Category Archives: Mom’s Musings

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When Your Child is Persecuted

The mama bear was coming out in me.

That little pipsqueak! That rotten little brat!!!

He’d bullied my 8 year old sons, threatened to run them down with his dirt bike, said he didn’t want them to even come into his yard, and finally intimidated the other neighborhood boy to not come over to our house anymore.

In my sin, I was already plotting how to humiliate his mother in front of the other neighborhood moms or at least plan out the things I felt she needed to hear about her dreadful 9 year old.

Now it was late at night, and my husband and I were discussing our day.

“What do I tell the boys?” I asked, secretly hoping he’d offer to have a strong word with the little imp’s father.

“You should tell the to pity him.” He responded instantly.

My jaw dropped

PITY HIM?

PITY the kid who would yell out “I don’t like you!” as he walked by our yard?

PITY the kid who said he’d steal their ball and throw it where they couldn’t get it?

I paused a moment. The wisdom of his words sinking in. Yes. My husband was right.

This angry, mean child should be pitied.

What had made a 9 year old so angry that he would pick on younger boys like this?

This 9 year old was in pain, and he needed Christ.

My sons were younger then this boy, but they were not weak, they had an eternal strength inside them that that boy could not begin to understand. They are light bearers, soldiers in an cosmic war and have access to wisdom and love that no person of their own strength could gauge.

My boys are not victims. My boys are lights of Christ to this boy filled with anger and darkness, and they could learn to depend on God and walk in His light through this opportune situation.

The next day we talked to the boys about praying for the boy down the street. They both responded with understanding and started to pray for him.

The next week one of my sons let the boy who had bullied them ride his bike down the street. My gut response was to reprimand my son.  It was irresponsible to let the rotten kid use his expensive bike, but God gave me enough wisdom to recognize that my son learning to show love to an adversary was more important then a $65 bike.

My boys continued to pray for the other boy, and they were eager to share their faith with him.

It was then that it came out WHY he didn’t like them.

“Mom can we go over to that boy’s yard?” one of them burst through the back door late one afternoon. (My sons are not the best at getting names. Someday I’ll learn this kid’s name.)

“You may play in his front yard for 15 minutes.” I said. “Then it’s time to come home and get ready for supper.”

I was glad for the excuse of supper since 15 minutes was the only amount of time I wanted them to spend in that yard, and gave my son a $5 timer we use so they know when they must head home.

I started supper prep, praying for my 2 little boys 6 houses down.

16 minutes later my two flushed-faced sons re-entered the house clamoring to tell me about their conversation with the (still nameless) boy down the street.

“Mom!!” That boy said Jesus is crap! And the Bible – and going to Heaven. He said it was all crap”

They perched themselves on stools in the kitchen and started to relate witnessing to the boy when he had started to shower them repeatedly with the C- word.

– and finally the reason he had not liked them and had bullied them came out.

He was mad at us for handing out gospel tracts taped to candy on Halloween.

I was speechless. All his bullying my sons was because we’d taped a tract to his sucker on Halloween?

My sons breathlessly related the conversation (a few times), and I was pleased to hear how they defended the faith, and (seemed to have) responded with love to his attacks. They hadn’t backed down. Their argumentation style was certainly unpolished, but the heart was there, and for the most part they’d shown love and faith in their responses to the boy’s tirade.

Toward the end of their time there, the boy had apparently grabbed a toy rifle and waved it in my sons’ faces telling them it was a BB gun. (It wasn’t, but he succeeded in scaring them.)

I can’t say my boys responded completely perfectly. After relating their story to me, they got their own toy rifles and marched around the house for a few minutes declaring they’d protect us all from the boy down the street, but once we talked through again how he needed Jesus and that he was angry and was rejecting the light that was in them, they put their toys away and resolved to pray for him again.

Each night they’ve been praying for the (still unnamed) boy 6 doors done, and while I don’t know what God is going to do in the situation, I’m thankful for the growing love I see in my sons and the change God is doing in their hearts.

I’m glad at the brush with persecution my little boys have had, and I am glad they are learning to be lights while every being drawn to the true Light.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

—1 Peter 4:12-14, 16

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Why Having Baby #5 is More Fun Then #1

Few things in life compare to the wonder of holding your first child for the first time and realizing, yes, you are a mom!

However, now that #5 is on his/her way, I have to admit, I wouldn’t go back there! There are some fun perks to this stage.

  1. You don’t worry about everything.

Along with all the thrill and joy of baby #1, there is also a lot of fear. Will you be a good mother? Will you do everything right?

