Should We Demand Obedience From Our Children?

God has really been laying on my heart how important it is to teach our children obedience. That may seem silly to you because, well duh, of course you want your children to obey, right? But how many of us truly require that our children obey? And I’m not talking about obeying after you have asked three times for them to do what you have asked. For that is in fact not obedience. I am talking about insuring that your children listen and do what they are told the first time. Why is it so important? Is it really such a big deal when you have to repeat your request 3 or 4 times? I mean, eventually they do it so what is the big deal?

Everywhere I look now a days it seems that children are no longer required to listen or obey their parents. We are told not to stifle their creativity or crush their spirit. As if requiring obedience is cruel and un-loving. How could wanting good things for our children be unkind? I believe it is more selfish than loving to not demand obedience. We would rather our children like us than lay down authority. And yet the ironic thing is, children rarely like or respect a parent that does not set boundaries or require obedience.

The world thinks that children thrive better with NO boundaries and are better off running free. That could never be farther from the truth. Boundaries help a child feel safe and loved. Boundaries and rules helps a child know they are cared for. It helps them know that they are not alone. They are reassured that they don’t have to figure this whole ‘life’ thing out on their own.

We know obedience is good for our childrens physical well-being but what about the spiritual and the state of their heart? Perhaps I am a bit slower, but I honestly only just came to terms with the part obedience took on the spiritual well-being of my children. Shamefully I confess, I just wanted them to listen so they wouldn’t drive me bonkers and wouldn’t make me look bad in front of other people. Selfish, right? Majorly selfish! I knew that the bible told children to obey and honor their parents but realizing how important that was for the hearts of my children didn’t happen until this past year. Now, with God showing me the error of my ways, I have come to terms with how important my job is to teach and train my children in obedience. If I fail at that, than I may as well have failed as a mom.

(Does this mean I am a perfect mother and I have wonderful children that obey 100% of the time? No. Big NO!!! My children are human beings that sin and fail just like me. But when it comes to learning the art of obedience, I want my children to always be getting better and moving forward in the right direction. So with that being said, lets continue.)

Now, I am speaking of obedience in the physical sense but also in the spiritual. We can train our children obedience but if they have an attitude of defiance while doing what is asked, then their is still a seed of rebellion in their hearts. That must be addressed as well. Outward and inward obedience is what I am writing about today. Both are of equal importance. You can really not have one without the other.

What does the bible say about children being obedient and why do I believe it is fundamental in the training of our children?

Firstly, it is one of the commandments of God. So I figure, it must be pretty important. Deuteronomy 5:16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with on the land which the Lord your God gives you.”    *Paul also mentions this verse in Ephesians 6:1-2 telling children to “obey your parents in the lord for this is right.” This is the first commandment with a promise. I beautiful promise that shows us that God wants to give good things to his children. He wants us to live well. But that can only happen when we are obedient. Why? Why is being obedient to parents so important to God’s heart?

I truly believe that it is so important to God for this reason- If a child never learns to respect, honor and obey his/her parents than they will lack the discipline to honor and obey God. If a child is never trained to trust in the word of authority how will they ever trust the authority of God. When God asks them to do something that doesn’t make sense, will your child obey, trusting the authority of God, or will they shrug off God’s commands not wanting to do it for lack of wanting to know ‘WHY’?

Doing as God has commanded and listening to His word is of utter importance to God. In Deuteronomy 12: 28 God says, “Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, so that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in sight of the Lord your God.”  And farther down in verse 32 He repeats himself, “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.”

Jesus also states int he New Testament, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me….If anyone loves Me, he will keep my word; and my father will love him…”  John 14:21 & 23

Another excellent point, “If you love me you will do what I command.” When we obey, we show our love for God. When our children obey it is a way for them to express love. Love for us and love for God. That is the greatest commandment is it not? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5.

When our children obey, they open a door for God’s blessing to overflow on them. (Look at Deuteronomy 21: 18-21 to see the wonderful list of blessings that God promises to Israel if they kept his commands.) They please God and God’s love is able to overflow over them. I don’t know about you, but I want God’s blessings over my kids. I want them to dwell in the presence of God and I want the love of God to overshadow them. And if teaching them obedience is what can help that happen, than I want to do my job well and not give into laziness and passivity.

There is also a fine line that us a parents need to make sure we do not cross when demanding obedience from our children. Paul goes on to mention in Ephesians 6, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” verse 4. I believe Paul mentioned this because we as parents can over due the demand of obedience. Everything we do must be done in love. Do not demand the impossible from your children. Know that mistakes will happen. Use those times to “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Never demand perfection. Never expect your children to want to lovingly obey you if you show little to know interest in them. Training our children in obedience takes a lot of time and a lot of love. Fellowship with our kids is vital. Make them want to obey you. If our children do not find great joy in us they will not find great joy in obeying us.

