How Can I Encourage My Child's Next Step Towards Christ?
- Begin praying for their salvation from the time you find out you are pregnant or this moment forward.
- Teach your child that God loves him and has a plan for him.
- Help your child have an awareness of sin.
- Answer your child’s spiritual questions in simple language.
- Explain Jesus dying on the cross, forgiveness of sin, and salvation.
- Wait on your child to be ready and keep praying.
- Pray the prayer with your child when he initiates the need for Jesus.
- Keep praying over your children and with them!
How Can I Nourish My Family?
Mealtimes present a challenge whether a mother works outside the home or inside the home. Having regular family meals at home is important to promote family unity and to stay connected. Here are some hints we have gathered over the years:
- Grocery shop just before the weekend to have ingredients on hand for larger quantities to serve with friends and family. Then serve leftovers during the upcoming week on busy nights.
- If you are a stay-at-home mom, begin dinner right after breakfast to avoid the "5 pm crazies" that tempt you to end up eating out.
- Cook one of your husband’s favorite dinners once a week.
- Shop around the edges of the grocery store. Foods that are canned or boxed with lots of preservative are sitting on the shelves while the more nutritious food tend to be around the perimeter in refrigerated cases or produce bins.
- Experiment with “theme dinners” like Hawaiian night or Rodeo Night.
- Cook simple dinners. Cook a meat, green vegetable, a bread or other whole grain and serve fruit for dessert.
How Do I Spend Time Alone With God?
For a quiet time to be successful it needs to be somewhat planned. Not that a quiet time can’t be spontaneous or vary in what it looks like, but to be consistent we need a game plan.
- Place: What does it look like for you? Where can you get alone?
- Timing: What time of day do you have available or how can you change your schedule to better prioritize your quiet time?
- Tools: Bible, MotherWise study book, highlighter, journal, pen, candle
- Accountability: Do you have a partner? If not let’s pick one right now, preferably someone in this group!!
- Components: Praise music, reading Scripture (stopping to study and reflect), praying (written and verbal), reading a devotional book, writing in a journal (spiritual scrapbook), meditation and listening.
We have to look at our quiet times as if Jesus were a friend sitting there waiting on us to visit…because He IS! Would you stand up your best friend or even an acquaintance? He is waiting on you! Will you join Him?
How Do We Make Family Devotions a Reality?
One of the greatest spiritual foundations and traditions you can set for you family is to have a family devotion that is consistent. This is not always easy to accomplish. Here are some steps to make it work:
- Make a rock solid commitment to the family devotions. Don’t allow illness or fatigue to prevent it from happening!
- Get each of your children their own copy of the Bible and make sure the version is the same for each person.
- Form a circle when you talk about spiritual things so that each person can see the others and allow freedom to initiate spiritual conversation.
- If your children are old enough, allow everyone to read from the Bible taking turns.
- Choose a devotional book to follow or use a read-through-the-Bible in a year plan.
- If you have young children, read the Bible to them while they fill in a coloring page on the same subject. There are many great coloring page resources online.
- Have a family prayer time with each family member saying sentence prayers over other family members.
Answering Your Questions About Christianity:
Do You Know That You Know You Are A Christian? Do you know if you died today that you would reside in Heaven with Jesus? There is no decision in life you can make more important than this one.
Turning your life over to Jesus is the only way to have a relationship with God. You must go through Jesus to get to God. If you have never done this, ask God to speak to you as your read Truth in the book of Romans.
Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
Romans 5:8 - "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. "
Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 10:9-10 - "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
Romans 10:13 - "For, whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
To have a relationship with God, to become “born again” you must:
- Acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you need a relationship with Jesus Christ to save you from everlasting hell.
- Admit and confess your sins.
- Ask Jesus to save you by His grace.
- Allow Jesus Christ to rule your life.
If you are ready, pray a prayer like this: Lord Jesus, I am a sinner and admit it. I am confessing this to You today. Forgive me of my sins. I want Your death on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. I turn now from my sin and I turn to You. Save me and have mercy on me, Lord. Be my Master and my Lord. You alone are my God. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer for the first time be sure to call your pastor, our office, or Christian friend and share your new found faith! You are about to embark on an incredible journey in Christ!
