To the moms whose kids are grown…

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“Older women … are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” (Titus 2:3-5, NIV)

I feel it acutely. There’s my mom, of course. She is an amazing, godly woman who is filled with the kind of wisdom that can only come from the years behind her. I’m lucky to have her. But other than that? There isn’t too much interaction between generations, much of the time.

Sometimes, I wonder if the lack of older mentors is the reason my generation—the generation of young parents—seems so lost. There are parenting books, of course. Online home management courses. Sermons and podcasts.

But few pour into us on a personal level.

We discuss it amongst each other—how to love our husbands, raise our children and manage our homes.

How to be self-controlled.

Pure.

Kind.

But there is something to be said for the wisdom that comes from long-life experience. Yes, we glean from those alongside us in the trenches, but we also desperately need those who have already fought our same battles and won.

(Or even lost. Because every scar tells a story.)

Last night, I drove 30 minutes down dark country roads to a complete stranger’s house. A friend had invited me. I parked on the street and stumbled up the driveway in the inky blackness, towards windows spilling warm light.

The woman who owned the house welcomed me graciously. Although her children are grown, she opens her home on a regular basis to younger homeschooling moms. Her heart—her beautiful heart—is to pour into the next generation.

Women from all over came—some drove longer distances than I did. She put out carafes of coffee, tea and dainty, floral cups. We packed into her living room to pray and learn together.

And she explained to each new, shy face how the Lord has called her to provide support, encouragement, and to live out Titus 2:3-5.

The Church needs people like this.

Older women, we need you.

We don’t always know how to say it, but we need you to open your lives to us. To open your homes to us. To offer advice. To come alongside us and tell us that we’ll make it through the hard days. To smile with us on the joy-filled days. To teach us what it means to be good wives and mothers.

You see, there’s a lot at stake.

Our families, yes. But according to Titus 2:5, how we manage our families and homes also affects people’s perception of the Word of God.

According to Titus 2:5, the gospel is at stake.

You, who are on the other side, have so much to offer.

And we, who are in the trenches, want to learn.

 

Mops and Marinade – Growing Through Mess

Bl7f_dYCAAAlHKcShe dipped her little mop in the red bucket and smiled brightly as she slopped the water on the floor. I cringed at the size of the puddle on the hardwood, but bit my tongue. After all, she was helping. That’s something that should be encouraged. Even if I do have to follow behind her, sopping up the puddles with my larger mop and squeezing the water back into the bucket. At least the floors are done thoroughly by the end of it all.

“Daddy! Daddy! I mopped the floors today!” My daughter is usually bursting with excitement when my husband arrives home from work. “I helped Mommy!”

Last week, I let her make a chicken marinade completely on her own. I gave her the ingredients and let her measure and mix them. She spent the next two days proudly telling anyone who would listen, “I helped make dinner! I made chicken all by myself and it was so yummy!”

Why?

It’s more than just the need to do something. It’s the need to do something that matters. Everyone has a need to contribute. To bring value. To know that what they do affects others in a positive way. It doesn’t matter how old you are.

Everyone has the innate desire to make a difference.

I’ve seen this in the workplace, in the church and now in my home. Delegating responsibility is the best way to encourage someone to grow because it satisfies that innate desire while giving the person something to work towards.

The level of responsibility, of course, corresponds with the level of a person’s maturity. Although I did let my four-year old mix up a chicken marinade, I’m not about to let her touch the gas stove. She’ll grow into that responsibility later. Much, much later.

For now, however, I’ll give her responsibilities that she can handle … and continue to bite my tongue when things aren’t done perfectly to my liking. She’s learning and growing. Through mops and marinade, my four-year old is contributing to the family. She’s making a difference in her own small way.

She’s beginning to understand that, even though she’s young, she can still bring value to those around her.

I’d say that’s worth a few extra messes.

 

Stress Casserole – Let’s Just Laugh at That!

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My husband called home on his lunch break yesterday while I was making dinner.

“What are you making?” he asked.

I’ll be darned if I had a clue. Quite frankly, I was throwing a bunch of random things in a casserole dish and praying for a miracle.

The day started off with my older daughter waking up covered in pee. (Why do all my stories seem to include diaper blowouts?) I had to throw her in the tub, all the while listening to the baby scream.

The girls had their shots the day before and both of them were cranky as all get out. Yes, I’m one of those moms who vaccinates their children. I also sometimes feed my older daughter fast food for dinner. And, occasionally, I forget to put diaper cream on them. Well, now that I’ve aired my dirty laundry on the world wide web, let’s get on with the story…

I was desperately losing the battle with my housework since the girls were so cranky. To make it worse, my older daughter had a strange rash covering her tummy and my younger daughter was teething. Poor kids.

You’re probably thinking, “This isn’t funny at all.” You’re right. You see, here’s the thing. On days like that, you have to CHOOSE to laugh.

