Just Be Still

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Another school year has come and gone, and now I’m left just wonderin’ how the time escaped me so quickly again.

This was the last year of preschool for my big girl. This week she mastered the monkey bars all by herself, and she can swing high as the sky without even one push. Seems like just yesterday she made me a mama for the first time, but she’ll be 6 this summer. That means she’s 1/3 of the way gone. A third. The first 6 years have gone like a blink, and I only have two blinks left before my time is up? How?

And then my baby – she’s finally starting to hold her pee pee all night. If she makes it for two weeks, we promised the girls a bunk bed. Is it wrong that I really just want her to stay in diapers and a toddler bed forever? I love how her little diapered butt barely squeezes past the rail to slip into bed with her blankie and tiny little pillow. She turns 4 this month…how’d I let it go so fast?

I get up once a night to take Kate potty. After she’s back in bed, I’ve been having trouble getting myself back to sleep with all these thoughts on my mind. One night this week I was up for over an hour – I had to turn on my light and just write out all that I was thinking. I wept and cried, and just prayed for God to please help me remember all the precious moments He gives me with my babies…I’ve been massively failing at just stopping and soaking it all in.

Too often, I busy myself all day long with stuff that doesn’t matter for eternity. I struggle with restlessness, and I hate to just sit down, but when I do – and I make the time to enjoy those precious moments – my stress eases, my shoulders relax, and I can feel the presence of my Lord more than ever.

On Mother’s Day I decided to have a crabby moment. My husband wasn’t saying what he wanted to do for dinner, so I pouted off to the kitchen, made a picnic dinner, and took the girls outside…I didn’t make anything for him. Nice, right? He rolled with it, and joined us in the backyard, and the cool thing is, we totally enjoyed our time together. I actually just sat and soaked it up. My girls loved it, I loved it, and it ended up being the best thing we could’ve done. My stress and anger completely went away, and I could SO just see and feel God. When I take time to be still and really BE with my kids…I find Him.

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“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NIV

And certainly this is the key. If I just be still, I show my kids the love they need and want, and I find my God. He hides in these moments…in these quiet places that I foolishly fight so hard to miss.

So how can I make more time…more space for these moments to unfold? First, I must pray, and then I need to act. And the one thing I know I must do is be more intentional by planning these moments into my day. I must plan to spend time with God and with my family. I must plan to be still. Just as I plan cleaning and other tasks, I must also plan this. So this week I’m going to work on a daily schedule for both my girls and myself. I’m also going to make some lists of all the things I think are important for each of us to schedule into our days, weeks, months…activities with our families, friends, and the world, and then I hope to share them next Monday.

In the meantime, I want to focus on the positive in all of this…which is that God has given me another day to change, and to do better. He’s given YOU another day. Here are some lyrics from one of my favorite songs, “Who You Are” by Unspoken:

“You can never fall too hard, so fast, so far that you can’t get back when you lost where you are. It’s never too late so bad, so much that you can’t change who you are. So let the ashes fall wherever they land, come back from wherever you’ve been. To the foot of the cross, to the feet of Jesus. The feet of Jesus. At the foot of the cross you change who you are.”

So let’s focus on these things this week: it’s never too bad that you can’t change who you are, and do better…we must intentionally schedule still moments into our days. I know not everyone struggles with these issues, but I know I’m not alone either, so if this is hard for you too, will you work on this with me?

