Category Archives: Motherhood

Anita Renfroe: Because I Am The Mom

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Charles Spurgeon and His Mom: A Tribute

spurgeonFathers and mothers are the most natural agents for God to use in the salvation of their children. I am sure that, in my early youth, no teaching ever made such an impression upon my mind as the instruction of my mother; neither can I conceive that, to any child, there can be one who will have such influence over the heart as the mother who has so tenderly cared for her offspring. A man with a soul so dead as not to be moved by the sacred name of “mother” is creation’s blot. Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother. Certainly I have not the powers of speech with which to set forth my valuation of the choice blessing which the Lord bestowed on me in making me the son of one who prayed for me, and prayed with me. How can I ever forget her tearful eye when she warned me to escape from the wrath to come? I thought her lips right eloquent; others might not think so, but they certainly were eloquent to me. How can I ever forget when she bowed her knee, and with her arms about my neck, prayed, “Oh, that my son might live before Thee!” Nor can her frown be effaced from my memory,-that solemn, loving frown, when she rebuked my budding iniquities; and her smiles have never faded from my recollection,-the beaming of her countenance when she rejoiced to see some good thing in me towards the Lord God of Israel.

Well do I remember hearing my father speak of an incident that greatly impressed him. He used to be frequently away from home preaching, and at one time, as he was on his way to a service, he feared that he was neglecting his own family while caring for the souls of others. He therefore turned back, and went to his home. On arriving there, he was surprised to find no one in the lower rooms of the house; but, on ascending the stairs, he heard a sound as of someone engaged in prayer. On listening at the bedroom door, he discovered that it was my mother, pleading most earnestly for the salvation of all her children, and specially praying for Charles, her first-born and strong-willed son. My father felt that he might safely go about his Master’s business while his dear wife was caring so well for the spiritual interests of the boys and girls at home, so he did not disturb her, but proceeded at once to fulfill his preaching engagement.

 

WIVES: LET YOUR HUSBAND LOVE YOU

My note:  I recall having a time I went through this with Deb. We are past it, hopefully. I do appreciate greatly though as a husband that Deb receives my heart felt expressions to her as not manipulative or meant to be insincere compliments to make her feel better. I often say to her when she thanks me, “It is not a compliment, just speaking facts”  🙂

By Kristen   http:// http://www.whenathome.com

I get it. The kids have been climbing on you all day. One or both of your boobs have been exposed 87% of the day and you’re sick of being clawed at, sucked on, licked, punched, kicked, pulled, snotted on, cried on, spit up on, pooped on, and peed on. You’ve wiped butts and noses and counters and walls all day. You’ve battled attitudes and arched backs and Dora the Explorer since dawn and you’re tired. So. So. Tired. I know. I really really do.

I know you don’t want to be touched and for some reason, an innocent compliment can offend you. When he says, “You’re so pretty”, you think he’s mocking you because you’re in the yoga pants you’ve been wearing 4 days in a row and your hair is either falling out of your scalp or tied so tightly on top of your head that your eyebrows are permanently surprised. You think when he hugs you he’s just trying to do the thing that made all this chaos start in the first place and that ticks you off. Please. PLEASE. Listen when I say these things.

Stop. Take a breath. Recharge. Try again.

He’s been away at work all day. He’d much rather be with you. All of you. He’s missed your face, your voice, your smell, and your touch. He’s had to deal with whatever crap he has to deal with in order to provide for the family that he loves. He doesn’t enjoy walking out the door every morning, but he does. Every day. For you. For them.

He does think you’re pretty. He wouldn’t lie to you. He doesn’t need to say those things. But when he walks in the door and the first thing he sees is the love of his life, don’t convince yourself that he’s thinking about anything other than how absolutely beautiful you are. Cause guys are weird. Once they fall in love with you, there’s nothing you can wear, no amount of weight you can gain, and no lack of make up that will make them see you any differently. You are their love, their bride, and after he’s been at work all day, you are a sight for sore eyes.

So instead of rolling your eyes, huffing and puffing, throwing out gut kicking comments about how he has it easy, doesn’t understand, is lazy, a jerk, whatever comes to your beautiful stressed out brain… BREATHE. Look away from your day and see the man that won your heart.

Let your husband love you.

Because he needs to love you. As much as you need to receive the love he has for you, he needs to be received. He needs to be welcomed, embraced, and loved. Even if the last thing you want is to be touched or to hear how amazing you look when you feel insecure and disgusting. Let him love you. Don’t push him away. If you do, I can guarantee there will come a day when your cold shoulders and eye rolling will have trained him to stay away. There will be a day when you will need to be hugged and need to be reminded of how amazing you are and he won’t know how to tell you.