So when my two-year old began yelling and spitting at me, I looked at her and let out a hysterical, I’m-losing-my-sanity kind of laugh. If you have kids, you know exactly what I’m referring to. And, you know, I felt a little better after that.

I decided to try a new method of dealing with the spitting, since nothing seems to faze this kid. So once I got my high-pitched giggle under control, I said, “Oh dear! Is there something yucky in your mouth? I guess we need to clean it.”

Then I got out the soap (a natural, environmentally-friendly kind of soap, in case you were worried).

And I put a teeny-tiny dab in her mouth.

Want to know her reaction? Her eyes got big. Really, really big. And she said, “YUMMY!”

Sheesh. That’ll teach her not to spit at people when she’s angry.

When my husband called from work, I told him the story of the soap. We laughed and laughed. That’s when he asked what I was making for dinner.

“Stress Casserole,” I replied with a giggle. “I’ve been so frazzled that I couldn’t even tell you what I threw in this dish. Better start praying!”

Surprisingly, dinner wasn’t that bad! Kind of like life sometimes. Throw in a little of this, a little of that, some stress-induced laughter, and loads of prayer … and, somehow, God makes something beautiful out of it all. =)

Lucy Moment #246: I’m Sew Not Cut Out for This!

I read a gazillion DIY blogs and am always impressed by the things that people have made. Beautiful things. Crafty things. These people write about their projects using words like “vintage chic” and “repurposed” and “upcycled”. It’s sort of hippie, but also posh. And I’m sort of hippie and I want to be posh, so I begged my mom to teach me how to sew. I mean, really, how hard can it be?

Famous last words.

We borrowed my sister’s sewing machine and got to work. The first thing I found when I delved into the bin of sewing supplies was a fabric-covered sausagey thing.

I had no idea what it was for, but as you can see, I found a very good use for it!

My husband said that we weren’t allowed to take it home with us. Rats!

Next up, we used a measurer to ensure that we cut the fabric straight. If you want to get all technical, the correct term is “measuring tape”. I guess if I want to be posh, I have to use the lingo. Anyway, I accidentally cut the fabric all crookedly. But it’s not that big of a deal. Right?

After I cut my fabric, I sewed the ends together. Here is the seam that I sewed. Isn’t it wonderful?

Then my mom informed me that we had to iron the hems. I looked around for a dryer because that’s how I usually get the wrinkles out of my clothes (10 minutes on the hottest setting and you’re good to go!). But all that my mom had was this hot metal thing and a little board. Here she is showing me how to use it.

Don’t we look so very domestic???

Since my sister’s sewing machine was clearly not working properly (obviously the issue was the machine and not me!), we had to re-thread it. (By “we”, I mean “she”, since I was busy playing on the computer.) It took her FOREVER. She ended up reading the manual. But, finally, an hour later, we were on our way.

And then, the moment I’d been breathlessly waiting for……………I’M SO POSH!!!

Oh wait, that’s my mom trying to fix the machine after I broke it for the twentieth time.

Well, anyway, here’s the finished product:

Now THAT’S posh!

(If you see my daughter around town sporting her new hippie-posh skirt, whatever you do, do not look closely at those seams!)

One Motivated Mom

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“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Col. 3:23, NLT)

About a year ago, I had tea with a dear, sweet stay-at-home mom. During the course of our visit, my friend began telling me how much she loves being a homemaker. After expounding on that for a bit, she went on to describe how excited she was that disinfectant wipes were on sale at the grocery store that week.

I like disinfectant wipes as much as the next person, but you know that you know that you KNOW that you are called to be a housewife when you can get passionate about them. I, unfortunately, couldn’t relate. In fact, I stared at my friend incredulously with my mouth gaping, and it was some time before I could gather my wits.

I thought about our conversation frequently in the following months. I thought about it when the dishes were piled up to the ceiling and I was out with friends instead of being elbow deep in a sink full of suds. I thought about it when the dust on the baseboards reached an inch in thickness and I was typing on my computer instead of wielding that thing with all the feathers sticking out of it. Yep, I thought about it all the time.

Lately, I’ve been convicted about how I approach my home. Oh to be more like my friend! The brutal truth is that sometimes I view being a stay-at-home mom like it’s a prison sentence. And yet, serving my family should be one of the greatest privileges ever!

I’ve been thinking a lot about Colossians 3:23, which says that we should do everything as though we are doing it for Jesus. Even something as boring and mundane as cleaning my house needs to be done with excellence. Plus, it’s only when we’re faithful with these little things that God will bring us into the BIG things He has in store for our lives.

So, believe it or not, I’ve started to work my way through a checklist of long overdue chores. And it’s actually more fun than I thought. Of course, I get a little help at times too (can you see how wet her socks are?) …

PS If you are like me and you need your housework broken up into bite-sized lists with neat little check boxes beside each item to make you feel like you are accomplishing something, I highly recommend the Motivated Moms planner. I actually like it so much that I added a link to it in my sidebar (on the right side of the page). You can download and print the planner or even get it as an app! Best. Thing. Ever. Period.