5 Reasons Why a Single Mom can Love the Life She Lives

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Even if your life did not turn out the way you planned, it’s the way it is, so choose to make the best out of it. Today, you can decide to LOVE the life you live.

Have you ever met anyone whose life went exactly according to his or her plan?  I haven’t. If you do meet this person, I’d be curious to know if they were bored.  I am convinced it’s the adventure that gives us meaning.  It’s the mistakes that become our mission.

“Life is pure adventure, the sooner we realize that we are able to treat life as art.”
-Maya Angelou.

Let’s make some beautiful artwork my fellow super hero single mamas.  It’s no secret that being a single mother is one of the toughest gigs on earth.  Parenting alone is not for sissies! So let’s not be sissies! It’s time to get your brave on girl!

There are some great struggles with being a single mom. But you and me, this tribe of readers, courageous super heroes that we are, we don’t have to let those struggles define us, we will overcome, together.

There is no reason that you should feel less than. There is every reason you should hold your head up high. It does not matter how you arrived at this place. If you are a single mom by divorce, by choice, widowed, or never married; this is a place where you will feel encouraged and be equipped to be a super hero single mama. There is no judgment here. Our loving Father does not judge us, so let’s not judge each other.

We will do this together. Are you in? This list is purely a way to reframe this single mom life. This is not to bash, condone, or glamorize Single Motherhood.  This is just finding the silver lining.  Cool?

5 reasons why a Super Hero Single Mama can chose to love the life she lives.  

1. You are a Mom
This is a blessing we have to realize that is not given to every woman.  As heartbreaking as it is to raise children without a father, you have children. They are a gift.  Raising them is not just something that you have to do; it’s something you GET to do.  Have fun girl.  Go on adventures. Have water gun fights. Go camping in your backyard.  Stay up late and listen to their dreams…

2. You get the whole closet.  Plenty of room for shoes!
Yes, I’m sure you would LOVE right now to be sharing a home with a loving and supportive man, but let’s just be honest, it’s so nice to display all your fall boots in your closet without overcrowding.  It’s the little things.  Every morning when you go to your closet to pick out what to wear, smile a little that you don’t have to share.  This will most likely not last forever.  :-) Oh Lord, we all hope and pray it doesn’t.  Until then, rock the boots!

3. You’re the boss

You decide.  
You are acting as head of household.  Yes, it may not be comfortable for you quite yet.  Yes, this may be the last thing in the world that you wanted and are unsure if you were designed to occupy this position, and you can’t wait to NOT have to anymore.  But, You are in it now.  So, spin this job description into something beautiful.  You don’t have to ask anyone for permission to go out with some girlfriends on a Friday! You decide what fun weekend activity the family will do. Dinner?  Why not pancakes?  Who’s going to judge!  The kids will LOVE it.  Throw some chocolate chips in there for heaven’s sakes! Hey, you might even decide to save up and buy a home!   It’s up to you girl.  Create a life you love.

4. You are their everything
You wanted to be adored, loved, doted on, and basically treated like Cinderella by the father of your children.  That ship has sailed.  Last time I checked fairy tales, were just that tales, not fact. Girl, let’s reframe that Cinderella complex.  Guess who thinks you hung the moon?  You could do no wrong, and jump for joy when you are reunited after a visitation with Dad, those amazing kids.  You are their EVERYTHING!  You are better than Cinderella; you’re the Queen!

5. You have a second chance
You are not ruined.  Even if things in your marriage or relationship went down in flames and it’s still smoldering, this is your chance to do it differently the next time around.  I believe this is God’s specialty.  He is a God of second chances.  Wait.  Be patient. Heal. Please, surround yourself with your girlfriends instead of jumping into another drama boy.  Cling to God’s promise to restore to you what was lost, twice as good as it was before.  You, could, you just might, you will fall in love again…

“Because you got a double dose of trouble and more than your share of contempt, Your inheritance in the land will be doubled and your joy go on forever.” -Isaiah 61:7

How can you reframe this heartbreak and choose to Love the Life You Live? What would you add to this list?

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Stop the Spin Cycle

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photo credit: winnond | freedigitalphotos

Do you have those days (and I know you do) that you feel that you’re constantly spinning plates?!
Our courses are not difficult at all…its just when each kid is working on a different level (math, lang. arts, etc) at the same time! I’m trying to answer this one’s questions while helping the other. 
Even if I give an older a reading assignment, he may be done before I’m finished helping a younger and I feel that I have to keep the older occupied with work so that they wont go wandering outside. Then its difficult to reign them ALL back in to do our combined subjects!!!

