Don’t Miss Life Waiting for it to Happen

I needed a reminder this morning, so I thought I’d remind you too–all too often I miss life!

Aren’t we usually waiting for something? The next activity, the next appointment, the next break? And we have this false idea that life is a certain kind of moment or event.

But most of life is composed of ordinary moments. How often do I not only miss those, but even ruin them? If I’m too busy preparing for the next thing, then it’s easy to get interrupted in the now. And interruptions cause frustrations; and frustrations cause words and attitudes that do not reflect the kindness of God.

What if stopping to tie a shoe–for the 6th time, was something I saw, not as an interruption, but an opportunity to stop what I’m doing, smile at my little one, and while I’m tying, speak into his heart: “I hope you know how glad I am that you live here.”

Or a potty training moment was seen as a privilege, sharing a milestone in my child’s life–something not everyone gets to do.

What if all those “interruptions” are not interruptions at all, but God’s divine appointments in the ordinary, to test my heart, to see if my treasure is where it should be?

How many smiles are left “unsmiled“? How many sunsets left unshared? How many hurt feelings left unsoothed? Hugs left unhugged? Questions left unanswered?

I’ve said it before, but Jesus’ last “spectacular” act, was anything but spectacular. But spectacular does not equal important. “Wash each other’s feet.” Do the small things. Willingly. Happily. With a heart of love.

Oh that I would remember that as I pour myself into this Mother Work!

“In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:19


Getting Your Children to Obey

I received this email last week and it is not unlike many I have received, in addition to questions from young mammas in my real life. Perhaps you can relate:

“Kelly,

I am frustrated and I don’t know who to talk to. I have two small children, 3 and 5. They are good kids, but lately I stay impatient and seem to lose my temper over silly things. They obey sometimes but usually not until I raise my voice. But they know what their [sic] supposed to do, so that’s why I get frustrated. I want to enjoy my children, but lately I don’t. I feel sad and know this isn’t the way God meant for it to be. Do you have any suggestions?

Sincerely,

(Name withheld)”

When the Bible talks about children being a blessing, it doesn’t come without a parent’s responsibility to train them in the way they should go. It takes time, commitment and patience. I am so sad when I see young parents not enjoying their children because they have simply failed to implement some basic child-training that would bring joy to both them and their children, and allow them to have the kind of loving relationship God intended.

In a nutshell, parents are responsible for setting healthy boundaries for their children, establishing consequences for disobedience and being consistent. This is a loving thing and should be a priority for parents who desire to help their children grow into mature, healthy adults.

Unfortunately, there are so many opinions of child-rearing floating around that are unbalanced in one direction or another. The Bible calls for a balanced approach, and this is what we must seek.

Six years ago I wrote Getting Your Children to Obey and recently I revised it and added a new section with Scripture to addresses different character issues. (The book is also now only $3.97, $2 off the original price!)

If you want further reading and study on this important topic, I think you’ll find this book extremely helpful.

BUY NOW


A Woman’s Function in Society From Home (G.K. Chesterton)

And here, Chesterton makes a profoundly important point, almost completely lost in our society, to our detriment. Oh where are the voices who will keep proclaiming the infinitely important work to do at home that cannot be done by another?

“Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren’t. It would be odd if she retained any of the narrowness of a specialist. Now if anyone says that this duty of general enlightenment (even when freed from modern rules and hours, and exercised more spontaneously by a more protected person) is in itself too exacting and oppressive, I can understand the view. I can only answer that our race has thought it worth while to cast this burden on women in order to keep common-sense in the world. But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean. When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets, cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.” -G.K. Chesterton


God is Just Using Us

One of my greatest epiphanies as a mother who often feels overwhelmed was reading about Moses.  I shared my epiphany in the post, Moses and Motherhood:  The Beauty of Broken Vessels.

Today I had to rally up that same courage again so I gave myself a shot in the arm with a condensed version. Maybe you need one too:

“Moses, I want you to go tell Pharaoh to let My people go.”

(chuckles) “Lord, in case you haven’t noticed, I am one man and Pharaoh has thousands, and I don’t think he’s in the mood to just “let Your people go”…besides that, I have a speech impediment.  Not qualified–too hard–can’t do it.”

“Moses, how smug of you to think I’m depending on YOU to do it.  I AM that I AM.  I will do it, I’m just using you as an instrument.”

