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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3 Great Reasons to Party With Your Kids

3 Great Reasons to Party With Your Kids

You might not believe this, but I’m an introvert at heart.

For instance, my idea of a wonderful Friday night is curling up in my favorite place on the couch and getting lost in a good book. Or maybe popping up a humongous bowl of popcorn and watching Wives and Daughters  for the forty-eleventh time with the family.

Basically? Quiet and mellow.

But our God gives good gifts. And sometimes a few surprising ones. So He gave us a daughter who is the Ultimate Party Planner and I’m telling you, this girl does parties.

So last week-end she threw a Murder Mystery Swing Dance  and invited a number of the young people to our home. Her dad and I were also included on the guest list and we happily accepted.

Here we are! “Winston the Butler” and “Darla the Maid”.  (And, yes, the Butler was observed flirting with the maid while on duty ;)

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So here’s how a Murder Mystery works. It’s basically like a giant game of Clue (you remember Clue, don’t you?). Each guest was assigned a “bio” and arrived at the scene “in character”.  Here’s a sample of a bio, if you’re curious: Murder Mystery Bio. Our Party Girl created one of these for each guest.

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A few of the suspicious characters….Oops! I mean guests.

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After about an hour of dancing and mingling, the lights suddenly went out and yikes! one of the guests was found mysteriously dead on the floor.

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From there everyone was left to put together the clues from earlier in the evening to see if they could figure out who the “murderer” might be. I know, sounds a bit gruesome, but as the “victim” tended to chuckle when being searched for evidence, it was far more light-hearted than you’d think.

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The scene of the crime.

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Here is “Isobel Kensington”, hostess of the evening (and our Party Girl )

At last, the criminal was identified, arrested by security, and taken out – despite his protestations of innocence.

Moral of the story: A life of crime never pays (but it might win you an Academy award?).

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And so everyone returned to their dancing and back to the refreshment table – served cheerfully by Darla the Maid, I might add.

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So much for quiet and mellow.

Nope. This was definitely a party - loud and exciting! And I’m truly thankful God gave us a daughter who brings such good fun and good friends into our lives.

Here are 3 Great Reasons to Party With Your Kids

Makes for Fantastic Memories. Let’s face it, while curling up on the couch is comfortable, it doesn’t necessarily make for lifetime memories. So there’s much to be said for reaching out of our comfort zone and doing something out of the ordinary.

Connects You with Your Kids’ Friends. What a terrific opportunity to get to know their friends and for them to have the chance to see “another side” of you too.  I was no longer “just the mom”, but a real person who could have a good time – with them.

Keeps You Young. I smiled so much that my face hurt by the end of  our evening together. And, hey! if you’re going to have lines, they might as well be smile lines, don’t you think? What a blessing to enjoy the music, the laughter, and the sight of all those fine young people. It did my heart good.

And, as my daughter reminded us . . .  A Little Party Never Killed Nobody. :)

In His grace,
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Raising Kids Who Walk in the Power of Purity

Raising Kids Who Walk in the Power of Purity

Avert your eyes, Son.

His dad started saying it to him from the youngest age – when he was still only a little boy. Might have been an alluring commercial while watching the ballgame. Or a billboard while driving down the highway. A pop-up on the computer screen.

As parents, we had purposed to teach him purity from the beginning.

And you wouldn’t think that would be too tough to do where we live. We’re out in the country, somewhere on the outskirts of a small western town. But that hardly matters anymore.

Temptation can be found anywhere.

Even in Target.

Target?

Yeah, I know. That’s what I thought too. Until one day we popped in to pick up some flip-flops for the summer and I remarked how he kept bumping into things.

What is your problem, Son??

“I’m just looking down, Mom,” And with a nod, he indicated to the ads placed strategically above us. Billboards for the lingerie department. Yikes. I’d not observed them.

But then again…I’m not a vulnerable young man either.

So sorry, my child.

I’m sorry the Enemy tries to pull you down everywhere you turn. I feel badly we live in a world that’s so ready to compromise a person’s commitment to clean living. It’s never been easy – only it’s far worse now.

By “worse”, I mean that our young people encounter vivid pictures and messages promoting sensuality and immorality everywhere they go. Everywhere. Such wickedness is both rampant and increasingly elevated.

Then how can we encourage our children to walk in purity in a blatantly immoral world?

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality (I Thess. 4:3).

That’s a question my husband and I have often asked ourselves, as well as prayed and agonized over at times. Here are some of our conclusions….

We speak openly with our children. We want our kids to remain innocent – but not naive – so we don’t hesitate to discuss topics relating to physical attraction, purity, and morality. Some of these conversations take place right in our living room and others more privately, one-on-one. But no secrets and no shadows here.

Teach both our sons and our daughters. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems there is a particular emphasis on instructing our girls on this subject.  But don’t our boys need it at least as much as the girls? Maybe even more so. Let’s not leave our sons out of this discussion – most of which can come from their dads and/or godly men in their lives.

View purity as something that comes from the heart, not just the body. We shouldn’t limit our view of intimacy as something we “just don’t do”, or we’ll have missed out on the beauty of it all. Purity is a lovely, wonderful thing and something to enjoy – not merely something to avoid. It’s a physical gift that comes from the heart, not merely another item on the Good List.

