Moms & Tots

encouraging mothers of young children

Grace 101 September 1, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — bbcmomsandtots @ 12:30 pm
Tags:

“It’ll be good to get back into a routine.” “I’m ready to get back in the swing of things.” I’ve been hearing myself and friends saying these kinds of things lately. The carefree days of sun and fun had become chaotic. I was ready for a change and some schedule. Children of all sizes and ages were in and out of the house all day, leaving messes wherever they went, bickering about….oh….everything. We stayed up way too late and got up way too late (except poor Dad). So, it was time.

Yet, looking at the school year in all its hugeness, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it this year. It seems like we go from “nothing” to “everything” all at once. I was thinking “How are we going to get though another year?”

Do you struggle body and soul in handling a “strong-willed” child, a “messy” child, a “fussy” baby, a schedule of meals (3 of them every single day), kids’ schoolwork and practices, potty training, a house to keep in order? There are days when I say, “Calgon, take me away!”

Being a mom takes patience and strength that I, frankly, do not have!

I’ve been thinking about grace lately. Do I really understand it? I sing about it in so many songs, hear it in many prayers and say it over my meals. But, have I asked for it in the nitty gritty details of life? I often think of grace only in terms of salvation (amazing!) but forget that God desires to give grace to help us live the Christian life. Do I only need it for the big things like surgery or death? Does God know that my son never picks up his clothes? Yes, He cares about us enough to help us give a “soft answer” to that son when we would normally be exasperated.

Have you asked Him for grace today or peace or joy? We don’t deserve it, but because of Christ we can have it.

Will you ask for His grace with me as we begin a new season? I am seeing my perspective change as I ask Him in my feeble, halting, stumbling way.

I can’t be mom without His Word and His grace.

 

Get Ready, Get Set, Be Still – Practical strategies for change for caregivers May 27, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — bbcmomsandtots @ 8:00 am
Tags:

Here is a handout that Debbie Heffernan gave us when she spoke at our Bible study. This is great information for us being caregivers as mothers, but is applicable to all caregivers!

Psalm 46: 1 and 10

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” “Be still and know that I am God”

Unless you practice being still before God, you will forget who God is and that He is your “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” So in the midst of the pressures of your life, you need to make sure you don’t give up sitting at Jesus’ feet and learning from Him. Instead of a huge block of time, spend shorter periods of quiet time during your day.

  • Practice the presence of God while caregiving – live out of an ongoing dependent prayer, cultivate a thankful heart, listen to worshipful music, be in church regularly.
  • Attend to your own health – eat properly, drink water, get enough sleep, and spend time with others, take care of yourself so that you can attend to the needs of others.
  • Plow your own heart – “Where we are no longer able to change the situation we are challenged to change ourselves.” God is intent on transforming you more fully to the character of Christ as you care for others. Evaluate how your own desires, demands, fears, insecurities, wants and expectations are having an impact on your ability to care for others.
  • Depend on others for help – ask family, friends, and your church family, share your struggles and accept the support others give.

Thank you so much Debbie for the wonderful insight and suggestions you have given us. Ladies, feel free to contact Debbie with any questions and for suggestions. She is a wealth of wisdom.

 

Temptations as Care Givers May 24, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — bbcmomsandtots @ 8:22 pm
Tags: ,

On Thursday night we had a wonderful Bible study with Debbie Heffernan. She gave us great insight into being better caregivers for our children (she gave some great tips for when we have to care for our parents in the distant future also). I just wanted to share with you one part of her lesson and there will be another post in the near future with some tips she gave for changes we need to make in our hearts and lives.

Debbie pointed out three temptations that face us as care givers. Each one is accompanied by some thoughts you may be having.

  1. Struggle with anger –  All I want is for things to go smoothly,God is asking for more than I can handle, I need relief.
  2. struggle with fear – I don’t know if I can handle anymore, I always seem to do the wrong thing.
  3. Struggle with being “indispensable” – Nobody can do it like I can, If I don’t do it – nobody will.

Have you faced any of those feelings? I know I have. Thankfully God has provided an answer to our temptations in Hebrews 4:16 – You will find grace, mercy and help in times of need.