So suck up your pride, your anger, your frustration, and your crazy and just…be loved.

FOR MOMS FEELING OVERWHELMED

I post this article as an encouragement for my wife and daughter and think there might be a few others out there who need these gospel truths to be reminded of. I watch the two closest women in my life manage a lot of things and then at times fall into the “overwhelmed” mode. My wife keeping up with our farmstead and the demands and requests of others on her.  My daughter keeping up with 6 boys who are either highly energetic or when tired tend to create as much or even more chaos. Trust this will help them and a few of you take a deep breath of truth.

For men reading this; it can serve as a source of washing your wife with the water of the Word of God.

This article is by Jen Thorn at http://jenthorn.com/blogExhausted-Mom

I had a pretty good weekend. We finally took the kids apple picking, had some good family time, baked an apple crips and a bunch of zucchini and banana bread, taught the older kids how to play the game of Life and enjoyed a wonderful time of worship and fellowship at church.

All that fun was forgotten as soon as I looked at my to-do list for the coming week and bad things started to happen. The fact that I haven’t slept well these last few days plus the fact that my list is longer than Rapunzel’s hair made me feel super overwhelmed, which in turn made me snap at my kids, and brought on the dreaded feelings of weepiness.  How in the world am I going to keep up with deadlines, clean up a home that has TOTALLY exploded over the weekend, homeschool and deal with all the other little things that will fill my day?

So here are a few things I am meditating on to help me get a right perspective and not only get my work done by have a joy filled week.

1. God has my day planned

God’s plan for my day may look so very different from what I think my day should look like. He may throw in some unexpected phones calls or visitors. There may be some extra messes. Instead of having a spiritual little temper tantrum,  I need to remember that, come what may, it is the day The Lord has made. He is all wise and perfectly good and so everything he puts in my day is wise and perfectly good!

2. God doesn’t care what my kitchen looks like

My real problem here is pride. I would be mortified if someone came over when my home looks like clothes, toys, school materials, ect have been thrown around like confetti. What would they think? Would they judge me? Would they assume the best, that I have been busy raising children, and doing what I can, or would they assume the worst–that I am lazy, undisciplined, and care little for the responsibilities God has given me?

But, you know what, I answer to God, not man. I need to say this over and over again because I forget!   God is more interested in my heart than in my dishes, floors, or closets. I can’t blow off my responsibilities, but my God does not love me less, and sigh in disgust when my sink is disgusting.

3. God can be found in the chaos

God is found everywhere.  I can pray and reflect on him and his word as I am going about my busy day. Even if my scheduled times of quiet meditation and Bible reading are taken from me, I can hide his word in my heart, and walk with him while reminding the young ones that the bathroom sink is not a garbage can, or while starting laundry load #132.

4. God will give me strength to finish well

I like to think of myself as a strong woman, but I am keenly aware of the weight of what God has called me to do and I often, rightly, see just how weak I really am. But God has not left me alone. He is with me, to strengthen me to do the very work he has prepared before hand that I should walk in them. As I do my work in faith I will find strength.

5. Christ is what I need to set my eyes on

“When my heart is overwhelmed—lead me to the Rock that is higher than I!” Psalm 61:2

Christ is the only solid thing in my life. He is my rock that never moves. Everything else is like sand, giving way at a moments notice, but not Jesus. He is steadfast and completely trustworthy. When my days are wild, when my brain feels like it is going to explode from all the things I need to remember, I need to think on this:

“Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me.” Psalm 40:17

What a beautiful and calming thought. Jesus thinks about me! If he cares for the flowers and the sparrows than he certainly cares about my crazy days and my overwhelmed heart.

This week will be busy. Crazy. But it is God’s week, and I am thankful he has planned it and is with me throughout it. I just need to remember this.

A PRAYER FOR THE MOM WHO IS WORN OUT

Exhausted-MomThe following article and prayer from Christina Fox, http://toshowthemjesus.com/ is hopefully a great encouragement to you moms. I watch my daughter with 6 boys ranging from 6 years old to 15 and feel like a fan at a football game who get exhausted watching a game while there are 22 players doing all the work. Hang in there moms and may God bless you with all the heavenly blessings in Jesus Christ.

