them in His direction, God truly works in them in ways we cannot understand. Only if we all had such faith.

We thanked God for each new day, for sending His son. We read her bible together, and I spent more time in mine.

After awhile, she began asking questions like, “Do I have Jesus in my heart?” “Am I a Christian?”

I answered she is learning who God is, and when she is old enough to understand, she can choose to ask Jesus into her heart.

With the innocent faith of a child, she asked to do it then, but I wasn’t sure if she really understood.

She was so little, only 4. She didn’t even understand the days of the week yet. How could I let her make this huge decision so young?

How young is too young to make a decision for Christ? Should we ask them to wait? #faithofachild Click To Tweet

Proverbs teaches,

Proverbs 22:6 ESV “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I became a Christian at 6, but have turned away from my faith many times. Only God’s grace has brought me back, and I really want to show her a faith that avoids falling away.

I really want her to know God’s love and Christ’s redemption, but I had concerns about her actual comprehension of what it all means.

But when she asked again a few months later, I could hear Jesus tell me not to turn her away from wanting to follow Him.

Even when Jesus was exhausted and weary, he would not turn away the children.

Mark 10:13-16 ESV “And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.”

Maybe she doesn’t quite understand yet all the details, but she knows she loves Jesus. And when Jesus said to let the children come to Him, He further taught that we adults should should strive to have the faith of a child ourselves.

So, we stopped eating lunch and prayed together.

“Dear Lord, she wants Jesus to be her savior, to come into her heart. If this is her time to come to you, Lord, please draw her close to and continue to work in her heart. If not, stay close and protect her until she’s truly ready.”

Then I let her pray what she wanted to say. “Dear Jesus, I want you in my heart to help keep the ‘debil’ out and God in me so I know how to not be naughty.” It was sweet and beautiful.

I don’t know if it was truly her decision day, but I don’t believe choosing Jesus is a magical formula of a single prayer. It is a daily life-long dying to our flesh and choosing Jesus as savior.

For now, I have to just keep living my witness; being real in my need for forgiveness when I fail.

Titus 2:7-8 “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned…”

 And celebrate with the angels over my sweet daughter tonight.

Luke 15:10 ESV “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Wish I could have heard the singing. I can only imagine.

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The Best Medicine

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If you’ve been reading my blog entries, you may have the impression that I am very serious, which is not the whole truth. I am very serious about being Godly. I take following God’s word very seriously. I seriously want to know what God’s word says about how I should think and live and be, and I seriously want people to know about Jesus, but I LOVE to laugh, which comes in handy as a mom.

God gave us the ability to laugh, to be full of joy. He even told us how to heal the wounds of a fallen world.

Proverbs 17:22 “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Nowhere else in my life has the need for a joyful spirit and the desire to laugh been more important than in my parenting. I mean, let’s be real. Parenting, even for Jesus, is full of puke and poop, sharp as heck Legos, and spilled milk. We can choose to cry over it or laugh. While the mess is the hard part as parents, it is how we handle it that will give our children the tools to handle the messes in their lives. I would much rather my child laugh and smile and learn to do it better next time instead of be frightened to ever make a mistake.

If we face facts, little kids can be irritating. They don’t obey. They seemingly work in reverse to any actual goal you’ve asked of them. My child is up and awake and cheery, except any day I want to go anywhere or have anything I need to do. The absolute converse reaction to what needs to happen is so absolute that it defies the laws of physics.

Yesterday, my husband was taking her into the woods on a little excursion, and she had put on her own shoes, on the wrong feet, yet again.

Daddy, on correcting her shoes again, was getting a little frustrated, “What are you doing? It goes against the odds. You can’t possibly get this wrong 100% of the time.”

She piped up, “Yes, I can.”

Her answer was so genuine that we all just laughed. Instead of being stressed about getting her out of the door, we were all able to laugh and enjoy this incredibly brief moment in time. She is only going to be adorable and funny like this for a short time. And sometimes you have to just let her walk around with her shoes on the wrong feet and laugh about it.

