What are some ways you’ve learned how to extend grace to your babes?
Tons of grace-filled resources found here.
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“Developing deep relationships with our children and teaching them how to relate to others require time in both quantity and quality. We need to be available to provide love and care when our children need it, not just when our schedule permits.” – Sally Clarkson
“…for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” Galatians 6:7
I have actually avoided chapter seven of The Mission of Motherhood after reading Sally make reference to Galatians 6:7 in the beginning of the chapter. I knew if I pressed on and read her words ringing with truth, I would need to step up my game when it comes to intentional parenting…and that’s hard to do because I am one selfish woman.
Finally I read it, and the truth is, I find such freedom in the fact that while I can’t predict the future choices of my children or mold them into who I want them to be, I can love them well. I can accept them, nurture them, train them, heap grace upon them, and give them what they need: time. Because I have all the time in the world, really. It’s why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom, so my focus could fully be on my family and so I could catch the moments that the mundane brings...the moments my children need me most.
But friends, I fail.
I get caught up in my own stuff, because it’s really hard for me to do the boring things my babes like to do. Like play ponies.
Every day my little girl just wants me to play ponies with her.
And I need to. Because if I don’t give her the time now, why on earth will she give me time later? (Remember Galatians 6:7?)
“Simply being with them, enjoying their comany, playing whatever game they choose for us to play (even another round of Candyland!) matters most ot our children and best fosters a loving relationship with them.” P. 126
“Though children are rightly told to honor their parents, it is certainly easier to honor those parents who have shown honor to their own children by doing what it takes to build a relationship.” P. 123
My children are so important to me, and gaining their trust and honor so that I have a meaningful say into their lives trumps my selfish desires.
So tomorrow, ponies it is.
Come back tomorrow for part 2. (If you subscribe, the article will show up right in your inbox! Fancy that!)
Woo hoo! It’s FREE video time with TommyNelson – grab your babes and check out their latest video!
Back by popular demand…the Raising Generations necklace!
For the grand opening of my new shop, I am selling the Raising Homemakers necklace for 30% off!
I am having this sale starting today and ending on Friday the 15th at midnight. I have already marked the necklace down from $32 to $22 on the website. Shipping is only $2.50.
Once the sale ends I will pick two people at random to receive their money back and get the necklace for FREE!
(You can pay using Paypal! Hurray!)
*The winners of the book are:
God has given us all talents and skill sets that we can (and should!) us for His glory. The book The Boy Who Changed The World teaches our children to do just that. By walking in faithfulness to what the Lord has given us, we have the ability to change lives, and to change the world. Please watch the video so I can share with you why this book enamored me so!
Today I’ve got THREE copies of this book for THREE different winners!
Just head on over here and then come back and leave a comment. So easy. :)
The usual. Tweet, Facebook, Email friends, write a post, follow TommyNelson on Twitter, etc. etc. etc. You know the deal! Leave a separate comment for each thing you do!
If you would like some FREE Curriculum for The Boy Who Changed the World…<—-click that link! ;)
Contest open until Friday the 17th at 11:59pm EST. Open to EVERYONE!!!!!!!
Thank you to Like a Warm Cup of Coffee’s official sponsor, Tommy Nelson, for sending me this book – it is a gem!
“He uses our willingness and our efforts, then fills in the gaps of our inadequacies, to prepare their hearts for what he has in mind.” Sally Clarkson
I was speaking with a friend the other week and we were talking about parenting and how we want so badly to do it well. She said something that profoundly affected my viewpoint on God, my weaknesses, and His grace: “I’m praying that God stands in the gap where I fall short.” Hearing her say those words was like a long-awaited for breeze drying off a summer sweat. They were so hope filled. Yes, God wants to see my children walking with Him, and He will use my efforts, and I believe He will stand in the gap when I fall short.
Sally’s message in chapter five of The Mission of Motherhood conveyed the hope in my friend’s words.
I also found such sweetness when she reminded me about what is really important: “I don’t just want my kids to be moral. I don’t just want them to know all of the biblical rules for behavior. I don’t just want them to make it through my home with good grades, no drug addition, and no premarital sex. I want them to leave my home with a hunger and passion to know God personally and to be used by him to accomplish great things for his kingdom.” My goal as a parent is to be as intentional as possible when it comes to discipling my children, not because I can predict their outcome, but so that when they are grown and gone I can approach the throne of grace and say, “Lord, I did my best with your strength. I gave my time, talents, energy and heart to raising my children to your glory.”
And it does take time. So much time.
Time that I would often rather take for myself (such a daily struggle for me!). But then I look to Jesus and He gives me the perfect example of how to disciple my children well…
“Jesus didn’t meet with his disciples once a week for Bible study and then say, “I’ll see you next week!” He gave his disciples his whole life.” M.O.M, P. 87
With three small children, I know I have a long road ahead of me. One that requires much sacrifice on my part, but one that will no doubt wake me one day as I look back on how fast it all actually went. This is the time, the season. I know God is continually, gently, guiding me to persevere, have vision, and keep my eyes on the path He’s pointed me towards. He is my shepherd; He is my children’s shepherd, and He stands in the gap with a mercy that makes the spirit inside me swell with gratitude and peace.
“I do not have to be a perfect mom – just an authentic believer.” M.O.M, P. 87
If you are reading along, what stood out to you in this chapter?
New article on TommyNelson.com: Are you a selfish parent?
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“To have significant energy for the task, we must make the choice to embrace motherhood wholeheartedly.”
I am desperate for my children’s hearts.
