On Charity, 1 Corinthians 13 and Mothering

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1 Corinthians 13 is one of those famous chapters in the Bible. Sometimes the chapters that are so popular tend to get glossed over. We read the verses and can almost quote them and we don’t let them sink into our hearts.

I read through these verses this morning and wanted to share them with you, in the hopes that it would encourage your day. Some thoughts stood out to me, so I’ll share them under each verse.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 

It’s easy to sound spiritual. We can expound on great spiritual truths and feel like we are speaking words of importance, but if we don’t have charity in our hearts then it just ends up being loud, obnoxious noise.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 

This is a pretty humbling verse to think through. We could have such faith in God’s word to even move mountains, but it could all count for nothing if we don’t have charity in our heart! It’s a reminder that we can’t focus on only one aspect of our Christian walk. We shouldn’t desire to have this immense faith in God if we forget about all the other important parts of our Christian walk.

And though I bestow all goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 

Charity sufferers long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. 

Do we suffer long with our children? How about our husband? Do we envy our friends when they get that shiny new car, or the brand new house, or they always look put together when we can barely get dressed in the morning?

Do we walk around confident in our abilities, and puff ourselves up thinking we are something great?

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seekers not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.;

This is a hard one! I know I can get easily provoked, multiple times a day! I shared in a women’s study I’m going to once a month for the Life Giving Home book (a must read book!) that I found myself getting very irritated with my children and would occasionally just get so frustrated that I would tell a child to shut up. Growing up as a child, that was a like a curse word in our home. I know better, and have no excuse besides the fact that I was letting myself get easily provoked.

As mothers we need to think through how we get easily provoked and deal with it. Put scripture verses up around the home to remind yourself of how you want to respond. Take a deep breath before responding to your children, or even walk away for a minute before you correct your children, to just give yourself a minute to calm down.

I need to not seek my own agenda, my own plan for the day, my own desire for XY and Z to happen. Instead I need to seek God’s plan for the day and be a servant to my children and husband. I think we all know this in our heads, it’s just so much harder to live out in real life!

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 

Do we endure long? Do we still hope, or have we given up after having endured hard trials?

Charity never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease, whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 

For when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 

This is a good verse to teach your young teenagers! I remember reading that verse over and over again as I struggled through the difficult stage of becoming a young lady and leaving my childhood behind.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, the three, but the greatest of these is charity. 

Love. We need to have great faith in God, we need to always have hope (as Christians we have a lot to hope for!), but even greater than that is love.

My prayer for all of us today is that we will be able to extend charity and love to our families as we serve in our homes!

 

 

 

Teaching Children To Do Their Chores

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Chore time. It either brings up happy thoughts of well behaved children that wake up and instantly go to their chores, happy and diligent, or it makes you groan inside as you think of the daily struggle that chore time can be.

I’ve had both thoughts at time. Morning chores can be a “can I pull my hair out?” type experience, but it doesn’t have to be. The key to this (as with most other parenting challenges), is consistency long term.

It’s not fun to be the bad guy. Getting up every morning and reminding children to do their chores is not my favorite thing to do. I don’t want to hear any groans first thing in the morning. But they will never learn if I remind them once or twice a month, and then ignore it the other days.

Children learn best with slow, daily drips of knowledge being consistently fed to them. The same is true for chore time.

You can find more information on our morning chore routine on a previous blog post I wrote, not much has changed since that post, except our children are a little older and some have different chores.

What I’ve been realizing lately is that some of my children needed a refresher course on how to do their chore. You can’t just tell a child to go do the dishes or take care of the laundry without showing them how to run the washing machine, or load the dishwasher. Often you will have to show them more than once, and stand and watch them until they get it down correctly.

The bathroom chore is what was needing a refresher course in our house. We live in a small house with one bathroom, and it’s obviously in high demand with 8 people in our house!

The best way to give a refresher training course? Make it fun! Inspire them about their chore! Make them feel proud of what they do for the family. 

Chore time took much longer than normal, but I went into the bathroom with our son and instead of showing him all the different things he was doing wrong, I started with one simple thing.

The toilet. Yucky! But it needed to be cleaned better, so I told him to go grab a cleaner (Mrs. Meyer’s is our favorite and it’s safe for the children to use! We get it from Grove.) I started pointing to him step by step what I wanted him to clean. But I tried to make a connection to why he was cleaning it.

When he lifted up the toilet seat and started cleaning the bottom part, I told him that no guy wanted to use the toilet when it was really dirty. He didn’t seem to care (typical boy!!) but I said his father would appreciate a clean toilet. 😉

I literally had to stand and point to dirty spots over and over again on the toilet. He has been doing this chore for quite awhile, but I think it’s normal for children to need to a cheerleader to come along behind them and give them refresher training courses.

Here is how I made this chore fun.

This boy loves anything about the west, toy guns (living in the city he has to stay content with toy guns for the most part!), civil war time period…all those historical times of battles and cowboys. He just happened to have a holster strapped onto him already, so I definitely played on that.

“Israel! The spray bottle is your gun! Pull it out and attack this pile of dirt! Oh look at you go! The fastest spray guy in the west!”

