The One Thing I Can’t Do as a Mom

posted in: Bible, mothering, parenting | 2

A Mommy Failure

Failure.  Usually a bad word in our family.  My husband has often told me to remove it from my vocabulary.  But, I think even my husband would agree with this.

I often find myself reading “mommy” blogs or parenting blogs or asking friends how to discipline or instruct their toddlers.  I know families that have all boys in them (or mostly boys) and I would love to go on vacation with them just to see their family in action for a week or so.  I know every family is different and every parents parents differently.

But, there is one area that I am a complete failure in – and I thought I’d be open and honest and share it with you.

I can’t turn my child’s heart toward God.  There.  I said it.

And you know what…neither can you.

Now, please hear me out.

I can teach my boys Bible verses, read them Bible stories, tell them about the gospel and how Jesus wants us to obey him and make wise decisions.  I can hug on my boys and give them lots of kisses and show them affection: before, during, and after they need to be disciplined.  I can love my husband and help them to have see a marriage that is striving to have the Gospel at the center.

I can put people in their lives that will help influence them to be more like God.  I can tell them how to share and be kind and not push and shove and don’t through your cereal on the floor and don’t kick your brother and don’t bite.  I can tell them not to run in the parking lot and hold my hand and all of it.

But, what I can’t do is change their heart.  I can’t make them love Jesus.

Only the Holy Spirit at the will of the Father through the sacrifice of Jesus can do that.

The Bible is clear that God is the Master of Salvation. The Bible is clear that Jesus died on the cross to save sinners.  It is clear that the Holy Spirit works in the lives of believers.  It is clear that everyone is a sinner (even cute little blond hair boys).

Ephesians 1:3-14:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

It is also clear that we as parents have responsibilities to lead them to Jesus.  To show them the gospel (by word and deed).  To pray for them.  To discipline them.  To be Jesus with skin on to them.

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child. It doesn’t say change their hearts for them.  It says POINT THEM TO JESUS

And oh, how I need the help of the Holy Spirit to pour life into me, to help it flow out of me – so that my children will be pointed to God.  And we will pray that God has saved them by His wonderful, amazing grace.

This post is to encourage you.  You can’t change your child’s heart –  but you can pray and show them a God who loves!


posted in: mothering, parenting | 0

Sorry for the slow post week, but we had a great reason and a sad reason.

Sad: Sebastian had some medical issues that he is healing from which made for late nights and slowish recovering days.

Great: Little E Mister turned two yesterday.  We were gearing up for his party and hosting friends and blowing out candles.  I wanted to send this little recap to celebrate the boy!

Two years ago: wow – how much life has changed.  E was born in Durham, a week late, a 3rd degree tear, infection after delivery for me, and a 4 day NICU stay for him.  Thank you DUKE!  That early morning totally changed our lives.  From the get go e was amazing, slept through the night at 4 months and hasn’t looked back.  (below photo by Erica Cooper)

Elijah Newborn


Then we moved to Little Rock, AR and his first birthday was celebrated with all the many friends that had been a blessing to us during the first year in Little Rock.

Eli turns one


In his second year of lift, he gained a baby brother and continued to grow: learning how to walk and getting teeth and learning some fun words.  We said so long to our friends in Little Rock and now reside in Marietta, GA.  We had a fun party with hamburgers and hot dogs, grapes, chips, and baked beans.  Plenty of desserts for everyone.  Early in the day we had cinnamon rolls and went to the zoo where we saw the parakeets and road the train and played in the splash pad.  What a great day.

This little boy holds so much joy in all of his expressions.  He is a full out little boy.  We are trying to teach him that Jesus wants his heart and that we all need Jesus.  He loves giving hugs and being hospitable.

Lijah Bean – we love you!

LIjah on the zoo train


Motherhood is Not Just About Dying to Self

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Motherhood & Dying to Self

Motherhood, a joy, a calling, and a privilege – is also TOUGH!  And I’m in the midst of it.  New area (with relatively new friends), two under two – both boys, and a husband who works long hours – but is such a trooper at home and to take my many frustrated phone calls and texts and pray and encourage me throughout the day.