Maybe not everyone’s child is like mine, but when I get frustrated or short tempered, it pretty much short circuits her completely. The harder and firmer I get with her, the more she is like a robot on repeat, “Does not compute.” I literally can get NOWHERE with her. But if I laugh, make her laugh, make it fun, celebrate the silliness instead of the reality of mushy cereal or goop in her hair, she is almost instantly back in the game, up and running. Everyday, I see how much a joyful spirit makes a difference in her, when I have one toward her, and when I see her have one toward life.

Just a couple of days ago, I was combing her hair to get out the door for the day. It was bath day, but we usually save bath time for right before bed, so her hair wasn’t as easy to comb as usual. If you’ve never tried to comb a 4 year old’s hair, I’m not sure I can describe the torture effectively, so bear with me. My child has straight hair, stick straight, so it really gets very small knots unless it has hung into her food. But the second I pick up her comb, she starts to snivel. “Be very careful,” she pleads. I grip her hair to cushion every stroke, but still she screams and cries and carries on as if I were murdering her. Yes, even after anti-tangle spray and starting gently at the ends, child protective services would seriously wonder about us if they were only listening to her cries. I have immense sympathy for any parent of a curly-headed child.

But this day, she was definitely playing it up, and out of exasperation, I cried, “Man, you have a lot of gunk in your hair! I don’t even know what that is,” mentally running down what she had eaten since her last bath less than 48 hours ago.

“Probably potatoes,” she chirped, and I chuckled because she answered a rhetorical question so matter-of-factly, plus, we hadn’t had any potatoes in weeks. Then she added, “or maybe chimpanzees.”

Hilarious! I couldn’t hold back the cackling laughter. Her eyes lit up. She laughed with me, instantly calmed, and we were able to finish combing her hair without any further drama. I was able to find the joy in this tiny human who sees the world so completely differently than I do, in such a magical way that chimpanzees in her hair was a completely reasonable explanation. And my whole day was brighter because I remembered to celebrate the joyful moment instead of get frustrated at the challenges.

Because really, parenting is challenge after challenge. Letting these momentary struggles frustrate me would just destroy my family and the haven I am trying to create for my children and hard-working husband. Plus getting angry and complaining all the time would certainly destroy any witness in my life.

It isn’t always easy. Bedtime is one of the hardest for me. I’ve been patient and kind and even-tempered all day, then it is 8 o’clock, and I’m struggling to get through the routine without crying myself.

About a year ago, I was tiredly dragging myself to put her to bed when she decided that she was afraid of all the dinosaurs in her room. I summoned all my patience to explain that dinosaurs are extinct, what extinction meant, how TV and movies make them seem alive, but they are just fancy drawings or computer images, etc. I was really sure I had helped her with all my logical reasoning to understand that there was simply no way dinosaurs could be in her room. I kissed her goodnight one more time and left the room. The second I shut the door, she shouted, “OK, dinosaurs, do not eat me!” We now have a water bottle we use as anti-dinosaur/monster/bear spray so she feels her room has been adequately cleansed. Plus when I ‘accidentally’ spray her, she laughs, diffusing her fears.

Ecclesiastes 3 is a good reference about the balance of life. We are going to experience joy and sorrow in turns.

Ecclesiastes 3:4   “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”

After spending the last year mostly being unable to walk, I lost my ability to dance. Despite trying to have a brave face, I mourned my physical disability and its limitations a lot. So now that I’m finally healing, when she asks me to dance randomly, usually when I’m in the middle of something, I try to always say yes. We jump and jive, twirl and flop, and dance like no one is watching just for the joy of the music and being together. Laughing together. Never underestimate the power of being silly with your children! Even just 5 minutes can change the direction of the rest of the day.

I have days I watch the news and am legitimately frightened that I will very soon start sending her out into this broken, Godless world. I won’t be there to protect her, cushion every blow, guard her tender heart. Taking care that I laugh and dance with her when I can is important. The happiness and joy we can store up now may tide us through lean times. Plus, she is learning to laugh at the spilled milk of life which is a good lesson for us all about the God given, best medicine there is.