Are You The Woman Today You Want Your Daughter to Become?

If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know I’ve been writing, editing, and proofing a new book, Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. Last week, I turned in my final proof edit to the publishers, Leafwood Publisher, as I anticipate it’s September 12, 2017 release. Then I learned the exciting news that this book is now on Amazon ready for preorders! You can order now, and as soon as it’s in stock at Amazon, you’ll receive your pre-release copies. The more preorders, the more they bring in stock. Will you help me get this book into the hands of mentors and mentees, those wanting to know how to be a mentor or mentee, and Women’s Ministry Directors to guide women in all seasons of their life.

This book will guide and equip women from tweens to twilight seasons in how to biblically mentor or be a mentee! I think it’s the first book of it’s kind written for both M&M’S! One endorser has already said every Women’s Ministry Director needs this book in her library. As the summer goes on, I’ll share more tidbits about this book for all women.  So drum roll please . . . I’m unveiling the cover!

The Mothering Season

When I speak to women about mentoring, I tell them that their first mentoring responsibility is to their daughters if they have daughters or nieces. They’re the role model for these young girls and they’re mentoring to them what it looks like to be a woman today: either a woman of the world or a woman of the Word. And then, I ask the question: Are you the woman today you want your daughters to become because they’re watching you, and as much as they don’t want to be like you, they will probably become just like you at sometime in their life.

In Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I share how during my backsliding years, my daughter wanted to be just like me. I realized some of the poor choices she was making were a reflection of the poor choices she was watching me make.

That was a huge revelation to me that I needed to make some changes in my life. When I did rededicate my life to the Lord and start living a godly life, she didn’t want any part of it. She liked the way we were living more by the world’s standards than by God’s ways. And that’s the story I talk about in Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. I went down on my knees and prayed Scripture for her daily for six years; all the time showing and role modeling for her the blessings of being a rededicated woman of faith.

I’m happy to say our story took a happy turn and Kim did eventually give her heart to Jesus, and she has done a much better job than I did raising her three children in a Christian household. She’s mentored them in character qualities that her two daughters and son are obviously noticing. For a school project, 3rd grader Sienna was to write why her mom should be in People Magazine. I must admit, I was troubled by this teacher’s choice of a magazine that 3rd graders had no business knowing about or writing an article for, so I was relieved when Sienna said she had no idea what People Magazine was, anyway!

But what did impress me were the character qualities Sienna wrote that she saw in her mom. My daughter is a fitness instructor with a fabulous figure, she’s gorgeous, dresses stylishly, and always looks beautiful. So when Sienna decided to write about why her mom should be on the cover of People Magazine, she easily could have talked about these superficial, outward qualities, but at eight-years old this is what she wrote, exactly how she wrote it, no edits from Grammie:

My mom should be on the cover of the People magazine. My mom’s name is Kim Mancini. My mom is medium height, has brown hair, and her eyes are brown. There are so many reasons why my mom should be on the cover of the People Magazine.

One of the amazing things about my mom is that she is trustworthy. My mom trusts me all the time. My mom does not lie. My mom is trustworthy with my whole family. Now you know why my mom is trustworthy.

My mom is the most honest person in the world. She is honest with me. She once said, “Do not be scared that’s not real.” My mom is honest with my grandparents. There is no doubt, my mom should be on the People Magazine because she is so honest.

My mom is so helpful. My mom helps me when I am hurt. My mom helps me with my homework. She helps me get ready for school. My mom should win an award for being the best mom ever. My mom is the best mom in the world.

By Sienna

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

Sienna’s mom, is trustworthy, honest, and helpful. Later she wished she had included hardworking. Isn’t that what every mom wants all her children, not just her daughters, to say about her?! Good job Kim.

What would your kids write why you should be on the cover of People Magazine?

The Mancini family. Sienna is next to her brother

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Who Will Care for the Widows and Fatherless this Christmas?

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” James 1:27 NLT

Each week I wonder what God will have me share with you in the Monday Morning Blog, and then God shows up. This week it was clear from several sources, even the Book of Job, that God wanted me to address the topic of widows and the fatherless at Christmas.

God has a focus throughout the Bible of making sure His people care for the widows and orphans. Sometimes at Christmas, we become so wrapped up (pun intended) with our own hustle and bustle that we can neglect those who most need the gift of Christmas love. And I don’t just mean the Salvation Army bucket, although supporting them is important too.

While widows and their families need help every day, the holidays magnify their need. Some churches do an outstanding job of caring for these families, and others . . . have forgotten God’s charge to the church.

The definition of being a widow means a woman has lost her husband, and if she is a younger widow, she may have children who have lost their father. The children aren’t orphans, but their mother is emotionally, perhaps physically and spiritually, in such pain and anguish that her children may feel like orphans. The mother they once knew will never be the same again. Maybe friends or relatives try to fill the “Mom void” while she’s going through the sudden, unexpected, and unwanted process of making arrangements to bury her husband . . . their dad . . . while she’s still in a state of shock and unimaginable grief and trauma, but no one will ever replace the parents they had before dad was taken from them.

