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.)

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For Girls Like You: 70 Days of Encouraging Devotions for Your Tween Girl

For Girls Like You: 70 Days of Encouraging Devotions for Your Tween Girl

So you already know that I have four daughters.

Four teenage daughters whom I love and adore.

Who were themselves “tweens” not so long ago.

And can I just tell you something? A moment of complete frankness between us both?

IT IS NOT EASY BEING A TWEEN.

There! I said it and it’s true.

People told me that being a teenager was a challenge, so I was as ready for that as a parent can be reasonably expected to be.

But nobody told me that there was also this in-between age – sometimes called a tween – that has challenges of it’s own. No longer a little child . . . and yet not quite grown up enough to enter the Big Girl arena either.

Or, worse yet, thrown into the Big Girl arena when you’re not ready for that world just yet.

We had more than a few tears during those younger years as our girls were trying to navigate this growing world they were encountering.

So do you know what I wish I could have offered them as a source of encouragement and comfort? A source of wisdom and grace?

A little devotional of their very own.  One that understood where they were at and about what they were going through.

One like this newly-released, For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens by our own Wynter Pitts . . .

For Girls Like You Devotional

I am so excited to discover this wonderful resource for young girls!

So you want to know what I like about it?

Okay, I’ll tell you . . .

Friendly.  Each devotional takes such a kind tone, as if talking to a younger friend. I appreciate the gentle, and yet inspiring voice in each one.

Real.  Rather than the “stuffy” approach I’ve seen some books take, this one takes a realistic view of the world we live in and the challenges that our girls can face.

Short.  These bite-sized devotions are just right for this age! Only a page, or page-and-a-half long, each one can easily be read in a short sitting.

Practical.  I appreciate the concrete, do-able challenge that is included with most every one.

Prayerful.  A small prayer is included at the end of every devotion.

Biblical.   Each devotion includes a verse – not merely “tagged on the end” – but woven very naturally into the lesson presented.

For Girls Like You

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

For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens

For Girls Like You Devotional

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2015)

Tween girls have access to an unbelievable amount of media and information with just a simple click of the remote or mouse. Every outlet they turn to attempts to subtly influence their worldview…and what they believe about themselves directly affects how they live.

Wynter Pitts, founder of For Girls Like You magazine, gives girls a new devotional showing them a correct definition of themselves, opening their eyes to God’s truth and the difference it makes in their lives. Each daily devotion includes a prayer to help girls apply the lesson. ~ from The Publisher

“If you’ve wondered whether there is anything left on the planet to entertain your young beauties that promotes morals you’d approve of, look no further” –Author and speaker Priscilla Shirer

Available here:  For Girls Like You: A Devotional for Tweens

So if you, or someone you know, has a young girl in the age-range of 8 to 12? One of those terrific tweens?

Then I can recommend this devotional as a very encouraging resource!

In His grace,

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P.S. I want to mention that For Girls Like You has a magazine for young girls – and their parents – as well.

For Girls Like You, is a ministry to young girls and their parents, that also includes a quarterly print magazine, journal, and other print and web resources. We have a passion and drive to introduce young girls to Christian values in a way that they are able to palate and digest, so they can walk passionately and boldly in who God has created them to be.  

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.

What Every Mother of Little Children Should Know About Her Big Job

What Every Mother of Little Children Should Know about Her Big Job

You’ll understand, won’t you?

When I tell you that I counted the number of teaching days left on the calendar until summer break. I love my job and my students, but it is hard work being creative every day and trying to correct students and encourage them at the same time. I was tired when I got home from school the other day.

But I had invited my three nephews over for a few hours (maybe selfishly for my own entertainment?)

And I forgot.

Wow, you young moms.

I forgot how much work it is to have little kids, now that my baby is bending down so I can kiss him when he leaves for school in the morning.

You are a teacher all day long, except you don’t get to watch the clock and go home for a rest.

In two hours with the little boys, I spoke so many lessons, and it brought back memories of the years with my two.

Chew with your mouth closed, please.

What would be a more polite way to ask me for a drink of water? 

