Heart Pondering

The ponderings of one Christ-following mom on raising preschoolers

A front row seat on an unfolding life August 15, 2011

Filed under: For moms,Mothering role — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 4:31 am

The green and white checkered dress she wore with the little harness top as she wandered barefoot on the sidewalk was enough to melt my heart. We picked it up some place by way of hand-me-down; it’s no hand-sewn gem by any stretch. And yet that sweet fabric, against her strawberry blond hair with her chubby little biceps swinging free… it’s absurdly adorable. Sitting with her sister and rolling a ball back and forth across the cement, it created a snapshot in my brain that I hope will lodge there forever. In that instant I saw fully for who she is, the undeserved gift – beyond generous – that God gave us in her.

This week she turns two. Seven hundred some-odd days of waking up with this small person in our house, sharing our moments and days with her. Her playful smile and extroverted personality, her inquisitive spirit. Her humor and show-offy antics win the affection of strangers as much as family members. “What a happy child!’ everyone comments. And she is. She is a joy.

I was struck this week with the extravagance of the privilege we mothers hold in being able to know our young ones so well, have such an inside track on their development and emerging personality. I know the silence upstairs that likely means my toddler has gotten into trouble. I know the noise she makes when she needs the potty. I can interpret her cries – frustrated, hurt, angry, tired. One morning as I was translating a few new phrase of her particular “dialect” to her father – “No, she’s saying, ‘Watch this, Daddy!'” or “That means, ‘More milk please,'” – I was struck by the wonder it is to hold this role in the life of another human being. We are witnessing the unfolding of a one-of-a-kind human that God created with His own hands in His image. And no one else gets a front-row seat like this, at least not as close as ours. Nowhere near. It’s amazing.

That we get to witness this process, and not only witness the development of a person but help train and direct this soul – this baby becoming child becoming adolescent becoming adult – is remarkable. Why should God give us such a privilege? He need not have. But He does.

“From the fullness of His grace we have all received one gift after another.” (John 1:16) And this child, as each of my children, are truly such gifts.

Happy birthday, my sweet and beloved two-year old girl. No one loves you more than your daddy and I do, except the Father above who made you. To Him be all the thanks, and all the glory.

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A mom after God’s own heart: proactive nurture July 2, 2011

Filed under: Authority & obedience,Behaviors,Books,For moms,Mothering role — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:04 pm

Lately one word, in the realm of the home life, has been kicking around in my brain, and it’s this word: “nurture.” According to Dictionary.com it means “to feed and protect; to support and encourage.” A definition of nurturing is “fondly tender.” Nurture, in a sense, is the positive and proactive component in parenting in which we intentionally show love and kindheartedness to our kids.

And I’ve had this realization: I don’t do it enough. I nurture my children on the fly – a goodnight kiss here, a quick after-nap hug for a crank, a fleeting expression of enthusiasm over the latest drawing. A passing slice of tenderness when circumstances demand. Usually, though, I’m too engaged in either 1) trying to diligently run my household, or 2) trying to consistently monitor and train/correct my children in what they’re doing to be proactive in nurture.

It called to mind this passage Elizabeth Kroeger writes in Raising Godly Tomatoes(more…)

 

Thanksgiving prayer November 25, 2010

Filed under: For moms,Mothering role,Prayer — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 10:06 pm

For the life you’ve given with all its joys and gifts, for my blessed, God-given portion and cup, I thank Thee, Lord.

For a loving husband who fathers his children so well and tenderly, I thank Thee Lord.

For three ruddy children, the life and joy they bring to our home each day, I thank Thee Lord.

For a sweet babe kicking in my womb, this new life You’ve created who’s yet to be born, I thank Thee Lord.

For work to do and strength and health to do it each day, I thank Thee Lord.

For hearth and food, clothes and books – the abundance of our daily blessings – I thank Thee Lord.

For a pondering heart and a ready writer’s hand and pen, I thank Thee Lord.

Most and best: for Jesus Christ, the Sun shining on each day without Whom all would be lost, I thank Thee Lord.

