Monthly Archives: December 2014

How do you measure success?

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

It’s funny, because I had already planned early this week on writing a post for today about measurable success. Then last night our pastor led a Bible study on the same thing and I was afraid to proceed because I didn’t want to “steal” his thoughts. But honestly, if we stick to the Word of God, we should have the same message, maybe just from slightly different perspectives.

As far back as I can remember, I have struggled with feeling successful. My parents had nothing to do with this. They were well pleased with me and told me often. I was just a born perfectionist and set very high expectations of myself. As a result, I had awesome grades, was in multiple clubs, had four part-time jobs at once my Senior year…and ulcers.

As a pre-teen and teenager, I was involved in Missionettes, which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God church. We read through the Bible, memorized scripture, did presentations and earned badges. It was a wonderful outlet for me and it shaped me as a Christian. I remember memorizing Proverbs 31:10-31. “Who can find a virtuous woman?”

Then it happened…I misinterpreted scripture again.  Even worse, I misinterpreted God’s intent. I got this idea in my head that God’s expectation was for me to be the Proverbs 31 woman. Right away. Perfectly. In order. As a young woman.

Now, does God expect me to be virtuous? Absolutely! Industrious? Yes. Is Proverbs 31 a good pattern to follow? Definitely. But on one of the many days where I felt like a failure as a mom, wife and Christian, I was on the phone with Heidi. (Side note: Every lady needs a close girlfriend and prayer partner. Someone who you can talk openly with about Scripture and your life and not feel like you are being judged, but spurned to good works. If you do not have one, I will pray for you to find one! She is out there and you need her desperately. And she needs you, too!) I was spilling my guts to her about how I just can’t do it all! And she said something to the effect of, “Yeah…? Are you sure you’re supposed to be?” It hit be between the eyes. At some point in my defense, I referred to the virtuous woman and she said to look at it again.

Proverbs 31 was written by Solomon as a man. Possibly an older man. He was looking back at the life of his mother and honoring her for the virtuous life she had led in front of him over the course of his life. Very likely when she had toddlers, she was not considering a field and buying it. Quite possibly when she was laying her hand to the spindle, she was not getting her food from afar. She may have been, but remember, she was the wife of a soldier, and then of a king. Much was expected of her. But she, like all of us, had chapters in her life.

If you don’t believe me, think about when you buy your mom a Mother’s Day card. In two to four verses, you’re looking for something that captures what your mom means to you — who she is. The really good cards cover the different stages she helped you get through and they encapsulate the feeling she gives you. When you look at your mom as an example, and I hope you can, do you honestly remember every single thing she did? Or are you able to look back over the course of 20+ years and see the big picture of what a great mom she is?

Proverbs 31 was that beautiful Hallmark card from King Solomon to his mama. And it is a beautiful pattern and example for us. But God does not overwhelm us with expectations. We do that. He overwhelms us with love, mercy, forgiveness. Grace abounds!

If you are striving to please God in how you are raising your children, if you are teaching them His precepts, if you are loving them as the Heavenly Father does, then you’re doing it right.

My pastor said last night, “He gives us life in manageable sections…kinda like baby steps.” It’s true!

Look at your virtual wall, mama. Is there one more brick in your wall than there was yesterday? I’ll answer that for you. YES. Yes, there is. Something you did yesterday added to that wall of success in your home. Some days may feel like you’re just trying to survive without losing ground. Some days you may feel like you’re just defending the wall and can’t get any building in. But when someday you look back over your life, maybe someday when you get that Mother’s Day card from your grown child, you’ll look back and realize that your efforts were successful. And that the wall was built one brick at a time.

Here are some pictures of what success looks like to me…

IMG_20140703_0918522014-02-07 16.34.522014-04-01 19.49.00img_0025

Blessings and much love, 

Mama

Building and Defending

“They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.” Nehemiah 4:17 

Because the Lord laid the name “Nehemiah Mama” on my heart for this blog, I felt compelled to really study the book. There are so many interesting points that had never previously grabbed my attention before. One key point was the above verse. Each man was building the wall with one hand and had weapons ready in the other.

Have you ever felt that way? I don’t think I have ever felt more that way than I do now, being a mama. On one hand I’m trying to build our children up and teach them godly principles, morals, and ethics. Really, to just fall in love with Jesus for Who He is. My husband and I work diligently to have meaningful family devotions (almost) every night and nearly every morning I read a quick devotional and pray over the boys as they walk out our doors. This is the brick laying.

On the other hand, I feel like I am constantly fighting off outside influences that can harm the spiritual condition of my very impressionable boys. From discussing the science they are learning at school and lining it up with Scripture and other reputable science curriculum, to helping our boys see that not everything their friends have will make them happy if they get it. That’s fighting off the enemy.

Yesterday, my youngest and I were in the store shopping for a Christmas gift for his auntie. He kept pointing to things he wanted and I kept reminding him that we were here to find a gift for someone else. Finally, somewhat under his breath, he said, “When I’m a dad, I’ll get my kids whatever they want.” WEAPONS READY! After my initial shock, I just told him that he might feel that way now, but really good daddies help their kids learn to earn and value their things and to be responsible, like his Daddy does. He adores his Daddy, so that was all that needed to be said. Crisis averted.

Through that situation yesterday, the Lord showed me that this incident was what being a Nehemiah Mama is all about. I didn’t just fight off the enemy, but I built up my son in that moment. I was able point him to a wonderful example of how it’s done while only minimally pointing out his folly and then moving on.

This parenting task is not an easy one. The Book of Nehemiah never mentions it, but you can’t tell me those men weren’t tired building that wall and being ever ready for battle. Both hands were full. They were busy every moment of the day. They had a deadline. They had their homes to protect and their faith to build. Sound familiar?

Although we may be tired in this venture at times, we can also look to the Book of Nehemiah for the outcome. Their efforts were BLESSED! They built the entire city wall in 52 days! And best of all, through their efforts, their faith and relationship with God were restored.

Keep on building and defending, mamas! You will be blessed for doing so.

Now for a serious question…Is teaching your son how to stop picking his nose and eating what he finds considered building or defending? ARGH!

Blessings and much love, 

Mama