In Every Season

Spring is here! The weather is getting warmer, the sun is shining longer. The change of seasons has me thinking about the seasons of life and motherhood and how quickly they change. Of all the advice I have been given from more “experienced” or “seasoned” moms, there is one saying that they all seem to want to impress upon moms of younger children. “The days are long, but the years are short.” Tell me about it! My sons are only 2 and 4 and I already can’t believe how fast the time is passing. I want it to slow down! But at the same time, those of us who spend all day, every day, with little people can struggle with having no time to ourselves as someone other than mommy. We fear that we might be losing who we were as an individual. Or at least our sanity! Seasons change fast in life and in motherhood. If we realize that we can slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the beauty of each one while it is still in front of us.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This is a beautiful passage, found in the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, written by King Solomon, one of the wisest men to ever live.  I included all of verses 1-8 for you to read because it is such a great reflection on life. The focus of this post is really just the main idea of verse 1, “a time and a season for everything”, specifically as it relates to balancing being a mom to our kids, and an individual.

I became a mom at a relatively “older” age, in my mid-thirties, so I feel like I was given a good amount of time to figure out what I enjoy in life, and what makes me who I am. There are so many things, but my top three are: riding horses, playing piano/singing, and running. The first two I don’t get to do as often, but am thankful I still have in my life, and the third I do less than before having kids, but still once or twice a week.

My favorite time to run is in the morning. Sometimes I get to “sneak” out while my husband is home and my boys are still asleep and go for a run all by myself, and it’s glorious! I listen to music, spend time praying, and just run! But often my plan for “me” time actually goes a little more like this…alarm goes off, I hurry to dress, get my running shoes on, fill up a water bottle, quietly walk towards the front door and…”mommy!” My heart sinks! I just wanted a little time to run alone! It that too much to ask? Sometimes (I hate to admit the selfishness, but it’s there), as I am getting ready I even pray a quick prayer, “please let them stay asleep until I get out the door.”

But sometimes God has other plans, better plans. Usually it is my older son who wakes up and wants to come with me. So we break out the double stroller (if you haven’t pushed one lately, let me tell you, it’s HARD!) Sometimes they both wake up and then it’s even heavier. But I can honestly say that some of my sweetest runs lately have been when one or both of them are with me.

I remember one particular morning I really wanted to go by myself and my four year old woke up. I grumbled in my heart and my attitude, but told him of course he could come. Snacks packed, loaded up, kid wrapped in a blanket, off we went. The first thing he said was “Mommy, I love you! I love to come with you.” Heart melting! Now I always make it a point to say how much I love when he is with me, and it’s the truth! That morning we passed many neighbors out walking. I am trying to teach him to say “good morning” as we go by each person, and he kept asking me what their names were. I told him mommy doesn’t know everyone’s name and of course he wanted to stop and ask. We asked one sweet older lady and she smiled and told us. It seemed like it made her day. I told my son that God made him with such a caring heart towards people. He truly wants to know them, know their names and who they are. I would have missed that precious moment if I had been alone like I had wanted. That is just one example of all the sweet times we have had: playing pretend, thanking God for the sunrise, the beautiful creation, seeing animals, stops at the park, finding giant sticks, most of all making memories together!

I don’t know if my sons are old enough to remember the details of any of these specials times, but I know I will! And I hope and pray that even if they can’t remember, the bonds we are building are still deep down in their little hearts as they grow.

There is so much in life to enjoy! God is so kind and gracious in the world he made for us! There are so many things I still want to do, but in this season of life with little ones, I just don’t have time for it all. I have to chose what is most important.

I haven’t lost who I am as a person. I am just sharing it with my sons and letting them get to know me too. Instead of sitting down and writing a song, we sit down and sing “Jesus Loves Me.” Instead of galloping off into the wind, I am leading my little guy in the saddle. And in this season, it is every bit as wonderful as it was before!