My boys are the most cutest (superlatives, I know) boys in the whole world.  Their blond hair, big blue eyes, super long eyelashes – and their laughs, and smiles, and hugs, and giggles.  Doesn’t that make all the disciplining, nights where there are 3 feedings, and saying no 100 times a day, worth it?  Hmmm – of course, but it doesn’t make those days easier.

I was enjoying some hours of quiet courtesy of sleeping boys and a gracious husband and I wrote these next words.  When I went to read it to my Mister I was hesitant too – not because I thought he would laugh at me, but because I don’t live this out – and he, more than anyone, knows it.  But, it is the cry of my heart.  And I need the Gospel every day and pushed harder and harder in on my life and my parenting  – to look more like Christ in front of these littles that I call Lijah Bean and Bubba.  I hope the next words are encouraging to you. Pray for the Moms you know.  It’s a tough job.

The point of motherhood is not death to self.

If it was, we could be justified in our mopey days, our impatient attitudes, our temper tantrums.  We could justify our need to be everywhere and do everything so we could earn the title of Super Mom.

It’s not about finding your life in your children.  If so, we could warrant involving our children in everything so they could be good at what we weren’t.  If so, we could boast in our children’s smiles, vocabulary, batting average, or report card.

It’s not about finding your life in all the things you multitask in – or the things you don’t.  We could brag about our recipes, our photographs, or our pre-baby jeans.  We could post pictures of our well-designed Anthro house that never looks like children live there.

It’s not about never doing anything you want to.  We don’t have to live a slain and mopey woe-is-me life.

Instead, something I need to be daily pray for myself is that I would boast in the Gospel and die to sin so that I might life in and for and through Christ.  On the days when I burn dinner, or feed my children all chocolate and junk food  – I need Jesus.  The days our son bites other kids in the gym child care – Jesus still died for me and loves me.  On the day when I feel fat and don’t want to work out, but longingly look at the woman three treadmills away – desiring to look like her – Jesus still wants my heart.

I’ve read so many posts about you just have to die to self as a Mommy.  In a way that is true – but not in its morbid-sounding worldly outlook.  You can still ask for time for yourself – to feed your soul, to grab a cup of coffee, to grocery shop without toddlers eating the bananas before you pay for them, to take a walk, to exercise – to do things that refresh you – even if it is just to take a bath or have a date with your husband.  These aren’t bad things.

If Motherhood isn’t just about dying to self – it must have a better end.  We don’t die to self just for the sake of dying to self.  We die to self and sin and flesh to live to Christ.  Paul, in his letters, constantly wrote about not being the man he was but constantly fighting that battle and waging war with his flesh, but pressing on in Christ.

Motherhood – living to Christ – looks like:

Admitting when you are failing at motherhood and seeking help from other moms who have been there and done that.  Not trying to put on an act like you have it all together and your kids are the poster children for all church kids.

Admitting when you need some “time off”.  My Mister knows that some time off during the week does me a world of good.  Writing, reading, praying, journaling, doing errands by myself, drinking unsweet tea, eating a macaron – whatever it is – as the saying goes “If momma ain’t happy”.  He knows that me being refreshed is good for the whole family!

Crying out to God instead of yelling at your children.  Even though I hate raised voices and I hate being yelled at myself – I find myself raising my voice at my boys – as if that’s going to do any good.  I need instead to breath, pause, pray, and then speak in a manner to my boys that will glorify God.

Read the Bible in light of Motherhood.  How does the Bible address teaching your children, being anxious or prideful in your spirit?  The Bible has the final word on everything you could be struggling with.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed – 1 Peter 2.24 (This verse was suggested by my Mister for this blog – and so fitting.  If we try to do motherhood, or dying to ourselves, in our own strength – that is sin and it is futile.  We will fail.  It we seek the Gospel and the strength of Him who died for our weak, selfish selves – than He has promised He will ever be close to us in every moment of every tempter tantrum and birthday party and first date and bicycle riding lesson.

Motherhood in light of the Gospel – is still the toughest job, the best job, the most demanding job – and only with the strength of Christ will we survive.

Toddlers and Edible Finger Paint

Edible Finger Paint

Combining two of my loves – my boys and food.  What could be greater?

Usually we go go go out of the house, but when Daddy is home, we like to chill and do something fun together.  So, I saw a post from a NC blogger and new that if I could talk my Mister into it, then we would be doing this.  My Mister loves to be neat and not get messy, but I convinced him to put aside his neat and tidy ways to let us all have some fun and then we would dump our boys into the bath!  So, an adventurous morning we had!


