Love Them Fiercely

More for the mommy-inspiration files, from Kim at Upward Call. I asked her if I could share this here, because it wasn't originally posted on her blog or written with mothers in mind. Instead, these were ideas she was mulling and had in mind for a younger group of Believers, those who are not yet parents. Still these were the words I needed to read and again turned my heart towards Christ and my children.

As a parent, I have learned a lot. As a parent, I have re-visited how I was parented and how I behaved as a child. Of course, sin mars all we do, and there were mistakes I made as a child that I wish I could erase. While Christ has forgiven me for them, they remain in my memory.

It is the same thing with being a parent. I am sure that someday, I will have even more regrets than I do already for things done and not done.

One thing I can say, however, in encouragement to you who have yet to be parents is this: encourage your children.

There is nothing more devestating than being a child who never gets any encouragement for what he does. Some parents will tell all their friends how wonderful their children are, but will never tell the child to her face. Some parents are full of criticism, condemnation, and rules that have no rational explanation, and the kid never know which way is up. I know that I have not always been encouraging as a parent. I need to daily, verbally, emotionally, and even with a hug, encourage my kids.

Kids who grow up with no encouragement may become people who don't encourage. Kids who grow up with unmerciful, legalistic rules may become unmerciful, legalistic people. I have been married long enough to know how difficult it is to shed the baggage from my childhood. Sometimes, without meaning to, we simply mimick parenting we received. Now, if it's good parenting, that's one thing, but all too often we repeat the mistakes of our parents. We need to pray to God for deliverance from ungodly parenting ways.

So, young people, when you become parents -- and that is not all that far in the future, you know; just think how fast the past ten years have gone and you will realize how fast the next ten are going to go -- ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILDREN. Tell them when they've done well. Discipline them IN LOVE AND WITH MERCY when they make mistakes. And love them fiercely.


May 04, 2008  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Small Things With Big Love

"What I tell my childbirth classes is, “Having a baby is a right of passage in which you learn that life is not about you anymore.” That always gets a gasp from my couples, but I figure it’s better to get that fact out in the open before the baby is born so they can start getting used to it. . . . With 5 children, I had many, many sleepless nights, but I can’t remember a single one of them. In the larger scheme of things, they were insignificant. What WAS significant is that I spent countless nights tending to my children’s needs. . ."


Read the full quote and more mommy-inspiration.

Posted with thoughts and prayers for new mommies and waiting to labor mommies. . . You know who you are!


April 26, 2008  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Off to Play with the Kids

"If mothers could learn to do for themselves what they do for their children, we should have happier households. Let the mother go out to play! If she would only have courage to let everything go when life becomes too tense, and just take a day, or half a day, out in the fields, or with a favorite book, or in a picture gallery looking long and well at just two or three pictures, or in bed, without the children, life would go on far more happily for both children and parents."

--Charlotte Mason

(Via ThatMom)


March 29, 2008  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



For Mothers and Others

A must read for mothers and others:
Here I Raise My Ebenezer


February 13, 2008  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Loving in the Face of Unloveliness

A reminder to lean into the Lord, especially when we and our children are both struggling.

For the Mommy-Inspiration Files.


December 11, 2007  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



ThatMom Podcasts

For several months I've been listening to the weekly podcasts of ThatMom - homeschool mother and grandmother Karen Campbell. I've known Karen via her daughter for several years now. The podcasts are definitely included in my Mommy-Inspiration Files.

What I've really appreciated is how Karen keeps returning to the Gospel, and how the Lord is leading each of us in our respective families. Too often in homeschooling (and Christian parenting) there is the tendency to become ideological or strive to do everything "just right." In doing that, it is easy to adopt manmade standards and lose sight of our focus on Christ alone.

Karen and her guests come across as just another homeschool mom. Loving, imperfect, wanting the best for their children, seeking the Lord. In her tone, I hear the experience of a mother who has made it to grandmotherhood and the experience of a Christian who has made mistakes along the way and learned to lean into the Lord.

And for me, that is the encouragement I need.

ThatMom Blog
ThatMom Podcast Downloads


November 24, 2007  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Yeah. What She Said.

