Friday, June 28, 2013

I Serve My Family French Fries

photo credit
I should be doing that....
Have you ever had that thought enter your mind. It's amazing how we easily compare ourselves with other moms. Even the world of Pinterest sets us on a cyber race to perfection.
  • This mom serves only health food to her family.
  • This mom runs a business from home, homeschools her seven children, and blogs about crafting with her kids.
  • This mom sews and makes all her kids' clothes.

And I still have one more load of laundry to wash...
Can you hear the hissing of that old garden snake tearing you down? Just like he whispered lies into Eve's ear, his forked tongue cunningly hisses one lie after another. Things like, Look at your children eating french fries while that mother feeds her toddler salad for lunch. What a failure you are!

And we beat ourselves up trying to achieve a man-made standard.

You know what? I am thankful that God's Word does not tell us to make sure we have our homes spotless, a thriving business, or children who play in handmade clothes. Instead, I am thankful that it tell us to do what we do for the glory of God:
1 Corinthians 10:31
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
I may serve my family french fries. I may buy my children's clothes instead of make them. And I may struggle just to meet my children's basic needs and keep myself and my home in decent-looking order. But - hey - that's okay! My talents lie elseware and the Lord made me - and you! - unique. It isn't our #1 responsibilty to have showcase homes and eat only what we grow in our own garden. Our first priority as mothers should be to disciple our children. I want my children to know and love Jesus with all their heart, soul, and mind. Though we should keep our homes well and take care of our bodies, KINGDOM work should always come first. Do not get caught up in man-made expectations. Instead, get caught up in the glorious work of loving Jesus and using your unique set of gifts to show Him to your children...and the world.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Susannah Wesley's Rules for Child-Training

Susannah Wesley had 19 children. She raised them with the following 16 rules:

1. No eating between meals

2. All children in bed by 8:00 P.M.

3. Take your medicine without complaining.

4. Subdue self-will in each child.

5. Work with God to save the soul of each child.

6. Teach the child to pray as soon he can speak.

7. Require all to be still during the family worship.

8. Give children nothing they cry for.

9. Give them only what they ask for politely.

10. To prevent lying, punish no fault which is first confessed.

11. Do not allow a sinful act to go unpunished.

12. Command and reward good behavior.

13. Preserve property rights, even in the smallest matters.

14. Strictly observe all promises.

15. Require no daughter to work before she can read well.

16. Teach children to fear the rod.

Would it not be good if godly mothers would set up a few rules by which their children could be raised? If we had more mothers like Mrs. Wesley maybe we would have more sons like Charles and John Wesley.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

When Men of God Pass Away

Early this morning, one of the greatest men I have ever had the privilege to know passed from this world into eternity and saw Jesus face to face.
My spirit rejoices. But my heart is breaking.

Bro. Jack David Daniels grew up living up to his name - Jack Daniels. At the early age of 35, he was a drug addict and alcoholic and in the hospital with a swollen liver. Then on July 4, 1982, he found Jesus and surrendered his life to Him. His motto became "From the Bottle to the Bible." It wasn't long before he was called to preach and he spent the last years of his life traveling all over the world leading thousands to Christ.

I met Bro. Jack about six years ago and I have never seen God work through a man like He did Bro. Jack. He became an instant friend to my family. We toured together. We did revivals together. We traveled to Israel together. And he help officiate my husband's and my wedding.

at Niagara Falls, 2007

at our wedding, April 17, 2010

with my husband and my Dad in Israel

with my husband, Grant, on the Sea of Galilee

holding our son, Nathan

I will miss Bro. Jack. Today, Heaven is rejoicing and he joined the cloud of witnesses gathered to watch us continue to run our race here on earth.
As I watch great men of God steadily pass away, my mommy heart trembles with fear. I have been blessed to know great men of God and sit under their preaching. But they won't all live forever. Today is proof of that. And I am left to wonder, who will be the Bro. Jack to my children?? Will they even know strong men of God who are unmovable in their faith and who stand firm upon the Word? Will they hear old-time preaching? Will they experience great revivals? Or will they be left with compromising, shallow, and watered-down leaders in the contemporary Church? Will all they have be the Emergent Church belief system that plays to the flesh and is doctrinally flawed? I pray to God that there will be someone who steps up and fills the shoes of men like Bro. Jack so my children can have what I had.
Please keep the Daniels family in your prayers. If you have ever lost a loved one, then you can sympathize with what they are going through. Though we rejoice that we will see him again, our hearts are heavy that we are left here without their presence. So lift them up. And pray for the generations to come who will never know or hear the preaching of this great man.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." (Psalms 116:15 KJV)

