Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Dear mother of littles {how to get through the hard days}







Motherhood is demanding.

It's a fact.

There's just no quibbling about it, or denying it. It's hard, tiring and challenging on many levels.  I'm not out the other side of the childhood stage, but I'm also pretty certain that the challenges of being a parent never go away - they just change.

That's all true of motherhood at every age or stage, but analyse it when you are the mother of only little ones - adding in the element of them being close in age - and motherhood has a whole other sting in the tail.

Mothering many littles is a stage of parenting which, in my opinion, is one of the hardest you will face. I've been there. I've survived. If it was down to sheer determination and self-sustenance, I wouldn't be here to tell the tale. Simple as that.

When you have only little children life is demanding. You are the only one who can provide for the every need of your children. They can do very little for themselves, and anything they CAN do invariably involves you having to micro-manage, and often redoing yourself. Quite simply, they are not old enough to do much, but they place a huge level of work upon you, as the mother. Add to that the fact that there will be children who are at the stage where you have to put a lot of effort into character training (read "telling them "no, you can't do that - no, you shouldn't be doing that" ALL.DAY.LONG.....), and you are royally going round the twist.

Yup. Mothering lots of little children is HARD.

Realllllly hard.

I can remember days when I just wept. I cried. Then I cried some more. I was exhausted. I was frustrated.  I was worn out mentally. I hardly had time to have a quiet time, without little ones crawling all over me. Jobs got behind, and that just made me feel worse.  I look back, and it now all seems like a distant memory. I got through it.

So, how DO you get through it? Obviously, there's no magic formula. Each person has a unique set of circumstances, that shape how your family operates.  I do think there are certain principles that can help any mother, in any family setting. At the very least, they are things I know helped me, and may help others.


1.  Never forget that God is in control.

Sweet, exhausted, run-ragged mother. God planned for you to be the mother of the children HE gave you. They are a gift from Him, and they are a blessing. God says so, and hard days don't remove that fact from being true. When God gave these blessings to you, they didn't come with a promise of peachy days, with nary a trouble or trial. In fact, we are told we WILL have trials and struggles. The fact of the matter is this - raising and caring for our children is part of the trial of motherhood. The children themselves are not the trial - the work involved in parenting them IS. The overarching principle of the matter doesn't change though - God is still in control! No matter how hard the days get, God, and His ways, are perfect. We cannot ever allow ourselves to forget that. It's the most important thing for us to remember. God doesn't make mistakes, and if He made you the mother of your children, it's because it's just the way He wants it to be. Hard days included.



2. Embrace the hard days as a way to bring you closer to God.

Undeniably, the times where we feel at our lowest, the most under pressure, and struggling hardest, are when we cast ourselves more fully upon the Lord. "When I am weak, then am I strong". It's only when we recognise our weakness, and our frail humanity, that we fully rest upon the everlasting strength and provision of God. He NEEDS us to come to the end of ourself, to rely fully upon His grace and goodness. Mothering many littles CERTAINLY brings us to that place, so embrace it, and cast yourself upon God's unfailing nature, and bountiful, loving care.

Raise your tired heart in prayer.  Make the time to commune with the Lord, and strengthen your prayer life. You don't need silence.  You don't need hour upon hour.  Prayer can be raised any time, any place. Don't silently battle on.  Do not.  Bring your burdens to the Lord.  Ask Him to help you and meet your needs. Seek Him for wisdom as to how to make it through each day.

Thank Him for the hard days, and seek Him in the struggles. You will find yourself in a closer place with the Saviour, as you acknowledge your weakness and throw yourself completely into His care.


3. Seek out scriptures as your "watchword".

Take some time to read the Bible, and find a verse, or verses, to be your "go-to" verse on those really hard days. A verse that will instantly transport you into a place of peace and comfort, and will carry you through your trials.  The Bible is FILLED with verses that will lift your spirits.  Different verses will mean something to each of us.  Ask God to speak to YOUR heart, and when things get tough, simply speak those words to your heart, and experience God bringing calm to your soul. Personally, mine is Philippians 4:19. "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." My needs are so much more than food on the table, and clothes on the back. My mental and emotional needs are often far greater than my physical needs, and bringing that verse to mind brings me so much comfort and strength.  Why not print or write out the verse or verses that you find? Put them around the house, in your Bible - anywhere that you will see them regularly. Prints on the wall, or bookmarks.  You can even get verses on ornaments and home decor items, just to have at perfect eye level. More importantly, write it on the tables of your hearts. Commit God's Word to memory, so it's in your heart and mind above all else, ready to pluck out and raise with your voice, whenever you need it.