The First Christmas Without Him

Christmas is fast approaching and Mom wants her children, maybe too young to understand—maybe old enough to go through their own tragic heartbreak—still to have a good Christmas. But she can’t stop crying and wailing and the doctor has given her something to help her sleep and relax until she can grasp the magnitude of this nightmare that isn’t going away.

So friends and family pitch in and set up the Christmas tree, which is heavy laden with presents that first Christmas without him. But nothing fills the emptiness that permeates their home. The presents don’t fill the empty chair at the breakfast table Christmas morning, or the presents he’s not opening, or the prayer he’s not saying before meals, or the toys he’s not putting together, or the presents he didn’t give her, or his stocking that hangs empty on the mantel, and the fire he’s not stoking.

10 Practical Ways to Care for Widows and Fatherless Children this Christmas

  1. Take her children’s Christmas lists, clothes sizes, and do her Christmas shopping, then wrap all her presents. Assure her that only her children need gifts this year. No one else expects or needs anything from her.
  2. If she’s bought presents, wrap them for her.
  3. If she’s already bought presents for her deceased husband, offer to return them for her.
  4. If she’s not going to be with family Christmas Eve or morning, pack up your family and bring your Christmas to her house. Then if she needs to go in her bedroom and cry, her children won’t be opening their presents or crying alone.
  5. Don’t just drop meals off, stay and have the meal with her and the kids.
  6. During Christmas vacation, take her kids on play dates so she can have time alone to cry without fear of upsetting the kids.
  7. Know when her extended family is leaving and line up people from church to stop by and bring meals, pray, comfort her, and see how she and the kids are doing.
  8. Don’t forget older widows. Don’t think that because her husband was elderly that the pain is any less. She loved her husband for many years and they had blended into one heartbeat. Watch for signs of her declining or possibly losing a will to live.
  9. If you don’t have one already, start a support group in your church for widows and one for children who have lost their father. This isn’t just a holiday need, it’s a daily need.
  10. It may be difficult for her to see all the “couples” at church. Invite her to sit with your family during Christmas programs and every Sunday. If you notice she’s not coming to church, pick up the kids, bring them to church, and ask the pastor to stop and visit her. She may be mad at God. Don’t let her stay mad. Shower her with God’s love, and help her understand that God is crying over the loss of her husband too.

Her Husband Will Never Be Home for Christmas or Anytime Again!

Don’t forget about the widow, or the widow and her children, after the first Christmas. Every Christmas will be hard. She’ll always have to lug the Christmas tree home, set it up by herself, try and get the outside lights up for the kids, and make Christmas merry even though her heart is aching. His chair will still be empty, and his side of the bed will still be cold. He was the spiritual leader of the home, and now she’ll have to fill that role as both mother and father to their children.

Don’t expect a widow of any age to “get better” soon. Time will lessen the acute pain, but she’ll always have a aching hole in her heart, so don’t forget her after a month. Remember, she’s still a widow and her children are still fatherless, and she will need help with all the things her husband used to do around the house and her children will need godly male role models in their lives.

The widow will always need the love, support, help, kindness, and prayers of her family, friends, and church family not just at Christmas, but year round.

How do I know what a widow or fatherless child would need? Because my mother was that 32 year-old widow, I was the 10 year-old little girl, and my sister was four when my father, a California Highway Patrolman, was shot with his own gun and murdered one night while on duty on October 8. We went through his first birthday a week later, October 17, and I still remember going with my mother to Penny’s to return the leather jacket she had bought for his birthday. The next month came the first Thanksgiving . . . then the first Christmas without him.

These past few months in the news, we’ve watched policemen gunned down in their cars and each one of those men represented a mother or widow and children who will have that “first Christmas without him.” Or if you live near a military base, there are doubtless widows and fatherless children in your community. Pray for them, and if you live near any of them or go to their churches . . . do something for those families in the name of the Lord. That would be the best gift Jesus would have you give this Christmas. It was the best gift people gave to us.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name,
extol him who rides on the clouds;
rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.

God sets the lonely in families . . . . Psalm 68:4-6

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I know this was a sobering post to start the Christmas season, but you all know a widow, a fatherless child, a single mom, a shut-in who needs to see the love of Jesus lived out tangibly. I became a Christian because a year after my father’s death, someone at the camp in the picture above asked me:

“We know you’ve lost your earthly father, but would you like to know a heavenly Father who will never leave or forsake you?” I said, “Oh, Yes,” and my life has never been the same.

You could give that gift to some fatherless child this Christmas too.

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Can you read the name of the photographer’s sign in front of me in the picture?

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Conquering “Shoulditis”

SuperMomMyth_LOWRezBecky Kopitzke is a fellow mentor mom over at The MOM Initiative with a new book I thought you would all enjoy learning about. Her topic in this blog is “shoulditis,” and I know we all suffer from shoulda, coulda, why didn’t I?, why aren’t I as good?,  . . . we’ve all been there.  Becky reminds us that God made each of us unique with our own gifts and talents and all He expects is that we use them to His glory!

