The Words Your Child Is Longing to Hear

The Words Your Child Is Longing to HearI grew up with a Dad who was both physically and verbally affectionate.

A quiet man by nature, he was in my child’s eyes a rock of security.

Firm with discipline, yet generous in love.

I was the eldest of four strong-willed kids and I was tough to raise—bossy, opinionated, sassy, and frequently in trouble.

Once I shot a neighborhood boy with a friend’s “bb gun” simply because I didn’t like him!

I was furious with my Mom when she came home from the hospital with a second brother and would not speak to her for days because I didn’t like the first brother who had usurped my position as “only child” at age four. A few years later Mom redeemed herself by giving me a sister.

I’m not quite sure how Mom and Dad survived those tumultuous early years of my childhood.

However, there is a vivid memory of my Dad that surpasses all others and it is one that still impacts my life today.

On many occasions I remember Dad sitting in his old easy chair, setting aside his carefully folded newspaper as he pulled me into his arms. Perhaps I was in tears from a recent punishment, or happy because I was invited to a play date, or beset by childhood fears.

Yet in his lap I felt safe.

And once again Daddy would say,

“Susan, I love you so much.”

“Why Daddy?” I responded.

“Just because you are mine,” he replied.

It wasn’t because I’d been good or bad. Most likely I’d been bad.

It was simply because I belonged to him.

That was enough.

This one statement, often repeated, gave me security and acceptance. Love from my earthly Father has enabled me to understand more clearly how my heavenly Father feels about me.

Daddy’s love for me wasn’t perfect. My heavenly Father’s love for me is perfect.

Daddy didn’t even know all the naughty things I got away with. My heavenly Father knows everything. Yet His response is still,

“I love you just because you belong to me.”

You may not have grown up with a Dad like mine. But the good news is that you can be the first of a generation of healthy families. Pull that young child into your lap. Whisper in his ear,

“I love you son. Do you know why?”

“It’s just because you are mine. You belong to me.”

Our world screams that performance earns love. Jesus says belonging to me ensures love and acceptance.

When guilt, failure, self-condemnation, and feelings of being unlovable creep into your head—rest in the truth that your heavenly Father is saying to you,

“I love you.”

Our little voice answers, “How could you?”

And He responds, “Just because you are mine. Period.”

In His lap you are safe.

He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young. ~ Isaiah 40:11


Susan Alexander Yates

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

100 Ways to Love Your Husband for Kindle
Subscribe to Club31Women*If you’d like these posts delivered directly to your inbox (and get 2 FREE eBooks), Subscribe to CLUB31WOMEN.

How Do You Show Value for Your Child’s Voice?

How Do You Show Value for Your Child's Voice

Have you ever heard yourself talk and listening to it made you cringe?

I have.

Except, most recently I wasn’t actually the one talking.

I heard myself in a stranger. A fellow mom of girls.

I recently sat next to her as we both hustled through afterschool responsibilities with our daughters. She was tired and there were endless amounts of homework to be done.

Her daughter on the other hand was energetic, chipper and a bit chatty—seemingly oblivious to the mounds of worksheets, journals and textbooks that surrounded her. With each irrelevant word, she was begging her mother to venture into the various parts of her day with her.

In between word problems, she shared the details of her lunch table conversations, her struggles at her locker and her excitement for an upcoming field trip. This sweet girl just could not contain it all and she was literally bubbling over—right into her mother’s frustrated ear.

I could relate.

With each of her words, her mother’s response lost another notch of patience. I recognized the look of annoyance as she counted down the available minutes and visualized the growth of a never-ending to-do-list, with this particular time-slot being dedicated to homework.

I imagine she was thinking, “If not now then, when?”

As a result, her responses became short, her tone snappy, and her pleasant demeanor vanished.

She lost it.

Eventually notebooks were forced back into the backpack, smiles tucked themselves behind tears and a once chipper little girl sat in shame.

We sat side by side without saying a word to each other, yet we shared so much.

I cringed.

Not because I judged this mother’s parenting, but because I recognized it.

I listened to her responses and I heard myself.

My girls have sat in shame because of my impatience. They have been forced to hush their giggles because of my exhaustion and they have cried because of my harsh words.

I was ashamed and it made me cringe.

Embarrassed, this mother glanced in my direction and I smiled.

This particular day it was her.

The day before, it was me.

Has it ever been you?

How Do You Show Value for Your Child's Voice

I am grateful to know that God offers mercy in moments of regret. He extends grace in seasons of struggle and a steadfast love to cover me through it all.

I want my girls to know that I value their voice.

