Motherhood

Second Chances

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Start children off on the way they should go, and even when. They are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

One of the things we can be so very thankful for as mothers is that we get the privilege and opportunity to teach and train our children in the ways of the Lord. What a difference we can make in our families and communities! What a difference we can make for the Kingdom! God chooses each of us specifically for the children He brings into our lives.

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised. (Genesis 18:19)

God promised Abraham descendants more numerous than the stars. We are those descendants. And as we parent our children, we continue to pass down the precepts of our Father. What an absolute honor to be chosen for a purpose such as this. How grateful we should be that God sees us as worthy of this calling.

God chose me to not only guide and teach my four biological children, but also three through adoption. They are extra special gifts to me because they are “second chance” kids. What do I mean when I say “second chance”? Obviously, they are getting a second chance with parents who can love and provide for them, who can nurture them, who can teach them about Jesus and his great love and sacrifice. But, I too, get a second chance. Like all mamas, I have made a lot of mistakes in my parenting. I have learned many lessons the hard way. But God is so good! He gives me a second chance to parent children, to utilize what I have learned along the way, and to make a lasting difference in their lives. Oh, what a blessing that is to this mama’s heart!

Guiding our children towards Jesus isn’t always an easy task. This world is a little crazy sometimes, and it is often difficult to find the ribbons of love flowing through the fabric of hatred. But if we look hard enough, we will find it. Then we can point our children towards the light of Jesus Christ. We can offer them the hope and promise that walking with him brings. We can share salvation with them and direct their eternity.

If you feel you have been failing in this area, don’t despair. God is a merciful God and He will give you more opportunities to be that lamp post for your children. He is a God of second chances…and for that I am very grateful.

Motherhood

A Mama’s Grateful Heart Bible Study: The Best Gift

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The Best Gift

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. (Psalm 127:3-5)

Gifts…we all love to receive them, and many of us take great pleasure in giving them. I remember my childhood Christmases. We didn’t live a very frivolous life, but when it came to Christmas my parents went all out. We would open gifts from aunts, uncles, and grandparents. My Granny’s floor would be a sea of wrapping paper as we all tore into our bounty. Those were great gifts and we were thrilled to get them. But the best gifts, the ones we anticipated the most, were the ones my parents (also known as Santa) gave us. What awesome gifts they were….those best gifts!

God gives us children. He gives them to us biologically or through adoption. He creates them specifically for us, weaving together personalities and physical traits chosen for us to love and nurture. However we get them, they are the best gifts. What greater gift can we receive than that of being a mama? I have the joy of having four children biologically, but I also have had the blessing to be able to adopt three more. What joy they all bring into my life! What beautiful memories fill my heart! What hopes I have for their futures and all the experiences we have to look forward to!

For most of us, God gives us our children in our younger years. My sweet Granny always said God gave them to us when we were young because when we got older, we wouldn’t have the energy for them. I can relate to that in some ways. Having my four babies in my twenties and thirties, I had tons of energy for them. Adopting the last three a little later in life, I find it a little harder to keep up with them. But I do my best. I don’t want to miss a moment of the blessing God has given me.

Motherhood is a gift, but it is not like those gifts that were under my tree all those years ago. I would unwrap those, marvel at them, use them for whatever amount of time they held my interest, then go on to something else. Being a mama is a gift I get to unwrap every day. There is always something new to discover and experience. There is always another blessing around the corner. There are hard times too….times when my heart hurts, my temper flares, or I feel frustrated. There are times when I feel totally unequipped for this calling of motherhood. But my sweet Lord whispers into my heart and reminds me that He chose me, He hand picked me for these children. I believe God uses our children to draw us closer to Him. There are times when we are insecure in our abilities, terrified, frustrated, and overwhelmed. In those times, God is always there, reminding us that He never leaves or forsakes us. He gently reassures us that we can do this, and we are never alone in this journey. He travels our path of sorrow and pain, and He runs alongside us in our joys and triumphs. He places His guiding hand upon us, leading us as we lead the ones He gave us….our very best gifts.

