Expectant devotions for new and expectant moms

How far is the distance between your parenting expectations  and your reality? Becoming a mom has a way of surpassing and squashing our expectations at the same time. It’s a weird and wonderful thing, this journey of growing into a mama. For those just starting out, it helps to have a guide for growing your own life while growing your family. EXPECTANT, 40 devotions for new and expectant moms, is that guide.

Whether we join the adventure biologically or through adoption, experience has a way of changing our expectations. Honest moms who can remember will admit to announcing they would never use TV as a babysitter, never let a child play with (or suck on?) a cell phone, and never host a food fight in a restaurant. But then we receive our children from God’s sufficient and slightly humorous hands, humbling us and showing us how much we have to learn. We find that being a mom is as much about giving grace to our children as it has been about receiving it as a woman.

Every heart is Expectant

God has a tender heart towards moms balancing their young ones, and He promises a gentle leading when we need it most. After all, most of us could park a mini-van in the space between our expectations of being a mom and the realities! God’s word has hope for the heart of an expectant mom.

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11 - ESV)

Every journey into motherhood is unique, and every mother’s heart is Expectant. The 40 practical devotions tackle real issues like changes in your body, your marriage, your work, and your schedule. Expectant helps new moms think through necessary transitions to find hope and confidence right there on the changing table or playground. Moms say this devotional should be read before the baby arrives and AGAIN, after the baby arrives!

Features of Expectant

  • Sections for You, Other Grown-Ups, the Baby, and Your New Normal
  • Biblical wisdom for every mom’s real needs
  • Short passages of scripture, just right for when you’re feeding or before you fall asleep
  • Questions to use with a friend, partner, or small group

Holding on to Hope author Nancy Guthrie says, “In Expectant, Julie Sanders is somehow able to capture the realities of real-life pregnancy and motherhood without crushing the wonder of it all. Filled with insight and wisdom, this book will turn nine months of growing bigger into nine months of going deeper with God, preparing you to be the godly mother you really want to be.”

Do you have a new mom or a mom-to-be on your Christmas list this year? Look for ways to encourage her heart and help her on the new and unfamiliar journey of motherhood.

  1. Stop by to pray with her and give her a hand massage
  2. Clean her house for her as she gets close to “go time”
  3. Send her a card with scriptures assuring her of God’s gentle care
  4. Ask her how SHE is doing and how she feels in her heart
  5. Choose a gift book like Expectant to feed her spirit and soul

In this season of giving thanks, let’s celebrate knowing that every journey into motherhood is unique, and every mother’s heart is Expectant.
Expectant
Like a lot of babies, EXPECTANT is a little overdue ;) It is available NOW for pre-order through Barnes and Noble or as an ebook through Amazon. Look here for news about the anticipated arrival of EXPECTANT on December 1st.

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3 Things Our Kids Learn When We Aren’t Thankful

3 Things Our Kids Learn When We Aren't Thankful - The MOM Initaitive

photo courtesy: unsplash

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many of us are making conscious efforts to be more thankful. This is such a great thing because unfortunately, there is an epidemic of ingratitude in America.

Even though we have SO much for which to be thankful, we many times fail to see our blessings and can only think about the hard things in life.

One of the major problems with this epidemic among adults is that our kids are learning from us.

Here are 3 things our kids learn when we fail to practice thanksgiving.

3 Things Our Kids Learn When We Aren’t Thankful:

 1. They learn they don’t need to be thankful. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if simply telling our kids to be thankful was enough for them to learn gratitude? 

Unfortunately, we all know that’s not how it works. 

The old saying, “More is caught than taught,” is true. Our  kids are much more likely to learn thankfulness if they see it lived out in our lives and vice versa. If we aren’t thankful, they will likely learn to be ungrateful too. 

2. They learn to focus on the negative. 

Life is hard enough as it is. Our children don’t need to go into adulthood expecting the worst to happen to them. 

Instead, they need to enter adulthood knowing that even though hard things sometimes happen, they can still have joy in the midst of pain because of their Savior and His presence in their lives. 

We can’t control everything that happens to us (and neither can our kids), but we (and they) can control how we react to our circumstances…and whether we seek to find joy in the midst of it or not. 

3. They learn Jesus isn’t enough. 

Ouch…this one hurts, doesn’t it? But it’s true.

When our children fail to see thankfulness in our  lives, they learn that stuff and circumstances determine joy, rather than Jesus. If we can only be thankful when everything is going well in our lives, then we’re teaching our kids that those are the things that make someone happy. 

On the other hand, when our kids see us praising Jesus through our storms, they learn thankfulness in all things. They learn gratitude is possible, even in the hard. And they learn Jesus is enough for joy. 

What other things do you think we teach our kids when we fail to be thankful? 

*photo courtesy: unsplash

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Praying Deuteronomy 5:29 for Your Kids

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Just on the heels of receiving the 10 Commandments, Moses read them to God’s people and they were afraid to go near to God so they sent Moses to go meet with God instead of going for themselves and it was then and there that the Lord spoke to Moses and said, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5)

God longs for His people to long for Him.

May your children and mine long for Him…

Oh that they would have such a heart that they would fear God and always keep all of His commandments, that it would be well with them and their children.

That’s my prayer for my sons. That’s my prayer for your sons and daughters. 

How can we pray for you and your children today?

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5 Things You Should Do with Your Kids Today… & Every Day

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It’s Saturday. The day when moms try to fit it all in in-between baseball practice, grocery shopping and laundry.

But Saturdays are special days when family memories can be made, when special trips and events can be planned, and when your relationship with your children can be fortified.

I’m a mom who was easily caught up in the dailies and I don’t want you to miss the precious in the whirlwind of the pressing.

So, from my mom heart to yours… will you allow this older mom to share with you 5 things you should do with your children today… and every day.