Enjoy this post by Becky:

Have you heard of a common debilitating condition infecting women today? It’s called “shoulditis”—otherwise known as I should do that disease. I’ve got it. You probably do, too. Symptoms flare up under the most ordinary circumstances.

When my friend calls to say she’s taking a Zumba class, I think of how long it’s been since my sneakers hit the gym, and my own voice whispers in my head, I should do that.

When I scroll through Pinterest and see a dozen photos of cutesy craft projects other moms created with their children, I’m deflated. I should do that.

When my parenting magazine plugs a recipe for brownies using hidden carrot puree, I think of the Duncan Hines box stashed in my cupboard. Carrots are way healthier. I should do that.

Vacation plans. Extreme couponing. Colon-cleansing diets. Reading lists, scrapbooks, chore charts, and hand-sewn purses. Monkey-face pancakes, are you kidding me? She does it! I should do it, too!

But I can’t do everything, can I?

Can you?

And that is the pain of shoulditis. It assumes we are supposed to be someone else—or a hundred someone elses. Our spirits inflame with an impossible itch to be as clever, resourceful, energetic, artsy, and self-disciplined as those other women.

Reality check. They can’t do everything, either.

We all have our own things—our talents, interests, commitments, priorities. Yours aren’t better than mine, and mine aren’t better than yours. They’re just different.

Why? Because God is fantastically creative, and He gave us each a unique blend of gifts. Trying to do it all is a waste of time. It’s like saying God got it wrong. On the flip side, doing what He created us to do—that’s worship.

 

“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us” (1 Corinthians 12:4–6 NLT).

So. Let’s slap some salve on that shoulditis, shall we? (Say that five times fast.)

The antidote is: I should not do that.

When the neighbors rent a mega bounce house for their son’s birthday party, I will tell myself, I should not do that. My children have winter birthdays, anyway. We can’t fit a bounce house in the kitchen.

When my friend runs a half marathon—good for her! But I should not do that. Stroller walks are more my pace.

When that sweet lady in the church choir raves about her make-ahead freezer meals, I definitely should not do that. This momma prefers to spend Sunday afternoon playing Scrabble with the kids. I will grab some frozen chicken patties from the supermarket and call them dinner.

So let’s all agree—you should do what you do, and I should do what I do, and together we will create a supportive, well-rounded community of women who love what they do and really can do it all—collectively.

“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27 NLT).

This post contains an excerpt from The SuperMom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood (Shiloh Run Press) by Becky Kopitzke. Used by permission.

# # #

About the book

Does your journey through motherhood look different from what you imagined?

Do you struggle to measure up to your own standards?

Do you sometimes wish you could be like that other mom who seems to have it all together?

You are not alone.

The Supermom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood, a new book by Christian mom blogger Becky Kopitzke, is designed to encourage imperfect moms to laugh at ourselves, forgive ourselves, and discover the beautiful moms God created within. Delivered with down-to-earth humor and carefully applied biblical insight, The SuperMom Myth explores eight personified “dirty villains” of motherhood, including The Grouch on the Couch (Anger), Worry Woman (Fear), The Calendar Queen (Busyness), and more. Throughout this delightful read for every mom, Kopitzke offers a gentle reminder to rest in the super power of our grace-filled God.

Visit www.TheSuperMomMyth.com for more information, including trailer videos, reviews, and details on where to buy copies for yourself and your mom friends.

About the author

Becky KopitzkeBecky Kopitzke is the author of The SuperMom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood (Shiloh Run Press). As a writer, speaker, singer, dreamer, lunch packer, snowman builder and recovering perfectionist, Becky believes parenting is one of God’s greatest tools for building our faith, character, and strength—and it’s not always pretty.

On her devotional blog, beckykopitzke.com, she offers weekly encouragement for fellow imperfect moms, pointing our weaknesses, blessings, and victories to God.

Becky lives messily ever after with her loving husband and their two young daughters in northeast Wisconsin, where a pink indoor trampoline fills half the once formal living room. Connect with Becky on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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How to Reach Out to a Young Mom

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Today’s guest post is by Arlene Pellicane, author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom. As I read Arlene’s post today, I thought back about the young mother who just moved into our community and is trying so hard to make friends. I invited her to bring her three kids over to play with my grandkids this week and they had several fun play dates, including time at the pool. Then at church this morning I told another young mom who also lives in our “mountain community” about our new neighbor. I suggested I get these two moms together to meet for coffee and she was all for it. Then I read, the following post and realized I’d been doing exactly what Arlene is talking about here … and I, of course, am not a young mom … I’m a Grammie who God can use to encourage and mentor younger moms.

I’m also honored that some of my own story is in Arlene’s new book and she’s offering a free copy to one of you. So just leave a comment on the blog to enter the drawing. Be sure you check the box to receive email responses to the blog or include your email address so I can let you know if you’re the winner.

