Motherhood: What Every Woman on a Mission Should Know

Motherhood - What Every Woman on a Mission Should Know
The Lord has given me a calling.

A high calling, really.

A high calling that requires a woman to stoop low.

To scoop up babies, to pick up toys and to clean up messes.

To wipe runny noses and patch up scratched knees.

It’s known as Motherhood and there are times when it doesn’t feel like all that grand or glorious of a calling.

And there are times when it does.

Like when the little ones snuggle into my arms, or the older ones look to me for answers. When I’m needed to comfort their hearts or speak truth into their young lives.

Then it’s nearly breath-taking.

All this because God has made me their mother.

He has put these children – and these challenges – in my life as part of what He is doing in this world.

Rather amazing.

So when I consider the wonderful privilege of motherhood, I feel blessed beyond words. And I know you do too.

But when I don’t stop to consider?

That’s when I can feel overwhelmed by its dailyness and the seemingly smallness.

Then I experience frustration. Defeat and discouragement.

On those days it feels like we’re going nowhere.

I have to stop and remember I’m a woman on a mission.

And as a mission-minded woman I want to be prepared for the important work that’s before me.

It’s not enough to merely muddle-through motherhood, I want to embrace it and make the most of it.

As do you.

Motherhood - What Every Woman on a Mission Should Know

Embracing the Mission of Motherhood

Scripture-Filled.

When a mother is pouring out all day, she needs to be filled up too. Spending time in His Word is essential. If hours of uninterrupted time aren’t available (right!), try posting Bible verses throughout the house – in the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom and other popular places – to memorize and meditate on throughout the day.

Sift Through Priorities.

One of the challenges of motherhood? EVERYTHING is  important. Meals, cleaning, organizing, driving . . . Oh yes, and caring for their hearts. But there are times when we have to let go of good things, in order to get best things done. We might have scrambled eggs for dinner because I spent the afternoon helping two sisters learn to love each other. No need to be hard on myself – I’ve chosen the better part.

Seasons of Life.

Much frustration can come from bucking up against this reality of life. A new baby puts us in survival mode. Sleep, food, and basic hygiene is often all that can be achieved in such a season. Sickness can be a similar experience. A loss or a move can set us back for months. But if this is what The Lord has brought into our lives? Then this is what He intends for us.

And so . . . .

Soften Your Heart.

To the lessons the Lord has for you and your family. Don’t merely try to “get through it”, but desire all that He wants to do through your circumstances and trials. Then you’ll grow – and your children will grow right along with you. Much is gained, even if little is accomplished.

Stop Sighing.

It’s so easy to slip into the unconscious habit of sighing. A small set-back. Sigh. More work to be done. Sigh. So much training left to do. Sigh. Not only does this defeat your spirit, but that quiet sigh communicates your discontent to your children far too loudly.

Instead . . . .

Savor the Sweetness.

Of this precious time. Look for and enjoy the bright moments. Laugh at the funny antics of your children. Listen to their creative ideas. Kiss their darling cheeks and help them see God in the small things. Pour His love into their lives while you have the chance.

Let’s set our sight on this high calling.

It’s when we get to looking down at all the sticky spots and work left undone that we get discouraged. So let’s keep looking up.  Looking up to the God who gave us this beautiful gift called motherhood.

Yes, we are truly blessed with a high calling.

Women with a mission.

Her children rise up and call her blessed (Proverbs 31:28).

In His grace,
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100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

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

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

What Makes the Proverbs 31 Woman So Surprisingly Fearless

What Makes the Proverbs 31 Woman So Surprisingly Fearless

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.  ~ Proverbs 31:25

As I imagine her, I’m in awe…

She stands in her front yard, hearing her neighbor out. The neighbor lady whose forehead is always wrinkled in worry. The one who’s forever forecasting doom. Doom that very well may come.

But the Proverbs 31 woman is unruffled. She listens. Speaks a few sincere words. Puts an arm around her neighbor’s shoulder and then smiles with confidence. A laugh even bubbles up. Not a careless laugh, but one of peace and joy. Somehow she’s not terrified.

This Proverbs 31 woman intrigues me. How can she laugh at the time to come?

Me? I look at the future with apprehension.

I mean really… The world is falling apart!

My kids face temptations, struggles, and a future, that apart from God could completely undo them.

