Tag Archives: Motherhood

When I Grow Up, I Want to be a Mommy

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By Paula Bowlby, Associate Early Childhood Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

As long as I can remember, my one and only goal in life was to be a mom. I would dream about being a mom. I would play with dolls and babysit to practice for my future. Twenty-five years ago, I became a mommy for the very first time. It was a long and hard pregnancy which taught me that being a mom starts before the baby is in your arms. He was worth every second that it took to bring him into this world. So much so, I made the conscious decision to be pregnant two more times!

Recently I stumbled upon this quote- “Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”

As parents, I’m sure you can identify with the quote. All those years ago, as I was dreaming about being a mommy, I didn’t realize the responsibility it entailed. I didn’t realize that I could love someone so much that sometimes it literally hurts. The fear and the joy, the ups and the downs that all come with being a parent are things you can’t plan on.

I am thankful for my faith and that I know that I never walk this road alone. I am thankful that I have a Heavenly Father that loves me and my children more than I can ever imagine. I am thankful for the example of Jesus of how to love someone more than myself. The best part is that even when I have a hard time forgiving myself, I am forgiven. This parenting business is downright hard sometimes. Live in God’s grace for yourself and your children. Teach them that they are loved more than they can ever imagine by their Creator. Being loved and knowing that their identity is in Christ is the best gift you can give, and that gift lasts a lifetime.

Remember, you don’t want “she kept a clean house” to be what you are remembered for. Intentionally leave a legacy for your children and others. Be who God is calling you to be. Your kids will do the same.

How My Mother Taught Me to Follow Jesus

We’re delighted to bring you another post from guest blogger, Erica Morrow.  This Mother’s Day week, Erica shares with us some of the life-lessons she learned from her mother and how her mother’s example influenced her own relationship with Jesus.  Enjoy!

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By Erica Morrow, Guest Blogger

I have a mother. She taught me how to uproot flowers so they can be replanted in healthier soil. She showed me how to fold towels just so in order to line them up correctly in the linen closet. She helped me learn how to sew lines with my sewing machine, making sure the tension wasn’t too tight or too slack.

She also taught me most everything I knew about Jesus. How if he were walking with us, skipping over sidewalk cracks and anthills, he would have stopped to speak to the elderly woman passing by. He would not waste a chance to make her feel known and important.

She showed me that Jesus values the fight against injustice – that he weeps over children like those in my mother’s preschool classroom who came to school without coats in the winter, and as my mother clothed those kids out of her own resources, I learned that Jesus would have, too.

My mother showed me how much Jesus loves the little ones without a family to call their own – how he would have given the “chief seat” at our kitchen table to a little boy without a mom or dad, holiday after holiday, just as my mother did.

She steadily taught me through the times of both lean and plenty to choose joy, to look for the place in my landscape to be grateful for, to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness that does not depend on circumstance. Day in and day out, as she walked me through the successes and dismal failures that come with growing up, my mother taught me to look closely for the beautiful blessing that could be found in any moment. She worked hard to train my eyes to see such things all of my days growing under her care.

To be completely truthful, my mother has said some pretty profound things to be sure, but these things from her that I have learned and taken deep into my heart – these are the things I saw her doing and living, day after day. The steps she has taken while I have watched and listened – these are the things I have learned.

And now I am a mother, my arms sometimes full to the brim with children and responsibilities and all of the uncertainty that comes with it. And as I think about who I am to my children in this season, I remember: folded towels, lonely neighbors passing by on walks, coats for small, cold bodies, and I remember. Who I am as a fully known, fully forgiven, and unbelievably loved child of God will be what my children need to see in me. I can relax about saying all the right, important things. I don’t have to carry the guilt and pressure of wondering if my kids are in the right activities, if they are being fed exactly the right organic, free range everything all the time, if I am doing everything I can to build creative, exciting soil for them to grow in. My job, my first and at the core only job, is to sit at the feet of my Jesus, to spend time listening to his voice, learning what it is he loves, and then running with everything I have after those things. Then my children will learn what Jesus loves as they see me live, not from a to do list but from a place of deep friendship with my Father.

My encouragement to all of us who are parents is to stop worrying so much about saying the right things to our children, and instead let our hearts speak through our lives. In the same way my mother taught me how to serve and love through her actions, may our lives be the clearest reflection of the beautiful, self-sacrificing God we pray our children will come to know.

For me, that means spending time hearing from my Father, sitting close to him and growing a spirit that loves like he loves, sees like he sees, fights for what he fights for, so that my children will know the love of their God through my life. As they look back someday over their own growing up, may our children remember not our words, but our entertaining angels.

Kids Say the Darndest Things!

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Compiled by Paula Bowlby, Associate Early Childhood Pastor

Woodland Hills Church

In honor of Mother’s Day this year, we asked some kids a few questions about their moms.

