Detour – Teenage Motherhood – How to Survive (sneak peek of Better Together Session)

 

Me and Chy TMI
This wasn’t the part of the plan. You and your daughter were planning for high school graduation, but now you’re trying to get used to the idea that she is going to be a mother. You’re both trying to sync schedules around baby. How exactly will she do this mom thing and how do you help her?  

It happened to me. One day I was cheer leading for the football team and the next–I was fighting with my mom, feeling oh-so tired and scared as I held a positive pregnancy test in my hands. 

What did my future look like?

What about my boyfriend?

What about college?

What is everyone going to think?

What about my mom? She can’t take care of me and my five siblings? 

Even though my couldn’t bring herself to talk to me after she learned I was pregnant, her questions mirrored mine. My mother was filled with  mixed emotions she tried to process the news and grieve the plans, dreams, and life she had for me. At the same time, I was trying to adjust to the idea of high school and motherhood. Being a teenager and not emotionally mature, I was scared that the father of my baby wouldn’t be there … and what about college? What about the rest of my life?

How We Got Through It — A Pep Talk for the Soon To Be Grandma

Once the initial shock wears off, you and your daughter need to grieve the dreams you both had but remember life is not over. Instead, it’s time to dream of the new life being formed inside your daughter and what is best for baby. Open adoption or raising baby–either way, you both will need to dream new dreams and look at the future in a new way. Here are a few tips to help create a support network for you and your daughter. 

  • Seek Counsel –godly counsel. This can include speaking with your pastor or to a Christian counselor — someone equipped to provide wisdom and instruction as you deal with the emotions and disappointment you may be experiencing.
  • Mediation – Professional counsel does more than just help you process; it also provides mediation between you and your teen as you clarify the decisions she will need to make
  • Pray with her, asking God to guide her as she makes decisions regarding this baby.
  • Accept a New Reality. As this new reality settles in, keep in mind that your girl is hurt, frightened and needs your acceptance. Assure her of your love and your commitment to helping her through this difficult time.
  • New Dreams. It’s okay to grieve the dreams you had for her, give yourself a chance to grieve and then begin dreaming of a new future with her. Sit down with your daughter and ask her what her dreams were, how can she achieve them now? How can you help? 
  • Set Boundaries. As much as you want your daughter to succeed, you will need to create new boundaries and discuss them with your daughter. For example, even if the father of the child wants to be involved, it is NOT okay to continue a sexual relationship. Even if your daughter has class and work, it is not okay for her to expect YOU to get up at all hours of the night. Take these things into consideration and talk about how you can support your daughter and grand baby in a healthy manner. 
  • Let her grow up. She may be 15, 16, or 17; not quite an adult but she is a mom. Let her be a mom, when you see she is struggling to get baby to stop fussing, it’s great to offer her advice but try not to take over. She needs to learn what her baby needs but she still needs you for encouragement, advice, support and to be her biggest cheerleader. 

 me and chris

Teen Mom – OWN IT – A Pep Talk 4 U

Everyone told me there was no way out. I wouldn’t graduated High School, I wouldn’t go to college. Chris (the father) would leave me. I wouldn’t have a good life, or a great future. I heard it over and over. But I thought, Why do I have to fail? Why can’t I make a life as a teen and a mom? Something in my soul shifted, it was as if I felt God nudging me and saying, I have a plan and you can do this. It was if he was taking this failure and creating a successful, bright, beautiful future. 

So little mama, here is your pep talk!! 

Failing is when you learn a million ways not to do something. Moving past failure is when you use the lessons you learned and finally find the right way. 

Yes, you made a mistake. Yes, there is a mountain looming in your path right now—and it’s steep and fraught with snowstorms and rocky paths. But it is not insurmountable. I want to encourage you NOT to look at that mountain—steep as it is—and simply resign yourself to staying at the bottom.

Start climbing!  It’s what you do now that will make all the difference. 

You have two choices as you step off of your planned path and onto this detour: you can put your car on cruise control and let this mistake destroy your dreams and be a not so great mom, or you can grab the steering wheel and drive over the mountains to see what’s on the other side. I get it: being a teen mom is messy, tough, and overwhelming. But it’s also wonderful and empowering.

  • You can ensure you are the best mom possible.
  • You can make a pit stop on this detour to make it to your dream career or even college.
  • You can take responsibility for you and your baby.
  • You can change your attitude about your view of motherhood.
  • The key to moving forward is adjusting your view of not only change, but failure also. The key to this new story is YOU. 

In the big picture, it doesn’t matter what is going on in your life compared to others. What matters is how you respond. If you respond with self-pity and “Why me,” these will be some of your worst days. If you respond with, “I can do this; it may not be fun but I can try,” life will get better—not all the time but it does help decrease the stress.

So say a prayer and grab a pen. Answer these questions: 

  • What do I want to be when I grow up?
  • How can I achieve my dreams?
  • College or work?
  • What kind of mom am I going to be? 
  • Where can I go for help? 

Coming soon – a book for teen moms and a leader’s guide for mentors and a website dedicated to encouraging and equipping young moms. www.detour2moterhood.com.About Detour: Heather just finished writing Detour: Surviving (And Loving Life as a Teenage Mom) and is putting the finishing touches on the Leader’s Guide created for churches, small groups, MOPS groups, crisis centers to encourage, equip, and mentor young moms.  When we support young moms, we can the power to reach the next generation for Christ!

