Category: motherhood

Finding Your Value as a Person Through Motherhood

A note from Laura: This post was originally written for Chaotic Life of Lauren, which is a blog whose mission is to help busy Christian mothers manage life. Lauren ran a series entitled “Seasons of Motherhood” this month, and I was honored to be included, along with several other bloggers. Motherhood remains the most refining and sanctifying experience of my life, and I thank God for it! I hope this encourages any other type A moms out there, as well as moms who struggle with physical challenges. These things are difficult, but you are not alone.   

My best friend used to lovingly tease me about my perfect planners. I had a plan for everything: when I would eat, when I would study, when I would socialize, when I would do ministry. I carefully crossed off each task and appointment as I completed it. My life was completely under control. I counted down the days until my wedding and smiled to myself as I thought about all the fun things my husband and I would do together.

I liked to say I was a planner, but I was really just a control freak.

And then, six weeks after my wedding, I found out a baby was on the way. Surprise!

Being pregnant threw me for a loop. I was used to being able to accomplish a lot of tasks in a day, but that didn’t happen any more when my “first trimester” nausea and exhaustion lasted through all three trimesters. Occasionally I would have a good day. I would get really excited and try to do as many things as possible, but then the exhaustion would catch up with me and I would be worse than ever.

While I would have never admitted it before, I had been placing a lot of my identity and sense of value in my productivity.

Please visit Chaotic Life of Lauren to read the rest of this post!

When Things Don’t Go Our Way {Motherhood Matters Series: Part Three}

This post contains affiliate links. Click here for my full disclosure.

when things don't go our way

This is the third part of our Motherhood Matters series, written by Paris of Nourishing a Life in Christ. I felt convicted reading this myself, and I hope it blesses you too! – Laura

Part One: Motherhood and the Gospel

Part Two: Focusing on Truth

Mothers are in a powerful role. To quote Sally Michael, this is a “God given opportunity to influence the next generation to put their trust in God.” We do this through our thoughts, actions and attitudes, which people around us see.

It is understandable that it feels like drudgery to serve your family through the world’s perspective when society tells a woman that  motherhood isn’t her place to be. I have fallen into this trap, which led me to discontentment, bitterness, and condemnation. But this thinking is unbiblical.

God wants our thinking to be of thankfulness. We may be stuck with this “thorn” in our side and struggle with this for the rest of our lives. We trust in God’s sovereignty, and know and preach the Gospel to ourselves and know that He uses these trials for our sanctification because we are His and He loves us. We can learn to love discipline and trials because it only hurts for a moment, Hebrews 12:11 compared to eternity.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. – Hebrews 12:11 ESV

We often struggle to focus on the heavenly kingdom and rather focus on our “suffering” in the here and now. We get side tracked and lose focus. This is called idolatry. Idolatry sounds like an odd topic to bring up, but it does happen because seek to please and love for things or other people rather then our Lord.

I love how one author put it:

“Our primary struggle in raising our children, is not subduing their wills, knowing how to teach them the Bible, or even knowing how to pray for them. Our greatest struggle will be in striving to love and worship God above all else, so that we can overflow in imparting that love to our children. Because our hearts are prone to wander from the Lord, from the Creator to the things He has created– pride, money, possessions, image, children, control, popularity, the praise of men, and so on, we must fight a continual battle to keep our hearts from other idols.” – Sally Michael, Mothers: Disciplers of the Next Generations

From my story in last week’s post, working outside the home and being praised for accomplishment was my idol. It was so very hard to identify this, because my mind said “yes, I want to have children, yes, I like staying home with them, yes, I want to raise them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.” Yet my heart and desires were truly far from this. On my spare time during naps, I would research how to start a business. Then I would get upset with my children if they woke up early or disrupted my daydreams, and I slowly put researching as a priority above my children. This is how I saw that my desires and motivations were sinful and not God glorifying.

Sanctification Through Fellowship and Discipleship

There is great importance of joining a biblical church body, so that you can be sanctified through learning. To overcome these struggles I benefited from seeking a Titus 2 woman in my church body who I could talk to when I was having sinful desires, who could encourage me when I was faint hearted, who could edify me when I was having a rough day, and who could rebuke me when I was being rebellious in my sin. Praying with other believers is very helpful as well. When I learned to submit myself to be vulnerable to another woman, for the sake of being sanctified and glorifying His name; God used this to change my heart!

So Why Does Motherhood Matter?

Motherhood matters because God has put us in this position to sanctify us and bring us closer to Him. Our purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, and we learn how to do this by reading His word and being committed to following Christ. We do this by doing it right were God has us. I have always had annoyed thoughts that “I can even read His word without being disrupted” or “I can’t be committed to following Christ, because when I try, everyone else throws a wrench in to it… I wish I was a monk!”