You can visit Jack Daniels Ministries to order his sermons on CD.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bibles and Bible Apps || Your Legacy

The Wal-Mart check out line was long. Very long. So as I waited, I took out my cell phone and pulled up my Bible app. And I read a bit.

I love that I am able to do that.

That's the new thing these days. The smart Bible; the Bible on your tablet or iPhone. And I for one enjoy having the Bible on me 24/7. If I need to look up a Scripture, I take it out of my pocket. If I want to wash dishes and listen, I turn it on. If I'm watching my little boy play outside, I can touch and read while I sit. It's great and I am very thankful that it is available to us! But I love my real Bible. My open-it-up-and-flip-through-the-pages Bible. And though my Bible app is very cool, my real Bible is something much more than cool.

My Dad's Bible is one of my most favorite things to look at. Truly. He has had the same Bible for over 30 years. He has preached from it and has taken it with him everywhere - on many overseas trips. I love looking at the faded pages, the highlighted verses, the markings on the sides, the sermon notes scattered everywhere. I love it. It's a treasure. It's a legacy.

My Bible isn't as used as my Dad's 30+-year-old one, but it is special to me. Inside the front cover, I have a picture of myself and my husband, a picture of our two children, a picture of my grandfather, and two quotes that bless me every time I read them. I have dozens of verses highlighted and I have little notes scattered here and there when a certain passage speaks to me in that moment.

Oddly enough, I like secondhand books. I have several devotionals in my possession that once belonged to someone I've never met. And I love seeing their thoughts and prayers written in the corners of those devotionals. In my own books, I like to highlight and scribble and make markings on the pages of a book that has woven its way into my heart. This story encouraged me. This quote inspired me. This chapter convicted me. If I don't mark it down, I will most likely forget the moment. In the Bible, the Israelites would build an alter where God did a work. My Bible's scribbles are my alters. They are special places in my spiritual walk with the Lord. And that's something that cannot be done on a Bible app. Now, I love the convenience of the all the different study tools available at the touch of a finger, but not for one moment do I want convenience to take the place of my leather bound Bible.

We live in a very technological age. Everything is convenient and quick. We don't write old fashioned letters anymore, we e-mail or Facebook. We rarely journal. We blog. We buy our books via Kindle. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with technology. But sometimes I think we miss the beauty and power of holding a Bible in our hands, having it in our bags, and carrying it with us wherever we do. Like we carry our phones. Though God's Word is the same and just as powerful whether you are turning pages or touching screens, there's just something about holding a real Bible.

To me, anyway.

Just like my Dad's old Bible is beautiful in my eyes, I deeply desire my children to look at my Bible - not my iPhone - as a beautiful treasure one day. I pray that they can see places where I have knelt before God and surrendered to His will or where I have praised Him for being faithful and worthy. I pray as they turn the pages, they see a passionate, intimate love for Christ that makes them want to fall in love with His written word too.

That's what it's all about anyway. Loving Jesus and leaving a legacy for your children.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

25 "Almost Free" Things to Do Outside With Little Boys

My little boy loves playing outside! But coming from a family of all girls, there have been times when I have had trouble coming up with fun activities for us to do. And maybe you have been in those same shoes. So here is a list of fun (and almost free!) things that we can do - outside - with our little man!