Sneak Peek of the book. 

Introduction – Detour: Surviving (And Loving) Life as a Teenage Mom 

Some little girls dream of having a big brick house with a giant swirl staircase, a white picket fence, a husband that looks like Ken, and (of course) a cool hot pink convertible to drive around town. Some girls I knew in school even had names picked out for their 2.4 children and big plans to adopt an orphaned Labradoodle. But not me. I wanted to be a lot of things—an attorney, a professor, a journalist, maybe even the CEO of some big company somewhere—but being a mom wasn’t even on my radar.

I was talented in arguing my point (ask my mom).  I knew what I wanted and knew what I needed to do to make it big. She used to tell me I was born screaming orders at the nurses.  And, while I did occasionally dream of prince charming (what boy crazy teenage girl doesn’t?), I figured my prince charming would fit in the picture after my happily-ever-after had already happened. I had better things to do, like go to college and make money so I could buy my first pink convertible.

Everything was planned—or so I thought.

But all of my best-laid plans came crashing to a halt on February 9, 1999.  It was one of the worst (although in hindsight, one of the best) days of my life.  For weeks, I had thought the reason why I was so tired was because my mom and I were not getting along.  I figured the emotional stress coupled with the fact that I had dropped out of cheerleading was leaving me drained, tired, and cranky.  But the tiredness nagged me to the point that my sweet Grammie noticed and dragged me to the clinic to find out what was going on. We both walked into that appointment thinking I had probably contracted something that was going around at school.  Neither of us expected those two pink lines.

I brought the test home, still not believing it. I remember twiddling the test around, staring at the tiny plastic stick that symbolized my new reality.  I couldn’t wrap my head around it. How could I—the girl who had all of the big dreams and even bigger plans—be pregnant? What about what my doctor told me when I was fifteen and having horrible cramps, he said I would never have kids on my own, so now what? As I laid on my bunk bed, staring at the test, other thoughts spun in and out of my head. What about school? How was I going to hide my blossoming belly? Would my friends ditch me? What about college? What about the house and the car and the swirling staircase and the golden retriever?  My life was over.  Or so I thought.

The future I had dreamed of since childhood started to blur.  The college degree, the Cinderella wedding, the exotic vacations, the plaques from my accomplishments, even the house with the white picket fence where I would sit sipping lemonade with the man of my dreams snuggled up next to me on a porch swing.  All of it faded away.  And a new picture started to emerge.

I was 17.  And pregnant.

My dreams had suddenly taken a very sharp detour.  The dream-lined path to college and beyond was suddenly uphill and fraught with tough decisions.  And the tiny life inside of me suddenly beckoned me more than the plans I had so carefully laid.

Questions rolled through my head:

  • How was I going to take care of my baby when I still needed to finish high school?
  • Was my relationship with my boyfriend going to survive this?
  • What would my friends think?  Would people still want to hang out with me?
  • How was I going to make my paycheck stretch to pay for diapers and bottles, much less than new dress I had been eyeing at the mall?
  • Would I ever be able to go to college and get that degree I had been dreaming of?
  • Would my parents forgive me and embrace their grandbaby?
  • Would my life ever be the same?

Everything changed for me that day.  I went from confidence and exuberance to loneliness and guilt.  My entire perspective shifted.  I went from wondering where I was going to go after the game on Friday night to wondering how I was going to raise a baby who would depend solely on me and the choices I made.  And while I’m by no means a perfect mom who has all the answers, I do understand how it feels to walk down the detour of teenaged pregnant.

And I hope that my experiences—the good, the bad and even the ugly—can help you to survive and thrive in your own detour.  I want to partner with you to help you through these next months—to show you how you can embrace your new reality in a way that’s healthy for both yourself and your baby.  Because I know from experience that no matter how you are feeling right now, you can, in fact, trudge down this road to reach a different, but equally happy future on the other side.

 

Other article resources:

The Mom Initiative - Dealing with your Pregnant Teen  

Thriving Family - Coping with Your Pregnant Teen 

Today’s Christian Woman - Is Your Teen Becoming a Parent? 

Don’t forget to grab a copy of Stephanie’s book, The Making of a Mom. It has my story in it plus hundreds of ways it can help grow you and your daughter as moms. 

 

To connect with Heather on the Detour 

Facebook page: Detour to Motherhood

Pinterest: Detour to Motherhood

Coming soon: Detour2motherhood.com  

______________________________________ 

Time is ticking and BETTER TOGETHER will be here before you know it!

We’ve had women contact us who really want to go but who are on a very tight budget. WE DON’T WANT FINANCES TO STAND IN THE WAY!

So… 

If you’re a SINGLE MOM, HOMESCHOOL MOM or MOM who is dealing with financial restraints, BETTER TOGETHER has been made available FREE FOR YOU because of the generous contributions of our Corporate/Ministry Sponsors.

To get your ticket ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is email us at info@themominitiative.comand request a FREE TICKET!

With 20 speakers and 45 workshops that are designed to meet each woman in every age and in every stage right where she is.

