A Letter to Politicians, Media, and Hollywood from We The American People

On June 14, 2017, our President Donald J. Trump’s 71st birthday, a radicalized liberal with a high-powered rifle went to a ball field where Republican Congressmen and one of their 10 year-old sons were practicing baseball for the next night’s partisan baseball game. These men and the child were all unarmed, except for the two Capitol police who were with the Republican Majority Whip, Steve Scalise, but were not out on second base to protect him as the shooter started spraying bullets, only after clarifying it was Republicans who were practicing!

My friend and founder of the MOM Initiative sat down that morning and wrote this letter to politicians, the media, and Hollywood. She’s also made it available on her website for you to download and share. Information for that download is at the end of this blog. I know many of you, like me, share Stephanie’s passion for our country to unite, as Americans.

Dear #Politicians, #Media, and #Hollywood – please understand that your platform comes with great responsibility. Stirring hate & division creates chaos. Remember…we are #1NationUnderGod and a house divided can not stand.

We, the American people, have watched what has happened to this country as it consistently and methodically tried to remove God from its foundation.

We, the American people, know this country stands in need of repentance. That means you too. This country cannot blatantly turn it’s back on God and then wonder where He is and where His blessings and protection have gone.

We, the American people, want unity…not division.

We, the American people, want peace…not political war.

We, the American people, elected you to help solve problems, not create them.

We, the American people, want strong common-sense leadership that protects our country…not squabbles about whether you think people have the right to break the laws of this land.

We, the American people, want to be able to watch television without seeing political agendas spewed, violence justified, hate embraced, and chaos excused.

We, the American people, want to live freely by our Constitution as set forth very carefully, very prayerfully, and very intentionally by our Founding Fathers.

We, the American people want to see respect for one another and responsible words and actions from those who take the stage whether politically or for entertainment.

We, the American people, are tired of calls for resistance and obstruction, and unwise and controversial tweets that stir the pot instead of speaking wisdom and strength.

We, the American people, want the media to report unbiased stories instead of looking to create scandalous headlines that aren’t based on facts.

We, the American people, expect those who are given a platform to conduct themselves with integrity, dignity, respect, and for the good of the American people.

We, the American people, are asking you… the Hollywood elite, the Political leaders, and the Media to remember why you do what you do… because we, the American people have applauded your well-skilled craft, elected you to office, and invited you into our living rooms to hear what you have to say.

We, the American people, are asking you to behave yourselves like responsible, respectful, and patient adults.

We, the American people, still believe we are one nation under God and that we are endowed by our Creator with life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We, the American people, expect you to believe that too.

We, the American people, expect you to behave in a way that teaches young people how to listen to other’s points of view with respect…even if you respectfully disagree.

We, the American people, expect you to seek peace and truth, not create chaos and spew lies.

We, the American people, are praying for each of you and want to see you fulfill your God-given destiny.

But you, Hollywood, Politicians, and Media, must care enough about us, the American people, to take responsibility for the platform you’ve been given and do what you are there to do for the good of the American people.

*Think before you speak…
*Consider consequences before you act…
*Pray before you take the platform…

Because we, the American people, are desperate to see America continue to enjoy the freedoms we have been blessed with in this country…to be the land of the free, the home of the brave.

People have fought and died so that we could freely disagree, but the freedom to disagree comes with the responsibility to do so civilly with honesty and integrity.

So, be brave enough to consider we the American people before you say or do anything – and remember, our freedoms came at great cost and your platform comes with great responsibility.

** A note to you from Stephanie: I’ve rarely asked people to share a post, but if you agree with this, please share. In fact, print out and mail to your elected officials, to Hollywood producers and actors and singers, and to television stations, media personalities, journalists, and whoever you think might need to hear the heart of the American people.

Stephanie has provided a free download on her website.

If you received this blog by email, please leave a comment here.

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6 Things NOT to Say When Someone is Hurting (And What to Say Instead)

6 Things NOT to Say When Someone Is Hurting

My friend, fellow author and a The MOM Initiative mentor mom, Lindsey Bell, has a new book, Unbeaten, that I wanted to share with you this week. In today’s blog post, Lindsey shares about something I write about also in both Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer (The-Top-Thirteen-Things-to-Do-or-Say to Someone with Breast Cancer) and Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? (The Top Fifteen Things Not to Say or Do to Someone Experiencing Infertility). It’s hard to know what to say, or not say, to someone who is in deep emotional or physical pain and so often we say something that hurts rather than helps. We’ve all been there: had something hurtful said to us, or said the wrong thing to someone else.

