Each one of my three children holds a special place in my heart.
My six-year-old is tall and strong with thick brown hair and a contagious smile. He is intelligent, organized, creative, and even witty! He is very serious and protects fiercely those he loves.
My four-year-old is slim and energetic. He has the biggest brown eyes you’ve ever seen, adorned with the longest eyelashes that will just make your heart melt. He is our “wild man”-- crazy and silly to the core. yet at the same time he has an undeniable sweetness to him. He is generous and cares deeply for his family and friends.
Over the past few months I’ve watched the personality of my 1-year-old blossom seemingly overnight! Our red-headed, blue-eyed baby girl is a chunky ball of pure sweetness. She has the most delightful laugh and loves to “talk” and snuggle in my lap any chance she gets.
I can't imagine my life without any of them. At times I find myself literally overwhelmed with love for these three unique blessings.
Recently as I was pondering these things, God turned my heart to Him--
God, my Father, the perfect Father.
If I, in my humanity and weakness love my children so much it seems at time my heart will burst, how much more does my heavenly Father love me?
I can’t imagine my life without any of them-
I love my children first and foremost because they are mine.
Secondly, I love them for their uniqueness. I love them differently, but equally.
I wonder if you’ve ever been like me, and experienced the soul-sinking feeling of jealousy.
I have the tendency to wish I was as warm-hearted, nurturing or as fun-loving as other moms. I wish I was as put-together, in-shape, or confident as so-and-so.
And if I’m not careful I somehow begin to feel less-than: my personality, my talents...Less-than.
As if God loves me less than “her" because of my more serious, introverted, and task-oriented nature.
It is then that I have to remind myself…
He loves me first and foremost because I am His.
Secondly He loves me for my uniqueness-- differently, but equally.
I don't love any of my children less because of their differences… so why do I think God loves me less because I am different from other moms?
After all, He “created my inmost being,” He, “knit me together in my mother’s womb.” He knew the exact personality, temperament, and talents I would need to accomplish the tasks He has put me here to complete.
I don’t know about you, but I think it's time to stop wasting time and energy feeling “less-than” and wishing we were more like that "other mom.” It’s time to appreciate and thank God for the beautiful, unique way He has made us.
Today, rest peacefully in His love, knowing that you hold a special place in God’s heart because you are His design.
WORD OF THE DAY:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.” Psalm 139:13-18
God, I know that you have created me uniquely and wonderfully. Help me to avoid the comparison trap that leads me to discontent and jealousy. Open my eyes to see the way in which you are using my unique traits and talents for your glory. In Your Name, Amen.
Author: Katie Gibson
When I was a kid, my father was in the navy; Sometimes he would be gone a long time, and I will never forget the excitement I felt when my mom would tell me he was coming home.
I was a daddy's girl through and through-- when he would finally come home I would run and jump into his arms for a hug big enough to fill up all the time he was gone.
Fast forward 20 years…
Just this morning I was in the kitchen cleaning up breakfast dishes when my 2 year old munchkin runs in and throws his arms up to me. He wants to be held.
Even though I have things to do, I can't resist that face, that composure. In my arms he smiles that toothy grin and grabs my neck for a big squeeze.
Every tantrum, every moment when I feel helpless, and out of control, and overwhelmed, this moment makes it all worth it. I love my son, I delight in my son!
But oh, how much more deep is the Father's love…
Just as, I'm sure of, my dad's excitement for coming home,
And our anticipation for him coming home,
And all of the love and delight I feel for my own son--
All of that love and excitement for each other is nothing compared to the love God has for us.
In Zephaniah 3:17 God says, "For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."
Every moment of everyday God is right there, just waiting for us to run to Him- arms held high. He is never too busy, or too tired, or too upset to pick up His children.
In His presence there is peace to overcome our anxieties. In His presence He sings over us, drying our tears and calming our fears with His unfailing love. In His presence there is grace and hope to make it through the day. And I don't know about you, but there's no place I would rather be.