This will be a weekend you won’t forget and we don’t want finances to be an issue! HURRY AND REGISTER TODAY FOR BETTER TOGETHER

July 31st – August 2nd

Jacksonville, Florida at Trinity Baptist Church

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The Greatest Lesson of All

thegreatestlessonofall

 If you were to ask me, “What’s one of the most important lessons I can teach my children?” I’d have to answer: Choices have consequences.

While visiting Washington D.C. last week I was reminded of many choices our founding fathers made hundreds of years ago–including the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Each decision they made had consequences we as a nation still feel reverberating today.

I’d probably receive little debate from a parent who understands this lesson well. But, as a mom, we are nurturers at heart. We are known for wanting our child to experience only joy and feel as little pain as possible. We guide our sons and daughters towards the path with the most light and the least thorns. We give tender hugs and cushion the falls  any of our children make…sometimes to a fault.

When my four were much younger I reminded them, “Don’t come near the stove when I’m cooking, you could get burned.” Not understanding the pain of a burn they’d dance closer and closer to the open flame and boiling pot. Over and over I’d warn them, “Get back, I don’t want you to get burned.”

My husband would say, “For goodness sake, Joanne, stop warning them. If they get burned they’ll learn.”

There’s much truth to this lesson no matter how old our children are and it’s one I still struggle with. The Bible is clear about our choices having consequences. King David and Bathsheba are a good example. When King David sends Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, to the front lines of battle and to his death, Psalm 51 expresses the heart of a regretful King David and full of pain at the wrong choice he made.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

While David seeks and receives forgiveness from God, we see there are still future consequences. When King David desires to build a temple for the Lord -God explains why he is not a candidate for the job.

“But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth.” 1 Chronicles 22:8

While poor choices bring unwanted consequences there is also the lesson of good choices begetting good consequences. When our children make a selfless choice, we make sure to notice. We want to remind them God blesses those who make a choice that honors Him even when it’s hard.

These lessons start young. Sharing a toy with a playmate is a choice. The consequence is the child becomes the beneficiary of a playmate’s joy and gratefulness. Acknowledging these choices is very important. While travelling the metro in Washington D.C. recently, I watched my thirteen year old son offer his seat to a woman. I overheard as she thanked him. I smiled and thought if this woman only knew how many hours my son had been walking she would have been even more amazed at the gesture. I knew -and encouraged his choice later.

As our children have grown up, the reminder of choices and consequences has been a golden lesson. With each decision they’ve learned to make on their own, I pray they understand God can use each choice as a sculpting tool to mold and shape them into the people He wants them to be.

We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.—Kevin Levine

Allow your child to make choices and let them experience the consequences attached to their decision. The second part is fundamental. When you allow your child to make a choice but then protect them from the outcome you raise a dictator, instead. Never allow them to make a choice unless you allow them to feel the consequence that follows.

With each passing year, our protective arm must take our hand off their shoulder and make way for the Lord’s hand of guidance in their life. They will only learn to lean on Him if we stop protecting them from every outcome that may cause discomfort. This is how they learn to lean on God instead of us.

My advice to you precious mom? Don’t steal your child’s testimony. Allow consequences to be felt—both good and bad ones. Only then will they grow up to learn the greatest lesson of all—to lean on the Lord instead of their mom.

______________________________________ 

Time is ticking and BETTER TOGETHER will be here before you know it!

We’ve had women contact us who really want to go but who are on a very tight budget. WE DON’T WANT FINANCES TO STAND IN THE WAY!

So… 

If you’re a SINGLE MOM, HOMESCHOOL MOM or MOM who is dealing with financial restraints, BETTER TOGETHER has been made available FREE FOR YOU because of the generous contributions of our Corporate/Ministry Sponsors.

To get your ticket ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is email us at info@themominitiative.comand request a FREE TICKET!

With 20 speakers and 45 workshops that are designed to meet each woman in every age and in every stage right where she is.

This will be a weekend you won’t forget and we don’t want finances to be an issue! HURRY AND REGISTER TODAY FOR BETTER TOGETHER

July 31st – August 2nd

Jacksonville, Florida at Trinity Baptist Church

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Registration InformationLocation, List of Breakout Sessions, Descriptions of WorkshopsConference Speaking TeamBetter Together Conference FlyerBetter Together Bulletin Insert (Full Color)Better Together Bulletin Insert (Black & White)Better Together Conference Cards (Postcard Size)

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How To Find The Peace Of God In The Midst Of Your Stress

HowToFindThePeace_MelissaMashburn

 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7 NIV

Oh sweet mom, is it me or does it seem that there are things pulling at us from just about every angle of life these days.

It’s either the kids, our spouse, the job, our ministry, our friends, our finances, or even our health, sometimes all at the same time.

It’s enough to make you feel like that mom from the Incredibles movie, what’s her name…ElastaGirl?

The problem with that is that we aren’t ElastaGirl, and she’s not real, so we can bend and move but eventually something will break or fall.

I love what it says right before this verse though, because we need to be able to find the peace of God in the midst of our stress.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV

Ok, now it’s starting to make a little more sense. Do not be anxious about anything; problems, stresses, kids, finances, health issues, and the marriage…everything. All of it. The good, the bad, the ugly, give it all back to God through prayer and petition.