This idea of obedience may seem over bearing and impossible. Perhaps you are thinking I seem like a nasty dictator. I promise I am not. Merely, my main point is: As parents in our lazy, passive culture, we are in danger of failing our children. We are in danger of not training our children in one of the greatest disciplines they can ever learn in their life. All because we are too tired and sick of dealing with it. May we pray for new strength and perseverance so it may never be so.

How Training in Obedience changed my Parenting:

Looking at obedience in the light of God’s blessings over my children has completely changed the way I approach my children. It has given me a more loving, tender heart towards them as I discipline them. Instead of taking their offenses personally I can now take their disobedience and find ways where I need to improve my training. These revelations have also given me new strength. Mothering is daunting and exhausting but when I see how important my role is in teaching them obedience, I don’t want to get lazy and slack off. I don’t want to just let that bad attitude slide or that lack of obedience go unchecked. This job is much too important to give into the lie that I am too tired and I can’t do it anymore. I want the best for my children. And many times, their best comes at a high and inconvenient cost to me.

God bless. And I hope that this article can be an encouragement to some of you.

**What creative consequences do you give your children when they are disobedient? I would love to hear what works for other moms out there. I am always learning and love advice.***

 

 

 

Why I Spank!!!

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This past week I had a major mom moment. You know what I am talking about? That moment when we moms lose our cool and become Mr. Hyde and strike terror into the hearts of our family.

Well, I lost my cool in a major way and actually yelled at my little boy. (I say that shamefully and hope that some busy-body doesn’t turn me in to the authorities for being a horrible mother.) I’m not usually the yelling mom. It has happened maybe twice before in the past 4 years. But let me tell you, it was a good yell and I could see the hurt in my son’s eyes when I did it. He was scared. And I was mad!!

