Whatsoever Things Are Lovely ~ Think On These Things

Failing Student Tom

“A partially deaf boy came home from school one day carrying a note from officials at the school.  The note suggested that the parents take the boy out of school, claiming that he was ‘too stupid to learn.’

The boy’s mother read the note and said, ‘My son Tom isn’t too stupid to learn!’  I’ll teach him myself!’  And so she did.

When Tom died many years later, the people of the United States of America paid tribute to him by turning off the nation’s lights for one full minute.  You see, this Tom had invented the light bulb — and not only that, but motion pictures and the record player.  In all, he had more than one thousand patents to his credit.

No child is beyond receiving affection and growing in self-esteem.  No child is beyond experiencing the presence of Almighty God.

Never give up on any aspect of your child’s growth and development.  Your Heavenly Father hasn’t, doesn’t, and won’t.” *

Never despair of your child.  The one you weep the most for at the mercy seat may fill your heart with the sweetest joys.” 

“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing…”

~ Psalm 126:6

Albert Einstein Childhood

Thomas Edison On Failure


I Love Comments

*God’s Little Devotional Book for Moms

 

Advertisements

The Remarkable Women of the Bible ~ Chapter 8 ~ Miriam

Devoted Sister ~ Remarkable Leader

“And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.”

~ Exodus 2:4

neareastisraelmiriam

Many mothers desire to raise their children to be men and women of faith, to love their siblings, to love their fellow man.  Jochebed, the mother of Miriam had no less of a desire.  Moses was the youngest of her three children Aaron, Miriam, then Moses.  She was now faced with a terrible dilemma.  Pharaoh had ordered the newborn Hebrew male infants to be thrown into the Nile and drowned (Exodus 1:22) as we had read in Chapter 7.  No doubt Miriam helped her mother with hiding Moses for three long months.  Could you imagine, quieting a hungry, restless, or uncomfortable crying child for three months? That must have been a nerve rattling experience for them! She thought of a plan to save her son.  She made a basket of bulrushes and lined it with pitch and lay Moses in it onto the reeds of the Nile River.

Jochebed could trust Miriam, his older sister, to stand guard over the basket.  Miriam followed and watched, waiting to see what would become of her little brother.  She was a dedicated sister and a wonderful helper to her mother. At the opportune time, Pharaoh’s daughter would find Moses and have compassion on him and would take him for her own son.

miriam1

Now where do you think that Miriam developed such a strong family loyalty? She probably learned it from her wonderful mother.  Even today, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc. can also aid in the development of family loyalty and instill the values that God has designed all mothers to instill into their children by their example and by teaching them the ways of God. What are some of the ways we can teach family loyalty and kindness to members within the same family?

Daily efforts to do the following will help.

~ Teach siblings to love one another (John 15:12,17) Encourage brothers and sisters to pray for one another and to do secret acts of kindness for one another.

~ Openly express kindness and concern for others. (Proverbs 12:25) Children repeat what they hear and mimic what they see.  So be a living model of Jesus Christ, acting with kindness and compassion.

~ Express love openly.  Be affectionate and verbal.  Say “I love you” every time you say goodbye or talk on the phone to your children.

~ Cultivate strong family ties.  Develop a “three musketeers mentality” of “one for all and all for one.”  See that each family member supports and encouraged the others.

~ Pray for God’s love to be made manifest by your children.  (Galatians 5:22)

And remember, too, that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous mother avails much! (James 5:16) ] pg 90

In the Jewish culture, girls remained under their mother’s care until marriage, unlike today.  There was plenty of opportunity for their daughters to be mentored by their mother.  For approximately twelve years Jochebed brought up Miriam to possess the vital qualities of diligence, faithfulness, responsibility, and wisdom.  She mirrored her mother’s faithfulness and those “treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20) she wanted to instill in her children.  Remember in Chapter 7 we discussed how during the first three years of a child’s life, a child can imitate and develop very quickly the ways of their caregivers.  How much more would your daughter gain from your example until she weds? Even if one is in the unmarried season of life, she can learn a great deal from a Christian mentor.  Indeed, there is nowhere in scripture that tells of Miriam ever being married or having children, yet she did not fill her time with mourning but was a wonderful tool in God’s great hands.  God speaks in the New Testament of unmarried women who dedicate their lives to God:

“There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.”

~ 1 Corinthians 7:34 

Yes, if you find yourself in the season of life where singleness may be what God has given you for a time, devote your time to becoming a servant in God’s ministry, as Miriam devoted her life to her brothers Aaron and Moses and to the people of God.  Single women have more time to devote to God’s very heart, having the time and availability to do the will of our Father in heaven, visiting the fatherless and widows in their affliction, taking care of the needs of those who are hungry, discouraged, etc., women of which we are in desperate need of in the churches of God today.

woman-visiting-elderly-woman crop

Let us travel back in time again to the scene of Miriam following her little brother Moses in the basket made by her mother in the Nile’s reeds.  Yes, she displayed courage stepping forward to offer help to the princess when she found Moses in the Nile. She asked the princess if she would like her to find a nursing Hebrew woman to feed the little one, which would turn out to be Moses’ own mother!  Here she exemplified her qualities of compassion, loyalty to her family.

Because of Miriam’s quick thinking, a triple blessing was reaped by her family:

~ Moses’ life was saved.

~ Jochebed received her baby back.

~ Jochebed even received wages from the pharaoh’s daughter for nursing Moses. (vs 9)

Teaching your children love, mercy, caring, and compassion along with diligence, faithfulness, responsibility, and wisdom – the kinds of traits we see in Miriam – begin with you dear mom.  Your children will mirror your merits.  What are they seeing in you and learning from your actions?  Whatever you sow, that shall you reap. (Galatians 6:7) pgs 91-92

Miriam grew and became an even stronger woman of God, devoted to family, and also then devoted to becoming one of the three leaders of Israel, Moses, Aaron, and herself.  The Bible also speaks of Miriam being the first female prophetess and the one to lead the people in rejoicing for God’s greatness for saving their lives from Pharaoh’s army.

“And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.”

~ Exodus 15:21 

tb

From that day forth, Israel would always sing about exceptional victories because of Miriam’s example of singing praises to God for His help in times of adversity. Yes, Miriam was a natural born leader of God’s people. She was a woman who exemplified service, gratitude, a thankful heart for God’s mercy and graciousness.

“For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.”

~ Micah 6:4 

In conclusion, who was this woman Miriam? She was a devoted sister and an exceptional single woman in the hands of a mighty and gracious God.

Let our love be manifested this day, whether a diligent mother as Jochebed, teaching the ways of God to the next generation or a single woman, who in her season of life will show forth the very attributes of God’s tender love, mercy, and loyalty to His people.  Let’s move forward in any season of our life with joy and with singing, thanking Him for the glorious things He has done in our own lives!

 

To see previous chapters, see below:

Chapter 1 ~ Eve, Remarkable Creation

Chapter 2 ~ Sarah, Remarkable Faith

Chapter 3 ~ Sarah, Advanced Steps in Faith

Chapter 4 ~ Sarah, Rewards of Faith

Chapter 5 ~ Rebekah, Ready, Willing, and Able

Chapter 6 ~ Rebekah, Tests of Faith

Chapter 7 ~ Remarkable Mother

To learn the wonderful purpose of our life on earth and the promise of a time of great peace on the earth, please see our booklet What is Your Destiny.

pretty-posies-sidebar-buttoncomments3

 

Rubies ~ Are We Willing To Take The Pressure?