Hugs ~ Sara

P.S. If you’re interested in some motivation for your week…here is a list of songs that I listen to on replay everyday (and seriously annoy my husband with) 🙂 These are songs that inspire me as a mama to focus on the right things, and give my best:

Blink by Revive
Not For A Moment by Meredith Andrews
Worn by Tenth Avenue North
Who You Are by Unspoken
Words by Hawk Nelson
One Thing Remains by Kristian Stanfill
Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman
Find Your Wings by Mark Harris
Lift Me Up by The Afters
Little Boy On His Knees by Cheri Keaggy
In Better Hands by Natalie Grant
Slip On By by Finding Favour
You Are by Colton Dixon
One Heartbeat At A Time by Steven Curtis Chapman

And if you’re really cheesy and old like me…here’s a CD label to go with it 😉
I made these for my sweet small group ladies…

Avery Print from the Web, v5 Document

For use with printable Avery CD labels

And if you missed it…check out the housekeeping printables from last week: https://gonelikerainbows.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/complete-houskeeping-printable-set/

Teacher Appreciation Nail Polish Gift Tags

Teacher Appreciation Nail Polish Gift Tags

Gift tags to attach to a bottle of nail polish and give to teachers on the last day of school! Quick and easy – just cut the tag, punch a whole in the corner, and tie with ribbon!!! 🙂

Complete Housekeeping Printable Set!

I am SO sorry this post is late. I’m not sure why I thought I could finish all of these in a week, but boy was I wrong! I have been eating, breathing and sleeping these darn printables, but I’m so excited to finally have them done (after 5 years on my to do list) and to share them with you!

I recommend putting all of these in a home management binder OR on a cute clipboard.
Here we go…

Weekly Menu: the day before you go grocery shopping, plan out your menu. This will save you considerable time and money. Plan breakfast, lunch and dinner for every day of the week. Note any plans/events you have for each day, so you know what meals to prepare (i.e. if your kids have a sport/activity until late one night, you may want to plan something quick and easy OR have take-out).

Weekly Menu

Shopping List: add to your home management binder or clipboard, and keep track of items as you think of them. Here is the Word file, so you can customize your store names: Shopping List

Shopping List

Master House Cleaning List: I included every chore I could think of, and divided them up by frequency. Note the colors at the top, as they coordinate with the next printable. 🙂

Master House Cleaning List

Monthly Cleaning Schedule: print each month and write in the dates/month. This took me the absolute longest to finish, but I’m so excited about it! Each chore is underlined in a color based on frequency (see above)…the yellow underline indicates a once-weekly chore, and the blue a once-monthly. There are also purple and pink blanks for you to fill in 3 semi-annual and/or annual chores. At the bottom, I listed the daily chores to complete every day, and the annual chores broken down by suggested months. I put a ton of thought into how to split everything up, and make it the most manageable – I hope you like it 🙂

Monthly-Cleaning-Schedule---Blank

My Daily Agenda: fill one out at the start of every day, OR the night before. Copy over your meals from your Weekly Menu, and your Daily Chores/Other Cleaning from your Cleaning Schedule. Make your to do list, set a schedule for your day, and get to work! Stay focused and work as well and quickly as you can on each chore, so you have more time to do the most important stuff (like spending time with your kiddos). “Wherever you are, be all there!” ~ Jim Elliot

My Daily Agenda

Master To Do List: this goes a long with your Daily Agenda. Print a new page each week, and try to move at least one item from your ‘Long Term’ list to ‘This Month,’ and a couple of items from ‘This Month’ to ‘This Week.’

Master To Do List

Responsibility Chart: this one’s for the kiddos! Instead of paying them, have them complete chores simply because they are part of the family! Then you can also give them an allowance just for being part of the family. For my 3 & 5-year-old we do $0.25 for tithe, $0.25 for give, $.025 for save and $1.75 for spend each week. You can indirectly attach the chores to their allowance by paying yourself (with their money) for any chores they don’t complete. This is a blank chart for you to print, and write in your child’s name and chores!

Responsibility Chart - Blank Write-In

Here is the Responsibility Chart we use for our girls. For age-appropriate chores for your kiddos, check-out this awesome list from Focus on the Family.

Responsibility Chart - Sample

I hope to eventually share more printables for a home management binder, but this is all I could muster up for this week…I need to go take a shower AND a nap! 😉

If you’d like more custom options for any of these printables, visit my Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/GraceByFaith

And Happy Mother’s Day to all you mamas out there!!