Why was I mad? Well, in all honesty, it was my fault for the chaos of the morning that made me boil over with frustration and anger. My little man had been whining and crying and throwing major fits for nearly 2 hours straight. And it had been like that every morning and afternoon for nearly two weeks. He was doing so because I had decided to try out a new parenting/training technique, hoping it would make my children perfect angels and allow me to give up on the spanking technique I normally use. (If I am being honest I wish I never had to spank. I have a bit of what you would call ‘a tender heart’. And the world has begun telling us moms that if you spank then you are abusive. Never, ever, ever would I want to be an abusive mother. The thought makes my heart ache.)
Yes, I am a spanking mom!!! Oh the shame!! How could I? Well, these past 2 weeks of chaos and major fit throwing is why? The past weeks have shown me that the power of the ‘rod’ really does hold great power. Not power in the sense of lording it over our kids and beating them into complete submission. I mean power  as in the amazing work of transforming the heart of my little boys.
Allow me to explain and give some stories to illustrate:
First off, I decided to try the time out/go to your room method that “Love and Logic” speaks of. It sounded like a great idea. For some children I am sure it works wonders, for mine, it was horrible. At first I just thought it would take time to make the method effective but I tried it for over 2 weeks and saw no improvement. In fact, it made matters worse. My little boy would have a moment and I would send him to his bed. He would cry and then slowly build into a major fit. Then he would start yelling, “Mommy, please give me a spanking!! I need a spanking!!”
I ignored him and eventually he would calm down.(After a 25 minute cry session, mind you.) Yet, every 20 minutes or so this would happen. With my usual method of instilling the rod a few times while lovingly telling him the reason for it, he would get right back to being happy and move on. The time out/bedroom method just seemed to make him angrier and angrier and was doing nothing for mending his heart.
And that is how I ended up having a horrible mom melt-down. I could not take the fit throwing any longer. It was driving me crazy!!!!!!! Instead of this method helping both of us, it was creating chaos. (I like many other methods from “Love and Logic”. I just found that this idea did not work for me.) So, moving forward in wisdom, I went back to the use of the rod. Peace and joy began returning to our home and the fit throwing subsided. As usual, we occasionally had a fit here and there but it was nothing like those 2 horrible weeks.
I share this story in hopes to let other moms realize that spanking our children is not a hateful or abusive method of training our children. If used in the wrong way and enforced in anger and frustration than yes, it can have a negative outcome. But when given in love, spankings can help our children realize that choices have consequences and sometimes those consequences can be very painful. I would rather my child deal with the pain 0f a swat on the butt now than going through the pain of a horrible decision that could ruin his life when he is an adult.
Another example: When my son is dealing with anger, I will tell him that the anger in his heart is like a horrible monster that needs to get out. I ask him if he needs me to hug it out, kiss it out, squeeze it out, tickle it out or spank it out. Sometimes he merely needs me to tickle him to help him get happy again. But there have been many times where he has actually told me he wants me to spank him.
One morning, he awoke in a foul mood. He was lying in bed, moping and crying for no reason. It was ridiculous. I just ignored him and told him he could not get out until he decided to greet the day with a smile.
“Mommy, can you give me a spanking?” He asked.
“Do you need me to get the anger out?” I asked.
“Yes.”
“Ok. Two spankings and then we will see if that helps.”
I spanked him twice with our “spanker” and after that he was fine. He got out of bed and smiled.
“Better?” I asked.
“Yes.”
The whole ordeal amazed me. Never had I thought my child would tell me he needed spanked. Yet, he has done so on several occasions. As he gets older I can see the work that the ‘rod’ is doing. He now tells me he doesn’t want to be rude or angry or mean. I can see that there is a struggle going on in his heart. A struggle that I, as his mother am to help him overcome. And many times, the rod is the tool we use to overcome.
I have found that the consistent and loving use of this tool brings peace and joy into my family. All the ‘spanking haters’ out there are probably thinking that I’m lying. But I am being 100% honest. My children are content and more joyful when I spank rather when I do not. My boys are happy, laughing, beautiful people. They know the boundaries and they know the consequences. Instead of striking terror into the heart of my children (as so many seem to think spanking does) it brings peace. I truly believe it is because I no longer have to be on edge. I don’t have to tell my children over and over to listen. I am a happier mother and so my children are therefore happier. * I find it necessary to state that I spend time every day in fellowship with my kids- Building blanket forts, pretend hunting, tickling or reading books. The use of the rod must be counter balanced with sweet fellowship with your children. Without fellowship, you are a spanking dictator. They will not find the love in you discipline if you show no interest in them.*
 Finding Joy in a Bad Experience:
I am glad that I had such a bad experience with a different training method. It reiterated to me that the word is true. God is right when the bible states, “Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. You shall strike him with the rod and rescue his soul….” Proverbs 23:13.  I have found that when I am consistent and apply the rod in love and gentleness, the heart of my son begins to mend.
Now, I do realize that for some children, the rod may not need to be used as often. My younger son is a gentle soul and I only to flick his bottom once and he usually moves forward in obedience. Yet, with my older son, he has a strong-will that seems to be molded best by the heavy use of the rod. It is the training tool that has helped bring peace into our family. For when our children listen and obey, peace is bound to follow.
In fact, if we are not training our children in obedience than we have failed miserably. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother(which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may go well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-2.  Teaching our children to obey brings blessings into their lives. God honors obedience and I don’t know about you, but I want good things for my kids. And if teaching them obedience will do that than I better do my job and train them. Our children will not learn obedience unless we train them to do so. May we as moms fulfill our God given rules and not be in fear of using the ‘rod’.
*I want to take this time to say that I believe other forms of discipline are indeed effective. I do not think every child should be treated the same. Every child is unique and must be handled with God’s wisdom and guidance. For me, I prayed and took advice from seasoned mothers. Using the rod was what worked for me and my family. Always use discernment and seek God’s help when training the children God gave you*
Methods that have worked for me:
1. Spank for wrong attitudes-disrespect, meanness or disobedience.
2. Ignore whining or  tell them you will not speak to them until they have spoken in a ‘big boy’ voice.
3. If boys are fighting in car or grocery store or even at home- I will tell them that I charge for fighting. They can pay me with chores, toys, or money they have saved.
4. Let their choices make them wise- Examples: 1. When my youngest kept taking his shoes off in the car after I told him ‘no’, I would flick his feet with our ‘spanker’. He wasn’t getting the hint. So the next time he did it, I made him walk barefoot to the house. It was cold and rainy. He did not like it. (Your children will not die being a little cold and their feet will not get frost bitten. 😉 ) 2. My oldest didn’t want to wear a jacket. I allowed him to not. He got cold. Now he knows to wear a jacket.
The two books that have helped me tremendously as a mom and given me good ideas are: 
“To Train up a Child“: Now, this book is met with a lot of controversy and I do not agree with Michael Pearl’s theology at times but his knowledge on child training is wise in my opinion.
“Love and Logic”: This book has so many examples on how to handle different problems. I really liked this book. But as I mentioned before, not all methods worked for me. Many of the ideas are brilliant though. 🙂
May God give you strength and bless you in your Ministry as Mothers.

