Mothering Now With the End in Mind {Choosing What You Will Harvest}

Oct
22
- by Cherie Werner - Leave a Comment
Mothering Now With the End in Mind {Choosing What You Will Harvest}

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

As a young mom and new believer there were many times I questioned, “How could I sow good seeds into the lives of my daughters that would amount to an abundant harvest of righteousness?” I had surrendered my life to Christ before our first child arrived in 1988; however, I hadn’t grown up having a personal relationship with God. 

The seeds sown in my childhood had been abandonment, rejection, hypocrisy and fear.  As a new mom, I knew I needed to tend to what I call the weeds (self-centeredness, unforgiveness, independence, anger and bitterness) in my life.  Billy Graham said, “ Women should first cultivate their souls that in turn they may cultivate the souls of their children.”  So this is where I began after having our second daughter prematurely.  Hormonally I was a wreck as we packed up to drive 1,500 miles with a three-week preemie and a 2 year old.  We left behind spiritual mentors and support.  I was new in my faith and struggled to grasp the gospel message, thus the “seeds” (lies/wrong thinking) that had defined me before my conversion quickly choked out life and darkness engulfed me.

I believe there are times when one needs to seek professional help to navigate a crisis and this was my time.  I was new to Austin and had no community, family or friends close by so I sought the wisdom of Christian counselors, as well as medical help. It was a toilsome process where weeds were pulled and the bad seeds of my past (wrong thinking) were eradicated because of God’s word, which is truth that will set you free (John 8:32). I knew that raising a bountiful harvest would take a lot of diligent hard work but it was an investment I was willing to make for our children and the generations to come.

For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. -1 Peter 1:18

God’s truth began to sow across my formerly barren landscape giving me purpose, perspective and hope. Soon spiritual fruit began to grow.  Why? John 15:4-5  says "Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Whether we like it or not, our life (attitudes, actions, and words) directly influences and impacts our children’s lives.   Children learn through watching and imitating.  Like sponges they absorb our lifestyle as parents. Thus the reality for us is that we are always sowing something and what we reap today is a result of what we have sown in the past.

So be intentional in your parenting! 

Sow intentionally by deciding ahead of time what you desire to reap in your relationships.  Begin with the end in mind, work backwards and decide what you desire your children to become.

Once I dealt with the overgrowth of the weeds in my life I gathered necessary tools to invest in my children as their God given parent.  I looked to God and the Bible to discover the values I should pass on. 

We had to sow the right kind of seeds for our family in order to get  the desired crop.  We had to be faithful to water and fertilize as needed, as well as sow generously. (2 Corinthians 9:6)  We hoped the seeds we purposed to scatter into our children’s lives would yield a solid spiritual foundation. We prayed for them to reap a Godly character, strong family ties, hospitality, a sense of life purpose, a desire to make God’s name known, living as servant leaders, and loving others well, through kindness, forgiveness, patience, humility, generosity and honesty.

Our eldest daughters both have matured into beautiful women who love the Lord and seek to make His name known.  Courtney is living in San Diego working on staff for a ministry group that reaches out to students on the UCSD campus. Caryn is in Detroit with a team loving on her neighbors and those she meets.  I continue to sow seeds into my life, the life of my eleven year old and other relationships. 

Everyone is a “seed bearer” ... either for good or bad!  What do you plant in yourself and what are you planting in your children?  What seeds are you using and what is the condition of the soil? 

Are there any unwanted weeds in your life? 

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Editor's Note: This article is part of our Sowing and Reaping Series, where we're learning together about how to invest our lives so that we might reap the Harvest of Motherhood God desires for us. We invite you to join our community and not miss a single post by subscribing to Mom Heart via email or RSS Feed.

Finding Joy in the Journey of Motherhood

Oct
16
- by Brenda Nuland - Leave a Comment
Finding Joy in the Journey of Motherhood

Recently my lovely daughter-in-law shared wedding pictures received from their photographer.  When I came across the above picture, I must admit to becoming teary eyed.

For the scene in the photo... one moment in a celebration... was to me more important than receiving a Pulitzer prize in Literature or a Nobel prize in Science (if I had ever mastered Algebra).  :)

For in the midst of all our imperfections, we are a Family.

I don't know why, but the word which came to my mind was... choices.  I thought back to the day I knew God was leading me to leave a fulfilling career to become a stay-at-home mom.  I loved my family but I was finally in a position where I enjoyed the work I was doing and the paycheck provided a standard of living not available on one income.

However, there I was on a business trip to California and hearing Him in that "still small voice" telling me it was time to make a choice.  Now, not every woman is asked to leave a career but I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God wanted me to concentrate on my family.