*NEW UPDATE 9/12/15*
Monthly Cleaning Checklist: similar to my monthly cleaning schedule, but this checklist groups the chores by week instead of day, which allows for more flexibility in your routine! Pick which one works best for you and your home!

house cleaning list, cleaning list, master cleaning list, cleaning schedule, monthly cleaning, housekeeping, cleaning checklist, spring cleaning, organization, cleaning calendar, weekly cleaning

Hugs ~ Sara

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Real Life

Mt. Frank my husband calls it...we usually dig out and wear everything before it ever gets folded. The mountain has been known to reach half way up the window many times...

Mount Frank my husband calls it…the clothes usually all get worn long before they ever get folded. The pile’s been known to reach well above the window more than once…

I don’t journal, and I’ve never written more than a page in a diary, but one of the reasons I wanted to start this blog was to serve as somewhat of a journal for my girls…something they could look back on when they’re older…something that might serve as a testament to just how much I love them, and just how hard I worked to be better…to be a good, Godly mama.

With this goal in mind, I set out thinking I should only write things that would remind my girls of the good stuff…the loving stuff…the stuff I want them to remember. But I’ve been wondering, is this attitude doing them an injustice? If this is the only view I give them of my motherhood journey, will it make them feel like failures if they are struggling mamas someday? Will it leave them thinking they can never measure up?

The truth is, being a mama is hard. Like really, really hard. I truly believe there are some mamas out there who really have it all together…like they really do, I’m just not one of them. I want to be, and I’m trying to be, but I’m not. So this week, I’ve decided to be more vulnerable and share more about some of my real life struggles…my weaknesses…shortcomings…sins.

Here are some real life snapshots from our home:

Our coat closet. I jammed a bunch of junk in there before company arrived one night...6 months ago. I have no idea what all is in there now...

Our coat closet. I jammed a bunch of junk in there before company arrived one night…6 months ago. I have no idea what all is in there now…

Our bedroom closet...I'm not really sure what has happened in here, but I'm pretty sure it hasn't been clean more than about 3 days over the last 5 years.

Our bedroom closet…it speaks for itself…

My side of the bathroom. Again, I have issues with clothes. I use my tub for a closet more often than a for a bath. And for some reason, I never like to shut that one drawer on my vanity...easily my husbands biggest pet peeve.

My side of the bathroom. The tub serves as a closet more often than a bath. And for some reason, I just never like to shut that left drawer on my vanity…

I’ve left out plenty of equally scary spaces…like our garage, my van (which is so dirty, I’m sure it’s growing things), my oven (which I worry might set the house on fire every time I turn it on), and our bed (which usually only gets made after my husband gets home from work)…oh and the orange rings that often decorate the inside of my toilets, or the shower drain that smells like month-old sweaty socks.

Many nights I fall asleep with my jeans still on, dishes still in the sink, and wet laundry in the dryer. It’s a struggle to fit a shower into my every day…and who has time to shave their legs? This week my Allison even asked why my daytime clothes are the same as my pajamas. Shoot. And ya’ll already know I struggle with yelling, impatience, control, OCD, and spending more intentional time with my family…just to name a few.

The thing is, we all have struggles, and we all have sin. Mine might look different, worse, or maybe better than yours, but we can’t judge or compare ourselves to each other. We all have different obstacles we’re overcoming and different pasts we’re unwinding, that have led us to where we are. Some of us start out as mamas with a lot more junk that we need to let God heal, and it might take longer for us to “get it all together,” but as we do, we need to let God be our only standard.