4.Find people to support you.

Whether it's real life people, or people on the other end of a phone or a computer - FIND people. We live in a day and age where there are always people you can call on for support and advice. Just knowing that there are others who know how it feels, and can give you ideas about how to cope, is a massive help.  When I just had little ones I had very little real life, or virtual, support. It was so hard. My family didn't live nearby, and I had very few friends nearby. I am very thankful for the few I had, and I can remember just crying, sometimes, and saying how hard I was finding things. They were able to help me, support me, and pray for me. That, above all else, is such a comfort. The prayers of people who understand and care. If you can, meet up with others, or invite them over to yours, if that is easier. Whatever you do, don't try and go it alone. Talk to your husband.  Tell him about your struggles. He may have suggestions that you wouldn't have thought of, looking at it as the one not in the daily throes of it all. Be willing to listen and respect his suggestions. They may not all work, or even be practical, but be open enough to listen and consider them  - you may be pleasantly surprised!



5.  Simplify your life.

One of my worst enemies, when I had lots of littles, was myself. I tried to do too much. I look back and think how insane I was, attempting to do things that just weren't necessary. I was so keen to home educate, I jumped into "formal" education quite early. Looking back, I just didn't need that pressure upon myself. Little children can learn so much without needing a curriculum. The moment you add a curriculum you feel bound to use it, whether from pressures outside the home, or those you place upon yourself. "I paid for it, I'd better use it".  "People say I should do X, Y and Z, so I should". "I'm failing my child if I don't do things a certain way".  Children are little sponges. They are more likely to learn, negatively, from your stress levels and irritability stemming from your over-worked schedule, than they are from any formal "schooling" you do with them. Prioritise what you want your child to learn. Keep it simple, and don't put more demands upon yourself than are already there from just EXISTING!

Education aside, we can also make life too complicated in other ways. Media bombards us with all sorts of new-fangled and clever ways to do things - everything from making cute lunches to fun craft activities to do with your little ones. Pinterest is either a curse or a blessing! These things are all great.  If you have one child.  Maybe two.  And if two, several years between the children. Many ideas are lovely, and probably clever and fun.  They are not fun if you are already stretched to the limit in the area of patience and time. They are torture and unnecessary. Don't ever fool yourself into thinking that you have to do lots of complicated and fancy things, in order to be a good mother. A good mother knows her own limitations and skills, and only does what she knows she can handle. Little Johnny's Mum does it? SO WHAT! You're not little Johnny's Mum. (well, maybe your son IS Johnny, but you get what I mean!) Keep your life as simple as possible, and you will be able to cope a lot easier.

Even a simple thing like laundry. Don't have too many clothes to have to wash and put away. Don't fold and iron everything, even if you used to. Put things back on if they are just a little dirty, and you won't see anyone today. NO-ONE WILL SEE, and it won't kill them!

If you are the kind of person who needs to go out, go out.  If you are finding it hard to do logistically, plan ahead to make the actual exit from the house easier. Get everything ready in advance, and you can just go.  If you are someone who needs to just be at home, stay at home. Don't go out because someone said you should. If staying at home means you stay sane, and keep in your bubble, stay at home. It won't harm you, or your children, to not get out much. It's all about getting through the days, weeks, months, or, (said in hushed tones, lest I scare you....) years, of this particular age and stage.

Which brings me to my last point....

Its a stage.  It WILL pass.

It's true! No kidding.  You will get through the other side of this. Your children will get bigger.  They will start to help more.  The strain and struggle will be lifted from your shoulders, and shared around the family - and that is PART of being a family. So long as you train them well whilst they are young, life will get easier. You won't be so tired.  Sleep will return.  Sanity will prevail. Even if you have many more children, life gets easier as you go on. When I had Tabitha, and even when I was pregnant with her, it was my 8th, but it was so much easier! My older ones were, and are, a wonderful help. Every little bit of help adds up. Each tiny little thing a child does as part of their everyday routine, is one little thing less for you to do. I rarely set the table, empty the dishwasher, take out the bin, or clean the toilets! All these are jobs spread between the children, but make my life that little bit easier.

Trust me, it gets better.  You will look back and these days will be a hazy memory, and you will have the joy of children, getting bigger, FAR too quickly, resulting in a life that is much easier than it is now.  You will never look back and wish you hadn't had these days, because that would mean wishing you didn't have your children. Children make work - children ARE a blessing. Therefore, work is a blessing!