(By #5 you realize no, you will not do everything right. You will get grouchy sometimes, you will have rough nights and feed your kids that super-bad-for-you macaroni and cheese, you will not do all the magical activities you always imagined yourself doing with them and no, you will not be anything like Mary Poppins – even on your best days, but that’s OK.)image

You will be what your kids need – their mom, you’ll go to bat for them, love them, laugh with them, and help them clean their rooms and do their homework. You’ll believe in them and cheer for them and even when you mess up – you’ll get up and by God’s grace be there for them the next day – and for as long as you live. And by baby #5, you’ll know it’s not about being ‘perfect’ but about loving them and being there for them. You can do that.

  1. Less people talk about your shape and poke at your belly.

When you are surrounded by a mass of little kids, people cannot even get to your belly let alone poke it. And with 4 little socialites crowding for their attention, those people also don’t have time to talk about your increased size.

(Whew! That problem is solved! Yay for less Pillsbury Dough Boy pokes!)

  1. You have more people genuinely excited about the baby.

Maybe extended relatives will roll their eyes when you tell them you are having another one, but as far as the people who will be changed and affected by the baby every day, you now have a household of 6 people who are thrilled to pieces. (Even if their name choices are not always the best. Lumina? Thor? Leelee?)

  1. You are secure in your body and birth plan.

For baby #1 and even #2, you read everybody else’s opinions about birth. By #5, you know your own body, you know what you’re going to do, and you need minimal help.

(The doctors are also lot more apt to let you do what you want to. Seriously, they look at my chart now and kind of nod in a very hands-off way, and I’m thankful for that. I’ve been here multiple times before, and I’ll call them if I need them.)

  1. You are secure in your approach to mothering

imageThe moment you look into your first baby’s face, you are overwhelmed. Never have you seen someone so wonderful, but you are also overwhelmed by your own identity change. You are now a mother.

By the time you’ve had a few, you are secure in your identity as a mom and in your approach to mothering. The moment you see baby #3, #4, #5, you just soak up their little face.

  1. Necessary life changes have already been made

- You’ve made the schedule changes

Most of us with #1 had to make some major changes – whether it was stopping working, finding childcare, or embarking on the journey of juggling a combination of those things.

By #5 those things are in a rhythm. Yes every newborn brings new challenges, but you are old hat at the juggling game, and your family is accustomed to rolling with the punches and working together as a team.

- You’ve made the heart changes.

I’ve heard so many new parents say it. “We don’t plan on changing much in our schedule. We’ll just bring a baby along. Not much will change.”

(I just smile and nod when I hear them say this and then I admit – I laugh with my husband later. We know they’ll learn.)

By #5, you have long since laid down an active social life. Yes, you sometimes miss it. Yes, it’s important to call friends and have deep conversations sometimes, but by #5, you’ve realized that right now your kids simply come first. You’ve accepted that for this season in life other things won’t happen, and you are (usually – except on the messy, PMS days) content with that.

  1. No Shower Gifts to Deal With

I say this tongue in cheek. I was given a lot of wonderful shower gifts for baby #1 that I still use today. However, now that I have my systems set up, I am relieved to not have to deal with an onslaught of new gifts. Less clutter, less stress, and less returns sound great! I’ll just buy the few items I need.

  1. Less Hard on Yourself.

image- After #1 you realize you will never be the perfect mom because you’re not perfect. And you realize that’s OK.

- After #2 you realize that your love multiplies and there really is plenty to go around.

- After #3 you realize that you can never keep them all happy at once, and that’s OK.

- After #4 you realize that you can’t always stay in control of everything. You have to let some things go, and not only is that OK, it’s pretty relieving.

-Verity

PS (And I’ll let you know what I learn after #5, but I’m really excited to find out!)

 

 

Miscarriage pic 2

CS Lewis, Planned Parenthood, and Our First Baby

I was holding my dead baby’s body in my hand, and the doctor kept calling it ‘tissue.’

It was a honeymoon pregnancy, and I was 11 weeks, 3 days pregnant when I woke at 1:00 AM covered in blood. By 3:00 AM we were in the emergency room, and by 4:00 AM I’d birthed our first child and experienced one of the first showdowns of my life between Morality and Science.

“I’ll show you what comes out.” The young doctor had said when I a realized that I was miscarrying and asked to see ‘my baby’s body.’

“It’s tissue.” He had said.

But it wasn’t tissue. It was the tiny, perfect lifeless body of (what I’ve always believed) was our first daughter. It’s really hard to tell at that age, but it looked like she had a high forehead like me, and she was amazing.

But it was like the doctor was looking at something completely different then my husband and I. While we sobbed – deep, heart-wrenching sobs of grief over the tiny, bruised form of our first baby, he was careful to never refer to her as a baby – or even a fetus. (In medical terms, our child was still 4 days from being called a fetus.)