“I don’t like labels…I want to be a good mom for the kids God has entrusted to my care. I don’t want to be a slacker mom or a supermom. I just want to be the kind of mom God intends for me to be…I want to be me, and I’m okay with that.” – Lysa TerKeurst

The lady next door who always has her hair and makeup done, her house perfectly clean and decorated, and the most well-behaved kids I know…she is not my standard. She is not who I should want to be more like. I need to set my eyes on Jesus – the author and perfecter of my faith – who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God! Yes! This is who I want to be more like, who I need to be more like. I know I will never be perfect, nor does God expect me to be, but I also know that He is calling me to be better…to give him the best I can, with what I have been given.

So I need to take an honest evaluation of who I am, how I’m living, and how I can better myself – to bring glory to God, and to serve my family. God wants my best. My children deserve my best. And truth is, I can talk for hours about how I just don’t have time to fold all my laundry or wash all those dishes, but then how do I explain all the hours spent Facebooking, or researching how to make homemade yogurt? Seriously…

“If you’re a mom, God has called you to mother those children. If you’re a wife, God has called you to bless and serve and fulfill the needs of your husband, to be a keeper of your home. That’s God’s calling. When you do that, you are serving the Lord. Don’t get distracted.” – Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Not only is it my calling to stay focused on these things, it’s also my responsibility to set an example for my kids. My decisions, words, and actions all shape who my children will become. They will model my behavior. So…

“What example are you setting for your kids about working? Do your kids see you working around the house – going the extra mile to create an orderly, cozy home for them? Do they see you do everything as unto the Lord? Do they see you grumble and complain about the daily tasks required of you?…I do try to set the same standard by upholding the same work ethic I expect of them and working alongside them. We are a family that plays together, prays together, and works together. I want my kids to know that whatever I expect of them, I expect of myself…Our attitude about work will set the tone for the way our kids see it.” – Lysa TerKeurst

So I want to encourage us all to start by first admitting that being a mom is hard. We don’t have it all together, and we are desperately in need of a Savior. Admit this to other moms, and to your kids. It’s an injustice to everyone to pretend that you’re something you’re not.

Second, we need to realize that NO mom is perfect. No one is as awesome as they look on paper, in pictures, or on Facebook. We all have our own issues, and we absolutely cannot let ourselves focus on trying to be like anyone other than Jesus.

Lastly, armed with these truths, we must be honest with ourselves about our shortcomings, and the areas that God is calling us to be better in. Then, we must pray for strength, grace, courage…set our eyes on Jesus, and start working hard to be the mom God is calling us to be.

One of my goals in working towards all of this is to create some lists and such that I know will help me to stay focused. My goal this week is to finish creating a printable to do list, shopping list, menu plan, cleaning schedule, daily schedule, and chore chart for the kiddos. If I get them all done, I hope to share them all next week, so you can print them if you think they’d be helpful for you as well.

So take heart friends, you are a good mama. You do not need to be like your perfect next door neighbor, but you do need to be your best, so ask yourself this week – what steps can you take to be better today?

Hugs ~ Sara

Oh! And remember – Wednesday is May 1st. Check out my blog May Inspiration for some ideas for May Day, Mother’s Day & end-of-year teacher gifts! 🙂

The Power of Example

Free printable - pickup a 4x6 magnetic frame, and hang it on your fridge!

Free printable – print it as a 4×6 photo, pick up a magnetic frame, and hang it on your fridge!

“What I do know a lot about is why kids in Christian homes rebel. And although there are other reasons, one of the main reasons has to do with the way the average family goes about living the Christian life.” – Dr. Tim Kimmel

My bible study is having it’s last meeting tomorrow. We’ve read through the book, Am I Messing Up My Kids? by Lysa TerKeurst, the President of Proverbs 31 Ministries. The study is amazing, and I highly recommend the book. I have learned so much about how my relationship with God is what will determine my “success” as a mom. Even more so, I’m starting to grasp the fundamental truth that if my motherhood attitude does not absolutely reflect my love for Jesus, there is little hope that my faith will be passed on to my children. If my life does not look different than the world, how can I expect my kids to meet the reality of Jesus? To take hold of Him in their own lives?!

