Motherhood

Fistbump & Forgiveness

“I don’t think Mom likes me.” These were the words spoken by my 9-year-old daughter to her big sister who was visiting from college. “ Why don’t you think Mom likes you?” was her response. “Because she gets mad at me.” “Why does she get mad at you?” “Because I lie.” And there you have it…a daughter’s confession that stopped me in my tracks.

The 9-year-old has been going through some major story fabricating as of late. Nothing is EVER her fault, she is always quick to blame another culprit (typically the brother just ahead of her on the age spectrum), and can’t seem to keep her stories straight. This has been causing me, her mama, some angst as I wrestle with what to believe and what not to believe, and trying to get her to see that lying is not the way to go. On more than one occasion, I have let me voice get louder than it should, and I have not practiced that Fruit of the Spirit called patience. Fathers (mothers), do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Colossians 3:21). My poor daughter was discouraged by me, and that saddened my mama heart.

We go through our days…intent on getting our “to-do” list accomplished, intent on achieving in the workplace, intent on making sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. We are intent on teaching our kids to have good values and a strong moral fiber, loving Jesus and following his word. The question I find myself asking is…as intent as we are on teaching them right from wrong, are we just as intent on showing them grace and teaching them about forgiveness?

I had been so focused on the lies, that I wasn’t looking at the bigger picture of what I could teach my child:

#1 – That my love for her was bigger than any lie she could tell.
#2 – That making mistakes is okay. We just need to be honest about them.

So I had a talk with this precious child. I assured her that I like her, regardless of her misbehavior. And I explained to her that the truth is always better than a lie. I might get upset about something she does wrong, but I get far more upset about the lie. So we made a deal, sealed with a fistbump, that I would work on not getting so angry if she would work on being more honest. And like He always is, God was listening to that conversation. Right away, He challenged me to live up to my promise. We had only been home a few minutes when I noticed something had happened in the microwave causing a huge mess. I questioned her about it and I could see the little wheels turning in her head. To lie or to tell the truth…that was the question. Would mama really do what she promised? (After all, we fistbumped and everything, so that must mean she would.). I patiently waited for an answer as I watched her struggle within herself. Then, miracle of miracles, she confessed to making the mess.

Now it was my turn to struggle. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. I was tempted to get angry. I was tempted to revert back to my old way of handling situations. But I wasn’t tempted to the point that I couldn’t respond differently. God gave me a way out. He gave me an opportunity to react in a way that solidified the promise I had made to her earlier. He gave me a way out that demonstrated love and grace. He gave me a way out that honored that ceremonial fistbump. I looked at that darling girl, and I smiled. I told her that accidents happen and we laughed about it. I saw her sigh of relief as she came to the realization that owning up to your mistakes isn’t as bad as it sounds. As for me, I was so relieved to hear her answer honestly. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. (3 John 1:4)

I hope and pray that this is a lesson she will carry throughout her life. I know I will. We try so hard to teach our children, and then we are amazed when they, in turn, teach us so much. When you are walking through the uncertainties of motherhood, when you are struggling with negative behaviors in your children, it can seem so difficult and so frustrating. But our God is so much bigger than all of the frustration and all the difficulties. He will use those moments to teach us…about our children and about ourselves.

What is God teaching you today? How is He using your children to mold you and shape you into who He desires you to be? Are you in need of a fistbump moment with your child…a moment where you can come to an agreement on a situation and find your middle ground? Let God guide you to and through those moments. Trust Him to give you opportunities to demonstrate love and grace to your children, and by doing so, teaching them valuable lessons that will last a lifetime. Continue reading “Fistbump & Forgiveness”

Motherhood

Eight Years

 

57C49993-2D63-490D-9BB0-4D932103E39B.pngToday marks a special anniversary in our family. Eight years ago today, just six weeks after we received two sweet little boys into our home, they had their first play date with their baby sister. They had never spent the day together, as they had been in different foster homes in different cities. In the past, the two boys had occasion to spend time together and knew each other well enough to know they were brothers. But this baby sister was a whole new idea to them. By this time they were quite comfortable in our house, and they were very excited to meet this little girl.