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3: 11 NKJV

There will always be races to run, horses to ride, songs to sing, instruments to play, paintings to paint, books (and blogs) to read and write, vacations to take, concerts to see, sporting events to go to, restaurants to try, movie to see, places to serve at church…the list is endless. There is a time for everything! But this is the only time my children will ever be two and four years old. Once that season is over, it is gone. It is true for whatever age your children are right now. Whether you are in the infant or toddler season, school age, running them around to practices and events like a taxi service, teenage years, or ready to let them fly out of the nest, enjoy every minute because the next season will be here before we know it!

Just a note, I do still enjoy running by myself. We do need time to re-charge as moms, whether through hobbies or fellowship with other adults, or just time to ourselves when we are able. More importantly, I think we need to renew our strength and our relationship with the Lord through prayer and Bible study (even just a few minutes each day). But that is a whole other post. God knows the days I need to be by myself and the days I need the company of my children. Sometimes they stay asleep a little longer, and I go out and run, and I know it’s a gift! I talk to God and I love the solitude. But the next time my running shoes are on and I hear a sweet voice saying “mommy”, my heart smiles instead of grumbling. It’s all about perspective. God is teaching me so much through my children.

“The days are long but the years are short.” That’s what all the moms say.  It’s so true and I’m thankful for the long days because I don’t want to miss them. I want to treasure what a gift it is to be with my children in every season!

Not Home Yet

In a few days, it will mark one year since we packed up the minivan and drove over 1,200 miles. We moved halfway across the country to a new home in a new city where we didn’t know a soul. Just two years before that, we packed up to move 1,200 miles the other direction! If you are counting, that makes two cross-country moves in two and a half years! I can’t say that I recommend this as a lifestyle pattern. I can say that the experience has taught me some important lessons that I would not have learned without moving (literally) way outside of my comfort zone.

Moving to a new place brings up so many mixed emotions. First, there is the sadness in leaving behind people we love, and in missing the familiar routines and the security those bring. There were times when it felt like my heart physically ached for the people and places that were so far away. The loneliness in the beginning is hard!

At the same time, there is also excitement about what God has in store for us and who He might introduce us to in a new place. It really is a daily emotional roller coaster!

Days turn into week and months; we begin to make new friends and routines and feel a sense of belonging in the new place. Then there is the feeling of being torn and having my heart in two (or more) different places at the same time.

Finally, there comes a sense of peace and contentment. There is the ability to rest, and trust that wherever I am today is where God must want me to be. So I should look for the ways He is teaching me and try to be a witness to His goodness wherever we are located on the map.

In this post, I would like to share with you a few of the things that moving has taught me. I think they are ideas that can apply to wherever we find ourselves along the road of life.

 

1. Live one day at a time.

One of my biggest struggles with moving is my tendency to live looking back and longing for what I had in another place. The other problem I have is trying to look too far into the future to imagine what life will look like years ahead. Whether I am looking in the rear view mirror or squinting to see what is up the road, I risk missing the beauty and opportunities of the day that are right in front of me.

“This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NLT

The Bible says this is the day to rejoice, today! And in fact, today is the only day we can rely on. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring or even if tomorrow will come. God gives us a new opportunity every 24 hours to live another day. That gift should be enough to makes us rejoice!

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:33-34 NIV

Being a mom definitely comes with enough to keep us busy without adding in worrying about yesterday and tomorrow. We can eliminate so much of our daily anxiety by simply turning to God first.

Today is the next beautiful page in your scrapbook of memories! 

Today is the best day to intentionally practice contentment through prayer, an attitude of thankfulness, and the study of His Word.

 

2. Be on a mission.

“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15 NIV

When we think of the gospel mandate to “go into all the world” we usually think of missionaries traveling to far away lands. Many of us moms will not be called to the remote places of the globe, so we tend to feel like this command doesn’t really apply to us. Besides, our kids are our disciples, right? But wherever we are, in a small town, suburb, or big city, we are still part of “all the world”. Wherever God has placed you can be your mission field.

