Raising Daughters Who Are Worthy of a Good Man

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I’m raising five boys.  Three of them are already journeying through the teen years, but that part doesn’t scare me.  You know what does, though?

The fact that we’re inching ever nearer to the day they will be ready to consider marriage.

I’m not afraid of them marrying, exactly, but it’s a bit concerning when I look around and see a world full of young women who are terrifyingly bold and assertive.  Even more so, however, is the fact that girls are no longer being taught to respect themselves as the treasures they were created to be but are being encouraged to seek full and complete liberation from Biblical roles.

And this is not simply a “worldly” epidemic.  It is totally infiltrating the church from every corner.

I’m not impressed by the flesh-baring, egocentric, selfie-obsessed society I find myself raising children in.  Not impressed, yet it is my reality and it does me no good to sit and complain about what is or pining for what isn’t.  My time is much better spent helping my children navigate their way carefully toward what will be.

My hope and my prayer is that each of their will be’s include Jesus every step of the way.  Even the step that leads toward marriage, if one is in His respective plan for them.  But what kind of girl will be suited to walk beside my guys as they continue on in their faith experience?  As the mother of boys who is also raising girls, this is something I have thought about often.  Here are some critical components to their “princess” training we are striving for…

 

Join me over at Raising Homemakers for the rest of the article.

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Week One: F.Y.B. Fitness Challenge

I have been excited to get started so I’m so glad the day is finally here!  And it makes it even better that I get to jump-start my year with all of you ladies, husbands, sons, daughters and friends.  :)

And here is a video intro with the absolute worst lighting ever.  My son told me I spoke in the voice I save for people I don’t know. I decided not to read too much into that!

 

First things first.  

We need to nourish ourselves spiritually every single day.  Make time for it.  Even if it’s in the shower or while you hide under the table because you are so exhausted from a night of lost sleep with little ones that you couldn’t drag yourself out of bed.  He understands mothers better than mothers understand mothers.

Don’t beat yourself up for what you haven’t done.  Give yourself the grace to do what you need to do.

The Spiritual Challenge this week is to write out the following verse every day during your devotions:

“And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”  

Exodus 15:26

I say to write it, rather than just read it, because writing things down helps them to absorb into our minds and hearts.  And memorization generally comes so much more quickly.

I’d also urge you to write out your prayer.  It is so easy for our minds to wander while we’re praying and writing them down as we train ourselves to focus is an amazingly effective tool.

BONUS activity:  S.O.A.P. the above verse

  • S-Scripture: write it out
  • O-Observation:  what are you taking from the verse
  • A-Application:  how does it apply to your life practically
  • P-Prayer:  write out your prayer with this verse as your guide

**Note:  If you have a great thing going in your daily devotions, by all means stick with it.  My goal isn’t to dictate anybody’s time with the Lord.  It’s simply to give you ideas and encouragement to make it a priority and to find it meaningful.  All you have to do to stay eligible is to seek Him daily.

To grab a printable version of this week’s spiritual challenge, click here.

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Second thing second.  

Grab those tennis shoes and get your sweat on.  I mentioned that you can choose whatever activity you wish and that hasn’t changed.  The only condition is that you work at it for a minimum of 20 minutes per day, at least 4 days this week.  Walk, run, bike, cross-country ski, snowshoe, ice skate, swim, pop in a video or hit a live class.  Do what works for you and give it everything you’ve got.  Don’t worry what the person next to you has got or the lady down the street.  That doesn’t matter.  This isn’t a competition it’s a collaboration of a whole bunch of people wanting to be better at being themselves.

If it takes you 20 minutes to pop out 10 push-ups and you’ve given it everything, BAM. Tomorrow do 11 push-ups in 19 minutes.

The highest rate of burnout occurs when we try to perform at somebody else’s fitness level, even unknowingly.

Ask God to show you clearly where you are and then ask Him for strength to keep with it until you can barely see a tiny speck of that place way off behind you.