I know.

Go figure.....







Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Work on Your Marriage {Complete Guide for SAHMs}




(this post contains affiliate links)



As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I am a contributing blogger on a new resource for SAHMs.  I fully intended to share a couple more posts, whilst I was on holiday for the last two weeks, but, guess what? I was too busy having a fun time! I had the bare bones of a couple of posts, ready before I went, so now, today, I just need to finish this off to share. 


Fist off, I have a post to share from a fellow contributor.




                                           

Ashlee, at Well Nourished Nest, speaks about a topic that is close to my heart - and sadly, more often than it should be (though less than it used to be!), close to my lips.

Nagging.

Youch.

It's something that women-folk seem to be inclined towards, which is most likely why the Lord told us about how we SHOULDN'T be like that, in His Word.

Ashlee hits the nail on the head in her post.

"I did it again. I really didn’t mean too. It all happened so fast, and felt as if someone stepped inside my body and took control. I was just so frustrated. Irritated. Fed-up. Exhausted. But now I’m here. Nothing is resolved, and I’m left with a surge of regret, awareness of my flaws, and disgust for my lack of self-control."

Tell me you don't relate. I dare you.  Read more here.  It's convicting. 


                                       



For my post on marriage is one from early last year.  I love to bake, amongst other things.  Often, the Lord shows me where I need to grow in my character, from incidents "along the way".  This particular day we were baking, and things quite simply didn't work out how I planned.  I learnt something about my marriage that day. 

"The cookies came out the oven, and they were just not how I envisioned them. I did everything the recipe said, but some had spread, and looked not entirely like a heart. Some were overcooked in my "not quite right" oven. Then, I didn't make enough icing, so I had to tell the children to be more sparing than I would have liked. I did a demo for them, to show them how to do the outline, then the flooding. Mine was not even quite how I wanted it to be. I stood by, desperately wanting to decorate them myself, to make them look "nicer", but realised that I can't do everything all the time,  and my way is not always best!"....



Read on to find out what I learnt that day. 





Marriage, the way God intends it to be, is something I am passionate about.  Ladies, seek out God's truth on how your marriage should work, in order to preserve it from the destruction of Satan.  Look only to God, and HIS wisdom, and don't be tempted to seek out the world's "wisdom" - it only leads to destruction.

I am sure you will find the posts from the other SAHMs really useful. I've also popped some of my favourite books about marriage on my Amazon link below. I have found them all to be valuable and practical. Check them out, and feel free to fire any questions you have about them, to me. 

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Dancing the dance of the home {the virtuous wife}

"A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband"
Proverbs 12:4  



Can I tell you a secret?

Sometimes, when we have music playing in the kitchen, I will dance with my children. 

I twirl around, with a small person in my arms, and they LOVE it! Music playing away, and the joy that we both feel is tangible! It's not a very Scottish-conservative-Baptist type thing to do, but it's a lot of fun! 

Imagine my surprise, when I was looking into another "woman" in Proverbs, to find out the root of the word "virtuous" is

khool - "A primitive root; properly to twist or whirl (in a circular or spiral manner), that is, (specifically) to dance"

To me, it was just like that twirling and whirling around I do in the kitchen! I wouldn't have considered that activity to relate to being virtuous, but when I stopped and thought about my life, there WAS a connection.

The word that "khool" is the root of is "khah-yil".  Its meaning  - "probably a force, whether of men, means or other resources; an army, wealth, virtue, valour, strength".

Think about your role, as a wife and a mother.

If you are anything like me, your day is filled with jobs. You rush about, from one duty to another.  At your disposal is a wealth of resources that you utilise to the specifics of the job you have in hand.  Planning, working, and achieving a numerous host of tasks.

In fact, when you are at your busiest, you are probably whirling, twirling and whizzing from one thing to another, like someone waltzing around a room.

To be fair, most mothers are less ballerina or Viennese waltzer, and more of a jiving and jitterbugging mother! Less graceful and more energetic! We get the job done, but it may look like something from a comedy sketch - you bend down to pick something up, only to notice there is something a couple of feet away which you deftly hop over to rescue. You then notice that there are some cobwebs gathering and stretch up to remove them, only to trip up over a stray toy, which you pick up and toss, more accurately than any professional sportsman, into the toybox in the corner.  (Seriously, I can accurately pitch a toy in to the box, nearly every time, from quite a distance!). 