Lysa says that “In the book Why Christian Kids Rebel, Tim Kimmel explains that the number one reason children walk away from the faith is that they never see it make a real difference in the lives of their parents.” Wow. How amazingly convicting. So what do you think? Is our faith making a real difference in our lives? Do we look different than the world? Is Jesus just a part of our lives or IS He our life? Jesus needs to be the center of every single thing we do. We need to read our Bibles, pray in ALL things, relate our everyday events back to Him, and most importantly let our attitudes be a reflection of His life. What would Jesus do? Ask it throughout the day, and when we feel that desire to succumb to the sin inside us, we have to humble ourselves, stop, and ask Jesus to take control of that moment.

Here is an excerpt from Why Christian Kids Rebel:

“Unfortunately, we can experience a safe and successful Christian life without being passionate about the Lord…But our kids, especially our most honest ones, are looking for something more authentic. When it isn’t there, it’s easy for them to be drawn to other options that work against everything we’ve tried to teach them.” – Tim Kimmel

Going to church once a week is not enough. Believing in God is not enough. Even having all the answers – being a Biblical scholar – is not enough. These things do not describe a life of faith or salvation, and they simply will not impact the lives of our children. Take a look at what God’s word says our lives as Christian parents should look like:Frame 4x6 - Web2

Our church sermon a couple weeks ago was about parenting, and we were asked to think of the person who most influenced our walk with Christ. Most of the time, the people who impact us the most are the ones who are walking the walk…people whose actions match their words, whose lives reflect the beliefs they profess. So the question is, who will be the most influential person in our kids lives? Will it be us or the world?

During worship following our sermon, one of the men in our church came forward to bow in praise before His Lord, and shortly after, his teenage son came and sat next to him…put his hand on his dad’s shoulder, and worshiped with him. I wept uncontrollably. This is a family who is doing it right. A dad whose character and actions completely match his words. Because of the consistency in the lives of his parents, this boy has come to know the reality of Jesus in his life. This is the kind of parent I want to be. So that someday, if my kids are asked to recall who most influenced their walk with Christ, they might answer by saying their parents. This is my prayer…for my family, and for yours as well.

Certainly we won’t always get it right, and our words won’t always match our actions. We aren’t perfect, and we will mess up, but when we do, we still have the opportunity to show our kids the reality of Jesus by humbly confessing our mistakes, and asking for their forgiveness.

I’ll end with a quote by Lysa from our book, “I pray for the bad days to be erased and for the great days to be magnified. But most of all I pray that it is the reality of Jesus that becomes the bedrock of their souls.” Amen friends. Amen.

Cuddling each other...these are the moments that make it all worth the while.

Cuddling each other…these are the moments that make it all worth the while.

Prayer requests? Thoughts? Share them below!

May Inspiration

Thanks a latte for all you do...can be given to teachers for an end-of-year gift, with a Starbuck's gift card. Instruction, and free printable can be found here, at Skip to my Lou (love this site). :)

“Thanks a latte for all you do”…can be given to teachers for an end-of-year gift, with a Starbuck’s gift card. Instructions and free printable can be found here at Skip to my Lou (love this site).

We’re half-way through April, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite craft and gift ideas for the month of May 🙂

I love to do crafts with my girls, but I have to tell ya that it can also be a huge struggle for me. I constantly battle with perfectionism, impatience, and control, and none of these things are very helpful when you’re crafting with a 3 and 5-year-old. Thankfully, God is teaching me more and more everyday how to release these sins to Him, and focus on what brings glory to Him alone. Do our neighbors care or notice if their May Day baskets are perfectly cut out by a control freak mom? Do the girls’ grandmas want me to be the one making their Mother’s Day gifts? How about the kids’ teachers – do they want gifts made by me? No. Gifts from the kids are much more special if they’re actually from the kids. More importantly, whether or not every piece of paper is precisely cut into a perfect shape does NOT matter for eternity. Things like this do not glorify God, and so they simply should not matter to me. So this year I am resolving to let my kids help, to praise them for their hard work…and most importantly to enjoy their creations, and our time spent together…time that will all too quickly be gone.