Virtuous Woman Proverbs 31:10

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” ~ Proverbs 31:10

At times, do trials seem to increase right before Passover season? This seems to be a constant theme for many people as this season approaches.  It would seem Satan does not appreciate this holyday, as it pictures Christ’s sacrifice, and he being defeated.  Christ now gives us the power over death, as we will be resurrected and become spirit-born children of God at His return.

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”

~ Hebrews 2:14

Hebrew scholars have correlated the New Testament Passover services with the betrothal of Christ to the church.  Satan knows this, and this season, I believe, reminds him that in the end Christ wins, we are victorious, and he is utterly defeated.   He does not want us at Christ’s wedding supper at His return.

As we see in Revelation, it speaks of Satan going after the church because Satan is angry because he has very little time left, but once again, our Savior steps in and protects His people, His bride. (Revelation 12)

What does this have to do with the Proverbs 31 woman?  The Lord says:

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

~ Proverbs 31:10

If we are striving to live the Proverbs 31 mandate, you can be sure that Satan is going to come out and try to attack those attributes to bring us down in our walk with God; but, “greater is He that is in us then he that is in the world.”

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

~ 1 John 4:4

1 John 4:4

We need to be on guard and vigilant, watching those areas with prayer and thankfulness because we have our Captain, Jesus Christ our Betrothed that goes before us.  With His help, we can look at those characteristics of the Proverbs 31 woman and strive, especially now with zeal to live them each and everyday and God will bless us and our families because of our faith and trust in Him. He has shown His faithfulness to us time and time again, and we need to remind ourselves of His constant care when trials beset us.

But what do trials have to do with rubies?

Because God compares the Proverbs 31 woman to rubies, I would like share what this precious gem has to do with some of the heavy trials we face at times in our lives and how God is forming in us beautiful spiritual qualities.

“Diamonds may get all the attention, but rubies and sapphires are the first choice of kings and the affluent because of their extreme rarity. Only special conditions, initiated by the Flood, could have produced these rare beauties.” 1

…but those little gems have had to go through a considerable amount of heat and pressure to form…then be cut and polished to appear in jewelry or be a part of Aaron’s breastplate of judgement.

“Rubies are formed beneath severe heat as well as pressure in the Earth’s crust. The elevated pressure as well as the temperature roots the elements accountable for the formation of rubies to become molten.” 1

Similarly, sometimes in our lives we feel as if we just can’t take the pressure, take the heat? There may be circumstances that are out of our control or trials that have gone on for extended periods of time.  We may become weary and burdened and wonder where God is in all of it, and perhaps even want to give up.  “Lord, it’s just not worth it,” you may ponder if the burden becomes too heavy to bear.  As stated above, rubies, like diamonds are created under intense heat and pressure deep inside the earth.  God also uses our trials to create these masterpieces, precious gems, that will eventually be mined, polished, and treasured.

If we, however, are willing to endure, to consciously make a determined effort…a choice to accept God’s sovereignty in our lives, and to lean on Him, the burden seems so much lighter and easier to bear.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations, knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

~ James 1:2-4

There have been many women in the Bible who have gone before us, determining that they were “willing” to endure, giving them a vision….that of becoming beautiful rubies. The Proverbs 31 women exhibited the Godly character traits we need to work on throughout our lives, and especially during trials if we are to be formed into this rare gem. It isn’t  easy to do, but it is necessary in the process to create  such a beautiful gem.

Proverbs 31 Woman

This we know for certain, if we allow God to manifest His workmanship in us now during this lifetime, we will used by God in His soon coming Kingdom to serve others, be a crown to our husband (Proverbs 12:4), and a blessing to our children.  (Proverbs 31:28)

Are we willing to take the pressure now?

It’s our choice.

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

1 http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v5/n2/rubies

2 http://www.ask.com/question/how-are-rubies-formed

The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 12: The Faithful Mother

Concluding the last chapter in my daughter’s book study on “The Mission of Motherhood” from Where My Treasure Is.

Mission of Motherhood

“Welcome to our last book discussion of The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity!

Thank you so much for joining me these last several months, whether you have kept up with the reading schedule, or whether you are still on Chapter 3 or whether you never had the opportunity to purchase the book but stopped by here to visit and share your thoughts on my posts.

I hope that you have been encouraged and inspired as we’ve taken a peek into one woman’s life who is passionate about the mission of motherhood. It’s easy to read about something, but an entirely different matter to implement it though, isn’t it? I’ve been inspired many times in my life by a great book or blog article or message, but have watched that inspiration fizzle quickly as soon as I turn back to deal with the more mundane aspects of my life. I sometimes struggle to keep a brightly burning vision in front of me when little ones are pulling at my legs or asking me for help with math problems or interrupting every other thought with shouts and roars and animal noises and piano scales and joyful exclamations and arguing and tears.

What’s a mom to do?

How can we make that leap from the daily grind to the worthy ideals that we hear about? Is is possible to be successful and faithful in motherhood, or is that only for those A-type, put-together ”supermoms”?

In this final chapter of the book, Sally shares with us four things that have helped her (in addition to God’s grace) to be faithful in her journey of motherhood.

An Inspiring Vision

Do you balk at the idea of vision? Having a vision is nice and all, but for now I’m just trying to get through. If you feel this way, let me encourage you that seeking out a vision is a most worthwhile use of your time. In order to be faithful, we need to know where we’re headed. We need to identify our goals and occasionally check back to see if we’re still heading in the direction of those goals.

Our vision gives us the ideal we pursue.

It defines the decisions we make, the priorities we keep. (p. 224)

Do you possess in your mind a well-defined picture of what God has designed the family to be? Sally shared her picture with us in this chapter…

tillamook

Though cultural storms attack violently each day, a solid Christian home can be a protective fortress, a haven of peace for all who live there. Those inside its walls are protected, nurtured, and nourished in body, heart, mind and soul. Such homes need a director, guardian, and caretaker, which is what God had in mind when He designed the role of mother.

Homes that are being established and protected by the mothers who have a clear vision of their God-designed role can bring refuge and life and hope to a generation of children who need to grow strong in order to be able to battle the storms they will one day face. (p. 225)

A Persevering Faith

Although a strong vision is essential to a successful mom, it isn’t always enough to keep us going through the hard times. We need a deep, unwavering commitment to stay the course. We need perseverance.

The task of stewarding children’s lives is not a short-term process. There is no quick list of rules that can be followed in one short year that will ensure success. The mission of motherhood requires grit. It requires perseverance. And that often means years of repetitious and mundane tasks, years of repeating yourself, years of wondering whether anything you do or say makes a difference. (p. 226)

We must choose to believe that God Himself will eventually reward our choices and efforts to raise a godly heritage for His glory. It is for Him and His purposed that we must endure, trusting that He who promised is faithful. Being godly parents is no guarantee that our children will choose to respond to all that we have taught them. Yet trusting God’s timing, submitting to His design, and obeying His Word are always the right biblical choices for us to make. (p. 227)

In the video that accompanies this chapter, Sally talks about how we can’t always rely on our feelings to tell us whether something is noble, or true, or good. Because sometimes motherhood doesn’t feel good. Sometimes it feels like just a big waste of time.

