If He Just…

By Heather Patenaude

ID-10035187Recently a friend shared her heart with me, “I am really struggling in my marriage.” The tears started to flow!

If he just came to church…
If he just prayed with the kids…
If he just would lead us spiritually…
If he just was saved…

Then there would be peace and joy. Continue reading

Motherhood Applies Some Heat

By Erin Davis

Janet Parshal writes, “Hannah’s story teaches us what it means to be a true woman of God. She let go of her own plans. She knew that God was in charge, not her. She believed Him enough to say yes even when desperation had caused her to go out of her comfort zone and ask for the unthinkable. Continue reading

The Power of Words

By Dougetta Nuneviller

ID-10065999I know growing up I said things I wish I could take back. I know my parents did, too! What if you have children who say hurtful or damaging things to you? The truth is we have all said things that we wish we had the ability to take back, but we don’t. Words are powerful, whether they are intended to hurt or to encourage. It is very important that we guard our mouth and choose our words carefully. Continue reading

Real, Too

By Heidi Jo Fulk

629986ohbli6k5oI read the “Real Mom” series of posts right along with you last fall and I appreciated the honest, genuine topics that Erin and Heather tackled. I related with them — the obstacles, priorities, choices, and decisions we have to make every day. It’s so valuable to have the perspective of women that are or have been where we are! Continue reading

I’m a Brown-bag Momma in a Lunchables World

By Heidi Jo Fulk

ID-100126734There are a million complexities we have to deal with every day. Schedules, demands, relationships, expectations — they can all pile up and crush us underneath their weight. So how can we withstand that load? The obvious — I hope obvious — answer is by believing in a mighty Savior more than capable of effecting every part of our lives and being grounded in the Word of God. But with that answer as my foundation, may I also offer a few simple suggestions for moms coping with this complex world? Continue reading

Motherhood is Manna

By Erin Davis

ID-100145386Oh, the Exodus. What a strange and troublesome blot on the story of God’s people…

Every time I read about how God delivered His people from slavery with dramatic interventions like plagues and parting the Red Sea I am amazed. But within a few pages, when God’s people start grumbling about petty issues like food, frankly I want to slap them silly. Continue reading

Child Sacrifice

By Erin Davis

“He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you’” Genesis 22:2.

Hannah’s story has much to teach us as we mother. In addition to demonstrating gratitude even in difficult circumstances by sacrificing her son to live in the temple, Hannah learned early on a lesson that God is constantly teaching me. My children are not my own. I only get to hold them for a fleeting moment in the hopes that they’ll spend a lifetime serving Him. He is the true Lifegiver and the only one capable of shaping them into His image. Continue reading

A Lesson From the Ants

By Dougetta Nuneviller

ID-10028087Since it was a beautiful summer afternoon, I took time out of our day to have a great lesson from the Bible about working together with the correct attitude.
The Bible says in Proverbs 6:6-8: “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler. Provideth her meat in the summer, [and] gathereth her food in the harvest.” Continue reading

Faith-Based Parenting: Self-Control Training

By Kim Wagner

faith based parenting graphicHave you ever heard of the Marshmallow Test? In the 1960s, Walter Mischel conducted this now famous experiment. A group of four-year olds were given a marshmallow and promised another, only if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first one. You can google and find recent videos of reenactments of this experiment.

It is both hilarious and agonizing to watch these youngsters strive to practice self-discipline as they longingly gaze at the marshmallow inches from their face. Some pick it up to smell it, stroke it, rub it across their faces …  but then quickly put it back on the plate, forcing themselves to wait for the reward of a second marshmallow. Some gradually cave, some start by licking it, then pinching small bits, thinking their nibbling might go unnoticed.

We all naturally make choices from selfish desires — maturity and wisdom are needed to make decisions that involve delayed gratification, self-control, self-sacrifice, or self-discipline. Parenting involves leading little ones to understand why this matters and then training them to practice these actions.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit but also a character quality we can encourage our young ones to develop. So how do we help our children see this as a desirable quality?