My boys are all boys  – which obviously that morning didn’t involve finger painting.  What did they do?  They headed straight for the rocks.  That is all they cared about.  So, bring on more rocks!


With this edible finger paint – you don’t get art (because it doesn’t harden) but you do get fun times in the back yard!

Items you need:

Small containers to put the finger paint in (I used tupperware small square containers)

Sweetened condensed milk

Food coloring

Newspaper or tarp of some sort

Diapered kids (better than ruining clothes)



I poured some of the condensed milk in each of the container and put in some food coloring into each one, stirring it up, and gave each boy his own containers so there would be no fighting over them.  That helped.

Then we laid out newspaper on our back porch (read slab of concrete) and stood back to see what would happen?  Neither of them went for it.  I helped BabyBach a little but Elibuddy was definitely more interested in the rocks.

So, what do we do with the extra?  We are giving it to our neighbor who has two little girls.  She said they love to color.

This can be a great way to get to know your neighbors who have young ones.  Just bring them all to the back yard and let the silliness begin!

Then we just took their diapered little selves straight to the tub and gave them a long soak and scrub.

So – how do I think about this as shepherding my boys: God is a beautiful creator and has given us many things to enjoy : finger paint and rocks!  Let them get messy, be creative, and have fun.  Its a way we were created to worship!


Raising Godly Sons: Future Daddy Dates

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Future Daddy Dates

Father’s Day is a beautiful tradition.  In our world today, most fathers (especially the ones we see on the news and television and movies) are portrayed as worthless, deadbeats, sarcastic, drunk, mean to their wives, lazy, jobless, etc.  That is not the type of Dad I want to show my sons.  I’m glad I was blessed with an amazing husband who shows them what being a great dad is!

But, as a Mom to two boys – what can I do to really help them grasp on to what a Dad, a godly Dad, should be like?  My parents were in town and opted to keep our younger and I took the Eli buddy along with me to run errands.  I took this opportunity to start a tradition I will call Future Daddy Dates.

Here is what I did: I took my Buddy to McD’s and we sat and had a conversation about Daddies.  Really simple.  Not expensive.  And being that he is only 21 months, not a long time.  But one word it definitely was: Intentional.

1.  Talk about who God has called him as a Daddy to be.  Of course, I don’t know if Little e will ever be a daddy.  He may never get married or have biological or adoptive children, but that is our prayer.  So, I went through three basic characteristics of what a Daddy/Husband should be: protector, provider, and leader.  He should protect his children as best he can from the harm of the world and teach him how to love his protective care – while also teaching his children to protect themselves.  He should provide for his children.  This means working a job, whatever it takes to provide for their needs.  He should also lead his children.  This means teaching them about God, leading in humility and service, and leading their home.  The way I taught Little e about these things at McD’s was to give him examples of what his daddy does.  Like hold his hand when crossing the street.  Like working every day so we have food on the table.  Like praying before meals and orchestrating Family Worship time and taking us to church.

2.  I pointed out good daddy qualities I already see in him (even though he’s not even 2 yet).  For Little e, I told him how wonderful it is that he is joyful, funny, and hospitable.  These three traits are important for Daddies to have.  He is joyful – most of the time with a smile on his face – a smile that is contagious.  Funny – oh this life is hard and needs to have laughter in it.  Hospitable – he makes other people feel welcome and shares toys.  These base traits are great to have and will come in handy as he grows up.

3.  I told him about his Heavenly Father.  Little e is cute and funny – but he is a sinner.  He was born a sinner – in need of a Savior.  And He has a Father of Lights – giver of good gifts – who doesn’t change but sent Jesus to pay the price for his sins.  He is a God who will listen to his prayers and protect him at all times.

How are you raising your sons to be godly men?  Invest intentionally in their little lives.  You have an important role in their lives as their mother.  Use it for the sake of the gospel.

Updated: Mother’s Day Photo Session

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Bless Mommy Photo Sessions

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching.  And what Mom wouldn’t want an evening to get a pampering package and have a photo shoot done?  To get clothes on that aren’t spit up on, dusty from cleaning the base boards, or have grass stains from cheering for their favorite baseball players?  Or maybe grease stains for cooking aren’t really her thing?