We cook, clean, and organise, in one, seemingly endless, dance sequence.  

You need only to look at Proverbs 31 to see the list of tasks that one woman can accomplish, if she sets her mind to it. THAT is virtue.  Being a force that accomplishes all she needs to do, to keep her home running efficiently.

That kind of woman - the one, dancing around with energy, joy and strength - whirling, twirling around in her dance of life, caring for her home - she's a crown to her husband. We adorn him, and place him in the highest position, by being everything we should be.  It brings him honour, strength and respect, when we are everything we need to be. It makes him feel like royalty, when we are working hard to make our home a place of industry and God-glorifying accomplishments.

Like an invigorating dance, this busy life makes us breathless, tired and glad for a rest.  But, it also fills us with energy, satisfaction and joy.  No less so, because we know it's a crown to our precious husbands, to BE that dancing" wife and mother.

Next time I am twirling around my kitchen with the children, I will remember that everything I am doing as a virtuous wife and mother, is making my husband feel like a king.






Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Top 3 Audio Adventure Resources {ready for a road trip!}



(this post contains affiliate links)




This year, we are going on a road trip.

We've done road trips before.

We've driven to Cornwall. Approximately 300 miles.

We've driven to Dumfrieshire.  Approximately 300  miles.

We've driven to Aviemore, in the north of Scotland.  Approximatley 500 miles.

Big stuff, eh?

What? No?

I know, I know, to folks in the USA that's a DAY trip, right?

Well, this year, we're going even further.

Duh, duh, duuuuuuuuh.

We are going to ITALY!

Ciao!

Erm, approximately 1150 miles.

Ohhhhhh yeah. NOW we're talking road trip!

Now, the thing is, we get massively barraged by little people asking "Are we nearly there" on the SHORTER road trips.

NFC.  (Normal for children)

With such a long journey ahead, I need to be prepared.  That means, entertain the kiddos.

We have been blessed with the gift of in-car DVD players, plus the gift of wireless headsets so we don't have to listen to the sound track of movies and other shows on DVD. Genius!

However, we also love audio resources. We listen to all sorts of audio books, but we paraticularly love adventure themes, and more specifically, Christian themes.  I adore classic, fictional stories, and have many of them as audio books, but having Biblical themes, and character building truths woven in, is brilliant.

I want to share with you about three different ones you can purchase, which have been family favourites of ours for YEARS!

First off is one that involves two of my favourite things.  Stories, and singing.  The best part is, it's something I have been listening to since *I* was a child!


It's "Patch the Pirate".

These stories began when Ron Hamilton lost one eye to cancer, in the 70's, I believe? He then had to wear an eye patch, and it was observed he looked like a pirate.  Instead of bemoaning his physical loss, he went about putting it to spiritual gain.  He invented the character Patch the pirate, who sails the seas (and the skies!) having adventures, with a spiritual lesson in each.  The songs are terrific, with GREAT Christian truths woven in, and the story lines are fun, yet challenging. There is a whole crew of "ship mates", and there are various characters they meet on their travels, as well as Sissy Seagull who is a permanent crew-mate (and acted by his precious wife, Shelly!).  All my children enjoy these, as do I - especially the ones I have cherished for 30 years myself! They are making new ones all the time, and there are MANY we have never heard.  My kind SIL bought us a new one for our holiday, which we can't wait to listen to - International Spy Academy. It's main theme is the importance of the Bible.

I am certain we will be quickly learning the songs, and singing them to each other around the house! We regularly spout forth various lines from other songs, like "the poochie lip will get you if you don't watch out", when they stick out their lower lip,  or "If you have a sister or brother, be kind to each other", when they are less than loving. There are SO many brilliant song lyrics, if you haven't listened before, you should get yourself an album.  You can listen to samples of all the tracks on Amazon, and there are HUNDREDS of tracks on there, for numerous albums available to digitally download. It used to be you could only get them shipped, in CD format, from the USA, but they have partnered with Amazon to make them more easily availble! Yay!

I would say that this is suitable for any age.  The little ones will enjoy it, and even the older ones enjoy listening over and over (though they may not always admit it!).  For me, it's nostalgia, and the joy of having my OWN children listen to something that I have loved my whole life.

Follow this link to find all the Patch the Pirate tracks available on Amazon.  You can find the whole albums, or just individual tracks there.

You can also learn more about Patch the Pirate and his crew at www.patchthepirate.org. Find out more about Patch's story, and the stories available. As an added bonus, you can listen, for free, to their latest story that has been broadcast on radio!