There is nothing I want more for my children then for them to know Jesus and walk in the truth…nothing. So if I have to give my life – my time, desires, energy – to get a hold of their hearts, I’m going to do it. It is a battle because I am selfish and crawling with flesh, but I’m not giving up.
Chapter four of The Mission of Motherhood was so significant for me…so convicting…such perfect timing as God has been laying on my heart the truth of eternity and time. Here are some passages that spoke directly to my spirit (I found myself underlining like crazy in this chapter!):
“But it’s the way I respond to my children in everyday moments that gives me the best chance of winning their hearts.”
“Not only had he [Jesus] told them [His disciples] that whoever wanted to be first must be a servant to all, but he had also shown them personally what servant leadership was all about.”
*A note on obedience that really struck me – Sally talked about how Jesus modeled obedience and right behavior and good character and how that is the most effective way to reach our children. I don’t model these things very well when it comes to obeying my husband. I argue to much, smile too little, throw out eye rolls and sarcasm way too often. Somehow my husband gets tossed aside as though he can deal with himself while I focus on the babes. How sad and so far from the truth! My husband needs me; I complete him. I need to love him, be kind to him, and give him my firsts. I know, this is a “duh” thing, but something I still struggle with.
“When we choose to graciously overlook our children’s messes and accidents we are teaching them to be patient and forgiving with the mistakes of others.”
“I have already made a decision to make myself available in the routine tasks and myriad interruptions of daily life because I believe it is God’s will for me to serve my family through them. Making this choice ahead of time means I will expect problems and needs to arise and be ready to deal with them in peace instead of impatience and resentment.”
“…the future is not where real life began. Each day was God’s perfect will for me.”
“Children, by definition, take up our time. They’re supposed to do that; it’s the way God made them.”
“I was called to give up my rights simply out of my love for Jesus.”
The Challenge I’m Taking
Make a list of some things your children like you to do with them but aren’t necessarily fun for you…Commit to saying yes to their requests instead of no, knowing that if you invest in what is important to them, they will be open to believing in what is important to you.
How are you reaching your children’s hearts?
Tonight I am hosting a Red Letter Words Twitter party from 9-10pm EST. No RSVP needed, just come and have fun and win some art! Hashtag: #redletterwords
My daughter will be five years old next month.
All my life of dreamed of being a mother and all the wonderful adventures I’d have with my children. I dreamed of caring for a home of my own, drenching it in love, hospitality, and joy. When I worked at Barnes & Noble during college I would linger around the children’s section unpacking my future days with all the books and crafts and learning we would do together. I imagined pig tails bouncing up and down while picking pumpkins. Picnics with blankets and baskets, hours of reading books from the library, family outings…all these things occupied my mind while hope for the future swelled in my heart.
It is nearly five years since my first little one was laid in my arms; a sweet baby girl who had no idea about the plans I held deep within.
It has gone by so fast…
So fast in fact, that with other babies and cleaning and life I lost some of my dream and got caught up in another one. It started slowly, this budding drive in me to create. Instead, however, of creating the dreams I held for my family, I started creating something that seemed to fill the long and lonely toddler days.
I started to blog.
A little bit at first, with just a personal family blog. Then came Like a Warm Cup of Coffee. Then came affirmation. Then came money. Then came pseudo popularity. Then came addiction. Then came more and more and more….
Then came obligation.
Now I’m a little sad, and a little lost…and I miss my original dream.
“In that moment the two conflicted drives of my heart stood out in stark contrast-my commitment to motherhood versus my lurking desire to have life my own way.” P. 45
As I read through the third chapter in Mission of Motherhood, again I was struck with a theme: a divided heart.
Oh I often find myself in the familiar arena of selfishness and self-will. My darlings become an interruption; they have just too many needs, too much conflict…they just need me too much.
Wait, they do need me too much, and that is the way God made it. I am to lay down my life for them. I am to teach and train and love them as they grow through all the stages God intended for them to walk through.
“More and more, I have learned to see my children though the eyes of God and to accept the stages of growth through which he has designed them to grow.” P. 54
Why do I fight this calling on my life? I know why, sin. I have a sin nature just yearning to be free from responsibility…aching to live my way in my time frame. My little ones have the same sin nature (we all do), and it is my job at this time to help them take control of it through His strength. If I am to teach them the importance of reigning in our sin nature, delaying gratification, and laying down our our desires for the pleasing will of God, then I had better be a diligent model of what I’m preaching (again, through His strength).
A commitment to motherhood.
A full out, full-time joy commitment to raising eternal souls for the glory of God.
I’m in the fight to die to myself every day…and oh what a fight it is!
But I love my babes, and I love my calling and I love my God. It is all worth it.
“If a woman chooses to stay at home with her children, she has the opportunity of nursing her baby in the peacefulness of her own home, caressing her precious little one, singing sweet lullabies to comfort and please the child’s deepest emotional desires. She can offer them the restfulness of long, quiet naps in their own bedrooms. She has time to enrich the home environment with beautiful sights and smells – from the aromas of homemade soup bubbling on the stove to the beautiful pictures in books-and arrange outings that foster budding intellects and awaken curiosity. And she has the flexibility to change her schedule to respond to teachable moments-those times when children’s natural curiosity leads them to question and learn. Best of all, when a mother chooses to stay home, she has the time and opportunity to craft the kind of relationship with her young children that only extended time together can foster.” P. 48
If you’re reading along, would you leave a comment letting me know what stood out to you in this chapter?
Photo Credit: Divided Heart by The Show Must Go On
I also like there Duggar House Guidelines.
The fruit of the Spirit art print can be found here.