As you think on your experience as a mama, what are some of the ways God has used the beautiful gift of motherhood to change you, to draw you closer to Him?

Do you see God’s hand on your mama heart?

Father, we thank you today for the gift of our children. We thank you that you are always with us as we navigate through the hills and valleys of motherhood. Thank you, Father, that you trust us enough to give us our precious children, and thank you loving us enough to give us the very best gift. In Jesus’ name ~ Amen.

 

 

 

Motherhood

To My Husband

Alison shares about the one closest yo her, that is traveling this journey with her…

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You know, I didn’t dream much about my future husband as a little girl. All I knew is that I wanted and needed to share my life with someone who I could laugh with daily. And I certainly didn’t think that I would find him so early in life.

But my husband is the perfect example of how God knows exactly what you need before you do. God knew that infertility and miscarriage was to be part of our life journey, and he knew just who I would need to survive this season of life. And when I think back to how we met, I can’t help but smile at God’s plan and timing… Steven and I met, because my best friend attended UC Riverside – a university she did not even apply to, but was accepted! – and I happened to visit her the same week Steven moved into…

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Motherhood

A Handful of Quietness

By:  Betty Predmoreimage.png

I read somewhere today…”taking care of yourself is the first step in taking care of your children.” Boy, does that make sense! How often do we neglect our own needs for the sake of our families? I don’t know about you, but I am always quick to put my own well-being on the back burner for the sake of my kiddos. That’s what a good mom does, right?

We all….yes, even us mamas, need to find time to rest, renew , and refresh our bodies and our souls. Ecclesiastes 4:6 tells us, Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. That tells me that even a little bit of rest is good. All the toil that goes into our days, all the striving to be a good mama, can zap us, but just a hand full of sitting in His presence can renew our souls.

I don’t know about you, but when I get tired and weary, I get discouraged. The devil wants nothing more than to rob me of the joys of motherhood through discouragement and doubt. Psalm37:4 reminds me, Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. When I take time to rest in Him, to take joy in His presence, He fulfills the desires of my heart. And Mamas, isn’t our greatest desire to be a good mother, a good example of Christ, to our children?

Some days are too long. Other days are too short. Whatever day you are in today, I pray that you take a moment for yourself. Grab that hand full of quietness that you need and deserve. Let the Lord restore your soul and refresh your mind. Allow Him to work in you so that you can be the mama that your heart desires to be. He is here to walk this walk with us so we never have to feel alone, to guide us when we are lost and strengthen us when we feel weak. Oh, what a wonderful Savior we have! And because of Him and his love for us, what wonderful mothers we can be!

Motherhood

Memory Walk

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By:  Betty Predmore

I experienced something new today….something that touched my heart is a special way. I participated in a memory walk for babies who died in pregnancy or infancy. I was there with my niece and nephew, who lost their baby in May at an early stage in their pregnancy. Oh, how happy we were when we heard the pregnancy news! I literally jumped up and down and screamed, then held my niece tight as we cried together. I knew how long and hard she had tried and waited for this baby.

But the birth of this baby was not to be. God had other plans. The sorrow has been tremendous, but we are all comforted in knowing that little angel is in heaven, with some other special members of our family we have lost this year.

So today was in memory of that precious little one that we didn’t get to meet, that tiny hand we didn’t get to hold, that soft face we didn’t get to kiss. I was amazed at the amount of people in attendance today. I was shocked at how many were there walking not just for one baby….but two, three, four, even five. To see those babies names on the wall of memory and to hear each one called out loud was a sobering experience that brought me to tears. As I looked around, I saw many of those families with new little ones or toddlers, and I am sure these new children have brought hope back into their hearts. But what about the ones who have yet to have a child? Are they feeling hopeless in these moments?

I am so grateful that my niece and nephew, and all our family, can put our hope in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am so glad we can find strength for tomorrow and the promises each new day brings, knowing God has something awesome planned for our family. Thank you, Jesus, that you hold us in the palm of your hand.