Guest Post by Arlene Pellicane

Whether you are an introvert, extrovert, or a mix in-between like me, everyone needs to be in some kind of community. I know many women who left the workforce to become a mom, only to find the days eerily lonely. Motherhood can be a lonely profession. When you meet a new mom, take a moment to ask a few questions. You might be the bridge between that lonely mom and another woman who may share common interests.

You Can Be the Difference

Recently I was at a birthday party for one of my child’s classmates. A nicely dressed woman came my way and said, “I don’t know if you remember me, but I met you years ago at the library. You told me about a mom’s group. I wanted to let you know I joined and it made a huge difference to me and I wanted to thank you.”

After she told the story, I did remember striking up that conversation during a “mommy and me” reading time. She was a new mom looking for support and I pointed her to a local group for moms. She acted on the suggestion and gained a solid group of new friends as a result.

You could be the difference for a lonely woman around you. Look around in your circles. Is there a mom who could use a friend? Are there two people in your life who you could connect because they have common interests or common stages of life?

Don’t be afraid to invite a young mom to coffee. She’ll be honored at the invitation. You don’t have to set up an elaborate meal at your home to show someone hospitality. Just spend less than $10 at a coffeehouse and one hour of your time. That could make a huge difference in the heart of a struggling mom.

Hug a Friend in Real Life

The advent of social media allows you to look at photos of friends and family members in faraway places. But if we’re not careful, we can think social media serves all our needs for community. Yet nothing replaces a hug from a friend. Hugging a friend or laughing out loud with someone is a natural way to fight stress and anxiety. Social media can meet a need in our lives for connection to a degree, but it can’t replace physically meeting other moms who understand your life. In my book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom, my friend, Laura Petherbridge, the Smart Step-Mom, gives this advice:

One of the most encouraging things I can say to a step mom who’s feeling like a failure or a total disappointment as a stepmom, is God created us for community. He created us for community with people in similar circumstances. I cannot encourage a stepmom enough to get into some type of a group or event with other stepmoms who understand her pain and loss. At the stepmom retreats I lead, the number one thing moms tell me is I finally feel like I am not alone anymore. I finally feel like I am not the wicked stepmother. Now I have one or two sisters who get it. When they are up, they can help me and vice versa. It’s not commiserating; it’s not about bashing the biological mom or stepkids. It’s getting with a strong group of stepmoms who want their marriage to be strong and thriving and encouraging each other. There is nothing I have discovered that takes the place of that.

Laura’s counsel about being in community with like-minded moms rings true, whether you’re a stepmom or not. And when reaching out to moms, remember the advice of Dale Carnegie, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

By the way, you may be a young mom yourself who can reach out to a mom who is the same age, but who has younger children.

What’s something you have done to reach out to a mom? What worked? What didn’t?

Giveaway book: 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom. Just leave a comment on the blog to enter the drawing. Be sure to include your email address or check the box to receive email notices from the blog so you’ll know if you are a winner.

 Happy Mom cover

Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom and 31 Days to a Happy Husband. She is also the co-author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (with Gary Chapman). She has been a featured guest on the Today Show, Fox & Friends, Focus on the Family, FamilyLife Today, The 700 Club, and Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah.

Arlene lives in the San Diego area with her husband James and their three children.

Arlene Pellicane 600x600jpg

To learn more and for free family resources such as a monthly Happy Home podcast, visit www.ArlenePellicane.com

You’ll also enjoy this short video created by Arlene Pellicane and her sweet children.https://youtu.be/SV2ewzM1THE

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Love Your Body—Don’t Drink Alcohol

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

Love Your Body Like God Loves It

 

I know this isn’t going to be a popular post for some of you, but as Christians taking care of this temple of a body God has given us, I feel we need to talk about it on our Love Your Body Monday. If you start to get defensive while reading this blog, ask yourself: “Why can’t I give up alcohol?”

I don’t drink. There was a time in my backsliding years when I did drink, and I can tell you for certain no one could ever convince me to go back to those dark days. Alcohol is a “socially acceptable” drug that is high in calories, expensive, hard on your body, and results in distinct changes in your personality and actions, lowers your inhibitions, and is an inexcusably horrific and often deadly role model for the next generation.

When I read Wikipedia’s definition of alcohol, I have to ask myself why any Christian would want to spend their money, calories, reputation, brain cells, and witness on this drug—

An alcoholic beverage is a drink which contains a substantial amount of the psychoactive drug ethanol (informally called alcohol). As one of the most widely used recreational drugs in the world, such drinks have an important social role in most cultures. Because of their potential for abuse, almost all countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption. Some countries ban such activities entirely. The global alcoholic beverages industry exceeded $1 trillion in 2014.

Let me further define psychoactive drugs. I don’t think it’s what God had in mind when he told us to purposely renew our minds and run from worldly pleasures:

A psychoactive drug, psychopharmaceutical, or psychotropic is any chemical substance that changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, or consciousness. These substances may be used recreationally, to purposefully alter one’s consciousness.

