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Motherhood and Mission

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise),
“that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.”
Ephesians 6:1-3 ESV

Today was definitely one of those days. One child started whining seconds after waking up this morning, two others have been fighting and picking on each other nonstop, someone reached a new high on the selfishness scale, two didn’t want to eat lunch, my youngest got disciplined a number of times for playing in the potty water …  the list could go on. Needless to say, I am tired. Today I miss those days before we had children, when I actually had time to brush all of my hair, when I didn’t have to take a shower hoping all of my children would still be alive when I got out, and when I had time to actually do something besides cleaning and disciplining. Being a mom is HARD.

A while back I was struck by Romans 12:1 which says “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” It is fairly simple to open your home up for an evening and have people over, or to spend an hour a week helping those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We should do all of those things but if you want to truly be a living sacrifice have a baby. As a parent you are not simply giving up an hour or two a week for someone else. You are giving up your life for another, taking care of them: training, teaching, admonishing, encouraging, and hopefully always shepherding them towards Jesus. This is part of your spiritual service of worship.

What better picture is there of a living sacrifice? We are often discouraged and obsessed about the physical marks pregnancy leaves on us. Don’t be. Christ carries his scars joyfully because they are the marks of redemption ( Luke 24). They are a sign of his excessive love for another, for us.

And don’t get discouraged when you think of the long list of things you feel you still need to teach or correct in your children. In Ephesians 6:1-3 Paul tells us what we should focus on. Paul is speaking directly to children in these verses which means as parents we really need to pay attention here and teach them to our kids, maybe even help them to memorize them.

So, what are children to do?

1. They are to Obey

Some would say that obedience is to do as you are told, right away, all the way and with a happy heart. But it is equally important for a child to learn that this is what God has called them to do at this stage in their lives. It is their mission, to glorify God in their obedience to you. If we command obedience without connecting it to the glory of God the consequence is, at best, empty moralism that cannot last, or worse, a budding legalism.

2. They are to Honor

Honoring parents means that a child respects them because of their position and authority. It is often most clearly seen in the way a child speaks to his mom or dad. When a child yells at her parents, tells them what to do, or says “no” when asked to do something, she is being disrespectful, dismissing the authority placed over her by the Lord. Make no mistake, a child’s dismissal of a parent’s authority translates to a dismissal of God’s authority.

Why focus on these two?

What I love about these verses is that Paul also tell children why they are to behave in this manner.

1. Because it is right

Obedience to and honoring parents is right because it is God’s way. And doing what is right leads to peace. Not doing what is right leads to dissatisfaction in life and ultimately destruction (Gen. 4:6, 7).

2. So that it will go well with them

There are a number of ways in which this is true. When children obey things go well with them by not having to experience discipline and by being able to receive special privileges. Obedience and respect certainly make family outings much more enjoyable. No one wants to go to the zoo with a child who is constantly running away and who argues with you every time he doesn’t get his way. Ultimately, the character quality of honoring their parents builds for them a solid reputation.

3. That they will live a long life

Paul’s point here is that children who walk in righteousness, who obey the wisdom of their parents and follow God’s direction for them generally live a life of peace and it keeps them out of trouble. For example children who stay away from drugs because they trust and respect their parents do not have to worry about the misery that comes from drug addiction or premature death. This means, as parents, we have to be make sure we are worthy of respect, that we draw our wisdom from the word of God, that we rely on God through prayer and that we are truthful towards our children.

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.” Proverbs 3:1-2

“Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?” 1 Peter 3:13

Don’t get overwhelmed with all the things you feel you need to teach your kids before they leave home. Focus on teaching obedience and respect to your children so that it will go well with them and with the children they may someday be blessed with as well.

The topic of parenting is huge. Below I have listed some of my favorite parenting books that contain a lot of practical advice.