Just reading that makes me exhausted; and that happens only in a short span of time.

After writing that to a beloved group of home educating moms, I was flooded with “that’s how our day goes” kind of responses. 

Moments, days, weeks and months can begin to feel as though the spin cycle is the only setting we know.

I decided to stop the spin cycle.

A slight moment of doing nothing was the first thing.
I quit; ceasing all movement, talking and explaining.

My next step was physically removing myself from the work table.

Its during these times that “arrow prayers” are most beneficial.

I asked God the simplest request, “God. Help.”
No shouting out, just calm resolve and knowledge that I couldn’t do all of this right now.

The children’s individual work is still spread out on the table and they’re waiting for me to finish helping them, but right now, we’re doing our group work.

I grabbed my coffee and made myself comfortable in my chair, chose our music composers study and it was exactly what we needed.

I mean, it is said that “music calms the savage beast”, right?

We listened to ancient music, talked about, and sang it. 
The kids didn’t want to end the lesson!

The Lord showed us in the Bible that we’re made to glorify and praise Him in song and with instruments.
King David is our prime example of that.

 

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This kind of praise altered all of our emotions, frustrations, impatience and wiggles!

The spin cycle was stopped and we rested in God’s presence.

Before you start your next week, take a moment of calm.

Ask God for His strength and wisdom for every part of your day; the hustle of early morning, lunch time rush, interruptions, the “what’s for dinner” panic, cleaning your home, taking care of each child’s individual need, if you’re married; loving on your husband.

God will meet you and He’d love to help you stop the spin cycle. 

For help with “refreshment”, here are a few posts from other M.O.M.s:

How to Find the Peace of God In the Midst of Your Stress
Being a Fully Present Woman
Ill-Fitting Armor

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2 Rewarding To DO’s, 2 Bonus Tips

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1.  Night Before

  • Lunches made
  • Clothes & shoes set out
  • Breakfast ready. IE: Cereal bowls, napkins, spoons, juice glasses, fruit washed & sliced, vitamins, devotional selected
  • School papers signed, homework done
  • Baths & bedtime prayer at set time so kids get PLENTY OF SLEEP!
  • House picked up, clothes folded and put away while watching your favorite show.

2.  School Morning 

  • Prepare Yourself:  Get a jump start on kids. Wake, dress, have quiet time prayer and Bible reading; prayerfully go over day and to do list. 
  • Prepare Kids: Wake them with “Good morning!  I love you! God’s given us a wonderful day!”
  • Bless their breakfast Blessings & Graces Insideand have a short devotional.
  • Part for day with, “I LOVE YOU. Have a happy day!”

  

BONUS TIPS:

1.  Do NOT over schedule yourself and your kids.  

Traffic will be backed up.  You will have to refill the gas tank.  There will be delays.  Kids may wake up not running full steam ahead.  They will have worked hard at preschool or school. Even their play is work. Negotiating with other kids over blocks and the swing set is work for them.  Walking in line, sitting still, listening is work.  Your kids need down time and free time. If they are fussy, grumpy, complaining, argumentative, not listening or obeying, YOU may be the problem; not them.  Prayerfully evaluate if you have them on too busy a schedule. 

2.  Kneel before God with your prayer journal and calendar.

When you wake first thing, kneel before God and give Him your day. Pray, “Lord, fill me with Your  Spirit. Give me Your mind and heart.” Then, record your prayers in your journal. Prayers of My Heart Journal Why?

  • It helps your mind focus and not drift.  
  • Your journal becomes a record of God’s work in your family.  
  • You can look back over the weeks, months, and years and celebrate God’s answers to your prayers.
  • You can ask HIM, “Should I accept this position at Bible study?” “How can I get Brian to go to sleep?”  “What sport should I allow Heather to play?” THEN, you can listen to God’s promptings of your heart.
  • You’ll be AMAZED at how God directs you IF you meet with Him every morning in prayer.

