Who Needs You More, Mom?

I would like to thank Carole Sparks for this wonderful guest post today. As I read it I kept saying yes, I’ve done that. Please add your thoughts after you’ve read this great post. 

 

Who Needs You More, Mom?

 

I’ve been a mother for over fifteen years. (Yes, we’re in that scary, almost-a-driver phase in our home. Prayers please!) I’ve been a Christ-follower for more than twice as long. God placed certain callings on my life, some specific to me (writing) and some of the more general sort (sharing Him with others). He also very clearly and distinctly called me to be a mother. Sometimes, those various callings collide and I’m left feeling hesitant, uncertain, guilty. Times such as these…

 

We’re moving again. The kids will have new schools again. We’ll get to know new neighbors and new local shops again. How can this be good for my children? Kids need stability and routine, and we’re about to toss them in the air. Again.

 

My ministry responsibilities pull me away when they’re at home. What about my responsibilities as a parent, my calling to be a mom? What if they need me while I’m out counseling someone else?

 

Does any of this sound familiar? I’ve thought…okay, said…all these things over the years. I’ve wondered who needs me more.

 

As a member of a family, our calling(s) aren’t individual propositions but rather part of a bigger picture that includes our spouse’s gifting and calling as well as responsibilities to extended family members. Immediate, unfiltered obedience to God can seem to take a toll on our family life…on our children. In fact, sometimes our ministry decisions appear detrimental to our children’s development. At the very least, they go against conventional parenting wisdom.

 

I was walking the narrow, cobbled streets of the ancient city where we lived and worked, and I was concerned…okay, worried…about my young children, whom I’d left at home with a local woman. God stopped me there in the middle of that pedestrian street. Literally. I stopped walking and just stood there for a minute while God pressed this fact into my heart—a fact you need to know, too. Don’t just know it with your brain but allow God to press it into your very soul:

 

God loves your children more than you love them.

 

God not only wants the best for your children, but He is actively pursuing it. He knows their future occupations and experiences. He knows what they need right now to move toward their own callings. He smiles on children, loves them, protects them. Even on the days when you should have stayed home but instead put the ministry ahead of your family, He filled in your gaps.

 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. -1 Peter 5:6-7

 

I don’t know how God has gifted or called you to serve Him. If you’re a mother, that’s a big, beautiful part of your calling—one to step up to, embrace, and fulfill to the best of your ability. But it’s probably not your only calling. When you wonder who needs you more, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His will for that moment. Let go of everything else and obey. (I know, easier said than done, but like most things, it gets easier with practice.) Next time, He may lead you the other way. Regardless, God loves your children and He loves the other people whom you serve. When He points you in one direction, He will take care of the others while you fulfill His will for today.

 

Moms, when it’s time to go to work or to other ministry, do you wonder if maybe your children need you more? Here’s some truth to help you through that dilemma. Via @JannWMartin and @Carole_Sparks. #IntentionalParenting (click to tweet)

 

Do you feel the pull of differing responsibilities? How has God led you to manage that tension? Jann and I would love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

Need more? Check out Carole’s post: When Guilt Grounds Me.

 

 

 

 

 

Carole’s bio.

Carole and her husband twice found themselves “walking Jesus” in coastal African cities—the second time with two small children.  Now, they are watching God work in a southern US city (no coast, sadly) and helping others passionately follow Him.  Connect with Carole through her website, http://carolesparks.com or her parenting blog, http://notaboutme1151parenting.wordpress.com.

 

The Church

You claim to be rich and successful and to have everything you need. But you don’t know how bad off you are. You are pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Re 3:17

 

In this verse Jesus is talking about the church. Many churches claim to be rich and to have everything that they need. They reach out to the community and do good things. Unfortunately they don’t always see what is happening within their own church community.

 

I have experienced being afraid with an upcoming back surgery a few years ago. I spoke to one of the pastors. He was to follow up and call my husband to see how I was after the surgery. Neither of us ever heard from him at all.