Quoting Devona, about Lutherama:

Discipline? Means of Grace?

I try not to meddle in the parenting of others. It’s their business, but I obviously have my opinions. I mostly have oppositions to the “Christian Parenting” giants who like to write books making generalizations about how to parent my child unto godliness, all the while knowing nothing about me. I don’t just disagree with their methods, I disagree with their theology and their lack of discretion. How do they know to whom they are teaching? How do they know their methods are being properly prescribed? And mostly, how can they not see that this method of “discipline” obscures the person and work of Christ when a parent cannot forgive their chid until there has been punishment for their sins? Are not our Christian children under the Fount of Grace as much as we are?

Here is a wonderful take on the topic over at Lutherama. Don’t just read my post on it. I have only skimmed the subject since she has done such excellent work, I would only be repeating, so make sure you click the link.

(Yes, I'm still Presbyterian.)


September 20, 2007  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



For the Mommy -Inspiration Files

"Children do not accidentally become righteous leaders or emotionally healthy and productive adults--any more than seeds thrown randomly to the wind grow to be part of a thriving garden. Simply throwing children into a cultural tornado and hoping for the best gives them little chance of living up to their potential or coming out unharmed. Someone needs to take responsibility for their nurture, protection, nourishment, intellectual development, manners, recreation, personal needs, and spiritual development. Someone needs to commit time and energy into staying close to them as they grow, encouraging and correcting and teaching."

--Sally Clarkson, The Mission of Motherhood


August 27, 2007  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



For the Mommy-Encouragement Files. . .

"You do what’s best for your babies, while keeping in mind risks and taking reasonable and responsible precautions. You hold, cuddle, carry and nurse your babies (as you are able) in ways that provide for their emotional/spiritual needs as well as their physical, according to what is most appropriate within your family dynamics. No two families or babies are identical, things will work differently under different circumstances. You also learn and grow with each new baby and methods and priorities sometimes change or transform. Sometimes something that works becomes a habit with future babies."

--Valerie, Mom of many


May 24, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



One Anothering

For the Mommy-Inspiration Files. . .

The Blanket Commands


May 03, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Mothering By Grace

I'd like to invite you to visit Mothering By Grace, a new message board to encourage Christian mothers. While it is still brand new, it has already been a good source of mommy-inspiration for me.

A Vision For Mothering By Grace

This is a Christian, attachment parenting message board. Our distinctives include an emphasis on positive discipline, encouraging involvement in local communities and understanding freedom in Christ as a basis for making individual, educated parenting decisions. Our goal is to be both theologically sound and intellectually stimulating.


March 30, 2007  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Charles Hodge and Parenting

This was originally posted in January 2004, my first month blogging. I was revisiting it today because of an online discussion about sin and family norms, children, and the place of the Gospel in our families. So, I'm reposting it today.

The other night I was skimming Charles Hodge's commentary on Romans and was just struck by how God relates to us as His children, and how I can follow that example with my children.

This is from the Crossway Books Classic Commentaries, page 189, commenting on Romans 6: 12-23:

"As no man is free from sin, as no man can perfectly keep the commandments of God, every man who rests on his personal conformity to the law as the basis of his acceptance with God must be condemned. We are not under the law in this sense, but under grace--that is, a system of free justification. We are justified by grace, without works.

We are not under a legal dispensation, requiring personal conformity to the law and entire freedom from sin, past and present, as the condition of our acceptance; but we are under a gracious dispensation, according to which God dispenses pardon freely and accepts the sinner as a sinner, for Christs's sake, without works or merit of his own. Whoever is under the law, in the sense just explained, is not only condemned, but he is bound by a legal or slavish spirit. What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment. But he who is under grace, who is freely accepted by God and restored to his favor, is a child of God living under his Spirit. The principle of obeying him is love and not fear.

Here, as everywhere else in the Bible, it is assumed that the favor of God is in our life. We must be reconciled to Him before we can be holy: we must feel that He loves us before we can love Him."