Is God’s Grace Sufficient in My Failings as a Mom?

My grace is sufficient…. 2 Cor. 12:9

How many of you, like myself, have read that verse a hundred times over and nodded your head in agreement but never understood the true meaning? Or perhaps you just didn’t believe it? How could that be true? There is too much for grace to cover over.

I suffer from wanting to be perfect. Failing sends me into major pity mode and I feel as if I have failed God, my family, and myself. For some reason, I think I should have it all together by now. Shouldn’t I? I’ve been a follower of Jesus since I was young. Why am I not better yet? Why do I still get hung up on anger, impatience, unthankfulness, grumbling? The list goes on. It’s embarrassing. Get your act together, Shiree!!!

Can anyone relate to this?

Before getting married and becoming a mother, I thought I was a pretty  put-together-holy-righteous lady. Oh boy!!! Having a family has been like a huge mirror  reflecting my inner self back at me. And it’s like an unnecessary large mirror with the sun reflecting in it, blinding me and burning my retinas.

It’s hard to swallow the truth. For it we are honest, we want to think we are God’s gift to earth. We want to be the best, and the smartest, and the most liked. It’s our selfish nature in us. We want the best and to be the best. When the truth is not to our liking, we push it under the rug and ignore it. But with a family, that doesn’t seem to be possible anymore. If I shove it under the rug, my family trips over it and they suffer for my lack of humility.

The past week has been one of mess-ups, failures and not so pretty mommy moments. When the stress level is high, mommy is crabby. (I say that with shame and embarrassment.) I have been short with my sons, and have raised my voice in frustration. I have spanked them more out of irritation than in love. I wanted their behavior to change more than I wanted their hearts to change. It is a painful thing to admit. For when I do, I reveal how incredibly imperfect and inadequate I am.

I have cried out to God, wondering why he gave me these beautiful humans to care for….

Why did you give me tender hearts to raise?

Why have you let such a screw up have such an important job?

Why, why, why? I’m not adequate for this job!!!

You picked the wrong women!!!

The reply to these questions…….“My grace is sufficient.”

God knows what he is doing. He knows that we are imperfect women doing a bigger-than-this-world kind of job. He knows. And He is gracious.

Through our weaknesses and our failures He will make grace even more perfect. (2 Corinthians 112:9) For without our failures, there would be no room for God’s power and glory to work. If we were perfect, and without need of help, we would never look to God for help. He would not be needed. We would be sufficient in ourselves to be the mothers we need to be.

Somehow, God can make garden’s out of trash piles and diamonds out of coal. How He does it, I do not know, but I am thankful he can.

All things work together for the good of those who love him, the word says in Romans 8:28…. Even those things in you that aren’t so worthy of praise. Even the ugly in you that you don’t want any one to see. God is doing something good. He began a good work in you, and he will bring it to completion. (Philippians 1:6)  Perhaps, our children and our husbands are the very things God is using to bring that work to completion.

So, be patient with yourself. Don’t strive for perfection. “In quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15) 

GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT!!!!