 

I wonder how many people have fallen through the cracks, especially in big churches. In the very large churches you literally can attend worship, leave, and no one will know you were there. If you don’t want to be noticed I guess this is okay. If you are looking for a place of worship, support, and a place to spiritually connect you need to find a church where you feel at home. It can be a mega church if you connect with some smaller groups. Some smaller churches are friendlier and more in tune with their parishioners.

 

No matter the size of the church it needs to focus on Jesus. They need to focus on the people, their needs physically, emotionally and spiritually. Jesus is trying to tell those He is talking to not be blinded by things, but to focus on the true meaning of being a church. The church is the people and their needs, not a building, the decorations, and the appearance of being holy. I pray that you can find a church that you feel is like family for you.

 

 

The Holy Bible: The Contemporary English Version. (1995). (Re 3:17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Your Child’s Primary Love Language 

Your Child’s Primary Love Language 

 

It’s important to teach our children all of the Five Love Languages. This will help them to become more rounded adults and care for others around them. It may be difficult for them at first to learn how to reach out to others, but it’s very important that as they grow they learn more about how others feel and act. This will teach them as they grow not to be selfish and self-centered, but to care for and about others.

It will take time to figure out what your child’s love language is. When they are infants we use all of the languages with them. They are very self-centered and can’t tell us what the best way is to reach out to them. As they grow we will learn what responses work the best. Try to be aware of what words and actions work best in different situations.

Be honest with your children as you talk with them and reprimand them. Don’t, however tell them what, how and why you are saying and doing different things. This can lead to the child manipulating you to get what they want.

 

The 5 Love Languages are:

  • Physical touch – Touch in each stage of life is different. For infants and toddlers, it’s easy to give a lot of touch and loving cuddles. Both boys and girls need all of the love and comforting touches they can get.

When the children become school-age it’s important to send them off to school with hugs. This can give them a positive start to their day. There is so much new for them at school that they need that little extra reassurance before they head out for the day. The hug at the end of the day can be just as important, especially if they have had a challenging day.

Next, we come to the pre-teen and teen kids. This can be challenging. They want to break away, yet they still want their full support system to be there for them. Girls especially need reassurance and hugs from their dads to give them a healthy look at men as they grow older.

  • Words of affirmation – Encouraging our children with words of affirmation gives them the courage they need to grow up to be strong adults. What they learn with these types of lessons gives them the basis for treating others as they would like to be treated as well.
  • Quality time – We can turn any time with our children into quality time. Take advantage of a long ride. Ask a few questions or share something from your past. Your children will love to hear stories about how you met your husband.

Plan quality time with each of your children. It could be a day alone with them. Go shopping, or to a movie, then their favorite restaurant for a meal. Another example could be reading together. If they can read have them read their favorite book or a few chapters to you.

  • Gifts – For some children receiving gifts is very important. They look forward to their parents returning from vacations and business trips. They can’t wait to see what new thing they will receive. However, parents need to be mindful of making sure the other love languages their child needs are met.

We need to be careful not to use gifts as payments for chores or a bribe to stay busy so you can accomplish a task. These types of gifts make a child feel unloved and that receiving the gift is only if they do what is asked of them.

They also may want to make and give gifts to those around them. This can be family, friends, or teachers.

  • Acts of service – We want our children to grow up wanting to help others. If this is their love language it’s easy for them to reach out to loved ones. They can do a chore, make a meal, or take them to a place where they can help others. We want to teach them to reach out to those in need around them, without expecting something in return. Jesus showed this gift of love over and over throughout his ministry.

As your child grows keep a mental record of how they express their love to you, do they tell you that they love you. Are they asking for attention, or how they did on a project? Then their love language would be Words of affirmation.

When they are relating to others and want to take something to friends, family or teachers, they are showing the language of Gifts. It gives them pleasure to see others happy to receive something from them.

Is your child complaining that you are too busy? Is your time being split with another child, you have work to do around the house because you work away from home and are trying to get everything done. What and how often they are asking for or complaining about will help you see their love language may be Quality Time.

