What Happens When a Mom Takes a Step Back

Well, honestly, sometimes when this mama takes a step back (literally), I fall over (actually). I’m just not as spry or coordinated as I used to be, and also sometimes the reason I’m falling is because I have tripped over the groceries my kids didn’t put away after I asked them twice.

Which leads me to a big point of this post.

It is rare that my kids will do exactly as I ask, immediately after I ask. I often have to say things twice or twelve times. They hardly ever come right when I call. Sometimes I say, “Put all your shoes away before you head up for the night” but then I find all the shoes exactly where they shouldn’t be in the morning. We can be sure that if I didn’t tell them to pick up their sweatshirts, all of the hoodies in the world would stay on the floor forever.

One of my kids always forgets to rinse his dishes even though that’s been our practice after every single meal for every single day of his entire life. Getting my kids out of bed in the mornings requires much more than a cute wake-up song, and I often hear about all the parts of life that aren’t fair.

This is what I do all day. I am Mom. I am blessed to be with my kids all day, but the thing is that I AM WITH MY KIDS ALL DAY.

It is my responsibility to educate and train them in everything ranging from geography to kindness to algebra to selflessness. I’m intentional about preparing them to be godly husbands, leaders, servants, employees, people. So every time one of their weaknesses flares or their response to an assignment, chore, brother, friend, or parent is less than ideal – I am on it! I instruct, reprimand, encourage, cry, offer suggestions, pray, and yep, sometimes even yell.

I see their weaknesses; no doubt they see mine.

What I sometimes fail to see is their strengths. Their gifts, talents, leadership abilities, Christ-like hearts, tenderness, humor, care, compassion – those are all there in my kids too, in abundance. But I all too often forget to notice the greatness through all the crusty socks that never made it upstairs to the basket.

It’s when I take a step back that I see the good that’s been there all along. It’s there in spite of me and even a little bit because of me. Mostly it’s there because God is at work in my kids and He wants their good even more than I.

When I step back I see…

  • My oldest, almost 20 now, being loved by so many on the college campus, taking a lead he doesn’t even know he’s taking, just because people are drawn to him. He rocks at videography, already utilizing his skills professionally. When he talks about his special girl, his voice is gentle and sweet. He loves the Lord and continues to learn what it means to live for Him.

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Photo cred goes to the man himself

When I step back I see…

  • My 17-year old being a leader on the basketball court, encouraging his younger teammates, motivating his youth group peers to join him in a service project, teaching younger kids how to play soccer, talking sweetly to an elderly lady. I hear the music he creates and I am blown away that my kid has ability like this. I hear his poetry, the words of which tell me of his talent and of his heart for God.

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When I step back I see…

  • My 15-year old coming out of his shell, making people laugh, talking to me about the sweet girl he likes, getting the door for people coming in behind him, and spoon feeding our disabled friend. I see him cheerfully making trips back and forth from apartment to truck as he helps another disabled friend load heavy furniture. I hear him confidently singing a solo on stage for the first time, fulfilling roles we never could have dreamed he’d be willing to step into. I hear him pray at night, amazed at his growing relationship with God.

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When I step back I see…

  • My 12-year old being the “big kid” that the little kids at church flock to. I see him confidently teasing adults and making them laugh. I see him hugging the man whose wife is dying, making the gentleman smile through his tears. I watch him on stage, acting as if he was born to be in character. I see him excited to finally have a chance to go on a mission trip this summer with his older brothers, and I see him with tears in his eyes as he says, “Mom and Dad, I am ready to be baptized.”

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When I take a step back, I see all of this, and I don’t even have to look hard. This is all there because at their very core, this is who my children are.

In the thick of parenting, instructing, teaching, planning, dreaming, longing, and probably not sleeping quite enough – too often parents are only able see to the tip of the arguments and to the end of the unmade bed. Stepping back, we see the entire picture – the one that is beautifully painted with caring children, strengths that shine through the weaknesses, and a God who is at work to bring out His purposes for these darlings who are dearest to us.