However, if we continue to obey God in training and teaching our children in love, and our feelings will usually follow.

A Tenacious Trust

Have you ever felt like this?

I’m making a wreck of this child. I’m failing as a parent. What if my child never outgrows this selfishness? Why am I spending all this time on something that may make no difference at all?

I know that I have!

In those times, I’ve found only one thing to be truly effective – To keep trusting the Master and Lord of my life. He shows us the ways to love, to serve, to discipline, to teach – if we will only trust in His methods.

The Lord would encourage me to trust Him, to wait on Him and give Him time to work, to hold on to His promises, to not compromise my convictions, and most important, to persist in my love and my prayers for the little ones He entrusted to my care. (p. 228)

A Little Perspective

Even with a vision in my heart, a persevering spirit and a strong trust in my heavenly Father, I can still benefit from taking a step back to gain perspective. I truly believe that there is nothing like being a stay at home mom with little children to create tunnel vision! Sally gives us some things to consider as we try to keep the proper perspective on our mothering as the days fly by…

  • Keep a sense of humor- One of the things that I’ve most had to learn since becoming a mom is how to laugh at my shortcomings and how to find humor in everyday situations. My husband has been a great help to me as I learn to laugh when less-than-ideal things happen throughout the day (which is quite often when you have young children!)
  • Enlist allies – Although sometimes it seems near impossible sometimes for me to carve out any time for spending time with other women, I am always glad that I did. Just sharing our days with one another, even if we don’t have any solutions to offer, helps me to realize that life isn’t that bad, and that there are certain things that all moms struggle with.
  • Seek advice of older women – I see a tendency for young moms today (myself included) to want to figure everything out for ourselves. We meticulously research every tiny decision regarding our babies, even though we may have an older, experience woman in our life who is willing to offer ideas. We may dismiss the advice of others thinking that the older generation just doesn’t understand how things are these days. We might be wise to have a humble attitude and take into consideration what a more experienced person is willing to share with us.
  • Look out for our basic needs – One of the hardest lessons for me to learn as a mom has been to carve out some kind of respite for myself, whether it is physical, mental or spiritual. I shared the lessons I’ve learned in this post written earlier this year: Oh yeah… I’m still a person!

It Is For The Children’s Sake That We Give Our Lives

I’m so proud of each of you for investing the time to seriously consider this noble task to which you have been called. May God be with you as you continue on your journey!

“We are protecting future generations that they might be strong for the battle of life.
We are the real, in-the-flesh, tangible picture of God’s loving hands,
strong arms of protection, and encouraging words of hope to our children.”

Oct 30 064

Additional Resources to Encourage You In Your Mission of Motherhood

Mothering Monday series (My blog articles specifically for moms!)

The Mission of Motherhood Book Club posts

Sally Clarkson’s Mission of Motherhood videos

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe Book Club posts

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

Our lives are important to God and He has a plan for each and everyone of us, to become literal sons and daughters in His family.  He gives us of His very own spirit, so we can be grow up with His characteristics, one being that of self-control.

To find out more of God’s purpose for you, please send for our booklet“What is Your Destiny?” or click below to read it in a pdf format.

What is Your Destiny?

The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 11: The Ministering Mother

Continuing with my daughter’s book study on “The Mission of Motherhood” from Where My Treasure Is.

Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkston

“Welcome back to our book discussion of The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for EternityWe are nearing the end of this jam-packed book. I hope that you have been inspired  over the last several months to take seriously your very important role as mother. This week’s topic is one that has been on my mind a lot lately, so I’m excited to share my thoughts and hear yours as well. Let’s get started with Chapter 11…

serving others

One of the fundamental messages of the Bible is that all of us who belong to Christ are expected to extend His love to and to meet the needs of other believers and those in our community. We have a stewardship responsibility for which we will have to answer to God someday, giving account of the ways we have served him by reaching out in love to others. (p. 201)

Then the King will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat;
I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink;
I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;
naked, and you clothed Me;
I was sick, and you visited Me;
I was in prison, and you came to Me…

Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine,
even the least of them, you did it to me.”

Matthew 25:34-36, 40

The scriptures above weighed heavily on my mind throughout the years of young motherhood. Up until very recently, I was nagged by the feeling that I wasn’t doing “enough”. I wanted to serve others outside of my own home so badly, but I felt somewhat constrained living out in the country with a brood of young ones.

I began to wonder, “Is there any way for me to make a difference in the world?”. Of course, I believe that mothers already have the awesome opportunity to make a difference in the world by raising God-fearing children.

But I always wanted to do more. I’ve always had heart for serving others, which was strongly impressed upon me by my own mom. Since first becoming a mother myself, I’ve had a strong desire to provide a model for serving to my own children. Over the years, I stored up ideas in my head of ways my little family would serve our community – volunteering at homeless shelters, putting on charity concerts, making visits to local nursing homes, participating in an adopt-a-highway program, etc. The problem is that when you show up to volunteer with 5 kids (10 and under) people generally assume that you will contribute more disturbance and trouble than actual hard work.

After several years of mostly fruitless attempts on my own part to come up with service projects, I decided to stop worrying so much about it and try a different tactic – putting it into God’s hands. I prayed for Him to show me where He wanted me to use my “hands and feet” rather than where thought I should use them. I purposed to keep my eyes and ears open for the opportunities that I hoped He would send.

And they came!

I found that they were not always grand, Facebook-worthy acts of service, however.

Sometimes, I when I heard of a need, I thought to myself, But that doesn’t really work into our schedule this week or That person? She is kind of grouchy though, God. She probably won’t even thank us for our service! I had to ask myself if I had actually been serious when I asked God for those service opportunities! I came to the conclusion that I’d better respond to them to the best of my ability since I had asked for them in the first place.

An amazing thing happened. The more I responded, the more opportunities He sent my way.

Service to others in need is an essential part of training and instructing our children in order to cultivate in them a loving and obedient heart. Serving others is a way to live out what the Bible would have us believe in our hearts. It puts feet to the message of the gospel. (p. 200)

In this week’s chapter, Sally reminds us that service isn’t just for the “professionals”. After all, Jesus chose common, ordinary men to do the work of God’s kingdom:

Spiritual qualifications in the mind of Christ are not determined by the degrees a person has earned at a university or a professional resume but by the anointing of His Spirit and by a willingness to serve in obedience to God’s commands. (p. 203)

As God brought to my attention small opportunities in which my children and I could serve from right where we are, I’ve learned an important lesson.

Service doesn’t always fit into tidy packages.
Being an effective worker for Christ means that we are “ready responders”.

Teaching and training my children to reach out in service isn’t all about the cool service projects I can come up with. Rather, it’s helping them to be quick respond to the needs of the people around us. And in order for us to respond, we need to be aware.