  1. Make Sidewalk Paint
  2. Color with Sidewalk Chalk
  3. Blow Bubbles
  4. Go for a walk
  5. Make S'mores
  6. Have a water gun fight
  7. Make a Garden Rock Caterpillar
  8. Go Exploring
  9. Play in the mud
  10. Make or buy a Slip 'n slide
  11. Finger paint
  12. Feed the ducks
  13. Play frisbee
  14. Wash the car
  15. Have a water Balloon fight
  16. Build a fort
  17. Fly a kite
  18. Go on a bug hunt
  19. Catch fireflies
  20. Play sidewalk games like Hopscotch
  21. Make Soap Mud
  22. Play hide-and-seek
  23. Make Windchimes
  24. Wash the dog
  25. Have a boy-themed picnic


Monday, June 17, 2013


Motherhood is a glorious thing. God chose to create our bodies with the ability to grow and birth new life. We feel the little kicks and the hiccups, and our bodies stretch to accomodate a living soul. We experience the labor pains and our body clamps down to push a child into the world, and we nurse our wee one as they cling to our pinky finger. It is truly miraculous. But sometimes in the miracle of pregnancy and childbirth, the Dads are left out of the mix and it is forgotten just how incredible their role is too!

my Dad holding me as a baby
The traits of God are visible in how He created us. Think about it. As mothers, we delight in beauty and love and in nurturing. Our bodies bear the evedience of children by our hips stretching, our stomachs growing, and scars where we have sacrificed our body so that another might life. Sound familiar? But the fathers deliver a beautiful picture of Christ as well. They hold the life-giving seed. They are the protectors, the providors, the leaders. They are the strong ones; the ones ready to do battle with the enemy for the souls of their family. That's a picture of who God is too.

As a little girl, my Dad was responsible for teaching me about who God was. When I disobeyed, there were consequences. Through this I learned about sin and the reprecusions of sin. When I was repentant, there was forgiveness. Through this I learned about the grace of God and about restoration. When I strayed, there was a warning and a call to come back. Through this I learned about accountability. It was in his obedience to "train up a child in the way he should go" that I learned about salvation and living the Christian life. It was my mother's responsibility to keep those things in the forefront of my mind and to raise me with those truths instilled in my heart. But it was my father's responsibility to teach them to me directly.

my husband reading to our two children
Father's Day was yesterday, but that doesn't mean that we cannot continue to praise fathers today. If you were blessed with a godly earthly father, let him know how much he is appreciated and treasured. Continue to pray for him. If you are married, I encourage you to get behind your husband and be his helpmeet. You're in this together and both of your jobs are vital! Praise him and encourage him. His role is important! Sometimes we get all too caught up in our mothering duties - the feeding, changing, cleaning, and raising of little ones - and we completely forget about the enormous responsibility that Dads have themselves. Be his cheerleader and thank God for him.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Things You SHOULD Say to a Single Girl

The other day I posted a list of things you should never, ever say to a single woman. Today I would like to give you a list of things that should be said! The Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Our words have the ability to either bring life or death to someone's faith. Let's choose life.

Waiting on the Lord for romance is tough. It takes an abundance of resolve. And there are always plenty of days and nights when the enemy comes to plague us with fear and doubt and loneliness. YOU can be a tool used by God to encourage a young girl to have faith, keep waiting, and to lean on Jesus. Here are some things you can say that will no doubt give her a little more "oomph" to hold on on a little longer.

  1. Oh bless you. Your future husband is already a lucky man! Because he is, right? Her future husband, if he has an ounce of Godliness in him, will be over-the-moon thankful that his bride is a woman of integrity and faithfulness. Remind her of this!
  2. What a wise thing to do! Proverbs tells us over and over again that wisdom comes from listening and following the commands of God. He commanded us to be pure and to save ourselves for marriage. Praise her for guarding her heart and obeying Christ when this world is saturated with flippant disobedience.
  3. Can I pray for you? Oh yes, indeed. She needs it. Her spirit is craving someone who cares enough to listen and to strengthen her faith. It's hard being alone. Many times, you are treated like a weirdo or an outcast. She needs support and the power of prayer covering her. This will encourage her greatly.
  4. You will be glad you did that. Yes she will! One day she will look back and be so thankful that she was faithful. Deep down, she knows it will be worth it but she needs to hear other people repeat that truth in her ear.
  5. What a testimony to others! Whether she is 18 or 38 years old, she has a testimony. She has a platform. She has the opportunity to gather others together and encourage them! Maybe by her words. Maybe by her example. Remind her that others are watching and because of her devotion to Jesus and her choice to live a set-apart life, she is a shining beacon that can light the way for others to come to Jesus simply by watching her life of holiness and strength. This is powerful.
So many things can be said to build up our single sisters. May I encourage you to gather 'round them and cheer them on as they run a race so many chose not to finish.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Things You Shouldn't Say to a Single Girl

Being a single young woman is hard. Especially nowadays when it seems like kids are expected to begin dating as soon as they are out of diapers. Sex Ed is taught before Algebra and a relationship status defines your popularity and your worth. If you are in high school or college and you are not dating, well...something is wrong. And then the village comes to the rescue.