To all who are in very middle of this parenting adventure: Take a step back. What are your children doing well? Where do they shine? In what ways have they grown? Bring it all to mind. Sit there for a while, and bask in the sweetness. It’s peaceful there and it is very real.

It is in this place, the place of stepping back, that we can remember our purpose and joy as parents. We remember that good shines brighter than bad, and that God is powerfully at work in both our children and in us.

Then hopefully, next time we trip over the backpack that got dropped right in the middle of the floor, we can recall to mind the heart of the child that left it there, even as we holler once again for said child to come put the backpack where it goes before we throw it into the fireplace.

What Happens When a Mom Takes a Step Back

Please take a turn! I got to share about each of my sons. Will you please take a minute, step back to see the good in each of your kids, and leave a comment to share that good with us?

How to Find Quiet Time With God When There is No Quiet Time

I remember the days. And I remember the guilt.

So let’s just stop a minute and talk together about how to find quiet time to spend with God when your days are filled to the brim with fussy babies, dirty dishes, needy toddlers, muddy preschoolers, full-scheduled teenagers, work and ministry commitments, spilled oatmeal, missed naps, doctor appointments, broken washing machines, unexpected company, puke on the couch, arguing siblings, burned gunk on the stove-top, and poop that didn’t quite make it to the toilet on time.

How do we find time for God when it seems our prayer life consists mainly of, “Help God! I can’t find my keys and please give me patience so I don’t scream at my kids again and could you please make them obey me so that I don’t have to scream again but seriously, I can’t find my keys!!”

It doesn’t help when we read that others are getting up early to watch the sun rise while they have precious devotion time with the Father (after they exercise, spend quality time with their darling husband before work, journal, and balance the checkbook). When?? How?? Do these people never sleep? I must be doing something wrong. My priorities must not be right. I am failing. My relationship with God is not where it should be. Oh, but I’m so tired. Weary. Discouraged.

My dear reader:  You are not failing. You are not “less-than.”  The other women don’t “have it all together” better than you. None of them. Don’t listen to lies and become discouraged.

Getting a healthy amount of sleep (or at least as much as your season in life will allow) is as important a task as anything you can do. Without sleep, everything else is harder. So sleep. Rest. The dust on the picture frames is not important, nor is it a big deal that your kid occasionally wears the same shirt (with a dried-on booger smeared across the sleeve) two days in a row. 

Give yourself grace. God does. If that’s not permission to relax, I don’t know what is.

Understand that time with God happens all day long. He is with you and hears your cry for help.  He rejoices with you in your moments of triumph and cheers you on. He understands how full your day is and how hard you are working. He understands your need for quiet, and will provide it for you when you ask.

Did you hear that? He will provide.  He wants quiet time with you as much or more than you want it with Him. 

Grab hold of those few minutes you might find while you’re stirring the sauce for dinner. Everyone playing in the living room while you’re washing dishes? Sounds like you just found yourself some God time! Taking a quick shower before hubby heads out to work? God’s listening. Nursing the baby…again?  Close your eyes, breathe, and spend some time in prayer (if you can stay awake). Running your pre-teen to sports practice? Crank up the Christian music and worship. Or better yet, turn the music off and enjoy the few minutes of silence. Can’t seem to find any time alone, ever? Then read the Word out loud to whoever is in the room with you. Pray aloud. Share that time with your kids. 

Some day soon, you might find yourself in a season that allows for pulling up a chair and having regular times of quiet God time. It’s beautiful and it’s necessary. In the meantime, pray for God to provide you just what you need so that your soul will be refreshed and your heart will be at peace.

And if you fall asleep during your prayer again, take comfort, knowing that there’s no better place to find rest.

Stocking Stuffers for Moms

As I’ve mentioned before, my friend Anne and I stuff each other’s stockings each year. It takes the pressure off of our husbands and we have a lot of fun. Several of you have asked for ideas of what we put in each other’s stockings. I’m posting this to answer that question AND so that if you want to, you can print this off and leave it dangling (innocently) in front of your husband if you would prefer that he stuff your stocking instead of having a friend join in the fun.

