Hanging In….

What is he eating?!

What is he eating?!

I was talking to one of our daughters on Saturday and I sensed a note of tiredness in her voice. I asked if she was feeling ok and she said she was … but there was not the tone of conviction I am used to hearing in her voice. My “mom’s antennae” went up. I asked a few annoying but probing questions and it finally came out. She was tired of correcting her children’s behavior.
“It’s just constant, Mom. I find myself saying the same things over and over. I get so tired of it”
Oh, how well I remember! It has been 30 years, yet I can still remember feeling exhausted – wondering if my repeated corrections and instructions were making any difference at all. It seemed at times that my words went in one little ear and out the other. It WAS tiring.
I had a friend named Marty who numbered her “lectures” – those words mothers repeat over and over.
• Number 1 – “pick up your toys, quit leaving them around to get stepped on and broken.”
• Number 2 – “hang up your wet towel after a bath so that it will dry and not leave wet, moldy stains on the floor.”
• Number 3 – “Talk nicely to your sister, someday she will be your best friend.”
“It’s so easy, Gayle. I just say “Number 1 – they know to start picking up their toys.” Marty assured me.
“What happens if you forget the number for a lecture?” I asked.
“Well,” Marty started laughing. “I have forgotten a few times and then my daughters give me a lecture about remembering the correct numbers to the lectures. It has helped them remember their responsibilities, if just to keep me on my toes.”
I couldn’t help laughing. This may work for Marty but it was not my style.
As parents we do repeat instructions and corrections over and over. We all learn through repetition, but it is especially true of young children. Some children need more repetition then others – they have a nature that tests the boundaries and their parents.
It is important not to give up or give in when we become tired of parenting. Training our children is our responsibility as parents whether we are tired or not. IT WILL PAY OFF!
I remember being so tired – wanting to just quit and let my children fuss or watch TV all afternoon. At these low times, God’s Word encouraged me with two important truths:
1. In my weakness – God is made strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 (NIV)
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2. When I hang in – God is faithful. Galatians 6:9-10
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

So, hang in….keep on parenting!

Tested by Time

I had the wonderful privilege of speaking at a Woman’s Retreat this weekend. It was sponsored by a local church, yet they made an effort to include women from outside their congregation. What a joy it was to meet the diverse people who attended! There was diversity on many levels, various ages, diverse ethnicity, married, single, divorced, and widowed. The women spanned ages from 77 to 22, with the  inclusion of one precious 6 month old. It was a microcosm of the Body of Christ – each woman unique but sharing a desire to follow Jesus. I was blessed beyond words with the sincerity evidenced by the participants. They opened their Bibles, listened intently, and took notes. (I didn’t see anyone reading electronic messages or texting during the four messages I shared. )

I have been blessed over the years to attend several women’s retreats and conferences. I have heard inspiring Bible teaching and been challenged in my walk with the Lord. My favorite sessions included clear teaching from God’s Word and practical application for my life. I can remember hearing Elisabeth Elliot speak in 1973 at Urbana (a college age missions conference).  I can’t tell you the times her words have challenged me in the many years since that conference. I also was blessed by a godly Bible teacher, Sally Fesperman, starting in 1975 and spanning many years. She was an older woman who took seriously the Biblical mandate “older women should teach younger women to love their husbands and children.” Titus 3:5

I can remember praying and asking God to allow me to share with women as Elizabeth Elliot and Sally Fesperman did. I was so blessed by their teaching and I wanted to be used by God as they were. That wasn’t too much to ask, was it?

I sensed the Holy Spirit asking me at that time – “These two women bless you, yet are you willing to suffer what they have suffered? Their lives have been tried by my refining fire.”

Whoa.

I was stunned.

 photo from www.onethankfulmom.com

Elizabeth Elliot lost her husband when he was murdered by the native people in Ecuador he was making contact with. His intent was to share Jesus with this remote group of people.

    photo from findagrave.com

Sally Fesperman lost her first husband in World War II, and her only son was killed by a run away dump truck soon before he was to be married at age 24.

These women were sharing from the refining fire of suffering. Their words were powerful because they had been forged by holding unto the Truth of God’s faithfulness in spite of the circumstances. They both had suffered, yet when hearing them share, you saw joy and peace radiate from their faces.

I could not answer yes to that question stirring in my heart. I didn’t want to suffer – to lose my husband or my children. I was clearly NOT ready to share with others what I had not lived through myself. Sharing others’ stories can be good, yet the testimony of a woman tested by time is powerful.

I also have come to realize that I held unto several false beliefs because I wanted them to be true. Those false beliefs would have been stumbling blocks to anyone I shared them with.