How was it that we and the doctor could be observing the same thing and yet arrive at 2 different conclusions? Distanced now by almost 7 years and able to evaluate the situation objectively, I believe our two different conclusions were because we had 2 different starting points.

- I looked at the baby’s body through the eyes of morality as something of value and worthy of respect.

- The young doctor looked at the baby’s body only scientifically and saw tissue.

- My view was derived from my faith – that the child was a soul, made in the image of God.

- The doctor’s view was also derived from his faith. He had embraced Science as the determiner in each situation and the prevalent Postmodern view in our society that there are no absolute determiners outside of what can be observed with the eyes. Ultimately Science acted like a god directing his actions, goals and values.

When a person rejects morality for Science, they fool themselves into thinking that they can now be free from the restraints of faith, but they instead build themselves a new kind of nightmare. CS Lewis predicted that every man must have a moral law, a “doctrine of objective value, the behef that certain attitudes are really true, and others really false, and that any society that rejected morality for the pursuit of science would digress to being “kneaded and cut into new shapes for the pleasures of masters who must, by hypothesis, have no motive but their own natural’ impulses.”

Paul said it better in Romans 1: 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”

And indeed our Postmodern society that rejects absolutes yet adheres without question to Science – the obsession with man, birds, animals and creeping things – is left to rationalize heinous crimes such as the systematic slaughter of children through abortion.

Of course at 4:00 AM on that dark November morning, I didn’t understand any of that.  All I could think of was that we needed to give our baby a memorial. Something. We should take the body and bury it.

But the doctor (despite his denial of my child’s value as a person) was strangely insistent that we leave the body there at the hospital, and for some unfathomable reason, I agreed. I don’t know why he wanted me to leave the body; I don’t know why I agreed. What crossed my mind was that I thought it must be a health issue – me taking the body. Now I believe it was a moral issue – and I failed.

We later received a bill for $350 for them ‘disposing of elements of conception,’ and It still awes me how I stood like a bystander and allowed our child to be degraded in that way. At the time, the doctor was so convincing, so sterile, so educated, and I was just a very scared girl who could barely digest what was happening.

Despite my strong pro-life upbringing and my Bible college education, I wasn’t prepared for the cold and calculated mis-education of this young doctor. I never dreamed someone could SERIOUSLY look at a baby’s dead body and not call it what it was. But he did – right to my face. His training so imbedded in his sad soul that he literally could renounce the morality of the situation by simply retreating to his medical (Science) terminology. But every scientific observation has to first start at a standpoint, and I believe there is no ultimate objectivity because observations in science start with the premises of what we believe going into it.

It still gets down to FAITH.

I’ve started writing this article 6 times, and I finally made it past the first sentence. I do feel like I failed our first child. (I named her Asaph.) But I’ve become wiser from it, and I recognize now what I did not then:

Most of us follow a moral center that says there is right and wrong, and most people will reject abominable practices when they learn the truth. That is what makes these Planned Parenthood videos and exposing the truth about what is happening is so important to keep showing – no matter how horrible.

So don’t give up. Keep signing petitions (HERE, HERE, and HERE), posting reminders, and boycotting the businesses who support Planned Parenthood. (Find that list HERE)

Abortion is a moral issue – not a scientific issue – that we can’t ignore.

miscarriage 2

This is not a picture of our Asaph, but a precious little boy named Noah who was miscarried around the same gestation and looks similar to Asaph. To read more about the incredible testimony connected to this precious little one’s picture. Click HERE.

You have your hands full #1

You Have Your Hands Full!

“You have your hands full!”

The man in Walmart’s canned vegetable aisle gapes at my brimming cart and the 4 small children hanging off in every direction. Then his eyes travel down to my protruding belly.

Like every mom with small children, I’ve received this comment more times then I can count.

It doesn’t bother me anymore though.

(On the contrary! I’m excited by the opportunity!)

I look him in the eye so he can see my sincerity and give him a genuine smile.

“The BEST kind of full you can have!” I exclaim.

My response gets the reaction I was hoping for, and his eyes prove that they can indeed widen farther.

I push my cart on – hoping that my thankful attitude concerning my kids planted a seed in this stranger’s heart.

In a society where children are increasingly devalued, we as Christian parents find ourselves in a powerful position that simply no one else is in.

The pastor can preach about the value of children, politically active can picket and hand out brochures on not killing the unborn, but we, sisters, are the ones who live out a love for our children in front of the world.

The spoken truth is never more potent then its testimony – and we Christian moms are the testimony.