What better gift than a photo package?  In the month of April and May, I have 4 slots for your favorite mother to get pampered.

She’ll receive:

An hour photo shoot on location of her choice (in Little Rock)

3 printed photos of her choice

CD with 20 edited photos

A gift bag featuring some local Arkansas goodies that will help her feel pampered and special.



$60 for everything listed above.

Are you in?  Do you want to get this for your wife/mother of your children?  Do you want to ask for this from your husband?

As a mommy of two young ones myself, I look forward to making you feel special as a Mommy with beautiful photos and some extra-special goodies.

Email me @ or on social media


The Mommy Laws

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Freedom in Christ – to Christ, really – is a major theme in my devotional life this year.  I’ve seen God bring it to my attention time and time again.  Even as I was reading in 1 John this morning and thinking through some of Kimm Crandall’s book Christ in the Chaos, the theme came to the forefront.  So, I wanted to talk about freedom from something – the Mommy Laws.

As a relatively new mom (I have two under 18 months), these laws are something that are new to me personally, but not something I was completely oblivious to before I became a mom.  You may be asking yourself, “What are the ‘Mommy Laws’?”  There may not be a written code organized by any governing authority, but there are many unwritten laws that change from community to community, family heritage to family heritage, and mommy to mommy.  First let me say, the Mommy Laws I am talking about are not in the Bible.  They are not infallible or inerrant.  The Bible talks about the privileges of being a Mommy and how we are to point our children to Christ.

Here are a few of the ideas that can be construed as Mommy Laws – but even though you may not struggle with any of these, I’m sure you have some of your own:

Diapers will only last until your child is potty-trained.  Do you cloth diaper or use disposable diapers?  Does it really cost less to do one or the other, or do you do it based on convenience or how much you want to protect the environment?  In some cultures and communities, what a mom decides on this one topic can allow her to be included or excluded in some play groups.

What you feed your child is not the most important thing.  Breastfeeding works for some and not for others.  But, whether you use the breast or the bottle or a little bit of both or when you start feeding table food and if it’s organic or grain fed or local – doesn’t matter.  It is choice.  Yes you do need to think about what you give your child to eat because all we eat or drink should be done to the glory of God.

Education is a choice.  I know of a pastor and his family who decide each year, based on the life of their family and the personality and needs of each individual child, what schooling they will do that year.  There are some Christian cultures that will not let you be a part of it unless you homeschool.  There is wisdom in knowing what schooling option will be best for your family.  You can still practice the art and obedience of Deuteronomy 6 no matter what schooling option you choose.

Skinny Jeans will go out of style.  You don’t have to wake up every day and look like you stepped out of a magazine.  You don’t have to lose all your baby weight by your child’s first birthday.  You don’t have to take selfies with your hair all done and makeup perfectly applied – or feel horrible that you don’t do that.  Neither of these make you a better mom.

SAHM is not a bad word.  But, being a working Mom is ok now too.  I know many moms who work outside the home and still make their families their top priority.  I know women in the homes all day who don’t make their families their top priority.  The Bible is not explicit as to what to do.  The only thing it is clear on is that Mothers and wives are to make their homes and their families their top priority.  Side note: the Bible is clear that one of the main priorities of the husband is to provide for his family.  But, there may be seasons that the wife has to work part time or even full time for a season in extreme circumstances.  God will give you family and you must be led of the Holy Spirit in these matters.  Counsel from elders or other godly friends will spur you on to love and good deeds.

Ok, still some of these Mommy Laws may not make sense.  Allow me to broaden it.  The Mommy Laws are anything you feel you must do, pressures put on you from external societal norms or internal focus, that says, “If I do ______, then I will be a good Mom.”  It is a form of legalism and idolatry.  Neither of which belong in a Christian’s life.

The Mommy Laws

So, how do we break our bondage to sin with strict adherence to these Mommy Laws?  The good news is that the bondage has already been eternal won for us.  Christ, with his perfect life, death on the cross, and miraculous resurrection, paid the penalty to free us from the captivity to sin.  Now, we must stand firm in that, believe God in what He says, and live life according to our newfound freedom.