• Creative games and activities that reward “waiting” give youngsters the framework for understanding self-control.

Silly games like “Mother, May I?” and other creative activities that train a child to understand the meaning of “pausing,” waiting, or delaying gratification, makes the practice of self-control a fun competition. Plan a fun activity like baking cookies as an intentional exercise that shows the value of “waiting” — as they watch the cookies in the oven, let them know there is a time to wait, and the wait will be worth it—hot cookies with cold milk. (Of course this won’t work if the child discovers how tasty raw cookie dough can be!)

Simple (but sometime difficult) expectations like not allowing a child to snack right before dinner, trains the child that there is a time for eating and a time to practice self-restraint. We should be conveying to our children the truth that waiting is beneficial — waiting is not punishment — it is the process that allows the end result to be even better!

• Give your child the opportunity to exercise their “freedom of choice” (in small measures) and experience the consequences of foolish choices and the benefits of wise choices.

If I’m always administering “outer control” over my child’s behavior rather than training them to practice inner self-control, they will never mature or develop wisdom for making right decisions on their own. They are merely learning to comply with my demands or learning to perform because of my pressure or approval.

For example: Let your children choose when/how to insert their chores into the daily schedule. This allows them to experience the achievement of accomplishing a job on their own. If a pattern develops where chores are neglected, remove the privilege of choice for a bit and require chores to be completed at a specific time. After progress is made, return the privilege of choosing the time of day they’ll do their chores.

Give them the choice of what book to read before bed, the privilege of choosing the game for family game night, how to spend free time (probably lame examples but insert here what age appropriate choices you can give your children and be intentional to offer ample opportunities for them to practice their “freedom of choice”).

• Affirm wise choices and use their foolish choices as a gospel opportunity.

If you want your child to learn the benefit of self-control, they need to see you practice it. Be intentional in watching for their smallest attempt at practicing self-control and make a big deal to affirm them for it. Allow them to experience the consequences of their foolish choices but also dialogue with them in a grace-filled atmosphere. Freely share with them your own mess-ups and the negative consequences you’ve experienced.

Be transparent and let them see that you’ve had to grow and learn just as they are. Be quick to seek their forgiveness when you’ve set a poor example in practicing self-control — this will produce a culture of repentance in your home—but it will also allow your child to see that there are real-life consequences to our actions.

If you are pulled over for speeding and receive a traffic ticket — this is a prime opportunity to train your child the value of practicing self-control. When we’re in a hurry, exceeding the speed limit (breaking the rules rather than practicing self-control) it can lead to some expensive consequences! Don’t waste the opportunity to use your own experiences as a teachable moment.

• The “good thing” you want before the right time, becomes the “best thing” when you wait for God’s timing!

We want our children to learn the value of waiting for the right season to experience good things — like waiting for marriage before experiencing God’s good gift of a sexual relationship. If a child gets every new gadget on the market, a cell phone at ten, a new car at sixteen, a credit- card to cover his expenses while in high-school (with parents footing the bill), the child will never learn the value of waiting (or the responsibility of providing for himself).

Training self-control in small things now instills discipline for meeting the greater challenges of self-denial that your child will face throughout life.

“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Prov. 25:28)

How are you training your child to practice self-control?

wagner_kimberlyKIMBERLY WAGNER is married to her favorite pastor, LeRoy Wagner. Their children include Rachel and her husband Adam, Caleb and his wife Lindsey, plus a growing tribe of grandchildren! Kim’s passion is Christ, and she desires to ignite women’s pursuit of God’s glory. She is a frequent guest on the Revive Our Hearts radio program, as well as a regular contributor to the True Woman blog. Kim has written several devotionals and resource materials for women and loves encouraging women to become students of the Word. She is the author of “Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior.” You can connect with her through her website: http://www.kimberlywagner.org/ where she’s transparent about what God is teaching her.