This process of choosing joy over frustration, patience over perfection, and grace over control is not easy for me. I continue to take two steps forward, and one step back…but over time, God is leading me up an ever slow hill, that keeps bringing me closer and closer to Him. We made cookies this weekend. I started out with a great attitude, but as soon as I lost focus on just enjoying time with my kids, my patience began to quickly fade. Allison was licking flour off the counter, Kate spilled a 4 1/2 pound bag of chocolate chips, and I was giving in to my strangely irrational fear of raw eggs. I wish I would have taken pictures of these now funny and sweet moments, but instead I chose to feel frustrated and out of control. If I would have chosen instead to focus on glorifying God by extending grace to my kids, I could have created a time for all of us to just laugh and have fun, and for my kids to see Jesus in me. Next time, I’m going to start out with my camera, and just go into it knowing it might be a bumpy ride, but one that I want to end by taking two steps froward instead of that one step back.

Do you struggle with any of these issues? Take heart my friend, you are not alone. And praise God that His love is higher than any mountains that we face…it never fails, gives up, or runs out on us. Amen!

I’m excited to do some of these crafts over the next month with my kiddos, and I hope you might enjoy some of them too. 🙂 These are our photos from last year (when I was still hung up on cutting perfectly shaped flower petals).

May Day

Have fond memories of May Day from when I was a kid, and loved doing these baskets with my girls last year. I stapled the cone and the handle after we glued them, and I used glue dots for the Hershey kisses. There's also room for more candy inside the cone, or a little note for your neighbors...I think we're going to stick a little bible verse in this year :)

I have fond memories of May Day from when I was a kid, and loved doing these baskets with my girls last year. I stapled the cone and the handle after we glued them, and I used glue dots for the Hershey kisses. There’s also room for more candy inside the cone, or a little note…I think we’re going to stick a little bible verse in this year.

Hang the baskets on your neighbors' doors, ring the doorbell, and RUN! :)

Hang the baskets on your neighbors’ doors, ring the doorbell, and RUN!

Mother’s Day

For Mother's Day...roll paint inside a mason jar until the inside is completely covered. Unless you use waterproof glass paint, this will only work if you slip a vase inside to fill with water, or if you use artificial flowers. We used silver paint for the hand prints on the outside, and a Sharpie paint pen for the name on top.

For Mother’s Day…roll paint inside a mason jar until the inside is completely covered. Unless you use waterproof glass paint, this will only work if you slip a vase inside to fill with water, or if you use artificial flowers. We used silver paint for the hand prints on the outside, and a Sharpie paint pen for the name on top.

Cute photo blocks. These were way more work than I expected, but still fun :)

Cute photo blocks. These were way more work than I expected, but still fun. You can cut your own 4×4 down into these blocks (just ask my husband how fun that was), OR buy them somewhere online.

End-of-year Teacher Gifts

"Thank you for helping Allison bloom!" Again, instructions and free printable can be found at Skip to my Lou :)

“Thank you for helping Allison bloom!” Again, instructions and free printable can be found at Skip to my Lou.

How about a cute clipboard? You can do different sizes, colors, and bling. Modge Podge scrapbook paper on a plain clipboard...2/3 on top, 1/3 on bottom. Sand all the edges down, and go over top with Modge Podge (after completely dry). Add a flower to the top (I use a glue dot and string to secure it onto the clip). Finally, add some decorative tape where the two papers meet. Easy, cute and functional! :)

How about a cute clipboard? You can do different sizes, colors, and bling. Modge Podge scrapbook paper on a plain clipboard…2/3 on top, 1/3 on bottom. Sand all the edges down, and go over top with Modge Podge (after completely dry). Add a flower to the top (I use a glue dot and string to secure it onto the clip). Finally, add some decorative tape where the two papers meet. Easy, cute and functional!

