A Love Note ….for the Mama Still in her Sweatpants

A Love Note for the Mama Still In Her Sweat Pants

Hey you,

Yes, you, still in your sweatpants and un-showered, hours into your day. This love note is for you.

Between seven a.m. when they wake, alert and ready to tackle the world and you and any sibling that accidentally touches the edge of that notebook that one-time a long time ago used to be theirs, and lunch you will field dozens of questions. The shade snapped, up, when seven arrived and you’re right in the thick of a motherhood that looks a lot different than when you prayed for their hearts in the dark, just a few minutes earlier.

In your mind, they were quiet and jammy-clad with the night weighing down their eyelids — and you poured out quiet prayers for their souls.

With seven a.m. came bodies that bolt and jump and climb right out of that placid sleep and into dress-up clothes and dolls and drama.

The older ones, they wear their layers — maybe not as loud on the outside but roaring beneath their skin. Where the littles count minutes until snacks and sweet treats, these older ones they hunger, too. They’re hungry for answers to all the questions you’ve just barely had answered yourself and the ones you’re still asking. You see them, awkwardly fumbling through who they are and who you’re not and trying find their one niche in a world that doesn’t know them but wants to own them.

Each child is a bell and they ring with their needs, sometimes all together.

All at once, this loud cacophony of sounds and needs and aches and you wonder how in the world God even allowed for a mother, much less you. They all need Him. Those bells, they ring and remind and hang out in your once-quiet space. All of them are needy for way more than your frame — still ringing its own bell of need and ache and hunger — can supply, yet they call you Mommy.

They Call You Mommy

So, you, the world wants to tell you that Mommy is that one who is harried and stressed and all caught up in worry. She’s the one who’s put all of herself on the shelf — though still not completely sure why — to tend to the myriad of needs she’ll never meet, but will certainly grumble about later. Mommy, to the world, means supplanted and second-class and just-can’t-wait-to-get-out-of-that-baby-stage-and-really-live.

Mommy is something to endure, according to the world.

She can’t wait to climb out of her skin and find passion, again. She wants to be led by love, but is trapped in a season where duty trumps all. Her sweatpants are an appropriate uniform.

But you want to know the truth about this season for her, for this Mommy? For you?

It’s scandalous.

You barely step outside your bedroom door to referee a squabble and another child’s broken a glass, downstairs, and the baby is crying — all at once — and there’s a Face behind that moment. You see that moment as loud and disruptive, but He has removed your ease so that you might find something better.

As I pour myself out over disparate legos and another broken glass and hours of referring squabbles, there is a concurrent story. The hot pursuit of a Love that shows up in the unlikely, just to show me that He is more than a God to be studied, but one to be encountered.

Experienced.

The scandal is in the sweatpants and the fingerprints on the walls and the sink full of last night’s dishes. We want to wrap those up and put them away so we can get dressed up and really love, and the God who scudded from the birth canal on to the dusty earth of the inn whispers “my Holy Spirit lives in your messy motherhood.”

So, you, mama, let go of the lie you’ve believed.

Ease isn’t the gift for the mom to hold out in front of herself like a carrot, counting the days she moves closer towards that as her babes move out of diapers and into big beds and onto college, out of the house. Ease is the enemy of the mother who really wants to fall in love with God.

Because falling in love with God often happens in the muss. Always, in the muss.

It starts with one encounter. One quiet (or loud) whisper in the middle of the crazy-mundane can make me lift my eyes and even shudder at how near He is to me.

This day — this long day where I crawl into my bed and wonder if I can do it again tomorrow — is the day the Lord has made. For me.

It’s my day to say, God, show Yourself as so near to me. Let me feel Your breath on my skin, today.

It’s my day to fall in love, right here in my sweatpants.

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Post originally posted on Mothers of Daughters.