So as this day winds down, I pray for my beautiful niece and nephew. I pray the Lord continues to give them strength, hope, faith, and perseverance. I pray they continue to remember this precious life gone too soon, yet are able to enjoy the glorious days of parenthood with other special children meant just for them. I pray that as the days, months, and years pass, that we never forget this special little one who brought our family so much joy, even if it was for such a short time.

 

Motherhood

The Diagnosis

Alison shares the emotions of being diagnosed with PCOS.

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September 12, 2014. 

The day I felt like my world ended.

After far too many ultrasounds, urine samples, and blood tests, I received the call that stole a year and a half of my life. My doctor finally had an answer to my irregular and abnormal bleeding. She finally had an answer to why my husband and I had not been able to conceive our first child after nearly 10 months of trying.

Diagnosis: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

I remember the call so vividly. I stood in my bedroom as my doctor explained that my ovaries were surrounded by numerous small cysts, which resulted in a significant hormonal imbalance in my body to the point where my body was producing more androgens (“male hormones”) than it should.

meme 2“Okay,” I thought, “I can manage some non-cancerous cysts and some hormonal issues.” She continued to explain the medication I would…

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Motherhood

When “Motherhood is a Woman’s Highest Calling” Backfires

By:  Rebekah Hargravesrebekah hargraves

When I was a little girl, all I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a mommy (well, and a “cooker”, as I apparently said one time!). I always dreamed of having little ones of my own, wanted to be a stay-at-home mom just as my own mom was, babysat all throughout my teen years, and even was a nanny up until the day before I went into labor with my first baby. I guess you could say I’ve always been passionate about motherhood. Now as a mama to my own two little ones ages 2 1/2 and 10 months and the author of a book on motherhood, I am still passionate about this calling of mom, but in a slightly different way.

What may come as a surprise to some is that I began Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them) with a chapter entitled “Lie #1: Motherhood is a Woman’s Highest Calling”. Considering my background, that doesn’t quite sound like something I would write, does it? Though I am just as passionate as I have ever been about  the beauty and importance of motherhood and the truth that it is a high and holy calling, I nevertheless no longer hold to the idea that motherhood is a woman’s *highest* calling. In fact, I believe there are actually some adverse ramifications which stem from this idea.

The passion of my heart is to draw women back to the Word of God, to help them see just how very relevant and applicable it truly is to each and every struggle, question, or lie they could ever face in life. We need to be looking solely to the Word of God for the basis of our every belief, the forming of every aspect of our worldview, and the truth we need for our daily lives. This is certainly true in the case of the idea that “motherhood is a woman’s highest calling”. What began with very good intentions (i.e. an effort to counter the culture’s lies that about mothering not being a worthwhile endeavor and motherhood being unimportant and not something to be pursued) has inadvertently produced some unfortunate results in the process.

At this point you may be wondering, “What’s the big deal?” In a culture which disdains children and motherhood, what’s so wrong with proclaiming motherhood to be a woman’s highest calling? Well besides that being a painful and unfair sentiment for a single or barren woman to hear, that idea also leads to problems for women who are mothers.

 

How “Motherhood is a Woman’s Highest Calling” Actually Harms Moms

At face value, there may appear to be nothing wrong with the concept of motherhood as being a woman’s highest calling. There are, however, several issues with this idea:

  • When we believe motherhood to be a woman’s highest calling, we begin to think mothering should crowd out everything else (and allow it to do so!).

We all know firsthand just how pervasive mommy guilt can be – we experience it whenever we attempt to have some “me-time”, we feel it anytime we pursue our own hobbies or interests, we get weighed down by it when we drop the kiddos off at their grandparents’ house so we can go out with our husbands. This is because we have bought into the mistaken idea that all our time and attention should always be focused on our children. Now, don’t get me wrong – if you are a mother, I firmly believe that apart from the Lord and your relationship with your husband which should come first, your children are to be your #1 priority. You should be putting intentional time and attention into mothering them well. It is wrong, however, to believe that you have only been given time for those things which strictly pertain to motherhood. This is what we begin to believe, however, when we believe motherhood to be a woman’s ultimate highest calling – our relationship with the Lord gets put on the back burner, our kids replace our husbands in our order of priorities, and everything suffers as a result.

