Monday Mornings for Moms

My children all were once so small,

Now they are so very tall.

Some days were long and filled with tears,

Others filled with laughter now passed in years.

The seasons come, the seasons go

As we drive them to and fro.

Lean in sweet mama and hear me say,

“You’ve got just one job to do today.”

Love them hard and love them well,

Listen to each tale they tell.

Soon you’ll miss this precious face,

Respond to the challenge filled with grace.

They won’t remember each meal you make,

But they will recall the time you take,

To help them feel special and safe,

because of the smiles you share and the love you display.

By Victoria Duerstock

©2018

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40 Days of Decreasing Mom Guilt

by Angela Jamison

Mom guilt, the sinking feeling deep in your gut that you’re completely failing your children, scarring them for life and certainly destroying their future. The desperation to do everything right in your attempt to raise decent human beings. Mom guilt, the plague that attacks each and every one of us at some point in our lives regardless of the age of our children.

If you read that first paragraph and don’t connect with my definitions of mom guilt, kudos to you! Unfortunately though, I think more of you than not will be nodding your head in agreement. Mom guilt is something we don’t ask for, but oftentimes receive in abundance. The worst part – it’s self-inflicted!

As I thought about the Lenten season and how I can spend forty days growing closer to God, I thought about my mom guilt. Mom guilt decreases the joy I should be experiencing, takes my eyes off the One who gifted my precious children and does not honor the job I’ve been designed to do.

As many of you give up chocolate, soda or donate a piece of clothing each day, I am spending my forty days decreasing the mom guilt. I’ve created a list of ten ways to help decrease mom guilt and slowly but surely, I hope to find myself embracing the call of motherhood with more joy. Slowly but surely you can too!

  • Believe you are doing a good job. It’s wonderful to be told from time to time that we are doing great at this motherhood gig, but you need to actually believe it. Trust your instincts, root your actions in love and believe in yourself. God designed you for this path.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. The dishes in the sink, laundry on the counter and floors that haven’t been vacuumed do not define you; they are not the indicator of your success or failure.
  • Take a break from Pinterest (and social media). Comparison is an instigator for mom guilt!
  • Create an identity outside of your children. It is ok (and healthy!) to have a passion or hobby outside of your children. Allow yourself the freedom to be more than a mom.
  • Take a deep breath, walk away, respond. When we allow our emotions to run freely, we overact. Overreaction leads to delayed mom guilt when we’ve come down from the moment and realize we just needed to breathe.
  • Do the chores … or don’t. These moments with your children are fleeting, enjoy them. The chores can wait, but on the flip side, it’s a necessary evil and doing housework doesn’t mean you’re neglecting your children.
  • Find a balance. Your balance will be different from mine and from your best friend; it will be uniquely yours. When you find it, hold tight and know life is a constant juggling act and you will occasionally drop a ball or two. That’s ok!
  • Check your expectations. We often have high expectations of ourselves that leak over into the expectations for our children. We need to remember they are in fact just children learning how to navigate the tricky waters of this world.
  • Limit multi-tasking. Multi-tasking has become our enemy as we try to accomplish more than one thing at a time. We then find ourselves in a rut of mediocrity instead of a cloud of accomplishment. I say limit because eliminating would be nearly impossible, however, we can be conscious of concentrating on one thing at a time, specifically when it comes to listening and spending time with our children.
  • Have grace. Motherhood is not for the weak of heart! Grace for yourself and for your children is imperative. You won’t be perfect and neither will they, but offering grace allows you to continue and try again.

Motherhood is difficult enough without the added baggage of mom guilt we tend to carry around in our handbag. We need the grace and love of ourselves as much as we do that of our perfect Father. I pray the next forty days allows you to focus on the beauty of the job God designed for you, drawing you closer to Him through the decreasing of your mom guilt.

You are doing a good job! Believe it.

Life Lessons with Lightning McQueen

by Angela Jamison

When my youngest son was three, he was introduced to Lightning McQueen. From the first meeting, they were best of friends and he is still attached to him five years later. It’s one of the longest toy loves in my household.

My son still has numerous different McQueens – from wind up to color changing, mini to stuffed. It’s safe to say that you can find a Lightning McQueen in any given room of the house.

As with many things from when the kids were young, I’ve forgotten a lot of the turmoil that came with this Lightning McQueen love. I had forgotten the incessant watching of the movie and the hours long searches for exactly the right McQueen.

