Category Archives: Practical Parenting

Don’t come down from that wall! Pt. 6

And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3

We have looked at several things that are used to either distract or discourage us from this very high calling that our Lord has given us.  Things that would allure us to come down off of our God-given duties. Have you been able to relate to any of them?  I certainly can write all this from experience!  It seems daily that many of these things creep up to bring me down.

Today we are going to talk about a couple of specific temptations to distraction that are very prevalent, especially in our technical age.

The Telephone:

How many times are we distracted off of our duties and tempted to neglect them because of needing to just make one more phone call.  Or just as we were to engage in a heart to heart talk with our children, the phone rings.  Have you ever noticed how often that familiar ring will begin right as you sit down to family worship?  And it is not uncommon to have a quick call to a friend become a long, engaging conversation.  Even calls to “encourage” another sister, can actually be pulling us from our loved ones, if they are made at the wrong time.

I had a friend at one time choose to go on a friend phone fast for a while.  She realized that her focus had to be in her home and with her children.  I am all about Titus 2, godly mentoring, profitable phone appointments between sisters, but it all must be placed in its proper position so as not to sacrifice the best for a good thing.

But perhaps in our culture is an even bigger temptation to distraction is…

Email, Social Media, and ahem Blogging:

I love to blog.  I love the computer.  I love getting and writing emails.  I have a smart phone and use it often to check my Facebook.  But, let’s face it…it is a double-edged sword, isn’t it?  These things can be wonderful tools, but can get out of hand quickly.  Just one more email.  Did someone post something new on Facebook?  Did I get any blog comments?  Oh, I need to answer that comment quickly. And before I know it, chunks of time have passed by.  My dear husband is constantly reminding me that he does not want me neglecting the very thing I am blogging about.

I can be home physically with my children, but not home in my heart.

So how can we help combat these temptations?

~First, we need to pray daily for our priorities to be the priorities the Lord would have for us.

~Consider turning off the phone, or using an answering machine to screen calls during those critical times of the day, when mommy is most needed.

~Carve out time that you know you will have to do these things.  In my home, we have a rest time where if you are not napping, you must be quiet, or outside to give me some down time.  I have let that slip and have tried to enforce it again lately. During that time, I can rest if I need to, or more often I will be on the computer, blog, etc.  Also, my husband does overtime once or twice a week from home, after the children go to bed.  I also have that time to work on this blog or whatever I feel needs doing.

~Ask your husband if he would give you a chunk of time where he can keep the children when he gets home from work for you to have that long, engaging, edifying conversation with another sister in Christ once in awhile.

I am a very social person.  I am thankful for things like email and Facebook.  And I love blog hopping.  But, if it is not controlled we can be as the woman in the scripture whose feet are often abroad without ever stepping foot outside our home.

I am sharing these things because they are constant challenges to me.  So, let’s encourage each other to stay up on the wall today!  I would love to hear any of your thoughts!

My next post I will seek to wrap up this series in speaking of two last temptations we face that is common to most of us.  Stay tuned!

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Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

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5 Minute Friday-Every Day


I am participating in 5 minute Friday.  Join the fun and blog hop to others doing the same.  The idea is to take 5 minutes and just write without worrying about editing…just letting the words flow from the fingers to the keyboard.  So here goes!

GO:

Call me over-tired.
Call it having my seventh baby
Call it getting older.
But I don’t have it all together.

I feel like I am missing part of my hard drive

Every day I have 7 hungry birds needing food for their bodies, nourishment for their souls and knowledge for their thirsty brains.

Every day they need it again and again.

And there is only one of me.

My son describes it as having 7 things to plug into only 3 ports in my computer.

Every day I am walking into a room and forgetting what I went in their for.

But…

Every day I am so abundantly blessed that it is overwhelming.

Every day I have so many kisses and hugs I receive.

Every day I am so very, very rich.

Every day I receive fresh mercies.

Every day I have a great God.

Every day I am being sanctified, made more like Christ through self-denial.

Yes, I am thankful for each day.

Every Day.

STOP!

Whew that was fun.

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Don’t come down from that wall! Pt. 5

And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3

Our last several posts in this series we have focused on things that the enemy of our soul uses to tempt us to come down off of our great work as mothers. There is one that many of you may wonder why I have not mentioned yet.

Fatigue.
Lets face it, we get exhausted.  Whether we are up in the middle of the night with newborns or sick children, or whether it is the drain mentally in answering the next “mama” that comes our way.  I have found that even the teaching of homeschooling drains me.  It may be as simple as learning their numbers and letters, but mentally I still find it takes it out of me.  As the children get older, they can tie their own shoes and cut their own food up, but now there is heart to heart talks.  Weighty questions and issues of life are matters of everyday discussion. Often the busyness and noise around me tends to mentally fatigue me as well.  So whether you are fatigued physically, mentally or both here are a few tips…

1. Get to bed at a decent time.  Whoa, those who know me will be saying, “Did she just say that?”  I am the queen of night owls.  I mean, this is really strange, but I don’t like going to sleep.   And it doesn’t help matters when the children get in bed later and I need that quiet time with my man at night.  So the temptation is to stay up too late.  I am preaching to the choir, people.  If I ever master this one it will be amazing. But, they say it is true.  I should try it some time.