If you need a starting place, check out the sidebar every weekday for a suggested workout.  But keep in mind, it’s only a suggestion.  Adapt, modify or completely disregard.  Totally up to you.

And don’t forget to check-in in the comments below.  If you have any trouble commenting here, try un-ticking the commentluv box and trying again.  If that still doesn’t work, find me on Facebook and shoot me a message.  All entries below qualify you for the weekly drawing and get you off to a great start to qualify for the grand prize drawings.

psssssst.  I created a Pinterest Board for this challenge.  If you’re in search of ideas, check it out.

Sponsor Shout-Out

Gail, an awesome Mary Kay consultant, has generously donated a Microdermabrasion Set for the Grand Prize Giveaway.  If you are in the market for skin care products, she’ll treat you right!

 

If you are new here and want to check out the intro post and jump in, you can find it here.  You are more than welcome!

 

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Consider yourself humbly invited to stay connected with us through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+…or you can have our latest posts delivered directly to your inbox via email.

For your convenience, this entire post is print friendly. If you’d like to have a paper copy to keep with you just click the link below.

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why do we trample each other?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about motherhood, it’s that mothers don’t fit in a box.  Not by a long shot.  And why would we want to when what makes us special is also what makes us not “fit”?

I’ve known lots of women in my life and not one of them was the same.  They didn’t wife the same or mother the same or friend the same.  They didn’t look the same or act the same because they were as they were created to be…different.

I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling wife and mother.  That makes me similar to exactly two people I know locally.  Two people, guys.  I’m okay with being a little different but just as important is that I am okay with others being different from me.

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Because at the heart of the divide between mothers is the absolute fact that there should be no divide at all.  Only encouragement and support.  We’re all here struggling through many of the same issues and facing many of the same challenges.  We don’t need a boot in the backside (okay, maybe sometimes we need a boot in the backside) we need a hand to ease our burden or a word to boost our courage.

We need a finger to point us to the God who walks beside us.

For truly God doesn’t stuff His daughters in boxes.  In fact, He often calls them to do the unexpected.  He asked Esther to defy the King’s protocol.  He asked Mary to carry a child before she was properly wed.  He asked Ruth to lay at the feet of a man who had shown her kindness.  He asked Abigail to feed the army her husband had sent away.  He asked Hannah to offer her long-prayed for son into service and the care of Eli.

You get the idea.

Every one of those women were placed on a path outside the ordinary.  Because with God, the only ordinary lies within the extraordinary.  Or is it that the only extraordinary lies within the ordinary?  Hmmmm…

So if we’re a whole lot of ordinary mothers who’ve been given an extraordinary path to walk, why are we so crazy determined to make everyone else’s path look like ours?  Our path isn’t holy.  God is holy.

And He takes the un-holiest of people walking down some of the un-lovliest of paths and He uses them.  Right where they are.  But He uses them in such a way that they suddenly have no more desire to be where they are but want nothing more than to be where He is.

That is holy.

And I’ve seen it happen.  I’ve seen Him take some of the very people I thought needed a little fixing and snatch them right up and make them into something beyond beautiful.  I was standing on holy ground and I didn’t even know it.

Such arrogance blinds us to our own error.  It numbs us to our own weakness.  It’s ridiculous and it’s a waste of time.

Because it isn’t about whether we homeschool or don’t homeschool.  It isn’t about whether we find ourselves juggling home and work outside the home.  And it isn’t about what those other moms are doing.

It’s about whether we are following the path He’s given us to follow even when it looks to others that we absolutely are not.

Even then.  Especially then.

 

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A Word with my Post-baby Body

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Dear War-ravaged Body,

Wow, where do I begin? We’ve been through so much together though we haven’t always been on the friendliest of terms.  You really know how to work my nerves, you know?