I was there. Junior high....high early 20's....and not in a relationship. People did not understand me, and well-meaning little old ladies made me feel about as out of place as a cat in a fish tank. I was given "advice" and "encouragement" that was anything but! Let's be real. Sometimes we just need to keep our mouths shut. Singleness is a delicate season that should be respected and protected, not treated like an illness that needs a shot of nudging or matchmaking. I'm writing this to encourage you to not say the following to a girl who is waiting for romance.

  1. Honey, aren't you dating anyone?? Don't ask this question. Ask what the Lord is doing in her life. Ask about her future goals. Ask about her family or her job or her Church involvement. Don't act like it is expected for a young woman to be dating. A relationship is a serious thing, not simply something "one does,' regardless of the culture we live in.
  2. Don't be too choosy. For heaven's sake, why not?? We are talking about marriage here. The bar should be raised high! Don't encourage a young woman to lower her standards simply for the sake of having a man.
  3. Don't wait too long, dear. Your clock is ticking. God knows this. And this young woman is trying to wait for His timing and His leadership. Don't tell her to basically forgo God's pace and rush ahead of Him. And do not discourage a single woman by talking about her window of opportunity for bearing children. This can hurt more than you know.
  4. You poor thing. Hey now, I know a young man.... PLEASE don't play matchmaker. From experience, it is terribly awkward and full of pressure. Let God be God. If He can create and bring a mate to Adam in the garden, then He can make paths cross and lead a mate to this girl. Be willing to be used by God. Don't try to be God yourself.
  5. God helps those who help themselves. This is just ridiculous. A statement like that is not Biblical, nor helpful in the long run. Do not assume that just because a woman is waiting for romance, that she is sitting quietly in a corner twiddling her thumbs. More than likely, she is praying and actively waiting. Encourage her in this. Do not demean the beauty of saving herself - mind, body, and heart - for one man.
From one who has been on the receiving end of "helpful" quips, let me encourage you to praise single sisters instead of raise up doubt and fear in their hearts. It's hard enough to wait and trust Jesus, and they need Godly women to lift their spirits.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

A Sweeter Song

We tend to absorb every love song lyric and every endearing chick flick like we take breath into our body. God created females as creatures who bask in beauty and in romance and it is a wonderful thing! There is no shame in loving love and loving to be loved. However, our generation is packed with counterfeit pictures of romance and, as a result, our perception is a bit warped in light of the truth. Most movies paint a distorted and unrealistic view of love and marriage. Many songs give us the impression that true love is a spontaneous, fire-filled experience, always led by our own hearts instead of our minds. In truth, this is far from God’s description of love.

I remember the first time I witnessed a friend endure a heart wrenching breakup. She was devastated. One night I remember going up to her and asking if she was okay. I listened to her cry and tell me stories of the good times she and her ex had shared. She told me how she gave her heart and her body to the boy she thought would be hers forever. And now, just as quickly as the spark had ignited, it was over. Seeing the raw anguish so evident on her face, I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t want to experience this kind of pain.” As she continued to pour out her hurt to me, I saw a change in her attitude. Suddenly she was angry—very angry—at the boy who had jilted her and left her so miserable. No longer was she mourning her loss. Now she was out for revenge. And I shuddered. That night made an impression on me. In no way did I want to experience the sorrow—and then the rage—that a breakup was capable of producing. This “love” that everyone was after seemed to be utterly different than what all the love songs were about. Wasn’t there a better way?

I was thirteen years old when I caught a glimpse of a sweeter song. It was about more than butterflies and sweaty palms; more than holding hands and receiving love letters. I got a glimpse of a magnificent love story. And I wanted it.

May I share it with you?