Consider what we’re viewing. We want to be careful about what we watch and take into our homes and lives, so we’ll do things like encourage our children to “close their eyes” during a potentially suggestive scene. We’re also quite willing to turn off a program, or avoid a popular movie altogether if it’s promoting immorality. We’re very cautious about what comes across our computers as well.

(And, please don’t think “legalistic” because we don’t “lay down the law”. Rather, we talk candidly about the principles and convictions behind our choices and our young adults have gone on to practice a similar approach – even after leaving our home.)

Offer loving compassion to those who’ve suffered. I desperately wish there wasn’t such grievous sin. That no one we’ve known or loved had ever been abused or misused. Our hearts break for our very dear friends who’ve endured horrific experiences and we’ve painfully walked through the healing process with them – our entire family.

Extend grace to those who’ve struggled. People sin and make mistakes. Just like you and I do. And, as my husband often reminds us, “We are ALL radically saved.” There are no grounds for considering one sin different than another. If we confess and repent? There is forgiveness (I John 1:9). Whiter than snow.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool (Isa.1:18).

Our young people so need our protection, guidance, and strong encouragement. Let’s be cheering for them and show them they can  walk in the power of purity.

What are some ways you’ve encouraged purity in your home? What are some of your questions and/or concerns? I’d be glad to continue the conversation with you…

Coming tomorrow: Our oldest daughter will be sharing from a young adult’s perspective:  Purity: Do What’s Right.

In His grace,

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Raising Heavenly Kids

This is Part Four of the series: Raising Heavenly-Minded, Down-to-Earth KidsIf you’d like the posts from this series delivered directly to your inbox, simply subscribe below (and get the FREE eBook, The 7 Habits of a Highly Fulfilling Marriage).

Please Don’t Label Me

Please Don't Label Me, A Child's Need for Unconditional Love

*A guest post by my husband, Matthew L. Jacobson

No one likes a negative label assigned to them based on a mistake, wrong choice, or even downright sin.

He’s a . . .

She’s so . . .

He’s a big . . .

She never . . .

If most people I know were going to wear a label it would read: DON’T LABEL ME!

Have you grown, matured, repented, or changed? We all want to move on. We’re even instructed in Scripture to, “Forget those things that are behind and press on . . . to our calling in Christ Jesus.”

I certainly don’t want to be defined by my lesser moments from the past. Do you? Of course not! Why? Because we all want to be genuinely loved by those closest to us and if people are using your failures to define you, whatever they may be – large or small – love is not what we are experiencing from them.

Even if someone is in the midst of their worst moment, love says, “I will not allow your present failure to define you.”

Isn’t this the kind of unconditional love we desire? Isn’t this the kind of love we’re called to extend to others? The Bible says Jesus loved us while we were still sinners. He loved us when we were hardest to love.

Sometimes our extended family can be the worst, never letting a brother, sister, son, daughter, uncle, dad, or mom be who they’ve become – never missing an opportunity to make that cutting remark about how so-and-so did that stupid thing, failed in the past, didn’t measure up, embarrassed herself, etc. The fried chicken and the weather at the picnic might be good, but the gathering resembles a bucket of crabs – as soon as one tries to climb out, another grabs his leg and pulls him back in.

The message is clear: You’ll always be the collection of bad choices, mistakes, and short-comings we’ve all known you to be.

Love does no such thing. Love says no such thing – especially when it comes to our children.

Our God is a Redeemer

What a heartache we endure as parents when our children make mistakes and/or walk in sin. Sometimes the consequences are lasting and we feel the loss like a knife in the heart. But, there’s something we need to remember….

A wrong choice does not define a life direction.

And, that’s good news. But, the news is even better than this. Even a string of wrong choices does not define a life direction.

Our children, even . . . no, especially . . . in their worst moments, need to know that we still believe in them, hope for them, and know they can win. The need for our children to know they are not losers is strongest in the moment of failure and defeat. The consequences will unfold and they will speak with a voice of their own but, from whom will our children get the message they so desperately need?

Yes, you’re disappointed. Yes, you’re hurt by your child’s choices – even angry. But don’t forget you are in a position of immense influence at these critical moments and your child is listening to the message you are sending.

You were once young. Did you make all the right moves? No? How did God appraise you, then? Did he define you by your failures? Or, did He believe in who He created you to be?

God is The Redeemer. We are not defined by the mistakes we make but by Who paid for them.

Don’t lose heart. Don’t give up hope.We’ve all had moments of wrong choices. God never defines His children by their shortcomings but by the righteousness of His own Son.

Let’s do for our children what God does for us. Like the father of the prodigal son, standing every day, looking for his return, we can do the same in our hearts toward our own children.

Remember God’s perspective: We are not defined by where we’ve been but by where we are going.

Matthew L. Jacobson

Matthew and Lisa Jacobson Bio Pic SmallMatthew is an author, president of Loyal Arts Literary Agency, and teaching elder in the local church. He’s married to Lisa,  and together they’re bringing up their 8 children on a small acreage in the Pacific NW. When they’re not gardening or reading, you’ll find them holding hands, sipping Peet’s coffee, or deep into conversation with some – or all – of their children. The Jacobsons are authors of several books, including a winner of the C.S. Lewis Silver Medal for children’s literature, How Did God Make Me? You can find him at MatthewLJacobson.com,on Facebook and Twitter.

100 Ways to Love eBooks TinyCheck out our NEW eBooks, 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and 100 Ways to Love to Your Wife by Matthew L. Jacobson

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