Motherhood

What Kind of Child Will This Be?

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And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with them. (Luke 1:66)

We are familiar with the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth. Elizabeth was to give birth in her later years. When the angel Gabriel told Zacharias this, he was quite doubtful due to his and his wife’s advanced age. Because of his doubt, he was struck mute. We also know that when Mary, pregnant with the Christ child, went to visit Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s baby jumped within her womb at hearing Mary’s voice. This unborn child was already so special…already so in tune with the other unborn baby who would became King of Kings. After his birth, at his circumcision, there was much fuss about what name this new child should have. But Zacharias, being obedient to what the angel had spoken, announced that his name would be John. His voice was immediately returned to him after this proclamation, which made all those around him stand in awe. What kind of child will this be? That was the question on all their minds that day so long ago.

We are no different. Our baby is born, we look at him (or her) in amazement and pure love, and we wonder…what kind of child will this be? Will my child be like me, or his father? Will he have my eyes? Will she have my smile? Will he love sports or will she love to dance? Will he grow up to be an astronaut or will she grow up to be President? So many questions, so many things to ponder.

The truth is…God already knows what His will for our child’s life is. He knows everything about that child, down to the number of hairs on her head. He has great plans to prosper him and to give her a hope and a future. His plans for our child are far greater than anything we could ever imagine. Opportunities are limitless when they are guided by our God.

Perhaps we should stare down at our newborn and wonder not what type of job they will have or what hobbies they will enjoy. Perhaps we should set our focus on this:

What kind of child will this be? Will he love Jesus with his whole heart? Will she be obedient to God’s word? Will he impact this world for the gospel in ways big or small? Will she be a light that shines love, grace, and compassion to those around her? Am I ready and equipped to guide this child to the cross? Am I ready to hand this precious baby over to God and let Him be the ruler of her life?

Only God knows exactly what kind of child this will be. He knows that our mama hearts want only the best for our children, no matter what age they are. When we trust in Him, when we pray daily and lift our children to Him, He takes those children and those prayers and He does His marvelous works. And as we nurture them in the things of God, and as we watch them grow and mature, we see just what kind of child (and adult) they are. Then, just like Zacharias , we lift our voices in praise.

Motherhood

Pass It Down

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Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. (Proverbs 17:6)

I have discovered one of the most awesome things about having children…they grow up and give you grandchildren! I am finding my role as Grammie to be one of the sweetest, most precious things I have ever experienced.

You might still have youngsters and feel like this stage of your life is still a long way off. Let me assure you, the time goes so fast when we are raising our kids, and before you know it, they are grown and on their own. You are left standing there, befuddled and wondering where the time went. Did I teach them enough? Did I love them enough? Did I help them understand grace and compassion? Did I prepare them for this world? Did I guide them as close to the cross as I possibly could?

We do our best, then they are grown. And then we get the opportunity to share all our love, wisdom, and guidance with those darling little creatures called grandchildren. As our children move into adulthood, we have the opportunity to consider this… are my children proud of me? Not because of any accolades or wealth, not because of the ladder of success I might have climbed, but because of the human being I am. Do they take pride in my beliefs, my attitude, my ability to show grace and compassion, my unconditional love? Are they proud of the way I raised them and the home they came from? Most importantly, are they proud of how I represent my Savior?

Life is a multitude of opportunities…opportunities to make a difference in our homes with those who are most precious to us, opportunities to watch the generations of our family unfold and continue the traditions of love and honor that that our families can take pride in, and opportunities to continue to lead our family towards the light of Jesus. The greatest joy is to be able to take our love of the Lord and pass it down through the generations.

Father ~ thank you for the opportunity to experience the joy of being a mama, and thank you for the awesome privilege of being a grandmother. Help me to always make my children proud, and help me to always point them towards your loving arms, in Jesus’ name ~ Amen.

 

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

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 

Motherhood

When Are You Having Kids?

By:  Alison Rodriguez

That question. Oh, THAT question.

It used to make my blood boil when someone asked me that question.

So many times, my mind screamed:

None of your business!
I’m trying!
I wish I knew!