For Your Continued Pursuit: John 1:14 | Psalm 23:1-3 | Colossians 1:27 | 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 | 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 | Psalm 118:24

Second photograph by Julie Cannon

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

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet4Sara Hagerty is the author of Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things.  “This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a very long time. Sara Hagerty is a particularly gifted writer (she has the most lovely writing style!) and her story touches the deepest of places. I found myself stopping many times while reading and just staring off as I pondered the truth of what she had to say. Inspiring, convicting, and touching. I highly recommend this book!” ~ Lisa Jacobson

What Every Daughter Desires to Hear from Her Mom

What Every Daughter Desires to Hear from Her Mom

It’s not easy to define what success in a relationship means because relationship is a very fluid thing.

It moves and breathes.

It changes with time.

But I can tell you that my mother and I have a successful, close relationship. And I’m pretty sure this is one of the main proofs:

I’ll call her until the day she dies.

My mom and I talk as much as we can in our busy lives. When I traveled around Europe, as I prepare to move across the country—it doesn’t matter.  If we can’t talk in person, we use the phone.

You see, my mom is not just a “person” in my life. She is not just the woman who gave me birth, she is the woman who gave me life.

Because of my mom, I know I can fly. She is the first person I want to cry to and the first person who hears my good news.

So, this mother of mine asked me to write about what every daughter desires to hear from her mom.

And this is my answer—for all the women who were perfectly made to be the moms of their precious daughters:

I will listen.

It’s no secret that girls are usually talkers. We have lots to say, and even if we don’t initiate the conversation, it’s very likely we still have lots to say. If your girl is a talker: let her. If she is quiet, give her time and space to open up. Create opportunities for her to tell you the secret things.

I value you.

The power a mother has over self-esteem cannot be measured. It is limitless. Communicating and saying, I value who YOU are as a person, I value your gifts, I value who you were made to be, can change your daughter’s life. It can give strength to her soul. It will give her the strength to fly. Every girl is different. Value her, just for her.

You are my friend.

Your daughter will always have to face enemies. So make sure she knows you are her friend. Be on on her team. You are rooting for her. Include her in your life. Ask her advice. Tell her that you are going to be best friends for life. As she grows older, eventually, this can come true.

And lastly,

I love youno matter what.

Love is transcendental. Love is safety. Love is approval. Give your daughter your love. Tell her. Show her. Approve of her with your looks. If she is different than you, rejoice in her giftings. Don’t try to make her like you.

So there it is.

And mamma, you just hang in there with that little girl. We grow up. But we will always need you.

Really, you have always been the perfect thing we needed.

~ Savoury Jacobson

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 Mother’s Guide to Bedtime Prayer for Your Child

Club31Women.com_A Mother's Guide to a Bedtime Prayer

As a child I prayed the same prayer every night.

You might know it, and maybe you prayed this as well.

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

Then came the creepy part about the 3 little angels around my head.

“Three little angels around my head, one to watch, one to pray, and one to carry my soul away.”

I didn’t give this prayer much thought. I had said it so many times that the words came without them meaning much to me.

Now I have children of my own and every night we tuck them into bed, answer questions, get drinks, give kisses and, we pray with them. This is important because we want our children to know that we love them, that God is in control, and that we are forever dependent on Him for life now and in eternity.

What are some things that we can pray over our children? How can we intercede for them before the throne of grace?

I find Psalm 28 to be a helpful guide in praying for my children.

A Mother’s Guide to Bedtime Prayer

Save your people, and bless your inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up forever.”
Psalm 28:9

“Save them”

Our children, like us, need the saving grace of our Lord. This should be a prayer they hear us pray for them all the time. That God would give them a heart that beats with love for Him and perseveres in faith.  Additionally our children need continual saving (as do we). They need God to save them from the evil found in the world, in other people, and even from the foolishness that lurks in their own little hearts.

“Bless your inheritance”

Those who belong to Christ are his heirs. I do not know if all my children have placed their trust in Jesus yet. Some kids can very clearly and very early on articulate their faith in Christ, while others take a while for the fruit of their faith to be seen. We pray with anticipation and hope that God will save our children and so we also pray that God would in turn bless them.

We should desire that God bless our children with all the wonderful things spoken of in the Bible. We ask God to bless our children with mercy and an abundance of grace. We ask that God bless them with knowledge and wisdom regarding His Word as well as a love that starts with Himself and flows into the life of other people.