What are Three Gifts Every Child Needs?
- The Blanket of Unconditional Love - We need to wrap our children in a blanket that says: “I love you – not based on your behavior or performance, but because you are mine.” Express unconditional love through time spent together, touching and showing loving gestures like hugs, and talk with them in non-threatening or disciplining times such as bedtime or dinnertime.
- Firm, fair boundaries - Our children need to know the rules – clear boundaries & the consequences if they step over the line. When they are young – 2 or 3 – those boundaries need to be really tight; as they grow, then we let out the rope a little more; if they step over the line, then we pull them back in.
- The Bread of Life – Jesus - We want to expose our children to Jesus – the Bread of Life! We can’t become a believer in Christ for our children but, we can lay the foundation create an environment for your child’s faith in Jesus to take root & grow. Model a life of total abandonment to Christ – let them “catch” you praying & reading the Bible. Instead of forcing it on them, live it!
Can there still be romance in our home after I become a mom?
After the honeymoon is over and life settles into a routine, keeping the spark in your marriage is sometimes a challenge. You can initiate fun dates with your mate with as little or as much effort as you want to put into it by:
- Think of some low cost dates or free dates such as talking a walk, riding bikes, or a picnic lunch.
- If you have the money saved, dream of some more “high end” places such as resorts or favorite restaurants that you could surprise your husband with for a treat.
- Try trading babysitting with trusted friends to keep the cost down to allow for a date night.
- Leave a compliment for him on his voice mail or by email.
- Learn how to give a good back or foot massage.
- Wear clothes that he appreciates.
- Speak kindly to your husband in public and private.
- Allow him to lead your household.
- Journal a “gratitude book” for him with 30 days of things you are thankful for about him.
- Surprise him at work with his favorite coffee or dessert.
How Do I Balance the Demands of Life as a Wife and Mom?
“Life” comes at us hard and fast. The only way to keep our heads above water and to fulfill our list of commitments is to keep our eyes focused on God through our devotional times reading, praying, listening, and obeying. Beyond that we must keep our priorities in order to be a godly woman:
- Priority one – Relationship with God
- Priority two – Relationship with Husband
- Priority three – Relationship with Children
- Priority four – Relationship with Work – inside or outside the home
- Priority five – Relationship with World through Ministry
Many times it can be a struggle to maintain this order but God always rewards our obedience to keep our lives in order so that He can work through us. Ask Jesus to teach you how to align your priorities according to His will.
What are the Best Ways to Communicate With My Child?
At every age and stage of mothering, we communicate with our children. From the day we give birth to the day we take our last breath, we want to have great communication with our kids. Here are some tips:
- Use Dinner Time Table Talk – ask specific questions about their day at school, teacher, peers, activities, or classes. Avoid unpleasant subjects or dealing punishment at the dinner table.
- Bed Time – Sit down on the bed and chat a bit before bedtime. This is a non-threatening time and many children will open up during this time.
- When giving directions - be very specific and look your child in the eye instead of yelling from another room. This makes it clear that they heard and understood the directions.
- Play board games to encourage family time. From time to time take your children on a “date” one on one…get ice cream for little ones, or maybe even coffee for an older teen or young adult.
THE SWEET THINGS OF LIFE
It is important that mothers limit the amount of sugar their children eat each day. Not only is sugar linked to hyperactivity in small children, but also leads to obesity and tooth decay. Proper nutritional habits are easy to form in small children by substituting healthy snacks for sugary sweets. Examples are fruit, cheese, and vegetable sticks, like carrots and celery. Check out substitutes for sugary deserts. Unlike sugar, there is no substitute for Mom’s sweet words to her children. It is important that mother’s sweeten their words each day with a lot of praise, love, and kindness with her children. The Bible tells us that “kind words are like honey – sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 Children need a strong dose of mom’s sweet words daily for a healthy relationship and attitude about life. It also helps mom keep her focus on the gift God has entrusted to her in the lives of her children. Not only evaluate your children’s nutritional habits, but evaluate your vocabulary habits. It will be healthy for everyone!