I enjoy the details that make their days fun and I cherish each invitation they extend my way.

My prayer for the stranger I sat next to – for you and for myself – is that the voices that make our hearts cringe would ultimately lead us to God’s Word in search of change.

When you are struggling to balance between precious moments and your to-do-list, here are 3 Ways God’s Word can lead you to change:

  1. Pray for patience.

With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2)

  1. Allow for time for you and your child by adding empty timeslots on your to-do-list.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

  1. Pray for grace and accept God’s mercy.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; (Lamentations 3:22-23)


Wynter, For Girls Like You

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

You can read the full descriptions of each of the 12 sessions and see the line-up of wonderful speakers for this Homemaking Ministries Online Conference HERE!

So What Exactly Does It Mean to Be Your Husband’s “Helper”?

So What Exactly Does It Mean to Be Your Husband's Helper

Lately I’ve been reflecting on a largely unremarkable, yet poignant scene a photographer friend of mine witnessed as she snapped photos of a rather illustrious couple.

As she offered directions in a brief moment during the shoot, the husband became momentarily confused as to what to do.

At that same instant my friend noticed the slight pressure of the wife’s hand on her husband’s back, guiding him into the next steps fluidly.

In that moment of grace, the man lost no dignity in not knowing what to do, thanks to his wife.

She was silently, and wonderfully, his teammate and ally.

One might even say that in this situation, she respectfully led her husband.

Barbara Rainey

Due to a project at work lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole idea about Eve’s creation as Adam’s “helper.”

It’s a delicate subject, this one.

Sometimes I’ve received some rather blistering thoughts from constituents on this topic—often because “helper” is seen as a demotion of women as inferior, or as propagating abuse. But these implications are against all we stand for: the intrinsic value of women and their critical, life-giving role, without which Adam’s situation was declared “not good.”

Sometimes the desire not to step on toes can cause us as Christians to dial back the breathtaking design idea fashioned into each woman as God crafted her.

You may have heard before that this term of “helper”, the Hebrew word ezer, elsewhere in the Bible refers both to the Holy Spirit of God Himself, and to military allies.

The concept is not for the faint of heart.

Rather, it is endowed with innate strength.

Acting as wingman is never a demotion.  Neither is the Holy Spirit less than the Father or Son. His leading of us, of me, is always gentle yet also with pure truth.  His guidance of me is always with my needs in mind.

Eve was “fashioned” for Adam—in that way, I suppose their union and likewise any married couple is not unlike a 3-D puzzle.

I see it in my own marriage, and my husband would be one of the first to tell you: I excel at design while he tops me any day of the week in finances.  Yet even these two descriptors are not thoroughly helpful because Dennis does have a good sense of design and though spreadsheets give me a headache I am not completely inept with numbers.

There are ways every wife distinctly and uniquely complements her own husband.

And of course, he’ll offer his fortes to complement her areas of lesser strength as well.

In some ways, through “helping”, we’ll actually be gently, graciously leading. Abigail and Esther are both shimmering examples of women who wisely, shrewdly, and respectfully “led”—saving untold lives through their astute courage and foresight.

Any coach worth his salt will tell you that’s what a team is all about: not domination, superiority, or self-service, but on moving fluently with what each player brings to the team, toward your common goal.

Each member maximizing his or her gifts in their position makes for a winning game.…Or photo shoot.

And it’s one of the nuances often found in the team of two called marriage.



Barbara RaineyBarbara Rainey, wife of 42 years. Empty nester to 6 kids and 22 grandkids. Cofounder of FamilyLife. Creator of Ever Thine Home. Author & artist. Inspires women to see mundane moments as sacred and meaningful. Still in awe at being loved by God.

You can learn more about EverThineHome HERE. And follow Barbara & EverThineHome on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Creating a Romantic Refuge in Your Very Own Home

*The above photo of the former governor and wife is with special thanks to the talented Nancy Nolan Photography

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
100 Ways to Love Your Husband
Subscribe to Club31Women*If you’d like these posts delivered directly to your inbox (and get 2 FREE eBooks), Subscribe to CLUB31WOMEN.

4 Kinds of Talk that Will Save Your Marriage

4 Talks to Save Your Marriage

We’re skipping church because we’ve been gone all weekend.

We’re watching it instead, online, Pastor Mark Hughes’ Church of the Rock, and we’re watching a sermon on marriage on separate couches, while our boys climb all over us. Trent and I look at each other across the room and sigh, roll our eyes and there’s a splash of sunlight on the floor, falling from the sky. Just a splash but it’s enough to make the room feel warmer.

Marriage is hard with kids, and it’s hard without kids too. It’s just plain hard.

