All The Wonderful Love a Mom Can Carry

All the Wonderful Love a Mom Can Carry

Another inspiring guest post by Christy Fitzwater

We were enjoying lunch, until my son cried out, “I need water! I just got a mouth full of something salty!” I paused to explain to my soon-to-be-married daughter that she should always make sure the bouillon cube has dissolved completely into the chili.

After we stopped laughing, my husband said, “You owe him.”

“Owe him what?” I said.

“A slushy!” he said. “And me? And me a slushy, too?”

“And me?” my daughter said.

I conceded and said I would run to the gas station to buy slushies for all. (Really, this makes for a very popular mother. Bouillon cube forgotten.)

“Can you carry all those?” my husband asked.

“Yes, I’m a mom” I answered.

He wondered what being a mom had to do with it.

“You know –when you’re a young mom you learn how to carry in one hand a heavy car seat filled with a baby, with purse and diaper bag in the other hand –and then your husband asks if you can carry his Bible, too.”

“Hey!” He said.

“Then you have a second child, and you carry in one hand a heavy car seat filled with a baby, and in the other hand you carry a heavier diaper bag that includes sippy cup, snacks, and toys for the toddler. Add to that the toddler running up to say, ‘Mom, can you hold my Sunday School craft?’ You absentmindedly take the craft from the child, tucking it under an elbow.

“Honey,” I continued, “That’s when a mom learns how to close things with her back side or with one foot kicked out awkwardly from behind the car seat. She learns how to open doors with an elbow and carry just one more thing under the chin or in her teeth.”

“Wow” he said. More in awe at my impromptu speech than with the information.

So off I went to the gas station, where I purchased and carried three large (cold!) slushies in hand, using my back side to open the gas station door and one pinky finger to open the car door.

But all of this made me think –moms carry things.

We carry the night watch with infants and the fierce hatred of 2-year-olds who have been denied another bag of fruit snacks before dinner.

We carry smelly soccer equipment and socks that have dried and hardened wrong side out.

We carry plates of hot chocolate chip cookies to a distraught middle school girl and carry the worry that our teenage boy’s future wife will hate us if we don’t somehow convince him to put the towel on the hook.

We carry a lot, and the question it raises is, “With what attitude do we carry the responsibilities of motherhood?”

There have been times I’ve grabbed my responsibilities with scathing resentment, muttering wicked things about my family under my breath. “Why can’t they just…”

But over the years, God has worked in my heart to help me say, with sincerity, “How may I help you with that?” or “I would love to carry that for you.”

Maybe getting closer to the empty nest years has helped, as I foresee the days when those kids aren’t in my house, and they’re carrying their own burden of family. It makes me want to say to them now, “Please let me do that for you.”

It’s a privilege –a joy that will too soon be gone, to help bear the daily needs of a family.

Christy FItzwater Small BioChristy Fitzwater is a pastor’s wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She is the mother of a son in high school and a daughter in college. She enjoys when the days get shorter and the weather nasty so she doesn’t feel guilty about not going outside. Days where she can just read books and write words all day. She can even tell you the plots of 15 missionary biographies without batting an eye. You can read her personal blog at ChristyFitzwater. Also find her at Pinterest and Twitter.

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Strong-Hearted Women and the Men Who Love Them

Strong Hearted Women and the Men Who Love Them

I’m not sure what started it.

But I suspect it had something to do with this one book I’d read a few years back. I’m not saying the author intended to communicate this message, but it’s certainly what I concluded.

If I wanted to be a a good wife – a biblical wife? Then I needed to tone it down a bit.

Okay, a lot.

I needed to swallow it, hold it back, and keep it down. I was far too intense for my own good. Or at least for my husband’s good.

So I started this new, radical campaign. I didn’t even tell my husband what I was up to, but decided that from then on, I was going to mellow out. Keep it quiet.

Now for those of you who know me, you probably find that rather funny. You can’t even hardly picture it.

But I really did try.

And I kept it going fairly well . . . until one day when we were discussing a certain subject while standing by the piano—a subject that I felt, ahem, passionate about. And suddenly, I couldn’t take it any longer.

I nearly shouted, “I JUST CAN’T DO THIS.”

