Motherhood

Walking Away

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By:  Betty Predmore

We said goodbye on the steps of the Student Union building. I stood there with my precious daughter in my arms, savoring every last second. It seemed like a mere minute ago that she was the tiny bundle of joy that made my heart want to burst with love. How strange it seems to think that it has been over 18 years since I held that precious newborn, as her little fingers wrapped around my hair.

I knew this day was coming. I have been so proud of her….her intelligence, her devotion to her family, her compassion for her fellow man. What a special girl she is. My heart has always wanted her to live out her dreams, be her own unique self, and experience life to the fullest. But as I faced that moment of letting go, I wanted to grab her and run. If only I could run back to a yesterday when she was a toddler chasing after her siblings, or a little girl performing dances for her family. How sweet those years were and how quickly they have passed.

Of course, I couldn’t run back in time. I was left to do what countless mothers before me have done, what I have done with my older children, and what she will do one day in the future with her own children. I was left to stand there as my baby girl walked away. She didn’t look back. Was it because she didn’t want to see my tears? Or because she didn’t want me to see hers? I watched that long, wild hair bouncing as she took step after step towards independence. I watched until there was only one thing left to do….so I turned and walked away. And as I walked, I did the only thing I knew to do….I prayed. I prayed that God would soothe my mama heart. I prayed that my tears would cease. I prayed that my precious girl would make good choices, good friends, and sweet memories. And I prayed that my Father in heaven, whom I trust with ALL that I have, would protect her from the evils that I know this life can bring.

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. (Psalm 121:7-8)

 

Motherhood

Bend, Don’t Break

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By: Betty Predmore

Motherhood is an incredible journey. There are so many emotions we experience as mothers, so many opportunities to grow. From the moment they are born, our children hold a precious place in our hearts. We want only the best for them, and we do all we can to make life wonderful for our little darlings.

Motherhood brings so many happy moments, filled with love, laughter, secret whispers, and butterfly kisses. It brings special bonds that nothing in life can break apart, and a sense of unity and security. I wish our minds had the capacity to clearly remember every moment of laughter and joy that comes from being a mother. I wish I could conjure up in a moment every time I felt that sense of fulfillment that my children bring me. But the moments are too many to corral into a thought or a memory. They are as numerous as the stars, and I consider myself to be a very lucky mama.

Amongst all that joy and laughter has also been some pain. No matter how hard we try, our children are left to experience the tough stuff. Childhood illness, death, bullying, mental illness, fear, abandonment, broken homes… and the list continues. If only we could protect their hearts from all pain! But the reality is that life is life, and part of life is struggle and hardship. If we are honest, we know that we tend to grow, change, and learn the most through our moments of trial. It is through those hard times we realize that God really does walk with us, never leaving our side. Of course, we want our children to have that realization, that sense of security.

As mothers, our prayer should be that through it all, the rain, the sunshine, and the cloudy days, that we have grounded our children in their faith and gave them a knowledge of someone who is far greater than any of us, and who is far more capable of easing their hurts and troubles. Have you pointed your child to Jesus? Have you hit your knees time and time again on their behalf?

Life is sometimes difficult. Motherhood is often challenging. Many times we experience pain and concern for our children, and sometimes a fear that is almost crippling. As strong women of God, as mothers of His precious children, we will not let those moments define us. When the tough times come, we do not break….we bend. We bend our knees, we call on our Father, and we intercede for our sweet precious babies. Oh, what a mighty power we have because of Jesus! Oh, what a glorious difference we can make in the lives of our children! Oh, what a precious gift it is to be a mama!