Parents and Grandparents The Children in Your Family are Watching You!

I’m most concerned about the parents and grandparents who drink and role model—yes mentor—drinking alcohol to their children and grandchildren in what should be a safe place for children, their home. Children are drinking at earlier and earlier ages and where do they first see it consumed? 99% of the time, it’s in their own homes. If you’re a parent who drinks, you have to take full responsibility if your child starts drinking. I’m not saying they won’t drink if you don’t drink, but at least you’re not leading, enabling, and displaying to them that it’s acceptable.

Mariel Hemingway,, actress and granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, said in an interview: “What I DO know is that my father drank, and when he drank he changed. And I watched it with both my parents. I watched it with my sisters. By the fourth glass of wine they were not the same people … there was a darkness that had sort of overcome them.”

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. Titus 2:3-5

Here’s an alarming trend amongst mommies…It’s called…

Moms Who Need____________

How would you fill in that blank?

Whatever you put in the blank—a rest, a break, a nap, love, peace, quiet—if you fill it in with “Jesus” and His Word, He’ll help you with all He knows you need.

Moms Who Need The Lord and His Word would be the right answer.

But I was saddened to learn that over 707,872 moms fill in the blank, and fill-up their glasses, with “Wine.” Yes, the “Moms Who Need Wine” Facebook page has that many “likes”. They also have a website that sells T-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags, and water bottles with their logo (picture below) and, of course, sell wine by the case.

drunk mommies

“Moms Who Need Wine” Facebook profile picture and logo

The premise of this group is that they can’t get through a day of mothering without drinking. Does that alarm you as much as it does me? These are moms who are responsible for infants, toddlers, kids, neighbor’s kids, your kids, carpools, driving with innocent children in the backseat. No one can dispute that alcohol impairs all your faculties, and yet, these moms laugh and cavort on Facebook about their drinking while mothering like a group of barroom drunks.

Kids Play, Mommies Drink

Playdate with wine

Play date “snacks” from the “Moms Who Need Wine” Facebook page

These wine-drinking mommies aren’t hanging out in bars…they’re changing diapers, vacuuming, cooking, driving cars, pushing strollers, helping at school, and meeting at play dates to share a bottle of wine, referred to as “mommy juice”. Maybe some of them are your friends or neighbors…maybe one is you….

Mommies Beware—You’re Being Targeted

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”—1 Peter 5:8 NLT

A Times Magazine article titled “Mother’s Liquid Helper. Raising children? Raise a glass!” reported that wineries are marketing directly to moms of young kids. “Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington has begun a Facebook campaign asking women to customize an equation to sum up what makes them want a glass. (“Me + a glass of wine – juice boxes + quiet time for 15 minutes = My Chateau.”) The ads tagline: ‘It’s where you become you again’—will run in places women go when they’re stressed out about taking care of their family, including Food Network Magazine, parents.com, and Rachael Ray’s website”.

Clos LaChance Winery has a “MommyJuice line, and another winery calls their mommy-targeted wine, “Mommy’s Time Out.

When I spoke on this alarming trend at a retreat recently, a young woman came up to me afterwards thanking me for taking on this challenging topic. She said she was an ER Nurse and had recently seen three young mothers die because of cirrhosis of the liver caused by alcoholism. Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, who championed this mommy-drinking trend with her blog and best sellers Naptime Is the New Happy Hour and Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay, eventually had to admit she had a drinking problem, and quit.

Sobering Topic

I’m not judging whether someone chooses to drink alcohol, but if you care about your health, your body, your witness, your children, your grandchildren, your finances, possibly your life … I am questioning the when and the why.

“Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” Proverbs 20:21

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Seek Community During Infertility

Yesterday was Easter, the hope that every Christian has of eternity because our Savior died on a cross and arose three days later. That’s the only true and meaningful purpose of Easter. Many families gather together to celebrate Easter and fun traditions for the kids are Easter baskets, Easter egg hunts, and the little ones all dressed up in their Easter outfits. And that is why Easter can be a heartache for a mommy-in-waiting who has dreamed of having a little one to do all those fun things with at Easter. Her life can seem hopeless, even in light of the hope of the Cross. A day that should fill her with joy, only reminds her more of her empty arms. It’s for that reason that some couples struggling with infertility avoid family gatherings at holidays. My daughter and step-daughter know about this personally as they shared in my book Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?

Today’s guest post is written by Lisa Newton, author of 31 Days of Prayer During Infertility:

31-days-IF-cover

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”- Galatians 6:2

When you’re struggling with infertility, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to connect with other women who are also dealing with it.

Oh, it can feel like a big risk to befriend someone else in similar circumstances as you. You may start to worry about what you’ll do if her treatments work and yours don’t. Or how do you tell her when you get pregnant and she’s still not? You might think that dealing with your own pain and your own suffering is hard enough. Why would you want to open yourself up to someone else’s pain, too?