Jesus was going about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. And seeing the multitudes, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and downcast like sheep without a shepherd. – Matthew 9:35-36

Sally says:

This passage tells me that children must learn to see people as Jesus did and feel as He felt. Instead of seeing the multitude and seeing them with disdain and scorn – or as an overwhelming drain on His time – Jesus felt compassion for them. He saw the crowds as they really were. He saw their need for leadership, protection, healing, and nurture, and He responded by reaching out to them in love and by doing what He could. This is the way we need to teach our children to serve. They need to see as Jesus saw and then reach out to others in compassion, as He did. (p. 206)

So, while grand ideas for service projects are wonderful, too, let’s be careful to not discount the small, ordinary ways that we can serve as a family each and every day.

Sharing our faith is often as simple as loving others
and gently showing them the source of our love, the Lord Jesus.

(p. 208)

A few ideas…

The ways in which we can reach out to our community are so wonderfully varied. There are so many needs just waiting to be filled by ready responders. I offer below some of the ways I’ve found that my children and I can serve right where we are with the ages we have in our home at this time. As they grow, the sphere and scope of our service will no doubt change, but I hope that our hearts will continue to be the same “ready responders”!

IMG_0740

Make freezer meals in advance – While we’re doing our regular cooking, we can make extra, smaller portions and package them away in the freezer. That way, when we hear about someone in need, I can quickly pull something out for them and my children can make a card of encouragement to tuck in with the meal.

Visit someone who is lonely – In a society that is flooded with social media, it seems unthinkable that anyone could actually be lonely, but there are actually people who are not connected by technology and consequently, feel very out of touch with the rest of the world. For someone to actually step away from their busy schedule to make a visit can be a wonderful blessing to those people.

Be available – I’ve found that a simple way to serve is to not fill my schedule so chock full that I am not available if a friend needs to talk. People’s problems rarely come on a convenient time schedule. Being willing to get together on short notice to talk to a discouraged friend is a very simple way to serve.

Grow in hospitality – One of my goals for 2013 was to develop a heart for hospitality. Hospitality is more than just “entertaining”. It involves much more than well-orchestrated party plans and Pinterest-worthy decorations. It involves opening our home to people who are lonely or never get invited anywhere, not just our friends and family. It is a wonderful time to teach our children how to anticipate the needs of others and to fill those needs – offering to carry something in for the guests, taking their coats, offering them something to drink, thinking of interesting questions to ask guests, finding out what the visiting children like to play and doing what they want to do, etc.

Give so they can give – Giving children an allowance of some kind can help them be more sensitive to the needs of people around them. We’ve found that when our children are given some money of their own, their eyes and ears are more open to people and ministries that they can support. We have been sponsoring a child through Compassion International for several years now, which has made a big impact on our children. They hear about needs during church announcements or about needs of local charities and ask for a shopping trip to buy some small things to contribute.

Teach children to work – Training children to work in the home has blessings that are more far-reaching than a clean house! I’ve found that because my children have been taught to work hard at home, they can actually be a blessing to others. When we have been presented with opportunities to help clean someone’s home or do other physical work, my children are capable to vacuum, dust, do dishes, clean bathrooms and organize because they’re accustomed to it at home. When we visit others’ homes, they are comfortable helping out in the kitchen. We try to help clean up before we leave someone’s home.

Eyes Wide Open – I encourage my children to keep our eyes open wherever we go to see if we can spot an unfilled need. One simple thing that I always have my children do is pick up the trash at the playground we’re at for the day. Oftentimes, the small playgrounds we visit have been visited by local teenagers the night before. Dan and I invite our children to join us for a quick pick-up before we leave the park so that the next person can enjoy it more. It’s not as fancy as an adopt-a-highway program (we don’t get our name on a sign!) but it is just as effective at training the heart of a ready responder. Our next venture is to make up a few of these blessing bags to keep in our van for our winter travels.

the unnoticed

Now it’s your turn!

I’d love to hear about some of the ways – big or small – that you and your children have found to serve those around you. As always, you are also welcome to share a favorite quote or your answer to one of the study questions from this week’s chapter, too!

Our last book discussion will be next Monday, January 13, 2014, when we will be discussion Chapter 12: The Faithful Mother.

To view all posts in this book study, click HERE.

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

Our lives are important to God and He has a plan for each and everyone of us, to become literal sons and daughters in His family.  He gives us of His very own spirit, so we can be grow up with His characteristics, one being that of self-control.

To find out more of God’s purpose for you, please send for our booklet“What is Your Destiny?” or click below to read it in a pdf format.

What is Your Destiny?

The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 9: Keeper of the Domain

I’m sorry. I seem to have forgotten the preceding chapter with so much activity during the month of December. 😉 So here is Chapter 9 of my daughter’s Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkston book study:

Keeper Of The Doman

I’d like you to think about the most memorable home you’ve ever set foot in – a home in which you felt welcome and comfortable. {Do you have one in mind yet?}

Do you remember what stood out to you the most about the home?

Was it a brightly burning candle welcoming you in out of the dark? The wonderful smells from the kitchen?

Perhaps it was something more personal, like a welcoming smile and hug, or a warm drink waiting for you as you stamped the snow off your boots.

No matter what it was that made you feel welcome, your hostess no doubt made an intentional choice to make you feel that way, and that choice took a certain level of commitment on her part.

However, being a “keeper of the domain” goes beyond merely being a good hostess:

It is a commitment of the heart, mind and soul to the task of subduing (making productive) a very specific part of the earth – the domain of the home. It involves teaching minds and nurturing hearts and shaping souls, in addition to getting the rugs vacuumed and dinner on the table! (p. 163)

When you and I make a commitment to be “keepers of our domains”, we can be sure that it will make a huge difference in the lives of our families.

The task of building our homes into places of beauty and life that will feed the hearts, souls, and minds of our children is the most comprehensive task to which God has called us as mother. We are called to quite literally be “home makers” – to plan and shape a home environment that provides our families with both a safe resting place and a launching pad for everything they do in the world. (p. 161)

If we want to be successful in our commitment, we need to have vision. Do you feel as though you have a vision for your domain? I’m not really sure that I thought much about mine before reading this chapter. Here is Sally’s vision:

Sally Clarkston Quote

What I think it so awesome is that it really doesn’t matter one bit what type of domain we are the keepers of. Whether we live on a sprawling horse ranch or small 2-bedroom apartment in the city, each type of home, with a little work and planning, can become an environment of beauty, warmth and comfort. Each of us can work toward creating a nurturing environment in whatever type of home we have.

 

Iliana served up a smile along with the shortbread cookies she made for our tea yesterday

In this chapter, Sally shares several ways she has tried to achieve this in her own home. They include things like

  • Arranging furniture in way that is conducive to your family gathering for conversation
  • Acquiring the largest table you can to welcome guests into the home
  • Carving out personal space for each member of the family, even if it’s just one shelf in each child’s room for their own treasures
  • Personalizing your home with things that reflect your values, tastes and preferences
  • She shares many more ideas for creating a nurturing enviroment in part 2 of her video for this chapter

It’s important for us to remember, however, that no matter how creative or skilled we are, that the ultimate key to success in creating a nurturing environment is you – the mom!

Although our physical surroundings can make a big difference, what my children and husband need the most from me is not a perfect home or perfect training or a perfectly spiritual role model or a wife without faults – but a mother and wife who is committed to doing whatever it takes to love them and make a home for them.

