Intentional Mothering

Our Big Homeschool Achievement {I’m Doing a Happy Mama Dance!}

By on June 21, 2017

This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure here.

As you all know, we’re doing homeschool preschool with our two kidlets. It’s going so well. I really should do an update, but that can wait. I just have some super exciting, I’m-so-proud news to share with you!

We just finished our first chapter book read-aloud!

*Insert happy music and celebrations*

I know, I know. It’s not like a super, massive, crazy, big thing that we’ve done. But still, this is such a big moment for my four-year-old, Josiah – and for me!

Last week when we went to the library, as I was browsing through the picture books, Josiah came up to me with a copy of The Iron Man by Ted Hughes in his hand. He had seen some of the movie, The Iron Giant, and was so excited to see this book. He asked if we could take it home. I didn’t think we would get round to reading it, but I said, “Sure, let’s take it home”.

Well, little did I know!

After lunch that very day, I sat down with the both of them and started to read. Rosalie {who is almost three} wandered away pretty quickly. But our smart little man?

He was enraptured.

Infact, after the first chapter {which took me about ten minutes to read}, he asked for another chapter. So we read another!

It is not a very long chapter book – only five chapters – but is still over 120 pages long. Each sitting was, like I said, about ten minutes. After that first sitting, the other three times we read a chapter, we did so after his sister had gone to bed and we did it in Mummy and Daddy’s bed.

It was very exciting and I absolutely loved having that cuddly time with my growing boy.

The story was interesting, gripping, a little sad, a little scary, and with a great big contest at the end between the Iron Man and a space dragon. All those things appealed to my little boy who loves anything to do with heroes, knights, Star Wars, and being brave.

Being a very active, busy boy I was so surprised how still he sat. And even when there were moments of fidgeting, I knew he was still listening because his eyes had that faraway, concentrating look in them.

When we began the last chapter, he turned to me, his eyes bright and a big smile on his face, “This is it! The last one!”¬†

And you know what? He was just as proud of himself as his Mummy and Daddy were of him. He knew it was an achievement reading a “big boy” book. And we talked about how he could see the pictures in his mind. He loved that.

Another book I finished with both kids this week was The Babar Collection by Jean de Brunhoff. Both kids love the Babar books {and the TV series}, but especially Rosalie. She calls all elephants Babar now ūüôā

There are five stories in this collection, each story read at a sitting of around 15 minutes. We read them at each bedtime reading this week.

Babar is a wonderful series of books which have been around for a long time {my brother loved them in the early ’90’s}. There are adventures, accidents, loss, family, friendship – all centred around Babar, the King of the Elephants, with his wife, Queen Celeste.

{As a sidenote, if you read the first Babar book with your children, just be prepared that it starts with Babar as a little baby elephant and his mother is shot by a hunter. He then runs away to a city where he meets the Old Lady and becomes a “civilised” elephant. The scene of his mother’s death is very quick, but she does die. In the show, it is quite a scary scene for young viewers. Both my kids were sad and fascinated, but it didn’t upset them in a way I would stop reading the story.}

So there you have it, our big homeschooling achievement! We’re still in the early days, but reading is one of the best things I can give my children in their education of life. Getting into a chapter book is the beginning of a wonderful journey for my son!

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Intentional Mothering

Making Home The Anchor of Family Life (And The Struggle To Do So)

By on June 16, 2017

This is an updated post I wrote a few years ago that I would love to share again. Original post here.

As I am growing as a wife and mother, my conviction that our home is the anchor-point of our family’s life deepens. This is from my own broken background, my search of the Scriptures, and just a sense that, in the busy-busy society we live in, children need a safe haven, a place where they feel completely safe, sheltered, and able to grow at their own pace and in their own interests.

Yet, despite conviction, it’s not always easy maintaining the majority of our time at home. There are always errands to run, shopping to be done, church commitments to keep, friendships to grow and interaction with other peers for the children. There always seems to be something that needs to draw me out of the home.

Many times, these outings are necessary. But other times, there is a pressure for me as a mother to be “part of it all”. ¬†Bible studies, play groups, music groups, library groups, coffee groups. So many groups! And there seems to be – though probably totally unintentionally and done totally unawares – that the Christian wife and mother needs to be part of them all. I think for many women, they feel that in order to be a good church member or evangelist, she needs to be out most days and part of all the groups. And, by default, so does her children.

But is this really being faithful stewards of our time? Is this really being a supportive helpmeet to our husbands? And is this really beneficial for our children?