- When you fall on your face before God and find the grace to love a less-then-loveable child, you are a testimony of unconditional love.

-When you lay down your own desire for respect from others, (I’m not talking becoming a revered doctor, national speaker or movie star – I’m talking someone – anyone being impressed by anything you do – because parenting – while insanely hard – rarely gets any applause-)– Yet, even in the midst of obscurity and loneliness, when you find your fulfillment in His sustaining promises – you are a testimony.

-When you are in Walmart, Taco Bell, (fill in your most recent child-threw-a-tantrum-in-front-everyone-spot here), and your child is acting like a sinful little brat and totally humiliating you, and by God’s grace, you zone in and help that child through his/her spiritual battle without losing your cool, you are a testimony.

Satan doesn’t just attack Christ’s name. He attacks Christ’s truth.

And one of the biggest truths attacked in America today is the value of motherhood – AND by default the value of children.

(Satan is busy. He is constantly telling women that they need exciting careers, thin bodies, big houses, and a dozen other things that won’t matter on our deathbeds but will be stifled by faithfully parenting children.)

And the world is listening.

Despite longer lives and better healthcare, the worldwide national fertility rate (the number of children the average woman will bear in her lifetime) has steadily dropped from 4.95 children per woman in 1950 to 2.34 children in 2015. Oddly, this trend is dominant in the countries where we can actually afford children. In America, the average woman has birthed less then 2 children since 1972.

If numbers speak, children are not a priority in the western world today.

But there is one thing Satan can’t stifle – the Truth – and the testimony of the Truth that we get to be.

We are the undeniable picture that children are awesome and being a mom is a high and worthy calling – one that surpasses the rest.

So the next time you are rushing through the grocery store, and the inevitable comment comes –

“You have your hands full!”

Proudly hoist your battle-worn banner up on your shoulder and make the most of that fleeting opportunity.

You have your hands full #2

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Thank You Elisabeth Elliot

I was 2 years into parenting, and life was stretching in front of me like one massive laundry pile after another.

Gone was the glory of the Christian walk that I’d dreamed of while in Bible college – back when I’d had hours to study and contemplate all the beautiful and exciting ways God’s plan was going to unfold in my life.

There was no glory.

There was no excitement.

There was just a very challenging toddler, a newborn, and a husband who was working feverishly just to provide enough for us to scrape out an existence.

And there was the nagging fear that maybe I’d missed God’s will for my life – that if I’d ‘caught’ it, I’d be off making glorious differences in God’s work because obviously I was made for more then dishes, laundry, and toddler tantrums.

And there was the discouragement and depression that comes every time I start giving into fear and forget to notice God’s working hand.

But then came the pivotal phone call with my older sister – that got my head screwed back on, and the quote she gave me that has become the motto of my every day.

It was an encouraging call – as they always are when I take the time to call the godly woman who I get to call my older sister, but at the end of it, she offered to send me a quote by Elisabeth Elliot.

I agreed – having been blessed by a couple of Elisabeth Elliot’s books – though doubting someone who had actually gotten to do awesome things in God’s work could ‘get’ my menial existence.

But I found in the quote – a life outlook that I needed desperately to adopt. It was one of trust, and it was one of seeing God’s hand at work in every. single. task.

 “This job has been given to me to do.

Therefore, it is a gift.

Therefore, it is a privilege.

Therefore, it is an offering I may make to God.

Therefore, it is to be done gladly, if it is done for Him.

Here, not somewhere else, I may learn God’s way.

In this job, not in some other, God looks for faithfulness.”

 

Elisabeth Elliot

 

I printed the quote, capitalized the words I wanted to think about, framed it, and have read it multiple times a week since.

I have many framed Bible verses around my home, but this is the only human quote, and it sits front and center above my sink because I seem to need this reminder often.

(In the summer it usually has dandelions next to it, but as you can see, my kids have upgraded to chives this year.)

My life is still filled with the menial, but this life outlook has helped me to recognize that every time I’m sweeping the floor, I’m fulfilling a task God has called me to do – to exemplify a content attitude and create a calm home for my children to grow.

When I fold the 97th load of laundry this year, I recognize that it is a gift to be able to do whatever God has for me – exciting or not-so-exciting and to teach my littles how to fold wash clothes, pants , (and two of them can now fold shirts!).

And when I start seeing past the temporal exterior that enshrouds every task, I start to be overwhelmed with the privilege.

That is when I finally start to realize that my uneventful day is an offering I may make to God.

Then the gladness and thankfulness for getting to do a service for Him comes.

Then my heart opens and reaches up to God – eager to learn the lesson of the way that He is teaching me.

Then, slowly, I can strive for faithfulness.

