(from a new mom’s perspective)

*originally posted May 2015

We want the older, more experienced mothers to put their arms around us and tell us things are going to be okay. We want to know you also took thousands of trips in and out of the auditorium when your children were small. We want to hear that your (now) teenager tried the lay-in-the-floor-screaming-fit thing too. We want to know your 6-foot-tall son wouldn’t eat meat or vegetables when he was five either. We want to hear that it’s not the end of the world if we have frozen pizza night once (or even twice) a week. Basically, we want to know that things are not as bad as they may seem to us right now. We want to know that “this too shall pass.” We need to hear that you lived through this, we can too.

We want occasional praise. I don’t mean we expect you to stand on the rooftops and proclaim what great moms we are. We don’t want to see our good deeds posted all over Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site of your choice-that isn’t the reason we do them-but we could use some encouragement from those of you who are older & wiser. Send us a card to tell us that you’ve noticed the good manners our children have. Tell us you appreciate us for bringing our children to class and that you can tell we’re working with them at home on memory verses (or just sitting still in their seats!). Commend us for being modest examples in the way we dress. The list of ways to encourage one another is endless!

We want you to back us up. We need you to encourage our children to respect us. When you teach them in Bible classes or when you talk to them in the halls, remind them they are blessed with parents who are trying to bring them up in the Lord.

We want to know your secrets. Please, please, please share these with us. We need to know how you found time to spend in Bible study when you had young ones. We want a copy of an easy casserole or soup. We want to know ways you found to save money. Tell us about games you played with your children. Remind us that dress-up costs nothing and that sandwiches are much more appealing when sliced with cookie cutters. Share the fact that you have a special chair only for reading books to your grandchildren in. Give us a book that helped you get through bed rest when you were pregnant. You might think it insignificant, but it just might be the difference between a good or bad day for us.

We want you to pray for us and then tell us when you do. Pray that we will be the kind of mothers God wants us to be. Pray that we are able to set godly examples for our children. Pray that we are able to help our husbands be the leader of the home God designed him to be. Pray that you will be able to be an encouragement to us in word & deed-and pray that we can be the same for you.

Finally, we want reminders. Remind us that there is no such thing as Supermom. Remind us when we are frustrated because we cannot accomplish everything we want to that we’re accomplishing what is most important-the years to come will bring plenty of time for new projects. Remind us that although we find it hard to believe right now, one day we will miss repeating one sentence ten times. We will miss those millions of “why” questions. We will miss naptime snuggles and clean baby smells. We will miss being able to hold them in our arms. We will miss being the center of their whole world. Remind us to treasure every second we are blessed to spend with our little ones, so that when we become the ones able to give the advice we have no regrets, only precious memories.

To the many Christian moms I have been blessed to learn from-I am forever grateful.

 

 

It goes without saying that I am extremely thankful for the mothers who influenced my younger years and words could not even begin to express the gratitude I feel for the woman who gave me my life’s blood. I’ve shared some of those feelings in past years and even if I were to write about those amazing women every single year, I feel certain I could never truly give them the credit they are due. But this year, I’m not necessarily writing as much to them as I am to these women who are currently on this motherhood journey with me. After joining the ranks of motherhood five years ago, I developed a new found appreciation for those women who invested their time in me years ago, and while I will always feel a debt to them I will never fully repay, I don’t currently get to see them down in the trenches. Being able to glean from their wisdom and listen to past experiences is a valuable resource, but it’s not the only one I’m thankful for.

I’m thankful for my motherhood sisters-those friends who are doing this mom thing right here, right now, right beside me. The ones who are currently experiencing the joy and frustration of raising little people to grow into who God wants them to be. The ones who share their latest and greatest finds from the best sippy cups to diaper bags. The ones who ask for my prayers and pray for me. The ones who pray for my children. The ones who meet us for playtime and the ones dedicated enough to take playtime away when attitudes aren’t what they should be. The ones brave enough to be real and demonstrate hospitality, even in a Pinterest-perfect world. The ones who meet to have bible studies together. The ones who acknowledge that different methods can sometimes still lead to the same results. The ones who offer their undivided attention to my children along with their own. The ones who refuse to treat other moms as competitors, but rather sisters. The ones continually striving to keep their husband the top priority-which is no small task here in momland. The ones who lend an ear and offer a shoulder when the rough times hit. The ones who find time to still write encouraging blog posts. The ones who make sure you feel special on your birthday.  The ones who powered through that vacation where everyone had the stomach bug and lived to tell about it. The ones who gather supplies for neighbors who experience a crisis, provide food for potluck dinners, and shower moms-to-be with everything they will need for new babies. The ones who point others toward the one who provides all our strength. To the moms in my village. To the moms walking beside me as we strive to make our way to our heavenly home – carry on and keep drinking all the coffee. We’re in this together and I couldn’t ask for better companions.

 

Let the Light In.

 

Hate seems to be running rampant and fear is almost tangible in our society-in our world right now. Flags seem permanently positioned at half mast, while common courtesy seems to have become a lost art; and manners, well they are almost unheard of. One of the worst parts? The media seems more than content to continually dwell and foster these negative stories, but focusing on the darkness only breeds more hate. more fear.