Our next family favourite is another "Long time" running show.  It is aired in the USA, produced by Focus on the Family, as a radio show.  They have, however, compiled it into CD format.

It's "Adventures in Odyssey". 

We LOVE these stories! They are set in the fictional town of Odyssey, centred around the enterprises of John Avery Whittaker, known as "Whit".  There are key characters that are in nearly every episode - all very fun and amusing. Woven through it all is Biblical truth, paired up with brilliant story lines. Some of the story lines are more suited to older children, but most are appropriate for all ages.  Being produced by Christians, none of it is "dodgy", it's more that some stories may be beyond a small child's interest. Ones that are particularly good are the special discs that focus on character traits - friendship, loyalty, diligence, and so on. They only cost about £5 each.  Personally, I have enjoyed some of the "sagas", which are story lines that originally were spread out in between other episodes, but they have compiled them onto one set of discs.  The Blackguard Chronicles, The Green Ring Conspiracy, and the Novacom Saga are three of those.  They pack a "value for money" punch of over 5 hours of listening.  There prices vary, and are mostly over £20, but I think they are TOTALLY worth the spend, and the children listen over and over.  Those sets are more geared toward an older audience, but my younger ones have enjoyed them, as well.  The other super set is the "Bible Eyewitness" series. These have the listeners transported back into Bible Stories, via "The Imagination Station". The characters in the story get to live through some of the well known, and lesser known, Bible stories, and learn important truths on the way. My children have been able to tell me numerous obscure Bible facts from listening to this set!

Our new one for this journey is "Wish You Were Here", when the lovable characters of Eugene and Bernard take a road trip together.  Do you see the connection? See it? See it?

I'm clever, I am.

You can find many Adventures in Odyssey albums as digital downloads, though there are more available as Audio CDs. Like Patch the Pirate, having them available as audio downloads is a recent thing, and super handy in this day and age. The CDs are available in the UK, too, if that is your preference. If you want it on tape?.... you are living in the wrong century....

For those in the 21st Century, find out lots more about Odyssey over at www.whitsend.org.  Information about where to hear radio broadcasts of episodes, facts about the cast, and lots more fun stuff, can be found there. There is also a club you can subscribe to ($5 per month) that gives you access to much more.


Our final favourite is "Jonathan Park".

This is a favourite choice, for several reasons, which I will get to in a moment.

Jonathan Park is the young son of a Christian palaeontologist.  The story begins when they stumble upon an ancient cave with evidence that points towards creation truths.  The adventures go on from there, over ten series, so far.  There are hours worth of story time on each set, all with creation truths and science facts woven into the dramatic story lines.  They visit all four corners of the globe, finding creation evidence as they go. They cover everything from space, to dinosaurs, to "UFO" sightings. They even have actual scientists - real life ones - who are also believers, who chip in on the way through. I cannot express in words, just how much we have learned from these, whilst also listening to gripping and dramatic stories.  These are less favoured by my younger children, but they listen along if it's on. I, and the older children, have learnt a lot about God's created world, from a scientific perspective, through these brilliant stories.

Our most recent set is called "The Whispering Sphinx", and it weaves history, geography, archaeology and creation science together, in one big Egyptian based adventure. Having studied Egyptian history, fairly recently, I think we will love this one as much as the others.

Once again, Amazon is coming up trumps, and has them available both as digital downloads and
audio CDs.  You can also purchase them, in the UK, from the Answers in Genesis store.

Oh, how I love the age of digital downloads! In our little United Kingdom, when for SO long things have been hard to get a hold of, without exorbitant shipping and import charges, the digital age has made things so much more readily available.

Once again, more fascinating information can be found over at www.jonathanpark.com.

So, there you have it.  Our Top 3 Audio Adventure Series. They really are all well worth a listen in to the free samples, and purchasing for your family.  You children will have hours of good quality, and sound character based stories, which they will happily listen to over and over. Faith building, and firmly planted in God's Word - they are all excellent resources.



That's us set, then.  Over 11 hours of new stories to listen to, from these three titles, with other new ones that we have tucked away, too.   I hope you perhaps enjoy them as much as we have!




Saturday, 25 April 2015

Parenting Tips {A Complete Guide for SAHMs}


(this post contains affiliate links)



Hands up - who feels they have it all together as a parent?

What? 

No hands raised?