2. Exercise/Vitamins.  Oh boy, maybe I should stop writing this now.  I really need to get back exercising. I do take vitamins though, and for women the B’s are especially important.  One simple thing I have found amazingly helpful lately has been to lay out all my pills for a couple of weeks ahead of time in those little boxes (what are those things called anyways?).  It is so much easier to pop them all in my mouth quickly, then opening up each bottle every time.  Simple, I know, but so helpful to me.

3.  Make sure your hormones and thyroid is regulated.  As women, we are very prone to imbalances and it is crucial we address these things.

4. Make your time with the Lord priority. It may not be that you can take time immediately in the morning.  Sometimes our little ones are up and going at such a speed first thing in the morning that nap time or another time in the day is easier for us to search his word. But seek to carve out some time that fits for you. Seek prayer from your husband and another like-minded friend as well.

5. Take time for yourself.  Ok, for years I thought this was selfish.  A committed mom would never need a break! But, I have learned over time that it is helping our families to take care of ourselves.  We will do better when we take some recharge time.  So find a bit of time for a hobby, whether that be reading, taking a walk, make a scrapbook, blogging, etc.  All for the purpose of being a fresh mommy and wife.

6. Enlist your children to help. With many of our lifestyles, being home all day, schooling our children, having a large family, this equates to messy homes.  But, with a large family also come many hands.  And many hands make light work.  Have everyone pitch in to return an appearance of  order.  Even a toddlers can use a toilet brush or take a washcloth and wash baseboards.

7.  Don’t hesitate to get outside help.  I have had  different “mother’s helpers” often over the last many years.  What a blessing it has been!  My pride will sometimes make me feel like I shouldn’t need the help.  But you know what?  I am doing several full times jobs at once.  Just teaching school can keep you busy.  Let alone taking care of a newborn, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.  In times gone by, when communities were more tight-knit there were often older ladies that would help young moms.  Even the Prov.31 woman rises to give meat to her maidens.  I also have a great burden for those young ladies that are waiting to marry and how they fall through the cracks in our society. They are encouraged to go out and get a career, when they could be learning and preparing to be their own keepers at home, by helping others.  I was a mother’s helper as a young girl and it was such a good experience for me.  Now I am on the other side and see what a great blessing it is. But, that is probably another post.

8. Lower your expectations. We have already had a post on this one.

9. Learn how to play. Speaking to the choir again, here!  I am a task oriented person and have my mental checklist that drives me.  I hardly ever stop to enjoy life.  My dh on the other hand, being the hardest working man you have ever seen, still finds time to enjoy life.  His quote? “You’ve got to live.”  So maybe today, put the cleaning on the back burner, tell the children to put their workbooks away and play with them.

10.  Realize this is a season. I know this is so over-used nowadays…but it is still true.  My oldest will be out of the house probably in 5 or 6 years.  That hits home.  They are growing up so fast.  They only will be this needy for a time.  And then we will miss it.  We will get all the sleep we want and have free time…but we will long for these days again.

Next post …the telephone and social media.

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Don’t come down from that wall! Pt. 4

And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3

We have been talking about the temptations the enemy of our soul tempts us with.  This passage in Nehemiah has much to teach us.  Today, I want to address one that I struggle with greatly…

My own expectations.

Notice, I did not say my husband’s expectations.  I did not say my biblical duties.  No, we are talking about Jenny’s expectations of herself.  You see, sometimes I am my own slavemaster.

I could always have done a better job as a mom today. I could have done even more in school than we did.  I could have made that lesson even more exciting to the children.  I could have smiled more at my little ones.  I could have kept the house up better.  I could have this…I could have that.

But, who is placing all these expectations on me?  Is my husband happy with the way I have kept the home today?  Have I taken steps, even baby steps, in following what God has called me to today?  We get beaten down when we constantly don’t measure up to the expectations of our own making.

I measure my success often on how clean my house looks at the end of the day.  If it is tidy and neat..it’s been a good day.  Never mind how much time I really spent with my children…how much time I got to know them better and instill truth and make memories with them.  But, what about the days we have had great group discussion and been really learning?  What about those times we have played today all together and really lived?  What about those times when the house is a mess, cause we are enjoying each other?  Am I a success then?

So whose expectations are you living under?  

The government school system?  The neighbor next door?  The mom’s in your school co-op? Your own?

I would challenge you to look to your husband and really listen to what his desires are for the daily outworking of your day and seek to follow that.  You might be surprised at how simple and freeing it is.  We think we must be supermoms, but what is God really requiring of us?

And let’s not come down from the wall when your daily plan is frustrated by the happenings of life.  Embrace the day for what God has in store!  I will close with another great quote from Spurgeon…

“It was a pretty remark I read, the other day, of a Christian man who said,’I used to have many disappointments,until I changed one letter of the word,and chopped it into two so that instead of disappointments, I read it,his appointments. That was a wonderful change. For disappointments break your heart, but his appointments you accept right cheerily.'”