IRON SHARPENS IRON
Do you have a child who refuses to eat, is impossible to potty train, expresses willful disobedience, or ignores curfews? Do you have a child literally driving you to your knees in prayer for wisdom and discernment? Psalms 127:3 tells us children are a gift from the Lord. On days when you want to exchange your gift for another one, remember that God has placed your specific child with you for a specific reason. Our children are not accidents nor does God make a mistake. Perhaps one reason God placed His child in your care is to refine and shape you. God often places a strong-willed child with a passive mother or a very sensitive child with a strong-willed mother. If you were able to raise your children in your own strength and wisdom you wouldn’t need God. But in John 15:5 Jesus says, “I am the Vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me & I in him, he will bear much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Through our children’s actions and attitudes God gives us the opportunity to express His life to them. His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and last but not least self-control! Isn’t that the kind of mom you want to be? I do! So when you are at your wit’s end stop and rejoice in the fact that God is using your children, those beautiful gifts, to draw you closer to Him and to express His life on the earth. Then ask the Lord to give you specific instruction on the actions you need to take to give your children the love and discipline they need.
TRUST AND OBEY
Every day as soon as you awaken you’re faced with many choices: what to wear, what to eat, what to fix for everyone's lunch, which load of laundry to wash first, or what to tackle first at work. While these are important decisions awaiting you, there is no decision as important as the decision you make to be obedient to the will of God and His instructions for your life. When you hear God's calling, or you feel that inner turmoil to do or not to do something, you have a choice. Will you lay your desires down and submit your will to God's will? Sometimes this is very easy if God is answering a prayer the way you wanted. Other times, when God is calling you to do something contrary your plans, it can be painfully difficult to do. In John 14:15 Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” Obedience to God is a response of worship and love to Him. God blesses us when we are obedient to Him and many times as soon as we take a step in the right direction He immediately responds to us. Remember we expect obedience from our children because we know what is best for them. It is no different with our heavenly Father. He knows best and wants us to trust our lives to Him. Remember the words to the old hymn? “Trust and Obey.”
TRAINING YOUR CHILD TO LISTEN
Do you ever find it hard to get your child’s attention? Are you tempted to yell instructions from across the house & then get mad at your kids for disobeying? Are you competing with the TV, computer or music and wondering why you’re kids’ aren’t paying attention? I want to encourage you to try something different. When giving your child instruction, stop what you’re doing, focus on your child, look at them face to face, eye to eye and give instructions in simple, clear sentences. Have your child repeat what you just said. This makes sure you both know they heard your instructions. If your child then refuses to do whatever you have requested or instructed, treat the incident as willful disobedience. You have removed the variable of questionable directives and the choice to obey is now the child’s. This simple change in your parenting technique will make a big difference in your relationships with your child, just as learning to listen to the voice of Jesus will impact your walk with Him. In John 10:27 Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me.” Learning to listen and then obey are keys to deepening relationships between parents and children and followers of Christ and their Master.
LOSS AND GRIEF
Have you ever experienced a gut-wrenching, heart-aching loss? I suspect at some point in your life that you have. It could have been the loss of a child or spouse, a divorce, an unwanted move across the country, or God showing you something in your life that you had to give to Him once and for all. Where do we find joy in such circumstance? How do we continue on in our life? Hebrews 4:16 tells us "Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need."When you feel your world is upside down or everything is falling apart, there is only one place that to go to have your wounds mended. When you fall at the feet of Jesus, He tenderly takes your broken heart and mends it with His love. When you recognize that only He can restore you, the process of healing begins. I want to validate your feelings. It is okay to feel sad when you experience loss. God gave us emotions and they need to be expressed. Rather than stuffing those feelings are pretending they aren’t there, take them out and examine them in a time of prayer. Tell God all about what is bothering you. Realize, too, that grief must be experienced in stages: numbness, frustration, anger, then guarded acceptance all come, usually in that order, before true acceptance of your “new normal” can begin.The healing process takes time. Fully surrendering to God's heart of love for you at this time and moment provides the opportunity seek the refuge and comfort for the relentless pain that you feel. Draw near to Him by laying your worries, burdens, and hurts down at His feet. Look into His face to find the comfort, strength, and peace you need. Hang on. It won’t always feel like it does today. Jesus is here and He will never leave you.