Instead, the polite person in me – well, really, the person who did not want to face the fact that something was wrong – would often reply:

Oh, I’d like to finish my master’s degree first.
Maybe in a couple more years.

Except one time. Someone at work caught me on a bad day. A lady from another department whom I don’t know very well asked the forbidden question. No made up excuse this time. She got Ally’s famous evil eyes, and, “I actually can’t have kids.” In that moment, I found great joy in the shocked look on her face and her fumbled attempt at a response. All I could think was that’s what you get for asking a personal question to someone with whom you don’t have a personal relationship.

For so long, I used school as an excuse. And then when I finished, I used my husband going to school as an excuse. Excuses are lies you tell others hoping you’ll begin to believe them yourself. Truth be told, I dreamt of holding my baby boy or girl on graduation day wearing my master’s cap, gown, and hood. Now, I dream of having our little one sit on my lap at my husband’s graduation as he receives his master’s hood.

I know that most people have only good intentions when asking this question, but it carries so many assumptions and connotations.

When are you having kids?

…assumes someone wants kids.
…assumes someone can physically have kids.
…assumes that conceiving is the only way to grow a family.

To those trying to conceive, this question strikes a painful chord deep within their soul. It is a reminder that they are not pregnant. It is a reminder that something is wrong with them. It is a reminder that this little person who has mommy’s eyes and daddy’s smile still isn’t here yet and may never be.

This blood-boiling question and my long-time response to it made me realize one very important thing. The condition of your heart determines the character of your response. My heart was bitter so my response was bitter. I created bogus excuses to comfort myself and so easily told them to others.

 

 

Now, when asked this question, I’m truthful. I no longer feel shame in sharing our journey, because I know God has me in this season for a reason. Instead of being a source of heartache, this question has become an opportunity to share what the Lord has done in our lives and hearts. No more bogus excuses. I now share that I have a little angel baby watching over me. I now say that we are halfway through the process of adopting a little one from the foster care system.

When are you having kids?

Does it still strike a painful chord? Yes.
Do I still want to yell, “none of your business!” Sometimes.

But I’m so thankful that those moments are now few and far between. I’m thankful that God did not leave my side for one moment while I worked on changing my heart.

One thing I ask of you: Can we change this question? Can we be mindful of who we ask it to? You never know who is struggling with infertility, and what this question represents in their life. 

Let’s change this from “having kids” to “growing families”. So many families are grown through fostering, adoption, and surrogacy. And some families remain as duos with pets. Let’s refrain from asking this question to people with whom we don’t share a personal relationship. Asking coworkers and acquaintances might not go over so well.

And one last request. Take a moment to evaluate the condition of your heart. Most times, the first thing that needs to change in your circumstance is your heart’s response to it.

With love,
Ally Rod

Motherhood

A Mama’s Challenge

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By:  Betty Predmore

I am reading in Psalm this morning, and I come across a passage that spoke to my heart. Psalm 22:30-31 says Our children will also serve him. Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord. His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born. They will hear about everything he has done.

Wow! Do you know what that means? It means that I, “mama” to my kiddos, have a lot of responsibility! God is amazing and wondrous, He is capable of all things, and He has done so many amazing, wondrous acts of love on our behalf. He also has set forth serious guidelines for our lives, and consequences when we don’t follow them. How do we take all we know about our marvelous God and make sure we don’t skim over anything when sharing with our children? How do we possibly convey the greatness and majesty of our King without missing some aspect? How do we send the message of His love in its completeness?

This challenges me to dig even further into His word. This prods me to plead the Holy Spirit even deeper into my soul. This inspires me to bring His word to life for my kids, and make it something real, fun, and extremely important in their lives. I want my kids to hear about everything He has done. It is my desire that they know the wonders of the Lord. It is my desperate hope that they serve Him.

Mamas, we must do our part. We have to teach our children about Jesus…in word and in action. We have to share of His wonders and words. We need to explain the creation of our world, and unravel the parable of Jesus. We must define the crucifixion and the resurrection. The love and compassion found in the Word should be evident in our lives. The fruits of the spirit should flow through us. We are to be walking testimonies of His great mercy. Doing this…all of this…will teach our children just how great God is, and just how wonderful it is to serve Him.

Are you up for the challenge today?

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