Standing up to it? That requires love and light.

In 1940, Sarah Ophelia Colley was about to make her debut appearance at the Grand Ole Opry.  Her fear must have been evident, because Judge Hay remarked, “You’re scared, aren’t you honey?” When she confirmed his suspicions, he replied, “Just love them, honey, and they’ll love you right back.” Ophelia Colley never forgot that advice and that-coupled with the advice from her father to always keep her character kind-made Minnie Pearl a household name that still brings joy and laughter to so many.

Judge Hay echoed the words of Jesus when he advised Ophelia those many years ago. The answer is always love. Love in response to fear, in response to hate, in response to persecution.

Love is the only way to let the light in.

Independence Prayers

 

As this weekend approaches, my mind is focused on our country. I remember the numerous sacrifices required to provide the freedom we enjoy. I pray for the families whose loved ones gave the ultimate sacrifice. I think of those in other countries who are not enjoying this same freedom and wonder how long this country will retain such a blessing.  I pray the sacrifices given to make this country what it is will never be in vain. I pray we will never lose our respect for those who saw the importance of such a sacrifice and willingly made it. I pray for this country. I pray for its people.

-for the high school graduate who just enlisted

-for those who are waiting for loved ones to come home

-for the dad who surprises his son after a two year tour in Iraq

-for the couple deployed separately

-for the wife of who meets her husband coming home in flag covered casket

-for the soldier who sits in a wheelchair after three tours in Afghanistan

-for the mothers who kneel by their beds and pray for the safety of their children

-for the eighty year old widow who is handed a flag as her husband of sixty years is laid to rest

-for the grandchildren who know their grandfather solely from stories told beside a memorial flag and army snapshot

-for those who loved ones rest at Arlington

-for the tear stained faces that say goodbye to a dad as he boards an Iraq-bound plane

-for the mom who makes sure things keep running on track while that dad is on a tour

-for the celebrities who are humble enough to point admirers to the true heroes…

the ones in uniform

-for those who put their lives on the line everyday and for those who stand behind them.

We thank you. We remember you. We pray for you. Always.

Little Things

Little things matter. Murmuring seems like a small thing, yet it was big enough to keep the Israelites wandering in the wilderness an extra forty years. It was big enough be addressed by Paul in 1 Cor. 10:1-2. Murmuring is a small step that if left untreated, leads to much larger problems such as hard-heartedness and hard-heartedness doesn’t happen overnight. It is a gradual process. It starts with the small things. Good and evil both multiply with compound interest. We recognize that, without the little things, the big things are nonexistent and yet sometimes we still tire of doing the little things, or fall into the misconception that small things don’t matter. Reaching our goal of heaven is a lifetime of single, small steps on the straight and narrow path. Even the work of the church can be broken down into a multitude of small works, and these seemingly small works are exactly what encourages us to keep taking those steps toward our eternal home. What an incredibly blessing and encouragement it is to witness and take part in these “little works.”

-a genuine love and concern for one another

-lessons applicable to the young, the old and everyone in between

-“extra milers” making visitors and new members feel like family

-retirees who’ve simply “retired” to another work

-leadership concerned about membership and vice versa

-wisdom passed down from the more experienced

-elders, teachers and leaders graciously accepting requests and input

-handwritten notes (& baked goods) to welcome new members

-teenagers including the church in their future plans

-a willingness to address the hard topics

-brethren lifted to the throne room of Heaven in prayer

-striving to make the most of the resources God has given

-parents with the main goal of getting their children to heaven

-constant prayer for brethren in other countries

-a commitment to teaching the truth

-grandmothers putting their arms of wisdom around young mothers and offering loving encouragement

-a desire to work-regardless of the task

-elders who encourage young families to keep doing a great job

-members of all ages quoting the books of the bible together

-ladies striving to follow the example of the virtuous woman

-members working together rather than in competition

-a common goal: heaven

A Page from Our Family Scrapbook

 

I have been immensely blessed to have faithful Christian mothers in my life and in honor of this holiday weekend, I’m sharing a few lessons (I’m still learning) from the mothers in my life.

Lesson one. Never be too busy to make others feel important by sharing your most precious gift-your time. This advice comes from a woman who raised six children and didn’t live in the age of automatic dishwashers, vacuum cleaners or modern day washers and dryers. This was truly a woman with a never-ending to-do list yet she always found the time to sit and just listen to whoever needed to share.

Lesson two comes from a lady who didn’t always have very much in the material-wise, but she was a joy to be around because she could always find a reason to laugh. Whether it was a pair of mismatched shoes she wore to church or the great-grandchild who thought it was funny to tickle her with a feather duster, she was always laughing. A childhood accident left this sweet lady without four fingers on one of her hands, yet she was still known as one of the best cooks around and remembered by this writer for turning the game of Old Maid into a laughing fit because she could never find a way to hold all of her cards.

Lesson three. Do without so that your children can do with. Today’s society teaches us the complete opposite of this-we are entitled to anything and everything we want. The “We are women, hear us roar” mentality is practically shoved down our throats but the truth is one of the most beautiful sights in the world is a mother who quietly sacrifices for her family.