 God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed. 2 Cor. 9:8

~Shiree



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The Loss of a Mother Part 2

This is the follow-up article from our Tuesday blog post.We are on the subject of the loss of our mother and how it has affected us as moms. If you missed the first post you can go to this link here.
    Blog post #2 in honor of our mother is written by our older sister, Raquel. In regards to which daughter knew our mother the best, Raquel would be the one. We hope that this article is a blessing to those who read it and can be encouraged to be the mom God created you to be.
                 Raquel’s Memories: When I was about 9, I had a pretty heated argument with my mom that later left me feeling remorseful.  In an effort to lighten my conscience-stricken heart, I wrote an apology to her.
Now, my mother was a very busy woman… at that point she had 4 kids and was homeschooling.  She and my father owned and operated their own business, where she worked full-time.  She spoke at women’s events, sang at church, sewed us outfits… the list goes on and on.  She was BUSY.  And yet, in the midst of that chaos, she carved out some time to sit down and reply to a 9 year old’s letter of apology.
In that letter she wrote about how special I was.  She quoted the verse in Isaiah about “my name written on the palm of HIS hands.”  I literally thought it was my name (and my name only!) tattooed in God’s palm.  That letter gave me all the feels.  Even as a 9 year old child, I knew this was an important letter.  My mother not only forgave me, but took the time to write (in ink!) how very important I was to her – and to God.  That letter is one of my most cherished possessions.  As a 9 year old, that letter proved the importance of my existence.
Now, as a mother myself, that letter proves something new: my mother’s intentional parenting.  She knew what was most important at that very moment in that 9 year old’s heart: Not the cobwebs in the corners or the dirty dishes in the sink.  It was a life lesson.  A molding of my heart.  Even today, as a mother of three, that letter has taught me to be intentional in my mothering EVERY DAY.
Intentional in my actions
Intentional in my words to my children
Intentional in my words to my husband (because you know those kiddos are listening!)
Intentional in teaching my kids God’s Word
Intentional in making sure they know they are fully loved
Intentional in writing them letters
         Intentional, because our days are numbered and you don’t know how many you have.  I’m sure most people would have looked at my mom and thought she had plenty of time to mold and shape all six of those little ducklings’ of hers.  But, she didn’t.  She died at the young age of 38.
I’m in my 30’s now and the thought crosses my mind often.  “How many more days do I get with my children?”  That might sound morbid, but I don’t mean for it to.  It’s a way I stay intentional. It’s a reminder to look for “heart molding” opportunities in the daily grind of raising three children.   It’s a way I remain thankful.  Thankful for the days I do have with my family.  I wake up every morning and thank God for another day.  As my dad would say, “Another day to honor the Lord in all you do!”
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Now, don’t let this story fool you.  I am not a saint of a mother.  I’ve had some not-so-pretty parenting days.  And, that mom of mine I speak so fondly of…  Well, she was human, too.  Sometimes, after people die, we have a way of making them out to be a saint.  My mother was not a saint.   In the very short time that I knew my mother, I learned some very important life lessons.  Such as, buy white china because it never goes out of style. This life lesson bellowed from her pea-green china filled cupboards and burnt orange kitchen appliances.
 These little nuggets of wisdom arose from both good and bad parenting decisions on her part.  But, what I truly admired about my mom was she was able to look back at those occasions and own up to her failures.  She admitted to me when she had not been the kindest or most patient mother.  She used those moments to teach me… teach me how should act as a mom, as a woman, as a daughter of the One true King.  She did this to an 11 year old!  I appreciate that so much!  She shared nuggets of wisdom with me that were well beyond my years.  Ideas that I didn’t fully grasp until I became a mother myself.
 And, thank God she did!  Because, at the tender age of 11, I lost my mom to cancer.  The mom that taught me how to put my socks on.  The mom that led me to Christ.  The mom that trucked me to ballet and gymnastics and school and church and sleepovers and birthday parties and the pool.  The mom that stayed up all hours of the night sewing the most beautiful dresses just to make me feel special. Truly, a Proverbs 31 woman.   A mom that was INTENTIONAL.
~Raquel

The Loss of a Mother


A personal friend of ours asked us to write about a topic that is a little close to home. She wanted to know about how growing up without a mom has affected us as mothers. We agreed wholeheartedly without realizing what a tough topic this would be.

As I began to think about it, I wasn’t at all sure about what to write. I hadn’t really thought about it in great detail. How did I feel about it? How has it affected my mothering? These questions have rolled around in my mind the past few weeks as I pondered writing this article.

Today marks the 21 year anniversary of my mother’s death. On Dec. 5th, 1996, Sara Nadene Hill passed away from cancer. That is a long time when you really think about it. She has been gone longer than the length of time any of my siblings even knew her – longer than my father had been married to her. Twenty-one years! A lot can happen in twenty-one years – for example, myself and three of my other siblings getting married and becoming parents ourselves.

So much is missed by someone who should be here to enjoy it with us.

I still cry at times when I think of her. Even though I was only seven years old when she died. The sad truth is, I barely even knew who she was. I believe that is the most painful part of losing her. Someone I should know so much about, I know very little. How I would have loved to get to know her over the years of growing up. How I would have loved to hear her tell me the story of how she fell in love with my dad. How I would love to call her and ask for advice when I’m struggling with how to parent my children. How I would love to see her hold my boys and rejoice in the grandchildren she has.

As I ponder and cry over our loss of her, I begin to realize something – I remember her as a beautiful, loving mother! The memory of her is good, and lovely. When others share the memories they have of my mother, they are that of a woman that people loved and admired. A woman that loved Jesus and loved others.

But here is the shocker. She wasn’t a perfect mother!

This truth opened a painful spot in my heart and started to help me heal from the emotional scars I have inflicted upon myself. I began to heal from the shame and guilt I felt of messing up as a mom.

You see, I remember some not so great times with my mom.  Allow me to share a personal memory…..