When we understand that we are instruments in His hand and when we fully grasp that He is doing something really big through us–through our children, through our husbands, through our families, churches and communities–we can march ahead with confidence. He chose us! Full of impediments. Full of fear and weakness and fully human.

He knows our limitations and He still says, “Go, and I’ll work miracles through you.”

Sometimes I need to stop arguing with God about how inadequate I am and start facing my challenges with the unstoppable resolve of having I Am at my side.

 


There IS Something We Can Do For Our Fellow Persecuted Christians (The ISIS Crisis)

Alone we are just a single voice but together we can be the collective voice of our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria telling the world what is happening and how we can help!”

 

I will be honest with you: I’ve seen the headlines about the unthinkable atrocities going on in Iraq and Syria and I have avoided them as much as I’ve been able. I haven’t read the stories and I have even averted my eyes from the pictures.

It’s not because I don’t care deeply. It’s because I care too deeply and up until now, I have thought there is absolutely nothing I can do to change the situation; so to keep myself from being mentally and emotionally tortured by the internalization I tend to do of tragedy, I have avoided it.

But that’s not what Scripture commands: “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:9

And thanks to the joint efforts put together by some fellow bloggers, there is something we can do now–all of us, including you.

We can be their voice. It’s one of the huge blessings of the Internet. We can give money and encourage others to do the same, raising awareness and using the power of social media to fund the mission efforts in these countries seeking to provide food, shelter and other necessities to Christians fleeing from the brutal persecution.

This is what the Food for the Hungry campaign is about:

FH campaign is focused specifically on helping refugees fleeing the fighting in Iraq and Syria. FH is partnering with Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD) which works with the local church in the Middle East to help those fleeing the ISIS onslaught to find safety and shelter.

$125 – Provides one week of emergency food rations to 10 people to guard against malnutrition
$65 – Ensures that three families receive essential hygiene items, including a bucket, jerry can, soap, and disinfectant
$22 – for one family for hygiene items

For a real-life peek into what many of these families are going through as they flee for their lives:

There are 2 ways I’m asking you to consider helping:

1. You can give here now.

2. You can share this post, the video, and the link for giving as often and in as many places as possible over the Internet.

All our voices, united together, helping our brothers and sisters. This is what it means to “visit those in affliction.” Will you be a voice?


Mom Life Hack: Teaching Diligence

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” Proverbs 21:5

Moms freak out. I know, I am one. Some days it feels like there are 5,350 important things to do, all at one time. And homeschooling moms can feel like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders just carrying around the burden of educating their children, besides all the other stuff to do in life.

Sometimes I have to regroup and remind myself of the really important things in life. And there are quite a few. But when it comes to preparing my children for the future, I can simplify my efforts by going back to a few basic things, one of which is teaching diligence.

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29

In a word, Scripture says that a diligent man will be successful.

Diligence is concentration, thoroughness and persistence. And in a culture where instant, fast and easy prevails, diligence is hard to find, and harder to attain.

But we can be deliberate about diligence in our homes and put our children far ahead.

Encouraging them when they face a difficult task, requring them to redo a careless job and praising them for their perseverance are ways we can help them grow in diligence.

Also, begining early is important. Not only can we expect our young children to be diligent in an age-appropriate task, but they thrive on the realization that they are a meanginful part of the family.

My 3 year old wanted to help me with supper last night and cut up tomatoes. I first told him he would have to wait until he’s older because he’s too young to use the knife. But I remembered a dull point knife with just enough serrated edge to cut a tomato that would be safe for him and told him he could try. He sawed away, announcing to all his big brothers and sisters that he was helping make dinner. A small thing for sure, but I praised him for seeing the job through to the end and for his willingness to help and serve.

Limiting their entertainment has important consequences. First, it forces them to do things with their hands–an opportunity to perservere and to find reward in work and productivity. Also, it helps them develop a stronger and longer attention span. They will read more, imagine more, think more, create more and relate more when their access to entertainment is limited.

Teaching diligence doesn’t just set our children up for success though; it is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself. If you take the time (and it does take time) to teach your children to be thorough and persistent, it will pay off for you down the road.

Little by little, daily reminders and encouragment and purposeful parenting will grow into big rewards for them and you.


 


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