Today, this picture appeared in my memories.Picture1

This picture is a snapshot of my life just a few years ago. Here is my son, in his Lightning McQueen shirt, with eleven Lightning McQueens in reach. He’s panicking here because, “I can’t find Lightning!”

He couldn’t find Lightning McQueen…

To this day, this picture makes me smile. There are obvious Lightning McQueens right in front of him, yet he’s still searching, unsatisfied.

How often does this very picture represent us in any given aspect of our lives? How often does God lay out our desires right in front of us yet we continue searching unsatisfied?

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Psalm 20:4 NIV

God intends to give us the desires of our heart. He wants to make all our plans succeed. He often lays out in front of us exactly what we need, willing us to seek Him.

Satan muddles with our perception, confusing our eyes and causing distress. He lines up the McQueens in front of us while whispering that we haven’t found the right one. Satan plants the seed of dissatisfaction and waters it while prolonging the search.

Busy yourself not with Satan’s lies, but rather God’s promises. Break free of the Lightning McQueen traffic jam in your life and embrace the blessings right in front of you. Live in the joy of your heart’s desires.

 

headshotAngela Jamison is a mother of four and works with young children as the Director of a Christian Preschool. She derives joy from children and is passionate about connecting with mothers to encourage and reiterate God’s design for the toughest job on Earth. 

After struggling with infertility, Angela and her husband entered the world of foster care and began the journey to create their family on God’s terms

When she is not entertaining children, or buying LulaRoe, Angela loves to read, write and explore the path being laid before her by the most perfect parent, our Heavenly Father.

Read more about Angela on her website https://angelajamison.com/

 

 

 

 

This is My Life

by Featured Writer Angela Jamison  headshot

Some days I’m exhausted by 9am.

The process of getting four, independent, listening-impaired, beautiful children out the door for the 8am school bus is comparable to an interval training workout. There are bouts of cardio while searching the house for lost items mixed with strength training of quite literally dragging sixty pound bodies out of bed.

Most days, we make it to the bus stop, with full bellies and a few minutes to spare. Most days, I don’t look too disheveled (I hope), but on the inside I’m feeling ragged and exhausted. I’m feeling grateful for the reprieve of school and guilty that my kids didn’t have a healthy, home-cooked breakfast with a June Cleaver-like mother.

We can all relate, right? Whether it be one child, four or simply getting ourselves out the door, we all understand the stress of the morning. We read articles, study Pinterest and a number of other things with the hope of achieving a flawless start to our day.

Today, my morning started as typical with a few bleary-eyed, blanket clad kids stumbling through my doorway at 615a while I desperately try to become presentable before the flood gates of life open. Clothes are picked, kids start getting dressed and it all goes down hill.

The oldest has managed to tie his shoe in a bazillion tiny knots, tighter than your jeans at Thanksgiving.

The youngest has the dog in a headlock, attempting to release the leg of her precious baby alive.

The middle daughter is still lying in bed, eyes fixed to Monster High on the television, oblivious of the chaos around her.

But the middle son takes the cake. He is grumbling, huffing and puffing as he tries to tie his shoe. He’s stationed himself in the middle of my bathroom floor, exactly where I need to walk to finish getting ready myself. I ask him to move to another location and when he puts his foot down, he begins frantically searching the bathroom.

“What are you looking for?”

A bit panicked he says, “My shoe is missing!”

…It’s on his foot.

He is frantically searching for his shoe that is solidly on his foot. The same foot he’s using to search for said shoe.

This is my life.

It may look strikingly similar to your life or you’re reading this with memories of the past flashing through your mind. Either way, we all have those moments of chaos, searching for something that is right in front of our faces. Sometimes what we’re searching for is Jesus.

Like my son’s shoe securely on his foot, Jesus sits right in front of us simply waiting for us to notice and we miss it because well…chaos. Our lives our chaotic and the devil uses that to separate us from our peace maker. How easy do we make it for him!

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 ESV 

Take comfort in that the Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save. He is with us amidst our chaos; we simply need to seek him. Zephaniah continues to say that He will save and whether that means he will save me from my chaos, save the baby alive from the dog or the shoes from the garbage I am not sure, but what I do know is that even his smallest save is a big gift.

Some days I’m exhausted by 9am. Some days chaos overwhelms me. Even yet, all days, I am in the midst of a God who saves

Life isn’t all cupcakes and barbies

by Angela Jamison – featured columnist

Life is hard.