Looking to Jesus,

Jen

 

Digging Deeper

Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp

Instructing a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp

Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel

Don’t Make Me Count To Three by Ginger Plowman

Give them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Everyday Talk by John Younts

Teach Them Diligently by Louis Priolo

A Mother’s Heart by Jean Fleming

Get Out Of My Face by Rick Horne (for those who have teens)

Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp (for parenting teens)

The Godly Family (A collection of essays from 17th and 18th century pastors on the duties of parents and children)

{Week 11} Instructions for Christian Households & WIWW Link-Up Party

Looking for the Ministry of Motherhood book giveaway? Click here and enter today!

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Today’s post came from our weekly link-up party!

Congratulations, Erica from Confessions of a Homeschooler, you’ve been selected for this month’s WIWW spotlight!

Erica blogs at http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/

Now onto Erica’s post! LOVED her “10 Ways to Respect Your Husband” list and I know you will too!

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I absolutely L O V E Ephesians! It just gets right to the point don’t you think? I like things straight up, and here it is all lined out for us in Ephesians 5:21-33.

Now, I know in this day and age the term “submit” can be taken the wrong way, by both men and women, but really that is what God has called us to do. The official definition of submit is to yield oneself to the power or authority of another. Not always an easy thing to do. As a wife, submitting to my husband, is really me telling him that I trust him, and that I willingly put my life in his hands.

Now, let’s take a look at our husbands calling. God explicitly tells our husbands to “LOVE” us. And if you notice, it’s not just a so-so kind of love, but the same love that Christ has for His church. The same love that caused Him to give up His life for her, to make her holy and blameless in His sight! W O W! That’s a HIGH calling on our husbands ladies. And really, if you think about it, if our husbands are really seeking and following God’s commands, it would be in our best interests to submit to his authority as head of our homes. And I’m just thankful that’s all I have to do, compared to my husband’s job, mine is easy!

Now, does that mean I’m a door-mat with absolutely no opinions of my own? NO! Certainly not, I’m not wired that way. I’m a take charge kind of gal if you haven’t noticed by now. I like things a certain way, and that can definitely come across in my marriage as well. But when it comes to decisions that affect our home, my husband is where I go first. For the most part, we talk about things before we just go off and do them (minus the hamster incident a few months back, which I apologized for profusely), and it just works better that way. My husband is much more level headed than I am, so I’m thankful to have his opinion and direction.

Right now I’m reading through a book called “For Women Only” by Shaunti Feldhahn. I have to say I’ve been that surprised by what I’ve read, and I have been surprised that I do things that I never intended in regards to my husband! Mostly things that seem disrespectful to him that I didn’t even realize were.

So I thought I’d make a little list I could keep for myself to help me to respect my husband, and hopefully it will bless your families as well! The fact that my husband will be reading this will serve as my accountability. Yikes.

 

10 Ways to Respect My Husband:

1. Pray for him! Our husbands are under constant attack and temptations. Here is a wonderful freebie that can help you get started praying specifically for your husband: 31 days of praying for your husband.

2. Show him respect at home! This is a biggie for me. I tend to feel more comfortable arguing my point when we’re at home, and I can forget that I have 8 little eyes on me. I need to show my husband respect in front of our children which will also confirm his authority in our home! I mentioned the “hampster incident” before. One day we were out getting dog food, when suddenly four extremely convincing kids and one VERY cute hamster (whom we now affectionately refer to as “Squirt”) managed to talk me into taking the little guy home. It seemed harmless enough at first, I mean he only cost $14, I conveniently forgot to think about food, bedding, a cage, toys, food dishes, yada-yada…. you get the point. I think it was a good $100 by the time I walked out the door for a $14 hamster. I realized that my actions that day were really showing my oldest daughter that it was okay to disrespect daddy and do what we wanted regardless of his opinion. I apologized in front of the kids for not seeking his opinion on the matter and had a talk with Strawberry Shortcake to explain why my actions didn’t honor God’s calling for a wife. It was a small incident, but one that I’ll remember. I’m a constant influence on our children and my actions as a wife and mother need to be a godly example to them.