Phew.  I'm NOT the only one who feels like a failure on so many days, and is the ultimate "work in progress"?!?!  I regularly notice my flaws, and call out to the Lord for His wisdom, grace and strength.

It's great to also have suggestions - practical ones - from other Mums who know what it's like.  Spiritual support is vital, but wisdom from others who are in the fight, right there with ya', is wonderful.

There is a whole list of posts on parenting tips on the Complete Guide for SAHMs. (Look out on Thursday for the topic on "activities to do with children", too!) They cover a multitude of parenting topics, all very practical and helpful.

Today, I am featuring a great post from Katelyn, at "Whats Up Fagans".



Katelyn blogs about raising her children, penny-pinching and faith.  I chose her post to share because it's a treasure trove! It's a collection of 138 - yes, ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY EIGHT - posts that are great for training your children to have good moral, Biblical values.  There are links about serving, empathy, gratitude, honesty, kindness, manners, and MANY more topics. It's a mine of information, that you will enjoy reading through, and gleaning information from.  It's a veritable rabbit trail from the Complete Guide! 

She begins the post by saying...

"A long time ago I started a series on this blog called Instilling Values in Children.  The point of this series was to guide parents on their journey of teaching moral values to their kids, which is of more importance than raising academically capable children, or, at least, it should be...."

I couldn't agree more! As parents, we can so easily get caught up with academics, when there is so much that is important. This post is the ultimate round up of posts that will help you on your way to training up your children in "the way that they should go".

Read more here.







My own post is one that features music and harmony.  I LOVE music! I love listening to music, singing along to music, and playing musical instruments. Something that is a key (Ha! No pun intended!) to good music is HARMONY.  It's all about the notes blending together to sound best.  This post connects music and parenting!

"One day, I took my children through a local town, and there was a play area. It had big "stepping stone" type things, which if you stepped on them, played a kind of whistled "note".  They realised it was musical, and all hopped on one and jumped up and down.  A whole rabble of noise ensued, with the children quickly saying "What are these FOR Mum?  They don't even play a tune!"

Mother, with her musical background, begged to differ.

I lined them up on a "stone" each, and directed who should hop when. After a few practices, this is what we got..."


Read on here.





I hope you find these two posts encouraging and useful. Hop on over to the Complete Guide for SAHMs to read many more practical posts on parenting.





Monday, 20 April 2015

A Complete Guide for SAHMS {the place to go for inspiration, resources and connection}

Today is the start of new thing.

Did you know that life as a SAHM can be challenging?  Trying?  Lonely? Wearying?

If you are a SAHM, you will KNOW it's true. No hiding from it. It's a fact. 

Where do you go if you are feeling the strain? You may find you don't have many friends to call on, or you try ringing them all and they are not in? (Yes, I have had that happen!) 

How would you like to be able to go to ONE place, and find all sorts of articles and resources to help you in your situation? 

Well.....

A few months ago, Jaimi Erikson asked, on a bloggers groups I am on, for fellow SAHM bloggers to join in with a new venture.  A page filled with resources for fellow SAHMs!

Around 50 bloggers have collaborated their posts, fitting in with the topics covered, as a "go-to" for other SAHMs, looking for inspiration, resources, and a way to connect with others who just GET it!

If you click on the image below, you will go to the main page for the guide, and find the new posts as they are put up.





Today is the first day of THREE whole weeks of topics! Every day, there will be a new topic launched, with a whole list of relevant posts.  You will be inspired and uplifted, as you connect with these bloggers.  All they want to do is encourage other Mums, just like themselves.  Just like ME! 


So, today is a topic that I am passionate about.  It was the one that fitted most closely to my "niche".  It's funny, because Jaimi asked us to submit posts that related to the suggested topics, and I had OODLES I could have put in here. I actually had to remove some, because I had TOO MANY! lol






One of the main aims of my blog IS to encourage.  It's something we all need, because often life is just plain  DIS-couraging.  

So, now there are a whole list of other bloggers, who are seeking to encourage SAHMs in their journey, and day to day walk.

I am going to do a couple of things, as each topic that I have contributed to comes up.  I will link back to one of my own old posts on the same topic, NOT contributed to the list, as yet.  Plus, I will direct you to one of my favourite contributions from another blogger.  There you go - two, for a start, on each topic, with many more to help you out, on the main landing page.

So, today.

My "share" from another blogger, is from Lauren at "Heart of Deborah".  