Are you struggling with anger?  Go to Romans 8:23.

Are you struggling with fear? Go to Luke 12:32.

Are you struggling against being indispensable? Go to II Corinthians 12:9.

The Lord gives an answer to all of our needs.

Want more information and suggestions from Debbie, feel free to contact her. She would love to talk and share what the Lord has taught her.

 

Job Available April 15, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — bbcmomsandtots @ 8:00 am
Tags:

Job description: energetic young couple needed – unlimited patience, stamina, must be optimistic – must be able to function on 3 hours of sleep, diagnose childhood ailments and read the same book over  and over without being bored, skilled vet, counselor, teacher and taxi-driver, fulltime, no paid vacation, and no salary, but there are great eternal rewards for a job well done

Have you guessed? This job description applies to parents. What greater challenge for a parent than to communicate God’s truths to a young child. God has some words for you. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 is the key to passing on your faith.

“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And though shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when though walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Take advantage of teachable moments daily: meal time, play time, bed time – golden moments when little minds are most impressionable for God. Try it! Look for teachable moments in your child’s life today. Seize them and use them for eternity. You’ll be glad you did. Then expect blessings as your child grows in “favor with God.”

What teachable moments have you had recently with your children?

 

I Am Truly Blessed with a Strong Willed Child April 11, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — bbcmomsandtots @ 8:00 am
Tags:

My Son is 47, he is married and the Father of three. He has always been an over-achiever – which has rewarded him with many accomplishments and great job positions. His co-workers love him and do all they can to assist him in his job endeavors. His attitude in life is always positive and he loves to help and encourage others.

So, why would I label him “strong willed” and how did he arrive where he is today? I’ll take you back to when he was a very young child. I knew I was in trouble when he had his first “temper tantrum” at 3 months. He held his breath so long that his face was turning blue. He wanted to be fed in 2 ½ hours – and I wanted him to wait another hour. He won that battle.

The Bible says in Jer. 17:9 – “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”. Our basic nature is to be “self-centered” to the point of being deceitful. My child was desperate to get fed when he wanted. This nature dominates a “strong willed child”. When things were going well for him, he was a happy and loving child. I knew he loved life at its fullest, yet I couldn’t trust him out of my sight. Once I was getting dressed and after a few minutes, I went to check on him, only to find that he had climbed onto the dining room table and was swinging on the hanging light fixture. When he was older, he was cursed with the world’s largest sweet tooth. I had to hide every sweet snack in the house. He’d find my hidden snacks and help himself – knowing there would be a punishment – but it was worth it to him because he got what he wanted.

Discipline was constant – I became the genius at new ways to get ahead of him. I think he looked forward to the challenge. I, on the other hand, quoted in my head over and over, “this too shall pass” – and it did. When he was around 10, he asked Jesus into his heart – to take away his sins. Slowly we saw him try harder to be obedient. Today he is a polished gem – full of intense love for the Lord and living a life full of love and happiness. What a blessing that is.

There are many blessings raising a child like him. The one most important to me was to see how God could use his young life and channel his antics into good behavior. It surly didn’t happen overnight, but God used his loving personality in many ways and today he loves to reach out to others. The next important blessing is that I became very close to him. I knew his every thought. I could read his mind. We were so connected to each other – he watched me to see what he could sneak by me and I was always watching him, trying to stay ahead of him. We were a team, but we were on opposite teams.

Many times I forgot that God chose me to be his Mother. God trusted me to raise him to be a servant to be used by God – and he is. He is a “Beacon for God” – and that was only made possible because both of us responded to God’s leading through the Holy Spirit. It was a constant battle, yet the battle was actually won by both of us.

I, over the years have been surprised with all the “strong willed” children I’ve seen. I do notice that God usually only gives one strong willed child in a household. We can be thankful for that. I love giving advice and I have given so many tips to parents – like “change your routines”. They read us and they expect certain behaviors from us. When you mess up their plans it makes them mad and it proves to them that they are not the boss and they are not in control after all. I have been so blessed with those that I’ve helped. I love to see the changes happen. Whenever I can, I remind them that it is only for a season – and “this too shall pass”. God makes no mistakes and God is always good.