My attitude is ultimately what makes our house a peaceful haven.

 

The remainder of chapter 9 focuses on practical ideas for helping us keep “a {somewhat} organized home”.

Effective home management is an important part of making a home into a nurturing environment.

Coming up with a plan for subduing the messy details of our domain is essential to maintaining a peaceful atmosphere, teaching children to take care of themselves, and simply keeping the work from overwhelming everyone. (p. 167)

I love how Sally shared her view that home management is first and foremost a stress-reduction system to make life easier and more peaceful for the family – not something we do to live up to some external value system!

It’s easy to get discouraged or covetous when we look over the fence and see another mom with a “perfect” home management system. While it’s great to get ideas from other people if we’re struggling in this area, we need to keep in mind that there is a wide variety of personalities and preferences in the world. What’s important is that we find the combination of routines and systems that suit our lifestyle and then follow through with it!

"She looks well to the ways of her household." ~ Proverbs 31:27

The jam-packed chapter ends with this encouragement~

No matter how much effort and work we put into subduing the domain of the home, chances are, most of it will go unappreciated. Children who live in a stable, well-managed home tend to take that stability for granted. Yet children who have such a “shepherd” in their homes to oversee, provide for, direct, and protect the life of the home will benefit profoundly.

The strong and secure future we help to build for our children is laid by the hundreds of small deeds we do every day as we serve faithfully in our homes. Yet, the great value of our service will be felt for generations to come and throughout eternity.

Now it’s your turn!

Please share one of the things you most enjoy doing as part of your role as keeper of the domain!

{Of course, you are also welcome to share a favorite quote or your answer to one of the study questions from this week’s chapter, too.}

I’m thankful for each and every one of you who are reading and studying along with me. I pray for you individually and hope that you are finding encouragement and inspiration from our study week to week.

We will continue our study next Monday, December 23rd, with Chapter 10: The Creative Mother

To view all posts in this book study, click HERE.

Be sure to check out Sally’s videos for this chapter if you feel like you are not naturally good at being a keeper of your domain. She is so encouraging! (Videos: Part 1Part 2)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mission of Motherhood

P.S. I love to write about topics relating to keeping the home! Here are a few posts I’ve written in years past that you may want to save to read later on:

Adding Warmth and Light

Sacrifice in the Mundane

The Comforts of Home

Winter Days on the Farm

Mothering Monday: Guarding Our Time

Taming the Beast of Housework

Chores for Children

I Love Comments

The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 10: The Creative Mother

Winter Ice Beauty
Continuing with my daughter’s book study on “The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkston” from Where My Treasure Is at WordPress…..

Yesterday morning, we awoke to a ice-laden wonderland. As I shuffled into the warmly lit living room and gazed out upon the perfect stillness of the crystalline world, the first word that escaped my lips was  ”Woooooow!”

Each of my children, in turn, gasped as they descended the stairs for breakfast and saw the branches bending down heavy on the deck.

Winter Ice Beauty

We spent a long while enjoying our breakfast and discussing the amazing view. Abigail begged for a delay in the morning chores so that she and Iliana could rush outside and capture it before it all melted away.

A bit later, bundled up tight, the two of them slipped off and away through the crunchy land of wonder, breathing little clouds and breathing in the beauty…

Winter Ice Beauty

“Beauty is not just something frivolous;
it is essential to the foundation of our lives.”

In this week’s chapter, Sally shares that one of the best ways that we can appeal to the yearnings for beauty and wonder that God has already placed in our children’s hearts is to expose them to the many facets of God’s artistry as expressed in what He made.

Our children are not just brains that need to be developed academically or trained to think right thoughts. Our children were designed by God to receive pleasure through their senses, their hearts, and their minds, because of all the wonderful things He made for us to enjoy – and also to come to know their Creator through the works of His hands. (p. 182)

To me, introducing our children to God by way of His creation is one of the most joyful parts of mothering!

It is also one of the greatest gifts we can give them.

Winter Ice Beauty

However, helping my children to enjoy and appreciate God’s handiwork in its many varieties requires a choice.

In the modern world that we live in, it is so easy to substitute virtual reality for actual reality – so very easy. We convince ourselves that a quality nature show is as just as good as going outside. That a sensory table filled with a gooey (and sanitary) substances is equivalent to actually playing in the rain and mud. That a virtual pet is just as fun as touching a real, live animal. But by making these “easier” choices, we often don’t realize all that we are choosing to give up. The farther we move from nature the more out of touch we can get with God’s power and reality.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

~ Psalm 8: 3-4 ~

Many children are rarely exposed to the natural elements that were meant to daily confront our soul with the greatness of God. What can be done for these children? Well, there are many great ideas in this chapter of ways to incorporate God’s creation into everyday life. I don’t want to repeat all of her ideas here, but I will share a few of mine that I’ve incorporated into my children’s lives…

1. Experiencing God’s creation through our senses

Eating in Season 
A Simple Summer Supper
Tea with jam and bread
Adding Warmth and Light

2. Experiencing God’s creation through words and ideas

Education is a Life

3. Experiencing God’s creation through the natural world

Our family’s nature studies on:
Winter
Birds
Reptiles
Amphibians
Trees
Human Body

Education in Our Home Series: Science

A New View (a spring walk)
Winter Walk
Winter Morning
The wonder of it

Three Things To Give Kids Every Day This Summer

 Any encounter with God’s outdoors can make a difference. Over the long haul, the more time our children spend in natural settings, both wild and tame, the more deeply they will realize the magnificent message of Jeremiah 32:17:

“Ah Lord GOD! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee!” (p. 188)

Winter Ice Beauty

Filling our homes

Another way that we can help to keep our children’s minds focused on God’s creativity is the way in which we arrange our home environment.

Sally says:

From the time they were very small, I have filled our home with items that appealed to their senses and fed their understanding of God’s beauty and their appreciation of human creativity. (p. 188)

Every woman’s ideas will be different (that’s the beauty of the creative mother!) ~ but each of us can find ways to fill our homes with beauty and inspiration no matter the size of our budget.

In my home, I always try to have fresh flowers on the table throughout the growing season. When the flowers are gone, I decorate with ivy , pinecones and other things we can find around the property. I seek out oversized art books of beautiful paintings for my children to browse through. I intentionally fill our home library with books about God’s creation so that my children can study deeper into the things they find outside.

As a completely NON arts and crafts-type person, it’s been encouraging for me to realize over the past few years that being creative in God’s image encompasses a wide range of activities – from storytelling to house construction to baking to music to crafts to problem solving!

All of the beautiful things that we can fill our homes with to look at, touch, smell and taste were created by God for us to experience so that we could enjoy life more fully. However, He did not intend for these things to bring us fulfillment in and of themselves, but to point beyond the things to the Artist Himself –  to affirm His magnificence, His power and His kindness and generosity in making our lives so full.

He gave us a richly created world to help us know Him better!

Encouraging a creative response

We must remember that being made in God’s image means we are like Him – each of us – including our children! If He is creative, then we also have that potential – all of us!