Motherhood is both the best job and the also hardest job I’ve ever had. It has brought me great joy and revealed to me a level of love I hadn’t known before. It has also stretched me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve lived on less sleep than should be humanly possible. I’ve even learned more than I care to about bugs, science, and how machines work (two boys will that do that to you). While the physical stretch marks may fade, the ones on my heart are there to stay.

Though the joys are many, there are days when motherhood wears me down to the core. Some days, I’m not even sure I’ll make it through to bedtime. When night time finally does come, my head hits the pillow hard, and I wonder what I accomplished all day. My heart sighs because I know that tomorrow will most likely be a repeat of the same. Because the job is never done, I’ll wake up the next morning to the house still in disarray and mountains of laundry to wash. And based on the sniffles I’ve heard lately, certain illness looms on the horizon.

Some seasons of motherhood feel more intense and exhausting than others. It’s easy to become discouraged by the endless cycle of cleaning up the messes—physical and emotional. Joy sometimes feels like a thing of the past and just out of reach. We can feel isolated and alone. We may question our qualifications to be a mother or think we’ve failed our children.

The truth is, motherhood is hard, and we can’t do it on our own. As John Piper wrote in A Godward Life  “I need help. Always. In everything. I am simply kidding myself if I think I can move an inch without God’s help.” Just as we cannot live without water, we cannot do anything apart from Christ, including motherhood. “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5).

Rather than swim in guilt or wish life were different, we need to go to the Source of our strength, joy, and peace. We need to drink from the living water that only Christ provides. There we’ll find that the truths of the gospel are always within reach, always ready to refresh, remind, and restore.

Jesus died to free us from trying to do life on our own. He came to redeem us from slavery to sin and restore our relationship with the Father. He faced every temptation and sorrow that we face, yet lived a sinless life. The grave could not hold him, guaranteeing a future resurrection for all who trust in Christ. As these truths saturate our thirsty soul, we find the nourishment and strength we so desperately need.

And it’s because of Jesus that we can go before the throne of grace in confidence to find the help we need (Hebrews 4:16). If you are like me and feel tired and worn, this prayer is for you:

*********************

Dear Father in heaven,

I come before you weary and beat down by this long day. Being a mother can be so hard. I often feel helpless and inadequate. Part of me wants to complain, but then I remember the extent to which you were beat down, and I’m struck quiet. I remember that you are the Man of Sorrows and that you understand just how hard life can be. I also remember that you collect all my tears and care about my troubles, trials, and fears.

The Book of Hebrews tells me I can come to you in confidence and find the grace and mercy I need. And so I come to you now to lay all these burdens at your feet. I feel so overwhelmed by the details of life. It seems like I can never get ahead. Just when I clean up one mess, another one pops up somewhere else. Some days I wonder if I’m really cut out for motherhood.

I know I failed to glorify you today. I failed to love as you love me. I failed to extend the grace you’ve given me. Forgive me for striving in my own strength. Forgive me for not finding my complete satisfaction in you and seeking it elsewhere. Each of these failures reminds me of just how much I need a Savior. Today reminds me that I need Jesus more than I did yesterday and that tomorrow I will need him even more.

I’m so thankful that there is so much of you to give. You’re never tired or weary. Even while I sleep, you remain at work. Nothing happens outside your knowledge and will. You’re never stretched beyond what you can handle. And the well of your grace never runs dry.

Because of what Jesus did for me, I ask that you create in me a clean heart. Renew a refreshed spirit within me. Give me gospel strength to get through the day. Open my eyes so that I see your hand at work in the mess of my life. Be my constant in my fluctuating emotions. Keep the gospel ever before me and make it a reality in my daily life as a mother.

I pray that tomorrow you would be with me in all the muck and mire of motherhood. Help me to find my joy in you and not in my circumstances. May I remember that even when it feels otherwise, you are always with me, will never leave me, or forsake me. Tonight I’ll sleep in peace knowing that even when I lose my grip, you never let go of me. And I’ll open my eyes in the morning to find mercy, fresh and new, ready for the taking.

It’s because of Jesus and in Jesus’ name that I pray, amen.

HT: http://thegospelcoalition.org/

THE GOSPEL CURE FOR YOUR CHILD’S HEART (And Yours!)

This article is by Christina Fox, www.toshowthemjesus.com.

Newtown2Lying in his bed, with tears running down his face, my son tried to calm down after an emotional outburst. I came into the room to talk to him about it. Snuggling up next to him, we discussed what had happened.

“But Mom, you don’t understand. It’s because you and brother irritate me so much. You make me angry. If you leave me alone, I won’t be angry.”