- Verity

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Target, it’s Time to Part Ways

Two months ago an Ohio mom got angry that her local Target had girl’s building blocks specially marked as ‘girls building blocks.’ (Seriously!!) This sparked a platform for Feminists across social media to reign down a tirade on the entire Target Corporation.

 Target has now decided to make the majority of their toy section and several other sections gender neutral – to appease the abrasive and offended.

 Media is predicting Walmart, Disney and other retailers to follow depending on the public response.

 CHRISTIANS, don’t be silent!

 Let’s light up social media and boycott Target so they see the difference in their sales.

Target,

You are the dream store of mothers –

From the in-store Starbucks, the multi-kid carts, and the cart cup-holder to the awesome kid clothes (heck, mom clothes too!) and the beloved cartwheel app, you make shopping a little like a girl-date…

(Just without the girlfriend and usually a multi-kid cart full of kids).photo 5

I love your bright and happy colors, your shorter-than-your competitor lines, and those BIG foofy pink skirts my sister-in-law got for my girls last year in your clearance section.

Alas, no store compares with you.

But despite my love of your 5% off card and free shipping, I’m ready to walk away.

Because as much as I love those cute winter boots I got for $10.81 at your end of season sale, I love my kids being confident in who they are even more.

I love that my son is proud of being a little boy – and that he is excited about being a strong and heroic man someday. I like taking him somewhere where he can gush about the super-heroes and dragons – surrounded by his interests.

photo 1I love that my girls love being little princesses – beautiful both inside and out, and when I take them shopping, I love watching them delight in the sparkles, puffs and bows of the girls’ section – reveling for a few short minutes in a section designed just for them.

I love that my kids are confident in who they are. They are confident in the bodies they were born into – and they are comfortable and happy with there being a difference between them.

And like all moms, I want my kids to be supported in who they are. And I hope that enough of us moms stand up and let you know that your stylish clothes and knock-out prices are not worth the message you are sending our kids – that God or fate somehow messed up, and they are not to be proud of and confident in the femininity or masculinity they were born with – maybe you’ll take a hint.

On the contrary, I’m going to take them places where they can celebrate who they are – and at the moment, that place is not you.

 - Verity

 

 

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To the Mom Who Doesn’t Have Time

To the Mom who doesn’t have time:

​You know the days where it takes you until lunch time to clean up breakfast? The ones where you efficiently do 3 loads of laundry and then they stack up on the couch? Have you had one of those days where you try ALL day to get supper in the crock pot, the time slot passes you by for both high and low settings, so you decide to cook something on the stove instead… but then that time slot passes as well and you end up serving peanut butter and honey sandwiches for supper—again? And what about those days where your child wants to do a project with you, but you just can’t quite seem to get the house cleaned up enough to clear a spot so you can cut and glue together? Those are the heartbreaking moments. The ones where you want to imagespend time with this sweet child you are raising, but you just don’t seem to have time.

​To the Mom who doesn’t have time, I am right there with you! The days I described above have basically been my life the last few months. I have a baby who nurses hourly around the clock and through the night. I’m exhausted. Our family is in a constant state of the unknown and the emotional aspect of the situation is wearing me down hard. I can’t seem to keep up with anything. Then I wonder, “how am I supposed to spend time with my children?” How do I find time to read the 39 books they so excitedly chose from the library last week? How do I find time to complete the adorable craft projects and educational ideas I’ve been pinning on Pinterest during my many nursing sessions each day? How will my children learn important life skills if I don’t have time to teach them? Then it hit me…

​They will learn them from me and it’s okay if it is through everyday life.

​You see, my kids will learn more from how I handle life than they will sitting on the couch reading a book with me or sitting at the table gluing a perfectly prepared craft project. The difference is in how I choose to respond to the trials set before me.

​I can yell at them to go play in the other room so I can conquer the dishes, or I can choose to demonstrate a right attitude and even teach them how to conquer a daunting task as I systematically rinse off the dishes and put them in the dishwasher before I tackle those I hand wash.

​I can complain about peanut butter and honey sandwiches AGAIN, or I can explain to them the wonders of improvisation as supper approaches and I serve them a different option than planned.

​I can rant about not having enough time, or I can teach them time management as we figure out a way to sneak in a quick craft project.​

​Parenting isn’t about the external. It’s about including your kids on the internal. Transparently showing them the reasons for the things we do, including them on your struggles, openly teaching them through your own mistakes, and honestly relating the truth to them day in and day out. Parenting is about the teachable moments and those moments often come through unlikely circumstances.

​To the mom who doesn’t have time, it’s okay. Let’s make the most of what we do have: everyday life–and teach our children to the best of our abilities.