We can encourage our children’s responses to God’s creation by filling our home with tools and materials for their own creative endeavors. Boxes of art supplies – stickers, paints, crayons, colored pencils, stencils and lots of scrap paper, dress-up clothes from the thrift store, how-to books on drawing, crafts and other hobbies, garden tools and seeds – the list is almost endless! If we are on a budget, a little creativity on our part will make it possible to acquire tools for our children – books from the library, art supplies from garage sales, buying secondhand tools.

An important part of fostering creativity in our children is to model it ourselves in everyday life. We can make small choices everyday to involve our children in what it is that we enjoy doing, whether it’s baking, gardening, photography, web design or any other creative endeavor. One of the things I’ve enjoyed teaching my children to do is to create handmade cards.

When our children practice creating, they begin understanding the Creator God, who is the original Artist!

Winter Ice Beauty

Does it all sound too simple?

Go outside

Bring it inside

Practice creativity

After reading this chapter, did you feel like saying…

OK, Sally, that’s all well and good for you and your {perfect} family, but we live in the REAL WORLD here, not out in Grizzly Adams-Little House on the Prairie-Treehugger Land! My kids are more interested in Minecraft than monarch butterflies, Angry Birds than awesome sunsets, Instagram than an interesting walk in the woods and Big Time Rush than rushing outside to play!

The kind of life you’re talking about is just not reality anymore.

Winter Ice Beauty

Regardless of our family’s lifestyle choices, we all need to ask ourselves this question…

Has God’s magnificence changed over time?

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

~ Psalm 19:1 ~

Does His creation give Him any less glory in our modern, technological age? Has the creativity of the top developers at Apple® finally surpassed His old, worn-out wonders? Have Hollywood’s CGI technicians found a way to outshine the breathtaking view of the heavens at night?

In the book of Job, God takes to answering Job’s questions with questions of His own – questions all about the things He has created.

Who is this that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who set its measurements, since you know?…

Or who enclosed the sea with doors,
When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;
when I made a cloud its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band?

Have you entered the treasury of snow,
or have you seen the treasury of hail?

Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you set their dominion oer the earth?

Job 38: 2-5, 8-9, 22, 33

We and our children need Job’s message, today as much as ever before. There is something about the direct experience of God’s natural world that tends to put our human doubts and questions into perspective. (p. 186)

When we invite our children to explore and marvel in God’s creation alongside us,
we learn that His perspective and wisdom and purposes
are vastly different from our human, limited viewpoint.

 Winter Ice Beauty

A lifelong habit

One of my main goals of mothering is to touch my children’s hearts with the overwhelming wonder of God’s presence.

But it will not happen overnight.

Cultivating an appreciation of God’s creation and the “in his image” creativity of our families is a lifelong habit. It takes years to develop and it is built by the ways we choose to live each day. (p. 195)

As mothers, we have an awesome opportunity to draw our children closer to God. We can make small choices in how our young children spend their days. We can invite our teens to take a walk with us or plan a family trip to an exciting new place, full of God’s creation. Any small thing that we can do to get out into God’s creation or bring it into our homes will be worthwhile and have a lasting impact in the lives of our children!

A big thank you to Abigail (my granddaughter) who braved the cold and took all of the photographs in this post!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mission of Motherhood

Now it’s your turn!

Let’s discuss some different ways we can bring our children into contact with God’s magnificent creation! What does your family enjoy doing that involves nature?

As always, you are also welcome to share a favorite quote or your answer to one of the study questions from this week’s chapter, too!

Our next discussion will be in two weeks, on January 6, 2014, when we will be discussion Chapter 11: The Ministering Mother.

To view all posts in this book study, click HERE.

Share this:

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 8: Gardener of Souls

Mission of Motherhood


Continuing with my daughter’s book study on Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkston:

“I’m so glad that you’ve joined me today. Let’s get started!

Our study this week builds upon last week’s topic of being a “Strong Friend” to our children. Once we have formed close relationships with our children, we then have the opportunity to positively influence their lives. We can do this in either intentional or unintentional ways. In this chapter, Sally gives us some areas to think about if we want to be intentional in cultivating our “garden of children”.

Cultivating Our Garden of Children

I love Sally’s analogy of mother as cultivator.

Children do not accidentally become mature adults of strong character, great faith, gracious relational skills, effective leadership qualities, and sharp intellects. God’s design includes the presence of a hands-on gardener, a mother, to tend and cultivate their hearts, souls, minds and relationships. As a garden cannot flourish without a gardener, neither can a child reach his or her potential without someone committed to careful cultivation. Just as a garden without a gardener will eventually go to seed and be covered over with weeds and debris, a child whose growth is unsupervised or left to chance will likely grow wild and undisciplined or stunted and unfruitful.

Seeing myself as a gardener is helpful to me as I think of my mission as a mother. After all, I want more for my children than just getting them to adulthood. I want them to thrive. I want them to grow up confident and civilized. I want them prepared to live as abundantly as possible. In order for that to happen, I need to do a little intentional “gardening”. (p. 142)

Mission of Motherhood

Truly, each child we are blessed with in our family is unique with God-given personality traits, strengths and weaknesses. We don’t choose those things, but it is our privilege to work with what is there and help bring it to its potential.

Cultivating our children’s lives should never stem from pretentiousness. We shouldn’t try to “make” them into something that WE want them to be so that we can show them off. Instead, we should, to the best of our ability, equip our children to interact well with others and make a difference in the world once they leave our homes.

Here are four areas for us to consider as we think about cultivating our children’s lives:

Cultivating Real Skills

Helping our children to develop skills that will serve them the rest of their lives has always seemed important to [Clay and me]. Having observed people in many different settings, we realized that those who felt competent in at least one or two areas seemed to have an edge in life. The confidence they gained from knowing what to do in one area carried over into other areas, including the ability to reach out and serve others. Having observed this, we were determined to give our children this kind of confidence by providing sufficient instruction and practice for them to perform certain tasks well. (p. 143)

Like Sally and her husband, Dan and I try to incorporate real skills into the daily activity of our home. For our family, this was one of two primary reasons we pursued living on acreage in the country. Living on a farm provides many “built-in” opportunities for learning skills together. We have seen our children grow in confidence as they learn to many things from stacking firewood to making salsa to feeding baby animals to tending sick livestock.

Mission of Motherhood

Dan teaches Abigail how to make salsa

What the skills are isn’t really all that significant and will vary from family to family. After all, not everyone lives on a farm! 🙂 Skills can be practical things like knowing how to balance a bank account, mow the lawn, bake bread or organize a home or things like taking photographs, playing a musical instrument or knitting blankets.

The common denominator in all of the above skills is that they are useful for real life or useful to serve others. This is a subtle, but yet an important distinction to consider when we are choosing activities for our children. Are the skills that we invest most of our family’s time, money and energy into ones that our children can use later in life?