 

Joyful vs. joyless mothering: intentional joy November 23, 2010

Filed under: Emotions,For moms,Mothering role,Parenting — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 6:39 am

My longest-standing client, a guy I’ve worked with for a decade and consider a friend, has this thing about threes.  If you’re going to create a list of points, there have to be three items – kind of like a three-point sermon.  He’s never content if we only come up with two, and even four he doesn’t love. It’s funny… yet it always rings in my head.

Joyful mothering doesn’t boil down to three concepts, not by a long shot. I have a feeling I’m going to be pondering and re-pondering this concept for years, even decades, and there will always be more to learn. Nevertheless, I’ll leave this little series at three posts, at least for now, and move onto other things.

This week is Thanksgiving, and thanksgiving and joy are kindred cousins.  A heart that bubbles over with authentic thanksgiving cannot help but be a joyful heart.  Where there is gratitude and thankfulness, there is joy.  And just as thanksgiving is an intentional act, something we choose to do, so I think is joy. (more…)

 

Joyful vs. joyless mothering: knowing ourselves November 14, 2010

Filed under: Books,For moms,Mothering role,The heart — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 5:20 am

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the joyful mother vs. the joyless mother.  I’ve started several posts but I can’t seem to sort out my thoughts coherently.  Or more accurately, there are too many components to the topic and they all get jumbled into a muddy mess.

So here I’m biting off  a smaller chunk: the need to know yourself and your tendencies as you mother.  A decent amount of press is giving to the importance of understanding your kids… studying them; knowing their love language; figuring out what makes them tick. And this is vitally important. But it’s just as important to pay sufficient attention to ourselves, our tendencies and needs, our energy level, and the state of our own souls as we mother. To know ourselves. (more…)

 

Sacrificing “thank offerings” for our children October 31, 2010

Filed under: Emotions,Materialism and entitlement,Mothering role,Prayer — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 11:17 pm

I’m four months pregnant with our fourth child (not sure I’ve mentioned that yet, but if I haven’t you won’t be too surprised if you’re a regular reader here), and lately I battle a fair bit of fatigue.  I slept terribly on Friday night and yesterday woke up feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.  It had been a long week, and as hunting season just started my husband was out for the morning, so I was on my own with the three kids.  That plus preparing for a full weekend – Halloween today and our eldest’s fifth birthday on Monday – and I was a crank.

The two bigger kids bickered considerably throughout the morning,the baby refused her morning nap, and when my husband returned I begged off our son’s 11 AM soccer game (he took all the kids) so I could go back to bed.  As I lay down I felt God prodding me.  All I wanted to do was crumple into a heap of  moodiness and slumber.  But, as God pointed out, I was riddled with thanklessness.  In my mind I was rehearsing all the frustrating things about my life and home and family, feeling completely sorry for myself, when in reality He has given me blessing upon blessing.  Here it was, the five-year anniversary of my becoming a mother, and all I could do was internally whine. (more…)

 

Remember when I was fun? August 7, 2010

Filed under: For moms,Household,Mothering role — Susan @ Christian Mothering @ 3:53 am

Last month for our eleventh anniversary, my husband and I went out to a comedy club. It was a great night, and as I sat with a drink among hip club-goers, laughing uproariously with my husband, a wistful feeling washed over me. “Remember how I used to be fun?” I asked my husband. Because it’s true, I have been a fun girl in my day.  I’m pretty loud and extroverted and I have a decent sense of humor; those traits can contribute to a fun time if the circumstances and group of people are right.  I can be a kick-my-heels-back kind of girl.

Not quite so much anymore though; much less kicking-back-heels now than in bygone eras.  I was thinking: what happened to that girl anyway?  “You’re still fun,” my husband replied, “but you go into business-mode more now than you used to.”  I appreciated the honesty… kind of.  He’s right though.  It’s all too easy for life with three needy preschoolers, a household to run, and some work to squeeze in to to turn into a ‘getter-done’ state of affairs.  I don’t mean for it to become bullet-point-ish… It just happens  Dinner; check. Clean-up; check. Baths (every second or third night); check. Bedtime routine; check.  Mandatory tasks call, and it’s hard for the mom at the helm to get into ‘fun’ mode in the midst of all that.  At least for this mom.  Who has the time (or energy)? (more…)