Here's one with jewels instead of a flower on the clip.

Here’s one with jewels instead of a flower on the clip.

Hope you enjoyed some of these ideas 🙂

Hugs ~ Sara

Do They See Jesus In Me?

Zoo

“Keep your face to the sunshine, and you cannot see the shadows.” ~ Helen Keller

Do these sweet faces see Jesus when they look at me? This week has had its ups and downs. On Wednesday my little one told me “I wish I had a different mom who didn’t discipline me.” She said it not once, but three times throughout the day. Shortly after, Allison cried, “Mom, all I want is a little grace.”

On Friday I took the girls to the zoo…it was wonderful. We had our fair share of pouting, crying and whining, but overall we really enjoyed our time. When we came to the bridge where you can buy food to feed the fish, the girls really wanted to, but I couldn’t find even a penny in my purse. A kind older man overheard us, and handed each of my girls a quarter. They were ecstatic. After he walked away, my sweet Allison said, “Mom, he must know Jesus.” I couldn’t help but wonder if she thinks that about me? Certainly I tell her that I know and love Jesus, but do I SHOW her that I know Him?

When we got home, the girls were bouncing off the walls. Quite literally. Kate was tired, and Allison wanted to “wrestle.” Allison was screaming in excitement and Kate in exhaustion, and after 3 hours at the zoo, I just couldn’t handle all the noise. I gave in to that sin inside of me, and I started right on yelling too…until my little Allison started to cry and asked me ever so sweetly, “Why can’t you just discipline me kindly? Why do you have to yell like a bear?” I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. She is wise beyond her years, and it’s no wonder to me why Jesus said we must be more like children if we ever hope to enter the kingdom of heaven.

And so I sit wondering…how can I go from the realization that I want my girls to undoubtedly know that I KNOW Jesus…to the mama who’s yelling like a bear? It’s that sin in me. It’s that imperfection that I just can’t escape. I cling on to the truth I know so well: that while I can’t escape it, Jesus can! All I have to do is set my eyes on Him, the author and PERFECTER of my faith. So when I feel like giving in to that sin, and letting all that is evil come spewing out of my mouth…I must stop, stand still, and ask God to take control of that moment. For His word says all we have to do is “resist the devil, and he will flee.” He will flee!!!

Now certainly our children try, press, and challenge us more than most anyone else, but this is the stretching of our faith, a beckon for us to draw closer to our Maker. I have never, ever been this close to God, and it is undoubtedly because I just can’t do this mama thing without Him. It is a stretching of my inmost being, and it is only by His grace that I can claim any success at all. So we must see these challenges and trials of motherhood as nothing more than a blessing…a developing of our wisdom and perseverance, so that we may be more complete…in Him. The closer we draw to Him in dependence, the more whole we become.

So what is the application in all of this? How will our kids KNOW that we know Jesus?