The whole of the memory is foggy. I don’t even recall what caused my mom to get so upset that day. My sister’s and I were probably fighting and being little stinker butts like young kids can be. We ended up pushing my mom over the edge. Maybe she was hormonal or perhaps she was stressed or sad. Either way, she was not happy with us.

“Sometimes you guys make me want to get in the car and leave!!” she said with a loud and emotional pitch in her voice. 

She went into the bathroom and closed the door. After that, I remember my older sister, Raquel, and I began to cry. And behind the door of the bathroom, my mother cried too. 

Eventually, we braved it and walked into the bathroom. We hugged our mother. We cried some more. “I’m sorry,” my mom said minutes later.

I have done this! I have told my little boy that I wanted to leave. And when I did it, that memory flooded back to my brain like a frightful tsunami taking out an entire country. I did exactly what she did. I even went to the bathroom and cried.

I see a lot of my mother in myself. Even though I barely knew her she still has etched herself within the layers of my life. I am passionate and emotional like she was. I’m quirky and fun and love Jesus. My mom was able to make an impression even in such a short time.

You are probably thinking that the whole point I am trying to get at is how us as parents pass on parenting techniques and how what we do will affect our children later on down the road. That is true but surprisingly, not my main point.

What I want others to realize is that I still think of my mom as a wonderful mother. Even amidst the not so lovely times. I still see beauty and joy when I think of her. I knew she loved me and my family. I know that she loved Jesus. Mess ups on her part did not change that.The best photo editing features for free.

You see, even though you may have messed up with your kids, or raised your voice or got angry at something minuscule, you are still a good mom. If you are leaning on Jesus, and working to be the best mom you can be, then you are doing well. Jesus has so much grace for us. It is sufficient.

My memory of my mother is good. Was she perfect? No. She was human. She loved us with the love of an imperfect human being. And for that love, I am ever grateful. I hope that as my boys grow into adulthood they will realize that I was an imperfect woman doing the best I could. I hope as I did with my mother, they will remember the joy and the good times. The bad memories will still be there but I hope they remember them and show me grace.

Many other parts of me as a mom have been affected by the lack of a mother in my life. There would be a large list. But I will allow my other sisters to share their point of view so I don’t steal all the thunder. In the articles to come, my sisters, Caylen and Raquel will share their stories as well.

A Special Thank You

To end this article I would like to say thank you to so many women who did step up to the plate and helped me mature as a woman and a mother even after mine left this world. Without these women, I would not be who I am today. These women showed me the heart of Jesus and showed me the love of a mother.

First and foremost, my sister Raquel: Without your love and care I don’t know where I would be. You cared for me as a mom for so many years. For you I am ever grateful.

Aunt Juanita: You loved us with such intensity. I knew you felt protective of us and cared for us. I still remember you making the sacrifice to come be with me at the Mother’s Day Tea party I had in 2nd grade. I will always remember that.

Grandma Mollie: Though you are no longer with us, I still remember you and feel the love you had for me. Your lovely songs and warming hugs will forever be with me. As well as your beautiful garden –  forever etched in my mind.

My mother-in-law Pati: You have been patient with me as I have taken so long to be confident enough to ask your advice and share intimate conversations with you. You are a beautiful woman and I am so glad I married your son.

Angie Steffen: Oh what a joy you are! You loved me in all the awkward stages of life and made me feel important. I remember you curling my hair and having fun sleepovers. I will always love you. (I still sing the “Bed Bug’s” song we made up. I sing it to my boys when they go to sleep 🙂 )

Maureen Palmquist: I know now how important is to be polite and say ‘thank you’ because of you. I was always glad to come to your house. I felt loved and safe there. You hold a special place in my heart.

Jane Otott: If ever there was a woman who showed me the heart of sacrifice, you are the one. You are such a kind and faithful women. The fact that you came every Friday for so many years and asked for nothing in return amazes me. I think of you and think of Jesus.

Thank you to all the beautiful women who love as Jesus loves. Without joyful, Godly women this world would be a sad and lonely place.

~Shiree

 

Camper Life in Pictures!

Camper Life:

As many of you can guess, life in a camper is crowded and sometimes messy. Small spaces are very hard to keep clean. (Something I did not think was true but now realize it is a hard fact.)

I wanted to share some pictures with you as a way to let other moms and ladies out there to know that no one has it all together. Our lives are not picture perfect and we don’t always have our houses clean. Life is meant to be lived. So things are going to get messy along the way.