God knows this is how are we sanctified. He also uses us as means to spread the Gospel to the very sinners in our home and to raise up a new generation that lives to glorify Him.

Keep the faith fellow Mama, you are God’s ambassador and you are not the only one who has struggles!

Recommended Reading:

The Profile of a Godly Mother by Grace to You

Mothers: Disciplers of the Next Generations by Sally Michael

Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman

The Hidden Ministry of Motherhood by Liz Wann

About the Author: Hello, my name is Paris Byrum. I am a Christ follower, a wife to a great husband for 8 years and a mama to four littles. I am a lover of all things creative & seek to encourage others to run the race and live a life to glorify God. Come visit me at Nourishing a Life in Christ if you like what you read here. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Focusing on Truth {Motherhood Matters Series: Part Two}

focusing on the truth

Today I am welcoming Paris Byrum of Nourishing a Life in Christ as she shares with us how she learned why motherhood matters. Thanks Paris! If you missed part one, read it here.

I am so happy to join Laura today at Homemaking for His Glory, as we continue the series of Motherhood Matters! Motherhood truly does matter, and I will address how and ultimately why it does in this post. As a mother of 5 children (one in my womb) I did not always feel like my ministry in motherhood mattered. We will start with my viewpoint on motherhood.

How Did These Feelings Start?

Growing up, I was groomed to become a career woman, as that was the only way to be accomplished in this modern world. Every week I visited my college and career counselor, dreaming of my next stage of life.

I got married at the age of 19 and got pregnant right away, (unplanned on our part of course!) and I lost many friends who said I was “throwing my life away”. This was the mindset I had as I entered motherhood. Though my husband was from a large Christian family, and motherhood for women was the norm, it was very foreign to me.

In my first four years of motherhood, I had four children (with no multiples!) so I was fully immersed in something I wasn’t sure was a worthy calling. It took years of heartache, struggle, and sinful desires to come to where I am now in my viewpoint of motherhood. I became bitter and resentful towards my husband and God, because I just wanted to spend time in the business world, where my efforts accomplished something…rather than another load of laundry and diaper changes that are never ending.

When I look back on how I was raised, it is a great reminder that how we talk and influence our children, will be what they take with them into their adult life.

How I Overcame My Struggles and Sinful Desires: Reading God’s Word

Reading God’s Word in the early years was nearly impossible. It was not until I joined a biblical church where I saw the importance of being in His Word more then anything else. If we want change, it can not be external, but rather internal.

Jesus said “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” Matthew 23:25-26

The concept in this verse is that you can’t change the external and expect the internal to change. Many times I would put on a smile and plunge through my chores and my children, only to be searing inside that I am not working and that my husband did not notice what I accomplished that day. I needed my heart to change, and my works will follow.

God the Holy Spirit, is what causes our hearts to change, and it is prompted by the reading of God’s Word. If we wait until “the spirit moves,” it will never happen. We must be in His Word to experience change:

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

His Word will not return void. God has the power to change our hearts and our desires.

Reciting His Promises to Myself and Renewing My Mind

The everyday “mundane” tasks are what God uses to sanctify us. We have a great mission. ”Missional Motherhood” as Gloria Furman coined it, is the perspective that everything we do is for the glory of God’s Kingdom. As a mother, you have the power (through the Holy Spirit) that He bestowed upon you, to disciple your children Deuteronomy 6 style.

Notice that it is through God that you are able to do this; we were created from the beginning to be dependent on our Creator. This is where change begins, knowing that we are dependent on God, and be able to use His word, to renew our minds in our daily living. In a practical sense of how we bring glory to God, in our every day tasks and interactions with our children.

These types of questions are self examining, helping me see what is really on my mind, and also shows my dependence on someone outside of myself:

  • How can we as a family team master this >insert chore< for Gods glory? Colossians 3:23-24
  • Is our speech wholesome and edifying today? Ephesians 4:29
  • What is my purpose today in disciplining my children and it is bringing them to repentance? Hebrews 12:11
  • Did I display or talk to my children about the Gospel today? Matthew 28:19

A note from Laura: Thanks Paris! I know a lot of women can relate to what you shared, especially when motherhood is something that surprises us. Next week, I will be publishing the next part of Paris’ story. 