Helping With Chores

Jonathan learns how to stack firewood properly

There are several very significant things that are accomplished when we make learning skills a priority in our homes:

Providing our children with real skills not only expands their interests and gives them confidence, but it also provides them with constructive ways to use their free time. Teaching skills (or learning them together!) has the added advantage of teaching them how to learn. that is, when we help our children acquire special skills, we are also preparing them mentally for acquiring additional skills on their own. As a bonus, developing skills together helps solidify family relationships. (p. 143)

Cultivating Appropriate Life Experiences

Exposing children to many different life experiences – within the context of family relationships and parental teaching – is essential to broadening their understanding, their interests, and their compassion. If we want to train our children to help bring God’s kingdom into the world, we need to prepare them by letting them come along with us as we reach out to others. (p. 146)

Secular education prides itself on providing these types of experiences to children. They promote “tolerance” of every belief and try to enrich children’s lives with stories and videos about different cultures. The difference between these types of artificially constructed experiences and actual life experiences that you share with your children is this – when you are the one providing these experiences, you can pass on your view about the world and how you can show hands-on just how you hope your children will respond to the people in it.

Part of cultivating our children’s life experience is helping them to understand that not everyone lives the same way that we do. Exposing children to different cultures, living conditions, worldviews and opinions should be done in a careful way, but it should definitely not be neglected.

Taking children different places to meet different types of people does not have to be expensive. While some families have been blessed financially and can afford long trips, others can only stay near home. But once your eyes are open to local and inexpensive opportunities, you will be amazed at the things you can find right in your own neighborhood to help your children grow in their understanding of the world. Some ideas include visiting your local historical museum, serving as volunteers at a local nursing home, visiting a local (free) nature center, attending local school productions of plays and musicals or being involved in 4-H.

4H Fair

Visiting our local science museum and reading about the evolution of the mastadon

I often talk to other parents who take this point to an extreme, though. They are very concerned about providing their children with “quality life experiences”, such as expensive trips, inclusion in all the “right” clubs/groups, summer camp, sleepovers, a jam-packed activity schedule, etc. But sometimes these pursuits can be to the detriment of family unity or push aside other important things like Biblical training. Offering life experience does not necessarily equate to helping out children check items off their ”bucket lists” – rather, it is a way of living life in which we keep our eyes open to the things and people around us and learn how to fully interact with life!

New Experiences

After reading many books about boats, my children were excited to try a rowboat for the first time and learn about working with or against a current.

Cultivating Manners and Graciousness

Sally says:

I am convinced that mothers have a lot to do with the manners of their children. And yes, I am really talking about yet another set of real-life skills. No child I know is naturally polite and thankful and prone to take the initiative. No child instinctively knows what to do in a social setting. And yet a child who doesn’t know how to act with others will suffer socially the rest of his or her life! Job interviews, professional interactions, marriage and family relationships, and friendships are all enhanced by politeness and graciousness or suffer because of thoughtlessness or rudeness.

Cultivating our children’s manners and gracious attitudes not only makes them more pleasant to live with, but it also helps give our children a platform of confidence on which to build their future lives. (p. 149)

There are many ways to train our children in graciousness, and most of them are very small things – writing a thank you note after receiving a gift, welcoming visitors into our home with a smile and an offer to carry their things inside, volunteering to hold someone’s baby when you can tell they need a break – even just smiling and looking at people’s faces when they’re speaking!

This is one of the areas of raising children that is very easy to overlook, but also very easy to incorporate into their training – if we ourselves have a servant’s heart. {Related posts: Teaching Respect for the ElderlyRaising Children Who Serve}

Serving The Elderly

My children making new friends with some of the elderly brethren in a new church area.

Cultivating Appetites for Excellence

Is exposing our children to ”the finest” art, music and literature really necessary for them to have fulfilling lives? You may argue that it is not…and you may be right.

However…

Making an intentional effort to come alongside our children and help them to develop tastes and appetites that are edifying, uplifting and God-honoring is a worthy use of our time, because there is so much mediajunk out there waiting to be consumed. I think that sometimes parents let children decide for themselves at too young an age what is appropriate and what isn’t, stating that a young child’s “personal preference” must be taken into account. But how do young children know what is high quality unless they are exposed to it? How do their minds learn to stretch and grow unless they are challenged beyond what “everyone” is listening to?

You may think of “the arts” as either high-browed and stuffy or something that requires large amounts of money to participate in. This is simply not true. There are ways to help develop children’s appetites for “good things” that are neither expensive or pretentious.

Music:

Many towns and cities offer free outdoor concerts in the summer that showcase a wide variety of music. Local high school concerts are usually free. If you are blessed to live near a university, you have access to many amazing free concerts! Our local civic orchestra offers special concerts for students at a steeply discounted price.

A few members of our local homeschool group attended this concert last month. (Photo courtesy of Diana W.)

Art:

Local art shows or craft fairs are usually free to attend and can give children the inspiration to get involved in art. Again, local community colleges and universities often have student work on display for free. Large-format art books can be borrowed from the library, displayed at home and enjoyed – all for free!

Literature:

Helping children develop a love of great literature does not need to cost anything except time. It takes times to research good books and it takes time to read to our children. Building a home library of quality books does not need to cost a great deal of money, either, but it can make an enormous difference in our children’s lives.

But what if you did not grow up with a wide range of experiences yourself and don’t know what is actually “good”? Well, you could look on the bright side and realize how blessed you are to have the opportunity to learn right along with your children and share in the excitement of new things!

Sally says:

As we practice nurturing their minds, the natural result is that our own tastes are refined as well. Exploring the worlds of literature, art, and music with my children – and doing the research to discover what to explore with them – has certainly broadened my education in these areas, and I have relished the chance to learn along with them. (p. 153)

I was raised in a very musical family. However, I had less exposure to art, poetry and great literature, so I’ve had to learn about these things along with my children. It has been an exciting journey! I’ve shared some of our beginning discoveries as we’ve delved into these areas in these blog posts: musicartpoetryand literature. They may give you some ideas to get started with as well!

Remember…

The way you tend your children’s lives will depend on your particular interests, skills, and convictions – as well as on the needs and personalities of each child. The overall benefit of your intentional “gardening” is that your children will blossom in mind, heart and soul because you took the time not only to love and protect them but to cultivate their skills, experiences, relationships and appetites.

Rose

“Blessed are the children whose mothers garden in the soil of their souls. The fruit they bear will not only serve them in the future, but a whole generation will be beautified and enriched!” – Sally Clarkson

Now it’s your turn!

I’d love to hear about something that you and your husband have chosen to cultivate in your children – a skill that you are teachingan experience that you’ve intentionally carved out for them or a habit in manners that you are working on. You are also welcome to share a favorite quote or your answer to one of the study questions from this week’s chapter, too.

Thank you for being here today! We will continue our study next Monday, December 16th, with Chapter 9: Keeper of the Domain.

To view all posts in this book study, click HERE.


Related

“The Mission of Motherhood” Discussion Group Kick-off!
In “Mission of Motherhood Book Club”

The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 5: The Discipling Mother
In “Mission of Motherhood Book Club”

Mothering Monday: You’re a barometer! (Plus, a new book club)
In “Mother Life”

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 7: Strong Friend

Mission of Motherhood

Welcome back to my daughter’s book study post on chapter 7 of “The  Mission of Motherhood.” by Sally Clarkston. 🙂

“How am I supposed to do it, Dan?

I gave my husband a pleading look as I stood near the stove top, browning yet another skillet of ground beef for the freezer meals I was preparing.

Please tell me how I can find joy in my work today!