 

-Lydia

Minimize Maximize

Raising Lights: Minimizing the Wants to Maximize the Needs

Beyond salvation and a godly marriage, my children are the greatest gifts I have ever been given.

Sometimes it makes me totally speechless how amazing it is to be their mom. To watch them grow, discover, and become men and women of God.

It awes me beyond words that before the foundations of the earth, God had a plan for each of them – to play a part in His eternal story – and that through these little ones, He will raise up the next generation of Christ-fearing men and women.

They are the greatest thing I will leave behind. My heritage – to live on decades and even centuries after I am in Heaven.

As their mom, I want to open every door and opportunity possible. I want to give them every tool they could ever need.

However, (like most of us) I have a limited amount of energy and an even more limited budget.

Having limited resources is not a bad thing; It is an opportunity to choose best over secondary.

It’s a chance for us as parents to stand back and say ” I cannot give my children ‘everything,’ but I can give them what’s important – so what is important?”

And this opportunity – brought on by a tight budget and limited energy – creates the need for purposeful and thoughtful parenting.

I’ve needed to think A LOT about what my children’s most important needs are – and what the ‘needs’ are that I’ve simply perceived based on the loves I’ve adopted from society.

With everything, you need to minimize things – in order to maximize the pursuit of what you value.

No great thing is achieved without great sacrifice.

I want to make sure that the things I’m sacrificing are not the real needs but the extras that I’ve simply been perceiving as ‘needs.’

Example: Our family budget is such that I am able to stay at home and be with my children – at the cost of living in a small house, shopping at Goodwill and limiting trips to business and family.

This is hard for me sometimes as I feel like I would like to give my children ‘better.’

A society that measures ones’ worth by their designer clothes and house screams at me that my children should be wearing Tommy Hilfiger, each have their own room, and be enrolled in expensive dance lessons.

But then I re-evaluate.

I even go write lists about what my children ‘need’ so that I can read it and remember what I need to minimize and what I need to maximize.image

More then being known as kids who have nice clothes and cool rooms, I want my kids’ character to shine as lights.

  • I want my children to be thankful, be diligent, and be good at getting along with others.

A shared room makes them learn to share, clean up, and be patient with each other.

(My limited resources are not hindering my most important tool I want to give them (good character). Their less-than-perfect situation is HELPING with my biggest goal for them!!)

  • I want my children to learn to be good stewards.

Because of our low budget, they are already learning about buying things that are a good value and a good price.

  • I want my children to be content.image

There are physical things I’ve determined each of my children will always have no matter what.

(They each have their own toy basket for their special toys and a different basket for own clothes. They each have their own bed to go and read and be alone. They each have scheduled ‘dates’ with my husband and with me. Soon they will each have their own desk to get their homework done in a designated quiet room. They each cover the same school material every year from 2 years up and each have that daily alone time with me.)

But for all the society – ordained ‘needs,’  they have been learning to be content on far less then society’s representation of the ‘ideal,’ and that has actually helped with their character training not hindered it.

  • I want my children to work for what they want.

The life tools that will help them most to become successful adults come through struggle and hard work.

Fortitude, discipline, and courage can only come through stretching situations. I don’t need a ton of resources to teach them that.

 

My children will not be getting very high allowances in high school. But I do plan on helping them start their own little businesses on Etsy or trying lawn/cleaning/babysitting services to neighbors. They will learn about business planning, target audiences and marketing, and they will learn how to work with people and be worthy of their wages.

And yes, (addressing one of the biggest questions people ask parents with limited resources) we will not be able to pay for our children’s entire college education.

(At least I doubt we will.)

But I am a firm believer in students having to pay at least part of their own way.

While we do have plans in play to provide as much as half of their education costs, much of their education will be paid for by their own sweat.

Why is that a good thing? When they finish college, they will actually have  job experience on their resume and will appreciate the degree that they had to sacrifice for, work for, and fight for.

My parents could have afforded to pay for my entire education. I am glad they didn’t. They paid for half, and I paid for the rest – sometimes easing my financial burden by academic scholarships or less expensive correspondence classes. I had to sit out of college two semesters to work, worked every every summer and almost every semester and used my entire high school savings as well.

I learned to covet that degree and when I was in that classroom, I hung on every word the teachers taught. I had to work for the thing I wanted and never took it lightly.

And already I am already trying to teach my children that mindset. When they want a toy at Walmart, I give them jobs to earn it. Even at 3 and 4 they are learning to work for things and, in the safety of home, learning money sense.

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, I want my children to define themselves and their worth by their identity in Christ.image

And that once again gets back to focus. If my focus is on Christ, then I can learn to look past our clothes and house and see that we are precious in His plan.