Anne is very creative and frugal. She’s put some pretty cool and interesting things in my stocking before including fire starters she made from egg cartons, saw dust and melted wax. I loved these for our fireplace! Yes, you are only limited by your imagination when it comes to stuffing a stocking. If you know a person well enough, you know exactly what she needs or loves.

I happen to know that Anne loves Ghiradelli Chocolate Chips, making that perfect for her stocking. I also gave her homemade vanilla last year and a jar of Homemade Ranch and Homemade Italian Dressing Mixes. Oh so practical. And tasty.

Here are more ideas for a lady’s stocking!

  • Pens  – because the stub of a crayon she finds in her purse or by the phone just won’t cut it. She needs pens.
  • Paper Clips – she’ll never think to buy them for herself and she needs them
  • Heavenly Homemakers Downloadable Recipe Cards – if you wait a couple of days, you’ll find all of these on sale!
  • Small (and pretty) note pads – because they’re more fun to make lists on than the back of a school math paper
  • Kitchen Towels – because all of her other ones are stained or torn…or in the hamper
  • Lotion Bars from MadeOn – this stuff works miracles on my dry skin!
  • Wooden Spoons and other Kitchen Utensils – so she can bake you something
  • Warm Fuzzy Slipper Socks – for the same reason she needs Kitchen Towels, plus her feet are cold
  • Flexi-Clip from Lilla Rose – because they’re beautiful and SO easy to use and inexpensive and pretty and…
  • Cake Decorating Supplies – because they’re just fun!

Ladies, fill in the gaps by leaving comments of suggested stocking stuffers you’d have fun finding in YOUR stocking Christmas morning!

Announcing Heavenly Homemakers Affiliate Program!

There’s been more hard work going on around here (is this really called summer break?!) and we’re so excited to tell you about the new Heavenly Homemakers Affiliate Program!!

So, are ya interested in earning a little extra money? We thought maybe you wouldn’t mind. :)  A little extra money never hurt anybody’s feelings and we are hoping that the new Heavenly Homemakers Affiliate Program will be a blessing to many of you! We’ve worked hard to make this program simple to use and open to everyone, whether you have a blog or not!

Here’s the short story of how it works:

You tell your friends, family, blog readers, facebook friends, etc. about all (or some) of the products in the Heavenly Homemaker’s Shop and when they purchase something using your unique link…you earn 33% of the sale!! For instance, if you promote our new Learn Your Letters, Learn to Serve Preschool Curriculum Kit and someone buys it because of you…you make a quick $15! Not bad at all…and every little bit adds up, right?! Yes, I can think of several things I could do with $15 extra dollars. And if you sell more than one of the kits, plus a few ebooks…well, it all adds up to a nice little monthly bonus!

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If you have a blog or website, it may be easier for you to promote our products and earn…BUT even if you don’t…you can still be a part of this program. You can tell your friends on facebook and encourage them to check out our products. You can tell people about the products, then email them your link for them to purchase through. Don’t spam anybody, but do feel free to use your online resources to promote our products and earn a little extra cash!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Heavenly Homemaker’s Affiliate Program and signing up to partner up with us, you’ll need to kindly agree to this agreement, then follow the links to sign up!  To learn more about the program, you can read through the Heavenly Homemaker’s Affiliate FAQs. This page explains the entire process with simple, step-by-step instructions. There is even a lovely page full of banners and buttons for you to use as you promote the products in our shop! Beyond that, if you have any more questions, please email Charlene, my incredible, lovely and oh so helpful HHM Affiliate Manager at  hhmaffiliates at gmail.com.

We can’t wait to have you join us in this program!!! Sign up…be blessed! 

And can I just say thanks? It’s because all of you are so wonderful that makes beginning this affiliate program so exciting for us. Hugs all around.
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This post is linked to Works for me Wednesday.