Not because of anything except that you are two sinful people with different ways of communicating, different ways of seeing and perceiving the world and suddenly you’re apparently one body and not only that, you’re expected to raise two very impressionable young children while being consistently “on the same page”.

And you try to have date night which basically means sitting on the couch with your feet up watching something funny because you can’t handle serious after the kind of day you had and suddenly the boys are yelling at you from bed because they want more water or another song or they’re hungry.

And you do that thing where you look at each other and even though you’re side by side you feel miles apart.

“Who are you?” you ask, not only to the person in front of you but to the person that you are, because you forget. You forget what makes you laugh. You forget what you used to do when you had free time, you forget what romance is because you’re so tired when you fall into bed it’s all you can do turn out the light before you’re snoring.

But I want more.

Making It Home By Emily Wierenga1

I know, my kids are 6 months and four and five and a half and we’re both neck deep in our careers and yet, I don’t want to lose “us” before the children are out of the house and suddenly we don’t know what to talk about anymore.

But more than that, I want to have the kind of marriage that makes my kids want to get married.

They say that your eyes should light up every time your son or daughter walks into the room. I think we should aim just as high when our spouse walks into the room.

But it’s not just about the eyes lighting up. It’s about talking to your other half–really, truly talking. According to Pastor Mark Hughes of Church of the Rock–the program we were watching on separate couches while our boys tugged on our hair and flipped across our laps, there are 4 kinds of talk that will save a marriage.

  1. Small Talk: You know, the kind in which you discuss the weather, the day, How was work honey, Did you get the mail like I asked you to, Why didn’t you get the mail like I asked you to?! Yeah,  that kind of talk.
  2. Sweet Talk: Trent and I call each other Babes, but that’s about the extent of our sweet talk, so we realized we needed to work on that. So I told him one night that I liked his butt. He told me he liked mine too. It’s a start.
  3. Serious Talk: This is when you discuss a heightened version of Small talk, concerning more crucial topics, like health, finances, relationships, careers. People often think they’re having an intimate talk if it’s about something serious, but in fact, it’s not. Yet it’s still important to do.
  4. Soul Talk: This is the most intimate version of communication. This is where you ask each other a “soul” question, like “What are you afraid of?” or “If you could accomplish one thing with your life, what would it be?”

So Trent and I have started soul-talking. Because we’ve realized we’ve been living mostly off of small talk, serious talk and a crush on each other’s butts. But our marriage was feeling flat because there was no soul.

You gotta have soul.

So set aside one night a week where you ask each other a question. Put the kids to bed early, pop some corn, pour each other a glass of bubbly and sit out on the deck.

It’s worth it to one day have the kind of marriage that makes our kids say, “Hey–I want one of those!”


Friends, I’m celebrating the release of my new memoir today, Making It Home: Finding My Way to Peace, Identity and Purpose.

Making It Home By Emily Wierenga2

What does it mean to be a woman and to make a home? Does it mean homeschooling children or going to the office every day? Cooking gourmet meals and making Pinterest-worthy home décor? In Making It Home: Finding My Way to Peace, Identity, and Purpose, author and blogger Emily Wierenga takes readers on an unconventional journey through marriage, miscarriage, foster parenting and the daily struggle of longing to be known, inviting them into a quest for identity in the midst of life’s daily interruptions.

Get your copy HERE. Proceeds benefit Emily’s non-profit, The Lulu Tree.


Get FREE downloadable chapters from Making It Home HERE.


Making It Home by Emily Wierenga

Sign up for the FREE Making It Home webcast featuring Liz Curtis Higgs, Holley Gerth, Jennifer Dukes Lee and Jo Ann Fore (with Emily Wierenga as host), 8 pm CT on September 10, 2015, HERE. Once you sign up you’ll be automatically entered for a giveaway of each of the author’s books!

Emily Wierenga Bio Picture

Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, columnist, artist, author, founder of The Lulu Tree and blogger at Her work has appeared in many publications, including Relevant, Charisma, Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Christianity Today, Dayspring’s (in)courage and Focus on the Family. She is the author of six books including the travel memoir Atlas Girl and speaks regularly about her journey with anorexia. She lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Trenton, and their children. For more info, please visit Find her on Twitter or Facebook.

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Subscribe to Club31Women

*If you’d like these posts delivered directly to your inbox (and get 2 FREE eBooks), Subscribe to CLUB31WOMEN.