With one look at His awesome majesty, I can clear away the clutter of society’s perceptions of ‘needs’ – and recognize that we were bought for an unfathomable price.

When my focus is turned to my identity in Him, His light shines on those perceived needs and reveals them to be the shallow kitsch that they are.

Then I’m free to pursue the real needs – Him – and teaching my children about Him and the glorious identity they can find in Him.

They do not need a nice house or name brand clothes to help them succeed.

They need a mama who puts Christ first and, looking through His glory can minimize the distractions and maximize the pursuit of real needs – helping her children to know Christ and learning to pursue Him.

-Verity

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The Stay at Home Mom’s Biggest Sin Struggle

There is a sin that destroys our joy on even the most perfect day.

This sin can cause us to feel annoyed by our baby’s coos and blind our eyes to our warm homes, cute children, hard-working husbands, and the countless eternal blessings given to us by God.

Though it starts out microscopically small, it can grow until it has blocked our vision of every good gift that we were meant to enjoy.

And because of the limited contact and swinging hormones of Stay-At-Home Moms, I think that this sin is one of the the most common sins we struggle with.

It starts out with someone doing us a little wrong – and the next day, (left alone to our thoughts and our fussy baby) we let that little root of indignation take hold.

Later, as we sweep the kitchen floor or unload the dishwasher, we start thinking about everything we want to say to that person.

(We know we shouldn’t say any of the mean things we are thinking about saying, but left alone to ourselves, we start to pride ourselves in how we will ‘show them.’)

And in that pride, we don’t want to give up our ‘little’ sin. We want that person who hurt us or – MORE TEMPTING – hurt someone we love to ‘be punished.’

And, honestly, WE would like to be the one who punishes them – preferably in a way that makes us look smart and that person look dumb.

And so like the dog returns to its vomit, we continue to return to that wrong in our minds – each time letting it grow and letting our view of ourselves grow too.

The sin is bitterness.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

And this single sin can take a holy Christian mom, walking in the light of God’s love, and “defile” her testimony – bringing “trouble” – as it has for “many.”

Yet it is a COMMON struggle among Christian moms!!

Recently I was part of a private Facebook page thread in which one of the moms mentioned that she’d been back-stabbed by family over Christmas. Within minutes, 28 other moms said that they too had been hurt by family during the holidays.

We have all been hurt.

The temptation for bitterness will come.

And when it does come, here are some things to remember.

1. Remember that the Struggle is NOT the Sin

When we are hurt, we will struggle with bitterness, but the struggle is NOT the sin. It is only when we CHOOSE to let it fester. When we CHOOSE to toy with the ‘get even’ scenarios in our mind that it starts to take root in our hearts, and we sin.

Don’t let yourself think you’ve lost the battle – when you have not!

2. Fill Your Mind with God’s Word

I’m POSITIVE that with a house full of maidens, there would be some lady-gossip going on behind the Proverbs 31 woman’s back – and I have a hunch that dealing with merchants means she gets ripped off once or twice.

However, the Proverbs 31 woman opens her mouth with what her mind was full of.

Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

We become what we think about.

When we allow our minds to be filled with the wrongs we’ve suffered, we become more like the people (or worse – our perception of the people) who have wronged us.

I do not want to be the woman who always has a criticism and who constantly hurts others because my mind is too often on the hurts I’ve endured.

Bitterness really CAN defile grace-filled living!

3. Fear God. Not Man.

Psalm 111:10a The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. 

Do you want to know how to look at a painful situation?

Don’t start there.

Spend some time looking at God.

-Think of His character and how He shows mercy and forgiveness to you and to all who call on Him.

-Think about His eternal plan in which this painful situation is comparatively tiny and short-lived.

-Think about the many, many blessings He has given you – salvation, eternal hope, spiritual promises, purpose, freedom…

Only THEN – look at the situation.

See it from His eyes. See it as something that He, in His omnipotence, has under control.

Give it to Him.

Rest in Him.

Move your focus from the situation to Him – which is right where your focus belongs.

What gives the Proverbs 31 woman her strength to not get bitter at gossipy maidens, deceitful merchants, and husbands who are busy ruling in the gates and not home enough? 

Proverbs 31: 29 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.

That’s what we want for ourselves, sister. We want to be described as women who fear the Lord – not women who ‘get back’ at those who hurt us.

Let Him define us – and not our circumstances.

-Verity

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How to Tempt a Mother – 7 Sure-Fire Ways! – By Uncle Screwtape

C.S. Lewis’ masterpiece “Screwtape Letters” is a phenomenal book in which a senior devil instructs a younger devil how to tempt a soul. (You can find that wonderful book here)

But if the character, Wormwood, went on to tempt a mom, I think this is how Screwtape would instruct him. 