Remember, take your journal and pen so you can record what HE puts on your heart. Never forget that you are first and foremost God’s servant.   When you offer your day to Him, He will direct your home life, business, volunteer activities, etc. You will walk in the good works that HE has prepared for you to do rather than be anxious and stressed.  5-10 minutes in God’s presence at the beginning of your day will save you hours of anxiety the rest of the day.  That’s it!  2 simple checklists to incorporate.  2 Bonus Tips.  Let me know how they work for you! :) 

 Heavenly Father, thank You for these sweet moms. Please guide them and give them wisdom to organize their days in accordance with Your plans for them and their children.  Help them live authentic Christ filled lives before their children. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

 

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A Prodigal’s Plea to Parents: Never Stop Praying!

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Following is a testimony that will encourage every parent of a prodigal. Alycia Neigbours is a professed prodigal who put her parents through years of worry and pain throughout her childhood, and for eight years, they lived the nightmare of not knowing if she was alive or dead. In her own words, Alycia shares her prodigal story and why it’s so important for parents to never stop praying for their prodigal child, even when they don’t see any change and things may look like they’re getting worse.

Prodigal On the Run by Alycia Neighbours

I Ran From My Family and God

I started running away from my family and God when I was in my early teens. I ran because I sought acceptance, approval and an excitement I didn’t believe I had within my home. I ran because I wanted to be my own boss of my destiny and thought I could find purpose on my own with no help from my earthly family or from a God I couldn’t see or hear.

My answer to any inward or outward conflict was flight.

My parents made the difficult decision to place me in a group home. I thought they just didn’t want me around, and for a while I played the game of following the rules. Then the urge came from nowhere to run again. It wasn’t a suggestion of my mind, but a desire of my heart. Just to prove in this controlled environment that I didn’t need anyone and could once again design my life with no help from anyone else.

I Ran Into an Abusive Relationship

Years later, I found myself in a marriage full of domestic abuse that would not allow me to run. Oh, I tried to run a few times, but he made sure that I regretted it and even threatened my life if I tried it again. Before the marriage, I had a son by another man. After a few beatings from my husband and seeing his anger directed towards my son, I signed away my parental rights to my son’s natural father and took my husband’s suggestion to disappear from everyone.

For eight years, there was no contact with anyone in my family or extended family. Often during those times, I had a strong pull to contact my parents, but I wasn’t allowed a phone or alone time away from the house. I was trapped and I began to pray that somehow there would be a way for me to reach out to my family. No easy option presented itself, so I realized I was going to have to make something happen. I emailed my aunt and asked her if restoration was even possible. She encouraged me that my parents loved me deeply and I needed to heal what was broken.

A Praying Mother’s Prayers

In my mother’s prayer journal, she had written:

“After not seeing our daughter Alycia for over 8 years, and not hearing from her in 3-4 years, I was compelled for the last couple of months to pray that God would just let us know if Alycia was alive. During the last month, Amanda, [her twin sister] unknowing of my prayers, was also searching once again for her on the Internet. She finally came across her name on an email on petfinders.com. It was a response thanking someone for returning her missing dog.

Amanda emailed me the string of emails with this information. That continued to stir my heart and prayers for Alycia. “Sleuth” Amanda, began trying to find the lady who had found the dog, and when she did, she discovered it had taken place a couple of years ago. But as Amanda continued to search, she came across a “last known” address. On Wednesday, November 1, Amanda drove to the address and knocked on the door. No one answered so she left a note saying, “If Alycia lives here, please call and just give us a phone number so we could let her know if someone in our family died.”

I took my husband’s cell phone while he was sleeping and called my mom. We exchanged some pictures online of her one-year-old granddaughter she had not met and made plans to meet. At this same time, my twin sister Amanda had felt the pull to track me down and found the house I had just moved from. We missed each other by about two weeks. My husband was not pleased about my sneaking, but I cracked the door open to my family and even he knew that he couldn’t prevent me from meeting with them. He did send me to the reunion with a broken nose and two black eyes, but I made contact, finally.

I Ran Into the Welcoming Arms of God & My Parents

The restoration of the prodigal child and parent relationship can take time because of the trust issues during the prodigal’s flight mode and absences; but it’s not beyond our God’s ability to heal. I would imagine that if we sat down with a calendar, every time I felt a “pull” to go home was the same time that my parents and others were in intense prayer for me.

In my mother’s journal about the experience of finding me, she said this

“Alycia knew nothing about my prayers or Amanda’s searching, which is why this had to be the work of the Holy Spirit nudging each of us toward one another.”