Do what??” his eyebrows raised.

“I can’t simply keep my mouth shut and not express all that I’m thinking or feeling!” I was practically shaking with frustration.

Then – being the sensitive soul that he is – he burst out laughing.

I resisted the temptation of throwing the old red hymnal at him. But only barely.

I’m glad I did though, because I might have missed what he said next . . . .

“But, Baby, I don’t want you to ‘zip it’. I married you because I appreciate your strong mind and passionate heart. Don’t you see? I love that about you.”

Oh. You do?

And at last I was able to reconcile being a strong-hearted woman and being a biblical wife.

Now some of you might not see the struggle here. What? What’s the issue?

Well, the “issue” is that Scripture talks about the “beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” (I Pet. 3:4) and I truly wanted to fit that description. But I wasn’t so sure that I did.

So maybe you’re a strong-hearted woman too. You don’t give up, you’re willing to stand up for what you believe is right, and you’re passionate about your family and the world you live in.

Boy! do I get that.

And guess what? It’s okay.

So all my strong-hearted friends, be encouraged.  Here are some  beautiful truths for you:

A Strong-Hearted Woman can keep a quiet heart. She’s not agitated in her spirit, yet remains strong in her convictions. A lovely example of this is Elisabeth Elliot – one of the strongest women of my acquaintance and also the author of Keep a Quiet Heart.

A Strong-Hearted Woman draws her strength from Christ – not from herself. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13).  Always remember the true Source of your strength.

A Strong-Hearted Woman readily respects her husband. She uses her strength to support her husband. Not to go up against him (Eph. 5:33).  (More here: The Highly-Rated Habit of Respecting Him)

A Strong-Hearted Woman cultivates a sweet spirit. Sweetness and strength are not opposites. These two qualities actually can - and should - go hand-in-hand.

A Strong-Hearted Woman walks in humility. She knows that just because she might feel more strongly about something doesn’t necessarily make her right (and you know what I”m talking about!).  Don’t let your intensity triumph over all.

God gave you that wonderful, passionate heart and, as long as you’re submitted to Him, then you’re right where He wants you to be. Not only that, you’re right where your husband  wants you to be.

Yes, your man loves that about you.

In His grace,
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How to Build a Kind and Confident Young Man

How to Build a Kind and Confident Young Man

I could feel his sweet blue eyes studying me.

Watching me as I worked. Taking note as I built a fire to take off the early morning chill.  My husband was out-of-town and this fireplace is how we like to heat our home. So it fell to me to light a cozy, crackling fire.

I was merely doing what needed to be done. But I could sense our son’s concern.

“That looks like a man’s job to me,” he quietly observed.

I smiled up at him. Not really minding. I’m actually a rather fine fire-builder, thank you very much.

So I kept on with the task. Crumpled paper. Small kindling. Then the larger logs on top.

And that’s when he couldn’t stand it any longer.

He stopped me, “That seems like a big job, Mom….so you’d better let me do it.”

Those were strong words coming out of a five-year-old’s mouth. I hesitated, but his determination made me think I would do well to step aside and let the Little Man take over.

I wasn’t sure what to make of him lifting those heavy logs that were nearly half his size. Somewhat surprised at his willingness to do the hard work. Somewhat surprised as his instinct to look after his mom – rather than the other way around. But mostly surprised that he viewed his little self as, well, a little man.

So how does a mom build up a kind and confident son?

Always consider him as a young man in the making. Even when he is still quite small, consider your influence in forming his manhood. My friend commended her 3-year-old who had patiently waited while she and I finished up a conversation, “You’re patient and I like that in a man.” How powerful for a little boy to hear those words from the woman in his life! She was already addressing him as one growing into a man.

Teach him to reach for the heights, but have a heart for the lowly.We want our sons to conquer mountains, to reach for the stars, and so he needs to hear our enthusiastic shouts of “I know you can do this!” Yet also to listen to our gentle reminders, “Look out for her; she can’t walk like you or me.” Or, “He’s smaller than you. Be sure and help him out.” A good man is mindful of those who need tender thought or care.