 

 

Motherhood

The Good, Bad, & Ugly of Raising a Strong Willed Child

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By:  Audrey Huck
Here we were again; another day of seemingly constant battles. Feeling desperate, I glance at the clock. 9:00 am. Only nine in the morning and already we’ve had three knock out battles. Only nine in the morning and I’ve already begun crying, dreading another day of seemingly constant tantrums and battles of wills. Only nine in the morning and my regular mantra of “Lord, help!” has escaped my lips more times than I can count.
When I first became a parent, I naively felt like I had things pretty much under control. After all, as one of nine children and having spent years of babysitting, nannying, and finally educating children I had received a wellspring of hands on experience in the duties of caring for, teaching, and disciplining children. Motherhood felt like a natural fit as I saw the fruition of my greatest dreams come true. In fact, as my husband and I prepared to leave the hospital with our newborn daughter the nurse commented that we were two of the most comfortable first time parents she had ever seen.
And even though there were struggles during that first 18 months, most especially with juggling the challenges of motherhood while working full time, that confidence largely continued. My daughter was an easy baby. She was rarely fussy, began conversing with us early on, and actually asked to be put to sleep when she was ready for nap-time or bedtime. I don’t mean to imply that she was/is perfect, but I understood how to guide and discipline her, rarely feeling I was “in over my head.”
And then 18 months and a few weeks later we were blessed with our precious son. Each child is completely unique and it became apparent early on that he would be radically different from his sister. Almost instantly our little man showed signs of his great determination. He could break out of a swaddle (no matter how tight) by the time he was three weeks old; he rolled over for the first time at 2 months, and was walking at 9 1/2 months old. He remains a bundle of passion and energy, wholeheartedly entering into every emotion he feels and occupation he undertakes. This means he can be the greatest of lovers, the most delightful bundle of giggles and fun, or (more frequently then not) an unmovable force of anger and frustration when things don’t go his way. His little body is literally overcome by his emotions, having to be expressed outwardly in some way what he feels inside. When he’s happy, he is continuously hugging and kissing you, and when he is angry or frustrated he has to strike out at someone or something—even if it’s himself.
Though not even two years old, our son lives by one philosophy: If I try hard enough, it will happen. I’ve seen this time and time again. A few weeks ago he continued to try to climb up the slide for nearly twenty minutes until he eventually succeeded. If someone closes a door on him, he will continue to run into it, like a battering ram, until it either opens or he is physically removed. When put in timeout, he throws out his arms and says, “Why?!” And much to his mother’s horror, we’ve already had to transition him into a big boy bed to prevent him from breaking his neck while climbing up and throwing himself down from the crib. He has no fear; nothing holds him back from achieving his goals.
For me as a parent, this is both awe-inspiring and terrifying all at the same time. I remind myself over and over again that his determination, strength of character, and passion will all be tools that will enable him to succeed in adulthood; that if I can teach him to channel his intensity, rather than trying to stifle it, he will soar; that these are the qualities which characterize great men and women.

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But there-in lies the rub, for it is my job to help him positively express these emotions and qualities; to help him positively channel his emotions. How can I get through to him when his anger engulfs him? How can I communicate more effectively with him, helping him understand the ‘why’ behind the consequence or decision? How can I prevent my own temper from flaring when I feel overwhelmed and grow tired of the fight? In those moments when I desperately want him to just comply, rather than question and struggle.
Perhaps the hardest thing of all about having a strong willed child is what it reveals about us, the parent. Nothing brings out your own hidden vices like a child, especially a strong willed one. There is no room for selfishness, pride, and impatience when raising children; no place to hide our secret vanities. They inevitably come out when we are tired and emotions are flying high. And our children learn far more from these outbursts and ways of dealing with stress than anything else we tell them.
And though I’ve jokingly said, “He’s either going to break or make me,” there is truth to this statement. Raising a strong willed child brings you to your knees like nothing else. In those moments when I feel at an utter loss, or worse those moments when I fail, I go to my Heavenly Father begging for his grace and wisdom. And in the process, I’m forced to battle with my own demons which prevent me from loving and disciplining my child the way he needs and deserves.

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Raising children whatever their natural disposition isn’t easy. We are all works in progress and–because of our fallen nature–we are all born with certain inclinations toward sin. Maybe it’s more obvious in your strong willed little one, but it is there in us all. And truth be told, though I have my moments of feeling defeated and overwhelmed, I wouldn’t have my headstrong boy any other way because then he wouldn’t be my boy. And though tempers can get ugly, and we have our bad days, the good far outweighs the bad. We’re helping each other get to heaven, and that’s what it’s all about.