But Galatians 6:2 directs us to share each others burdens. It doesnt make sense from our earthly perspective, but when we connect with others who are struggling our own burdens are eased in the process.

When I first received my infertility diagnosis, I kept it to myself. I didn’t share it with friends or family because I thought I needed privacy. I’m an introvert, so I often quote the verses that describe Jesus withdrawing to solitude in order to pray (Luke 5:16). But I came to realize God’s presence is near when we are in community (Matt. 18:20). His comfort, encouragement, and wisdom often comes to me through conversations I have with other infertility survivors.

And the fact is that Jesus’ entire public ministry happened with eleven other men—his community! So if I want to be more Christlike, I must seek out community. Now I can’t image walking this journey without the prayers, love, and support I receive from my infertility community.

The fact that you’re reading this post means that you’re open to the idea of hearing about other’s experiences with infertility. Let me encourage you to take it a step further and reach out. You don’t have to start your own blog and publish every detail of your experience. Just take a small step and share a part of your story with someone.

I’d love to connect with you over at my blog. There’s also a wonderful online infertility community on Twitter. If you’d prefer an in-person connection, check out the RESOLVE website to see if there’s an infertility group in your local area. Or, if you know of someone who’s currently suffering from infertility or has suffered from it in the past, ask them if they’d be willing to go out for coffee and talk a bit.

Be brave. Bear someone’s burdens. Have your own burdens eased in the process.

Have you experienced your burdens being eased by community? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.  

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Lisa Newton blogs about her infertility journey and the faith that gets her though it at AmateurNester.com. She lives with her husband, Tom, their orange cat, Hemingway, on the Central Coast of California. Shes the author of the 31 Days of Prayer During Infertility eBook and was a 2014 nominee for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Associations Hope Aware for Best Blog. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  

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What to Do When Your Child is Sad

Joanne Kraft, a fellow The M.O.M Initiative mentor mom, has a new book out The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. I asked her to share with you a snippet from her book. No matter how old your child is, it’s hard to see him or her sad or unhappy. The mom in you wants to fix everything and make them happy again. But as Joanne reminds us, sometimes you just need to let them cry.

Joanne uses an example from Mary and Martha that I also share in my Bible study, Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha: Sisters in Christ. Jesus cried right along with them when their brother Lazarus died, but God had a bigger plan then they could see at the immediate moment. Teaching our children how to deal with disappointments and discouragement might just be God’s plan for us stepping out of the way and letting them cry.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. Be sure to check the box “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” so you’ll know if you won the book.

Let Them Cry

By Joanne Kraft

 

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My teenage son walked down the stairs with a frown on his face. College classes have gotten the best of him it seems. My pep talk with him yesterday apparently wasn’t as good as I thought it was. My future as a motivational speaker went down in a fizzle.

When I brought my first child home from the hospital, cries were immediately met with a soothing rub and my full attention until the whimpers quieted. From baby tears to teenage sulking, I want to make my child happy. I’ve exhausted myself trying to make this happen. I’ve finally realized I can’t make any of my kids happy.

Here’s the clue you may be doing something wrong—when you’re exhausting yourself doing it.

Years ago, when my mom watched me try to stop my kids from shedding tears she gave me my first golden bit of wisdom, “Let them cry. It’s okay. They will be fine.”

When Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus had died, Jesus didn’t come that very day but waited two more days before heading back to them in Judea. When he arrived, he discovered the funeral had already taken place. Lazarus had been dead four days and two very heartbroken sisters who had been crying for days were in deep mourning.

Not only were Mary and Martha in tears, but it’s in this passage of Scripture where we find the shortest sentence in the Bible—Jesus wept. Two words packed with incredible meaning. Even our Savior shed tears. Even He felt sad.

Here’s a few things I learned to do when my toddlers or teenagers were hurt or sad.

  • Let them hurt. Is there anything more contrary to mothering than allowing a child to cry or hurt? But, it’s much needed for their development. Come alongside and give them a hug or sympathize, “Yes, I know you’re sad.” Or, “It’s okay to be sad. Sometimes mommy is sad, too.” And if a child is older, maybe you can empathize, “I understand how hard this is for you.” Or, “I’m sorry you’re going through this.” Follow up with a personal story of your own about a past hurt or grievance.
  • Let them heal. Give them a little time. Don’t let their hurt sabotage your life. Give them space but look for signs of healing: interest in friends, playing again, laughter, an appetite, and conversation.
  • Let them lean. When a child is young, they lean on mom and dad for everything. As they grow older we need to let go so they can lean on God. I can’t expect my adult child to have BIG faith if they have little experience in leaning on a BIG GOD. If I answer their every whim and whimper, I become God in their eyes. Do you want to grow their faith? Let them lean on the only ONE who can meet and exceed their expectations. (Psalm 62:5)

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I have to remind myself, my daughters and sons must feel pain while in my keep. God grows us through pain. How else will they know how to navigate life’s storms as adults? So, precious mamas, let your child cry today. Let them hurt and let them heal and make sure to let them lean on God. Scripture reminds us there’s “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) Maybe, today it’s time to let them cry. I promise they’ll be okay.