Like after my first baby was born and I packed a pair of much-too-big-for-me pre-pregnancy jeans to wear home from the hospital.  I guess you thought it was funny when I couldn’t even get those things past my hips.  Well, I cried.  You may not have noticed since when I emerged from the bathroom with pajama pants on instead I laughed and made some silly joke about it.  But that was only the beginning of the times I’ve had to cover for you.

Oh, I had my moments in the sun where I talked you down and back into suitable form.  That baby wasn’t but 2 months old when I was wearing my normal clothing.  I’d put you in your place, that’s for sure.  Of course, it didn’t last since by the time that same baby was 5 months old I was snuggling another tiny baby within my womb.

And, honestly, you weren’t real kind to me during a time that should have been beautiful.  Not real kind at all.  Come to think of it, you always got a little out of hand when I was expecting.  Thanks for that.  Really.  What girl doesn’t love her mama glow to be replaced by swollen everything-you-never-knew-could-swell?

Anyway, we’ve moved beyond all that now.  We’ve battled back and forth as you grabbed for the extra pounds, trying to throw them in the cart like a spoiled child while I screamed and threw them back on the shelf like a frustrated parent.  What a scene we’ve made!  And the truth is, I feel like I need to apologize.

You see, I’ve seen the light.  I’ve finally seen, I mean really seen, all that you’ve been through and how I heaped guilt on you for not measuring up.  Oh my goodness, how wrong I’ve been.

You have housed and nurtured 7 precious babies for me.  They stretched you beyond reason, made you sick, wore you down and made you accommodate their growing needs without ever offering a single thank you.  You have done the work of a soldier, time and again, and then come back for more.

You’ve manufactured milk in abundance so I could nourish those sweet babes with that liquid gold.  And you’ve done it even when you were exhausted and depleted and wanted nothing more than a little rest.  Year after year for years you gave of yourself even though your outer beauty was slowly being chiseled away with all that giving.  Well, I’m here to tell you, you are beautiful.  You are and you need to know it.

And it isn’t because you look like a Barbie (stop laughing!) or because you’ve bounced right back after each blow.  I’ve seen you and I know that bounce started looking more and more like a splat as time went on.

No, it’s because you’ve sacrificed everything so I could have my arms and heart filled to overflowing with love.  You have given so I could receive.  You have borne my scorn with a smile and done your best not to betray.  YOU are the reason we’ve made it this long nursing a chocolate semi-addiction with any shred of dignity.

And you, my friend, have managed it so that my awesome, hard-working, loving man can look at worn out old you and still see me.  He sees right past your flaws and into my heart.

You have been the scapegoat for all my bad habits yet you keep trying.  You hold it together when you feel like falling apart and you jump on board when I decide it’s time to really get fit and healthy.

You’re a trooper and I’m going to try to be nicer to you.  I promise.  Because after all you’ve done for me, the least I can do is make things a little easier for you and stop holding you to such ridiculous and unattainable standards.  You will never again be the body of my pre-baby years but you know what?

I’d take all these babies over that body any day.  Absolutely any day.  So thank you from the bottom of my heart!

With peace and acceptance,

Your Taskmaster

 

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Raising Boys Who Respect Girls…and Girls Who Respect Who They Were Made to Be

It’s a tired subject really.  So tired, in fact, that we hear it without really listening.  It’s an endless volley of disconnect and dissension.  And while it seems harmless to many, it’s the very poison that’s taking out marriages with alarming veracity.

It starts young.  Long before marriage is even a real consideration.  Adolescent girls cram online feeds with seductive selfies and their male counterparts ante up with the expected and much coveted responses.

And so the story goes.  Boy learns to like seeing what he shouldn’t see while girl keep showing him what she shouldn’t show because she wants to be noticed.  Liked.  Appreciated.

Only that isn’t what happens at all.  The boy doesn’t come to like her.  He simply enjoys the shell within which she is housed.  Not the same thing by any stretch.

No big deal, right?  I mean, come on.  This is an age old saga and you’re never going to manage to rewrite the script.  It’s just what young people do but it all turns out fine eventually.  Or does it?