6 Things NOT to Say When Someone is Hurting (And What to Say Instead)

By Lindsey Bell

One of the most important aspects of mentoring is ministering to someone who is going through a hard time.

Unfortunately, there is often confusion as to what is best to say when someone is hurting.

We want to encourage people, not make their pain worse, but we don’t always know what to say.

After each of my four consecutive miscarriages, and during the years of waiting, testing, and grieving, people tried to say things to me that would comfort my broken heart. They meant well, just as most people do when they attempt to comfort someone who is hurting.

Unfortunately, many of their well-intention words did more harm than good.

Here are a few things you should never say to someone who is hurting (and a few ideas of things you can say instead).

  1. You just need to trust God (or God’s timing or God’s plan, etc.).

While this might be true, it’s not a helpful thing to hear right after a loss or while the pain is still fresh.

Instead, say, “I’m so sorry.”

And that’s it. You don’t have to offer answers to someone going through a hard time.

  1. There’s a reason for everything.

Really? Are you sure?

I guess this might be true. There probably is a reason for everything, but maybe that reason is simply that life stinks sometimes. Maybe that reason is that bad things happen.

Maybe there isn’t some theological, deep reason that God allowed this trial into their life. It’s possible, of course, there is a deeper reason. Maybe God is planning to use this situation in some really huge way.

But isn’t it also possible that this bad thing happened simply because it happened…not because it was a part of some huge plan?

Instead, say, “This stinks.”

  1. At least you have….

At least you have another child…. At least you had X number of years with him. At least you have …

I think the reason people say this is because they want the person who is hurting to focus on his or her blessings.

And though it’s certainly helpful to count your blessings, there’s also a time and place for grief. People need to grieve, and pointing out the positives in their situation does not help them grieve.

Having one child does not make the loss of another any easier to swallow. (It might serve as a distraction, but it doesn’t negate the loss of the other child).

A loss is a loss, so it’s better not to minimize that loss by bringing up the positives in the situation.

Instead say, “Can I pray for you right now?”

And then actually do it. Right then. Right there.

  1. Next time will be different (or God is going to fix this or something similar).

I can’t count the number of times people told me this. After our first miscarriage, they told me our next pregnancy would be different. It wasn’t. After our second miscarriage, they said it again. It wasn’t.

The truth is, we don’t know what the future holds, so it’s better not to pretend that we do.

Instead, say, “I’m going to the grocery store. What can I pick up for you?” Or, “I’m running by Sonic. What kind of drink would you like?”  

People mean well when they say, “Let me know if I can do anything.” But most likely, people won’t take them up on their offer. Instead of offering general assistance, offer to do something specific.

  1. I know how you feel.

No, no, you don’t. Even if you have gone through something very similar, it’s not exactly the same because you are not the same person.

No two pains are exactly the same.

Instead, say, “There are no words.”

Because really, there aren’t. There are no words that will instantly fix their situation.

  1. God won’t ever give us more than we can handle.

This statement bothers me for two reasons.

First, is makes it sound like God is the one handing out the painful situations. God allows death, but I don’t think he “gives” it to us.

Secondly, I’ve never seen this idea in Scripture anywhere. In fact, I’ve seen many examples of the opposite.

I’ve seen God allowing really hard things into peoples’ lives so they will learn to trust in Him.

Instead, say NOTHING. Just be there.

What other things would you add to this list?

If you received this post by email, leave a comment here.

This post is part of Lindsey’s blog tour to celebrate her new Bible study and devotional, Unbeaten: How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain (and you can too).

To celebrate her book, she’s giving away a HUGE bundle of books! Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win. You can get more entries by commenting on other blogs in the tour as well. Get a full list of participating blogs here: www.lindseymbell.com/unbeaten-is-here-win-this-huge-bundle-of-books.

Unbeaten Cover

About Unbeaten:

Why does life have to be so hard? If you’ve ever asked this question, you’re not alone. Difficult times often leave Christians searching the Bible for answers to some of life’s most difficult questions.

Questions like:

Does God hear me when I pray?

Why isn’t He doing anything?

Does He even care?

In Unbeaten: How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain (and you can too), Lindsey Bell walks with readers through the stories of men and women in the Bible who went through difficult situations. In this 10-week Bible study and devotional, she addresses many of these questions and helps readers learn how they too can be unbeaten.