Years later He would ask another life changing commitment as the decision was made to pull our son out of the public school system and become a homeschool family.  Somehow I knew... just as I'd known when leaving behind a career... that this decision would mean all the difference in the world to the future of my family.

Were the decisions easy?  Oh, my... absolutely not.  For dying to self is very painful and giving up my immediate desires... planting them as seeds in the ground... meant sacrifice beyond measure. 

When a gardener plants the seeds in the darkness of the soil, where one cannot see the growth in the light of day... it requires faith to see the flower which will grow at a future date.

That's what I saw when I looked into those faces of children birthed, children by marriage, and grandchildren... this was my flower garden!  Thus, the tears as now I was looking at what only God could see all those years ago. 

God saw the Harvest.  :)

Mothers plant seeds toward that harvest every day... seeds of sleepless nights, meals prepared, dishes washed, diapers changed, lessons taught, toys picked up, making holidays special, the filtering of media and books, Sunday mornings looking for the lost shoes, staying up late as the teenage driver is coming home in a snowstorm, overwhelming fatigue... endless prayers sent Heavenward for those we love.

The world we live in today does not always give honor to one who puts the home first but it is a worthy goal.  I never imagined when I made that first decision all those years ago... that the journey itself would provide so much joy and satisfaction.  

 But God knew... He who sees the journey as well as the harvest.

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Editor's Note: This article is part of our new Sowing and Reaping Series, where we'll begin to learn together about how to invest our lives so that we might reap the Harvest of Motherhood God desires for us. We invite you to join our community and not miss a single post by subscribing to Mom Heart via email or RSS Feed.

Filling Souls With Treasure

Oct
11
- by Kristen Kill - Leave a Comment
Filling Souls With Treasure

Editor's Note:  Today's Post is written by our wonderful friend, Jennie Nelson (pictured above with her husband and sweet boys...how cute are they!?) She is a Mom Heart group leader in Idaho and also happens to be a dynamo tech help to our national Mom Heart team. I'm so happy to have her back at Mom Heart to encourage you today!

Sally often describes how she pictured her children's souls as treasure chests.  She longed to fill these chests with beautiful things so that each one would have a place to draw from when they got older.  All around us is the season of harvest. It's a wonderful time to take a few minutes to ponder what it is you are filling your children's souls with, that will reap a harvest someday. What treasures are you placing into their treasure chests? 

So how do we do this and where do we begin?

Fill their souls with heroes.  

Read great stories! If you need ideas for books, Read for the Heart by Sarah Clarkson, is an excellent resource and reference book on children's literature.  My husband and I have tried to make reading a priority.  As a result, we are now reaping the joys of youngsters that love to listen to stories.  This was brought home to me once a couple years ago when we entered a bookstore as a family. In the children's area, the store had provided a train table in order for the kiddos to play.  My little guy look at the trains, and then looked at the books and went right over to choose a book to peruse. It stunned me!  God allowed us to reap what we had sown.

Fill their souls via their senses.  

The changing season provides opportunities for nature walks, collecting leaves and noticing God's creation as it hunkers down for the winter.  Delight their little ears with excellent music.  Delight their palettes with tasty treats.  After a busy and people-filled day today, I made shave ice in the blender and stuck some frozen yogurt in the bottom as a treat.  Plus, any snack enjoyed outside in the fall weather becomes a delicacy.  

Psalm 107:9.  "For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness."

Fill their souls with grace 

Speak words of love, poured over them generously, give them reminders of their preciousness in God's sight and scriptures that tell of God's rescue plan written for them.

Proverbs 8:6 "Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;  I open my
lips to speak what is right."

Col. 2:13-14 NLT "You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross."

Remember that you cannot fill your children's souls with these things if your own soul is not being filled.  Books of heroes, delights of the senses, words of grace- sweet Mama, you need them too.

What will you sow this season?

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This article is part of our  Sowing and Reaping Series, where we're learning together about how to invest our lives so that we might reap the Harvest of Motherhood God desires for us. We invite you to join our community and not miss a single post by subscribing to Mom Heart via email or RSS Feed.

What the Locusts Have Eaten

Oct
9
- by Andrea Birch - Leave a Comment
What the Locusts Have Eaten

Three years ago, I was nearing the end of my pregnancy. I was so tired and worn out, never really recovering from the severe hypermesis that I experienced the first three months of the pregnancy. I would fix breakfast for the children, and then have to lie down to rest. Walking around for a little while around the house exhausted me. I felt quite helpless that summer, really wanting some energy to engage my children with some fun activities, and also feeling guilty for being in the bed most of the time.