Don’t rush to rescue him if he stumbles or struggles But be sure and stand by him until he’s back up on his feet. It can be difficult to resist our mothering impulse to save him when he falters. Yet often the greater gift is to help him find his own strength in The Lord, rather than to depend on mama’s. So give him some space to discover the solution for himself.

Leave no doubt you’re his biggest fan.  While he might not always show that he’s scared or unsure on the inside, he’ll be looking for your support more than is apparent. So be cheering loudly from the sidelines as he ventures out into this world. He could use your “Go, Son, go!” more than he lets on.

A mom plays a special role in her son’s life – whether he’s five, ten, or fifteen. She’s that woman who’s standing by to inspire him to be the strong, kind, and confident man God has called him to be.

That young man in the making.

Your son.

In His grace,
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25 Tips I Want to Share With Younger Wives

25 Tips I Want to Share With Younger Wives

She asked if we could meet for coffee. Clearly, something was on her mind.

She’s a wonderful young lady and full of the hopes and dreams that come with youth. She wants a beautiful marriage. Yet she’d also been around long enough to know that a strong, loving marriage isn’t a guarantee.

So we sat down in a quiet cafe and she asked me outright. What does it take to build a lovely marriage? What advice could I give? What would keep the two of them loving each other in the years to come?

And I thought about the things I wish I would have known from the beginning – those things that really matter at the end of the day. Some are big and some are small, but they all add up over the years to a strong, loving marriage.

Here’s what I want to share with her and any others  looking for that kind of love . . . .

25 Tips I Want to Share with Younger Wives

1.    Hold hands whenever you can. We do and always have. We’ll clasp hands when sitting next to each other on the couch, while we’re driving along in the car, and when we’re out walking. A simple connecting that goes a long way.

2.    Pray for him every day. Faithfully. What better gift than to offer up a prayer for him? Ask God to bless him, protect him, and work in his life.

3.    Look for the many ways to love on him. Small gifts and thoughtful gestures. Those little things that say, I love you and I’m thinking of you.

4.    Make friends with people who’ll encourage your marriage. Surround yourself with those who will support and pray for you both as you grow together.

5.    And avoid those who pull against you. If they were “friends”, I’d ditch them altogether. (Real friends are going to cheer you both on). It’s harder with extended family members, but I’d dodge those as much as possible too.

6.    Go to the Word of God for the best marriage counseling. You can get good advice from others, but there’s no replacing the loving, powerful Truth to be found in Scripture.

7.    Cultivate your friendship. Marriage isn’t merely a business deal.

8.    Never give up on each other. People go through difficult seasons and we get to persevere through them. Don’t let go.

9.    Confess your sins to one another. Doesn’t help to smooth it over; instead repent and ask forgiveness. (Jas. 5:16)

10.   And then forgive freely. (Col. 3:13)

11.    Be patient with him. Love is long-suffering, remember? (I Cor. 13:4)

12.   Show him respect. It’s in the Bible. And it’s what he needs (Col. 3:18).

13.   Leave off with the complaining. It only drags the both of you down (Phil. 2:14).

14.   Focus on those things which are true, pure, and lovely. (Phil. 4:8)

15.   Speak kindly to him. Gracious words are sweet to the soul (Prov. 16:24).

16.   Let the little irritations go. Is it really worth bothering about? Probably not.

17.   Keep the home fires burning. Intimacy is still important. Yes, even long after the honeymoon.

18.   Stand by your man. You’ll probably find loyalty toward the top of his list.

19.   Make loving him your priority. Over your job, your friends, your extended family. Even over your children.

20.   Give him – and yourself – room to grow. I know that we’re not done growing yet and I’m guessing you two aren’t either.

21.   Express appreciation for the man that he is. Be an encouraging voice in that otherwise thankless world he lives in.

22.   Protect your marriage. Value your relationship for the treasure that it really is.

23.   Never leave off with kissing. No matter how old you grow. My husband’s 80-year-old parents still kiss each other goodbye – on the lips!

24.   Decide you’re going to stick together. With God’s help, you’re going to stay together throughout the years. (Mark 10:9)

25.   Put on love. Above all things. (Col. 3:14)

May you be blessed with a truly beautiful marriage!

In His grace,
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