“feed them”

Jesus said that His the bread of life (Jn 6:35) and a well of living water (Jn 7:37). Anyone who comes to Him will find a satisfaction that the world does not posses. I want this for my kids, don’t you? No matter what God has in store for them during their lifetime, I want them to be fully satisfied in Jesus.

I also pray that the Holy Spirit would use the Scriptures to feed their souls. I don’t just want my kids to have a rudimentary knowledge of the Word of God. I want them to KNOW it, and I don’t just mean have a bunch of verses memorized. I pray that through the study of the Scriptures they would get to know the God who has revealed Himself through its pages. I especially want them to know His character and His promises.

“lift them up”

The world says that we are to lift ourselves up and that it is okay to boast about our accomplishments. What we have, who we are, and what we look like are all things that we should use to exalt ourselves, but God tell us the opposite. He has said that He opposes the proud but will lift up the humble.

I want my kids to be humble boys and girls who look to the only One who holds the true position of exaltation.

Sometimes it is easy to just rattle off a shallow bedtime prayer, and believe me, I am guilty of doing this way too often. But  I want my children hear me pray for them in very specific ways, that go beyond “thank you for a good day and help us all sleep well” ( though there are evenings when that is all I have energy for).

I want my children to learn that the Lord is real, that He saves, sanctifies, and satisfies.

In praying with and for my children they begin to get glimpses of this very truth.

Let’s Talk:
What are some of your favorite bed time routines?
In what ways do you want God to work in the life of your children?

Blessings,
Jen

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).

Bringing Up Children Who Have a Heart to Serve

Bringing Up Children Who Have a Heart to Serve

In the beginning, I did everything myself.

Mom was faster.

Better.

And more efficient.

I did things right. The way things should be done.

Oh, and, of course, I was serving my family all the while. I was the sacrificial mom who cooked, laundered, and cleaned up after everyone.

Most every job was done by me.

And, as a “shining model” of service, I counted on my children to eventually follow my example. It was obvious that I worked hard and did my best to please our family.

So wouldn’t they just naturally follow in my footsteps?

More is caught than taught, right?

But you know something? They didn’t catch on like I thought they would. They really enjoyed being served . . . and it kind of stopped there.

I was a good giver and they were good takers.

Um. Problem.

Sure, I was growing a ton by giving to them, but what were they learning? To receive. Not necessarily the hardest lesson for a child to learn.

So is that what I wanted to teach to my children? To be served?

Maybe I thought I was blessing my children with all my constant pouring out and cleaning up after them. But in the process, I was depriving them of the opportunity of serving their family. Yes, even of serving their mom.

Our children had yet to learn the beautiful lesson of blessing others.

Now just to be clear: this wasn’t about making my life easier. It wasn’t about them doing more so I could do less. This wasn’t about me at all. It was about them and what they needed.

And what they needed was to learn to have a heart to serve.

Bringing Up Children With a Heart to Servve Bringing Up Children to Have a Heart to Serve

Start by letting them work alongside you. Then, as you go along, teach them more than the mere skills of service, but the spirit of service. Talk about how pleasant it is to serve your family…as you’re folding clothes, baking muffins, or cleaning the kitchen. It’s not only a job to be completed, it’s a blessing to offer.

Teach your children to notice what needs to be done. To me it’s obvious that her little brother should have his face wiped up, but it’s not as evident to her young eyes. I have to point it out and then give her a chance to care for him.

Or prompt with, “Do you think your sister might want a glass of milk too?” rather than taking care of it myself. Although that would be easier and faster (and less chance of breakage).

Or, “Wouldn’t it be nice for daddy to come home to a clean house? Let’s surprise him by picking up the toys.” Rather than simply ordering the living room to be picked up.

Let them enjoy helping out. Show them the rewards of their service. “Isn’t it wonderful to be able to bless others by serving them like this?” Encourage them to see that helping others is not only the “right thing” to do, it’s a joy.

Instruct them in how they can be a help to you. Train them to ask, “What can I do for you, Mama?” Not waiting to be told what to do, but to actively look for ways they can help you. Then let them feel your pleasure when they’ve served you in some special way.