Is Physical touch something that is very important in your relationship with your child? They may need lots of hugs, sit close, or even being tickled. Any form of touch can be felt as an expression of love for them.

For some the Act of Service is very important. They are always looking for a way to help or do something for someone. They don’t want to be paid or recognized, the act of doing is reward enough for them.

Love Language #5 Acts of Service

Is the Act of Service a way of parenting that you have thought of? I hadn’t thought of it quite that way. I parented out of love, care, and the desire for our children to grow up as loving productive adults.

We are serving our children when we support them by taking them to sports, dance or music lessons and their games or recitals. I looked forward to watching our girls in dance practice and was excited to attend their recitals.

Supporting our children by questioning them about and helping them with their homework is another important area we can be of service to our children. I helped the girls as much as I could. When it came to math, however, I had to leave the help to my husband.

When our children are grown they will see how we blessed them with acts of service in all of the support given them while growing up.

Before we can do acts of service for our children we must take care of ourselves. By getting enough sleep, eating properly, and exercise we are more physically capable to handle the time we need to give to our children.

We also need to have a strong emotional outlook, self-esteem, and a balanced marriage relationship. The children need to see their parent or parents have separate relationships with others. It’s important that they see that everything doesn’t always center around them.

In a previous blog, I shared how our daughters made dinner for us and left us alone for the evening. It was so sweet of them to give us our special time. It was also a good lesson for them to learn how to do an Act of Service for others.

With our physical and emotional lives in balance, we are better equipped to raise strong well-rounded children.

Jesus taught us to serve others when He washed His disciple’s feet:

 

After that, He poured water into a basin

and began t

o wash the disciples’ feet,

and to wipe them with the towel with which

He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter.

And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing

you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

Peter said t

o Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”

Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you,

you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him,

“Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

10 Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only

to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you

are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For He knew who

would betray Him; therefore, He said, “You are not all clean.”

12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments,

and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know

what I have done to you? 13 You call Me Teacher

and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.

14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,

you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I

have given you a

n example, that you should do as

I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you,

a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who

is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know

these things, blessed are you if you do them.[1]

If the Son of God can serve us, then we should happily do Acts of Service for our children.

As our children grow we need to teach them how to do different things around the house, such as cleaning, laundry, ironing, and cooking. They need these skills to be able to eventually live on their own.

How do you show your children Acts of Service? How do they show you Acts of Service?

[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (Jn 13:5–17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Love Language #4 Gifts

 

Gifts for some children are very important. They look forward to their parents returning from vacations and business trips. They can’t wait to see what new thing they will receive. However, parents need to be mindful of making sure the other love languages their child needs are met.

If their love needs are not met in any other areas and they don’t feel the love from parents except with gifts, they will have problems. A child can feel like the only thing the parents care about is to give them things, not their time and love.

A gift along with knowing the person really loves you makes the gift special. Your child will know that you love them and that they purchased the gift with you in mind. We went on a trip one time and I brought our girls the same thing. I heard one say something about them being the same. I felt really bad after that. I should have thought more about each of their likes.

For I say, through the grace given to me,

to everyone who is among you,

not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think,

but to think soberly, as God has dealt to

each one a measure of faith

For as we have many members in one body,

but all the members do not have the same function,

so we, being many, are one body in Christ,

and individually members of one another.

Having then gifts differing according to

the grace that is given to us, let us use them[1]

 

We need to be careful not to use gifts as payments for chores or a bribe to stay busy so you can accomplish a task. These types of gifts make a child feel unloved and that receiving the gift is only if they do what is asked of them.

Jacob sent gifts to Esau to make sure that he would be received well after cheating Esau out of the birthright.

Then Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau

his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom.

And he commanded them, saying,

“Speak thus to my lord Esau, ‘Thus your servant Jacob says:

“I have dwelt with Laban and stayed there until now.

I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, and male and female

servants; and I have sent to tell my lord,

that I may find favor in your sight.” ’ ”[2]

 

What types of gifts are special to your kids?