I really wondered if I would ever feel better. It seemed like I "wasted" many months in the bed, sick and tired. I felt stuck. Add to that some deep issues I was wrestling with on those long, dark days of morning sickness.

During this time, I received the most amazing words of encouragement from a dear woman of the Lord that I will never forget to this day.

Here is a part of it:

Dearest ((Andrea)),

     I wanted to send off a quick note, to give you a big gentle hug, and let you know that I'm thinking of you and praying for you.....God is holding you especially close ....especially so, in the discombobulations, sorrows and confusions, of the hard times....

   Jesus loves me, this I know. 
And,
 Jesus knows me, this I love.

I sobbed and sobbed after that email. For a long time.

And because of this woman’s encouraging words, and her obedience to minister to me, I held on to that tiny hope that this situation I was in was not going to last forever.

That my body would get stronger.

That I would have more strength to take care of my family.

That we would one day have a fun summer.

That God was in control of it all and I must trust Him.

Friends, I don't know what situation you are in. I don't know if you are asking God every day if it will ever end. You may be confused, you may be sick, you may be hurting, you may just be struggling with LIFE.

The phrase: "restore what the locusts have eaten" is something that keeps ringing in my head.

I do know your situation or whatever it is you are struggling with will change. God is in the business of changing and growing and giving and loving.

And sometimes that is so very painful, but you do know He will restore.

Because He does that, too.


"The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you."  ~Joel 2:24-25


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Editor's Note: This article is part of our new Sowing and Reaping Series, where we'll begin to learn together about how to invest our lives so that we might reap the Harvest of Motherhood God desires for us. We invite you to join our community and not miss a single post by subscribing to Mom Heart via email or RSS Feed.

Waiting for a {Mother's} Harvest

Oct
4
- by Kristen Habermehl - Leave a Comment
Waiting for a {Mother's} Harvest

Crusty-brown mud revealed the pathway my young ones had taken through the house and I felt my disappointed heart sink. How many weary times would I have to clean the floor?

And the noisy bickering and tiring arguing between siblings? Was this to be our permanent method of communication?

I’d corrected these issues many times before, but again and again? Really?

I’m finally beginning to accept, and embrace, that the journey of a faithful mom is this – to patiently yet expectantly “sow good seeds and remove bad weeds” in the lives of my children; and then tend to those priceless plants over and over and over again.

But we’re struggling at every turn to push past the message of our culture, aren’t we? We live in a generation that has a lost at sea, “McDonald’s” mindset. And maybe when we get brutally honest with ourselves, what we’d really like is to pull up to a drive-thru window, place our order for well-behaved kids to the cheerful voice at the other end, wait five minutes and then be on our merry way too. But we all know that’s not how it works.

No, it’s the faithful moments that lead into faithful days, which carry us into faithful months which will turn into years of faithfulness.

Maybe Albert Einstein was thinking of parenting when he stated, "One should not pursue goals that are easily achieved. One must develop an instinct for what one can barely achieve through ones greatest efforts."

Don’t get me wrong – raising our children bubbles over with fun, laughter and precious moments, but to do it well; it will require every ounce of our greatest efforts that God has placed inside us as moms.

Picture a healthy, green garden with row upon row of thriving vegetables…it’s a visual reminder of what our job as moms is to be. So many applications abound within that mental snapshot, but two of my favorites are these

1. You have to wait to reap the rewards 

2.You get back what you plant at the start.

And so it is, and will be, with our children. On hard days I cling for all I’m worth to the verse in Galatians 6:9, that shouts, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we WILL reap a harvest IF we do not give up.”

There are no short cuts on the path of shaping character in the lives of our children. None.

When I reflect on how many “seeds” I’ve planted in my children that I’ve seen come to “harvest”, my heart rejoices in God’s faithfulness. But when I look at my five precious ones who still have so many “seeds” still waiting to burst forth from the soil, I can feel discouraged and overwhelmed.

I purposefully choose not to look ahead, nor try to imagine how many more lessons remain. God, in His perfect wisdom, calls us to take EACH day at a time. It’s all any of us are asked to do.

So may we stand up strong and bravely do this immense job well; with love and grace oozing out of our pores, and with our eyes set to the future for the rich harvest that God has planned for each of our families.

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Editor's Note: This article is part of our new Sowing and Reaping Series, where we'll begin to learn together about how to invest our lives so that we might reap the Harvest of Motherhood God desires for us. We invite you to join our community and not miss a single post by subscribing to Mom Heart via email or RSS Feed. 

The Locker Room Talk

Oct
2
- by Stacy Buck - Leave a Comment
The Locker Room Talk

Sports have really never been my thing.