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About Lindsey Bell:

Lindsey Bell is the author of the Bible study and devotional, Unbeaten, and of the parenting devotional, Searching for Sanity. She’s a stay-at-home mother of two silly boys, a minister’s wife, an avid reader, and a lover of all things chocolate. Lindsey writes weekly at www.lindseymbell.com about faith, family, and learning to love the life she’s been given.

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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.

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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.

If you received this blog by email, comment here.

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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.

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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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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

 

MMG - Guest Post - Let Them Cry

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)

Final Cover The Mean Moms Guider

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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Leave a comment to enter into a drawing for a free copy of The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids. Be sure to check the box “notify me by email of updates” so you will know if you won.

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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.

 

If you are receiving this blog by email, click here to leave a comment.

 

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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Finding Mom Mentors: No Gray Hair Required by Melinda Means

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Melinda Means is our guest today on Monday Morning Blog. I met Melinda for the first time at The M.O.M Initiative Better Together Conference this past summer. Today Melinda writes about something I’m always teaching–mentoring is just being a few steps ahead of someone else. Sometimes it will be an older woman, but other times it might be someone your own age or even younger like in Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha: Sisters in Christ. Melinda talks here about finding a mentor mom, but all of her suggestions apply to finding a mentor in all walks of life.

She never arrived.

I waited for her. Prayed for her. God knows how desperately I needed her.

But, as a young mom, the Titus 2 woman I envisioned never made an appearance.

I so badly needed a more seasoned mom to show me the ropes. To help guide me away from foolish choices and selfish attitudes.

But the sweet, gray-haired wise mentor I dreamed of – the one who’d spend structured time with me each week — never materialized.

Instead, God sent my pastor’s wife. Just a few years older than me, she modeled how to put family before myself in healthy ways.

He gave me another wise friend with kids a stage or two above mine who alerted me to the pitfalls I was going to encounter if I didn’t set better boundaries with my children.

“My kids always know I mean what I say. They never doubt that I’m going to follow through,” she told me. “Yours have to know that, too.”

Although she moved away years ago, I’ve never forgotten those words.

He sent me a lifelong friend who is actually a year younger than me who gave me tough love during a difficult time. God used her to strengthen my resolve and muster the courage to make hard choices during a very painful season with one of my children.

He sent others along the way who gave me just what I needed at a crucial time in my life and mothering.

Some of them are still in my life. Others were there just for a season. Still others didn’t even know they were mentoring me. I simply observed and learned from them, even though I may not have had even more than a passing relationship with them.

It took me years to recognize that these were my Titus 2 women.

She did show up after all! She just didn’t arrive in the package that I expected. I didn’t realize that my Titus 2 woman could look just like me.

Many moms do have wise older women who pour into their lives regularly. Today, I count myself among them.

But as a young mom I found the search for traditional mentoring difficult. Along the way, I discovered there’s no age requirement for mentors. They just have to be humble, godly and willing to honestly share the wisdom of their life experiences. As moms, we can learn a lot from women who are just a stage or two ahead of us in the parenting journey.

So how do you find your Titus 2 woman?

I have good news. She’s probably already in your life. You just may not know it. I had to look beyond my idea of what a mentor “should” look like.

Try asking yourself these questions:

  • Do I have a friend who is highly skilled in an area of mothering where I struggle?
  • What women do I know that have godly character that I admire?
  • Have I observed someone in my life who seems to handle difficult situations with her husband and/or children in a way I respect and want to learn from?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have a Titus 2 woman in your life.

To benefit from her wisdom and experience, all it takes is a teachable heart, keen observation, and the humility to ask for help and guidance.

Are you the answer to someone’s mentor prayer?

We all need mentoring, but we can also be mentors. You could be the Titus 2 woman that someone else is praying for.

Because no matter how inadequate we may feel at times, we always have skills and character traits that someone else admires and can learn from.

God never intended for us to do mothering alone. We need each other.

Sometimes we just have to open our eyes to the resources around us. And open our hearts to other moms who need our wisdom and support.

No gray hair required!

Melissa Means

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About Melinda:

Melinda is mother to two teenagers — a strapping son and a beautiful and entertaining daughter. She has been a freelance writer since her daughter was an infant, writing primarily for healthcare publications up until several years ago when her writing focus took a decidedly maternal turn.

