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Rhonda Rhea

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Janice Thompson

Teri Thompson

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Entries in Ministering to younger women (2)

Thursday
Nov152018

3 Steps to Joy for Young Mothers

Kate Hagen's desire to help mothers is an outgrowth of her counseling ministry; but more than that, she loves young moms and feels compassion for their struggles. In this Personal Care UPGRADE, she suggests three ways young mothers can include more joy in their lives.

Kate says, "I wish I could go back and tell myself these three things." 

Oh, Kate got me (Dawn) there! So many things I'd tell my younger self, now that I'm seeing life from a more seasoned point of view!

Kate continues . . . 

Yesterday I was reading a journal from my early years of motherhood. As I read my old entries, I was heavy hearted as I remembered all the guilt and desperation I felt—always wishing I was doing better.  

I want to go back to that Kate and give her a hug.

I want to tell her:

  1. Enjoy your kids more!
  2. Release guilt about not feeling connected to God.
  3. You're doing the best you can right now! And it's enough.

If Kate from 10 years ago could spare 15 minutes, I would expound by telling her about these three steps to joy. 

But I would make it quick, because there would be a child to run after at any minute!

1. Enjoy your kids!

How? 

Look for God's image in them. When you see them in the morning, and you're a Zombie monster due to a terrible night's sleep, look into their big eyes and think, "You are made in the image of God."

I promise, it will help! God’s loving image is there, even when they won't let you go to the bathroom by yourself.

One of the best mom verses is I Peter 4:8, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins."

Yes, my kid's sins (shortcomings) are covered as I love them, and SEE God's love in them.

Be your kid’s biggest cheerleader.

I remember deciding I wanted to be seen by my kids as a cheerleader more than a police. It was a life-changing decision that positively affected my relationship with my kids immensely.

As much as possible, be slow to anger and slow to speak, and instead be quick to listen and quick to forgive.

 These contrasting ideas will really help you enjoy your kids more. It’s a guarantee.

Have these be your rules: less talk; more listening. Don't worry if you break them. You will. But, have them be your standard. (God does.)

2. Release guilt about not feeling connected to God.  

I spent so much time and ink feeling bad about not being close to God.

It's good to cry out to God. It's very Psalmist!

But I think I often missed the joy God was trying to give me by longing for it to come the way it used to. Before kids. 

I wanted the old, deep, spiritual connection I had when I was 20 and had all the time in the world to spend in meditation. This was NOT possible during this season. 

Letting this expectation go, and enjoying the ways God WAS showing up, might have brought me a lot more joy. Looking for things to be grateful for, writing them down and speaking them aloud could have changed my joy-level greatly!  

Some of the ways God was showing up for me when my three kids were constantly needing me—and I had no time to meditate: 

  • In my baby's laughter
  • In chunky thighs (If God's not there, I don't know where God is!)
  • In sweaty hands grabbing for mine
  • In baby arms gripping the back of my neck

3. You’re doing the best you can right now. And it’s enough. 

"I'm not being the best mom/wife/friend I want to be."

That's true! Let that be true. And let that be okay.

It's really just an ego-centered thought. It's focused on you, not the other person. Feeling guilty that you're not enough isn't helping anyone! It's not a Jesus thought.

Let it come—it's ok that it's there—and then let it go.  

You're not being the best mom in the world. True! But, treat yourself the way God does. Be gracious with yourself. Forgive yourself for not being perfect.  

I'd like to go back to that old Kate, give her a hug and tell her what a good job she's doing. Remind her to constantly be looking for ways to enjoy her kids. Encourage her to treat herself the way God treats her... full of compassion, mercy and love.  

What would you go back and tell yourself?

Kate Hagen spends most of her time teaching, knowing and loving her three kids in their beach community of Leucadia, CA. She has a Master’s Degree in Biblical Counseling and has written, spoken and counseled women about mothering, body image and health. She runs a small essential oil business from her home, and usually smells pretty good. At her website you can read her journey of grieving and laughing as her mom passed of cancer, as well as her thoughts on the Bible and body image. 

Graphic adapted, courtesy of svklimkin at Morguefile.

Tuesday
Aug092016

God Harvests Fruit From Mentoring Seeds

With wise words and sweet songs, Dr. Gail Bones invites women to a place of change in Christ and the cross. In this unique UPLIFT/Mentoring UPGRADE, she shares a personal note from someone changed by her ministry.

A decade ago, God allowed me to mentor a younger woman in ministry," Gail says. "Years later, she wrote to thank me for equipping her to invest in the next generation."

We don't often get an opportunity to see how God uses our ministry. I (Dawn) am so glad Gail received this tremendous blessing. It encouraged me to think how God might be using us in ways we don't yet understand.

Gail has truly been a Titus 2 woman, equipping and encouraging younger women.

Gail continues . . .

I’m grateful that the seeds I’ve planted in her life continue to produce a rich harvest.

Her words can serve as an encouragement to all who hear the call to mentor but may feel uncertain as to how to go about it.

You’ll see it took no special talent or herculean effort. We just planned to spend regular time together walking and talking. 

Be inspired by some of her cherished words to me about our mentoring relationship:

Thank you for loving me so well. You cared about the things I cared about. You let me lead out in conversation about things that were on my heart and mind without making me feel silly or juvenile for giving my attention to things that, looking back, seem so shallow.

You affirmed and pointed out my strengths. You let me plan a party for my young adult group at your house and afterwards said, "You are really good at putting on events and bringing people together.” You gave me the confidence to continue to have people over often, even now. 

You told me I had the gift of exhortation and, because of your affirmation, I ask God to use my voice in that way as I minister to the people He entrusts to my care.

One of my deepest cares was whether I’d ever get married. You always told me I was beautiful inside and out, and helped me to believe that God did in fact have someone very special for me who would see me that way too.

You shared your life with me, and were vulnerable, letting me into the good, the bad and the ugly of your life. My admiration for you grew deeper as my understanding of the Lord and his grace through your story changed me. This became part of the spiritual foundation I stand on today, and the hope I cling to in times where I feel like I’ve lost my way. Through your story, I learned that God is gracious, and not only is He gracious, He is good. When we search for him we find he is loving, compassionate, and forgiving.

You were also honest about marriage and family, finances and your self-doubt. That honesty prepared me for my own marriage and life as an “adult.” You gave me the confidence to take life head-on and to not be so afraid.

When I cried, you cried, and you taught me that emotions were okay. Watching you cry made me feel like women can be strong and they can be emotional; the two can co-exist.

You inspired me to read, something that I still love to do today. This has opened my world to new information and wisdom that I use every day in ministry.

Thank you Gail, I love you! 

What impact could you have in the life of another as a mentor if you’d be willing to trust God’s Holy Spirit to guide you? Who is he placing in your path?

Ask the Lord to show you who He has in mind for you to mentor and be mentored by.

Dr. Gail Bones is a speaker, retreat leader, songwriter/worship leader, former professor of education and the founder of CrossWise Living, an intergenerational ministry devoted to helping people navigate change. She and her husband Jeff have two married children. From the east coast but now living in San Diego, Gail says “happiness” means always having one or more of the following in her hands: a dog leash, a sailboat rudder, bicycle handlebars, a kayak paddle, an acoustic guitar, a big fat book or a hazelnut coffee. Be blessed by her Bible studies or her newest CD, "Still," and read more about Gail at her website/blog.

NOTE: The full story of how God brought us together and began my cross-generational ministry can be found in Living CrossWise: Hope and Help for Navigating Transition.

Graphic of strawberries adapted, courtesy of Morguefile.