Reflections related to Parenting

"God. . .accepts the sinner as a sinner"
I know this to be true with God accepting me, and now I want to really just ACCEPT my children as who they are. I want to provide a "safe place to fall" for my kids, where they know they are accepted as they are, even when they sin. I know my parents have lived that out towards my siblings and me.

"What he does, he does as a slave, to escape punishment."
I don't want my children to be doing things out of fear, simply to escape punishment.

"But he who is under grace, who is freeely accepted by God and restored to his favor, is a child of God living under his Spirit."
This is the part of the passage that first drew my attention to asking how I can relate this to me and my children, copying God as my Father.

"The principle of obeying him is love and not fear."
Again, I don't want it to be fear of me or fear of punishment that compels my children to obedience. But of love. Just as, truly, my obedience (imperfect though it may be) to God is out of a desire to please Him and out of love.

"we must feel that He loves us before we can love Him."
I read a survey once that said something like 90% of kids knew their parents loved them, but only 30% FELT that their parents loved them. I want to really nurture my children, and have them FEEL loved by me and my husband.


August 16, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



GCM Update

Those of y'all who are GCM mamas who visit my blog and haven't yet heard what is going on with the Gentle Christian Mothers. . .

GCM has been growing and has outgrown it's server. A new server-home is being set up, and more info is available from HippieMommy.

Those of y'all who aren't familiar with GCM, I invite you to read through the article and find some mommy-encouragement. When the messageboards are back up, check out the community--you may find it a place for you to find inspiration in the daily life of loving the Lord and ministering to your family.

Sunday Update: It appears the board is up and running, but still in the midst of updates and prettification. So, come on over, sign in and see how it's working for you. . .


June 17, 2006  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Soccer Moms and Baseball Babies

"Play BALL!" It was the Little League T-ball All Stars game. I was number 17--the littlest on the team and the last to bat. I glanced into the stands, and was reassured to see my mother smiling at me and nursing my baby sister.

I wrote about these vivid and early memories of my mother and little sister a few years ago.

Just today, I came across this article by Elizabeth Pantley and marvelled at how these early interactions among mother, baby, and siblings can make such a profound impression. And how love and nurturing are passed along in our every day family interactions.

My three older children all play baseball, so Coleton and I spend much of our springtime at the ballpark. His first baseball season he was five months old. Since I was a coach on my daughter’s team, Coleton spent his time in the dugout and on the field nestled in his (team-colored) sling, watching the action and listening to the cheers, chants and noise of the play. Between swings at bat the girls would often pass him around from one to the other, entertaining him and trying to make him giggle.

I encourage you to take time for some mommy-daddy encouragement by reading Baseball Babies and Play Ball.

(Reposted from March 2004, because my boys are now playing neighborhood baseball.)


April 27, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Heart of Discipline

A lot of this comes down to how the Gospel is viewed, and the position of Children in the Church and how the Gospel applies to Children.

I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross not only for me, but also for my children. I believe that the Gospel applies to them as much as it does to me. I believe the Bible teaches this--and even Christ does. We all know the passage where Jesus says, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them. . ."

I believe Christ paid the penalty for my children's sins on the cross. When my children sin--I want to point them to the One who has already been punished for their sin. When my children sin (and they do--I do not have a weak view of sin)--I come alongside them, confront them with the ugly reality of sin in their lives, and help them repent. I pray that the Holy Spirit softens their hearts and enables them to truly repent. We pray together. We ask for God's grace to do the right thing.

I do discipline. I help them form habits of right behaviour. I teach them right from wrong. I correct them. One of the most powerful passages on child discipline in the Bible is Duet 6:4-7:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

That constant presence is the heart of discipleship, the heart of discipline.

See also:
The Heart of Grace


March 12, 2006  |  Comments (13)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Losing, Being, Becoming a Mother

As hard as it is to read, I recommend PacemMama's story of becoming a mother.


February 07, 2006  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



William Gouge: Theologian and AP Advocate

Thanks to Lydia, Nathan's Helpmeet, who has drawn my attention to the works of William Gouge--specifically his pages upon pages of reflection on the Bible and breastfeeding. Lydia quoted a passage on cry-it-out and breastfeeding, but the section below really stood out to me.