There’s terrorism, human trafficking, persecution, disease, and natural disaster on every front.

Godly values are disdained and discarded.

What if life changes completely? What if my idols of safety, security, comfort, and happiness vanish?

I’m just not prepared for that!

What Makes the Proverbs 31 Woman So Surprisingly Fearless

Prepared…

That’s what the Proverbs 31 woman is. That’s where her gentle laugh comes from. She knows the future is uncertain. She’s planning on it and she’s been preparing for it all along. How?

First of all, she’s worked hard to care for her family’s needs.

She’s resisted the addictions of her day. She’s pushed herself past indulgences. Instead, she’s been doing some serious stuff to make sure her family’s needs are met.

She’s faithfully focused on those who matter most.

Secondly, she’s full of godly character.

Her strength and dignity are so much a part of her, that she’s clothed in them. She’s spent her lifetime developing godly traits. She’s an excellent wife, trustworthy, skilled, ambitious, generous, wise, and kind.

She’s spent a lifetime strengthening her soul. Her roots go deep. Strong winds won’t topple her.

Thirdly, she knows the Lord.

The joy of the Lord is her strength. Where else would she get this kind of character, if not from God Himself? She’s a woman who fears the Lord — not man.

Her foundation is the same as that of the Psalmist: “In God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11)

The Proverbs 31 woman embraces the future, because she knows that…

neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

I want this to be me.

You too?

We know it’s going to end well. Yes, our Enemy will pull out all the stops. But only because he too knows his end is near.

What if we looked past the gloom that fills the news today? Past the clouds hovering over tomorrow?

What if we focused instead on the hope that lies before us?

What if we were clothed in strength and dignity, shining as lights in this dark world, laughing at the time to come?

Blessings,

Jennifer

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

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

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

Now That She’s Turned 18 {& What I Love About The Strong-Willed Child}

Now That She's Turned 18 {& What I Love About the Strong-Willed Child}

So you’ve turned 18 and you’ve got big plans.

But no big surprise.

Because you were always like that. Right from the beginning.

You were the baby who was born without any help—didn’t wait for the doctor to arrive and even Daddy’s strong, capable hands missed you. Oop! There you were.

Born, breathing, and ready to start living.

You were also the toddler who put me through my paces. You responded to my clear, specific instruction to STAY ON THE BLANKET . . . by sticking one toe over the edge.

One big, determined toe.

Testing. Testing. Testing.

Looking up at me with your large green eyes and curly brown hair, waiting to see what I was going to do about it.

Oh, don’t worry. I did something about it.

But not before leaving the room, choked up with laughter. Hopefully returning with some composure.

Yes, you were the child who screamed (SCREAMED!) for 10 nights in a row because you somehow, for some reason, decided that you didn’t want to sleep in your crib anymore. I thought something was wrong with you. Like, seriously wrong.

You were the one who came into the house nonchalantly smacking your lips and announcing, “Hey, Mom, I just ate a butterfly.”

Why, oh child of mine, why??

It seemed I never knew what got into you or why.

All I knew is that you weren’t budging. Not when you set your mind on something.

Yet you’re also the one I have to thank for launching this blog in the first place. I hardly knew what a “blog” was back then. But you insisted on it. Made me do it. You even went so far as to set me up and design my first site.

There, Mom! It’s waiting for you. Now all you have to do is start writing . . . .

And so I did.  Grateful for your big vision that I was a bit slower to see. Blessed by your unwavering spirit.

Thankful for that strong determination.

Now That She's Turned 18 {& What I Love About the Strong-Willed Child}

Now soon you’ll be heading across the country for college and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Well, that is until you mentioned that you probably wouldn’t make it back for Thanksgiving. Because home is just too far away.

At which point, I did a little weeping. Poor, silly mom.

The reality of your adventure hitting me harder than I would like to admit.

How much I will miss your companionship and having you here as my own right-hand and my go-to-girl.

Will miss your sweet smile and goodnight hugs.

Will miss those crossed arms.

And every one of your determined toes.

Now That You've Turned 18 {& What I Love About the Strong-Willed Child}

Now That You’ve Turned 18

What I love about the strong-willed child . . .

Determined spirit.

What nearly drove me out of my mind when you were a child has turned out to be one of your best qualities. You will not give up and you will not give in. This world could use a few more young people who stand determined for their beliefs and convictions. I love to see all that fight in you being used to fight for the good of others.