Now many years later, my parents and I have a good relationship. My marriage to the abusive man ended through widowhood, and I’m now married to a wonderful man and gained four bonus sons in addition to my three girls. My faith and love in my Heavenly Father has been restored as I allowed Him to finally bless me the way He had always wanted to do. I allow His will to dictate my life and no longer feel the need to make my own way. His plan and purpose is so much better.

I have stopped running because this time I ran to—love, acceptance, family, and purpose—which had been there all along. It just took my prayers and the prayers of my parents and many others to help me see this.

What Do I Want Parents of Prodigals to Take Away?

1.) Never stop praying or give up hope on your prodigal. It may be weeks, months, or years, but your prayers are essential for your prodigal to feel the “pull” home.

2.) If you still have limited contact with your prodigal, don’t let him/her see your bitterness or anger at his/her actions. Mimic God’s love and acceptance. You can verbalize that you don’t like what he/she is doing, but you will always love your child.

3.) Your prodigal may be in a situation that does not allow him/her to come home or make contact. Form large prayer groups to cover your prodigal in prayer. More prayers, more “pull.”

Never stop praying.1 Thessalonians 5:17

Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter

Janet Thompson is the author of Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents, which includes the story of Alycia’s prodigal years as told from her mother Chris Adam’s perspective and her parents’ tenacity to never give up hope, but to continue praying for her return.

Janet Thompson is an international speaker and an award-winning author of 17 books an dthe founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet at: womantowomanmentoring.com.

www.facebook.com/Janetthompson.authorspeaker

http://www.linkedin.com/in/womantowomanmentoring/

www.pinterest.com/thompsonjanet

https://twitter.com/AHWministries

 

 

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But, I Don’t Wanna Let Him Go!

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I had to let him go. I didn’t want to, but I had to. I had more I wanted to teach him. Time to spend with him. But it was time. Jordan, my first born child was moving out to set up his own home at his own condo. A high rise. 9th floor, overlooking parts of the Orlando city sky scape.

He’s so excited, he’s about to burst.

I’m so sad, I’m about to burst.

It’s kind of what happens when you raise your child to manhood. He doesn’t need his momma anymore. Well, except for home cooked meals and the occasional laundry drop off … tasks that are now embraced and performed with greater joy and love than all his younger years combined. I look at this child of mine who is now a handsome, 6’ 3” man. I wonder how could time possibly fly by so fast? How will he make it without … um … me.

I’ve cared for him. Loved him. Prayed for him. Laid down the law with him. Learned to be a real boy’s mom, as I reluctantly allowed him take more than the average risk, as most boys do. Jumping from the roof to see if he could land on his feet. Jumping his BMX bike to see how high he could fly without crashing. Rollerblading on half pipes attempting a mid air flip twenty feet in the air. It’s what boys do. And I did my best to not hover or run to his side each time he crashed. I just clinched my fists and covered my eyes. A lot. And thankfully, he always escaped major injury. 

It’s the beginning of the empty nest, as his brother and sister are not far behind. It feels like my two decades of motherhood are being put to the test.

It’s the “Motherhood final exam.” Will I pass? Will he reflect what I spent two decades teaching him?

As they are growing up, their faith is really our faith. They believe in God because we believe in God. It’s not really their own. It’s their child-like faith of trusting that Momma wouldn’t steer them wrong. But at some point, their faith needs to become their own. They can either become a statistic of walking away from church and finding their own way, or they can come to the point where they truly own their own faith. They believe in the Truths of God because they truly believe it. It’s not our faith any longer. It’s their own. They own it, and they walk in it because they truly believe it, and no one can take that away from them.

Thankfully, my son clearly has come to own his own faith. Sure, I taught him, and he grew up in church, but he truly believes God loves him, and he truly loves God and what God loves because he has owned it and tested it, and it’s real to Him, as he serves the Lord with his gifts and talents.

For me, that’s one down, two to go. I pray daily for my other two children, 19 and 17 years old, to own their own faith. That they would truly feel loved by God, and learn to love what God loves most. 

As a mom, there are many prayers we should pray over our children, but one of the most important prayers we should pray for our children is that they will one day own their own faith. That’s when it becomes real. That’s when they will walk boldly in their calling and purpose. That’s when their choice of their future mate will likely be the one God has set a part for them. That’s when they know where to go when their world come crashing in around them. They can always come home to Momma, but they will know that God is the One who ultimately holds them in His hands. All because, their faith truly is their own.