If we want a happy and fulfilling marriage, we must know what to embrace and what to toss in the trash. Let me give you two scenarios; two songs:

  • Song #1: You have a serious crush on the handsome guy who just asked you out. He’s a great looking guy. He makes you feel completely desirable. He asks you out. You say yes. You go out on Friday and Saturday nights. You go to Church together and sit by each other’s side. You hold hands. You text multiple times a day. You share the “I love you’s” and the flirtatious giggles. You reveal secrets and dreams that are in your heart. You brag to your friends about your amazing relationship. Then something changes. Maybe it’s him. Maybe it’s you. You start to drift apart. Drama starts happening. Finally after a heated phone call or venomous text messages, you call it quits. Either you are angry and hurt, or you could care less about him or his heart. Either way, it’s over. And you move on. Oooh, now that guy over there is good looking….

  • Song #2: You steal glances at the couples around you. You find yourself thinking about the handsome guy a few feet away. The way he looks at you makes your heart race. He walks up to you. He asks you out. ...and you say “no.” Oh, it’s not that you don’t want to go out! You do. But somewhere past your pounding heart, you know that it isn’t time. God is teaching you so much about Him and you cannot be distracted. You want to be completely lost in His will and you know, however difficult it is now, it will be worth it down the road. You need to prepare and mature so you will be ready for the commitment and sacrifice marriage calls for. So you say “no” with a small twinge of sadness. He walks away. People look at you funny. What’s wrong with you, anyway? Years pass. Then you meet a man who is so much in love with Christ that you fall more in love with Christ too! You become friends. You learn about Him together. Then one day you both realize that you love each other and that God has led you together. He proposes. You say “YES!” And you marry your best friend and give your whole heart and untouched body to him forever.

Let me ask you, which song would you prefer? I don’t know about you, but I have had my fill of song #1. Far too many sing its empty tune and lose so much of their hearts and bodies in the process. Let me encourage you - chose the sweeter song; the song God Himself longs to sing in your ear.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Diaper Bags || Minimizing Your Load

I lug around what mimics a suitcase. It's a diaper bag, but it is a big diaper bag. At any given time, that bag contains:
  • Diapers for both my kiddos
  • Wipes
  • Diaper rash cream
  • Extra clothes
  • A small trash bag
  • Bottles
  • Burp cloths
  • Pacifier wipes
  • A thermometer
  • Hand sanitizer...
You get the idea. But the other day, after struggling to get myself and my giant suitcase diaper bag out the door again, I finally snapped. There has to be a better way.

And there is.

The solution? Two bags.

We mothers pretty much need to be prepared for whatever may come. Trust me, you don't want to get caught two hours from home with no change of clothes and no trash bag when your toddler suddenly throws up in the backseat. Been there, done that. But I also don't want to walk sideways due to the massive load I have to cart around. It's time to simplify. So I now have two bags.

The smaller bag on the left is a purse I found at Wal-Mart for $16. It has two side pockets, much like a diaper bag, where I can store two bottles. Inside, I have a few diapers, a small container of wipes, and the extreme, need-it-now nessecities. I also have my wallet and very few purse essentials. That's it. The second bag stays in the car. This way, I have what I need with me and what I could possibly need within reach. The big bag holds my baby carrier, my toddler's "leash" (can't have him running off), a trash bag, a set of clothes for both kids, more diapers and wipes, and a mini-first aid kit.

I don't like toting around a huge diaper bag. It's hard enough toting around two small kiddos! So lighten your load, mom! Simplify and give your arms a break.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Best Toothpaste I've Ever Used!

Have you looked at the ingredients in your regular, store-bought brand of toothpaste?

  • Floride
  • Glycerin
  • Saccharin...
Let's just say the word nobody wants to say - TOXIC. Even children's toothpaste has a warning to instruct children not to swallow. I don't know about you, but that's not exactly an easy thing to get across to a two year old. And knowing my baby is swallowing toothpaste just doesn't sit well with me.