I remember that day so well. We loaded the two younger ones into the stroller and walked several blocks to the park where we played on the equipment and the swings. I took turns pushing the two-year-old and the one-year-old. The boys were rambunctious as always, but this sweet little girl was as quiet as could be. I captured this picture on the couch during a lulll in their playtime.

It was only a matter of weeks until this little angel was also residing in our home. This quiet little baby has become one of the most outgoing little girls I have ever seen. She is loved by many. And those boys…they continue to grow and transform, and never cease to amaze me.

What a beautiful thing adoption is. What an awesome opportunity to share the love of Jesus. What an incredible way to live out our lives. I am forever grateful…to God for bringing them to us, and to them for loving us with all their hearts. Eight years have passed but we look forward to a lifetime of fun and laughter, cuddles and hugs, tickles and giggles, and growing up together.
#adoptionrocks #mykids #love #family

Motherhood, Uncategorized

We Are Better Together!

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Hi Mom-Sense followers!  I pray that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with much to be thankful for.  My family enjoyed a day of serving the community, followed by a family celebration on Friday.  We topped it off with a camping trip to the desert which seems to be becoming a tradition as some of my children get into adulthood.

As I sit here around the fire with my babies gathered around me, my heart is thankful for family.  I am so grateful for the joy and privilege of being their mama!  There are so many joys to motherhood, and there are also times of fear, pain, and uncertainty.  That’s why I feel that Mom-Sense is so important.  We can all use a little encouragement at times, right?  We all have funny moments, scary moments, tense moments, joy-filled moments, and moments of uncertainty that we can share, right?

My hope has been to create a place where we can share, encourage, acknowledge, and pray for one another.  That is done on the blog and also in our Facebook group. If you haven’t joined our Facebook group or if you haven’t subscribed to my blog, I invite you to do so today.  The Facebook group is Mom-Sense and the blog is https://momsense.blog/.  I welcome your questions, your stories, your moments of triumph, and your requests for prayer.  Let’s join forces as mamas and keep each other encouraged and uplifted on what is the greatest of all journeys!

Many blessings to you all!

Betty Predmore

 

Motherhood

A Gift and a Challenge

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And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.” (Hebrews 2:13)

As I ponder what my mama heart is thankful for today, I am thankful for the children He chose to give me. Think about it for a moment…God picked YOU specifically for the children you have. He knew YOU would be the one He could entrust to guide them, teach them, and love them. He knew YOU would lead them towards His light and His love.

Most of you reading this today are probably grateful for the children you gave birth to. You can probably still remember the moment each of them was born. I can remember those special details from the births of all four of my children. But I also very specifically can recall the moment I first laid eyes on the three that God brought me through adoption. The three children that God gave me as an extra special gift. He chose ME to be their mother. What a blessing that is!

I do not pretend to be close to knowing all there is to know about raising children. I do not try to trick anyone into believing that I have it “all going on” in the mothering department. But what I DO know is that I trust my God. I believe in Him. I want to be obedient to Him. I am very grateful for the gifts I have been given. I have been given so much. I have had the opportunity to learn many life lessons. I think one of the most important things I have learned is that family is not always defined by shared bloodlines. In our home, it is more defined by a deep sense of love and respect, tons of laughter, many tears, and a fierce sense of protection. Family is those who will hold you when you are scared, cry with you when your heart is broken, and laugh at the jokes that aren’t funny. Family is unending patience and much forgiveness. It is praying together and staying together. In this house, family is a blended bunch of craziness that comes together to create something awesome…something only God could assemble together and make it work.

Yes, I was chosen to be mama to this rowdy brood. It is my greatest gift and often my biggest challenge. My family may not, and probably doesn’t, look like yours. But that’s okay. God chose YOU to be mama to the special ones He knew would make your life complete. Take a moment…ponder the gift of motherhood…let gratitude and thankfulness sink into your soul. Then close your eyes and whisper a soft thank you to your Father in heaven, who knows you so well, and knows just who you need to make up your family.

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