Then, when we do,we will receive the peace of God.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:7 NIV

  • Do you mean that by giving all that “stuff” over to Him we will actually have peace? Yes!
  • Do you mean that by praying about it we will begin to have peace? Yes!
  • Do you think that is possible for you and me? Absolutely Yes!

Well, what does that “peace of God” look like?

I went over to my friends at Dictionary.com to look up the word peace and here’s what it says;

- a state of mutual harmony between people or groups
- a state of tranquility or serenity:
- a state or condition conducive to, proceeding from, or characterized by tranquility:

Then I took it a step further and asked Dictionary.com to define for me the “peace of God” and guess what, there were NO results for “peace of God”.

Is that surprising?

No, not really, especially since it says right there in the verse that the “peace of God” transcends all understanding.

I love that we don’t have to completely understand it but can accept it as the gift that it is.

At the end of the verse it also says that the peace of God will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This is actually a beautiful thing for us because it says that even in the midst of our stress that not only will you have peace from Him but that He will guard your hearts and minds while you still try to figure out all the other stuff.

Let’s face it can be tough to have peace when everything around you is pulling at you at the same time, but when you present your requests to Him, lay them down, and accept the gift of the peace from God, then you will be able to rest in knowing that He is there with you every step of the way.

So, let’s get practical.

What do you need to take before Him right now so that you too can have the peace of God?

______________________________________ 

Time is ticking and BETTER TOGETHER will be here before you know it!

We’ve had women contact us who really want to go but who are on a very tight budget. WE DON’T WANT FINANCES TO STAND IN THE WAY!

So… 

If you’re a SINGLE MOM, HOMESCHOOL MOM or MOM who is dealing with financial restraints, BETTER TOGETHER has been made available FREE FOR YOU because of the generous contributions of our Corporate/Ministry Sponsors.

To get your ticket ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is email us at info@themominitiative.comand request a FREE TICKET!

With 20 speakers and 45 workshops that are designed to meet each woman in every age and in every stage right where she is.

This will be a weekend you won’t forget and we don’t want finances to be an issue! HURRY AND REGISTER TODAY FOR BETTER TOGETHER

July 31st – August 2nd

Jacksonville, Florida at Trinity Baptist Church

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Registration InformationLocation, List of Breakout Sessions, Descriptions of WorkshopsConference Speaking TeamBetter Together Conference FlyerBetter Together Bulletin Insert (Full Color)Better Together Bulletin Insert (Black & White)Better Together Conference Cards (Postcard Size)

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For Those Days When Mothering Is Hard

The-Making-of-a-Mom_quote-09

I LOVE being a mom but sometimes mothering is hard! Being a mom is AMAZING… but mothering isn’t always about butterfly kisses, tickles and giggles! 

Can any mommas relate?

We don’t always know what to do or what to say or how to act and react to every situation we’re faced with as moms.

In The Making of a Mom, I wrote about those days when mothering is hard… those times when we feel overwhelmed as a mom. The times when we struggle with how much attention is too much and how much attention is not enough…

  • How do we dole out just the right amount of attention for our kids without creating a child centered home or an attention starved child?
  • How do we love our kids well?
  • How do we protect them without overprotecting them?
  • How do we know the right things to say and choose the right things to say when we’re frustrated and frazzled?
  • How do we shield them from the world while we’re trying to teach them to live in it and be strong, courageous Christians whose faith will stand even if their world falls apart…and even if everyone stands in opposition to them?
  • How do we instill character in a world that embraces sin and is calling wrong right and right wrong?
  • How do I help my children grasp how significant they are when I feel so insignificant?
  • How do I set goals for my kids when I can’t even set goals for myself? 
  • How do I navigate the tumultuous seas of motherhood when I’m struggling with my identity as a mother?
  • Why do I blow it with my kids when I love them so much and how do I handle it when I do?
  • How do I pray for my kids when sometimes I can’t even tell what they’re thinking or what they really need?
  • How can I leave a lasting imprint on their hearts and instill in them a deep desire to return home long after they’ve left the nest?
  • How can I be a good mom when I feel like I’m failing my kids?
  • What is biblical motherhood anyway and what does it look like in real life?

These are the struggles almost all moms face. These are many of the issues I deal with in The Making of a Mom. And these are the issues I’ll cover in my workshop at BETTER TOGETHER!

I hope you can come to the conference… and remember… don’t let financial constraints keep you from coming!

But today, I want to share with you 3 things to help you in a few key areas when mothering is hard.

1. Understand your identity as a mom TheMakingofaMomsmall

There’s great power that comes from realizing you are not only a mom, but you’re THE mom for your kids. Knowing your role creates the reality of your significance as a mom and the importance of taking it seriously. You may not be the perfect parent, but, if you’re a Christian, you KNOW the perfect Parent and He has made you the mom of your children on purpose and for a purpose.

Knowing that helps you see yourself, your role as a mom, and the task of parenting your children as a gift and a huge responsibility that God has equipped you to do.

It also helps you embrace your authority as their mom, so you don’t have to loose control, but can calmly create an environment of respect, patience and obedience wrought from a firm foundation of faith and love.