This is my families life, day in and day out. It’s simple and cozy but a little crowded at times. Hopefully they can bring a little relief into your day knowing that other ladies are dealing with messy floors, dirty kitchens, and imperfect lives. 🙂

Welcome to Our Humble Abode

 

Come on in, take your shoes off by the door….

 

Take a Seat in the Reading Chair

  Or Perhaps sit on the couch that needs to have a cover   because our children like to smother it in food and dirt. 🙂

Come, Gather at our Table…

Dinner Cooking in the Crock Pot?

Need a Drink of Water? It’s in that blue jug…

Houzz - Gifts for Her

 

Excuse me while I use the Loo…

    …which happens to be right next to the bedroom. Pretty handy. 😉

   Try Bluum Today

There you have it. My home in 9 simple pictures.

A part of me feels embarrassed to share these with you. For some reason, I think people will look at my life, see this simple fifth wheel, and inwardly laugh at it and feel sorry for me. Thankfully, I’m starting to not care what others think anymore. And so should you.

*Want to know some more about life in a 5th wheel. Go to blog post, Are You Thankful in All Things. 

~Shiree

 

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Have You Lost Your Joy?

Losing Joy:

I have a confession to make…..

I have not been a joyful woman lately. I’m sure that when you read my posts you think I’m a joyful, smiling mommy that is thankful in all things. But guess what? I’m not!!! Much of what I write is what God has been teaching me of late and let me tell you, I have been needing some teaching.

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Everything in my previous posts that I mentioned not to do. I DID THEM!!! I have been ungrateful, grouchy, lacking in joy, and sometimes just plain angry. I got frustrated with my 2-year-old because he knocked over the cat’s water bowl again. He is clumsy and not well balanced. Not just toddler clumsy. I mean, horrible, trip over a grain of sand, clumsy! It is a trait I passed onto him, unfortunately. And since we live in a small space, he knocks over a lot of things. To my shame, I let it get to me and my reaction was not that of beauty.

Why have I been like this? After all my talk on being joyful, you’d think I would have it figured out by now. At least, I sure wish I did.

To be honest, God has placed the importance of joy on my heart because He graciously showed me that I was horribly lacking. I’m not a depressed or horribly angry woman, mind you. Yet, joy evades me more often than not. The stresses of life bog me down and I let my emotions get the best of me. If disappointments come my way I let them ruin my day. If I woke up grumpy, I chose to be grumpy. I honestly didn’t even know how to choose differently. I knew something was wrong, and at times it still is wrong. I don’t want to be the kind of woman that is only filled with joy when the occasion is fit for it. I want to be able to rise up from underneath the pain in my heart and the lies in my mind and choose joy. Even when I don’t FEEL like it. I’m done being ruled by my emotions and my negative thoughts. I pray for change.

Treat Yourself to a Monthly Surprise!!

 

A HARD PAST COUPLE WEEKS

My grumpiness stems from disappointments that have come my way these past few weeks. The sheet-rock in our house should have been up over a week ago. Unfortunately, the insulation has not been finished. The bat insulation was delayed and then we received the wrong order. The spray foam insulation was held back because of broken machinery. To say the least, things are not going as planned. (As they seem to do. 😉 )

We have been hoping to be moved into our house by Christmas but that goal has started to fade away.

“Hopefully by Springtime we can move in,” my husband said the other morning at breakfast.

He was teasing. Yet, also very serious.

By the looks of it, we might be delayed a few more months than planned. My heart hurts at the thought of it. I have been dreaming of moving into our home for a while now. I am so ready. The disappointment of a longer wait time is gnawing at my insides and I literally ache.

Do you know that feeling? That feeling of wanting something so bad you feel like your chest could burst? That’s how I feel. Then add the crushing weight of disappointment on top of that and you have one heck of an emotional bomb ready to go- KABOOMB!!!!!

My lack of joy is my own fault. I want something and I want it now. Am I looking to God and trusting in His goodness and His glorious timing? No. My focus is inward, not upward. I am not thinking about things above but on the things of earth.

When the light goes out…

Oh, how the light goes out when we focus inward! Have you ever noticed that? When we are focused inwardly upon ourselves and concerned only with our own lives, it’s as if someone snuffed out the flame that is supposed to be emanating from within us. We are to be the light of the world showing others the beauty of Jesus. But when our only concern is SELF, that light no longer shines. It has become dark; within and around you.

It saddens my heart knowing that I am guilty of such selfishness. And I know that the enemy loves my self-preoccupied thoughts. It is in that thinking that he dwells and makes his home. He sits down quite comfortably in my mind as I stew and fester on all that disappoints me.