Her post is about "How to Live in the Moment".  This is something I constantly am guilty of.  I am so busy looking forward to the next thing, or thinking about what I have to do, that I forget to enjoy the NOW! I so easily miss out in the small joys - the everyday miracles of God's grace and generosity - because my mind and heart is rattling ahead to something else.  We aren't promised anything more than RIGHT NOW.  To set our hearts on anything else, to the point of missing out on what God has given us TODAY, is not right. Her post gives some great ideas about how to enjoy the "right here, right now", that God has gifted to us.  It was exactly what I needed to read, when I found the post, and it challenged me.  I hope it's a blessing to you, too.

"As a somewhat new stay at home and work at home mom I’ve found different challenges along the way. A while ago I talked about my occasional “I’ll be happy when…” mentality. There are periods in my life where I struggle to live in the moment. During these times I find myself wishing for the next big thing. There is nothing wrong with looking forward to new and exciting things in life, but I believe it’s important to appreciate today. We can’t predict the future and when our ‘wishes’ finally do come true will we be happy? I’ve been thinking about ways to live in the moment and how I can appreciate life right now!..."

Click on the image below to read more about the wonderful suggestions Lauren makes, to live in the moment.




My own post is one from a couple of years ago.  Do you find that it's easier to see the trials, and forget to see the good in your circumstances? This post reminded me that we need to look to the eternal, and the glory that awaits.

"It's not every day you will find me suggesting that you need to put on weight.  Taking it off?  Yup. 

But, I was thinking today about difficult times as a wife and especially as a mother.  Undoubtedly, my most challenging moments come when dealing with my children.  Every. Day.

The word "affliction" in the verse above, can actually be translated as "pressure".  As wives and mothers, (and particularly home-schooling Mum's) we have moments EVERY day, when we feel under  pressure..."

Read more by clicking the image below, and it will take you to the post.






Both these posts are a timely reminder for me -  I have an ill child to care for, when I had other plans for today.  I need to see be thankful for the moment, and find joy, even in  these trying circumstances. Likewise, I need to remember that trials are but for a moment, and I looking for the spiritual and eternal is far more important on days like today.

So, what are some of the topics that are going to be included in the SAHM survival guide, which will I be contributing in? (Some topics I have WAY more than others!)


April 25- Parenting Tips (I will share my post on Monday the 27th)


May 5- Marriage


May 6- Connect in Faith

I plan to blog on some of the topics in the guide - looking at them has inspired me to write posts that fit. They are topics that are relevant to me, but I have never blogged about! So, I am looking forward to sharing some of my own experiences about parenting and life. 

I hope this resource is an encouragement and blessing to MANY SAHMs. Enjoy!





Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Mother {the most important person in the home}

Years ago, I felt the Lord leading me into service for Him.  I remember the sermon, and the preacher, as clear as day.  An appeal was made, for those wishing to commit their lives to service for God.  It's not in my nature to do something so bold, but I went forward at that service.  I was broken, and I was willing to go wherever God sent me.

I had visions of the mission field.  I was particularly interested in children's ministry. Maybe somewhere far away - I was particularly challenged about Cote d'Ivoire.

I had NO idea that God was leading me into one of the most full-on, tear-inducing, and tiring works for Him.

He called me into the ministry of motherhood.

The mission field of the hearts in my home.

For a start, I never expected to have this number of souls in my mission field. I thought maybe 4 or 5, but I now have EIGHT precious souls that it is my job to minister to.

MY job.

What an enormous responsibility.

We have taken things a step further than many, and I minister full time to my children.

An even greater burden and responsibility.

It's huge.

It truly is.

Being a Stay-at-home-Mum is not just a choice, for me, it's a calling of God.  That may sound rather radical, but it's the truth.  If I was following my own heart and interests, I would NOT be at home with my children. I'd have fewer children, and I would be out doing something quite different.

But, my life is not about myself.  When I went forward at that meeting, I opened up my heart and life to the leading of God.  Primarily, that means I simply follow His Word. Home schooling aside, the reason why I am a SAHM is because God's Word leads me here.

Robert has been preaching through I Timothy.  Last Lord's Day he spoke about chapter 5.  To me, that passage was always about widows, but he drew out an important truth, and it's not just about widows.

So, what does it say?

"Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 
Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. 
But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; 
Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith. 
And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 
I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 
For some are already turned aside after Satan."
I Timothy 5:9-15


Absolutely, and undoubtedly, there is instruction here for widows. 

However, it's also instruction for ANY young women.  There is a general principle that can be applied to all younger women.  (Yes, there are sometimes exceptions, but there is a general principle).