3. Show him respect in public. I’m a sarcastic person. I like to joke around and sometimes it can be at the expense of those close to me. For example, I’m not sure how many of you out there doubt the capabilities of your husbands to find something that’s say right in front of their eyes. But in our house it’s a big joke. Both my husband and my son ask the girls to help them find things. I had to laugh the other day when my son exclaimed “Mom, where are my shoes? You moved the whole house around and now I can’t find anything!” My husband just looked at me and gave a slight smile as if to say “See! It’s not just me!” Now it’s okay for me to have a private little joke at home with my husband, however if I go around telling the whole world that he can’t find anything even if its right in front of his face, then suddenly it’s not so nice anymore. Degrading our spouses in front of others not only makes US look bad, but it makes THEM look bad to others. Not something I would ever intend to do. (Please immediately forget you read this example, I don’t want to bash my wonderfully awesome rock-star of a husband in public!)

4. Don’t argue with his knowledge.  Yet another place I falter. I like to know everything, and for the most part I’m always right. Even if I’m wrong ;o). But arguing or questioning our husbands intellectual skills is disrespectful to them. I tells them that we don’t believe in them, that they’re worthless as a partner. For me this usually comes up when my husband is trying to fix something in the house. I typically suggest calling a professional just because it makes me more comfortable. Sadly this is showing my husband that I don’t believe he’s capable of taking care of our family, which he most definitely is!

5. Say what I mean. Men are fairly direct. They say what they mean and mean what they say. Women on the other hand have a type of internal secret code that can result in us saying one thing and meaning another. I’m sadly a prime example of this, although over the years my husband has gotten better about reading me. For example my “I guess, do whatever you want” response usually means “no way, I’m annoyed you even asked!” He’s gotten better and sometimes jokes with me saying, “Is that the ‘you can go’ as in you can really go, or the type of ‘you can go’ where you’ll be mad at me later?” I’ve gotten better about telling him what I mean, but its still a challenge. I think as women we want our husbands to be able to read our minds, but its an unreal expectation that usually results in disappointment for all involved. It’s really just easier to say what we mean without all the hidden pretense.

6. Be respectful to him even in his absence. Since I’m a stay-at-home mom, this usually means to speak respectfully of my husband in front of my children. But it can also extend to how I talk about my husband in front of my friends as well. Venting about my husband to a group of friends really only causes me to resent him more, and my friends to think less of him as well. Venting about my husband to my children is just out of the question entirely. They need to see me submitting to his guidance for our home even when he’s not present.

7. Don’t compare him to other men. Comparing our husbands to other husbands is a recipe for disaster creating only dissension at home. I think we can tend to take all of the best qualities of other peoples husbands and combine them all into one perfect guy that really just doesn’t exist! This man is my husband, God chose him for me, as a perfect gift from above. I need to treat him as the heavenly gift he is.

8. Make myself available to him. With four kids, a house full of animals, and a blog to run, I can be pretty worn out by the end of the day. Sadly that doesn’t leave much left for my husband when he gets home. Still, I need to make myself available to him. To talk to him about his day, fill him in on mine, and yes, make myself accessible intimately as well. I don’t want to embarrass anyone out there, but we have to face the facts. In today’s world there are temptations for our husbands around every corner, on every billboard, and in every workplace. It’s an important role that shouldn’t be overlooked.

9. Keep up my appearance. This isn’t too tough for me, I’ve never been a stay in my jammies all day with no-make up kind of gal. I really do shower each day, put on full make up and get dressed before ever leaving my bedroom. I don’t really do that for my husband,  I think it’s because if I don’t “get ready” in the mornings, then I don’t feel good about myself. Thankfully it serves two purposes! However, even for my kids, I think that dressing nicely is a good value to instill. I don’t want to get dressed up only for special events, but instead I want to get ready for each day. My kids are a special event, and so is my husband. I don’t want him coming home to a wrecked house and a wrecked wife everyday. That wouldn’t be too appealing for me, and neither is it for him I’m sure. I’m not talking so much about weight here ladies, but more about showing our husbands that we care by making an effort with our appearance. I hope you understand what I mean.