Now I’m not talking to a toddler here. You have to know your child, and if something like this would work for them. We started with a quiet, not terribly excited child, and ended our chore time over 30 minutes later with a chid who was happily chattering on about how great the bathroom looked.

“Mama, this bathroom is something we can be proud of now! We don’t have to feel embarrassed when someone comes over!”

It warmed my heart to see him feel pride in a clean bathroom!

Here is a quick step by step list of what we did to the bathroom. 

  1. Clean the toilet, step by step. Wipe down each part of the toilet seat, top bottom, then the lid, the back of the toilet and the top of the toilet.
  2. Clean the sponge. This was a big step. Remind them to constantly be rinsing out their sponge or wash cloth so it’s clean again.
  3. Clean the walls. Our walls really needed wiped down! Spray and wipe, and explain that if you wipe down the areas around the sink every few days then it won’t get very dirty.
  4. Clean the trim. Dust and dirt just collect around our trim and it has to be cleaned! I’ve done this so many times to this bathroom, but it’s something that needs to be done weekly. I reminded him how to use the scrubbing side of the sponge and to scrub right up along the side of the baseboard.
  5. Finally, I reminded him to clean the sink last, and to wipe it down when he was done cleaning.

I clean the shower myself, so we skipped that part. He even got a towel and wiped the floor down, since it was wet from scrubbing it, and then wiped the sink down.

It definitely took quite a bit of my time in the morning, but it was worth it for long term success of getting our bathroom clean!

If you are struggling in chore time, here are a few ideas. 

  1. Rally the troops! Have a family meeting and let your children know how important their chores are that they do. They are really blessing the family, and make them feel super important with the jobs they have.
  2. We don’t give weekly allowances, but we do give checks on their Character Badges chart if they get up and do their chore without reminded. They receive a diligence check. Checks lead to earning coins and they can turn their coins in for rewards! Super motivating! 🙂
  3. Give them a reward to work towards! It could be a small toy or book they want, and if they faithfully do their chore for 2 weeks (or whatever time you set) then they get this item. It can be a great way to instill good habits.

Happy chore time! Press on mother!

 

6 Tips For Surviving the Fussy Baby Stage

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You mothers have been on my heart lately, and I just need to write down my thoughts.

You know who you are. I’m not writing to every mother here. Just the ones with the extra fussy babies. The ones that screamed their first of year life for no reason. The ones who really might not be allergic or have a medical problem.

They’re just fussy.

6 Tips for Surviving the Fussy Baby Stage

You get tired of hearing advice, and you get tired of hearing that it’s going to get better. Because in the moment, you don’t want to think about enduring another minute of screaming, let alone another month or two.

I’m here to tell you…there is hope.

I’m finally feeling like I’m reaching the light at the end of the tunnel. Sophia is 20 months old now, and while she still is a super energetic toddler with a scream that can shatter glass it’s gotten better. We finally feel like we have some answers.

Sophia is the most talkative out of all of our children at this age. She also seems to be the smartest. Not that our other children were not smart, but Sophia just is extremely alert and aware of everything going on around her. A few people told us that once she would be able to talk, things would get better.

I didn’t believe them (I had gotten to the point of losing hope of the screaming ever stopping!), but it’s really true. Now that she has been able to communicate with us, life has gotten easier.

She sleeps all night long. She takes a nap every day, she plays with her little people toys and wooden blocks. She loves to get into absolutely everything, and climbs on whatever she possibly can.

My fussy baby that turned happy!

While she still prefers me over everyone, she will happily go to Sean most of the times, and sometimes lets her brothers and sisters hold her.

While this sounds horrible to say, we actually enjoy her now.

Don’t get me wrong, we always loved her. We held her constantly, kissed on her like crazy, and prayed for her. But it’s really hard to enjoy having a screaming baby in the house. Now we all laugh at her adorable toddler ways, and find so much pleasure in watching her blossom into a little girl.

Tips for Surviving

Take Time For Yourself

When you have a baby that screams all the time, you must take some time to be by yourself. Run to the library to pick up your books on hold, go to the grocery story, take a bath, or go for a walk while your husband watches the baby. I know it’s hard to get away if you are breastfeeding, but try to go right after a feeding. There have been many times that my husband has stayed in the van while I’ve run in the store, just for 15 minutes to feel like an adult.

It’s All About The Baby

When you have a fussy baby, it really is all about the baby. You can’t ignore the screaming, or zone it out. There are times to just lay the baby down when you can’t handle it one more second, but it takes many hours of rocking the baby, walking and bouncing, singing, and feeding the baby. When you have other children, it’s important that they have one parent still there, doing family devotions and spending time with them. Our five older children survived this time, and have even said they want another sibling someday, but honestly nobody is ready for that still. 🙂

Fill Up Your Own Cup – Receive Encouragement from Others

It’s so important to receive encouragement during this time. You can’t keep giving to your fussy baby and your family without receiving something yourself. There were (and honestly still are) many Sundays where I felt like I received very little out of the sermons, because of tending to Sophia. Several times she was screaming so much, I asked my sister to take me home during the service. We live really close to church, so that is an easy option for me. However, my husband is currently the pastor of our church! I’ve felt very disconnected at times, but I constantly remind myself it’s an extended season, not forever.