About the Author: Hello, my name is Paris Byrum. I am a Christ follower, a wife to a great husband for 8 years and a mama to four littles. I am a lover of all things creative & seek to encourage others to run the race and live a life to glorify God. Come visit me at Nourishing a Life in Christ if you like what you read here. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Motherhood and the Gospel {Motherhood Matters Series: Part One}

This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure, click here.

motherhood and the gospel

On Mondays during the month of May, I’m going to be running a series called Motherhood Matters. This is a topic that has been weighing on my heart for a long time. I hope you are encouraged by what you read here. 

Some of us plan to be mothers for a long time before it actually happens, and some of us are (quite literally) surprised by motherhood. I was in the second category.

In the space of a year, I graduated from college, got married, moved to a new city, found out I was pregnant, had a baby, and had surgery immediately after having a baby. Whew.

As I began my mothering journey, I noticed many women struggle with some of the same things that I did.

I just feel like I’m not doing anything important. I don’t feel valued. I miss being rewarded for my work.

Lets be completely honest here: I don’t think anyone changes poop diapers and thinks “YES! This is my calling! I have found it! This is IT!” We change them because we love the person, and we can see why it’s necessary.

At its core, motherhood is a series of self-sacrificial choices. It starts right from the point of conception and continues from there. In a culture that emphasizes self-worship, this is not something that’s really supported.

I’ve found that in my own life, I become discouraged when I lose sight of why I’m doing what I’m doing. Theology is a word that causes some to grimace, but it’s so needed.

Theology sounds boring, but it’s really just studying the truth of God’s word. When I meditate on the truth, I find myself being renewed and encouraged.

God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. – Genesis 1:27

Because I am created in God’s image, I have dignity and worth. My value is not based in the number of children I have, whether or not I work outside of the home, or any other earthly characteristic. Since all other humans are also created in the image of God, they deserve to be treated with respect.

Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate. – Psalm 127:3-5

My son is a blessing from God!

For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. – 1 Timothy 6:7

The only thing that will matter in eternity is the condition of one’s soul. My biggest responsibility as a parent is to teach my child about God.

Remembering these things are true helps me to stay motivated in my work. I know that they’re true…because of theology!

I’ve read many articles about why motherhood matters. Unfortunately, many of them reach the conclusion that motherhood is important…because it just is. My soul craved a deeper answer to the question.

The book Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full by Gloria Furman was a recommendation from Jami Balmet, another blogger. This is the only book I have ever read on Kindle and then decided to purchase in paperback form. It radically transformed my mothering.

To quote Gloria Furman herself, “Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full is not a to-do list on how to be a good mother. It’s about our good God and what He has done.”

When we focus on the greater picture of the Gospel, the parenting decisions that once seemed so important become less stressful. It ultimately does not matter if I used disposable diapers or cloth diapers. It matters that I pray for my son and that I teach him about God. Coming to this realization brings freedom.

We need to have eyes to see a view of God that is so big and so glorious that it transforms our perspective of motherhood. In the context of eternity, where Christ is doing his work of reigning over the cosmos, we need to see our mundane moments for what they really are – worship. – Gloria Furman, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full

Have you ever struggled with feeling as if your work didn’t matter? What helped you when you felt that way?

5 Verses to Pray Over Your Children

I’m not really great at prayer. Often, I feel like I’m just saying the same few things over and over again. Recently though, I’ve started praying words straight from the Bible. Among other benefits, praying the Bible helps me to focus on the greater picture of God’s plan, rather than only on my own circumstances. It is good to pray about situations in my own life, but it’s also good to focus on others.

I don’t believe that praying this way is a Scriptural mandate, but it’s been helpful for me. Many Bible passages were originally prayers. Some of the Psalms fall into that category. As a teenager, I read through the book of Psalms and noticed that several chapters consisted of the psalmist lamenting to God about his problems. I affectionately dubbed these the “why me???” Psalms. I believe that God included those for a reason. People in the Bible had problems, just like we do today.

Passages that describe people who were obedient to the Lord can also inspire prayers. Lord, give me the courage of Daniel and his friends in the lion’s den…Help me to stand up for what is right, even in the face of opposition…

The following 5 verses are great for praying for your child or children. One of the best things you can do as a parent is to pray.

  1. Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV

I’ve been praying this passage over my toddler every night after he goes to sleep. As a mom, one of my greatest desires is to keep him safe. Ultimately though, God is in control of his life, and of every person’s life. “The Lord bless you and keep you.” I pray for God to keep him safe and to help him sleep peacefully.

2. 2 Peter 3:18

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18 NASB

My mom used to pray this verse for me. I want my son to learn more about God as he gets older. This verse also reminds me that I’m supposed to be teaching him about the Bible. How will he learn if he is not taught, and who has more responsibility for that than me?