Did you miss the beginning of this series?
Pt 1. Thoughts from Nehemiah
Pt 2 Discouragement and Past Failures
Pt 3 Boredom with the mundane

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Don’t come down from that wall! Pt. 3

And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3

We looked last time at fatigue being a major factor in the discouragement and temptation to come down from our great work as wives and mothers.  Today we are going to look at another …Boredom.

Yes, you read that right.  If we are honest with ourselves, there are times that we just get bored with the mundane of routine.  We just made that bed yesterday!  The floor was just shiny and now there are muddy footprints.  How many times have you scrubbed that toilet.  Didn’t I just finish the dishes?  Is it time to start thinking about cooking supper again?

Many times our job description is to do those things that are hidden, the small things that life could not function well without.  And they are not always that enjoyable.  But they are our calling.  And when we do it for the glory of God, we are doing a great thing.

Let me share a few quotes by Charles Spurgeon

“You are as much serving God in looking after your own children, and training them up in God’s fear, and minding the house, and making your household a church for God, as you would be if you had been called to lead an army to battle for the Lord of hosts.”

“There’s no shame about any honest calling; don’t be afraid of soiling your hands, there’s plenty of soap to be had.”

“Immediate fruit may come, for God worketh marvellously, but whether it does or not, your plain duty is to sow. Reap you shall, but meanwhile you must be satisfied to go on sowing, sowing, sowing, even to the end. Reaping is your reward, but sowing is your work.”

So today, sisters, let’s remember Jesus’ words in Luke 16:10 “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much…”

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Don’t come down from that wall! Pt 2

And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3
As I mentioned in my last post, there are many temptations that we as mothers face to come down off the wall…to get distracted from our high calling.  Our work is of such eternal value that the onslaughts against it are many! I would like to look at two particular areas today that at least for me, and I am sure for others have been a challenge as a mother.

1. Discouragement/ Lack of Progress:

Do you ever feel like instead of going forward in the teaching and training of your children you are going backwards?  You have corrected for the hundredth time and want to give up? Maybe the area you had thought you had finished your training in raises its head again in your home.  Or maybe you realize that you have been working on the same character issues for years and see very little progress.   I know for myself, this can cause me to want to throw in the towel and sit down in despair and discouragement.  Seeing so very many issues that still need to be dealt with in my children can easily overwhelm me and make me feel ready to sink to my knees on the floor and cry for a good while.

2. Past Failures/Our Own Sins:

We have fallen on our faces, we have lost our tempers with our little ones, been impatient and cranky.  We have come down off the wall many times before, lost momentum and now are so far behind we do not know if we ever can rebuild.  We feel keenly our inadequacy and inability for such a great work as mothering is.  The enemy loves to whisper in our ear ” You are a failure, look at the mess you have made of everything.  What is different this time than the last time you fell flat?”

and he is right…

We are failures, we are nothing, we are inadequate…apart from Christ, that is.  But our God says,

“Faithful [is] he that calleth you, who also will do [it].” 1 Thess. 5:24

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Phil. 4:13

What did Nehemiah do when the enemy was rising up against them threating to overthrow their vision?  They prayed and set a watch.  Let us raise our voices to the One who gave us this calling, who breathed life into these little ones.  He will give us the grace and strength and in leaning upon Him HE  is glorified.

The fruits of our labors may be slow in coming, but the Lord’s word will not return void.  We must press on and not grow weary.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Gal. 6:9

When the enemy whispers in our ears, we need to speak God’s word back to him.  In the psalms you see David talking to his own heart..

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” Psalm 42:5

His mercies are new every morning…so today is fresh start.  So love your babies, hug your child a little tighter, smile a little broader, and let’s pick up our wall building tools and get to work.

And believe you me…I am talking to myself…bigtime!


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Don’t Come Down From That Wall! Pt 1.

And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?” Nehemiah 6:3

Mama, have you ever thought of this verse in regards to motherhood?  A friend of mine introduced me to this thought many years ago.  There is much to ponder within it.  Have you considered how great your work is, dear mother?  Have you considered how many adversaries there are to this work?  We are building the next generation.  The hearts and souls of our children are at stake.  We read in the scriptures how each group had their own part in the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem.  Likewise, each of us, in our quiet, tucked away homes have our very important piece of the wall within the church of Jesus Christ.

And there are many temptations for us to come down.

The enemy of our souls would love to tempt us to come down from this great work.  And he loves to do so ever so subtly.  It may be ever so slowly, gradually and suddenly we realize we are a long distance from our place on the wall.  And the climb back up can be very painful and hard.  But, what joy when we can find our place again, wipe the sweat off our brow and begin afresh to rebuild.

Over the next few days I would like to post a series looking at some of the particular temptations that we face as mothers, that allure us to come away from our high calling…to lose our focus and distract us.  I will be talking to myself through these posts as well.  May we sharpen each other to look up the Savior for new strength to build for His kingdom and His Glory.



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