I began looking over a year ago at all-natural toothpaste and how to make your own. I tried Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide. Gag. I tried Coconut Oil. Eh. I just couldn't stomach it and my mouth always felt gross after. My husband also detested it all. Then I stumbled upon Earthpaste and the first thing I did was read the ingredients:

  • Purified Water
  • Food Grade Redmond Clay
  • Xylitol
  • Real Salt
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Menthol (found in peppermint and wintergreen Earthpaste flavors)
  • Essential Oils (like Cinnamon or Peppermint, depends on flavor)

  • That's it. It sounded exactly what I was looking for. So I gave it a go and was surprisingly thrilled! My mouth feels cleaner. It is completely safe to swallow (even eat if you so choose). But what I love most of all is the difference I have felt in my teeth. It's a little word called remineralization. That's right. This stuff can possibly heal teeth! Most of my teeth were drilled and filled in childhood and young adulthood and my teeth have always been sensitive, especially in one area of my mouth. After just two weeks of using Earthpaste, I noticed that my teeth felt stronger and, instead of simply feeling less sensitive, they weren't sensitive at all!

    I highly recommend trying Earthpaste. You can find it on Amazon and at most health food stores!

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013

    Essential Oils in Pregnancy

    I am not a doctor, midwife, herbalist, or anything of the like. 
    The information in this blog post is just that - information
    This is simply what I have learned and what I tried in my pregnancy. 
    Do your own research before you use Essential Oils. 

    It is believed that one drop of essential oil is equal in medicinal strength to twenty-eight cups of herbal tea. Wow! My second pregnancy was my first time to use EO's while expecting and I simply love everything about them. You can use Essential Oils three ways. 1) Topically, 2) Internally, and 3) Aromatically. After some research, I decided to try a few Essential Oils for various pregnancy ailments. This is what I used:

    Wild Orange essential oil is great for morning sickness. It also helps with colds and indigestion. You can use it topically, by blending it with cream, massage oil, or lotion and massaging it onto your skin when needed. Or you can use Wild Orange EO aromatically by adding it to hot water in a bowl and breathing in the vapors. 

    Lavender is one of the most common Essential Oils and is known to be relaxing. I occasionally put a few drops in my bath. But along with being a relaxant, it has antidepressant and anti-fungal properties. Lavender EO is also an antihistamine, is anti infectious, and works as an anti-inflammatory. It also helps with fluid retention. Because it is also known to help with stretch marks, in my last weeks of pregnancy, I deluded the oil and massaged it on my belly. I had no new stretch marks this pregnancy and the ones I had in my previous pregnancy are very light. Before we headed to the hospital, I labored at home and kept my Lavender EO close to help me relax and release the tension in my muscles. It is definitely one of my favorite Essential Oils that I will always keep on hand.

    Lemon is wonderful for nausea and morning sickness! All you have to do is put a few drops of the Lemon EO on a cotton ball and keep it close. Or you can rub a small drop behind your ears. The smell is invigorating and wakens the senses. When mixed with Lavender EO, you can also rub it on your skin for stretch marks!

    Clary Sage essential oil is something I had in my bag for labor. It should be avoided in early pregnancy because it can cause miscarriage. Also, do not confuse it with Sage oil, as that has been proven to cause miscarriage as well. However, once your labor has begun, Clary Sage EO can actually help the process. The smell itself can intensify contractions and speed up the process. Breathing it it can often lead to an easier birth, which is why I had it with me. Though I didn't have time to use it during labor, I did add a little to my bath water in the last week of my pregnancy to keep myself relaxed. Rubbing the belly with Clary Sage EO helps in relaxation, especially when mixed with Lavender EO.

    Though we should never rely on anything but the healing power of Jesus, I am very thankful for the things God has given us in nature that aid our health and help strengthen our bodies.

    Tuesday, June 4, 2013

    Be Only Women

    To me, a lady is not frilly, flouncy, flippant, frivolous and fluff-brained, but she is gentle. She is gracious. She is godly and she is giving… You and I, if we are women, have the gift of femininity. Very often it is obscured, just as the image of God is obscured in all of us… The more womanly we are, the more manly men will be, and the more God is glorified. As I say to you women, ‘Be women. Be only women. Be real women in obedience to God.’
    - Elisabeth Elliot          

    Monday, June 3, 2013

    Is It Ever Okay to be Immodest?


    What comes to mind when you think of that word? Floor-length dresses? Turtle necks? Long sleeves? Some simply think that as long as their private areas are covered, then they are exuding modesty. And some believe that modesty only matters when they are around a certain group of people. You know like boys....or those who seem creepy...or the Pastor.

    That brings me to ask this question, is it ever okay to be immodest?