4 Ways to Escape the Trap of Emotional Divorce

Club31Women.com_4 Ways to Escape the Trap of Emotional Divorce

Have you ever found yourself feeling:

“I’m just so mad, so hurt—again. I’m not going to share my heart with him anymore. He doesn’t understand. It is too painful. We’ll live in the same house but he can do his thing and I’ll do mine.” 

Most of us, if we are really honest, have felt this way about our husband from time to time.

I call it falling into the trap of emotional divorce.

Imagine a solid glass patio door.

Emotional divorce is a bit like slamming that patio door shut on our hearts.

We still see the person on the other side, but there’s a strong, sealed panel between us.

We begin to close up our heart to him.

This trap can occur during stressful transitions in our lives-a move, a job loss, financial pressures, a new baby, caring for elderly parents, a child in crisis, etc. We are stressed and if each of us responds differently to the issue, we get irritated.

We are too exhausted to communicate.

We are afraid, and we unintentionally take it out on one another.

What do we do when we find ourselves falling into this trap?

1. Recognize what is happening and refuse to let that “patio door” separate you.

2. Make the decision to take a sledgehammer and begin to chip away at that glass wall. Thick patio doors don’t usually splinter into pieces all at once. It takes a steady chipping away at a tiny crack until the door dissolves.

3. Talk to a godly older couple and ask for their help. Most churches have older couples who would be happy to mentor you, pray for you, and encourage you. Get counseling as needed.

4. Remember God is for your marriage. He is the strong “super glue” holding you together. You can rely on Him. He will bring you through this time and your marriage will be deeper and stronger as a result.

“For nothing is impossible for God.” (Luke 1:37)



(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
100 Ways to Love by Matthew and Lisa Jacobson

Subscribe to Club31Women

*If you’d like these posts delivered directly to your inbox (and get 2 FREE eBooks), Subscribe to CLUB31WOMEN.

Two Powerful Forces That Drive Your Teen’s Activities

Two Powerful Forces That Drive Your Teen's Activities

I have a ridiculous love of apocalyptic movies, so I watched Tommy Lee Jones in Volcano.

Because of course a volcano is going to erupt in the middle of a city. In great heroism, though, Tommy Lee creates a new path for the lava, so it goes to the ocean instead of destroying the metropolis.

It could happen.

I think teen souls are like hot lava that is going to flow. You can’t put a cap on their lives and keep them contained, but you can take powerful, heroic actions to direct where they’re going.

I have an 18-year-old and a 21-year-old, and they are everything I ever hoped they would be.

They love and serve Jesus.

They’re honest, hard-working adults who are pleasant to be around.

I’ve been trying to put my finger on how this happened, so I could share some practical advice with you.

Something I think we did well was to steer our kids in the direction we wanted them to go using the tools of permission and funding.

The Power of Permission

My son was a senior this past year, and he and his friends started scheming about making a big road trip after graduation.

Can you imagine how not excited we were about that?

But then one of the moms suggested that instead the group go to Hawaii and help a small church with their Vacation Bible School.

My husband and I were thrilled with this idea, so we gave Caleb our blessing to go do this Vacation Bible School, on a small island in Hawaii that is spiritually impoverished. He and his friends had a fun time playing in the ocean, but they also made a difference in the lives of little kids.

We started when our kids were very small –giving a hearty yes! to any activity that would benefit our children’s growth in their relationship with God and with godly people.

We signed permission slips and drove them to events and volunteered where we needed to.

We encouraged them to go hang out with good people at good activities.

The Power of Funding

We’re people of modest means, living a middle class life. We drive old cars and have more month than money. But we have used what money we have to direct the activities in which our kids have participated.

We paid over $300 apiece so our kids could go to Creation Festival, which is a three-day Christian concert and speaking event.

We paid for the kids to go to camp.

We paid for them to go to retreats.

We paid for them to go skiing and ice skating and backpacking with people of good character.

We spent money investing in their talents. We paid for voice lessons and bought guitars. My daughter is 21, and I keep buying her art supplies, to encourage that amazing gift she has.

Just about any activity comes with a price tag, so we showed our kids what was important to us by writing checks to fund a good life.

One thing our kids learned was that we loved to say yes.

We would give an excited, “Yes!”, with money to back it, when they chose excellent activities that honored the Lord.

They knew we would make personal sacrifices to help them live well. They also knew it pained us when we did, for some reason, have to say no.

So parent, be encouraged that you have great power in permission and funding. Are you using that power to funnel your child down a good path?


~ Christy Fitzwater

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
100 Ways to Love by Matthew and Lisa Jacobson

Subscribe to Club31Women

*If you’d like these posts delivered directly to your inbox (and get 2 FREE eBooks), Subscribe to CLUB31WOMEN.