After a particularly difficult day not getting everything exactly how she wanted it, my daughter, age six, went into a meltdown. The stars were not aligning properly and she just knew that if she had new barbies life would be perfect. My eight year old son, clearly wise beyond his years, simply told her, “Well, life isn’t all cupcakes and barbies.”

Life isn’t all cupcakes and barbies.

Hilarious, yet pertinent and insightful commentary. It’s true – life isn’t all cupcakes and barbies. Sometimes we feel entitled to “cupcakes and barbies” because we’ve accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but that’s not what is promised to us. Eternal salvation is promised. Earthly ease is not.

In fact, life is sometimes down right crumby.

As Christians, we have the tendency to assume our place in the family of believers as one of Christ’s children means the absence of trials, tribulations or difficulties. That’s simply not the case. Satan is hard at work here on Earth and he will continue to rear his ugly head.

Being a part of Christ’s family does not mean life will be easy, but it does mean that we will never have to travel alone. The burden of pain, heartache, or trial will be shared and there will be an unyielding hope that resonates within us.

Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

God is not wishy-washy, he’s commanding. He commands us to be strong and courageous, not afraid or discouraged.  He commands these things because He, the Lord your God, will be with you wherever you go. Not once does he imply that we won’t face trials that frighten us or defeats that discourage us, but rather commands our behavior and attitude for when we do.

God prepares us with his word and his promise is steadfast. Even on the hard days, we are not alone.

Life may not be all cupcakes and barbies, but it is faith, hope and love.

www.encouragingwomentoday.com

Exulting in the Promises!

Long and difficult describe many days of motherhood. Still other days filled with happiness and laughter spill out as precious memories in the landscape of time.  The challenge for us lies in the knowledge that we never know which day it will be, on any given morning as our feet hit the floor and we start the day. In each of these days, we can rest in the promises of God’s word. The good and the bad in light of God’s truth can encourage our hearts when we hurt, and keep us grounded when the days are easy.

Come join me at w2wministries for the rest of the post – just click here!

You are Beautiful!

I am so incredibly excited to introduce you to my friend Angela Jamison.

She is guest posting for us today at Encouraging Women and I want you to get to know her and her really big heart better. At the end of her post, you’ll see her bio and info and you’ll be able to catch her here as a regular contributor as well as on her own blog – https://angelajamison.wordpress.com/

I scroll Facebook and am inundated with pictures. Pictures of people who are traditionally thin with radiant complexions and perfectly styled hair. I look in the mirror and wonder where I’m going wrong. I’m not thin. My complexion fluctuates more than the weather here in Kentucky and my hair is one of two styles – loose and limp or messy bun.

 Satan capitalizes on social media and uses it to instill doubt and destroy self-worth. He nurtures comparisons and watches with delight as we sink into self-destruction. Satan doesn’t want you to know that you are beautiful.

But guess what? You are!

I don’t need to be thin with a perfect complexion and styled hair to proudly claim the title of beautiful. And neither do you. Our beauty does not lie in the number on the scale, the glow of our face or the shine of our hair. Our beauty lies in the hands of the One who created us.

 Read that again … Your beauty lies in the hands of the one who created you. You are beautiful, just as you are, because you were purposefully created by the most high God.

 In His word, God reminds us repeatedly, that we are beautiful. We are created in His perfect image and our worth does not lie in our outward appearance, but rather in the condition of our spirit.

 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NIV)

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

 As our seasons change, we often look to the past or the future for confirmation of what we desire. We want our pre-baby body back or we want to lose ten pounds before that summer wedding. Each season is unique and allows for our unique beauty. You were beautiful then, you will be beautiful in the future, but most importantly, you are beautiful now!

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL NOW.

Embrace the season you’re in! Instead of turning to Facebook for validation, turn the pages of THE book and be confirmed in your perfect, beautiful design.

Song of Songs 4:7 (NIV)

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

headshotAngela Jamison is a mother of four and works with young children as the Director of a Christian Preschool. She derives joy from children and is passionate about connecting with mothers to encourage and reiterate God’s design for the toughest job on Earth. 

 After struggling with infertility, Angela and her husband entered the world of foster care and began the journey to create their family on God’s terms

When she is not entertaining children, or buying LulaRoe, Angela loves to read, write and explore the path being laid before her by the most perfect parent, our Heavenly Father.