Realizing that God has a purpose for me in each new place that we live helps me to change my focus from my feelings, to the bigger picture and the world around me. With both moves I decided to go with my heart open. My “mission” was to make friends and try share God’s love with every opportunity. I made up my mind to talk to as many moms as I could meet during the day (even if I felt uncomfortable) and try to shine a light with a smile, a kind word, or an invitation to church or a play date. The playground has been my favorite place meet other moms. Being in this stage of motherhood creates a kind of understanding that makes it easy to strike up a conversation.

The result for me has been the creation of lasting friendships. There are so many special people that I treasure and care about deeply in each place we have lived, friends who have blessed my life with so much richness. It’s hard to imagine that I would never have met them without going through the struggles of moving. I am so thankful to God for bringing people into my life who remind me that it is about so much more than being where I want to be and doing what I want to do. It is about being where He wants me to be and doing what He wants me to do!

 

3. Focus on Eternity

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭NIV

This world is not our final home. Life is so short compared to eternity, like the blink of an eye. We get so caught up in our own plans and our busy lives, we forget that there is something so much greater up ahead. In those times it helps to pause and refocus on things that are lasting.

“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2 NIV

We all have a “dream” home. In the center of mine is a beautiful room, with windows floor to ceiling. Sitting in front of the windows is a shiny black grand piano. Outside is land and green grass with horses happily grazing. I like to imagine that home, but I may or may not have a place like that in this life and I’m totally ok with that. I know that whatever I can dream up, can’t even compare to the joy I will experience when I see my Savior and the place He has prepared for me!

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:3-6 NIV

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3 NKJV

There is a forever home. It is far better and more glorious than anything we can dream or imagine in this world. And Jesus is the way! He is how we get there and He is also the destination.  Knowing the one true God is eternal life itself, it is what home feels like! Imagine that feeling of being away on a trip and then rounding the corner and seeing your house. Home is such a comfort, filled with people we love, safety and security. Now imagine an eternal home, a perfect home, full of people we love and best of all God Himself! This home will last forever, and nothing can take it away. Those who put their trust in Jesus Christ have that place ready and waiting!

Conclusion

Maybe you are someone like me who has moved around and had to open your heart to new places and new people, or maybe you are someone who has lived your whole life in one place. Either way, life brings changes and often leaves us feeling like we don’t know where home really is. God has placed eternity in our hearts, and we yearn for our true, forever home. I hope that along this journey of life it will help you as it has helped me, to live one day at a time, be on a mission, and focus on eternity. And until we get there take heart, we are just not home yet!

With All Your Heart

There are so many things I love about being a mom; there is something new to discover every day. One thing I have come to appreciate through each stage of watching my boys grow and develop, is how often I am reminded to stop and examine my own heart and how I am responding to God. I recognize behaviors and attributes in my children, and it is like God gently shows me the areas where I need to grow closer to Him. He reminds me what it means to have child-like faith and total dependence and trust toward a loving parent, of which He is the ultimate of all loving parents!

The very first Bible verse I ever memorized is still one of my all time favorites. It is relevant for me every day in the journey of motherhood, and something I want to instill in my sons as they grow.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3: 5-6 NLT

The New King James Version is the one I memorized, and I still love that wording. But I also looked at several other translations and I like the way the New Living Tranation uses the words “Seek His will in all you do.” That puts it in a way that is easy to understand. We should be seeking His will first in every decision, every day. It says “do not depend on your own understanding.” I don’t know about you but I am thankful and relieved by that! We tend to think we are very wise, especially as parents, but when I think about all of the things I don’t know, all of the books I haven’t read, or topics I don’t understand, I am so glad my feeble understanding is not all I have to lean on!