Motherhood

What Strong Women Really Look Like

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By:  Bethany Douglas

Scrolling through Facebook last night, I came across no less than 3 picture memes that all had to do with supposedly “strong women”. These kinds of sayings have been increasing in number over the last few months- at least across my feed. And it has been equally increasing my alarm when more and more of my dear Christian sisters are reposting them.

I’m talking specifically about pictures like these that show the strongest women are those who no one knows what they’re going through, they are suffering in silence, they are fighting battles behind closed doors.

I admit, I have probably fallen prey to ‘liking’ or reposting these type of quotes in the distant past. But I am convicted that we are forwarding a fallacy… a lie of the devil.

A very clever, very understated lie- one that subtlety flatters our pride and aims to keep us sequestered from each other.

Oh my sisters! This is simply and unequivocally a lie straight from hell.

But it is a celebrated notion that we perpetuate!

Please stay with me here and let’s think this through.

First off, WHY on God’s green earth is it ever a good idea to suffer in silence? WHO among us wants to do that or enjoys it? It’s such a bizarre concept when you think about it!

WHAT is the advantage of being behind closed doors, by yourself, battling attacks alone? Have you ever heard of a single-person war? It makes no sense! More often than not, if we want to argue from the ‘battle/war’ standpoint… the army with the most people, the most practice, the latest weaponry… wins. I will put myself out there and venture that not a single battle has EVER been won by one person against many.

And yet, these quotes somehow seem to honor the women who do that.  Their very existence is an online shout-out for those who supposedly are waging behind-the-scenes war.

(Which, as an aside, I GREATLY suspect that no one actually is alone. Unless there’s someone in a far corner of the earth, void of human existence waging some battle, I seriously doubt there’s actually anyone by themselves. And at that point, they have purposefully and intentionally sequestered themselves from help and support.)

But I digress…

We women like the idea that we are invincible, able to do it all, need no one’s help- you know, the whole “I am woman hear me roar” mentality? We like these quotes that we pass along as a subtle (read: passive aggressive or helpless martyr?) message to others… “Yes, I am one of these women… I am fighting the good fight behind closed doors and in back alleys, all by myself, all alone… without a word of encouragement or support. I am strong. I am able. I am capable of doing this on my own! You have no idea what I’m going through and what I’ve done.” You get the idea…

Wow! Do you hear the pride there? Do you see the hypocrisy?

Do you recognize the scheming of the Devil in this idea?

There are 2 main issues here I want us to look at –

The first is this prideful idea that we can do it all. That we are enough.  Or at least we desperately try to convince ourselves of this. And yet scripture tells us over and over again that we can’t (and aren’t meant to!) be the end-all-be-all when things get rough. We are fallible, lacking, weak-  in short, HUMAN. And that’s OKAY! Read that again…. It is okay to be ‘not enough’. In fact, we are wasting our energy if we even try, because we will never be. It is simply not an attainable thing. We’re treading dangerously into God-held territory to think we are able.

The second is the idea that we are going through things and under attacks that no one else has ever gone through and no one can possibly understand our unique situations. Therefore we must fight it along, because “no one will understand.” Wrong again dear one! If there is anything I’ve learned through the school of hard knocks (i.e. my sin and some major warfare I’ve been a part of over the years), it is that Satan loves to try to convince us that we are unique in our sin, in our hard circumstances, in the battles waging around us. This is simply NOT true! He may be fantastic at lying, but I’ve found he’s a bit lacking in creativity. The devil is all quality and no quantity. He uses the same lies over and over again.  But they are super effective and we fall for the same ones time and time again. This lie is one of those- we’re unique in our situation… Satan THRIVES in our isolation! He will do all he can to separate us from the Body of Christ, from church, from our friends, our small group, our personal quiet times.

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book Helicopter Mom that I want to share with you. This is not intended to plug this book necessarily, but this particular section directly addresses what we’re talking about today. Clearly it is a message that God wants me to start bringing since these words were written 2 years ago now.