Cheer them on as they learn to serve. Take a moment to recognize their effort to help – no matter what the result. If they’ve spilled something or broken a glass in the process? It’s not nearly as important as them trying to help. What we care about is their heart to serve.

So this mom is not doing it all by herself anymore. We’re working on serving together.

Yeah, it’s slower, messier, and less efficient.

But, oh, so much sweeter.

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).

Bringing Up Boys: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Sons

Bringing Up Boys - An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Sons

Okay, I’ll just come right out with it.

I LOVE raising boys! 

I never would have guessed when I started this motherhood journey that having sons would be so much fun.

Sure, they’re noisy (super-noisy!) and messy and energetic, but boys are awesome too.

And you know something? Now that our oldest “boy” is no longer a boy – but a young man of 21 years – I’m more convinced than ever that it is more than worth it.

The last time he was home for Christmas and he put his strong arms around my shoulder and told me he missed my hugs  . . . . well, there’s nothing quite like it.

Maybe you’re a mom who is in the “thick” of raising a son and could use some encouragement? Some ideas on how to make the most of it? How to reach his heart?

Bringing Up Boys - An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Sons

Encouraging and Helpful Articles on Raising Sons

24 Ways to Prepare Your Young Man to Become A Gentleman
Boys Are Awesome and The Best Way to Love Them
9 Things I’d Say My Mom Got Right
What’s the Best Way for A Mom to Show Love to Her Son?
21 Questions Your Son Really Needs You to Ask Him
Instilling Vision in Our Sons
12 Lessons I Want Our Son to Learn Before He Turns 12
Raising Our Sons to Seek After God
7 Steps to Raising A Courageous Young Son

So now we’ve got one son who is off and well on his way, but then there are these three little guys . . . .  noisy, messy, and energetic!

And awesome. 

Bringing Up Boys - A Helpful and Encouraging Resource for Raising Sons

I love raising boys, don’t you?

In His grace,

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P.S. Here’s another resource if you’ve got girls: Growing Up Girls: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Daughters

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).

Growing Up Girls: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Daughters

Growing Up Girls: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Up Daughters

You probably know that I have four daughters.

And that I love these girls all to pieces. Each and every one of them.

They are my dearest friends and the ones I go to when I need prayer or encouragement. Or help. Or even advice, now that they’re getting older.

And coffee. I definitely go to them for coffee.

And they come to me for chocolate.

So you can see that we’re very close, these girls and me.

Even though each one is so different with her own unique personality. With her own individual strengths and weaknesses. And me with mine.

And we talk together and laugh and sometimes cry. Then talk some more and hopefully laugh again.

Because . . . well, because we’re girls, I guess.

And we’re growing up together.  These girls and me.

Growing Up Girls

Maybe you’ve got girls too?

If you do, then I’ve gathered some of the words I’ve shared over the last few years about raising daughters and some of the things I’ve learned along the way. Plus a few things from their daddy too. Stuff I hope will encourage and help you with your girls too.

Encouraging & Helpful Articles on Raising Daughters

21 Questions Your Daughter Really Needs You to Ask Her

How Does Your Daughter Grow Up To Be Your Very Best Friend?

One Hundred Things I Want to Share Before She’s A Bride

To My Daughter: A Good Man Is Worth Waiting For

24 Ways to Prepare Your Young Girl to Become a Lovely Woman

A Dozen Ways to Look After Your Daughter’s Heart

6 Truths Every Daughter Needs to Know

My Dear Daughter: A Word About Love Stories and Happy Endings

And from a Dad’s Heart:

8 Things Every Daughter Needs To Hear from Her Dad

20 Daddy-Daughter Dates

Growing Up Girls

And now I’m going to tell you something that you already know, but I have to say it anyway.

They grow up fast. These girls.

The next thing you know, she’s a woman and not merely a girl. And not only your daughter, but hopefully your friend too.

Drinking coffee and sharing chocolate together.

Talking, laughing, crying, and praying together.

Because that’s what grown-up girls do. ;)

Growing Up Girls - An Encouraging Resource

In His grace,

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P.S. Here’s another resource if you’ve got boys: Bringing Up Boys: An Encouraging and Helpful Resource for Raising Sons

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).