Among other needful things, the milk of the breast is fit for young babes, and with it they are to be nourished. I think none doubt of the equity of this. It hath in all ages, and in all countries, been accounted the best food that can be for young babes. The metaphor, which S. Peter useth, taken from young infants [in the words, As new-born babes desire the sincere milk of the word (1 Peter 2:2)] confirmeth as much. So doth also the desire which such infants have to the milk of the breasts: and the ability, and promptness which is in them to suck: and God's providence in causing a woman's breasts to yield forth such milk: and the constant manner of nourishing little infants after this manner, commended in the Scripture: and [to conclude] the natural instinct which many unreasonable creatures have thus to nourish their young ones.

. . .

God hath given to women two breasts fit to contain and hold milk: and nipples unto them fit to have milk drawn from them. Why are these thus given? to lay them forth for ostentation? There is no warrant for that in all God's word. They are directly given for the child's food that cometh out of the womb; for till the child be born, there is no milk in the breasts: anon after it is born, milk ordinarily floweth into the breasts: yea a great part of the meat which they eat turneth into milk. They make this admirable work of God's providence to be in vain, that dry up this spring, and suffer not their children to partake of the benefits of it.

--William Gouge, On Domestical Duties

Martin Luther: Theologian and Cloth Diaper Advocate
John Calvin: Theologian and Lactivist
Breastfeeding and the Bible


January 19, 2006  |  Comments (16)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Neat Noonie News!

I made the short list on The Lactivist blogroll! Thanks, Jennifer!

And in recognition of that, here are some of my favorite writings on breastfeeding:

The Original Noonie Page

A Few Of My Favorite Things 2005, 2004

Play Ball! (Militant Breastfeeding Cult)

Breastfeeding and Babywise: The Realities, The Practicalities

Contented Cows Give Sweet Milk


January 11, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I Thessalonians 2:7-8

7 But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

I Thessalonians 2:7-8


December 17, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Martin Luther: Theologian and Cloth Diaper Advocate

Now observe that when that clever harlot, our natural reason... , takes a look at married life, she turns up her nose and says, "Alas, must I rock the baby, wash its diapers, make its bed, smell its stench, stay up nights with it, take care of it when it cries, heal its rashes and sores... ?

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful, and despised duties in the Spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels. It says, O God, because I am certain that thou hast created me as a man and hast from my body begotten this child, I also know for a certainty that it meets with thy perfect pleasure. I confess to thee that I am not worthy to rock the little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of the child and its mother. How is it that I, without any merit, have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? O how gladly will I do so, though the duties should be even more insignificant and despised. Neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor, will distress or dissuade me, for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight...

God, with all his angels and creatures is smiling--not because the father is washing diapers, but because he is doing so in Christian faith.

--Martin Luther

Last week we read of John Calvin's breastfeeding advocacy. I'm beginning to wonder if this is going to turn into a series on Great Theologians and Attachment Parenting?

(Via Carol, via Cheryl.)


December 11, 2005  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



John Calvin: Theologian and Lactivist

John Calvin, in commenting upon Genesis 21:7 states:

". . .the Lord does not in vain prepare nutriment for children in their mothers' bosoms, before they are born. But those on whom he confers the honor of mothers, he, in this way, constitutes nurses; and they who deem it a hardship to nourish their own offspring, break, as far as they are able, the sacred bond of nature. If disease, or anything of that kind, is the hindrance, they have a just excuse; but for mothers voluntarily, and for their own pleasure, to avoid the trouble of nursing, and thus to make themselves only half-mothers, is a shameful corruption."

(Via calvinist and lactivist Pastor Lane)


December 02, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Children, Good and Grown

And lastly, and I say this gently, as the parent of grown kids, knowing *insert parenting guru* is also the parent of grown kids: we have wonderful children--he does, I'm sure--and so do I. But without even knowing his children I can know this about them: they are not perfect. They hurt. They make mistakes. They struggle. They are prideful and overly simplistic at times; and crippled by shame and hesitancy at others. Yes--they are beautiful examples of human beings, his children (I assume), and mine (I know.) But they are not perfect. If they were, they would not be human. If it were possible to raise children to perfection, then God would have sent a parenting method, not Jesus. Our marching orders are not to raise our children by a method to be like *insert parenting guru* children. Our marching orders are to be Christians to and with our children.