I was the volleyball player that prayed the ball would never come my way. I was the basketball player that was thrilled to sit on the bench. I was the cheerleader that confused offense and defense but thrived while cheering. I am the wife that watches sports with my husband because sitting next to him makes him feel loved. There are certain times throughout the year that I enjoy actually being a fan. Super Bowl Sunday and when the Spurs are playing for the NBA Championship.

Two teams fight their way to the very top, to the last game of the season. They are disciplined, talented, experts in their position, and devoted to the game. However, one will go home the loser and one will go home the winner...no matter what.

Field goals get missed, balls get dropped, free throws aren’t made...this is how games are won and lost. The most exciting games to watch are the “comeback” games, when a team pulls through a miserable first half and shows up brilliantly the second half. I always wonder what the coach said during the half time LOCKER ROOM TALK.

The Mom Heart Leadership Intensive that was held in Colorado two weeks ago would prove to be a  LOCKER ROOM TALK experience. I must say the environment was nothing like a locker room. Lit candles and delicious aromas filled each home we stepped foot into, the decor was amazing, the hotel room bed was made daily by someone other than me, and the coaches were eager to lovingly serve. The attendees included writers, bloggers and speakers. Many have written books and have international blog followings but all have a unique position they play. The “locker room” was filled with talented, disciplined, devoted women

I’ve recently felt distracted and pulled in many directions. My life has been full of missed opportunities to pour myself into my home because I’ve had nothing to pour. My focus has been building a “Stacy” online community, one “like” or re-tweet at a time. I have been sharpening my skills as a speaker by saying yes again and again without considering the time and cost. I have been dropping balls at work because my head wasn’t in “the game.” Strategic plays were disrupted because my own agenda and name were being cheered on. 

Part of the homework for the Leadership Intensive was called “Own Your Life.” I had to identify three foundational scriptures and share how I adjust my life around these verses and how I was succeeding and failing at staying the course.

One of my primary life scriptures is Philippians 2.3:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in everything consider others better than yourself.”

When I was first invited to the Intensive, I was eager to learn how to reach more people, become a more articulate speaker, and learn secrets from successful bloggers. But the evidence of fumbling the “do nothing from selfish ambition” verse was in every play of my life. I arrived in Colorado knowing I was in need of THE LOCKER ROOM TALK.

The first night of the Intensive, we sat in Sally Clarkson's living room. Sally began the evening teaching by opening THE PLAYBOOK of God’s word.

Within the first few scriptures of the evening was Philippians 2.3. I felt God sit me on the bench so I would listen with absolute intensity because HE knows I want to serve Him. He knows I want to be used by HIM. HE knows the plans for me but they are HIS plans, not mine. On the bench, my heart was desperate for direction. My fumbles were so evident in the weeks prior...I was ready to refocus.

Following are a few “game changing” quotes from Coach Sally Clarkson for my everyday life:

“Opportunity doesn’t mean necessity.”

“If you don’t have a plan others will make it for you”.

“Wisdom always requires a great investment. Choosing excellence means you have to compromise other things (who I listen to, what I read and who I follow)."

“You can build a condominium or an estate.”

“Wise women copy wise women.”

“It is SUPERnatural to hold to ideals...it’s natural to grow weary.”

“Wisdom is a legacy you leave over a lifetime. Wisdom is always active; practicing discipline in knowledge and grace makes you strong. You have ONE LIFE to leave a legacy.”

The great teachings, laughter, conversation, and food were truly amazing. During free time, two Intensive attendees, gave up their time alone and provided a safe place for me to confess my sins, disappointments, and fears. I was cleansed and renewed.

The entire weekend I was poured into so I could pour myself out into my home. My home pours out to the world...not the other way around. I left the Intensive not intensively focused on building my kingdom but HIS. One cup of tea, one story told to the eager ears of my children, one dinner shared with the broken around my table at a time.

The average length of time someone spends on a blog is less than 96 seconds. I can focus incredible amounts of energy for 96 seconds with a stranger or create memories, moments and monuments in the pieced together lives around me so they can then do the same. The law of multiplication is powerful.

From the ‘LOCKER ROOM’ to the living room I will play my position as a wife to an amazing man and mother to three. I will work as a hospice employee to the best of my ability. I will write when I have a moment alone, speak only on occasion, and place greater boundaries on my social media time. I may not have a 7-digit Facebook following but I WILL have a following....they call me wife, mother, and friend.

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Editor's Note: This article is part of our new Sowing and Reaping Series, where we'll begin to learn together about how to invest our lives so that we might reap the Harvest of Motherhood God desires for us. We invite you to join our community and not miss a single post by subscribing to Mom Heart via email or RSS Feed.