The Parent Trap: What to Do If You’ve Fallen Into a Parenting Rut

The Parent Trap - What to Do If You've Fallen Into a Parenting Rut and How to Get Back On Track

Do you remember those first moments after the birth of your first child?

For me, time, itself, came to a screeching halt as I gazed down upon my son

. . . My Son.

Those words were an explosion, an earthquake.

From somewhere deep within the unreachable expanse of the universe, an announcement was being made: Matthew Leonard Jacobson is now a father.

He lay there, peaceful, content – not doing much of anything except for the cadence of his perfectly formed chest, beating out the rhythm of life – like a drum in preparation for battle.

I couldn’t stop staring, couldn’t get enough of this . . . this vast miracle. It was like staring into the Grand Canyon for the first time – too big, too wonderful. You can’t take it in because your mind can’t contain it but, you can’t stop gazing into its endless mystery.

The drive home from the hospital was fraught with peril.

Never before had I realized how crazed the mad drivers of Portland really were. Why, there was one hapless driver who had the nerve to get within three dangerous car lengths of my back bumper! Didn’t that wreckless tailgater know I had The Sacred, Fragile, Treasure of the Universe on board? Unbelievable! It was non-stop peril until we got inside the apartment and locked the door.

“Piece of Work” pretty much sums it up for this first-time, maniacally overprotective father.

What God Is Doing in the World

Sanity was not long in recovering herself as we settled into our dreams for our new family. Once again, from somewhere in the Universe as we gazed into the oceanic expanse of this massive little life, we heard the Inspiring Voice of Destiny laying before us all that our new son could and would be.

What we were experiencing – what every new parent experiences on some level – is what God is doing in the world.

This is what makes the advent of a child so otherworldly, so exhilarating.

Do you remember those first weeks? God, in His infinite wisdom and divine purposes, has entrusted you and I with what He is doing in the world.

Children are what God is doing in the world.

But then . . . we forget . . . because of the noise, because of the bills, because of the pressures, the groceries, the activities, the schedule, the culture smog . . . because of The Parent Trap of everyday life.

Where once was vision, purpose, God’s best for the future, and our commitment to be purposeful, godly parents, are the endless demands of modern “Christian” life stuffed into too few hours until we fall into bed, hoping to get enough sleep so we can do it all again.

It’s a trap. It’s The Parent Trap.

The Parent Trap

God’s purposes haven’t changed from those first few hours you experienced eternity in the form of a little life. God’s vision hasn’t changed. What God is doing (our children) hasn’t changed, even though they’re a little older now.

But, we have changed.

We’re older, more tired, distracted by cares and a thousand other things that blur the focus of the trust placed in us by God for the discipling of our children.

And that makes all the difference when it comes to being the shepherd of our children’s hearts.

When You've  Fallen into a Parenting Rut and How to Get Back Out

How do we get out of the trap and regain the understanding and vision that what we are doing as parents is so much more important than the busy things that scream for attention ?

We have to get our head back in the game or, more to the point, get our eyes on eternity, where what we do here and now will be ultimately realized.

1)    We must remember that our children are what God is doing in the world. Say to yourself every day, “My child/children are what God is doing in the world.”

2)    Remind yourself that, “My relationship with my child is more important than any activity we will do today.”

3)    Tell yourself that, “Today, God has entrusted this little life to me to nurture, to shepherd, and to point the way to Him.”

As parents, we have this moment with our children. There is no guarantee for another. We don’t know the future.

Let’s be reminded that Jesus only chose 12 disciples (those the Father gave Him, it says in the Gospel of John) to turn upside down the entire world.

How many disciples did God entrust to you?

Dad, Mom . . . you are the head of an enormously important enterprise. It might seem like only a bunch of messy peanut butter and honey on the outside of jars and a lot of dirty laundry but God is at work through your faithful witness and focused leading of your family to bring about the future as He intends – that’s massive.

So, remember the destiny you saw and felt in those first few weeks of your first child.

You’re walking in that destiny, even now.

Matthew L. and Lisa JacobsonMatthew L. Jacobson has been in the book publishing industry for 22 years and is currently the president of Loyal Arts Literary Agency. For the last 10 years, he’s served as a teaching elder in his local Church. Matthew and his beautiful bride of 22 years, Lisa, raise their 8 children in the Pacific NW. You can join him at his blog by clicking here: MatthewLJacobson.com or find Matthew on facebook.
100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson

 

Six of the Best Blogs on Loving Motherhood

6 of the Best Blogs on Loving Motherhood

So when I started this whole Mom-Thing . . . 