Looking Well?

Recently, the Lord has been laying on my heart this verse from the Proverbs 31 woman:

She looks well to the ways of her household, and she doesn’t eat the bread of idleness.” (v.27)

I really have a heart for desiring to do what the Lord wants of me. Not because I’m perfect, or legalistic, or proud. I just love Him and want to please Him in all I do. And, aside from salvation, the greatest gift He has given me has been the gift of wifedom and motherhood. He knew how much I desired these things, and they were a pure gift to me. I treasure them deeply.

So, in thankfulness, I look to examine my ways to see if there is anything that would be unpleasing to Him. And with these incredible gifts He has given me, I need to see if I am looking well to the ways of my household – that is, caring properly for my husband, children, and home.

And I know that, when I am out most days, our home life falls to the wayside. I get tired, the kids get grumpy and out of whack, I have less energy or motivation to work hard, and I tend to leave my dear man to his own devices.

How to Stay Home

Keeping guard over the home is one of those ways a wife can look well to her family. This is looking at her family’s week and being intentional ¬†– or even ruthless – over the times and days of her family. She needs to say yes to some things and no to others. And she doesn’t need to feel guilty or embarrassed about this! She is doing her job well. She is glorifying God by numbering her days in wisdom (Psalm 92:12).

Currently, we are committed to a gymnastics class on a Thursday afternoon. This means that, each day, we have the freedom to choose how we spend our days. And, if we do go out, I make sure that it’s only for part of the morning or afternoon. This means that the majority of my time is free to work at home and spend time pressing deeper into motherhood.
So my conviction is strong, but I am sometimes weak. By God’s grace, I know I can keep working on what I believe is looking well to our home. When I over-schedule myself and fall into exhaustion, I know He will help me get back on track. Quietly, purposefully, and with heart, I keep seeking to anchor our family into our home, the way I cam best look well to our home life.

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Intentional Mothering

Motherhood & The Few: Why Our Feet Should Be Tied

By on June 12, 2017

 

There are millions of mothers in this world. And there are millions of Christian mothers. But, out of all those millions of mothers, there are but a few that are pursuing their responsibility with passion, intention, and wholehearted, undivided hearts.

Several centuries ago, there was one mother who recognised that she was one of the few. Her name was Susanna Wesley, the mother of nineteen children – only ten of which grew to adulthood. (At one time, she buried her two baby twin boys within weeks of their births.) Two of her sons grew to be devoted, passionate men of God who began the Methodist movement within Christianity.

Over one hundred years later, another woman recognised the singularity of dedicated motherhood. Her name was Amy Carmichael and she rescued children from Indian temples who were either child prostitutes or the children of prostitutes. Though no children were ever birthed from her own body, she birthed new life to hundreds.

What did these two strong Christian women believe about motherhood?

Susanna Wesley: One Of The Few

No-one can, without renouncing the world, in the most literal sense, observe my method; and there are few, if any, that would entirely devote above twenty years of the prime of life in hopes to save the souls of their children, when they think they may be saved without so much ado; for the was my principle intention.”

She renounced the world’s method’s of mothering.¬†Even in the days when mothers were still at home with their children, Susanna recognised that few women were actually present with their children. She rejected the idea that children were in a separate sphere that required governesses or nurses. She didn’t give her children just the first year of their life and then went to do her own thing. No, she dedicated twenty years of her life and more to wholehearted, undivided motherhood.

Her principle intention was to lead her children to Christ.¬†Susanna knew that the principle goal of raising children was to endeavor to bring them to a knowledge and love of God. This is why she spent the majority of her life pouring herself into her children. She knew that the only way that she could win her children’s hearts to Christ, and keep them safe from the world’s influence, was to invest all of herself to that principle duty.

She accepted being different.¬†Being one of the few, she knew that there wouldn’t be many like her. She accepted that the path God had called her to was a narrow one, oftentimes lonely and misunderstood, but that this was necessary for the sake of her children. She was called to be different, asked to live towards a higher standard, for the sake of her children and for the glory of God.

Amy Carmichael: Fit to Be Tied

Children tie the mother’s feet the Tamils say…We knew we could not be too careful of our children’s earliest years.So we let our feet be tied for love of Him whose feet were pierced.”

She accepted and embraced sacrifice. Amy, despite all the opportunities that were being offered to her as a missionary in India, saw the call God was giving her to raise needy and orphaned children. Despite the fact that these girls {and later boys} were not born from her body, they were her children and she gave up the rest of her life to caring for their needs. She did not seek fame or glory. She sought the hard, the dirty, the exhaustion, the desperation, the helplessness, the wonder, the blessing, and the sacrifice of motherhood. She allowed herself to be tied.