God in His wisdom has allowed me to be tested by time. The difference from who I am now and what I have to share is years of God’s faithfulness. In spite of my weakness, He is strong. The amazing fact for me is that even though I was arrogant and even prideful thinking I had something to share when I was young and untested – God has seen fit to allow me to share from His Word.

Isaiah 43: 1-3

But now, this is what the Lord says—
He who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name, you are mine.

2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

That is ALL I have to share that is of worth – the Truth of God’s Word. I have been tested by time and God is faithful!

Sharing the Blessing – Beautiful Momma Award

Victoria, who writes the blog Homemaking with Heart about natural and purposeful living nominated Our Father’s Daughters for the Beautiful Mama Award. I was blessed since I have enjoyed reading her blog so much. She shares encouragement to young mothers and is in the midst of raising little ones herself. Her lovely pictures add so much to her blog.

I started Our Father’s Daughters after a dear friend and Bible teacher challenged our home group to be intentional about “making disciples”. My heart was to share with young women the blessing of motherhood – something that is not always valued in our culture. Our youngest daughter suggested a blog – which she then helped me set up. ( I could barely use e-mail – so that was an accomplishment)

Our three daughters all have young children now, eleven total, and they are the inspiration for what I write. I am constantly blessed and amazed by their commitment to this highest of callings….being “beautiful mommas!”

Three things I love about motherhood are:

  • The joy of seeing the image of God reflected in each child
  • Recognizing God’s faithfulness – how He uses challenging (even hurtful) circumstances to further His purposes
  • Laughter – children are so funny! (this is true from birth to 35!)

I would like to nominate the following Mums for the Beautiful Momma Award. I read these regularly and have enjoyed their blogs.

http://creationscience4kids.com/ – This blog is written by a mother who is passionate about sharing the Truth! It is well researched and has great information to share with your children about God’s creation.

http://ihcounsel.wordpress.com/ – This blog is written by a mother of four sons who is also a lawyer  – now staying home with these sons. She shares insight as a mother of sons with humour and evident love.

http://homemakingwithheart.com/ – this blog is mentioned above.

Learning to Walk

Number 4, off and away!Our youngest grandson has recently begun walking. It would have come as a surprise (he is just 10 months old) except for the fact that he has done everything sooner than his three older brothers. I’m sure that watching them has had an impact on his development.  But I , Nana, have another theory that is based on personal observation – NOT scientific research. He is a born leader.

I want to postulate that the rate at which a child begins certain developmental tasks is not based on birth order as much as personality. A first-born child that is a natural leader will tend to do things like walk, talk, and feed themselves at an earlier age. These children know what they want and they want to get moving! They want to feed themselves and are often heard saying  – “I can do it!” ( or “me do it!”) Yet, this child may be the middle child or even the youngest born. Their outgoing personality may result in them telling the older siblings what to do – and surprisingly – those older siblings do it! These assertive children may fall a lot, or make big messes eating – but they will get it done – by themselves.

The quiet, less outgoing child, whatever the birth order, will wait to try new skills until they are sure they can do it. They will walk later – but rarely fall. These children will let the parent feed them and only start doing it themselves when they are sure they won’t spill. They are careful learning new tasks and want help along the way. Once they master something, they do it well by themselves.

The insecure, tentative child is the one who needs consistent help and assurance that they can master a new skill. Even when they can walk – they want to be carried. They are able to feed themselves, but they want to be fed. They seem to require constant attention to insure that they are able to do things.

As parents it is important to recognize the personality of our child and encourage them to grow and develop in positive ways. Each of these personality types have positive and negative qualities. As parents we can help our children develop the positive aspects and minimize the negative ones.

I am studying Scriptures on following Jesus. I believe that as God’s children we have various spiritual personalities just like our natural ones. God has created us this way. As we make the decision to follow Jesus, each of us follows Him using our individual personality.

This can be positive and negative. For example:

  • An outgoing, leader type personality may start to follow with sincere enthusiasm. They actively follow for a time and then run ahead – thinking they don’t have to wait – they know the path to follow.
  • The quieter, more careful personality might wait and study for a long time, not wanting to miss the path. That time spent studying is good. But while waiting, they lose sight of Jesus as He moves ahead.
  • The insecure personality wants to follow, but isn’t sure and second guesses themselves about when to move.  Do they have all they need  to follow? They want to follow but they aren’t sure how, they want someone to carry them.

This is why we must die to self to learn to walk with Jesus. God has created us with various personalities. He has a purpose for each of these qualities in our lives. Yet if our personalities prevent us from following Jesus, we must put those traits to death.

Jesus said:

Luke 9:23

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

The only way we can learn to walk like Jesus is to follow Him.