How can you share those cars with your brother, so you’re both happy? 

Shoes on before you go outside. 

Let’s not touch the glass, because it gets it dirty. Open the door at the handle. 

It’s not polite to tell a girl that you tooted on her couch. 

If you left the toy outside, you’re going to have to put your shoes back on and go get it. 

Wait patiently for me to make your taco. 

Swallow before you talk to me. 

Let’s take turns stirring the cookie batter.

And all of that had to be spoken patiently and with love and gentleness, because the best teachers are the even-tempered ones who act like they like you every day. The good teachers seem to enjoy the students and the whole process of teaching, instead of coming at it like a wearisome chore.

A Little Dance

Later that night, after the little boys had gone home, I reached out and offered to carry my son’s dirty dish to the kitchen.

Thanks mom, he said.

On the way to the kitchen, I remembered how many days and weeks and months and years I had reminded him, What do you say?

Now he’s almost 18 years old and says thank you without any reminders from me, and that’s no small accomplishment from my teaching years as a mother. I remember when he was young, the first time he said thank you without being prompted. I almost wept that day.

So to you moms with young kids, let’s give you the title of teacher and acknowledge that your job starts when the rooster crows and ends when little eyelids finally shut. It’s demanding work that requires a constant definition of purpose carried out with patience, kindness, and self-control.

Someday your child will demonstrate he has learned those lessons, and you will do a little dance.

~ Christy Fitzwater

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 It Really Means When Someone Calls You Mom

What It Really Means When Someone Calls You Mom

I didn’t always call her mom.

In the beginning she was simply his mother. So I referred to her as “Mrs. Jacobson” when we were first married and later, “Patricia” or “Pat.”  Such an awkward dilemma, to know the proper way to address her.

After all, what do you call your mother-in-law?

Some years passed, however, and she and Dad moved in with us when I was expecting our fourth child. Dad’s heart wasn’t too strong, and we thought it might be the best for both of them. Good for us too.

Maybe not always easy, but good.

Then I gave birth to our fifth child – a heart-wrenching and traumatic event – and one that turned everything upside down for all of us.

Mom quit her job the day our special girl was born, and she never looked back.

She came home and poured her heart and her energies into helping out with the other four young ones – while I spent much of my time up at the Children’s Hospital.

Watching, waiting, and praying over our baby. Asking God to spare her tiny, oh-so-fragile life.

And God heard our prayers.

After two long years of back-and-forth, we were finally able to bring our baby home for keeps and look after her here.

So Mom changed up her role.

Now she committed herself completely to our sweet girl’s care: tube-feeding, dressing, changing, physical therapy, speech therapy, and more.

Five days a week.

For ten years.

Yes, really.

That’s just what she did. Never questioning, never complaining. She devoted herself to our little daughter’s many special needs.

What It Really Means to Call Her Mom

If you’re thinking this woman deserves a medal? A banquet in her honor? A Mother-in-law of the Year designation?

You would be right. She does.

But I know she doesn’t look at it that way. She simply saw it as the needed and loving thing to do. So that’s what she has done. For over a decade.

And now?  It’s not quite how it used to be.

You see, Mom doesn’t know what day it is or where she is anymore. Or necessarily recognize our children. Or her own children, for that matter. On her bad days, she doesn’t quite know who I am. Alzheimer’s does that to you.

But that’s okay. Because I know who she is.

She’s “Mom.”

What It Really Means to Have Someone Call You Mom

If Someone Calls You Mom

So maybe you’re a mom too.

Doing what needs to be done.

Day in and day out.

And you’re doing it because it’s the loving thing to do.

Maybe you feel it goes unnoticed, and you feel a little forgotten. Maybe you even wonder if it really matters.

Let me encourage you – your faithfulness will be remembered.

Your love matters more than they can ever say.

Your sacrifice will always be the sweetest blessing to those who call you, “Mom.”

Happy Mother’s Day, MOM!

In His grace,
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*How about sharing something you appreciate about your own mom? Or maybe something that you love about being a mom yourself! 
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 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