 Lesson four: Work outside. With your hands. This is a lesson also taught by the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, “with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.” At the time I am writing this, I am in the process of planting my first garden. Growing up, I helped with gardens, but this is my first time to do one on my own and I am already learning so much. The work is so rewarding. My wonder for the all-knowing Maker is deepening and my appreciation for the lady who discovered this secret long ago continues to grow, even though her work here is done.

 Lesson five. Stand back and let your child shine. There will come a time when your child will do something (hopefully many things) that makes you so proud. When those moments arise, be proud, but relish in it quietly. Thank God, rather than telling everyone what a great mom you are because of their accomplishment. This isn’t always an easy one. Sometimes we’ve worked as hard as our child has for that moment and we just get caught up in the relief and excitement of success, but it is heartbreaking to see a mother competing for the spotlight with her child. So what if others don’t know what you went through to help get your child to that point? God does. And He is the only one that matters.

These ladies shared many common beliefs, but none more important than doing all within your power to get your family to heaven. I pray that you have been blessed with some of these same influences in your life, but if that isn’t the case, take these lessons and start sharing them with your family. Remember that your actions make your legacy and you will continue to teach and love with that after your little ones are grown and even after your time here is done. Hannah knew that our children are only on loan to us-they belong to God. Mary knew the time was fleeting so she treasured what Jesus said in heart. Jochabed taught us to never ignore our protective instincts and Eunice knew the most important thing to pass on the next generation was her faith.

To Christian mothers. May we raise them. May we praise them. May we be them.

 

Memorable Moms

 In honor of the upcoming Mother’s day this week’s posts are all about those who fill that special role. Today I’m sharing a post from my previous blog that highlights a few of my favorite TV moms (in no particular order).

IMG_8336 Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls) – The quick-witted mom who shares our coffee obsession along with our love for Casablanca.

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Marilla Cuthbert (Anne of Green Gables) – taught us that you are never to old to impact the life of a child, or to have them impact yours.

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Tess Coleman (Freaky Friday 2003) – Whether it’s Mrs. Andrews or Tess Coleman, Freaky Friday is a classic.
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Rebecca Boone (Daniel Boone) – The American frontier woman whose strength and courage we can’t help but admire.
IMG_8323Queen Clarisse Renaldi (The Princess Diaries) – Reminding us how cool grandmothers can be-in an elegant sort of way, of course.
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 Leigh Anne Tuohy (The Blindside) -The strong Southern woman who taught us how to open our homes along with our hearts as we have opportunity and find that we just might be the ones whose lives change.
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Olivia Walton (The Waltons) – The ever-present, ever-patient rock her children so often needed to lean on. She taught us to use what you were given, dare to dream and value family heritage.
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 Ruth Martin (Lassie) – knew the importance of allowing children to make lifetime friends of the four-legged kind.
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Carol Brady (The Brady Bunch) – A lovely lady who somehow managed to keep six kids, a housekeeper, a husband and a dog in perfect order-most of the time anyway.
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 June Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver) – The maternal picture of perfection with her ever present string of pearls. Our society could take many lessons from her.
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Endora (Bewitched) – Alright, maybe this is a rather poor example of a mother-in-law, but you have to admit the tests and torments she constantly put Darrin through were entertaining.
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 Samantha Stephens (Bewitched) – Life couldn’t be easy with a child who could make their favorite toys float over to them, but Sam made managing the chaos of mixing the witch and mortal world look relatively easy.
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Clair Huxtable (The Cosby Show) – The lawyer who showed us how to effectively (and seemingly effortlessly) do it all, including tips on how to put your husband and kids on the witness stand.
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Jill Taylor (Home Improvement) – Forever endearing to us simply for putting up with Tim-the-tool-man Taylor and his constant projects.
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Marion Cunningham (Happy Days) – Most commonly known to us as Mrs. C, she harbored one of the biggest hearts we’ve ever seen.
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Lucy Ricardo (I Love Lucy) – We often forget that our zany yet loveable redhead had a beautiful maternal side, which we were privileged to see with the introduction of little Ricky.
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Caroline Ingalls (Little House on the Prairie) – Lovingly referred to as Ma, was probably my first “TV mom influence.” She taught us a great deal about patience, hard work and family values. With her recent appearance on the Today show, we learned just how much Karen Grassle took that role to heart as tears rolled down her cheeks during a clip of “her” girls.
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Laura Petrie (The Dick Van Dyke Show) – showing us how to make the best out of rather unfortunate or embarrassing circumstances.
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Ma Kettle (Ma and Pa Kettle) –Teaching us the correct way to let everyone know when dinner was ready…”Come an’ get it!”
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Donna Stone (The Donna Reed Show) – had to be the sister of June Cleaver, because they shared the same grace and elegance-even when doing the everyday housekeeping.
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Kate Bradley (Petticoat Junction) – effectively running a business while managing a household and an Uncle Joe.
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Amy Duncan (Good Luck Charlie) – BAH BAM!
and finally…
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Jane Jetson (The Jetsons) – who made living in the future look like perfection, but then again, she had Rosie…