3. 3 John 1:4

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. – 3 John 1:4 NASB

I pray for my little boy to get saved and to follow God. This verse was talking about spiritual children, rather than biological children. In either case though, children who follow God are a source of joy!

4. 1 Peter 3:15

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. – 1 Peter 3:15 NASB

There was a time when claiming to be a Christian was the default response in the United States. The social pressure to be at least nominally Christian has diminished, and a growing percentage of adult Americans give the response “none” when asked what religion they practice.

Given that this is the reality now, it’s perhaps more important than ever to teach kids to be comfortable with being different, and to be comfortable with discussing why they’re different in a gentle and kind way.

5. Hebrews 13:6-7

So that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid, what will man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:6-7 NASB

It’s important to follow God’s commands, even when it’s scary and unpopular. I want to instill that in my son. The Bible tells us not to be afraid hundreds of times. Ultimately, what can humans do to us? For Christians, even physical death can’t separate us from God.

praying over your children

What are some of your favorite verses to pray over your children?

What Your Mom Friend Needs to Hear

what your mom friend needs to hear

Becoming a stay at home mom is a huge transition. When a woman works in any other capacity, there is validation in the form of a paycheck, and often in the form of words of praise from others. Babies don’t have money, and babies don’t talk.

When a woman completes a project, the project stays done. Then she moves on to the next project. No matter how many times a diaper is changed or a mess is cleaned, it will need to be done again. And again. And again.

There is no external validation, no grades earned for patiently soothing a baby through teething. She never earns a grade or an award from a teacher. There are no honor society inductions, no landing high profile internships.

For a woman who was a high achiever in her educational and career pursuits before children, the change is abrupt and jarring. She loves her baby, but sometimes she vainly attempts to make her child eat for the 72nd time and wonders What am I even doing with my life?

She goes out to eat with her husband and the baby. One holds the baby while the other eats. When it’s her husband’s turn, a stranger approaches the table and tells him what a fabulous father he is for holding the baby.

She smiles politely, but thinks of the countless strangers who have told her she is doing it wrong.

While the specifics of every woman’s situation is different, there is one thing that nearly every mother needs to hear: You’re doing a good job.

There is so much negativity aimed at women in general, and at mothers specifically. We need to encourage each other. One lady at my church encouraged me when I expressed concern about my son’s weight percentile.

“Don’t let them stress you out,” she said. “My kids were around that percentile too and they’re fine.”

It may have seemed like a little thing to her, but to me it was just the balm my weary mama soul needed. He’s going to be okay.

Since I realized the power of a kind word, I’ve been trying to actively recognize other moms. If a child is well behaved when I take care of him in the church nursery, I make sure his mom hears about it. I send uplifting Facebook messages to my mom friends when I know they might be having tough days.

What would happen if we all focused on building up, rather than tearing down?  How can you edify someone around you this week?

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:32

Nurturing Your Soul While Nurturing Your Baby

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Having a baby changes a woman’s life. In the early weeks and months, the focus turns primarily to survival. If you’ve showered and eaten, it’s a good day. If you’ve put on makeup, it’s a really good day. My son had colic until he was 3.5 months old, so I spent most of my days unsuccessfully trying to soothe him. Fortunately, he eventually outgrew that stage!

My little guy is 9 months old now, and in the midst of this season of life, it’s so important to nourish myself by reading the Bible. He’s at an age where he is into everything, so the most effective time for me to do this is while he is nursing. If I attempt to read while watching him, I only consume sentence long snippets at a time. It’s hard to get the full depth of the passage by reading that way.

As Christians, we are called to focus on “whatsoever things are true” (Phillippians 4:8). One of the best ways to do this is by focusing our minds on God’s Word. Reading the Bible helps me to keep my life in proper perspective and to keep sight of what truly matters. Parenting a baby consists of doing many of the same basic tasks over and over again, and it’s easy to feel as if my work doesn’t matter. The Bible says that children are blessings (Psalm 127:3-5) and that we should raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). These verses encourage me to keep going when my work feels fruitless.

I’ve found that I can usually get through 4 chapters of the Bible during his first nursing session of the day. Having this set routine has gone a long way towards enabling me to be consistent with reading the Bible. I usually read on my Kindle Paperwhite, but reading from a traditional paper Bible would also work.

There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. At a rate of 4 chapters per day, I should be able to read the entire Bible in 298 days.

Of course, I’m not necessarily able to get through 4 chapters every single day. However, this leaves me with enough wiggle room to realistically be able to get through the entire Bible by the end of the year, which is one of my 101 in 1001 goals.

“Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8

How do you make time for reading the Bible as a busy mom?