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20 Foundational Verses for Every Family to Grow

Know the Bible

Not too long ago, I saw a photo on Facebook that read “If you don’t teach your children to believe in Jesus, then world will teach them not to.” As I sat staring at my screen, I realized their world revolved around me right now and then wondered what messages my words, actions, and lifestyle reflecting for my kids. 

The more I thought about it, the more I thought we’re like everyone else as a typical Christian family, we go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays. We pray at meal times and before bed. We say a prayer as we embark on trips and my children often find me with my Bible open in the mornings.  But was it enough? Is there more I could be doing to make the Bible come to life? 

And then in the silence God whispered Deuteronomy 6: 4-9. 

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.[a] And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

The thought hit me, it’s not enough to say I love Jesus, I needed to talk about it often, to apply it in everyday situations, to  parent my children with scripture And this one itty bitty, tiny little thought sparked a revolution in my mothering.  This began the exciting challenge and journey towards parenting my children through passages in the Bible and creating 20 foundational verses to help our family grow through scripture. 

Practice 

No sooner than the thought hit me when screams broke out from Tori’s bedroom. There I found her in tears and Elijah  looking guilty. Using my Oh-So-Handy-Criminal-Justice-Degree, I fished out the facts to discover Elijah had grown frustrated because Tori didn’t want to play pretend the way he wanted to (Don’t you hate it when you don’t get your way?) which resulted in Elijah clobbering her sister with his fist. 

“So you hit your sister because you thought your ideas were better than Tori’s?” Elijah looked as if I had read his mind and was afraid of the punishment when I replied, “Let’s look in the Bible about what it says about selfishness.” Together, all three of us looked up passages about what God’s word thought on the word “selfish” when we hit the golden passage. 1 Peter 3:8; together we wrote it in a way they could understand and memorize it. Then opportunities sprouted like weeds to began applying it to fights, actions, and behaviors. 

Live in harmony with one another, be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.  1st Peter 3:8

It’s amazing how one little picture and one little thought sparked a new way to bring the Bible to life for my kids. I honestly love being able to point my kids back to the Bible, to dissect stories and understand why Jesus said this or that. And the best part is watching my children recite passages they’ve hidden in their hearts at a moment’s notice–even if they are reciting it because I’m the one who needs to hear it. :-)

Printables

If you’re wondering what is missing from your faith journey as a family, maybe it’s time to begin applying the Bible to real life. God asks us to talk about it often and to love him with all our being, this means we have to be in the Word to know the Word and to share the Word.   When we dust off that ancient book and read aloud the words written within, it becomes a road map, not only for ourselves but for our children. It brings the Bible to life. :-) If you aren’t sure what passages to begin teaching to your family, below is a list to get started, you can click here for a printable too: TMI – 20 Foundational Verses for Families to Memorize.

And if you would like cute, fun cards to help your kids memorize, click here: Owl Scripture Cards – 2o Verses For Kids.

As you begin bringing the Bible to life, use the back of your Bible as a reference tool to search what God says about things like:

Sharing

Selfishness

Pride

Compassion

Then break down the verse in a way your child understands, challenge them to hide God’s word in their hearts, focus on one verse a week to memorize and apply it as opportunities arise. 

 

20 Verses to Grow Your Family’s Faith

  1. I can do everything in Christ who gives me strength. — Philippians 4:13
  2. And do not forget to do good and to share with others. –Hebrews 13:16
  3. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is God. His love endures forever. — Psalm 118:1
  4. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as Christ Jesus forgave you. –Ephesians 4:32
  5. All things were made by him. — John 1:3
  6. Finally be strong in the Lord and his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the devil’s schemes. –Ephesians 6:10-11
  7. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. –Romans 10:13
  8. Set your mind on things above, not earthly things. –Colossians 3:2
  9. Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path. –Psalm 119:105
  10. I am with you always. –Matthew 28:20 
  11. Anyone who knows the good he ought to do but doesn’t do it, sins. –James 4:17
  12. Encourage one another build each other up. –1 Thessalonians 5:11
  13. Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies. –Psalm 34:14
  14. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. –Matthew 22:37
  15. A cheerful heart is good medicine. — Proverbs 17:22
  16. Do everything without complaining or arguing. –Philippians 2:14
  17. Do to others as you would have them to do you. Luke 6:31
  18. When I am afraid, I will trust in you. –Psalm 56:3
  19. A friend loves at all times. –Proverbs 17:17
  20. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. –Ephesians 6:1
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Judger Turned Judged

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  When I was a new mom, I wanted to appear to everyone like I had my act together and knew what I was doing. But like any other new mom, I didn’t. One of the ways that I coped with the hypocrisy was by jumping on the bandwagons of other moms I admired. They were who I wanted to be, or at least who I wanted others to think I was. And honestly, by the grace of God, most of the bandwagons I jumped on turned out to be pretty good choices. But the state of my heart was another story. I was making motherhood about right performance instead of about a real process, and this led to none other than self-righteousness. Yuck. And that led to judging others. Double yuck.