Worship.  Sit down and pray about being a mommy.  Meditate and praise that God gave you the ability and this time to be your child’s mother and how much of an amazing ministry and privilege that you have.  Confess your weakness and how prone you are to living in bondage to these Mommy Laws.  Pour out your heart to the Lord who made you and knows you.  He knows what’s in your heart anyway, but it is so good to hear yourself say it (or see it written).

Make a list.  What are the Mommy Laws that you adhere to?  What laws are you in bondage to?  What do you cling to that makes you think you a better mommy than those who don’t do as you do?

Pray over that list.  I would encourage you to sit down with your husband and ask him about this list.  Does he notice that you feel horrible if your list is not met at the end of each day, or does he notice a sense of failure in his bride?  It would be totally freeing to rip up your list.  Not throw out everything, but pray that the Lord would right your heart in relation to the items or laws on that list.  The very last verse in the little letter of 1 John says “keep yourselves from idols.”  This comes after many verses about what identifies us as true children of God.  Obviously, we are commanded not to have idols as believers.  These Mommy Laws are a form of legalism, which is idolatry.  Something we do is going to make us a better person, a better mommy, make my child a better child, or earn better standing in my church, culture, or even to God himself.  Idolatry is a matter of the heart.

Claim your freedom.  After you have talked with God, talked with your husband, even gotten friends to hold you accountable to the laws on your list… Friend – claim your freedom.  Believe God when he says that he freed you from working for your salvation.  Nothing you can do or don’t do will earn you a better standing before His throne.  And it shouldn’t matter in your community either.  In Colossians 2 Paul starts talking about the fact that we are alive to Christ – but then follows it by commanding the Colossian believers not to let anyone disqualify them by secondary issues.

These Mommy Laws are most definitely secondary issues.  These are not gospel issues.

Here are ways to live in truth:

Believe God that he sent Jesus to free you from the bondage to these.


In the midst of your chaos, choose to fight the lies of Satan with the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God – knowing that your position in Christ as a Sister, a daughter of the Most High King, is not determined by your adherence to your list of Mommy Laws.

Encourage others who are in a similar situation as you are.  Don’t put outrageous expectations on her but encourage her to love the Word, seek Jesus, and do what she can to love her family and her Jesus.

Encourage Moms-to-be.  I love Moms on either end of the spectrum regarding the “Mommy Laws” I talked about above.  So, talk about your story, share ideas with expectant moms, especially if they ask, but don’t force your way of life on her.  Encourage her creativity and freedom in Christ to love her children well.

Don’t compare.  I spend a lot of time on social media.  Looking at Instagram and Pinterest and other blogs will mostly encourage creativity and foster a desire to do and be and live and love.  But there are some days that it fosters a discontent heart.  On those days, I don’t throw out the computer or quit doing anything with social media.  I pray.  I write.  I look into the face of my husband and little boys and see their blue eyes and dimples staring back at me…and love them and pray for God to work in my heart.  Thankful on those days for verses like 1 John 3.20, “For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart!”  Thankful that He knows my heart and He is the only one who can change my heart in regard to these Mommy Laws.


Sing and worship and stand in freedom.  God is not the Mommy Law police, and neither are we.