  • First and foremost, we must devote our time to God…in prayer, in praise and worship, in time deeply studying His word, and by inviting Him in to every moment of our days. My best days begin when I go to bed early, wake up early, and spend time reading my Bible and praying before the kids get up.
  • Second, we must intentionally devote time and love to our kids. Hug them, take time to listen to them, play with them, and SMILE. Do you show them you love being a mom?? I love, love this list from Kristen Welch. Some ideas I’m currently working on are: doing individual dates with our kids, having regular scheduled family nights, and creating an overall more loving atmosphere in our home. I want my kids to want to be here. I want them to feel safe and loved here more than anywhere else in this world.
  • We must discipline out of love, not anger. God disciplines us, and so we must also discipline our kids. If we don’t discipline our kids now, they are going to have a long road ahead of them as adults. For the best information I’ve read on the most effective and loving discipline, I recommend the book “Have a New Kid by Friday” by Kevin Leman.
  • Don’t yell. Get on eye level with your kids. Speak softly, stay calm, think it over, and ask Jesus to fill you. I LOVE this challenge from the mama who calls herself The Orange Rhino.
  • Say yes as often as you can, but when you need to say no, stick your ground. Follow through with whatever answer you give, and be on the same team with their Dad!
  • Apologize when you mess up, and ask for their forgiveness.
  • Pray with them, and for them.
  • Study the Bible with them; be their number one teacher!
  • Listen to worship music in the car, and during quiet times throughout the day.
  • Be part of a church family, and let them see you investing time in your church.
  • Look different then the world. Don’t gossip. Don’t try to “fit in.” In every situation, ask yourself, “Does this matter for eternity?”
  • Foster (Godly) self-confidence in your kids. Help them find their own voice; don’t speak for them. Let them help you. Give them chores! Encourage them when they do well. Don’t shame them when they mess up. Let them experience natural consequences.
  • Lastly, we need to serve others, and we need to serve with our kids. Again, I love this list from Kristen Welch. We need to show our kids what it means to love others…our husbands, families, friends, neighbors, strangers, community, and the world. We must learn to put other’s needs before our own…a hard thing to do in this society that focuses only on our own selfish needs and desires, but crucial if we hope to teach our kids to know Jesus.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but I think it’s a good start. And let me say that I am nowhere close to succeeding at the majority of these items. These are the things God has convicted me to focus on, because I myself, am indeed failing at most of them.

Praise God for the blessing of a new day in which His mercies are made new. Let’s work together to draw closer to Him today, and show our kids that we truly know Jesus.

Hugs ~ Sara

Have more ideas or suggestions? Prayer requests? Share them!

My Little Rainbows

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“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” ~ Emily Dickinson

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for so long now. The Gallup Strengths Finder says communication is my greatest strength, which really just means I like to talk (a lot)…but my husband can really only handle so much. So here I am. 😉

My desire is to inspire other Mama’s to do better than I am on this journey called motherhood. Being a mom is the absolute hardest privilege I have ever loved, and some days it is only by God’s grace that we all make it through alive. And yet, coming from a place of such inadequacy, I have such a passion for helping other Mama’s to be their best…to help them learn from my many mistakes, and maybe…hopefully, also from some of the wisdom God gives me along the way.

I’m currently blessed with the privilege of being part of a bible study with an amazing group of moms who inspire me in so many ways. We are reading through a book by Lysa TerKeurst called “Am I Messing Up My Kids?”…a question I can most certainly answer with a yes, but I just prayerfully ask that God will heal all the wounds I cause with my awful sin and failures. After all, He loves my sweet little girls even more than I do, so I trust that He can, and will fill my gaps.

One of the chapters we went over in our group this past week was “What Will My Kids Remember Most?” The reality of this question brings me to my knees. The book talked about “striving to be an old woman with no regrets.” This is my new goal. I want to put every word spoken, and every decision made through this filter: “Will this leave me with regret?” Here is an excerpt from my favorite part of the chapter, which left me weeping for just a little more time:

“Our children are like…rainbows. They burst on the scene of our lives in such a way that you feel as though they’ll be there forever. Their colorful personalities and bright expressions are shining reminders of God’s promises and miracles. They dance through their childhood, making lasting impressions on our hearts, and then the time comes for them to pull away. The colors of childhood swirl and mix and change and fade into the realities of adulthood. It will happen. There will come a day when the door to childhood will open for the last time, and that night, as surely as that child closes her eyes to sleep, the door will close. All the curious questions that drive you crazy today will cease. All the fingerprints and smudges will go away. All the childhood fantasies and dreams will fade. And her mother will wake the next morning to peer into the sky and wonder where the rainbow has gone.”

So now you know the meaning of my blog title “Gone Like Rainbows.” I hope when I find time to post, you might find something encouraging or inspiring to help you enjoy this all too short season of raising our children.

Hugs ~ Sara