When you bring home a new baby, he or she is the picture of total trust. It is probably because they are completely helpless. They depend on their parents for their very survival: food, safety, comfort and security. They can do nothing out of their own power. If we are being honest, each of us as adults is really the same way! We are like a grain of sand, a tiny speck in this immense universe. And yet God cares for us in the same way that we care for our brand new baby, in every way. And so I should look to Him with the same trust that my infants looked up at me, and the same security they felt in my arms, knowing I too am safe. I am always amazed at how beautifully God has created each phase of life to show us more of Himself. Most of the time we don’t even notice it, yet it is obvious when we stop to look for it.

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8: 3-4

As our children grow, they begin to realize that they have a mind of their own; they want to make their own decisions and use their knowledge to explore the world. This is a good thing; it is the way God made us. I love watching my sons learn new things! But in watching them develop, I am again reminded how important it is to trust in someone bigger. Lately, I find myself saying to my four-year-old,“trust me,” or “you just have to trust mommy.” At his age, he loves to question and find out new information. And I love to explain things to him as much as I can, at a level his mind can understand. But there are times when I know that if I explained the whole reason for something, he would not understand it. So in those times I ask him to trust me, like we trust God. I ask for his trust because it is my job to care for him, because I love him and I will always want the best for him (and at his young age I know what that is better than he does). In the same way, God asks us to trust Him because He cares for us, He loves us, and He always wants the very best for us (and He always knows what that is so much better than we do!)

My small mind cannot understand the greatness of the universe, the power of God, why bad things have to happen, or the concept of eternity…the list goes on! When I stop to think about some of those things it is scary to me, and makes me realize just how small I am! But I am comforted through the example of my children. There are so many things that their minds can’t even begin to understand, that as an adult I can. So I rest assured and trust that I too have a parent who understands the things my brain cannot handle, and my heavenly Father can handle it all!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Since I have been intentionally asking my son to trust me, I have been pleasantly surprised that many times he answers, “Ok mommy, I trust you.” Wow! I think that comes out of the close relationship that we have, and his confidence that I do want the best for Him. This is another reminder to me to stay in close relationship with my heavenly Father through prayer and the study of His word. There are other times when He will say, “It’s hard to trust you, mommy.” I like this answer too. Sometimes it is hard to trust God when we don’t understand His plan in the moment. What a great opportunity to talk with my child about trusting even when it isn’t easy!

“Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in You.” Psalm 84:12

When I hold my children’s hands to lead them safety across the street, I am reminded of my loving God who wants to lead me down the best path for my good and His glory every day.

We want our children to trust us with all of their hearts, because we love them with all of ours! We want good for them. God wants us to trust Him in the same way, because He loves us even more! Will you trust Him with all of your heart?

You Are Loved

Before I had children of my own, I remember hearing other parents say things like “you can’t imagine the kind of love you have for your children,” or “you just can’t understand how you can love another person so much.” I knew they were probably right, but it was still maybe a little cliché in my mind. And then I had my sons…and it happened to me too. I fell completely, unconditionally, endlessly in love with them. I look at them and I am overwhelmed by it! I suspect I am not alone, and most of you moms reading this right now will agree that you have done the same thing.

When little ones are two and four, “I love you” seems to flow so freely! And believe me, I am storing every one of them up in my heart for the days when they might not come so easily! My four year old will say, “I love you mommy.” I respond, “I love you more!” He answers, “I love you most!” I say, “I love you the most to infinity and beyond.” You get the idea! Or I’ll ask the boys “How much does mommy love you?” And they know the answer… “SOOOO MUCH!!”

Sometimes I’ll say to them kind of quizzically “I wonder why I love you so much? I guess it’s because God made you just for me.” I tell them that they are my best gifts from God. And I tell them that the amazing thing is that God loves them even more than I do, because He made them. That is pretty incredible. But it’s true! Now my oldest will say to me “Mommy, I wonder why I love you so much? I guess it’s because God made me just for you.” Oh the sweetness of a child’s heart! 