No matter what kind of relationship you had with your earthly Father, know this- your Heavenly Father loves you, He delights in you, He is excited about you, and He wants to hold you.
Just as I would never refuse my son- arms thrown up, toothy grin and all- God will never refuse us.
Run to Him today. Let Him calm your soul and comfort your fears. Rest in His embrace…just be held.
WORD OF THE DAY:
“For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs." Zephaniah 3:17
Father, Right now I throw my hands up to you- hold me- calm my fears and envelop me in your love. Help me to remember I can always return to you any time I am in need and you will never turn me away. Thank you for your incomprehensible love. In Your Name, Amen.
Author: Kim Crowe
Whatever you call it, a lot of time and money goes into making sure our children are safe from preventable dangers.
While, I am far from being a “helicopter parent,” after three kids, I am well aware of potential hazards the moment I walk in a room.
I sometimes feel like I’m wearing a Google-Glass-like contraption that highlights everything in my peripheral vision, alerting me to unplugged sockets, stray Legos, and unlocked cabinets with hidden dangers lurking inside.
As a modern mom, my kids head to the beach slathered in sunscreen and snapped into their Puddle Jumpers. I cut their foods into manageable bites and cringe a bit when they eat fruit kabobs off of skewers at Nana’s.
I secure them in their car seats and boosters, make them hold hands while walking through parking lots, and keep them close in the grocery store.
While all of this is important and necessary, I am reminded how often I neglect the unseen part of my children-- their hearts.
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else…”
As a parent, I am responsible for my child’s safety– physically, emotionally, spiritually. While I cannot be with them 24/7, or protect them from all dangers, I can certainly do some "child-proofing.”
Guarding their hearts means I am selective about:
The television shows I allow them to watch,
The music I choose when we’re in the car,
The friends we hang around …
(Just to name a few).
But sometimes I am a lazy guard because sometimes I forget that there is an enemy out there competing for their hearts.
Sometimes I brush off the “little things.”
I’m tempted to think that because they don’t understand the lyrics to a song then it is harmless.
I’m tempted to overlook a little complaining or disrespect in a television show instead of turning it off because, honestly, it’s keeping my kids quiet and entertained for the moment.
But the heart goes deep.
The heart is important.
The verse, again-- “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
While I don’t believe hearing one “bad word” or copying one bad attitude will ruin my child’s future, I do believe that over time, these minor security breaches can become a complete invasion, compromising their life’s course.
It all starts in the heart.
Let’s be parents who protect our children’s hearts in an even greater manner than their bodies (which is A LOT!), so that there would be nothing that would hold them back from a deep, fulfilling relationship with their Creator.
WORD OF THE DAY
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8
“Father, help me today, first and foremost, to guard my own heart. Show me the places where I’ve allowed “little things” to slip in. Help me to be mindful of my children’s sensitive hearts. Help me to hear your still, small voice of guidance as I seek to honor you in my parenting. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Author: Katie Gibson
Recently as I was driving, I flipped on the radio and the hosts of the station were sharing about their recent mission experience in Africa, serving the people of a small village in Uganda.
I listened as they shared stories of people they had met, and what God did through them during their time there, and I have to admit-- part of me felt insignificant in that moment.
Here I am just driving my mini-van down the road, and the only eventful thing I’ve done all day is to wrangle my son into some clean clothes and get us out the door.
A couple of days later, I was talking to my sister-in-law, telling her how I would love to go up to New York with a group from my church this summer. They’ll be gone for a week, helping set up a Christian camp for inner-city kids.
Reality quickly hit me in the face:
Oh yeah, I have a two year old at home who requires my constant care and a husband who needs me (we all know husbands can be needy at times too!). I can’t take a week away from my home and child to travel to New York!
This season that I’m currently in often makes me feel as if I have a weight tied to my ankle. Folks from church are traveling overseas to serve people and spread the gospel while other friends are heading out on weekend retreats… and here I am stuck at home cleaning up dried food under the couch cushions.