“A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:4)

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Joanne Kraft chair button size Joanne Kraft is a mom of four and the author of Just Too Busy—Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical and her latest book The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. She’s been a guest on Focus on the Family, Family Life Today, and her articles have appeared in ParentLife, In Touch, P31 Woman and more. Joanne and her husband, Paul, recently moved their family from California to Tennessee and happily traded soy milk and arugula for sweet tea and biscuits. Visit her at JoanneKraft.com.
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Women Need Each Other

Today’s guest post is by my good friend and fellow The MOM Initiative mentor mom, Lori Wildenberg. Lori is talking about several of my favorite topics: women helping each other, friendships of women, Woman to Woman Mentoring, parenting, and the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth, which I wrote about in Face-to-Face with Elizabeth and Mary: Generation to Generation. Lori is giving away a copy of one of her new books if you leave a comment on this post. I know you’re going to want to read them both and I endorsed Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love. Enjoy!

Women Need Each Other (Plus a Give-Away)

by Lori Wildenberg

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My friend Kathy has greatly impacted me over the years. Kathy and I met in high school. She got married a few years before I did and had her first child about five years before I had mine. When I had parenting questions, her bigger perspective was so helpful. Yet she wasn’t so far ahead of me that she lacked empathy for my parenting concerns.

She would say to me, “Oh, just think of it. Three is still pretty little,” when I would lament over my child’s lack of potty-progress.

I have always been able to count on Kathy for sound advice.

She is generous with her wisdom. (I eat it up.)

She is a good listener. (I feel heard.)

She embraces confidentiality. (I feel safe.)

She speaks with honesty and love. ( I trust her.)

And I know she prays for me. (I am grateful.)

Gone are the days of neighborhood coffee parties and regular extended-family gatherings (at least for many of us). But women are still wired to need each other.

Mary, after learning she was pregnant with Jesus, went to see her older cousin Elizabeth. Mary needed support and wisdom. Elizabeth provided both.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear. But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:39- 45).

We desire to learn from and to lean on one another.

Recently I spoke to a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. In my talk, I encouraged the women to be the mom God designed them to be.

One of the ways this can be done is to find a mentor; maybe a peer with perspective like my friend Kathy or possibly a more seasoned mentor like Mary’s relative, Elizabeth. It’s a biblical concept to have or to be a Titus woman (Titus 2:3-4). I guess that is why mentoring never goes out of style!

As a final thought, to avoid having the mentoring time look more like a gripe session, use a tool to steer your conversation. Of course my co-authored books, Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love are not the only resources out there. But I do believe they are good ones because each book has a companion study guide.

If you are a mom, I encourage you to find a Titus woman or to be one for someone else. It is a blessing for both.

I still count on my friend, Kathy for her sage advice. She’s now a grandmom. I’m not there yet, but when I am, I know who I’m “gonna call.”

So… women, who can you support and encourage? Whom would you like to have support and encourage you?

Leave a Comment for a Chance to Win a Free Book

If you would like to be eligible to receive a free book either: Raising Little Kids with Big Love or Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love, please leave a comment below mentioning who your personal mentor is (or has been) and how you are better for the guidance she provides.

Lori Wildenberg loves to encourage and support parents in their quest to be the mom or dad they want to be. Lori is a licensed parent and family educator, co-author of three parenting books, speaker, and founder, with Becky Danielson, of 1Corinthians13Parenting ministry (A parent’s one stop shop for all his or her parenting needs). A perfect day in Lori’s world is a hike with her husband Tom, their four kids, and Murphy, the family labradoodle. For more information or to connect with Lori go to www.1Corinthians13Parenting.com www.loriwildenberg.com or visit the 1C13P Facebook page www.facebook.com/1Corinthians13Parenting

 

If this post was a blessing to you, head over to Amazon where you can find more great faith-based and easily applicable tips and information in our newly released books: Raising Little Kids with Big Love (Wildenberg & Danielson) and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love (Wildenberg & Danielson).

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Are You Parenting from Fear?

I had the privilege of endorsing the book Mothering from Scratch by Kathy Helgemo and Melinda Means, and I can assure you this is a book every mother wants to read. I met Kathy and Melinda at The MOM Initiative Better Together Conference in Jacksonville, FL last summer. Kathy took my workshop on Praying for Your Prodigal based on my book Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter. In today’s guest blog, Kathy shares the feelings that stirred in her while listening to me speak.

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Breaking Free From Parenting Out of Fear

by Kathy Helgemo

 

I heard Janet talk at the Better Together conference last July on the topic of Parenting Your Prodigal. Once she started talking about parenting out of fear, I found myself sitting up. Listening. Wondering. Do I do that?

Oh, really Janet.” I thought. “You must be talking to someone other than me.”

I don’t consider myself a scared person. I actually don’t consider myself a particularly anxious person either. So, I found it interesting when God started laying on my heart that this was a problem of mine. I don’t have this problem, remember?