Do you know what I mean by bandwagon? Merriam-webster.com defines it as “2:  a popular party, faction, or cause that attracts growing support.” What’s funny is that with almost any issue, there are bandwagons traveling in opposite directions. For instance, rocking your baby to sleep versus laying them down awake. Breastfeeding versus formula. Homeschooling versus public or private education. Dating versus courting. And on and on it goes.

As a mom of 3 teens I can assure you, the debates never end. And I don’t think convictions are a bad thing…if it stems from an honest heart. Scripture even tells us that “each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” as it pertains to secondary issues in Scripture (Rom. 14:5). It becomes a problem, though, when we take secondary issues and make them primary ones. It almost always leads to legalism and division.

I also don’t think it’s a bad thing to lovingly share our opinions with each other…if it stems from a humble heart. But we need to give others the freedom to differ in theirs (Rom 15:7). As the Lord began to open my eyes on this, unfortunately through uncomfortable conflict with other Christians, as well as seeing the diversity in my own three children, I was convicted about the pride and control that was forming in my heart. The thing about bandwagons is that it’s hard to stay on them without throwing stones at the ones going in any other direction. And if God changes your mind on an issue, like he did on mine with a few, be prepared to have those stones thrown at you.

I’m writing this down as a reminder to myself and a loving encouragement to all of us as moms. Let’s jump off our bandwagons and run our own unique race within the guidelines of Scripture. Because not only are we maiming each other, we’re also  tainting the world’s view of Christ.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2a

Just as no two individuals are the same, no two families are the same. God has a distinct purpose for each of us. As Christian moms, let’s run our own race: the one beside other moms, not against them…sharing and gleaning wisdom and insight with each other of course, but applying it in such a way that we are humble and honest before God and others. Our choices will be fleshed out in the context of community anyway, and that’s a beautiful thing when we are sharpening  instead of sabotaging one another. 

Looking back, it wasn’t the moms that had my same point of view on scheduling, schooling, disciplining or dating that profoundly impacted me…it was and still is the ones who love me no matter what,  pour out wisdom & seek it in return. The moms that struggle alongside me with each hard choice. The ones that pray for me and freely ask for prayer too. We are the moms who know that much of life is messy and rarely black and white, and it only gets messier when we stand as critics instead of companions toward one another.

Lord, love deeply, genuinely and sacrificially through us, always in light of Your truth. Make us completely humble and gentle, willing to lay down our stones.

May the God who gives endurance & encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind & one voice you may glorify the God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. Romans 15:5-7

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5 Ways to Be a Good Mom Even if Your Mom Wasn’t

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I often get emails from women who struggle in their mom journey because their mom was hard, cold, neglectful, abusive, had emotional or hormonal issues, or maybe even a mental illness.

Not every woman was blessed with a good, godly mom. Many grew up in abusive homes and still struggle with scars on their hearts where deep wounds have still not healed.

But no matter what you’ve been through or how hard your childhood was, your mom journey doesn’t have to be defined by your past. You can be a good mom even if your mom wasn’t. You can circumvent the cycle and break the chains that you may think have bound you to your past.

Remember, if you know Christ, He has given you the power to fulfill His will for your life (Phil 2:13), to live godly (2 Peter 1:3) and to be defined by Him (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 2:10, Romans 8:37)  and not your past.

Here’s 5 ways you can be a good mom even if your mom wasn’t…

1. Forgive your mom (and/or dad) ~ Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself. So many moms have destroyed their relationship with their own children because they couldn’t forgive their own moms for mistreating them.

Some moms have been abusive in their past because of what they went through as children or because of a mental illness, depression, or raging hormones that were never treated. It’s not an excuse, but it may be a reason. Most of the time, when we are children, we internalize the way we are treated and think it is because of us.

The reality is, the way our parents treat us has little to do with us and much to do with themselves and they way they were treated or because of what they were going through.