My son has been engaged in an intense battle with anger lately. The littlest thing sets him off and I’m brought in as referee.

“Buddy, we don’t make you angry. The anger comes from within you. It comes from your own sin inside your heart.”

I recited Jesus’s words in Matthew 15:18, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” Needless to say, he did not agree with me. And looking back on that conversation, and my attempts to convince him that people don’t make him angry, I realized that it took me many years to learn that lesson myself.

The Blame Game

For much of my life, I’ve battled my own out-of-control feelings. Depression has held me hostage many times in the dark cell of despair and sorrow. And for so long, I blamed my circumstances and other people for those feelings. “If only my parents wouldn’t fight so much, I wouldn’t be so upset.” “If only my husband didn’t work so much, I wouldn’t be so stressed out.” “If only my kids would sleep, I wouldn’t be so irritable.” “If only my life would work out the way I want, then I’d feel better.”

I can understand my son’s heart and his attempts to blame others for his sin. I do the same thing. I live my life for me and me alone. I want what I want when I want it. I expect others to respond according to my desires. The sin in my heart seeks my best interest and responds in anger, frustration, worry, stress, and despair when things don’t work out the way I want.

The Gospel is the Key

The classic allegory, Pilgrim’s Progress, describes a scene where Christian, the main character, was held captive in Doubting Castle by the Giant called Despair. Christian had the key of Promise tucked in his shirt and had forgotten about it. But once he remembered that he had it, he used it to open the doors of his prison and was freed to continue on his journey to the Celestial City.

The same is true for me. While I wait with growing impatience for someone else to free me from my emotional prison, the truth is, I already have the key to get out. The good news of Jesus crucified and raised for me is the key that frees me from every cell that could ever hold me captive. The gospel tells me that Jesus came to save me from my enslavement and imprisonment to sin. He entered into the mess of my life, becoming sin for me and taking the punishment I deserved. Through faith in his redemptive work for me, I have been set free. He’s given me his Spirit to convict me, draw me to repentance, and transform me from the inside out.

The Real Change We Need

The journey to holiness is a slow one — it’s more of a marathon than a race. God doesn’t reveal to us all our sins at once. Instead, he peels back a layer at a time. My son is only five and has a long way to go. His problem with anger is a heart issue that only the gospel and the power of the Spirit can cure.

As much as I’d like to rush the process, I know God has a story for my son that he has to live out. While I continue to correct and instruct him in obedience, I know that the real change he needs can only come from the Spirit who transforms out hearts. So I walk beside him in the journey, pointing him to the cross and the freedom from sin that Jesus purchased for him there. I share the gospel with him every chance I get. Each day, I pray in humble reliance upon God and his work in my son’s heart, asking him to show my son his sin of anger and his desperate need for a Savior.

Because as I’ve learned from my own journey, the gospel is the only cure for a sinful heart.

Why God Made Toads and Deuteronomy 6

This is a wonderful example of Deuteronomy 6:5-9 from Pastor Ray Ortlund and gospel-centered parenting (or grandparenting): You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”Toad Watching 

This is my grandson.  He is lost in thought, contemplating a toad.  All else has faded away, for a toad is at hand.  And, surely, this is why God made toads.  For little boys to meditate upon.  At this moment in my grandson’s existence, he has no thought but concentration, no feeling but fascination.  This is one of the ways God cares for little boys, drawing them into the experience of curiosity and even wonder.  Like training wheels on the bicycle that one day will become the Maserati.

What is a toad?  I think of it as a frog – already an absurd creature – but with more camo and warts.  And it prefers to walk on land.  So that little boys can see one in the back yard.  And grow up to be men in Christ with hearts alerted to the out-there-ness reality of things infinitely greater than toads, worthy of endless wonder.  So thank you, Father, for the toads of this world.  For this toad.  For this boy.  For this moment.  For all that it means for the future, including the future of the whole world.

Is there, built into the total creation, an intrinsic necessity for toads?  If they were all to disappear, would the universe be diminished?  My hunch is, no.  But is there, built into the total creation, an intrinsic necessity for little boys?  If they were all to disappear, would the universe be diminished?  Yes.  Little boys can grow up to be mighty men of Christ, to rule majestically over all things under their King and Brother (Psalm 8).

It all starts so humbly, so delightfully, with a toad in the back yard.

HT: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/rayortlund/2013/06/05/why-did-god-make-toads/

Motherhood Summarized

Anita Renfroe gives this summary of what a mom does and says and why God has given them to children.