Living the Extraordinary Ordinary

posted in: mothering | 2


This is definitely coming out of a real place that I am right now and learning how to think through the life I’ve been given. It is also coming out of almost 3 weeks stuck in the house with two littles who love to be outside (the older one especially), but it’s been too cold to go outside and stay healthy (which is important)!
All three of my men are the joys of my life. I love them: cooking for them, reading them books, tickling them while changing their diapers (well, the youngest two). I love sitting on the couch at the end of a long day with my Mister. I love it when he walks in the door and gives me a kiss. I love listening to the littles sounds as they learn to communicate.
But, there are also little pleasures in my life as well – that don’t take away from my loves of my boys but helps me explore other avenues and gifts that God has given me. So, here are some things that I am learning.
1. Be content. The Mister and I were talking about the budget this morning. God has graciously provided everything we need for our health and enjoyment. Mister provides wonderfully for our family and we are being obedient with our finances. I must remember Philippians 4 and the verse that says do not grow weary in doing good.
2. Have fun in the every day. I love baking – so I need to bake more for my littles. I love Elijah’s face when he bites into a yummy cookie. Why not make some Walmart Crack Cookies and sit there with him on the floor with a sippy cup of nice warm milk right before his afternoon nap time or bedtime for that matter?
3. Don’t compare your life with others. I know moms of two or more who live in NYC or the PNW or the coastal cities (near a beach) who surf, sit down at sidewalk cafes, ride bikes through curvy mountain roads, play in creeks, etc. I can’t compare my life with theirs. I can’t compare my life with others who live here around me. I must live the life that God has given me.
4. Take delight in the ordinary. God is gracious to give us the every day. The every day that He has planned for us. We are to rejoice! He has given it to US!
5. Dream. I don’t think there is anything wrong with dreaming. Dreaming inspires me. Dreaming helps me to look forward to things. Not to take away from today, but to look forward to next year when our boys our older and we can do ore exciting things with them (like learn to ride a tricycle or buy a wagon they can both ride in)! Dream in color!
6. What works for me is to take great delight in my children, love on my husband, but also have other things that I love to do. Here are mine: writing (this blog and other articles and ebooks that are an encouragement to my soul and hopefully an encouragement to you who read them), take photography (so I have random photo sessions but I also take tons of photos of my boys, the food I cook on a daily basis, and our home. I love to send mail. Decorating little packages and thinking of others makes me happy. I can’t wait till the boys are old enough to write or color and we can add pictures to the care packages and they can write their own thank you notes. Cook. I love to cook and be creative with foods. I will be doing the Ladies Luncheon at our Missions Conference next month at church. It is a great way for me to use my creative food juices! I love to travel: so my husband sees to it that we get away occasionally so we can do that together. In April we will incorporate some of those together when we go to Louisville, hang out with friends, do some photo shoots, attend the CBMW National Conference (and photograph that), and play at new places with our littles. Finding ways to decorate our home is something I’m taking delight in and that is something new for me. It is fun. I love to read: so I read on my own time, and spend some time weekly to read to our boys and do a series of how to read to children with the gospel in mind.
So, find delight. Live your extraordinary life. Team with your husband to conquer the days that are never-ending and hard. Praise the Lord for the the joy of raising Littles. God delights in our delight.

The Word of God in the Soul of a Child

posted in: mothering, parenting, Uncategorized | 1


This is where I am. Starting to train up our older son, who is almost 17months and already has the “no” word down pat! Definitely his favorite word. Trying to change it to godlfish, chicken nugget, yes, or something better than no.  Our conversations with our older right now are consisting of “God says to honor our father and mother. And we don’t talk to our mommy and daddy that way” – those conversations don’t seem to be getting anywhere with him – but hopefully one day they will.

One story from my childhood…I grew up attending a Christian school. And I loved Sweet Valley High books in the 6th grade. It was the thing to read in the fiction area. I think I had most of them – and never know what happened to all of them. I had loaned one of the books to a friend, who took it home and was reading it at night by flashlight as to hide it from her parents. Her mom found it, called the school, and I got in trouble. My punishment…to write out Scripture. I would tell you what Scriptures, but I don’t remember what they were. I think I mainly saw it as punishment then.

As I’ve come into being a parent, and shepherding our boys’ hearts with my husband, we definitely want our boys to have hearts that are soft to the Spirit. We want the Word to break the stony grounds of their hearts and give them hearts that desire to please The Lord, love Him, and make Him known.

How we discipline and parent has an eternal impact. Here is how.
If we think that just because we quote Scripture in our home, make them memorize the Word, even for punishment, or memorize Scripture at the table or in family worship – that our children are going to automatically love the Word and have hearts that obey it…we are wrong.
The Pharisees in the NT knew the law and obeyed it – but their hearts were far from them. There are many who know the right words to say but inside they have cold hearts toward the gospel.
Here may be a better way to parent with the soul of your child in mind:
As you have the need to discipline:
1. Pray for yourself as you need to discipline your child. Pray that your heart would be one of correction for the purpose of training in the fear of The Lord and not out of anger, inconvenience, etc. Your heart matters.
2. Identify the heart of the problem. That may mean you first have to stop the outward disobedience, but there is always a heart problem.
3. Know verses that correspond to these heart problems. Whatever heart problem there is – Scripture has an answer! The Gospel is the answer!
4. Tell them those verses with a humble heart. Be humble before your kids. We are all sinners. That will go a long way with your children.
5. Encourage them to learn these Scriptures – and you learn them along with them. That will encourage them that they are not alone in their sin journey – and journey in sanctification.
6. If your children have received Christ – talk to them about how as believers our desire should be to grow in godliness and have hearts that please The Lord. Not out of have-to but out of want-to.
7. Pray for your children. Pray, aloud, in front of them, that the Spirit would soften their hearts towards the Gospel. Pray they would come to serve God as The Lord of their life and that they would obey His Word.
8. Pray for behavior change – but more importantly heart change. And know and rest in the fact that you can’t do anything about the heart change. That is all the fabulous work of the Perfect Holy Spirit.