Caring heart.

I don’t know that I fully recognized this at first. I couldn’t see all the tenderness that was hidden behind those resolutely folded arms and that defiant stance when you were so small. But I do now.

I watch how you care for Grandma – in these difficult days of Alzheimer’s – and how you’re one of the few who can tuck her into bed. Slowly, strongly, insisting that she settle down for the night. Gently wrapping her up in blankets as if she was the child and you the older one.

Passionate nature.

So you feel strongly about things. Very strongly. You can’t help yourself and never could. And that’s fairly challenging when all that passion is trapped inside a young child’s body, but now that you’re older and belong to Christ? It’s a beautiful thing and I love that about you.

Big vision.

You sometimes see things before others do. I’m sure you saw stuff beyond the confines of your crib that drove you crazy. Stuff that made you want to scream. For 10 nights in a row. Admittedly, made me want to scream too. Yet now you have words to express that grand vision of yours and it’s a blessing.

And, yes, that very strong will.

You don’t go with the flow and you’ve got your own ideas and you don’t always do what you’re told. Not easy for a mom to deal with when you’re only five . . .  but, oh child of mine, how much I love this about you now that you’ve turned 18. 

Now That You've Turned 18 & What I Love About the Strong-Willed Child

So maybe you’re raising a strong-willed child too.

The kind of child who sticks his or her one big toe over the edge of the blanket. Who screams for 10 nights running and who randomly munches on butterflies.

Always testing.

Very determined.

With big ideas.

Do not grow weary, my friend, and do not give up. God gave you this child because He knew you were exactly the parent needed to raise such a strong-minded child.

You have been given a special gift.

Because I’m telling you now that this dear child can grow up to become the most wonderful, interesting, caring adult—-in fact, a world-changer.

And might well turn out to be one of your closest friends.

I’m sure gonna miss you, baby girl! 

In His grace,

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Photo credit: The very talented Allison Harp

Triumph Assistance

About Vienna

In addition to being my daughter and friend, Vienna has worked as my personal assistant for the the last 3 years (and for others as well) and has recently launched her own V.A. business, Triumph Assistance. Further information is below:

Triumph Assistance is a virtual assistant business, run by me (Vienna Jacobson) specializing in Social Media Management & Marketing, Pinterest Pin Creation, PowerPoint Slides, and General Administrative Support.  Over the past 5 years I have taught myself everything I know and looked for every and any opportunity that would hone my skill set and make me a better personal assistant. I am 18 years old and live in beautiful Central Oregon. I am the third of 8 and love my big family. My favorite things include: eating sushi, talking with friends, reading books, coffee shop hopping, and hanging out with my siblings. Triumph Assistance can also be found on Facebook and Instagram.

How to be a Successful Homemaker…When You Feel Like You Fail at Keeping House

How to be a Successful Homemaker When You Feel Like You Fail at Keeping House

Tears of frustration streamed down my cheeks. “Homemaking is the thing that defines my entire life, and I’m not even any good at it!”

It was the end of another long day.

As I looked around, all I could see were the toys littered over the floor, the dirty dishes that still weren’t washed, and the mound of rumpled clothes that wasn’t yet folded.

The hateful self-judgment screamed at me, “You’re a loser! You can’t even keep a house clean! Other women with more kids than you keep their houses clean. What is your problem?

Great Expectations

When my husband and I were engaged, one of the questions our pastor asked in pre-marital counseling was “What is your biggest fear as you enter marriage?”

My answer without hesitation was, “Not meeting up to my own expectations.”

I think I’d seen a few too many episodes of Leave it to Beaver. June Cleaver always had an immaculate house, was always dressed beautifully, and had a perpetual smile on her face in spite of Beaver’s mischievous boyhood antics.

Perfection was my ideal, and it was my goal to reach it every single day.

I would do it all. Cleaning, organizing, homeschooling, self-care, preparing healthy meals from scratch – that would be me.

Boy, was I in for a rude awakening!

First of all, four crazy children against one mama is not fair odds. Add to that the other obstacles I have in the way (chronic illness, tiny house, living in an unsafe area where kids cannot go outside unattended, etc.) and expecting perfection is entirely unrealistic.

But I still struggle with setting unrealistic expectations and come down much too hard on myself when I can’t reach them.

