Nurturing Your Children When it Doesn’t Come Naturally

We recorded this episode after one of our live coffee days!

Episode 5 (1)

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Untitled design (1)

Myth- You will always be pleasant and sweet and feel that way!

Carly- Sometimes we don’t want to take care of someone before ourselves.

We don’t realize how selfish we are until we have kids.

Kathleen- We have an ideal of serving others as long it is the parameters we set. Example -serving a few hours out an outreach.

If you want learn how to be unselfish, have children.

Amerey-Media- Mom is dressed and ready when kids wake up. Make up one.

Three year old wakes up before everyone. It’s hard to get up and be purposeful. I want to be the selfish mom.

Carly- Hubby has fallen into the trap of turning TV on. It takes some retraining.

Kathleen-Myth- People assume that if you stay at home, your home is organized. You are joyful. You have makeup on.

The idea that we don’t get frustrated in our jobs is a myth.

Other women who have careers get frustrated in their jobs.

Carly- Why do we think we shouldn’t get frustrated in our jobs?

Amerey- We think we shouldn’t get frustrated in the home with our kids. Or out in public. We begin to think there is something wrong with our kids

Carly- We share the best parts of our day on social media. So, we compare our normal day with the best parts of someone else’s day.

Kathleen- Five  minutes of everything going right. The kids are behaving. We have a cup of coffee and we take a photo. We post it.

Amerey- While we are posting it, the kids have a break down

Carly- Here’s the thing. I only follow people who take the good picture and post the bad picture too.

Amerey- I followed DIY people and thought I had to clean my house and have it perfect first.

Carly- How do you help yourself be the best person you can be?

I didn’t take time for myself for a year and a half. Take time for yourself.

Watercolors. Sand some wood.

Amerey- The thing to remember – this doesn’t mean time to zone. This means body and soul refreshing. Don’t just zone and forget about things.

You need to come back filling like a better person. Refresh your mind.

Read a book that speaks to you.  Paint. Knit. Focus on yourself mentally.

Carly- Sometimes the best thing is to let the dishes go.

Kathleen- She is right. Refurbishing something is de-stressing for me. The Bible speaks of renewing our minds. When act like our creative self, like God designed us to be, we are renewing our minds.

The Liturgy of the Ordinary

Find Christ in the ritualistic things you do every day.

A Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Intentionally look for God in folding laundry

Kathleen- God takes the mundane and turns it into something glorious

We have to be intentional. We can become lazy spiritually just as much as we do physically. We must be intentional about looking for Christ.

Amerey- Something else you can do- after you have set aside time for yourself. Set aside time to spend time with your child.  We forget our child needs time with us. Sit on the floor and read every book they bring to you.

Kathleen- God usually requires us to do the opposite of what we want. After a move to a new town, I experienced circumstantial depression.

Hug each child every day. Do something fun with each child every day.

Amerey-We became close that year. Family game nights every night. If you don’t have a year like that, you need to set aside time when your focus is on your child.

Carly- Would you like to look back twenty years later and try to find good moments or would you rather count them along the way.

Kathleen- The lesson from the hard year- God is going to require you to intentionally nurture your children, even in your deepest, darkest, hour.

Carly- God calls us to holy work.

Closing Remarks

Amerey-

To Nurture your child you must Nurture yourself.

Set aside time to nurture your child. Intentionally.

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When Nurturing Your Children Doesn’t Come Naturally

Friend Patty was sporty, fit and planned to become an astronaut. Instead, she became a wife and mother. Patty didn’t feel as if she had a mothering instinct. Lovey-dovey stuff didn’t come easy to her. She worked hard to curb her military manner. Because she worked so hard, she became an excellent parent. One of the best I have had the privilege of knowing. She lived in the moment and believed her children are precious. Her children are grown now and thriving.

Patty was my first honest Mom friend. She told me the truth about how she felt about Mothering. She felt as if she had to overcome many personality obstacles to be nurturing. By the grace of God, she did. I’m thankful for her honesty. She inspired me to work against the grain of my flesh and be a purposeful parent.

Honestly, being loving and nurturing toward our children is hard work. Why? Because it requires true Biblical love and that is the hardest kind of love on the planet. It’s the kind of love that doesn’t fail, hardly notices when it has been wrong and this kind of love believes the best of everyone.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. (I Corinthians 13: 7b, The Message)

“Our culture depicts a “good mother” as an angel in the house who is naturally sweet, self-denying, and eternally loving. The media creation expectations that mother-love, like our culturally formed vision of romantic love, is something you fall into, a delightful sinkhole that leaves you so sated that you don’t want to climb out.”- Leslie Fields via Parenting is Your Highest Calling and 8 Other Myths That Trap Us in Worry and Guilt

While there may be sunny days when everything goes just right for five minutes and we have coffee, most days aren’t picture perfect. Although we love our children, some days we just don’t like them. They behave badly and we’re exhausted.  We dangle at the end of our rope. It’s in these moments, behind closed doors,that Biblical nurturing love is hardest to walk out. It’s in these moments that we woman can not do anything in our own strength. It’s in these moments that Christ’s suffering is close. He meets us there on the battlefield. He understands. It’s in those moments when our flesh is fierce.

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?- Galatians 5:17

We are naturally selfish beings. Our regenerated spirit wars with the flesh. What does that mean? We want our own way. We joylessly grab for whatever we think will make us happy at the moment, five more minutes sleep, one more chapter, a perfectly clean home, a late night movie. We develop a brutal temper when we don’t get what we want. When we do get what we want as a result of yelling or manipulation, we feel lonely, empty, depleted and a deep sense of shame. I know. Lived there in the pit myself. It’s muddy and stinky. There is no peace in the ‘me first’ land of motherhood.

So, what’s the answer? How do we nurture our children when we just want to be left alone? How do we become the nurturing, loving Mother we want to become. How do we fight our selfish nature? One moment at a time. One prayer at a time. One renewing our mind and our bodies at a time. One desperate prayer at a time. When we submit to God’s way, it doesn’t mean we will feel joyful at the time. We constantly have our own Garden of Gethsemane moments.

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.- Hebrews 12:4

Endeavors requiring the most selfless effort yield the most fruit..png

Motherhood may be the hardest work you”ll ever do. If you are having one of those days when you hit your nurture groove, enjoy it! If you are having a day when behaviors are straining every nerve, I hear you. I know. It’s hard. Keep praying. Keep asking. Don’t give up. Endeavors requiring the most selfless effort yield the most fruit. Obstacles don’t mean you have failed. They mean you are running the right course.

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.- Galatians 5: 22-23

Nurturing occurs on a battlefield for hearts and minds. It is on the home front we are winning souls and making disciples. “Discipleship is the work of a lifetime, and it comes… sometimes slowly… in fits and starts….two steps forward, one step back…When we develop a long-range vision believe God’s promise that our work will not go unrewarded. Grace is the heart attitude that grants others the freedom to listen and learn so that they grow, they master the skill of cultivating long-term relationships.” (Sally Clarkson) The goal of nurturing is attachment. The goal of attachment is long term relationships. Relationships with our children transfer to relationships with God the Father.