And in that, as parents and as sinners, we can rest!

W&BT Found in Him Week 3

Moms, the Word, and Worship

This is a little late in coming because we were trying to get our home back in order after being gone for two weeks.  Its gets harder when you have more clothes to wash (2 little boys and 2 weeks of travel).  I definitely thought this was the richest chapter yet and it met the rest of my life as I was reading it.  Here are my top thoughts from reading chapter three.

1.  Sometimes I wish I had said something.  I would never think to refer to the Incarnation – and all the parts of the whole – as an “exquisite mystery”.  Maybe this is why I like Elyse so much.  She knows how to pen her thoughts in beautiful packages.  I was telling my Mister tonight about how the Incarnation seems to be getting more mysterious to me the more I read this book and think upon that doctrine.  What parts are more of a mystery to you?  The fact that he was God?  Or the fact that He was human.  For me, its that He was human.  But, for me, all I need to know is written in the Word so that I might know Him – and in eternity I will know Him more.

2.  This is specifically for moms: do you ever feel like no one knows what your days are like?  Like no one really knows you or your trials?  Like no one knows what you go through loving on your kids each day (and pulling bubble gum out of hair and peeling spaghetti noodles from the wall and scrubbing marker off of the baseboards?  This was very encouraging to me: Jesus lived his whole life in faithful obedience – all 33 years – not just the three in public ministry.  “if our understanding of his work pauses after a brief celebration in Bethlehem to resume only at his baptism in the Jordan, we rob ourselves of the comfort that his whole life of isolation, obscurity, and obedience are meant to bring us.  Generally ignored, he toiled without complaint, suffering humbly.  He wasn’t merely treading water.  Jesus’ life of ordinary (yet spectacular) obedience changed everything.  He needed to live a full life of joyous obedience in order to save us.  He grew from blissful innocence to tested holiness in the crucible of daily life.”  How is God shaping you and perfecting you in the crucible of daily life.  My mentor and I have been talking about this the past few days.  Knowing there is great reward in the daily – seek faithfulness and the glory of God.

3.  God’s Word is reliable.  Elyse says that – we can believe it.  We can believe in the Bible’s reliability not because Elyse says it – but because God says it.  Jesus knows the Word.  He spoke the Word while He was on earth.  God-breathed was the Word that he was quoting in the wilderness – and in many other instances in his earthly life.  God gave it to us as a means to know Him – let us love this reliable word.

4.  “The Lord Jesus had a practiced habit of exclusive worship of his Father.”  Another one of those quotes I wish I had penned.  What do you in the ordinary?  How do you live your life daily?  Do  you wait for a trial to come before you pray?  Do you wait until you need an answer before you read the Word?  Do you wait till you have a Bible study lesson to prepare before you dig into the Scriptures?  When trials come – what do you have to cling to?  If you are in the practiced habit, like Jesus was, of daily walking with God, His and our Father, then your life will demonstrate that as you face the trials that all of use are going to face in this life.

5.  “Recall the perfect obedience of the Son in your place and go on your way in faith.”  There is an age old discussion about faith and works.  What the Bible clearly says is that salvation comes through Christ alone – by faith alone (and that faith is a gift not of ourselves) and then we are to walk in the good ways that God has for us.  So often though as believers, when we are failing and struggling in sin, our minds battle with our assurance of salvation.  If we constantly look inward and look to ourselves and our good works as a measure of our salvation – we will never be sure of it.  Because we will always be failing.  We must look to, rely upon, and rejoice in the perfected work of Christ.

Happy reading!