I was nervous.  Excited.

And more than a little scared.

You see, I felt very ill-equipped to be a mom.

I’d never been one before and –  now don’t tell anyone this - I didn’t know what I was doing.

But I’ve learned some things along the way, now that I’ve been mothering for over 20 years. Some I learned from experience. Some I learned the hard way.

But mostly  I learned from mothers who had gone before.

I read books, articles, and magazines – anything I could get my hands on that would help me become a better mom.

And now we have this thing called blogs.

Advice and encouragement is only a click away!

I don’t know about you? But I don’t have tons of time to search out, try out, and figure out what’s the best. So I thought today I’d share with you some of the best blogs I’ve found on loving motherhood.

*These are all blogs which share from a Christian perspective and which focus primarily on encouraging motherhood (rather than a variety of topics). You can “click” on either the title of the blog or the image and it will take you directly to each one. 

The 6 Best Blogs on Loving Motherhood

Pint-Sized Treasures

Mom-to-mom encouragement for your journey in motherhood.  Alison, the mother of six beautiful children, offers all kinds of encouragement and ideas!  She will inspire you with her articles on parenting, recipes, crafts, devotionals, pregnancy and more.  I always leave her site feeling fresher and lighter than when I arrived. 

Pint-Sized Treasures with Alison Wood

The Busy Mom

Real encouragement and honest discussion about life as a busy mom. The mother of 7 and grandmother of one,  Heidi St. John is a popular speaker and author who offers humor and refreshing honesty in all her communication.  She writes on balancing life as a busy mom, as well as help for homeschooling and loving God’s Word. You can count on Heidi to speak straight to ya and I love that about her!

The Busy Mom with Heidi St_ John

Joyful Mothering

Discipling mothers and helping mothers disciple their children. Christin Slade is also the mother of 7 children (two recently adopted from Ghana!) and her heart for children and the Word of God is a definite blessing to me. This was one of the first blogs I followed when I started blogging. I especially appreciate her series on “Moms in the Word”!

Joyful Mothering with Christin Slade

The M.O.B. Society (for Moms of Boys)

Finding delight in the chaos of raising boys, and raising a generation of men to love the Lord. If you’ve got boys, the MOB Society is great place to go!  Erin Mohring and Brooke McGlothlin co-host this site FOR Moms of Boys, By Moms of Boys. Brooke is also the author of Praying For Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most

The MOB Society

Mothers of Daughters (M.O.D. Squad)

MOD Squad [mŏd/skwɒd] n Mothers of Daughters: Modern moms raising girls with timeless Truth, walking together. And if you have daughters? Here’s a place for you. Stacey Thacker, mother of 4 daughters, and others offer inspiration and practical truths that are applicable for girls of all ages. 

Mothers of Daughters with Stacey Thacker

The Better Mom

Our mission is to build God-honoring homes by inspiring moms to be better moms through sharing life and learning together.  Not only have I been blessed by being one of the writers for TheBetterMom, I’m also an enthusiastic reader. It’s actually one of the few blogs that I subscribe to!  Ruth Schwenk and the women behind these articles are genuine, godly ladies and I’ve personally benefited from the wisdom and encouragement offered there. You’ll find a wide variety of topics and interesting articles over there each day.

The Better Mom with Ruth Schwenk

So I hope you find all of these resources helpful and insightful!

But before I close - more than anything - I’d encourage you to spend time seeking God and looking in His Word FIRST.

Because nothing, nothing, can replace or improve on the wisdom and refreshment that comes from God above. 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~ II Tim. 3:16-17

I’m so thankful to be walking with you through this whole Mom-Thing!

*Please share your favorite(s) blogs on mothering, or feel free to share your own blog if you’re a blogger as well.  I’m very interested!

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
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5 Good Reasons Why Cleaning (yes, cleaning) Actually Matters

5 Good Reasons Why Cleaning Actually Matters

My hands were black with dirt as I came in from the garage, and I headed straight for the shower, after telling my son I was sure there were 10 spiders in my hair.

Perhaps an exaggeration, but I couldn’t help but have the creepy-crawlies after sweeping that many spider webs out of the corners.

The garage had been driving me crazy for months, so I tackled it. In several hours of hard work, I had the freezer defrosted, a huge mound of stuff taken to the church garage sale, shelves tidied, and floor swept.

As I swept the last pile of dirt into the dustpan, my thoughts went to the comments of two women I had heard from the day before.

One was a young mom almost despairing of what possible good purpose wiping snotty noses and mopping the floor could be doing in this dark world.