10. Encourage him. I find that all day long I’m encouraging out kids. “Great job, buddy! That’s the best cursive z I’ve ever seen!” “Oh, good Teeny Tot, you’ve cut out your shape!”  Why would I feel that my husband deserved any less? Telling him that I’m proud of his work, thankful for the fact that he takes care of our family so well, and that he’s home each night to be with us is important! Just like anyone else our husbands need to feel appreciated and valued. Encouraging them in the home, public, and in private are all essential!

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Erica is a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a homeschooler. She authors Confessions Of A Homeschooler  that offers tons of printables, resources, ideas and homeschool curriculum. She likes to digi-scrap and dabbles in graphic design in her *free* time. Feel free to drop by her site for a visit anytime! www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com

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Women around the world are IN THE WORD! Every Wednesday we will have a link-up. If you are a blogger we invite you to link-up any blog posts that you have written about your quiet time that week. We ask that you put our button in the post or on your sidebar so we can find each other. We do not have code for this link up button. Just right click and save as. Then link it to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org

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I have a very special gift for you…..

I have a very special gift for you today…

Today I’m talking about hospitality and sharing a special family recipe….

A recipe that is super easy, yet will make your guests ask for more…

Join me as I share the recipe to this pie…….it’s my husband’s FAVORITE…..I have a feeling it might be yours too!

Today I’m guest posting at Karen Ehman’s blog:  http://www.karenehman.com
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A Little About Karen

Through her daily blog, writing ventures and many speaking events, Karen’s passion is to provide women with creative inspiration and doable ideas to help them live their priorities and love their lives. She is the Director of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team and is a contributor to Focus on the Family’s magazine Thriving Family.

A popular presenter at Hearts at Home moms’ conferences, Karen is also the author of five books including The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized, A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others and the recently released best-selling ebook Untangling Christmas: Your Go-To Guide for a Hassle-Free Holiday.

She has been a guest on national media shows including The 700 Club, At Home Live, Engaging Women, The Harvest Show, Moody Midday Connection and Focus on the Family. The mother of three, she and her college sweetheart Todd just celebrated their silver anniversary.

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Join me today, enter her giveaway and get a new recipe to use this coming Easter……your family and friends will be glad you did!!!

 

Love God Greatly!

 

 

 

 

Looking for the Ministry of Motherhood book giveaway? Click here and enter today!

 

 

{Week 11} Are you training or exasperating your children? {Giveaway}

 

I love and wrestle with Ephesians 6:4- “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

I struggle with that verse. I embrace it at times……..desiring to train my children in the instruction of the Lord. And yet other times I exasperate myself wondering if I’m being a “good” mom, a “successful” mom….wanting to correct and train yet not cross the line of exasperating my children. Have you been there too? Are you there now?

Besides the bible, another book God has used tremendously in my life as a mother is Sally Clarkson’s The Ministry of Motherhood.

God has used her book to rock my world with quotes like these…..

“He allowed Peter to fail spectacularly so he would finally understand that grace was the key to serving God and his kingdom. Not by his own strength and courage, but only by God’s constant grace and mercy would Peter be able to deliver Jesus’ message to the world- a message that would then be wrapped in the grace and mercy he had come to know so well.”

“Perfection is not a standard he requires of me as a mother, for his grace extends to me as well as to my children.”

“But instead of just telling them what to do, harshly commanding their allegiance with orders and threats or guilt and manipulative statements, he chose to tie the cords of his heart to theirs with the strong and unbreakable bond of a loving, serving relationship.”

“I realize my love and service to them must come before any of my great words, my teaching and training. My time, my attention, my “soft-tickling”- even when I am tired or have other “important” things on my mind- is what builds our relationship and prepares them to listen to what I have to say.”