Regardless of what has happened to you or the reason you may have been mistreated as a child, forgiveness is the gift you give yourself. If you don’t forgive your mom or your dad, you will continue to be held captive to their abuse. It may take another form, but rather than being victorious over it, you can become debilitated by it. 

Trust me! I know! After experiencing a decade of abuse as a child from 2 different people in my family (not my mom or dad), I know how important forgiveness is.

2. Know your weaknesses ~ This is important for any mom, but especially if you’ve been neglected, mistreated or abused as a child. If you know you are prone to anger, it will not only help you know what to look out for but it will also help you to understand your trigger points and create an alternative strategy for dealing with things in a way that honors God and shows how much you love your kids.

Example: If you know you get angry easily, you can start journaling what things trigger your anger and then begin minimizing the times when those things occur and also begin to write out various alternative ways to deal with them. If you go ballistic when your children nag you, then set guidelines with your children that will prevent that from occurring. Let them know they can ask you for something once and you will consider it and discuss it with them, but if they ask a second time (and you’ve already said ‘no’) then the answer will be an automatic no and if they ask again, they will have other consequences because you already answered that question. Children need boundaries and if you have an issue with anger, you need to be sure to lovingly hold them to the boundaries you set.

3. Don’t try to go it alone ~ Moms need each other. We are definitely better together… and if you struggle with certain areas of your mom journey because your mom (or dad) left scars on your heart, then you need someone in your life who will not only be there to listen, but someone you will listen to. A mentor mom who might have walked in your shoes would be a great help to you in your own journey as a mom. 

When you are struggling with motherhood, it’s hard to let yourself be vulnerable and instead of talking about it, most moms become more isolated. That’s when you need someone more than ever.

Example: If you know you are prone to depression, it’s important to surround yourself with other mothers. Some who are older and some who are your age so that you can be encouraged by other moms. This is hard, but you have to get outside of yourself and put yourself out there in order to be healthy as a mom. It’s one of the most important things you can do! I really want to encourage you to join a M.O.M. Group in your community or to connect with a local church and contact us so we can help them start a M.O.M. Group.

4. Be an intentional mom ~ The more intentional you become as a mom, the easier it will be to overcome the pain of your past and not allow what you’ve been through to define who you are as a mom. When you focus on intentionally loving your children well and developing character in their hearts and making beautiful family memories for your children, you will be a mom who sets the stage for her home to become a haven for her kids. The more you are determined to be intentional, the more you will be a mom who parents on purpose.

5. Depend on and trust God ~ You’re going to blow it. All moms do. Even the best of moms. That’s because we are all human and we all need the Lord. You can’t be a good mom on your own. Neither can I. 

In The Making of a Mom, I share about the beautiful dichotomy that is true for every Christian mom. We are not enough, but we know the One who is… and He makes us enough. When we depend on Him and trust Him in our parenting, He comes in like a flood and gives us the wisdom, patience and love we need to be the moms we long to be.

You may not have had a good mom. Maybe you were neglected, abandoned, used or abused. But God has placed those tiny treasures in your home and has given you all you need to be the mom He is calling you to be. So, press into Him. Depend on Him, be intentional, don’t go it alone, know your weaknesses, and forgive your mom or dad for the kind of parent they were… or you’ll never be the kind of parent you long to be.

DID YOUR MOM LEAVE A GOOD EXAMPLE? WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD A PAINFUL ONE? DID ANYTHING IN THIS POST HELP YOU?

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Schooling

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Homeschooler 

I don’t wear it like a badge of honor, but it is my label. A job I accepted last year with fear and trepidation. And this year I take it up again a little wiser and still concerned that I educate my children well. 

I am a mom who longs to raise kids who love to learn. I want them to be life-long learners. I want them to love good books and communicate well in both written and spoken word. 

I secretly hope they love science and learn to look at math as a challenge, not an obstacle. 

I want them to have the skills necessary to live outside my home one day. They need to know how to pay bills, make meals, wash clothes, clean the bathrooms, write a check, or use online bill pay. 

I know they can learn all these things in public school or private school. But for now, this crazy season God has them at home with me. Learning in my lap or sitting on our beds. Discovering how to deal with frustration and irritating classmates.

And I have become the biggest student of them all. I am learning patience to teach my children who have little patience for me. I am discovering how to train my children to think critically. And God is putting me into His refining furnace called homeschool to burn away the sin in my life. 