2. Make seeking your Father’s face your ultimate priority

INVEST IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD… SPEND TIME BASKING IN HIS PRESENCE… SATURATE YOUR HEART AND MIND IN THE WORD OF GOD… LET YOUR PARENTING BECOME AN OVERFLOW OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH AND WISDOM FROM GOD! Hands down.. number one piece of advice I have ever received and could ever give!

We can’t be the mommas God created us to be unless we seek His face, spend the in His Word, and look for ways to live out His principles and precepts.

3. Give yourself and your children room to fail and room to grow

You won’t always get it right. You won’t always say the right thing and do the right thing. You won’t always be the perfect mom. But having a bad moment doesn’t make you a bad mom. Not responding well to a circumstance doesn’t make you a failure as a mom. It’s an important part of your parenting journey… to fall down and get back up and to allow your children to do the same. I’m not perfect and I’m going to fail. So are you.. and so are your children. 

When they see you fall and get back up without allowing that failure to define you, then they can see what it looks like to walk in victory and you equip them for their own failures and flaws when you don’t allow your failures and flaws to define you.

Being a mom is amazing but sometimes mothering is hard! I hope today’s post encouraged your momma heart and I hope to meet you at BETTER TOGETHER!

EVER HAD ONE OF ‘THOSE’ DAYS? WHAT DO YOU DO ON THOSE DAYS WHEN MOTHERING IS HARD?

I’m sharing MUCH MORE about THE MAKING OF A MOM at BETTER TOGETHER! HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

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Time is ticking and BETTER TOGETHER will be here before you know it! We’ve had women contact us who really want to go but who are on a very tight budget. WE DON’T WANT FINANCES TO STAND IN THE WAY!

So… 

If you’re a SINGLE MOM, HOMESCHOOL MOM or MOM who is dealing with financial restraints, BETTER TOGETHER has been made available FREE FOR YOU because of the generous contributions of our Corporate/Ministry Sponsors.

To get your ticket ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is email us at info@themominitiative.comand request a FREE TICKET!

With 20 speakers and 45 workshops that are designed to meet each woman in every age and in every stage right where she is.

This will be a weekend you won’t forget and we don’t want finances to be an issue! HURRY AND REGISTER TODAY FOR BETTER TOGETHER

July 31st – August 2nd

Jacksonville, Florida at Trinity Baptist Church

BetterTogether728x90 copy

Registration InformationLocation, List of Breakout Sessions, Descriptions of WorkshopsConference Speaking TeamBetter Together Conference FlyerBetter Together Bulletin Insert (Full Color)Better Together Bulletin Insert (Black & White)Better Together Conference Cards (Postcard Size)

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Two Important Announcements from TMI for You!

# 1 – Important Announcement

TheMakingofaMomsmallEvery day of the year we come to you as mentor mommas with hearts to meet you where you are in the middle of your mom journey…to help answer the questions you send in and to be a hub where mentors and mentees can connect!

Just last week, THE MAKING OF A MOM came out and it is the book this ministry has been waiting for. THE MAKING OF A MOM was written to be real help for real moms and to also serve as a unique, all-in-one resource for mentors and ministry leaders.

The launch started out well, but after about 2 days, I began receiving emails from those who had pre-order THE MAKING OF A MOM telling me that they had received emails from Amazon saying THE MAKING OF A MOM was out of print. 

Turns out that EVERY PRE-ORDERD book that was ordered on or before July 14th was lost in the shuffle of switching publishers from Regal to Revell.

So, the books you sweet friends pre-ordered under the Regal brand and Regal’s ISBN will not be shipped because it now no longer exists. It’s now under Revell and has a new ISBN and even a new website link. And I have no way to know who pre-ordered, or how many or how to get in touch with those who did. 

The only answer can be to ask YOU to help!

I’m asking you to help this launch fulfill its mission. If you pre-ordered The Making of a Mom on or before July 14th, please cancel that order on THIS AMAZON LINK (which says, “Out of print”) and order your new book on THIS AMAZON LINK (which is the new Revell link).

I’m SO SORRY for the confusion and inconvenience, but I’m super excited about how the Lord is already using The Making of a Mom in the lives of moms everywhere.

Recently, a mom who had read The Making of a Mom  contacted me and said, “No one writes books like this any more. This has really helped me be a better mom in so many areas. You have no idea how glad I am you wrote this.”

And I’m SUPER EXCITED about the M.O.M. Groups, small groups and single mom groups beginning to use The Making of a Mom for their next study!

I hope you’ll get a copy and be encouraged in your mom journey and if you’re a ministry leader or small group leader, I hope you’ll either begin or enhance your mentoring ministry and begin ministering to moms who know Christ and reaching those who don’t.

# 2 – Important Announcement

Time is ticking and BETTER TOGETHER will be here before you know it! We’ve had women contact us who really want to go but who are on a very tight budget. WE DON’T WANT FINANCES TO STAND IN THE WAY!

So… 

If you’re a SINGLE MOM, HOMESCHOOL MOM or MOM who is dealing with financial restraints, BETTER TOGETHER has been made available FREE FOR YOU because of the generous contributions of our Corporate/Ministry Sponsors.