I have enjoyed this book so much that last summer Courtney and I chose The Ministry of Motherhood for our GMG summer reading! It truly is wonderful and a MUST READ for every mom who wants to love her children well and train them up in the instruction of the Lord.

So why am I telling you all of this today? For two reasons.

1. Last week Sally launched a new blog called Mom Heart Online. Here’s a little description of it:

Mom Heart Online

The ocean of “mom blogs” on the Internet seems to grow wider and deeper every day. You already know that it is impossible to follow every good blog you find as you surf that ocean. If you did, there wouldn’t be much time left for mothering! So, you are right to want to know what makes Mom Heart Online different. Out of all the wonderful mom blogs wanting and deserving your attention, why should you visit us here? Why is it worth your valuable time to spend time here.

​Mom Heart Online is spiritual harbor. We’re here not just to bring you in to stay, but also to send you out to sail. We are a place any mom can come to be encouraged, equipped, and enabled as a mother after God’s heart. We are here to inspire and engage your heart with great content that calls you to a high vision for your life as a mother, to create an online community of moms where you can network and interact with others who share your heart, to train you how to easily start and lead your own Mom Heart Group to continue in life what you find online, and to provide quality and original materials and resources that will fill your heart and mind with life-changing wisdom and truth. That’s why!

I adore Sally’s heart for moms and am honored to be a contributor there (and many of my favorite bloggers are contributors too – Ann Voskamp, Courtney from Women Living Well, Joy, Sarah Mae, Ruth)!! Check out the list of amazing Contributors here.

2. Sally is graciously giving away one copy of her book The Ministry of Motherhood to one blessed Good Morning Girl!!!

Here’s how to enter:

1. To enter simply leave a comment below with your name and contact info.

2. For bonus entries: subscribe to Good Morning Girls, “Like” Good Morning Girls on Facebook and/or follow Angela on Twitter (@LoveGodGreatly).

For an extra entry: blog, tweet or Facebook the link to this post.

The winner will be randomly chosen Sunday, April 1st at 12pm.

This giveaway is now closed! Thank you to everyone who entered!!!!! :)

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Congratulations to last week’s Love & Respect winners: Christine and Sheeba!!! (Christine I have already sent you an email and Sheeba I sent you a Facebook message!) So excited for the two of you! Please email me and/or Facebook message me back so I can send you your books! Praying God uses them to bless your marriage as much as it has mine.

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This week read: Ephesians 6:1-9

Digging a little deeper: For those of you who would like to learn more about these verses this week, I’ve provided a few resources below for you to use to help you…….dig a little deeper!

1. John MacArthur

a. Ephesians 6:1-4: God’s Pattern for Children-1

b. Ephesians 6:1-3: God’s Pattern for Children-2

c. Ephesians 6:3: God’s Pattern for Parents 1

d. Ephesians 6:3: God’s Pattern for Parents 2

e. Ephesians 6:3 The Key to Maintaining Family Unit

f. Ephesians 6:3: God’s Pattern for Parents

g. Ephesians 6:4: Shade for Our Children 

h. Ephesians 6:5-9 God’s Perspective on Work 

i. Ephesians 6:5-9 Spirit-Filled Labor Relations

2. John Piper

a. Ephesians 6:4 Raising Children Who Hope in Triumph of God

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

The Proposal

    …. and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Ephesians 5:33

Have you noticed that in many of our television shows the husband is portrayed as inept if not an outright fool? From The Flintstones, to Married with Children, to The Simpsons, to Home Improvements and Phineas and Ferb one could draw the conclusion that the least respectable and capable person in any home is the husband or father.

The idea of respecting authority, let alone one’s husband, seems very Victorian. We don’t respect authority, we undermine it. We don’t listen, we speak our minds. But Paul is emphatic on this issue (1 Peter 3:2), and calls for wives specifically to “respect their husbands.”

