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Entries in Mothers (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.

Thursday
May082014

The Woman I Call Mom

I've watched my niece, Jamie Thompson Wood, grow from being my sons' childhood playmate to an incredible woman of God. She's a God-fearing young woman worthy of praise (Proverbs 31:30b). I know this transformation doesn't just happen. In Jamie's case, her parents played a huge part in her development.

I asked Jamie to share this Mother's Day tribute (Proverbs 31:28a) to her mom, Janice Thompson - an UPGRADE Partner who writes about finances. I know Jamie's brother David would echo the same kind of love and respect for their mother, but I want you to hear Jamie's heart.

She wrote ...

When I think of my mom, I think of:

  • heart-to-heart talks over hot tea,
  • kneeling down together by my bed each night growing up to read Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest,
  • a silly song that when played over the radio instantly connects us across the miles and time zones,
  • crawling into her bed late at night as a teenager to share details, details, details after returning from a date, and
  • a woman who singlehandedly embodies the picture of wisdom, intentionality, and a life lived in faithful obedience to God. 

Mom is a woman on a God-ordained mission with an unparalleled tenacity to live into the fullness of what God has for her. 

She has modeled for me what it looks like to hear from God and then follow His leading. 

She taught me though her life what it looks like to: love your spouse well, put your family first, plan for the future, see money as a tool and not a master, and balance the many hats a woman wears with grace and strength.

To many, she’s a sought after business professional, to others she’s a confidante and a source of wise counsel, and to yet others, she’s a friend. 

But I am one of two on this entire earth who get the high privilege of calling her "Mom." 

I pray God gives me the strength and faithfulness to walk in a way that honors her model and maybe someday, I will hear someone say, “You remind me of your mom.” 

That will be a very good day.

If you are a woman, you are likely a "mom" to someone, by parenting or by influence. Are you living worthy of a tribute? Your daughter (or spiritual daughter) is watching your life. May God encourage all of us "Moms" to be careful as we shape young lives.

Jamie Wood was born into a Pastor’s family and desires to disciple women for Christ. She has served as a conference planner for Anne Graham Lotz at AnGeL Ministries, as the Women’s Spiritual Life Director at San Diego Christian College, and on staff in the Women’s Ministry Department of Shadow Mountain Community Church. She has traveled to 36 countries and loves teaching others how to study and apply God's Word. Jamie, her husband Jeff and their baby son, David, live in San Diego.