When we asked what their moms do during the day, we found the kids seem to have a pretty good handle on their moms’ schedules:

  • “She works and teaches kids.”
  • “She works.”
  • “She sits and reads and goes to the YMCA and buys stuff.”
  • “She washes the dishes, feeds the cat, works on our food.”
  • “She makes sure the house is clean so that when Daddy comes home he can say, “Wow, the house looks good!”

We gave the kids the option to answer the next question in one of two ways: Describe a mom or tell me what you will do when you are a mom.

  • “I will stay home with my kids. Treat my kids awesome – I will be awesome.”
  • “I’m gonna be a babysitter. Where’s a babysitter store? I can work there and help doctors and other babysitters and customers. I want to be a helper.”
  • “Mommies are workers and they love babies”
  • “She reads stories to us and snuggles us and takes us places where we need to go and takes care of us.”

What is the best thing about your mom?

  • “She hugs me”
  • “Her snuggles in the morning”
  • “That she’s pretty and makes cheese tacos”
  • “She’s cute”
  • “I like her dresses, her pink dress, and the beautiful dresses and earrings and necklaces she bought me. I like playing doctor with her.”

The last question: What would you change about your mom?

  • “I wish she was taller.”
  • “I wish she would cook at a restaurant.”
  • “I wouldn’t change anything about her!!”
  • “I don’t want her to be different.”
  • “I wouldn’t want her to ever be sad”
  • “Her clothes… to dresses with snowflakes and stars and rainbow colors.”

I think we would all agree a few snowflakes, stars and rainbows would be awesome!

Moms, you are loved and valued. Thank you to all the moms out there for all you do!

Raising My Ebenezer

We have several talented writers/bloggers in our Heroes Gate family, and we will be featuring some of them here on the HG Update blog.  This week’s post comes to us from
Allison, a mom of three who writes about her life and family on her blog, O My Family.  She recently shared this beautiful post on her blog and was generous enough to let us share it here.

 

Before the arrival of each baby I have gone into a season of mourning. Great upheaval justifies such. From newlyweds to never-alones. From party-of-three to a de-throned first-born. From ‘the boys’ to a practical herd of babies. Each time we lost what we had. Each time I cried a lot about that loss. Each time I knew that yes, it will be good and lovely and better even, somehow, but what we had was still being laid to rest.

As we prepared for ODear’s arrival I was grieving the comparable simplicity we were about to lose to the apparent logistical nightmare that would be three children. I treasured nap time, for example, and I knew that would change. I do not mean those beloved moments of quiet in the early afternoon when everyone under 4ft tall was asleep, although those moments were at times my very hope and stay. Yes, those would be harder to come by, too, but I mean the moments right before those quiet ones. The ones where I would lay down next to my second-born tucked chin-high in blankets with his chosen ‘stuffy’ of the month and stroke his little head into dreamland. And the moments just after that when I would climb their bunk-bed ladder (which was increasingly difficult given my ‘condition’) and lay next to my first-born and he would inevitably whisper a question about something four hours ago and we would chat until it was time for him to close his eyes and rest. The season of being fully physically available to my boys at nap time was fading to a close because babies have unpredictable needs and well, we don’t have much longer that both boys will nap. Rightly, I assumed that laying with them as they fell asleep would be infrequent at best after the baby arrived.

It happened. There were poorly-timed nap times where I sat against the wall in their room nursing a newborn in the dark (hashtag talented?) or rushed through and exited before my job was ‘done’ because ODear was squawking in the other room. Rarely did I see them both off to sleep anymore. That stage was over and I was so, so sad to lose it.

Then God turned my mourning into joy.

About three months into our new nap time shuffle, I began singing to the boys. I would stand in their dark room bouncing a baby and singing hymns. I started with the one I knew best, Be Thou My Vision. We sang that at our wedding and I will never not get teary-eyed when I hear it. Then we sang Come Thou Fount at church on a Sunday shortly after and I added it to my repertoire. I could be found sitting in that same spot against the wall nursing a baby, but now I was looking up hymn lyrics on my phone and singing them to the boys as they fell asleep. Great is Thy Faithfulness. I Surrender All. Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus. It is Well with My Soul.

It was awesome. I knew this much, and sometimes I would get glimpses of what a great thing this new singing nap time tradition was when OBoy would ask me a question about the lyrics and we would talk about Our Jesus. But this morning I was blown flat over by the awesome. As he was assembling legos on the ground in the living room, OBoy began humming How Deep the Father’s Love for Us and singing about half of the words. DanO, who has picked up his fair share of hymn-sing nap shifts over the last few months, began singing with him. Together they sang the first two verses with some call-and-response.

Flat. Flat on the floor from the glory.

I need you to know this, friends. I need to show you my ebenezer. Look how faithful! Look! He has done a good thing! The old is gone, but look at what a joy and blessing I have been given in its place. His love is vast beyond all measure.