 

1. Laugh together -

Life can be tough but laughter has a way to lighten the load and bond hearts. Laugh together every day. The belly laughing kind that brings tears to your eyes and makes your jaws hurt. Laugh hard. Laugh out loud. Laugh a lot.

2. Spend time with God together -

Demonstrate your love for and dependency on the Lord by spending time with Him together with your kids. Teach them to pray. Let them hear you pray for them. Read God’s Word to them and help them learn to read God’s Word for themselves. Teach them how to study the Word and find the nuggets of truth God has for each of us as we dig deep and make His Word a priority of our lives and a passion of our hearts. Help them see how much you treasure knowing God and how real He really is. They need to see that what you say you believe is what you really live out.

3. Do something intentionally kind for someone else -

Teach your children the importance of ministering to others by giving them the opportunity to help you plan and prepare to do something kind for someone each day. Let them be creative and develop ideas on their own. It can be something as simple as writing a card for the cashier at the grocery store, making their brother’s or sister’s bed, buying a meal for a stranger, or cleaning an elderly persons home. If you are intentional about being kind and make it fun for your children, they will discover the joy of being self-less instead of selfish.

4. Have a real conversation with your kids -

Your children need to know they can talk to and that you will listen. Set aside everything and have at least a 5 minute conversation with your kids. Talk about their day. Ask them open-ended questions. (Click here for a sample of 21 Conversation Starters to help you break the ice.) Don’t over-react when they tell you something surprising or hard to hear. You need to be the safe place they run to when they feel afraid, ashamed, or hurt. Judging them will run them away. Loving them and giving wise, godly and prayerfully careful words of wisdom is what they need and what they hope you will give them. When they want to talk, be willing to listen. 

5. Show them how much you love them -

Hug and kiss your kids every day. They know you love them, but your like everyone else, kids need to be reassured of your love on a consistent basis. One of the foundations of confident kids is the assurance of their parent’s love. They aren’t likely to long for the acceptance of their peers and do foolish things to get it if they never doubted their parent’s love.

Today and every day, you have the opportunity to leave imprints on your children’s hearts and lives. So, how about you? WILL YOU DO THESE 5 THINGS EVERY DAY so that the imprints you leave will leave a legacy of faith?

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5 Ways to Have a Peaceful Heart & Home

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“You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)

Hey you!

The mom with crumbled cookies in the carpet, a pile of dishes in the sink, and 5 baskets of laundry that you washed last week but haven’t folded yet…

The mom whose kids won’t quit arguing and whose hubby just took a hunting trip with his friends…

The mom whose youngest has been sick, whose oldest thinks it’s cool to talk back, and who’s frustrated to discover that she just arrived at the grocery store in her pajamas because she was too busy to notice she hadn’t even changed clothes…

The mom who is so tired she wants close the bathroom door and cry.

The mom who can’t plan another meal, wishes frozen pizza was health food and ALL YOU WANT is a hour or two of PEACE – but your plate overfloweth and your heart is overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed! It’s where most momma’s live. I know it’s where I spent most of time as a mom. 

Is that you? Do you long for peace to rule in your heart and your home?

Today I’d like to share with you 5 ways that you can have PEACE once again:

1. DEFINE PEACE – Sometimes the problem is that we have unrealistic expectations or an inaccurate perception of what peace is. Peace is not the absence of chaos, clutter, or change. It’s a heart of contentment in the midst of it all… or, at times, in the absence of it all. Settle what peace really is in your heart and your heart will be more settled regardless of your circumstances.

2. DE-CLUTTER YOUR CALENDAR – We all have a lot to do. It’s part of being human and multiplied by the number of children you have. But we make choices to say yes to far too many good things and are left with no option but to say NO to the best things. That just stresses us out more than ever and peace becomes not only illusive but impossible. Look at your calendar and decide what is absolutely necessary and what can be put on the back burner. Then draw a line through everything that can be put on the back burner and leave only the absolutely necessary things on your to do list. That gives you time to schedule some “Chill time” for you and your family. Learn to say no so you can say yes and so you can schedule some down time for you and your family. Remember, your children need some down time too.

3. SATURATE YOUR HEART IN THE WORD & IN PRAYER - God is the author of peace and if we are going to have peaceful homes then we need to have peaceful hearts…and there is not real peace apart from Christ. Guard your time with God and bask in the beauty of knowing Him. If your too busy to spend time with God then you’re definitely too busy. You’re a mom who is molding the hearts of your children and you need the Lord to help you in your journey. Spend time with Him like you know you need Him… because you do…and so do I! Two things that will help you stay focused when you are in the Word and in prayer. 1) Keep a note pad and pen beside you so when distractions come to your mind, if they are important things to remember or do, you can jot them down. 2) Journal your way through the Word. Here’s a link to help you discover how journaling your way through the Word an make a huge difference in your quiet time.

4. BE READY FOR REST – Make sure you take time to rest but rest doesn’t always come easily…so be ready to rest when the kids go down for a nap or when they are at school. Put them to bed early and be ready to hit the sack early. Admit it… after you put the kiddos to bed, you look at that as the time to get everything done so you work like crazy and the next thing you know, it’s past midnight and you’re not even tired. Be ready to get your rest. It’s okay. All of that stuff will be there when you get up in the morning, but you need some sleep. ;-)

5. GET ORGANIZED – Studies have shown that organized people get more done and get more rest. They are able to enjoy the little things in life because they aren’t so busy looking for lost keys and trying to find the measuring tape. Find a way to organize one room at a time. You’ll be glad you did!

Ready for some peace? REALLY? Me too! Leave a comment and let us know which one of the 5 tips you’re looking forward to doing or which one you will struggle with the most. We love hearing from YOU! :-) 

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