To get your ticket ALL YOU HAVE TO DO is email us at info@themominitiative.com and request a FREE TICKET!

With 20 speakers and 45 workshops that are designed to meet each woman in every age and in every stage right where she is.

This will be a weekend you won’t forget and we don’t want finances to be an issue! HURRY AND REGISTER TODAY FOR BETTER TOGETHER

July 31st – August 2nd

Jacksonville, Florida at Trinity Baptist Church

BetterTogether728x90 copy

Registration InformationLocation, List of Breakout Sessions, Descriptions of WorkshopsConference Speaking TeamBetter Together Conference FlyerBetter Together Bulletin Insert (Full Color)Better Together Bulletin Insert (Black & White)Better Together Conference Cards (Postcard Size)

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When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned ~ by Lynn Cowell

maninrainsmall

“A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.” Luke 15:11-13 (NASB)

Go to that movie? No way! I had already seen the movie previews, and made up my mind. No child of mine was going to see that show. I had decided well before he asked the question. The answer was, “No.” It was true. He showed respect by asking for my permission, but still. The answer wouldn’t change. Without words, my son turned his back, returning to his friends.

I wrestled inside with that decision, because for all practical purposes, my son was an adult. Yet, knowing the intense heartache that could come if one unwise decision led to another, I was determined to maintain control with my eldest child as long as possible.

He could have lied and gone to the movie and told you something different, my head reasoned. Meanwhile my heart whispered, You still have time to influence his decisions; don’t give up while he’s still at home.

After seeking wise advice from my husband, we decided to allow our son to make up his own mind that day, but not without tears in our eyes. I know the decision seems rather trivial to lead to watery eyes. However, as I reflected on why we got so emotional, it wasn’t that the choice was hard; it was the act of letting go.

I imagine the father in today’s key passage wrestled with letting go, too. His son had given the speech … the speech of a child who knows more than his dad: “Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me” (Luke 15:12).

Here is where I stand amazed at the father. In Jesus’ story, the father didn’t nag, criticize or get angry with his son. The father didn’t say, “You’re not ready. This is the wrong decision. You’re too immature. You don’t know what you’re doing.”

Instead, this wise and loving father prepared to watch his son learn hard truth … on his own.

Reading this passage makes my heart break. I come to tears just thinking of the pain the father experienced as he divided his property and possessions. I can almost hear the struggle of this father’s heart. Perhaps he thought: This is all wrong. It wasn’t supposed to go this way. I’ve spent my whole life investing in these boys. This isn’t the way it was supposed to turn out.

I’ve had similar painful thoughts.

What parent doesn’t experience that frustration, as we travel through this journey of having children and then letting them go?

I think of the friend watching an unwise decision of another tear down a lifetime bond.

And the sister who struggles as a sibling heads in the wrong direction.

Each scenario makes my heart ache.

Maybe the father experienced the same type of emotions I’m sure I would have had: turmoil torturing my mind with all that could certainly go wrong.

Yet, in his wisdom, the prodigal’s father held back that swirling sadness from his lips. He knew some children learn best through experience.

And we, as those who love them, need the wisdom of the Father to know which of our loved ones are wired this way.

Then with all the grace our Heavenly Father will give, we have to get out of the way.

Out of the way and onto our knees, praying our prodigals quickly discover even a “hired hand.” Or they learn that, as Paul describes himself, “a prisoner” (Philemon 1:1) is more blessed than the one outside the umbrella of God’s protection and blessings.

Lord, we are desperate for Your wisdom. Show us, Jesus, when to speak and when to be silent. When we need to get involved, and when we need to get out of the way, so our loved ones surrender to You as soon as possible. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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2014 M.O.M. Conference ~ BETTER TOGETHER

July 31st – August 2nd

Jacksonville, Florida at Trinity Baptist Church

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Our Blessing Box

Our Blessing Box When we were young married’s and college students, my Chris and I began to do a Blessing Box. A blessing box represents a life of God taking care of His own.  And it reminds us that He has been faithful, is faithful and WILL BE FAITHFUL in the future.  

Our children get to have a front row seat to what God is doing around us every single day.

I have no idea where this idea originated (and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my original idea), but we have made it our own over the past 23 years. I cannot find the first one…but here is our second one.

Blessing Box
We began with a shoe box.
 
We wrapped it with wrapping paper or brown shipping paper, both the top and bottom separately, and cut a small rectangular hole in the top (remember the Valentine boxes we used to make in school?) to put slips of paper through. The first box we had was decorated by our nephews who were about 7 at the time (they both got married this year). We talked about ways that God had blessed us.
 
For example:
*7-15-95 Alternator and belt needed replacing on the car. The Lord provided $125 through our computer selling at a garage sale! Praise God!
*A wet raccoon on our front porch! We have enjoyed watching the raccoons every night!
*Skate Shoes! Noah
* Daddy can see three deer feeders from the garage roof.
* The duckling is a blessing. “The two ran away to find their mudder!” Kylie
* Boxes from Wal-mart were free (for our move)
* Promotion and Raise (50% in 4 years)
* Promise Keepers–friend Steven went along and it changed the course of his life! Praise God!
* Got a deer on the last day of the season
* Mrs. Tricia wasn’t hurt bad in her car wreck.
* That You have given me friends of all ages and race and type, who care for me and add many delights to my life! Holly
* We went to Mrs. Bonnie’s a few weeks ago! Noah
* That You have given us a child (Noah) and have made me a mother.
*I love God and Jesus. We have a game called Captain Bible and it’s about Jesus. Noah-4 years old
 
Then we added a new one, when that one got filled… 
 
Blessing Box 2
 
 
Then we added a new one, when that one got filled…
 
Blessing Box 3
 
 
And another..
 