What creative ways have you found that work with developing your strong willed child for Christ?

 

Fragile – Handle with Care! April 2, 2011

Filed under: Motherhood — bbcmomsandtots @ 8:00 am
Tags:

I have this early childhood memory of going up an outside set of stairs to a little Christmas shop with my Mom and some other ladies. It’s a fuzzy memory. But I remember the smell of Christmas and beautiful Christmas decorations filling the shop. My Mom bought a glass ball ornament that day with the manger scene in it. I remember sitting in front of the Christmas tree staring at that beautiful ornament. I’m sure my Mom took special care when she handled that ball and stored it. She probably wrapped it in paper and gingerly pulled it out each year. Maybe she even wiped off any smudges so it sparkled.

I can’t get the illustration Mardi Collier gave at our Ladies’ Conference out of my head. She was talking about our priorities and how we are really doing a juggling act with all the roles we women play. She encouraged us to evaluate how many balls we can juggle. Some of the balls are made of glass, some billiard, or whiffle. In other words, the glass balls are the most important, to be handled with more care, and cannot be dropped.

I see each of my children as a glass ball. How am I doing keeping those balls “up in the air”? Is someone getting dropped? Am I handling each child that God has put in my home as a precious ornament that God has given me to care for? Do I gently teach and correct or do I jerk them around or ignore them? Have I filled my act with so many balls (some good, some fluff) that I’m not in tune to those first balls?

Some of the ladies that gave testimonies at the conference were not “handled with care” in their moms’ juggling acts. They were shattered by harsh words and rough handling. They felt alone and unloved until God drew them to Him. Praise God that He can put those lives back together in spite of their broken homes! He has made them whole through Jesus Christ!!!

I’ve had to do some evaluating…again! For me, it’s getting to bed earlier so I’m not short with the kids all the time. It is not spending so much time in front of screens. It’s making my relationship with the Lord the #1 glass ball and then the others will fall into a better rhythm.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. Galatians 6:9

 

Busy Schedules March 21, 2011

Filed under: Homemaking,Motherhood — bbcmomsandtots @ 6:35 am
Tags:

If you’re like most moms, you’d benefit from having more hours in a day.  As I struggle with balancing a busy schedule, I often feel challenged to find ways to save time and keep order.  The Bible says in I Corinthians 14:40 “Let all things be done decently and in order.”  I think about some of the things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me in this area of my life.  Here are just a few:

  • Begin each day by spending time with the Lord and follow an orderly Bible reading schedule.
  • Block time on your calendar to do absolutely nothing. Some of the most satisfying times we have as a family are when we plan on being in the house getting re-acquainted with our own ‘stuff.’   Write it on your calendar just as you would other appointments.  Don’t cross your fingers hoping for an empty Saturday to come along because it never will. 
  • Learn to say no.  It by no means is selfish to say no. Just because you have free time doesn’t make you obligated to say yes.
  • White boards are our friends, especially in the kitchen.  Plan a weekly menu and write it on the white board.  Make up your grocery list accordingly.  If you have a couple of extra hours one afternoon, type out the meals you make on a regular basis.  Note where you can find certain recipes.  When you write your meals on the white board, reference this list.  It makes the selection process go much faster.  Brainstorming on the spot never turns out well.
  • If you have school aged kids, set out their lunches for the week.  Put out five days worth of juice boxes, spoons, applesauces, goldfish, ice cream money etc.  Get the kids to baggie up things and place them on specific days.  Make up Easymac and Spaghettios ahead of time and put them into containers to be stored in the fridge.  Use a coffee cup that has ones and quarters for lunch orders and ice cream money for easy grabbing, and a sharpie, and plastic spoons.  This saves time and keeps order during the morning routine.

We have to remember that being organized and orderly is not our life’s goal or mission.  Our goal in life should be to bring glory to God and to be used by God to impact others.  We will be more effective in carrying out this task if we strive to put some order into our daily lives. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for what others do in their home that has been successful and saves time! What tricks do you use to keep life organized and orderly in your home?