    This past Memorial Day, I put my 3 1/2 month old baby girl in a cute little patriotic bikini. I have to admit, she looked quite adorable. I mean, who doesn't love baby pudge and baby rolls all over the place? Several days later, a friend gently brought it up to me and asked "When do you begin to teach modesty??"     Woah! Light bulb.

    To be honest, I had reservations about that bikini in the beginning. I don't wear bikinis. And I won't allow my daughters to wear bikinis or any swim suit that exposes too much skin. But I thought, "Well goodness, she's just a baby!" and went on with it. It doesn't really matter when they are that young, right?

    So when does immodesty become unacceptable? When they become a teenager? At puberty? At age five?

    Or does training in modesty begin from birth?

    I'm new at this. I have always thought about modesty when I'm the one choosing what to wear. But now I am a mother. To a little girl. And now I am faced with a completely new spectrum of this whole cover-up-and-be-modest thing. I am having to shine a light into the corners and closets of my life and examine, not just my choices, but the reasons behind the choices I will make in training my little girl. How can I teach her to be modest if I compromise in infancy but stand solid when she is a tween? I could simply say, "I'm the Mom and this is how it is." But that's not training. That's bullying.

    The Bible says to "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6) If we, as parents and leaders of our home, begin NOW in training up our children in the way they ought to go, then the Word of God gives us the promise that our work will not be in vain. If we raise our little girls - our baby girls! - to know and love modesty and what it means, then we will surely reap a harvest of blessings in the future. They will understand more of purity and holiness and I am quite certain that the Godly mothers of young men will thank us as well.

    It's hard stuff, this training up of little people. I know down the road I will have my share of exasperation...and stupid mistakes. But I do not want to be too lazy to diligently guard my children from worldliness. And I have to begin now. I'm sure when she's old enough, my little girl will ask why. She will mostly likely get angry. But training and loving and showing her the beauty of our God and of representing His name in our dress will be worth it in the end.

    Saturday, June 1, 2013

    When You Want to Quit Motherhood

    I am going to be brutally honest with you. Sometimes I want to quit motherhood.

    Sometimes the dirty diapers, the midnight feedings, the endless laundry, the selfish toddler, the overtired baby - sometimes it gets to me. And I want to quit. Sometimes all I really want is a bubble bath. And polish on my toes. And quiet.

    Ever felt like that?

    When my sweet Selah was born, I brought her home with a gleam in my eye. I had a 22 month old son and, now, a precious little girl! Could life be any better? Nathan was a complete joy as a newborn; very easy and very mellow. Then came my feisty little girl whose name means "pause; rest; peace" and she shook things up! For the first two months, I experienced near-constant crying. We saw three doctors and got three different "reasons" for her crying. I was at my wits end. I thought I was going to go crazy. Literally. I put on a brave face, but deep down I didn't want to do it any more. Motherhood, that is. I wanted to quit.

    I don't know if you have ever experienced anything like that. My heart goes out to those parents who endure 'round-the-clock screaming. I knew I did not have much left inside me. I also knew that I needed to run to Jesus. And I did. While pacing the floors, nursing around the clock, and trying to keep my eyes open, I prayed. I prayed for my baby. I prayed for my little boy who was a real trooper while mommy had to care for his new sister. I prayed for my husband who had to come home every day to dirty laundry, a dirty kitchen, and crying - from me and the baby! And I prayed for me. A lot.

    Motherhood is hard. When you are expecting your little one, you think of baby cuddles and baby clothes and baby cooing. You don't think of colic or nursing problems or going days on end without a shower or sleep. And honestly, nothing can prepare you for motherhood. It's a learn-as-you-go kind of thing. And it's hard. It is a messy, gruelling, bring-you-to-your-knees kind of work. And that's the best part.

    When I was at the end of my rope, I had nothing but Jesus. And it was then that 2 Corinthians 12:9 became "my verse" yet again. "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." The word "infirmities," I discovered, means - get this mothers! - feebleness (of body or mind); frailty; weakness.  Oh what comforting truth!

    His strength is given to us in our weakness. Because of this, we can say "I glory in my feebleness and my frailty as a mother!"

    We can take delight in this because the Word of God says that when we want to quit, His grace - His strength - can rest upon us.


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