[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (Ro 12:3–6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] The New King James Version. (1982). (Ge 32:3–5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

 

Encouragement and Affirmation

Encouragement and affirmation are another part of the 5 Love Languages.

Encouraging our children with words of affirmation gives them the courage they need to grow up to be strong adults. What they learn with these types of lessons gives them the basis for treating others as they would like to be treated as well.

As young children grow we teach them the social skills they will need as well. This is done by confirming their good actions and positive remarks they make. When they are nice to someone we need to praise them. Encourage your children to also catch others doing something nice and to compliment or thank them for their nice act.

Listening to our children and teaching them to listen to others is an important skill. I know I’ve been guilty of only half listening as one of the kids comes in from school all excited about their day. I should have stopped what I was doing and listened intently to them. Instead I kept fixing dinner. We’re all guilty of things like that. Try to ask your child to wait just a minute so you can finish what you’re working on. Then sit down and give them your full attention. Your little action will do wonders to give them encouragement and the affirmation that they mean so much to you.

When your child does something good complement them on it. Watch for those opportunities. You can use a notebook to jot down ideas of things to watch for, such as picking up their clothes, putting their dishes in the sink, or helping a sibling with a task. What other ideas do you have of catching your child in the act of doing good.

There are many influences on our children’s lives. Social media, friends, other adults in the family and community. We need to make sure they are getting the right feedback from all of them as well. Listen to their conversations with others and if something doesn’t sound right talk with them and give them examples of how they should say something.

God gives us mostly positive guidance. We need to give our children as much positive affirmation as we can. With Adam and Eve, His only  negative reaction was to make them leave the Garden of Eden. Then He helped them in their new lives. He also gave us the Ten Commandments to live by, they are mostly positive as well. He loves us and wants what is best for us.

We do need to correct our children, but only when necessary. Try to look for the positive as much as possible in their lives. Even as our children are teens, we need to be careful and explain why we don’t want them to be involved with certain people and situations. Give them examples such as a teen dying from drugs or an accident, and how much their parents are hurting. That you don’t want to have to go through that pain if they make a wrong choice and die.

Be careful when giving an affirmation that you don’t negate it with something negative. I love you, but.… By saying I love you, and I need you to do this, or I love you but, I can’t believe you just did that. All the child hears is but…. They don’t hear your love.

How can you see different ways that you can give your child encouragement and affirmation?

Words of Affirmation

Love Language #2 is Words of Affirmation they are important for all of us. We all need to hear we are doing something well. Even saying “You played a good game. Keep working that hard and you will continue to improve.” This lets your child know that you are paying attention and that you feel that they are trying hard to do well.

On the other had we have to be careful not to be too critical. Some children can be very sensitive and take criticism to mean that they can’t do things right. This can give them feelings of doubt about their abilities, and low self-esteem.

A little girl overhead some adults talking and thought they were talking about her. It hurt her feelings and she started crying and said that no one liked her and she couldn’t do anything right. We have probably all had times when we misunderstood something, but for children it’s really important to make sure a mis-understanding is corrected as soon as possible. Something like this can mentally scar them for life.

Raising a child is like walking on a tightrope. We’re never sure how what we say or that our reactions are being perceived right. Figuring out how much to touch our children, with their comfort and need level, is hard, especially when they can’t express themselves verbally yet. Then finding the right words to use to support them can be difficult too. We don’t want to praise too much and have them feel like they can do no wrong. We also want to build up their self-esteem, by encouraging them to keep

trying.

What we say to our children can and will have a lasting effect.

I remember Mom teaching me how to sew. She would encourage me and make gentle corrections when needed. I still love to sew and make the Christmas outfits for our grandchildren each year. I feel blessed to be able to have this gift.

What are your challenges with the first two Love Languages of touch and affirmation?

Touch Through The Growing Years

 

The 5 languages of Love

 

 

Touch in each stage of life is different.

For infants and toddlers, it’s easy to give a lot of touch and loving cuddles. Both boys and girls need all of the love and comforting touches they can get.