START THE DAY WITH A SMILE
As our children head off to school each morning, mom can help set a positive atmosphere for their day. Allowing a good night’s sleep, plenty of time for waking up, a healthy breakfast, and getting dressed are very important. Children are more attentive, cooperative, and happy in school when they have had a good start to their morning. A rushed morning can lead to harsh words, grumpiness, and tears. That is not how we want our children's day to begin. We also want to spend as much time on their spiritual preparation as on their outward appearance. Wake up your children with a song or scripture. Ex. "This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 Use breakfast time for a blessing and devotion from God's Word as they eat. Say a prayer for them as they head out the door. This helps children remember that God loves them and mom & dad do too!
PRIORITIES OF LIFE
As moms, our priority list often is longer than we even have time to write down. Taking care of our husbands, children, working outside the home, serving at church, and managing our households, can consume our lives and our time. It is so easy to allow these things as important as they are, to separate us from time with God. When we humble ourselves before the Lord and make certain that He comes before any other responsibility or priority, then everything else will fall in to place. Matthew 6:33 says “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
So make time alone with God your first priority. If you are married, your second priority should be your relationship with your mate. Nurturing your marriage is the best gift you can give your children. Your third priority is your children. Love them, discipline them and teach them about Jesus. Your fourth priority is your daily work – everything from cleaning the bathroom to a trans-coastal job, must come after you have your relationships with God and your family in order. Finally, your fifth priority is ministry that flows from a life filled with Christ’s life. God, spouse, children, work and ministry… in God’s season, God’s timing and God’s order.
TEACHING KIDS TO GIVE AT CHRISTMAS
How can you teach your children or grandchildren the joy of giving? So often we get caught up in giving to them, we forget to encourage them to be givers as well. Last Christmas, I had the joy of introducing my 4 year old granddaughter to the excitement of giving to other children. We planned a shopping trip to the toy store and picked out toys for a girl and a boy. We brought them home and carefully placed them in shoe boxes. We put our hands on the toys and said a short prayer for the boy and girl who would receive them. We closed the lid and headed for our church. We ceremoniously placed the boxes in the collection bins. Holding hands, we almost skipped to the car. It was one of the most memorable days of our holiday celebration. Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Even a child can experience that truth!
FLEE FROM SEXUAL TEMPTATION
Extramarital affairs happen every day, even among church-attending believers. Mom, when you believe it could never happen to you is when you are most vulnerable. Carefully guard your relationships with other men, especially men you consider to be very spiritual. Protect your conversations and your thought life by being fully aware of how Satan works. If he can take two God-fearing believers, entangle their lives and ruin marriages and ministries he has fulfilled his every goal. The credibility of testimonies and good works, not to mention the example of what a Christian should be, are destroyed. Prevent him from having his way by avoiding intimate conversations with men other than your husband, never be alone with one man that is not your husband, and be aware of possible attractions, spiritual or physical and stay away! Second Timothy 2:22 tells us to “flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness.” If you find this temptation staring you in the face, be obedient and flee!
GIRL CLOTHING AND MODESTY
One of the biggest issues facing mothers of teenage girls today is modesty. The way a girl dresses says a lot about her character and her beliefs. Even though many modern celebrities and role models demonstrate otherwise, it is possible for young ladies to dress trendy and still be modest in their appearance. When helping your daughter shop, use layering techniques to cover midriffs or low cut shirts. Search for t-shirts that are of a longer length and be mindful of fabrics that shrink. Look for jeans that do not sit quite so low on the hips and have your daughter sit down when trying them on. Longer skirts can be dressed up or down depending on the shoes you choose. I Timothy 2:9 tells us women should adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly, and discreetly. Remind your daughter that while outward appearances are important, God looks at the heart of a young woman. When a young lady’s heart is right towards God, her outward appearance, in clothing, attitude, and spirit will reflect her relationship with Him. This stands as a strong testimony of her faith to all who see her.