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After writing all the blessings, I would cut them apart and hand them out to everyone,  and we begin to sing the chorus to “Count Your Blessings” until everyone is done. 

When everyone has put their paper in, we sing this chorus I learned in Campus Crusade:
 
Give God a Hand
for all He’s Done
For giving us
His Only Son
Let’s all stand up
and give God a hand! (stand up and clap-clap-clap-clap)
 
That’s all. When we have one of those days that seem too much or overwhelming, all we need to do is pull out some pieces of paper from our Blessing Box and we are reminded that God has been faithful and is faithful and will be faithful. Some days we need reminding, don’t we?
 
“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever!” 1 Chronicles 16:34
 

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July 31st – August 2nd,

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Whine and Wine Culture

“Go have a glass of wine.”wine1

I had been cutting my infants’s finger nails and ended up making a slice in the tip of his finger.

I felt sick. There was blood. I went from zero to one-hundred in no time flat. He’ll bleed to death! I’ve maimed my baby! He needs stitches.

My pediatrician and her colleagues had most likely fielded this type of frantic call from a mom many times before.

He’s fine. Just put a little pressure on it. Don’t worry. And Dr. Smith says, Go have a glass of wine.” I could hear a little laughter erupt in the background. 

Message received. The cut is just a nick and if I get stressed have wine. It’s okay…doctors orders. 

I told a friend, one of my mentor moms, about the conversation. She gave me some solid advice. She relayed a story about a mom she met while watching her kiddos at a park. My friend had made a little joke about it being a hard day and needing some alcohol later that night.  The woman didn’t give her the, “I know what you mean,” reply. Instead she stopped her mid-sentence, “That’s how I got started. A glass of wine while I was cooking dinner, just to relax before my husband came home. You know, during the kids’ bewitching hours of four to six. Now I’m an alcoholic. ”

Busyness, stress, boredom, frustration all things moms  deal with.

There is a growing trend  related to those typical mom issues. I call it the  Mommy Juice Movement. It’s when young mamas participate in liquid therapy alone or with a group of other moms. Many mamas who have had a rough day want that  Chardonnay Chill and are encouraged to go for it by other well-meaning mamas.

Drink while cooking dinner, drink when the kids go to bed, drink at the playgroup.

Liquor companies have taken notice of this new drinking culture and had even created wines targeting young stressed out moms: Mad Housewife, Mommy’s Time Out and Mommy Juice. Their sales are up 25%.(http://www.today.com/parents/hitting-mommy-juice-too-hard-experts-warn-alcohol-abuse-moms-2D79473508)

There are even facebook groups, websites, playgroups, and mom blogs with the central theme of , “‘I’ve worked hard. I’ve earned it. I need a drink.” Where the shared joke is, “Kids will drive you to drink.” 

There are no websites for other substance use or abuse. Have you ever seen a group like: Mommy needs Drugs. Or My kids get me down, so let’s get high? Drinking is an easily available and legal mode of escapism, where many comrades are willing to go along and encourage others to join in. 

There is a book titled, Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay whose author originally supported the drinking fad but now confesses to alcoholism.  “The number of middle-age women who entered alcohol treatment programs nearly tripled between 1992 and 2007.” Alcoholism is on the rise and the Whine-Wine mentality is adding to its numbers. (http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2013/05/15/women-drinking-and-wine-reward-culture/uUQ6piA88PGabcNm5eeqhP/story.html)

Last night on the news the reporter said that eight drinks during the week was considered excessive drinking for women. So that would be one drink every day with maybe two on Saturday. 

Here are five indicators of an alcohol  dependence or addiction:

1. Drinking more alcohol than you intended.

2. Wanting to quit but unsuccessful at quitting.

3. Alcohol use is taking the place of other activities with family and friends.

4. Interests revolve around drinking and lots of focus is on alcohol

5. Drinking continues even when it causes issues in your family.

If you find you can nod in agreement to any of these statements, get help. 

If you are crazy busy, stressed, bored, frustrated…find another way to de-stress.

Personally, I also found simple things like  lighting a candle (of course away from the kids) and pouring myself some tea (rather than a glass of wine) helped get me through the bewitching hours.

And…changing up the venue for the kids makes a big difference as well. Give the little rascals a bath during that time. Somehow water  soothes the savage beast. And truth be told, there are times where as a mom you just have to grin and bear it…because this to shall pass. (I promise.)

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler.
Proverbs 20:1 

by,

Lori Wildenberg
Lori-Wildenberg-240x300TMI Mentor mom and co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13 Parenting, Lori Wildenberg, is mom of 4 and wife to Tom. She a licensed parent and family educator, national  speaker, and co-author of 3 parenting books: The just released- Raising Little Kids with Big Love (available on Amazon, soon to be in books stores), the soon to be released Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love, and Empowered Parents: Putting Faith First (Amazon).  Contact her for speaking, workshops, or private parent consulting. 