She understood and pursued intentional motherhood. Amy did not waste away the early days of her children’s lives. She did not let one day pass into another without any thought, care, or intention on her part. She knew the vital importance of those early years of life that her children had to spend with her. She could have rescued them and then allowed them to be brought up by other women. But she didn’t. She had helpers, but all the children knew – and experienced – that Amy was their mother. For their formative years, the children had all of Amy.

She did it because of Jesus. Her Saviour is the reason she did it all. He is why she went to India. He is why she didn’t marry. He is why she suffered through the loss of many children and friends. He is why she carried on when it was hard. He is why she continued on during bed rest for many of her later years. He is the very reason she mothered and how she mothered at all. And He blessed her and her children.

Dear Mother,

If you have any doubt as to the call God has given you, or the importance of caring for your children, or for the need to sacrifice for the season of a child’s life, look to these two examples and see the profound legacy that their dedicated, Christ-loving mothering has had on thousands of people.¬†Please do not give way. Please do not listen to the world’s siren call, seeking to lead you away from the home and your children. Nothing in this life will be as hard – or as fulfilling – as the joy of giving your life up for Jesus in the service of caring for His children. Don’t give up! He who has called you has, and will, equip you to do the work He has asked of you. Loving our children for Jesus is what He has asked us to do and,

To this end [we] labour, striving with all His energy working powerfully in [us].” Colossians 1:29

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Intentional Mothering

The One Job I Did Today That Blessed My Husband

By on June 8, 2017

As his wife and comrade, caring for my husband around the house is what I do everyday. And I love it. It is the job I have chosen as my career – aside from partnering with him in raising our children – and I wouldn’t want to be working for/under anyone else. It’s a blessing and a privilege.

I’m not perfect at it. Tim and I both know that housekeeping has never come naturally to me, especially since I was never taught such life basics growing up. At almost ten years of marriage, I’m still a work-in-progress.

There is one job that I have never enjoyed, however. In our early years of marriage, when Tim worked in an office, it felt like the bane of my existence. And I had to do it twice a week. It always took forever and I was terrible at it.

What was that job?

Ironing.

*Shudder*

Thankfully, I am now a better iron-woman…the two times I generally do it every year.

Friends, about six years ago, I took a stand and I stopped ironing.¬†Unless I really, really, really had to. And my version of had to was different to my husband’s version. Thus, on several occasions – including leading church services – my poor, dear, faithful, long-suffering husband would stand up the front of several hundred people in a quite crinkled shirt.

Yes, it may have been checked and therefore, in my defensive mind, you could hardly see that it wasn’t ironed. But facts are the facts, I didn’t iron a shirt for him.

I believe the few times I have ironed shirts in the last few years have been because of weddings. And the last wedding Tim went to was to sing at in…2012??

Yeah…

But God has been working on me, people. And, as always, it’s never about the ironing. In many ways,God couldn’t care less that Tim wears an un-ironed shirt to church when he’s leading.

But God cares very, very much about the heart of the un-ironed man’s wife.

You see, I blamed my hating ironing in those early days from lack of experience…or from the frequency of having to iron…and the fact that it’s boring! But, in all honesty, my stand against ironing really was my heart saying this: I don’t want to do this for you. If you aren’t going to iron your shirts when I don’t, then don’t wear any. I’m not your slave!

It fills me with shame when I think of the hidden thoughts of my heart were laid so bare before the Lord. And it fills me with shame when I think of how I have spent so many years with that attitude towards the man that I love.

The world may tell me that I did the right thing. I stood up for myself, I didn’t let myself “come under” my husband, I fought for my rights. But what balloney. All I was doing was being selfish, hard-hearted, and rebellious.

Remember, it’s not about the ironing. This could have been about making his lunches, or folding his socks, or picking up his dirty laundry from the bathroom. It could have been about buying a birthday present for him! What matters is that my heart has not pursued genuine love in this matter. It has tried to love it’s own desires.

So if you have taken a stand too, dear sister, forget about what you have stopped doing or that which you resent. Look at your heart. Why are you rebelling? ¬†What is making you so huffy-puffy? Is what you’re doing true love or is it more about you?

“Love one another deeply, from the heart [always unselfishly seeking the best for one another].” 1 Peter 1:22

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