One was an empty nest mom who was struggling to find the why in doing housework without the children around.

I had been trying to find ways to encourage these two friends but was having trouble.

Why clean?

Why toilets and sweeping and laundry and dishes –the same day after day?

Looking around at my now gloriously clean garage, I thought of the expression, Cleanliness is next to godliness, but this time I gave it serious consideration.

Is cleanliness next to godliness? If so, why?

Will you allow me to entertain a yes to that question and throw out some reasons why the job of keeping things clean is a holy activity?

Five Reasons Why Cleaning Matters:

1.     The good news of Christ is that the dirty can be made spotless. The black-as-night heart can be made white as snow. Every time we clean our homes we show ourselves and our families and every guest that redemption is a possibility.

2.     The good news of Christ is that chaos can be brought into order. Our lives were a disaster until Christ came in and swept out the corners and sets things right. Every time we neatly put things away in a cupboard or fold a towel with corners matching we mimic what God can do in the human heart.

3.     The good news of Christ is that we are invited into the kingdom of light. Every time we dust an end table we admit that light reveals everything. Every time we clean a window we express an awareness of the goodness and warmth that light brings.

4.     The good news of Christ is that he came to serve us, to give us life. Every time we clean we serve those who enter our homes. We demonstrate how important they are to us.

5.     The good news of Christ is that our troubled hearts can find peace in him. Every time we clean we create an environment of comfort and peacefulness, a refuge from a messy world. We say, as Christ did to us, Come. Rest.

Why Cleaning Actually Matters

Keeping a shiny home is mundane work that seldom receives accolades, but it is important for more than just meeting health department standards or for gaining your mamma’s approval.

A clean house preaches a sermon of hope.

So grab a broom, sister. It matters.

As for me, I have a smelly toilet ring to tackle.

Christy FitzwaterChristy Fitzwater is a pastor’s wife living in Kalispell, Montana. She is the mother of a son in high school and a daughter who was recently married. 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.

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)
100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa Jacobson and 100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew L Jacobson
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What Your Child Wants Most From You

What Your Child Wants Most of All From You

Not everyone knows this about me.

But I love making bread.

I’m not sure what it is, but for some reason I find the process incredibly relaxing and rewarding – maybe even downright therapeutic.

There’s something about grinding the wheat, mixing and kneading the dough, and baking the loaves. It reaches deep down inside me.

So right and good for my soul.

Yet there’s this one problem.

My kids love making bread too. With me.

And I hate to say it, but this changes the experience for me - significantly.

Because when I have my little helpers?  I’m no longer unwinding or getting lost in the wonder of it all.

Instead, I find myself distracted by their wiggly fingers and chattery words. The mess, the mistakes, and the mayhem. My nerves are inevitably on edge by the time the loaves are tucked safely in the oven.

No, it’s definitely not the same experience at all.

So what to do?

I’ve a difficult decision to make: Should I minister to my own soul . . . or pour into theirs?

A real dilemma.

Because I’m aware that if we do this together, our children will probably remember it forever.  They’ll remember sinking their hands into the warm, sticky dough. Kneading and forming each loaf. Trying to follow my hands and copy everything I do.

They’ll never realize that it cost me much.

They can’t understand how it changes everything.

They’ll not know that I gave up some of my own soul-feeding moments to nourish their own.

To be honest, I’m always surprised by their enthusiasm for baking bread. I’ve tried suggesting they go build with their Legos. Or go outside and play on the swing. Maybe they’d like to watch a favorite movie?

But, no, nothing seems as pleasant as making bread with mama.

Funny, huh?

It’s really quite strange when you think about it.

Why wouldn’t they rather run along and play?

Why do their small hands seek to be so close to my own?

And why won’t they stay in their own little world . . . so that I can enjoy mine?

What Your Child Needs Most From You - 3

What Your Child Needs Most From You - 2

What Your Child Needs Most From You - 1

What Your Child Needs Most From You - 4

I think as moms we can be so caught up with giving things that delight our children – toys, crafts, treats and games – that we forget what they really want from us.

They want to be part of our lives.

They want to know what it is that we love, and learn to love it too.

They simply want to be with us.

So welcome your children into your world. 

What Your Child Wants Most From You

If you have a passion for gardening…or reading…or writing…or design….then share it with them too.

Invite them to come alongside and place their young hands next to your own.

Their heart next to yours.

After all, it really is good for the soul.

Both yours and theirs.

*So what kinds of things does your child like doing with you, or alongside you? I’d love to hear it!

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
*If you would like these posts delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).