I had been gazing dismally at the hours of the day that stretched out before me that would involve large amounts of cooking, mountains of laundry, grocery shopping, giving piano lessons to 3 children and other menial tasks. I just wanted to go back to bed.

It would be different if the work I was doing was actually accomplishing something, I went on. But every single thing on my ”to-do” list today is something that I’m going to have to do again. I will wash all of these same clothes next weekend. These meals that I’m making will be consumed and I will have to cook more of them. I will drive to the same grocery store and push the same cart and buy the same groceries again and again. My work is not like creating a beautiful quilt or an orchestral symphony – something that has a finite ending and that can be admired and appreciated. It never ends!

He looked at me for a minute and smiled.

The children are your quilt!

The work that you are doing with them will last much longer than any old quilt. You are teaching them things that they can pass on to their children and their children beyond. A quilt can’t do that!

I let his words sink in during the long hours of the day.

As I worked my way through the day, I made an extra effort to smile at the children when our paths crossed. We had a few tasks to do together, such as folding the laundry, but for most of the day, they were thoroughly engrossed in something in our landing upstairs, out of my view. When I returned from grocery shopping in the late afternoon, they were beside themselves with excitement to show me the “houses” they had made.

I really had no idea what they had been up to all day, but as I rounded the corner of the foyer and looked up, I got the idea real quick.

Whatever it was, it was going to be an ENORMOUS mess!

I had a split second to make a decision.

Would I be a friend and share in my children’s excitement? Or would I trample on it?

Wow! You sure worked hard on your houses! I can’t wait to see inside them!

The various houses boasted different amenities – a root cellar, a baby’s nursery, a nice sitting room, roomy bookshelves. Many homes had their own sources of light (from a nightlight or flashlight) and most of them had a cozy bed.

But every single little “house” had one thing in common – a smiling, excited face inviting me in for a visit. Each child was proud of the hard work they put into “building” their houses and they were so pleased that I took the time to admire them (even Emma!)

Later on that evening, after the mess town had been cleaned up and put away (by the children), I thought back to my own childhood and all the forts and houses my siblings and I built. I know how stressed out I would have been if my mom had constantly sighed and griped about the messes we were making or if she was resentful about our child-likeness and messy creativity.

Even though taking a few minutes to admire my children’s blanket houses seemed insignificant to my adult sensibilities, I could tell that it really made each of my children feel loved. What a tiny thing!

But the tiny things add up, and over the years, our friendship will be the fruit of the time that we’ve invested in each other.

In Chapter 7 of The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for EternitySally Clarkson discusses five relationship principles that she has found to be vital in forming close bonds with her children. She says:

As a mother, I have the ability to provide the love, acceptance and attention my children need to grow up secure and able to develop mature relationships. I also have the opportunity to model mature love, commitment, forgiveness, accountability, grace and encouragement for my children. The home is an ideal environment in which children can experience the growth of a mature relationship where give-and-take are learned in the context of real life. And this ideally includes an understanding of the true power of God’s love. (p. 124)

{I have shared my thoughts on 4 of the 5 principles in previous posts, so I will share those links below, along with a quote from each section of the book.}

Relationship Principle #1: Time and Availability

“It’s important to realize that spending time with kids means so much more than just getting the parenting job done. Sometimes it’s easy for busy parents to forget this. We become so focused on training our children, correcting them, teaching them responsibility, and providing them with enriching activities that we forget how important it is just to be around them.

Helping our children build godly character is indeed essential and requires years of diligence. [However], people grow close not through monitoring one another’s behavior but by working together, playing together, talking together, celebrating together, weeping together.

Relationships develop when people are there for each other – and that’s as true for parents and children as it is for anyone else.” (p. 126)

My post: Individual Time with our Children

Relationship Principle #2: Acceptance and Unconditional Love

“In building meaningful relationships with my children, I must learn to accept unconditionally the person God made each of them to be – even with personality traits that differ from mine or that make me uncomfortable. I need to accept the “warts” and irritating characteristics that may ever change. I have to love my children with a mature commitment that reaches past my feelings for them, which can change from circumstance to circumstance.

It is this basic acceptance tha provides children with the opportunity to mature.” (p. 128-9)

My post: Advocate or Adversary?

Relationship Principle #3: Affirmation and Encouragement

“Encouragement gives all of us the impetus to keep going, to keep trying to live up to our ideals. As we accept and encourage our children, we will teach them to be encouraging in their own relationships. Children who are constantly criticized will tend to be negative and critical in their relationships with others. When children feel appreciated and encouraged, they become encouragers themselves, sources of life and hope in an often discouraging world.” (p. 133)

My post: The Gift of Encouraging Words

Relationship Principle #4: Grace

“All of us are sinful and will blow our own standards and God’s again and again and again. Because of this sinful nature, we also have a sense of our own inadequacy – and an intense need to be loved and forgiven and trusted despite it all. This kind of unmerited favor is available to all of us from our heavenly Father. But children also desperately need this from their parents.

Obviously it’s important to hold our children to high standards. They need structure and discipline in their lives. But they also need grace for their failures, just as you and I need grace. If we are consistent in guiding our children in the right direction, and extend grace to them to be immature on the way to maturity, then we will have the best chance of maintaining both our standards and a close relationship with our children. (p. 134)

Relationship Principle #5: Relationship Training

“We need to consciously train [our children] in the skills and attitudes that will enable them to sustain positive relationships.

A person can only experience true intimacy when his heart has been deepened and exercised in real love and commitment. Consequently, an important part of deeply loving our children is training them to deeply love themselves and others. We train them by helping them to confront their own sin and selfishness and to replace these attitudes with patient and generous love. This provides them with something to give in a meaningful relationship and seals their ability to be the best they can be.” (p. 135)

My (guest mentor’s) post: Raising Children Who Serve

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now it’s your turn!

Would you care to share one way in which you intentionally invested in your relationship with one of your children this past week? As always, you are also welcome to share a favorite quote or your answer to one of the study questions from this week’s chapter, too. :)

Thank you for being here today! We will continue our study next Monday, December 9th, with Chapter 8: Gardener of Souls.

To view all posts in this book study, click HERE.

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments

30-Day-Praying For Your Children Challenge ~ Day 1 Salvation

Rain Down Righteousness Isaiah 45 Vs 8

“Let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout.” —Isaiah 45:8 ESV


“Father,

We thank You for giving us every good and perfect gift. Please take those You have entrusted to us and guide them on the right path that leads to Your Kingdom. Help them recognize and lay hold on the salvation that You offer to them, for they are holy because we are holy in Your sight. Thank You for the sacrifice of Your Son to make it possible. You say in your word that it is in Your heart that all be saved, that your desire is to not lose even one whom You have called. Please help us now to be patient in waiting on You for Your work in their hearts to be completed, all in Your perfect timing. We thank You and praise You for all things.

In Jesus name we pray,

Amen.”

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

1 Timothy 2:4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

1 Corinthians 7:14 “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”

Luke 17:5 “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.”

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

Psalms 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”

I Would Love To Hear Your Comments
For more information on “Is This The Only Day of Salvation,” please click here for free literature.

For an excellent article “Childrearing, Building The Right Foundation,” click here for free literature.

Love to you all!