October 10, 2005  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Thanks, Mr. Rogers.

What Do You Do? By Fred M. Rogers

What do you do with the mad that you feel
When you feel so mad you could bite?
When the whole wide world seems oh, so wrong...
And nothing you do seems very right?

What do you do? Do you punch a bag?
Do you pound some clay or some dough?
Do you round up friends for a game of tag?
Or see how fast you go?

It's great to be able to stop
When you've planned a thing that's wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish.
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.
Know that there's something deep inside
That helps us become what we can.
For a girl can be someday a woman
And a boy can be someday a man.

Listen to the song
. Thanks to Camille. Mr. Rogers was a good Presbyterian.


September 26, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Like Little Children

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.’”

Matthew 18:1-5 NIV


July 10, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Biblical Relationships or Behaviourism

This is written by one of the "older women" God has put in my life. I'm copying it here, so I can find it easily to reread when I need it.

Behaviorism is not a biblical means of dealing with PEOPLE. God has given people mental, emotional and spiritual faculties, a conscience, emotions, etc, and His Word shows over and over again that it is through those avenues that He reaches us and disciplines us and it is through those avenues that we are authorized to reach others and teach and discipline them. Here are some examples--observe the lack of Pearl-style training and instead the presence of grace based discipline:


"we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ" --Col 1:28

"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another..." Col 3:16

"Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart" Col 3:21

"We proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children, having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to are witnesses and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."--1 Thess 2: 7 and following

"we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk) that you may excel still more for you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus."--1 Thess 4:1-2

"We request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you...and we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all men...."--1 Thess 5:12 and following

"In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following." 1 Tim 4:6

And so on, and so on. In fact the very existence of the Bible itself is an example of grace-based discipline. God COULD have made it so that we didn't have a Bible, we just had bolts of lightning hit us when we got out of line. In a world like that, there would be no need of a Bible.

In the above examples, perhaps someone would say that it doesn't apply because Paul is teaching the churches how to disciple adults in the community of faith, but I believe that this emphasis on teaching, encouraging and admonishing is an EXAMPLE of the biblical relational model for teaching and learning, and although he is not discussing (for the most part) a parent/child situation he is discussing the situation of how people in some kind of spiritual authority are to disciple the rest. But notice too, when motherhood and fatherhood do come up in Paul's discourse, his tone and language does not change--and mothers are held up as a known example of gentleness, fathers are held up as known examples of patient instruction.

If we fail to notice and appreciate Paul's "grace-based" model, perhaps it's because it is too familiar and we take his level of civility and restraint of power for granted.

Thanks, katiekind. My continual prayer is to understand and integrate God's grace and the Gospel in my inner and external life.


June 12, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Pragmatism and Parenting

This is another great post from Chief-Executive Mother, on parenting and the heart of the Gospel.


May 17, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



When I Get Home. . .

"When I get home, I thought, I’ll tap dance for Sidda and Little Shep and Lulu and Baylor and feed them peanut butter and bananas and we will talk about summer. We will talk about Spring Creek, where the sun beats down so hot on the pine needles that when you step on them they release a fragrance so pungent that you want to pick them up off the earth and tuck them inside your clothes, just to bring that piney smell in closer to yourself. I will roll on the clean rug with my babies and tickle their backs, and I will tell them stories about sailing through raging storms in a boat I built myself. We will play Columbus and journey together to worlds unknown. When I get home, I will dump that G-d- Ford sedan. By hook or crook, I’ll have a new Thunderbird. When I get home, I will hug my four babies. I will hug the man I have married. I will do my best to give thanks for gifts, strangely, beautifully, painfully wrapped."

From Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Chapter 25, when Vivi comes home and embraces her life.

Reposted, just because I want to read it today.


April 30, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



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