But that’s what I have to keep in perspective-- it’s a season. This is the season I’m in, and it’s okay.
Here’s the real truth I’ve come to realize, friends: God has called me to serve and disciple one of His most precious gifts-- my child. He’s entrusted me with one of his very own to love and guide.
What a wonderful and, at times, scary responsibility we have, not only to watch out for their physical well-being, but their spiritual well-being as well. I have the opportunity each day to be intentional and lead him one step closer to making a decision to follow Jesus.
If you’re like me, everyday routine can allow us to forget that we each have a mission field in our very own home. Don’t throw this season away, just living the day to day.
Every season has its trials, its joy, and most importantly, its purpose. We, as mothers, have been called to one of the most impactful missions: we are raising up the next generation of Christ-followers.
Let us enter our mission field each and every day with the excitement and anticipation as we would if we were serving God in another country, knowing that our work is meaningful-- we are entrusted with God’s own!
Word of the Day:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Lord, help me never to lose sight of the mission field you have in front of me. Help me to be a shining light for you in the place and season that I am in NOW. Help me not to get caught up in just getting by day-to-day, but to be intentional, to disciple and love my child. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Guest Author: Follow Amanda Becker on her blog, "The Tale of an Ugly House"
Social media can be a wonderful thing.
Social media can be a dreadful thing.
Instagram. Twitter. Pinterest. Facebook: Powerful tools to connect with others (which can be especially advantageous to us stay-at-home moms with little ones).
At the same time these tools, more often than not, paint an unrealistic view of what life is really like...
Smiling families, perfectly-posed.
A Pinterest craft someone just finished up with their kids.
A new mom’s sweet, cuddly and smiling newborn.
All so very picture-perfect.
But what you won’t see photographed is...
The time, tears and bribes it took to snap that perfect shot.
The frustration and impatience during what was supposed to be a “fun” craft time.
The pit of desperation from lack of sleep and learning how to nurse.
Not so picture-perfect.
No one would post about giving their husband the silent treatment after their third fight this week. No one is putting up colorfully filtered photos of themselves in their mystery-stain-coated clothing. And certainly no one is admitting their self-doubt and deepest fears about parenting that keep them tossing and turning at night.
If we’re not careful, this Valencia-filtered view of the world will shape the way we feel about our own lives.
Proverbs 31:27 is one of my most used “go-to” pieces of wisdom when I find myself caught in the comparison trap. Here you see that our model mother “looks well to how things go in her household and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.”
The first and second parts of the verse go hand-in-hand. You see, she is so focused on her home, her family that she is able to resist the enticing lure of the “bread of idleness” because she is not tempted to compare herself and her household to everyone else and theirs.
Oh that I would be as strong as she —
Looking well to the ways of my household,
Secure in my worth in the Lord,
Satisfied in my lot from Him.
Not speaking words that tear down other moms in a futile attempt to silence my own blaring doubts about my parenting abilities, or looking jealously upon their "picture-perfect" lives.
I’ve heard it said, and it still speaks to me today, “Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel." When I’m finding myself jealous or discontent, it’s usually because I’m focusing too much on others’ highlight reels… and it’s time to take a break.
Next time jealousy and discontent smacks you in the face, take a swing back; Sit down and allow the Lord to speak love and worth into your heart.
Hear Him say, “You’re doing an amazing job.”
Take a few minutes to list out a dozen things you have to be thankful for.
Look well to the ways of your household and you can be sure that that bread of idleness will become less and less tempting by the day.
WORD OF THE DAY
“She looks well to how things go in her household, and the bread of idleness (gossip, discontent, and self-pity) she will not eat.” Proverbs 31:27 AMP
Lord, I am tempted to compare my life to others. Help me to focus on and be grateful for the lot that you have put before me; You have blessed me so. Help me to walk in love and grace, instead of gossip and jealousy. Help me to look well to the ways of my household so that I may honor You. In Your Name, Amen.
Author: Katie Gibson