- Verity

My Dear Wormwood (Demon D. Younger),

I see you have been assigned a mother. I was shocked that, after your losing the last soul, you were assigned such an important person!

Mothers have and always will be the most influential people in any society. By them kings are set on their courses and future leaders’ hearts nurtured for love or for hate.

(Of course, we demons have successfully kept this truth from women in the 21st century by putting a focus on careers, unattainable beauty and a growing disdain for children.)

And moms fall for the same lies in any time or age.

Here are some lies that have worked outstandingly well for me in the past.

1. Make the Mom’s World as Tiny as Possible

If a world is tiny, it is easy to make the most minuscule mishap seem catastrophic. A spot on the rug in a tiny world is fuel for hysteria while someone who sees themselves as soldiers in an age-long spiritual battle can withstand the death of a loved one and still stand strong – strengthened by a focus on the eternal.

To that end, limit her influences – above all keep her from reading her Bible which opens a person’s eyes to the cosmic battle of time, power and love.

2. Keep the Mom’s Focus on Something Unimportant that Makes Her Feel Like a Good Mom While Losing Sight of the Important

If you can keep her running around – trying to attain perfection in enough unimportant exploits, she will never have time to notice the eternal ventures – like the character training of her children.

Of course children’s hairstyles or flurries of extracurricular activities are not bad of themselves. Your opportunity with any potential idol comes when they have grown in her mind to the point of trumping the important! Let her take pride in her victory over her daughter’s hair or her son’s music lessons until she is willing to sacrifice the sanity of her family and her own focus to achieve them.

3. Let the Mom think of Herself as a Victim

Thankfulness will destroy your work, Wormwood.

Daily bring to her mind the grievances of a leaky faucet, tight budget and a challenging child. If she thinks of herself as a victim, she will forget that she is already a victor with Him. Never let her remember that!

If you can help the root of bitterness take root in her, your battle is practically won! Especially stay-at-home moms with little outside influence can be consumed with the tiniest wrongs – letting their minds grow these wrongs into outstanding evils.

And when a person has given herself over to bitterness, their view of even the most wonderful things – like the smiles of her baby or the warmth of a home are distorted. And the woman who would normally spread joy and warmth in her home taints it with the anger and indignation that is slowly destroying her from the inside out.

 4. Make sure the Mom NEVER Thinks of Her Children as Blessings

If she realizes the true value of her children, she will pour her energies into teaching them about God and His Way.

Value must be placed on almost anything besides her children. (The career that suffers because of their demands, the social life she used to have, the heels her pregnancy-ravaged hips can never handle again or any other unattainable desire will be especially effective.)

Let her view her children as leeches – filching from her energy and resources and keeping her from her true potential.

Resentment toward her children will be one of your sharpest tools!

Of course if her child was threatened by a speeding car, she would lay down her life for him in an instant, but make the small life sacrifices that are her testimony of God’s Way seem unimportant to her. (Her smile when bringing water for the 56th time, the gentle voice at 2:00am, the prayer for wisdom when breaking up a fight all stem from her realization of her children’s value and importance in God’s eternal plan.)

5. Make the Mom Think of Her Personal Identity ‘As Being Lost.’ 

Bring to her thoughts dreams of what she would be without the demands of her family. Let shadows of herself as a put-together, non-tired, woman play across the edges of her mind – tempting her focus and reaffirming the lie that she would be more without them.

Of course we know that motherhood is a means of sanctification – of losing oneself and being fashioned more into His image as each mother lays her life down not once but daily. (Or in the case of motherhood daily and multiple times a night as well.)

6. Make the Mom Think She has Already Failed!

If she chances to get angry and yell at her kids, make her sink into despair – forgetting that His mercies are new every morning, that He readily gives grace to the repentant sinner and that ultimately He will work – even through a sinful Mom – because of His kindness and mercy – and not because of her worth.

But your biggest ally when dealing with moms, Wormwood, is complacency.

7. Always Make the Mom Think that Her Job is NOT Important!

Grow in her mind the value of financial and social success while dimming the importance of motherhood. Let her dwell on how little she feels she is accomplishing in the world today, and go to every length to make her forget that her children will shape tomorrow.

If she does not realize that she is fighting a valuable battle, you will be victorious, and she will lose.

Of course we know that Mothers are of utmost importance to God’s plan and that they are given enough grace and strength to accomplish what He calls them to do - so take special care.

Your Affectionate Uncle,

Screw Tape (Demon D. Experienced)