Never mind the fact that toys strewn about are the result of disobedient children who did not clean up when told to do so.

And never mind the fact that I spent all my cleaning time teaching, training, and correcting said children.

Never mind the fact that the extra loads of laundry would never need to be washed except for said children “cleaning their room” by dumping piles of clean clothes into the laundry hamper.

Never mind the fact that the dirty dishes had to wait because I was busy bathing a baby with a blow-out diaper.

I was measuring the results of my day by what I could see instead of taking into consideration how I had spent my time, even though the results were not necessarily visible.

True Success

I’m completely opposed to laziness and looking out for number one, and I’ll preach hard against it. Sometimes my own pride is what keeps me from successful homemaking.

But there’s a difference between giving ourselves a little kick in the tail when we need to straighten up and beating ourselves over the head because we can’t meet up to impossible expectations.

Even though your homemaking obstacles are most likely different than mine, the truth is that expecting perfection from yourself is also unrealistic.

So next time the voices of self-judgment start whispering in our ear and telling us what a horrible person we are, let’s stop and write down all we have accomplished. The results of our day’s work might not be visible, but we need to recognize what we’ve done lest we get discouraged.

It may be that we:

  • Fed hungry mouths
  • Gave lots of kisses
  • Played outside
  • Read books
  • Straightened up toys 4,682 times, even though they are out yet again
  • Corrected and prayed with a naughty child

Ladies, there are only 24 hours in a day. If we’ve filled up every single one of them with loving our families, why should we tell ourselves we’re a failure?

Success in life isn’t measured by how few pairs of socks have been left un-mated, how few dishes are left in the sink, or how few toys are left out of the toy box.

A clean house will get dirty again. There will always be another chance to work on it.

But I will never have this day again to love my husband and children. I will never have this chance to do what is best for them even though it might not be best for the house.

If I end the day as a failure of a housekeeper, it may just be that it’s because I took the time to be successful at loving people.

And there’s no reason to feel guilty for that.

~ MaryEllen Bream, ImperfectHomemaker

* So what are some of those “hidden” things you’ve accomplished today? Those things that really count….

100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

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

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

A Dozen Things You Can Do to Keep Your Marriage Fresh & Fun

A Dozen Things to Keep Your Marriage Fresh & Fun

It’s not always a party around here.

Not that we don’t have a good time or that we don’t love each other.

Because, of course, we do.

But there are some seasons that are tougher than others.

We both have so much on our plates that we begin to feel weighed down by the pressures and bills and time-constraints. Health concerns and relational-challenges. It all just keeps coming at us and life doesn’t feel as fun as it used to be.

And so a general heaviness sets in.

But we can’t let that go on like this for too long because it’s not only “not fun”  – it’s not really right either. It’s not good for our health, not good for our family, and certainly not good for our relationship.

So something needs to change!

The funny thing is that the solution doesn’t have to be all that dramatic or expensive. It’s often those simple or relatively easy things that help revive our friendship and restore that spark.

A small investment with a big return.

Now in case you and yours ever find yourself in such a season? Here are some things that Matthew and I like to do when we’re stuck in a rut or are feeling the strain . . . .

A Dozen Things to Do to Keep Your Marriage Fresh & Fun

A Dozen Things to Keep Your Marriage Fresh and Fun

1.     Go for a walk in the fresh air.

When we’re crazy-busy and don’t have the time, or if we can’t get too far from the house, we will simply go for a walk. We might only walk up and down our long driveway, or possible wander out on the trails that go out into the desert behind our house. As long as we’re holding hands – sometimes talking and sometimes silent – we’re happy together.

2.     Try a new place to eat.

Now this might just be us, but we love finding some neat little place to eat! Some place that we’ve never tried before. He and I especially enjoy all kinds of ethnic food – Thai, Mediterranean, Indian, Vietnamese – you name it! Yum.

3.     Watch a funny or fascinating movie.

While watching movies isn’t usually my favorite thing to do, I’ll confess that it can be rather nice to “check out” and get a good laugh from a comedy, or temporarily disappear into another place or time in a well-done film. Just don’t tell our kids that I admitted, that okay? 😉

4.     Cook up something new that you’ve never tried before.

I don’t know why this is, but trying out a new recipe or cooking up something special can turn an ordinary evening into a celebration. Caramel popcorn, onion rings, guacamole al fresco—we’ve tried them all! Five stars.