But this day He revealed to me that I truly did. And I better pay attention. Pronto.

Parenting from a place of fear has more to do with us than our kids. Yet, they suffer the consequences. Ouch.

I don’t know about you, but I have trouble enjoying the good times on occasion. For years, I constantly worried about my kids repeating my mistakes. Not theirs — mine.

I have parented my children as if they were making the same mistakes I did — even when they weren’t making any at all. No wonder they felt like they were doing something wrong. Guilty. For nothing.

They weren’t doing anything in particular.

Sure I did it when I was their age.

But they didn’t.

And hopefully they won’t.

Here is some of the evidence that I found in myself about parenting with fear:

  • I made normal transitions into drama-filled experiences. Too much attention. Too much anxiety. It’s akin to keeping on the training wheels way too long because it’s easier than seeing scraped knees. It’s normal to stumble and fall.
  • I tried to control their relationships too much. I didn’t want them to get their feelings hurt or hang out with “the wrong kids”.  After all, that’s what happened to me. However, they need friends and connection. They also need to learn how to discern the difference between good and bad influences.
  • I completely exaggerated everyday dangers. Here are some examples: strangers, alcohol, mean people, strange places. Dirt! For Pete’s sake. Those problems are not going to leave the planet anytime soon. I had an “all or nothing” attitude regarding some of them and it got out of control.
  • I worried about their achievements as if they were my own. How is this fearful? It’s the fear of failure. If we have struggled with the fear of failure ourselves, it’s so easy to project it onto our kids. For example, perhaps we were never a straight A student. We struggled just to get by on B’s and C’s. Suddenly, our kid’s excelling in school. Obsessing over of their grades becomes our focus. It’s much easier than to work through our own feelings of failing as a student.
  • I tried to prevent any kind of pain. We are their mothers! Gosh, darn it! We don’t want to see them in any kind of suffering. Unfortunately, that would prevent an awful lot of learning too. We can love them through anything. Teaching moments only happen when we get out of the way. Now, that’s scary!

Remember…

Love is the opposite of fear. Willing our child’s good above our own can be hard.

Staying in the place of fear, however, robs them of the security of knowing what real love is.

Let’s focus on loving our kids, giving them the security that their good is truly the center of our motives and actions.

And there you have it….

When are you parenting out of fear?

 

How can you break free and parent more from love?

 

What’s one area you can turn over your fear to God letting Him take control?

 

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Mothering From Scratch.

 

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Kathy Helgemo blogs over at Mothering From Scratch. She co-wrote the book Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Parenting Style That Works for You and Your Family with Melinda Means. Together they support and encourage moms to develop their own mothering recipe.

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Parents of the Bible Mentor Today’s Parents

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Our guest post today is by friend and fellow The M.O.M. Initiative mentor mom, Lindsey Bell. Next week, I’ll be sharing how I set goals for the New Year for my personal, ministry, and married life. One of those goals is to read through the Bible in a year. I love to read in different translations or use different guides to change it up each year so I was eager to learn more about Lindsey’s new book and how parents of the Bible could mentor us today!

 

A Resource for Spending More Time with God in the New Year

Lindsey Bell

 

With a new year right around the corner, many of us are already thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions. One New Year’s Resolution that seems to be a favorite among Christians is to spend more time in the Word…to read the Bible every day, or pray more often, or go to church regularly.

I want to share with you today about a new resource that can help you spend more time with God.

It’s a book called Searching for Sanity: 52 Insights from the Parents of the Bible.

This year-long devotional is designed for busy women who want to spend time with the Lord, but don’t have a lot of time to spare.

Each week provides a new devotional, as well as simple activities to do throughout the week to help reinforce the application points.

Here’s a little bit more for moms about the book:

Have you ever looked at your beloved children and wondered, what in the world am I doing? Why did God trust me—of all people—to raise them?

Motherhood is the most difficult job many of us will ever take. Searching for Sanity offers moms an opportunity to take a breath, dig into the Word, and learn from parents of the past.

In short devotions designed for busy moms, this book uses the parents of the Bible—both the good and the bad—to inspire today’s mothers.

You can read through this devotional alone or with a group of moms!

Let’s talk: what are your favorite resources to begin the year well?

This post is part of Lindsey Bell’s December blog tour. To enter to win Lindsey’s MEGA-GIVEAWAY (the winner will receive 6 books!), leave a comment on any of Lindsey’s guest posts this month (including this one).

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For a full list of participating blogs (and other ways to enter!) visit this post on Lindsey’s blog.

You can pick up a copy of Searching for Sanity at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

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About Lindsey Bell:

Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity: 52 Insights from the Parents of the Bible. She’s also a stay-at-home mother of two, minister’s wife, avid reader, and chocolate lover. You can find Lindsey online at any of the following locations:

Her blog: www.lindsey-bell.com

Her website: www.lindseymbell.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/LindseyMBell

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorLindseyBell

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/LindseyMBell01

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