As Valentine’s Day is approaching and everything is hearts and roses and love in the air, I started to examine the question that I ask my sons a little more seriously. Why do I love them so much? How is it possible to love someone else so completely just because they are yours? Why do I still love them just as much when they are not behaving particularly lovable as when they are wonderful? The answer, I think, is made very clear in the Bible: we love, because God first loved us. So simple and yet so amazing and complex!

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4: 7-11

That’s the reason we love our children so much. It comes from God. He is the source of love, and it is part of His very nature. It certainly doesn’t come from how good or loving we are, and not even because of how cute or fun our children are. It comes from the simple fact that HE LOVED US FIRST! When I look at my sons, I see the evidence of a God who loves us! I am aware that the love parents feel for their children was carefully created and designed by our loving Father, and graciously put into our hearts in order that we might see Him more clearly.

The love we have for our children is like a beautiful mirror that reflects back to us the love God has for His children.

“The love we have for our children is like a beautiful mirror that reflects back to us the love God has for His children.”

“Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:26-27

It says in Genesis that God made us in His own image. When I look at my sons I think to myself “has there ever been a more beautiful creation in all the world than their sweet faces?!” I bet you have said the very same thing about your precious babies. It doesn’t matter the specifics of what they look like, they are made in your image. More importantly they are made in God’s image and somehow deep in our hearts we recognize that. Even if your children don’t look like you physically, maybe you are an adoptive parent, or a stepparent; it is still just as true. It makes me feel humbled and in awe to think that God could look at us and see even a glimpse of His own image. What a gift it is to be a parent and have a daily reminder that we have been created by such a loving God!

“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.” Psalm 139:1-4
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14

When you love someone you want to know that person. It is amazing to watch as your children grow and you get to see their unique personalities and qualities. To think that God knows everything about them, and us, down to our thoughts before we think them! He was there from day one, as each of us was in the womb, carefully designing every trait, seeing every day to come. What great love!

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

This is the culmination of our Father’s great love for us. While we were still undeserving sinners God sent His own beloved Son so that we might be saved and reconciled to Him. God sacrificed His son, so that we could be adopted into His family as His redeemed children. That is true love!

The next time you look at your child, and your heart overflows with love, remember where it comes from. We are made in the image of God, He created us, He knows us, and even though we didn’t deserve it, He sent His own son in the person of Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, to save us. Through His perfect life that we couldn’t live, His atoning death that He died in our place, and His glorious resurrection, He offers us the gift of salvation from sin and death and the hope of eternal life. He did all this because He loved us first, and in fact, He is love. There are many counterfeit versions of love out there. But we can trust in the one true source, our God who made us and loves us with an everlasting love. So Happy Valentine’s Day, moms! Give glory to God that today and every day, your children are loved. And you are loved!

Pray Without Ceasing

In the first edition of the “Thankful Mommy,” I talked about rejoicing always. In this, the second, I want to build on that and bring to mind one of the greatest tools we have as moms, prayer.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

There is something so powerful and so comforting about knowing we can go straight to God in prayer about anything, at any time. What a privilege that is! And even more that He wants us to come to him.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

Psalm 55:22

Just as we would want our children to come to us with anything that is in their hearts to share, be it joy or sadness, success or failure, our Heavenly Father wants that connection to his children too. That’s why He reminds us so many times in His Word to pray! That’s why so many times in the gospels we see Jesus retreating to the Father in prayer. That connection is essential for life and renewed strength.

For some reason, however, in our busy lives, prayer seems to be the last thing we remember to do. When we are already so frustrated or discouraged we don’t know where else to turn, then we pray. What if prayer was the first thing we went to, instead of the last resort? For me, prayer has become my greatest asset in the daily routine of trying to be a God-honoring mom to my boys. It is how I have kept my sanity and my patience when I wanted to lose it, and has helped me stay focused on my ultimate goal of letting my family see Jesus through me. I am getting better at making prayer my first line of defense instead of my last resort. But it is always a work in progress. Here are some ways we can practice prayer as moms that I hope will help you and your children every day.