5.     Invite old friends over that you haven’t seen for a while.

Do you know those longtime friends whom you just love . . . but never seem to get around to getting together? Call them up! Ask them over and order pizza. Then laugh over old times and get caught on on new happenings. We recently went out for Thai food with friends we’ve known since before we married. Talked about everything. Sweet for the soul!

6.     Make new friends by asking interesting people over.

This is more my husband’s strong point than mine, but I’m wanting to grow in this. When you’re going through a hard time, it can be difficult to reach out when you feel like you’re merely hanging on.  Yet we’ve found that it can be “just the thing” to lighten things up to focus on new people and new friendships.

For the Woman Who Is Simply Weary of Serving - The Super-Homemaker

7.     Throw a party.

Small party or big party – it doesn’t matter! Open up your doors and let the festivities begin. Yes, it can require a bit more work (when you’re already feeling over-worked), but the benefits of fun and fellowship make it all worthwhile.

8.     Tell him something you’ve never told him before.

Share a wonderful memory you have from your childhood. Tell him about that camping adventure or that silly experiment you tried. Maybe talk about your favorite book or biggest accomplishment. Then ask him about his too!

9.    Step outside the usual routine.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a “creature of habit.” I like my routine. A lot. But there are times that shaking things up and doing it totally different is just what’s needed! I might surprise him and suggest we watch a late-night movie (we’re usually in bed by 10pm) or challenge him to a boardgame together. Woohoo!

10.   Sneak away with only the two of you.

You have all kinds of reasons why you can’t. So many responsibilities, not enough time, and can’t afford it. I get it. I really do. But do it anyway. There is no better investment than in your marriage. Make it a priority, even if it’s not “screaming” at you in the way these other things are in your life.

11.    Lighten up with a good laugh.

I’m not sure I should tell you this, but the truth is that he and I are both big teases. He is worse than I am, but I find great satisfaction in catching him off-guard with a joke of my own now and then. We flirt, laugh, and play practical jokes on each other often. It’s one of our “secret” ingredients. :)

12.    Pray for one another.

When my eyes for him are clouded with the stress and strain of our situation, I ask God to give me “fresh eyes” for my husband. I pray that He will restore our love for each other and infuse new life in our relationship. He has always been faithful to answer that prayer.

So be sure and invest in your marriage. Don’t let the urgent and the heavy keep you from enjoying one another as God intended. Keep it fun and fresh.

Try one of these ways . . . or maybe all twelve!

In His grace,
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*What are some of the ways that you like to bring light and life into your marriage?
100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

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

Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).

A Gift of Love for You, Mom {Free Printable}

A Gift for You This Mother's Day {Free Printable}

So what does a mother of 8 kids do for Mother’s Day?

I bet you guys really do it up big over there!  

That’s what I often hear.

But we don’t do it up big.

On the contrary, I’d say we do it up small.

Small in the very best sense.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the young boys whipped up some breakfast for me, with the help of their dad. Likely it will be fried eggs (our 12 year old makes the best fried eggs!) and toast (if I remember to pick up bread before then) and maybe some fresh fruit too.

Knowing the girls, they’ll make an effort to decorate the table with something special—fresh flowers from our yard if they’re to be had.

And coffee, of course. Always French-press coffee. 😉

So, no, we don’t really go all-out for Mother’s Day around here.

No extravagant presents. No big speeches. And no fancy brunches.

Why?

Because it’s the little things that mean the most to me.

Kind words.

Thoughtful acts.

Warm hugs and sweet kisses.

Because I’m a mom. Just like you.

And what do we want more than anything?

Mostly we want to know that we’re loved and appreciated. 

Matthew and Lisa Jacobson with Family

So one of our daughters, Vienna, made this beautiful note for me and I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with you too.

My gift to you.

Something to share with your own mom.

Or maybe share with another older woman in your life that has been like a mom to you.

Or maybe just for you. To hang in your kitchen or some other favorite spot to remind you of all that you are.

Because you are loved.

A Gift for You This Mother's Day {Free Printable}

Click below to download:

Free Printable – A Gift of Love for Mom

Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her. ~ Proverbs 31:28

A gift of love for you.

In His grace,
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Raising Heavenly Minded, Down to Earth Kids (small)*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get 2 FREE eBooks, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage and Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth Kids).