What is it?

Paul teaches that the younger women should NOT be something, and SHOULD BE something else.

Young women should NOT be....

idle
going to other people's houses to gossip and interfere in the affairs of others
speak unwisely

Young women SHOULD be...

married
bearing children
guiding the house
living a life that is above reproach

Paul tells us that it is good and right to get married, have children, be in charge of the home, and live a life that is honouring to God.

It's not just Paul's words, of course, it's GOD'S inspired word.

God has laid out, as a pattern that is good, right and honourable to follow, that we should serve Him in the home.  

Do you sometimes feel that you are belittled and undermined because of your life? 

You settled down, got married, had children, and stay at home, guiding the household (because it's kinda' hard to guide it if you are not there. Not impossible, but hard). You can be made to feel that you have chosen the lesser part - that there is something bigger and better you are missing out on.  That children are a burden, not a blessing.  That you should be out working, because God can't provide unless you get out there and work.

Ladies, you are doing a God-given task, if you are choosing to marry, raise a family, and stay at home! Whatever God calls you to, He provides for.  He won't leave you without EVERYTHING you need, if you stay at home to raise your children, and care for your home.  He is no man's debtor.  He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

What's more, it's not just a menial thing.  It's not somehow "lesser" than what we could be doing -  missing out and not reaching our potential. 

Neither is it something that doesn't equal what men do - something we should cast aside to have "equal opportunities".  It's a HIGH calling, because God has honoured us with that task! To try and follow after what men do is not gaining a higher calling. It's stepping down from the honoured task of being the one who guides and cares for the most privileged possession we could ever own. Our children.  There IS not higher, greater, or more honourable role that we can fill.  Not a one.

Robert said something that thrilled my heart, and reminded me that my role is not "just" a Mum.  He said that the wife and mum is "the most important person in the home"! We are there, day upon day, labouring for the Lord.  Working to raise the next generation to His glory.  Labouring, often through exhaustion and pain, to run the home, and guide the household.  It's our God-given role to be in charge of the home.  Not just some under-dog, instructed and "controlled" by the husband.  No, God has given us the role of guiding, or being in charge, of the house, under the headship, care and support of our husbands.  It's a HUGELY important job, and God has designed us to fulfil it!

I also often feel like I am somehow letting down the Church.  I am so busy with my children, that I can't do everything I would like to do, or that others are able to do.  It's like I need to apologise for being busy with my family.

I SHOULDN'T!!!

I'm right here doing what GOD wants me to do, which is a ministry all of its own.

It doesn't mean we don't participate, as a family, in all we can.  That will look different for each family, and each situation.  However, the family is my FIRST and HIGHEST calling, as a wife and Mum. 

God-given.  

The things that need to be done in a Church should first and foremost be done by those without the responsibility of caring for their God-given family. Mothers shouldn't be made to feel that what is outside of the home is more important than what's INSIDE the home.  God ordained family and the home.  It came before any other ministry and commitment, and nowhere does He backtrack on that duty and responsibility.

My children will grow up.

ARE growing up.

My two oldest have made profession of faith, and my oldest is being baptised on Saturday.  They are starting to do their own work, and also able to help me with their siblings.  That is allowing me to do things I haven't been able to do when they were all really little. I recently started playing the organ again, which, despite a few "teething problems" (I didn't know how to properly "use" the lovely organ our Church now has, and had a few incidents of dubious playing!), I have enjoyed doing again, after years of not being to help out with.   The children will grow up, and I will be free to help out more.  It will come TOO quickly.

In the mean time, I am busy doing exactly what is a God-led calling and privilege.

I am ministering in motherhood, and reaching out to the mission field of my home.

I am using the gifts and talents that God has given me to raise my children. I'm not "missing out" in something better.  I'm not "wasting" my abilities.  I'm tapping into the skills that I have been given, to embrace my calling into the home.

It's not a lesser role.

It's not menial and unfulfilling.

I am the "most important person in the home", and I intend to take on that huge responsibility and blessing with every ounce of my being, for God's glory.

Don't be ashamed or despise your roles, sweet, hard-working mothers.  More than anything, be very careful to seek prayerful guidance in stepping away from the God-given role that is yours to keep. God WILL provide for your needs, if you realise your awesome responsibility to be at home with your children. It won't be easy, and it may come at a price, humanly speaking, but the treasure that you will be storing up in heaven, is worth so much more than anything the world can offer.

God led you into it, and it's the most important thing you can do.