Pray first.

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”

Psalm 5:3

It makes such a difference when the first thing we do after we wake up is to say good morning to God. We sing a sweet song they learned in Bible study and thank God for the day. We ask Him to bless everything we are about to do and help us to be pleasing to Him and share His love throughout our day.

Pray when it’s good.

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”

Psalm 100:1-2

Some days are just good. Some moments so special that we have to stop and just thank God for His goodness. When little ones are being kind and loving and obedient, make it a habit to stop thank Him who is the source of all love. We might just say “thank you God for helping us be such kind and caring brothers to each other”. We might be out on a bike ride or walk and just thank God for His creation, His little gifts to us every day. We might sing a joyful song as we go about our day. Whatever you are doing, don’t forget to thank God for the sweet moments.

Pray when it’s bad.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Psalm 121:1-2

On the other hand, some days just seem to start off with everything going wrong…maybe there is sickness, or fighting, disobedience, and tears. In those time we have to refocus our eyes on our help. We ask God to forgive us, help us forgive each other, and help us to be more like Him. I can’t tell you how many times in the middle of a tantrum I have just said “We need to stop and pray NOW!” And that’s just what we do. It is amazing how it can get us back on track.

Pray for others.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

1 Timothy 2:1-4

Teaching your children to pray for others is so important. They begin to understand compassion and to look at others and try to see them as God sees them. I especially want my boys to pray with me for their father. I am so blessed in this season of life to be able to stay home full time with my little ones. I want them to see me thanking God for my husband’s job, and how hard he works to provide for our family. We pray for God to bless his efforts at work and keep him safe when he is away from us.

Also pray for other family members, friends (and even enemies), people in your neighborhood, city, country, and even across the world (such as deployed military, or believers in other countries). Whenever the boys and I see an emergency vehicle going by we say a quick prayer for the responders and whoever they are helping. Another idea would be if your kids are old enough to see or hear the news to pray for people involved in those stories.

Everyone could use a little more prayer!

Pray when they sleep.

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Psalm 4:8

At bedtime we thank God for the day. We ask him for safety and security while we sleep. I remind the boys that we can sleep in peace because God is in control and always watching over us and protecting us.

Pray for yourself as a mom.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23

I pray for help in the daily struggles to show patience and self-control, for the ability to show kindness, grace, and mercy to my children even when I don’t feel like it. Often times my prayer is nothing more than a quick “help me, Jesus!” when I feel my patience slipping.

But mostly, my prayer is that when they are grown my boys will remember seeing Christ through the way I treated them, my husband, and others around us throughout their childhood.

I pray that they will always know that mom’s love for them is endless and unconditional, but God loves them even more than me!

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

1 John 4:10

Pray for their future.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13

No matter how little or how old your children are, you can always pray for God’s plan for their futures. I usually remember to do this one after they fall asleep and I am looking at their sweet faces. I am there in the quiet overwhelmed with gratitude to God for giving them to me. I ask him to bless them with health and safety, and that they grow strong physically, but more importantly that they grow in character and spiritually. I pray for their future success in school, career dreams, and for their future spouse. I pray that they become men who love God and others, who protect and care. I pray that God would keep them from temptation and sin as they grow into boys and men. My greatest prayer for them is that they would recognize their need for Christ and the salvation He offers to those who call on Him. I pray that they would love His Word and want to know Him all the days of their lives, and that they may be a light of hope to others that need to hear the gospel.

Praise God for His glory.

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.”

1 Chronicles 16:23-24

Just praise God for how good He is, how glorious and worthy of praise. We can never run out of things to praise God for if we just look around at creation and our lives. The one thing I want my boys to hear on a daily basis is how thankful I am to God for the gifts they are to me as my sons, and for the ultimate gift of His son Jesus Christ and salvation through Him.