Picture me standing here screaming from the rooftop that IT DOES NOT!  It truly doesn’t.  Nakedness, even “vegetarian” nakedness, doesn’t beget love.  Or respect.  Or honor.  It gives birth to lustful passions bereft of sanctity which results in the begetting of a whole bloodline of sin.

But with a world steeped and basted in moral corruption how is it even possible to raise youth who don’t end up standing in the doorway of destruction?  There is but one true answer:  The grace of God.

And in His infinite grace and mercy, He will equip us with the tools we need to raise kids who will turn from temptation in its most tempting form.  Here are a few ways we are seeking to arm our children for battle…

  • Get them in the Word.  While the world around us is drowning in the devil’s pool of perdition, we need to be keeping our families bathed in God’s Word.  It is there we find hope, strength and power to withstand the assault of evil when it comes dressed up and disguised.  Our family is reading through the Bible six chapters a day.  We’re just finishing up 1 Samuel which was 31 chapters of question-inducing Scripture that opened the door for a whole lot of conversation we likely never would have had otherwise.  Six chapters is a pretty hearty portion in one sitting but we’re finding it’s just the right size for this season in our lives.  You make that determination for your own family.
  • Get them out of Sodom.  Take ownership of what you’ve been allowing your kids to do.  Maybe they’ve had the liberty to be on Facebook or Instagram where their feeds are being filled with unsavory people and their postings.  Perhaps they’ve even been commenting on that trash.  Pull the plug, cold turkey.  If you let them dance with the devil they’ll learn to like the way he dances.  It’s time you cut in.  Warning:  Don’t steamroll your errant youth in an effort to bring them into the light.  Be willing to listen to them even before you talk.  Why are they drawn to those people?  How do they feel about it?  How can you help to bring their minds back to safety?  Kids who feel bullied into sanctification only bide their time until they are free to make their own choices.  Draw their hearts gently but with unfettered determination.
  • Exemplify gender roles.  Men and women were never intended to be equal.  They were created to be two unique parts that came together to create one whole.  Marriage, in its degenerate form, has become about women competing with men and fighting for dominance over them and men who either take a strong (arrogant/unloving) hand or cower under, emasculated and defeated.  It’s ugly.  Require your boys to nurture the women in their lives, deferring preference to them.  Instill the values that define a gentleman early and they will grow to know nothing else.  Likewise, teach your girls to respect themselves enough to honor the men in their lives, without feeling threatened or inferior.
  • Insist on honorable clothing choices.  So long as your kids are in your care you have the final word on what they wear.  Do not waver or compromise.  A young girl can look nice, and even trendy, without her cleavage or thighs exposed.  Don’t even let her step into that boat or you’ll find the current is much stronger than you realized.
  • Train them to guard their eyes.  Trash abounds and sometimes you can’t avoid it if you want to leave your house.  Since we all need to leave home sometimes, our children need to know how to avert their eyes when confronted with that which shouldn’t be seen.  This practice strengthens the muscle of self-control and will serve them well when they are older and making decisions for themselves.
  • Encourage them to wait on the Lord.  It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of the dating scene.  Everyone’s doing it and posting pictures to prove it.  But the reality is, adolescence is a time to get to know yourself and who God created you to be.  If your children are distracted by the opposite sex they’ll end up missing out on much of this crucial step.  It’s a nasty deception that you must date many to discover what flavor you like.  Invest time in preparing them for the day God opens that door so they may step through.  But don’t let ‘em barge through before it’s time.

What might you add?  I’ve got teenagers who will be spreading their wings before long…I love to hear how you are training yours to be prepared.

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Things I Want My Daughters to Know

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The passage of time swiftly leaves a big girl where a little one once stood. But as they march inevitably from the grip of childhood, I want my daughters to hold tight to that which has made them such amazing little girls.

Before they take another step toward adulthood there are a few things I’d like them to know…

 

Read the rest over at Visionary Womanhood

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