This homeschool journey is not for everyone. God creatively calls each family to educate their children differently. I hope and pray that all mothers whether homeschool, public school, college, university, or private school would support each other.

It is a wild ride watching each child, tween, teen, young adult, and adult grow and change and learn.

So let us pray for teachers and mothers in all forms this school year.

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5 Ways to Teach Your Children to Behave Themselves in Public

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It’s almost inevitable. Kids behaving badly in public and moms wanting to hide under a rock.

It happens to the best of moms!

So what’s a mom to do when her child begins to behave badly in public? How can a mom teach her children to behave themselves?

1. Begin setting very clear expectations at  a young age. Even when your children are only about two, you can convey your expectations to them and when you have defined the ‘code of conduct’ for your household, your children will begin internalizing those expectations and make them their own. 

Remember, clear expectations come with certain consequences when those expectations aren’t met. It doesn’t mean your children will never misbehave, but if you set clear expectations that are accompanied by certain consequences if those expectations aren’t met, then your children will know those expectations are real and important.

Example: If your children begin whining in the store and pitching a fit because they want something, then the clear expectation needs to be, “If you whine or start acting up because you want something, the automatic answer will be no. If you ask nicely, I will consider whether or not we can get what you’re asking for.”

2. Make your house rules, heart rules. Behavior is the evidence of character and character is a matter of the heart. You can make rules but if you don’t work on tucking integrity and character in the heart of your child, eventually, he/she will no longer feel bound by your rules because he/she does not feel the need to do what you say any longer.

For example interrupting others is not only rude, it’s disrespectful and it’s important that we teach children not to interrupt when they are young so they don’t grow up to be adults who are rude and disrespectful. (That’s why I absolutely LOVE the Interrupt Rule). 

But when they don’t follow the rule, it’s important to not only have clear consequences but also disciple the heart of your child. The consequence might be that they have to sit in time out for 5 minutes or something that is relevant for your circumstances and location, and age-appropriate, as well. But you also want to shepherd their heart.

Perhaps when you get home, you could sit down together and role play about how they could handle it better and share various verses about respecting others. 

Verses like Philippians 2:3, Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”

3. Teach your children how to become problem solvers. Many time children feel frustrated because they can’t do something or figure it out on their own. Parents often become their problem solvers, so they go to them for every little thing and never learn to figure things out on their own. A parents job is not to answer every question and solve every problem for their kids. A parents job is to teach children to do those things on their own. 

Example: When you children ask you how to do something, rather than answering it for them, ask them how they think it should be done and walk them through the process. Help them learn to think for themselves, don’t think for them.

4. Instill a missional mentality in the heart of your kids. Children naturally think of themselves but a parent can help children think beyond themselves by caring for the needs of others. This will help them become more considerate of others in their surroundings.

Example: If your children are rambunctious, someone could get hurt. Maybe they like running around the grocery store but the elderly lady who needs a cane to keep herself steady is flustered because she knows that if they bump her, she would fall. In order to help your children see how important it is to care for those around them by behaving themselves, you could take them to the home of an elderly friend or a senior citizens home and have them help clean their house or their room, or make them a meal and explain how hard it is for them to do those things on their own. 

Teaching children to care for others will help them think beyond themselves and be more aware of their behavior when they are around others.

5. Point out good and bad behavior in others. You’ll want to be cautious when you do this because you don’t want your children to become judgmental or begin comparing themselves with others. But you do want them to see the difference between good and bad behavior when demonstrated by others.

Example: You’re at the grocery store and the little girl in front of them begins whining to get a candy bar. She starts getting loud and acting up. Once you’ve left the store and gotten in the car, that’s a great opportunity to discuss the way that little girl behaved and ask your child how it made him/her feel when he/she watched the little girl whining. You can also ask your child to describe the little girls behavior and ask if your child wants to convey that kind of behavior to others.

It’s also VERY important to do the same when you see another child behaving well. 

This is definitely one you want to be sensitive about how you handle it, but they see behavior all around them. Good and bad. They are already taking mental notes about how others behave. You can carefully use some of those times when you see other children behaving well and behaving badly to help your children think through their own behavior.

There are no cookie cutter answers for every child because their are no cookie cutter children or cookie cutter moms. But these are some foundational ways to help your children behave themselves in public.

DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH YOUR CHILDREN BEHAVING THEMSELVES IN PUBLIC? SHARE YOUR STORY HERE.

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