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2014 M.O.M. Conference ~ BETTER TOGETHER

July 31st – August 2nd,

Jacksonville, Florida at Trinity Baptist Church

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Hire a professional potty trainer?

Some parenting tasks should really be left to the professionals, right? After all, kids don’t come with a manual. It’s no wonder, then, that people have made a business out of the business of raising kids. In fact, for $925 you can hire a Potty Trainer to teach your child how to “do their business” and take the mess … off your hands!

In June New York City’s first professional potty-training service launched, and the phone has been ringing ever since. One honest mom-customer admitted to being “frustrated” and “not having a lot of patience” as her motivation for calling in back up help for her 3 yr old son. Add “professional potty trainer” to the growing list of services parents today can call in (if you can pay …) to help us overcome the obstacles and trials of growing up.

BUT WAIT.

Isn’t there value in the sometimes slow and painful process of getting through the hard stuff, of figuring out new experiences, of learning awkward things with someone we trust, and of accepting the truth that we don’t always get it right the first time? Maybe some clean up, some mess making, some disappointment, some frustration, and some stretching of patience is both good for a child and a parent. After all, family life is sanctifying. In other words, tough skills like using a potty are used in our lives to help us grow more like Jesus and act more like Jesus to each other.

Please don’t get me wrong here; we’re not talking about medically necessary help provided by those who are highly trained for intervention into unique health related needs. We’re talking about the normal stuff of life: wiping up, waiting, flushing, aiming, dirty stuff of life.

professional potty trainer

Not sure you’re buying my promise of bathroom blessings? God Himself models the pattern of loving us in a dirty condition. He didn’t wait until we were clean and smelling good; He moved when we weren’t even motivated to move. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8).  True love isn’t daunted by the hard things.

Mom, you don’t have to have a certificate or business card to be qualified to teach your child how to use a potty. You don’t have to be a professional potty trainer. It might not just take a day (If you’re paying $925 we hope it does!) or even a week, but I guarantee there’s more happening on the potty chair than number one or two.  It’s a bit miraculous, but even bathroom habits can build the bond of a parent and a child and add to the character of a growing little person.

And if you hit a wall and can’t overcome the potty problem on your own, do you need to come up with $925? As a mom who sang potty songs and gave out m&ms, may I encourage you to find a mentor and have some legal “bathroom talk” with an older mom who can share her experience, cheer you on, and even pray you on to relief and success?

And just think of all you can do with that $925!

How about sharing some FREE potty training wisdom for that mom who read this hoping for HELP?

What did YOU do that worked?

CLICK TO TWEET > Mom you don’t have to have a certificate or business card to teach your child how to use a #potty http://www.themominitiative.com/?p=13847

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The Clock is Ticking! Get your tickets today!

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR MORE ABOUT BETTER TOGETHER!

  

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REGISTER NOW for the

2014 M.O.M. Conference ~ BETTER TOGETHER

July 31st – August 2nd,

Jacksonville, Florida at Trinity Baptist Church

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Why Mom Can’t Afford Not to Pray

PrayTMI

 

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1Thessalonians 5:16-18

Our carefree family cruised towards disaster like the unsuspecting Titanic on its fateful night. Ten carefree eyes were unable to see the impending trials swirling under the ice-cold water rushing towards us.

Then, all at once our family collided with the jagged edge of suffering. Broken pieces of marriage, serious illness and a loss of a precious life were left in its agonizing wake.

Yet, deep within each icy wave the Lord tangibly sustained our exhausted household. Faithful prayers from those around us buoyed our wearied heads above the cruel water of affliction. Within the torrents we saw the petitions offered up for our marriage and family answered and God working.

Prayers from the past as well as the present hugged our battered family and gave us the strength to go on. Our faith increased as we saw God provide through each fervent prayer. Our family had front row seats and saw how, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (James 5:16 NLT).

Mom or grandma, are you presently praying for someone you love who is engulfed under the waves of affliction? Or, are you in wisdom praying for the future of your children or grandchildren who haven’t yet tasted the bitterness of suffering?

If so, don’t give up! Keep praying! God is at work; your prayers are being answered. Future generations will thank you.

 “ You are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.” 2Corinthians 1:11

What about you? How have you seen God work through prayer? 

Praising Him through my pen,

Tara Dovenbarger

Tara lives on her hobby farm in East Tennessee with her husband of 18 years and four children. Her deepest longing is to lead women to never give up their faith when life pours forth hardship. Her writing and speaking testify of her personal knowledge of God’s faithfulness through her own loss of a child, near loss of another, and painful years of marriage restored.

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SEATING IS LIMITED! 

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2014 M.O.M. Conference ~ BETTER TOGETHER

July 31st – August 2nd,

Jacksonville, Florida at Trinity Baptist Church

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Registration InformationLocation, List of Breakout Sessions, Descriptions of WorkshopsConference Speaking TeamBetter Together Conference FlyerBetter Together Bulletin Insert (Full Color)Better Together Bulletin Insert (Black & White)Better Together Conference Cards (Postcard Size)

 

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