Conclusion

Prayer doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out, or formal process. And it doesn’t have to just be about big, important things. You can share your greatest concerns and also your simplest thoughts with God. Prayer can be out-loud, in your head, alone or with others. If you are someone who benefits from writing your thoughts, try a prayer journal. That way you can go back and see how God has answered your prayers at different times. If you are a list person, make a top 5 or 10 things/people you are praying for, and top things you are thankful to God for.

Prayer is a ongoing conversation with someone you love all day, every day. Just like you might send a quick text to your husband to share something with him, say a word of thanks, or an “I love you,” send a quick word to heaven and stay constantly connected to the source of strength and hope for this journey of life.

Remember, moms, you are never alone. The same God who gave you these precious children is there every step of the way to listen whenever you need Him. So pray first, pray hard, and pray without ceasing!

Rejoice Always

Welcome to the first ever “Thankful Mommy” blog post. Lately, as I have been thinking and praying more and more about actually posting my thoughts and prayers for the internet world to see, I have been reading and I have noticed a theme…moms are tired! It seems most moms want to be joyful but are just weary, and tired, and ashamed of losing their tempers with their children, or being in too much of a hurry from one thing to the next. Moms want their joy back, but don’t always know how to get it back.

            I was talking to my husband the other day about my desire to start a blog for moms. His response was “What is your purpose in writing this? What do you hope to accomplish?” Those are important questions to me because honestly, there are plenty of mom blogs out there. Does the world really need one more blog for already busy moms to spend their few extra minutes of time reading? Do I have anything to say that is going to make life any better or easier for my fellow moms in these trenches of the years of motherhood, trying to mold their precious little ones? My answer is this. I just want to encourage moms with Biblical truth. That’s it. That’s where the joy comes from, that is how we get it back, from the truth of God’s Word alone.

            The name “Thankful Mommy” just comes from the fact that I am thankful to be a mom. I am thankful for my two sweet sons and the gift that they are from God. It is the desire of my heart, even in the hard moments, to try and never take that for granted. But most of all I am thankful to God, for His goodness, His faithfulness, His forgiveness, His salvation through Jesus Christ, and His word that reveals Himself to us.

            So wherever you are in life, if your children are little like mine, or school age, or even grown. If you are a mom that serves her family staying at home full time, or a mom that serves her family with a job outside of the home, my prayer is that you will find some encouragement here.

            I will always include a Bible reference in my blog and encourage you to reflect on that as you go about the busyness of your day. This one is actually the “memory verse” my 2 and 4 year old sons are working on right now. It has a really cute song that makes it even easier to memorize. I would sing it for you if I could. But for now I hope you will read it and think of it when the challenges come.

 “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your [b]gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 4-7.

            I just have to tell you how much I LOVE this passage! I love it from the first word, “Rejoice!” Notice that it doesn’t say rejoice when you have a great day or everything is running smoothly, it says to rejoice “always.” If you are a new year’s resolution kind of gal, the practice of rejoicing always, despite day to day circumstances is a great resolution to make.  That is really a goal we should practice for life, not just every new year, but every new day, to wake up and before the worries come, rejoice. Just thank God for a new day, a new chance. Let Him be the first person you say “good morning” to when your eyes open. It can change the whole coarse of your day.

Then it goes on to say people should know us by our gentleness. That is such a sweet word to describe motherhood isn’t it? Some days we might not look very gentle, but it is a beautiful reminder. And be anxious or worry for “nothing”.  That seems almost impossible when we feel like there is so much to worry about. The apostle, Paul, then explains that when we just go straight to God with our prayers, and requests, and thanksgiving, the Lord gives us HIS peace, which passes all understanding. The kind of peace that in the midst of a tantrum, or a spill, or a mess, just allows us to realize this motherhood thing is a gift. It is another way God shows His unfailing love to us and through us.

            I am looking forward to getting to know each other better as we walk this sometimes smooth, sometimes bumpy motherhood road together. Today it is my prayer that you will rejoice in the Lord with me!

-Angela