Things have changed a lot from when my parents raised me. At that time almost, every mom stayed home and took care of the kids.

When it was my turn to be the mom, I stayed home until the youngest was in first grade. Then I wanted something else to do and went to work at a Hallmark store during school hours.

Now it’s our daughters turns to be moms and they both work full time. This seems to be the norm for most families these days.

In looking for a good place to care for their children they interviewed several places before making a choice. The final decision was made with the daycare that cared and reacted with the children in the rooms the most. The caregivers that showed the most loving care from diaper changes, to feeding and even cuddles while putting them down for naps was critical in making their choice.

When giving babies and toddler’s love and good touch they will become adults with a healthier sexual outlook and better self-esteem.

When the children become school-age it’s important to send them off to school with hugs. This can give them a positive start to their day. There is so much new for them at school that they need that little extra reassurance before they head out for the day. The hug at the end of the day can be just as important, especially if they have

had a challenging day.

Boys can sometimes resist being hugged. There are ways to still give them reassuring touches. A pat on the back is an easy way to touch without a hug.

Our seven-year-old grandson frequently acts like he doesn’t want hugs. Sometimes I’ll shake his hand or rough up his hair. Other times I’ll act like I’m coming after him to hug and kiss him. He’ll take off and I’ll chase. Inevitably he’ll back himself into a corner (on purpose) and I do get the occasional hug and kiss.

All children of this age still want the hugs when they are sick, hurt or upset. They can also need more comfort when something has happened

that disrupts things at home.

Next, we come to the pre-teen and teen kids. This can be challenging. They want to break away, yet they still want their full support system to be there for them. Girls especially need reassurance and hugs from their dads to give them a healthy look at men as they grow older.

Boys and girls both need this reassurance to be more sure of themselves. Also, to handle peer pressure better as they go through the teen years.

Unfortunately, there is also touch that shouldn’t be going on. We hear stories on the news frequently about teachers being arrested because of inappropriate behavior. Also, the negative activity on the internet. This is so sad and it’s the children that are the ones who are really suffering.

What ways can you share with us that helped you in the transition from age group to age group?

Happy New Year!!!

It’s hard to believe we are beginning a new year already.

Let’s have a fun evening with our kids.

Ask them what foods they would like to have for dinner and snacks.

Snack ideas:

    • Veggie tray with broccoli, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes – alternate vegetables and shape in the form of a Christmas tree. You can use stick pretzels as the trunk and have ranch dressing for dipping.
    • Pizza bites

Chips and dip

  • Shrimp

Dinner ideas:

  • Steak and cheese fondue
  • Spaghetti
  • Make your own pizza
  • Waffles wit
    h regular toppings, then with ice cream for dessert

Play different games:

  • Twister: kids love to watch their parents try to bend and move like them.
  • Pictionary is always fun.
  • Monopoly: a good way to teach kids about money.

Let the kids help pick out decorations, hats, and noise makers to bring in the New Year.

It’s always fun to watch the ball drop in New York on TV. You can have a toast at midnight with bubbling cider for the kids. The kids think it’s fun to clink glasses and make a toast.

As kids we took pans and spoons outside and banged them together to make as much noise as we could and yelled Happy New Year.

What special things do you do on New Year’s Eve?

 

 

Next week we’ll begin a series on: The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell

Happy Birthday Jesus

Merry Christmas. I pray that you and your family have a wonderful time celebrating the birth of our Savior.

Jesus came to be born of flesh to save us from our sinful nature. It would have been amazing to  have been in the stable and let Him hold my finger in His hand. To look into His eyes and see the amazing love that had to have been there.

To know what His life would be like, and yet Jesus chose to go through all of it because He loved us so much.

As a man He walked the land and talked to all who would listen to Him. He shared the ways to change their lives and come to have God as their true leader. Even His disciples didn’t really understand completely who He was and what kind of leader He was to be. Everyone thought He was going to be an earthly king. What He came to offer was so much more, and so amazing.

What if we could sit and talk with Jesus now, what would you ask Him?