 

  • When we believe motherhood is a woman’s highest calling, our identity gets wrapped up in motherhood.

When moms believe motherhood is to take up all their time and attention, they end up forgetting who they are and who God created them to be. We hear so many times moms say something to the effect of, “I can’t remember that girl I was in high school.” or “I feel like the woman I was before I had kids is gone.” or “I can’t even remember the interests or passions I had before the kids came.” This is what happens when we allow our identity to be wrapped up solely in who we are as moms. This does nothing but lead to our burning the candle at both ends and becoming chronically stressed out and depleted.

When we instead remember that our identity is to be found in the reality of our being image bearers of God and redeemed saints through Christ, everything changes. We begin to remember again the woman God originally created us to be, the woman with unique and specific passions, gifts, talents, and interests. The woman who has God-given permission to pursue those things, even in the midst of motherhood (see Proverbs 31:10-31 and 1 Corinthians 12). When we are careful to, yes, prioritize our children and to delight in the sacred calling of motherhood, but to also live life as the multi-faceted, whole woman we were designed to be, we flourish – and so do our families!

 

  • When we believe motherhood is a woman’s highest calling, motherhood actually loses its very importance and purpose.

 

The ironic thing is that, in a valiant effort to restore to motherhood its importance and worth, we have actually deprived it of both. We want the culture to understand that it is a beautiful thing (and a worthwhile endeavor!) to be a mother, but when we separate motherhood from its God-given role, instead placing it on a higher plane than God does, it becomes stripped of its high purpose. Here is what I mean: As I touched on above, our identity as Christian women is to be found in our being image-bearers of God and ambassadors of Christ. In reality, this is not only our identity, but our true highest calling, as well. A woman’s highest calling is to bear the image of God to the world and to represent Christ well. Motherhood, then, becomes an outworking of this, one important and impactful way in which a woman is able to spread God’s truth to future generations. Our Savior came to earth through the avenue of motherhood and childbearing (Genesis 3:15, 1 Timothy 2:15), and the spread of His truth today continues throughout the generations as women have children and more image-bearers are born.

Therefore, it is when we understand motherhood in its proper context, as one beautiful way in which the truth of God is able to be spread and our ambassadorship for Christ is able to be lived out, that motherhood then receives great importance and purpose. When we instead make the mistake of taking motherhood off by itself, raising it above the level of importance God gave it, and having it stand alone as the highest calling for women, then what is it all for? What then is the purpose of motherhood? Why is it believed to be the “highest” calling? There is no answer for this. It is only when we understand motherhood in light of the Gospel that the work of mothering becomes a vastly important work.

 

Look to Christ, Mama!

So, sweet mama, as you go about the daily work of mothering, working day in and day out to care for the needs of your children, to raise them up in the way that they should go, and to impart God’s truth to them, remember – what you are doing is important. It is beautiful. It is impacting countless future generations. It is not, however, your ultimate highest calling. The whole of your identity is not to be wrapped up in it. If you think it is, there will come a day in which your children are all grown and gone, and you will be left wondering what your purpose is in life. If you allow the sum total of your identity to be wrapped up in motherhood, you will feel like a failure when your children make mistakes, thinking yourself wholly responsible for how they turn out. If you place your identity in motherhood as your highest calling, it will lose some of its importance.

Instead, look to Christ. Daily look to Christ and find your mission, your identity, your calling, and your purpose in Him. When you do, your motherhood will be drastically changed for the better, and you will truly be working towards the advancement of the Lord’s Kingdom.

God bless you, mamas!

Bio: Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, home business owner, podcaster, and blogger residing in TN. Her passion is to bless fellow Christian women through her writings on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, which exists to “edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood”. Rebekah’s first book, “Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them)”, releases in November.

Facebook: Hargraves Home and Hearth

Instagram: @rebekahhargraves

Twitter: @hhomeandhearth

Website: Hargraves Home and Hearth