To respect your husband means holding him in esteem because of his position and character, and honoring him in private and public.

Why is respecting our husbands important?

There are two reason why I  believe Paul emphasizes the need to show respect to our husbands: 1) men have a built in need for it, and 2) women are often slow in giving it.

So, Paul is pushing us where we need it. While a wife may love and remain committed to her husband, she may lack respect for him because of his shortcomings. For example, often times a wife will disrespect her husband by openly complaining about a lack of leadership in the home. While it is his responsibility to lead well, a wife’s disrespect only makes the matter worse. It neither helps him (which is what wives are called to do – Genesis 2:) nor makes for a happy home or marriage.

You see, we are called to respect our husbands whether we feel like it or not. It is a command, and a ministry that God has given to us. We are called to show respect because it is right, and because it produces fruit. It is not our calling to merely focus on what our spouse is or isn’t doing, but on how we can help our husbands be who God has called them to be. This means that you should show respect to your husband even when he fails. Think about it, a husband is called to love his wife whether she is being godly or difficult. Nancy Wilson asks the question, “Do you only want to be loved when you are being lovely?” I am positive we would all say “no”.

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
Proverbs 12:4

Do you want to be considered a disease in the life of your husband? When you disrespect him it is like a disease that eats away at his strength and causes discouragement.  It tears him down and saps his motivation. As wives we have the power to build or destroy. Our words and attitudes matter. They can make the difference in the man you love; in the man you are called to partner with in life!

What does respect look like?  How can we obey the commands of Scripture practically? Here are a few ideas.

 

Things NOT To Do

1. Don’t Go Off in Public

While you may not physically tear down your house, you can tear your home apart with your tongue, even when you are not at home. Do not share your husband’s shortcomings, failings, or poor decision making with anyone (and don’t try to sneak it into a prayer request). This public form of disrespect will only encourage others to think less of him, and maybe even less of you as well.

The wisest of women builds her house,
but folly with her own hands tears it down.

Proverbs 14:1

2. Don’t Go Off in Private

Don’t talk to  your husband in a rude, condescending, or mean tone of voice. No one is perfect, not you and not him. We all fail, and while we need to address failure, there is a big difference between heckling and helping. Instead of eye rolling, nagging or mocking him, seek to constructively and biblical address the problem. Also remember that we are called to be self controlled with our words and with our tone.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

Proverbs 16:24

3. Don’t make yourself the boss.

Whether you are thinking about leading a Bible study group, buying new furniture, having another baby, or changing your children’s schooling, talk to you husband first. God made him the head of the household (Eph. 5:22), which means as a way of respecting his authority we should run things by him before we make major and even some minor decisions.

 

Things To Do

1. Praise Him
In private and public, wherever he succeeds. Men need this. For example, if he held onto his temper during a particularly trying moment, let him know that you noticed and that it was great. Let him know that his hard work at his job are noticed by his family.

2. Pray for him
How do you feel when someone tells you that they have been praying for you? Good, right? Pray for your man and let him know. Send him an e-mail or call him just to tell him that you prayed for him and his day.

3. Encourage him
God has given you the most influential position in the life of your husband. This means you need to speak up to help him see what he might be missing. But, to do this effectively requires a “voice” that he can hear. When he fails, acknowledge the failure with care and point to a better way. You have to use the proper tone of voice, wisdom in your timing, and know what the best way to approach your husband is.  If you point out his failure the second it happens with a harsh, holier-than-thou attitude, I guarantee you the conversation won’t go well.

4. Work hard
Be a hard worker.  A lazy woman disrespects her husband by virtue of remaining idle. Stay at home moms especially need to make sure that their husbands can go to work and not have to worry about what may or may not be going on at home. He has full confidence in her abilities, time management and godly work ethic.

The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:11-12

Respect can actually equip a man. Respect will encourage him and bless the whole family. May God give us the grace to live as he has called us, that we might help our husbands.

Looking to Jesus,

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