“Yes, keep going,” he says with delight, “Keep focusing on all the annoying, aggravating things in your life…..Oh, and don’t forget to pile the self-loathing and guilt on top of that. Because everyone knows it- You are a bad mom and God is disappointed.”

I am sure that I am not the only woman that deals with this problem. It is hard to be strong amidst the screaming and crying of children. It takes all the will-power you have to not freak-out as your child barfs all over you in the hardware store. (Yes, that happened last week.) It requires strength and discipline to not be frustrated with your unthankful child as they complain about the dinner you spent time making. It requires a lot of patience and self-control as your toddler puts their hand in their poopy diaper and gets poop ALL over themselves. Oh, the joys of motherhood!

How do we get out of that mom funk that causes the light within us to be snuffed out? How do we find joy in the midst of frustration, disappointment and all the stress of life?

Well, I don’t have all the answers but I can share a few things that God has shown me in the last few weeks.

How to get the light back:

  1. Tell God all the junk that is being stored up in your heart. Through your discontent and frustrations. Don’t hold back. He already knows. Just let it out and cry.
  2. After the spilling out of emotions and the tears, Ask God What You Can Do About It.  Don’t continue to wallow in it. If you want God to work you will have to admit that you might have to change something in your life….For example, last week I was pretty upset with my husband. There are times men are not as sensitive as us women and they can come across harsh or lacking in love. My husband does not have a lot of tact. He is a very good, God-fearing man but he says it like it is and it really bothers me sometimes. To make it worse, I can be a little too sensitive. In my outpouring of my frustrations to God about it, He merely reminded me of something. “You can’t change your husband. He isn’t perfect. I’m still working on him. The only thing you can do is deal with your sensitivity. If you don’t want to be perturbed about your husband’s lack of tact then grow a thicker skin. Ask me for help in dealing with it with grace.”  Now does that mean my husband was right in his actions? Perhaps not, but he answers to God, not me. I am responsible for my own actions.
  3. Pray for Who is Frustrating You. Not just a, “I lift so-and-so up to you, God.” Not that easy. I mean really pray for them. Ask for God’s blessings over them… Perhaps your family is treating you with a lack of respect. Maybe your kids take you for granted or your husband can be impatient and angry when life gets too stressful. Pray that God does beautiful works within their hearts. You want what is best for your family even when what they are doing is wrong. With humility, ask God for his changing power in their lives.
  4. Give Thanks. When I realize that I am grumpy with my kids and my husband, it can stem back to me focusing on all the negatives. So, I begin to thank God for 2 or 3 things for each of my family members. And then I name 2 things that I am thankful for in general. It really helps my brain be rewired. I even do this with my 3-year-old when I realize he is getting grumpy or lacking in thanks. I tell him he has to name 3 things he is thankful for before he can continue on playing. It is amazing how a smile slowly forms on his face and he loses his grumpy countenance. (*Even start a thankful journal. It is a blessing to look back on all that you have thanked God for. :))
  5. Ask for Help. I am horrible at this one! For some reason, I feel like I should be able to do it all or I am just inconveniencing others when I do ask for their help. But last week, I knew I needed some assistance. My son and I were not getting along. I was grumpy and therefore causing him to be grumpy. We were knocking heads pretty good and I could feel anger rising up in me. I called my mother-in-law and asked her if she would take him for the rest of the day. I wasn’t being selfish or wanted an excuse for a mom break. I knew that if my son and I were able to part ways for awhile, we would be better for it. No matter how much we love others, it is always good to get away. Jesus did it. So why shouldn’t we?……Now, I do realize that some of you don’t have family readily available to help. But I think more often than not, there are friends and those within our church that are willing to help us. We just have to be humble and brave enough to ask. I don’t just mean help with babysitting. I mean help with all sorts of things. We as a body should be willing to be there for each other. May we be willing.
  6. Pray for the World, the Church, or the Poor. When I realize that I’m inwardly focused, I shamefully become aware of the fact that I have only been praying for myself. So, in order to get my mind off myself, I pray for the Body or for those with bigger needs than I have. It helps get me out of my mind and gets me aligned with God’s agenda rather than my own. I need to remember that the world is not centered on me. As Christians, we should never want the world to revolve around ourselves.

ClothDiaper

There you have it. The 6 Things I do in order to bring the Light of Joy back in my mothering and my wife-ing (Is that a word?) This is what I have been doing in order to gain the joy back in my life the past couple weeks. I can honestly say it works. I hope that some of you can implement them in your own life to help you as well.

I would love to hear from you.Let me know what You do to get the joy and thankfulness back. New ideas are always a blessing.

~Shiree