You can find Melinda on Moms Together, a thriving, interactive Facebook group for moms. She is also a Regular Contributor to Christian Work at Home Moms and More To Be, a mentoring site for mothers and teen girls. Melinda co-authored Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family. It will be released by Bethany House Publishers in January 2015.

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Three Reasons Authenticity is Worth the Risk by Lindsey Bell

Our guest blogger today is author and speaker Lindsey Bell. Lindsey and I are mentor moms for The M.O.M. Initiative and we met for the first time when we both spoke at the Better Together Conference in Jacksonville, Florida. Lindsey and I have a heart for women struggling with infertility. She shares about her miscarriages and secondary infertility, as our daughter Shannon also shares in my book Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? I know you will be blessed with Lindsey’s post today as she encourages us to be authentic in all circumstances.

Three Reasons Authenticity is Worth the Risk

By Lindsey Bell

3 Reasons Authenticity is Worth the Risk

It’s so easy to be fake, to put on a smiling face when someone asks how you’re doing and to answer back, “I’m doing good. How about you?”

It’s tempting to pretend you’ve got it all together…especially when everyone around you seems to have it all together too. You certainly don’t want to be “that girl” who always has issues.

I know because I’ve been that girl. I’ve been the one who seems to be struggling all the time. I’ve been the girl whose faith is ugly, who is dealing with doubts and questions I don’t want to admit aloud.

One thing I learned during those years, though, is that sometimes authenticity is God’s tool to heal your heart. It certainly was for me.

 My “Authentic” Story

About four years ago, my husband and I began battling secondary infertility.

In 2010, we lost our first child to miscarriage. Then followed miscarriage #2, #3, and #4.

I know for some, especially if you’ve never had a miscarriage or didn’t really struggle with yours, miscarriages might not seem like that big of a deal. But to me, each loss stabbed my heart just a little bit deeper.

Each loss also led me to question God’s love for me. I knew he was capable of fixing whatever was causing our miscarriages, but for whatever reason, he chose not to.

For a while, I tried to hide my brokenness. I assumed (mistakenly) that if I didn’t show how broken I felt, it would go away.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that brokenness doesn’t go away. Broken things don’t get fixed unless you let Someone put them back together again.

It was only when I started sharing about how hurt I was that God began healing my heart and putting me back together again. He used the people around me to shower me with His love…to remind me he did still love me, he was still with me, and he had heard every single prayer I uttered to him.

God used my authenticity to bring healing, and I believe he wants to do the same for many other women as well.

The problem is, we’re afraid to be authentic. We’re afraid of being judged, rejected, or abandoned.

I won’t deny the risk. Authenticity is risky…but it’s also worth it.

Three Reasons Authenticity is Worth the Risk:

 

1. Authenticity opens the door to real relationships.

C.S. Lewis said that “friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another:

What! You too?’”

How many times have you struggled with a problem and thought you were the only one? But then, when you finally got the courage to share your issue, you realized many other women had been there too.

Real relationships are only possible when both people are willing to be real with one another…real about their struggles, their successes, and their lives.

2. Authenticity opens the door to real healing.

Jennifer Rothschild told a story in her book God is Just Not Fair about a speaker who carried a glass of water with her onto the platform as she spoke. This woman held the glass of water throughout the entire presentation.

At first, holding the glass was easy. After all, it was just a glass of water.

But as the class wore on, everyone in the audience could tell the woman’s arms were getting tired. That glass of water—that didn’t weigh much—felt like it weighed a ton because of how long she held it.

You and I often carry around our own glasses of water…our own worries, fears, insecurities, or problems. We don’t want anyone to know what we’re carrying so we pretend it doesn’t exist.

The problem, though, is that it does exist, and it’s getting heavier the longer we carry it alone. Our sisters in Christ can’t help us carry our glasses if they don’t know about them. Likewise, God can’t carry our glasses if we’re not willing to let him have them.

3. Authenticity opens the door to God’s glory shining through us.

I love this quote by Kaci Calvaresi:

“God can’t use a redemptive story that you’re not willing to tell.”

God wants to use our stories to show his glory, but He can only use them if we will share them.

 

Authenticity is scary at times. It’s risky. But it’s also worth it!

Let’s talk: why do you think it’s so hard to be authentic with one another? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts . . .

*photo courtesy: Foreman Photography

About Lindsey Bell:

Lindsey Bell is the author of Searching for Sanity, a parenting devotional designed for busy moms. 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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