The chapter’s subject is about emergencies- both in the helicopter (for those that haven’t read my bio yet, which I’m very sure you all have J, I’m a flight nurse by vocation…) and in real life woman-hood.

 

Helicopter Mom

GET ON THE RADIO!

SOS, 7700, Mayday Mayday

The very last step in this whole emergency is to yell it out loud and clear. We need help and we need it stat, asap, 15 minutes ago, and right now! In helo operations, we get on the radio and start communicating with everyone. And I mean EV.VER.RY.ONE! We contact our dispatch, the aviation company dispatch, the nearest small airport frequency, the nearest big airport frequency, the nearest airport control tower, and even a general air-to-air mayday call. We bring in the cavalry!

You get the idea. We need help and we need everyone to know about it. There is no humiliation, no pride, no hesitation, no embarrassment, no stubbornness involved. We. Need. Help! We need the experts, we need air control, we need ground control, we need anybody and everybody who could possibly help us and we need them now. We need to give out as much pertinent information as possible to those who need it, as soon as possible.

Which, from a spiritual standpoint, is exactly the opposite of what Satan would like us to do. He likes to keep things in the dark, remember? He wants to keep secret fights, battles, scenarios that need spiritual reinforcements. And he will do whatever he needs to convince us that we do not need help and should not reach out. He thrives on our isolation.

So why the hesitation when we Christians face hard times? I don’t get it! This principle should apply to us in every emergency situation, should it not? The enemy will throw a million excuses at us, of every shape, color, and size, just to see what sticks: People won’t understand, they won’t care, we’re too busy, and it is too stressful to find the time to ask; the situation is too scary, too shameful, too embarrassing, too complicated. She will judge me. If I tell him this then he’ll wonder about that. They are too busy to listen to me. The church has bigger, more important things to worry about. The devil is not picky and will use whatever works, whatever you listen to that puts off calling a full-force SOS.

Too often Christians find themselves in dire straits, choppy waters, or downright F5 tornados (literally and metaphorically); too often Christians falter in asking for help when faced with these emergencies. When emergencies arise, whether it be with our kids, our spouses, our families, a friend, a church, whatever, we need support, backup, expert advice, and prayer. We need everybody who could possibly help us and we need them now. And yet so often we hesitate. We balk at giving out too much information, we stubbornly refuse help, we color at the potential shame of admitting that we even need help. Our pride will get us killed!

We moms are the worst! We have no problem anonymously trolling Internet sites about issues or seeking help, but when it comes to face-to-face interactions with others to ask for help, grieve, or get advice, we hesitate, we balk, we avoid. Especially during those dark days. Not good, gals. If we are needing emergency help, then we need emergency help, we need it now, and we cannot get it without telling others what is going on.

If you find yourself in the middle of that thing, you need help and you need it now. Call everyone you know who will pray for you, proclaim a 7700 from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your blog, your moms groups, your church, your friends, your family. Post it on flyers around town, if necessary. Get people on board, get them praying, get the help you need as soon as you need it. Do not be brave, do not be stubborn, do not be prideful. Be honest, be precise, be concise, be open, and let it all be known.

I have witnessed our battle’s devastation, bewilderment, and loss all too often. I would not wish that on anybody under any circumstances. But it happens, friends—not often, but too often. And I want us prepared for it if it does. I want us to be solidly rooted in Christ alone. I want God set as a firm foundation in our lives—starting right now, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, fully trained up, armored up, prayed up, and ears and eyes looking up—so that no time or energy is lost when those lights and alarms start blinking.

 

I hope my heart touches yours today. I am so alarmed by this culture of isolating ourselves- the very opposite of what we need to be doing… especially if we’re in the middle of a war. If you find yourself in this situation, I pray you reach out and call in reinforcements. If you are in a period of rest in your life, I pray you are keenly looking for opportunities to come alongside and be those reinforcements for your fellow sisters.

 

We are all in this life together and God has given us each other to be His hands and feet for each other- don’t miss out on the tremendous blessing that our Christian sisterhood is!

Start propagating TRUTH dear one!