The times I’ve had to come home from church, I lay Sophia down to sleep and turn on a sermon or a podcast for moms. By the time my family comes home I’m uplifted and ready to face the rest of the day! Read any book by Sally Clarkson if you need a boost of mothering encouragement.

Use Paper Plates!

This isn’t the time to be supermom. Think of this time as an extended 4th trimester. You need to still take it easy, grab a nap, and use those paper plates! I’ve just started weaning myself off of paper plates, but still keep them on hand for those crazy times.

Be Prepared for Skeptics

Sophia seems to always be better out in public. There have been times I’ve even doubted myself, and wondered if it’s really as bad as I think it is because others just don’t see it. My husband is quick to tell me it *is* bad, and that our other babies never did cry like this. Just be prepared that others might not understand, because they just won’t see it.

Don’t Forget About Your Marriage

You are still a wife. Having a fussy baby is incredibly hard on a marriage. Sophia had to sleep right next to me for months, snuggled up where she could touch me. If Sean rolled over in bed it would wake her up, so he ended up sleeping on the couch for months. That sounds fun, right? It was so hard, but we did survive! Try to grab any peaceful moment in the evening to snuggle with your husband, even do it during family time in the evening with the children! I found if I could even just get some snuggle time in, it helped me feel more like a wife and I could keep going.

The days are so hard. The months can roll into a year, and before you know it, your baby is becoming a toddler. I hope that your days do get easier. I don’t think they become more peaceful, because that baby turns into a very busy toddler! But the day you finally wake up and realize your baby isn’t screaming as much is a blessed day. You stop and take a deep breath and realize you are going to make it. Life will never return to what it was before the baby, but you are going to find a new normal!

***Don’t miss out on a new special that just started at Deborah & Co. I did almost all of my Christmas shopping online this year, because it’s just so much work going out shopping with six children! We have a fun sale going on, shop now and receive a gift certificate for later! We are still shipping out for Christmas Delivery!**

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Raising Children Who Truly Follow God (It’s Not All About You)

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I had a wake up call a few weeks ago as a parent.

I can’t create a relationship with God for my child.

It sounds so basic, right? Actually, at times I tend to think we ignore this one simple concept.

As a parent who feels like they have a serious responsibility to raise up children that love God with all of their heart, I tend to feel like it’s all on me.

I have to say all the right things, do all the right things, create the perfect environment for my child to do the right things. Do you ever feel that pressure as a mom?

Raising Children Who Truly Follow God (It's Not All About You)

A few weeks ago we had a guest minister come and preach at our church. My 11 year old son came home and quietly followed me into my bedroom. He sat down on my bed and said he wanted to talk. Some things that were said in the sermon really stood out to him, and he felt like parts of the sermon were life changing to him.

You know what?

They were.

I spent 11 years, pouring myself into this child, trying to train him up in the way he should go, and it took 45 minutes of hearing someone expound the word of God to really change him. 

The following week Israel was practically perfect. He worked so hard on getting along with his siblings, he was respectful to Sean and me, and he was reading his scriptures without being told. He received so many good checks on his obedience chart from Character Badges!

It helped me to understand -you can’t force these things to happen. You can encourage them, pray for them, spend hours talking to them about the right and wrong way, but ultimately God has to reach down and touch their hearts.

I find it interesting that all of my children heard the same sermon, but only one was really touched by it. The rest left and it was just, well, it was just another sermon. You never know what will touch your child, but we have to keep providing opportunities for these life changing experiences to take place, don’t we?

I’m not writing this to encourage moms to sit back and do nothing now. You can’t count on these experiences to happen despite yourself; but be open to letting your children be instructed and changed by people other than yourself, and by situations your not responsible for.

This being said, I’m still grateful for the resources I have used thus far. This isn’t an all or nothing post. It’s mainly a post to encourage you mothers to keep praying for your children, recognizing that sometimes God is bigger than you think, and He will touch your child in a way outside of your plan.

With six children we have spent hours talking about getting along together. It is so exhausting to have children that fight and quarrel all day long. Some of my favorite studies we have done (and will do over again!) are My Brother’s Keeper, and Because I Said So. These teach obedience to parents, and a love for your siblings.

Learning to love your siblings God's way

These studies are great to do together before a school day starts, or in the evening as a family!

A Biblical study of obedience

While these studies are great, it can be easy to do one study and not have your child truly retain what they learn. This is where Character Badges comes in. It’s designed to help you daily build good habits in your children. I find this supports any studies out there you do, because it’s helping train your children in good habits such as respectfulness, diligence, helpfulness, obedience, kindness, etc.

https://characterbadges.com/shop/character-badges-complete-set

Take heart dear mother. You have a huge responsibility to raise your children in the Lord, but God is so merciful to send those who can come alongside us, and reinforce these things to our children, and even present them in a different way. Embrace this. Take courage that you are not alone. Teach your children to respect their pastor, teacher, or mentor over them. A change in your child’s heart might be right around the corner!

 

 

 

 

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