Why I'm Taking A Second Look At Mommy Guilt (Part 2)

In Part 1 of the Mommy Guilt series, we tackled ungodly Mommy Guilt - the negative thoughts that the devil uses in an attempt to undermine our God-given parenting abilities.  But as I mentioned in that first post, there are actually two different kinds of Mommy Guilt.

And today, I want to confront the second kind of Mommy Guilt - the God-given kind.

Yes, there is such a thing as Godly Mommy Guilt!  This type of Mommy Guilt is the inner twang of conviction that the Holy Spirit gives when we're not being Godly parents.  Do you ever feel a pang of guilt about not spending enough time with your little ones?  Are you ever convicted about the way you reacted to your child's disobedience?  Are you ever frustrated that you lost your temper (again!) with your kiddos?

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Now Available: "A Place Prepared" Ebook + Giveaway!

Four years ago, I sat dumbfounded in a waiting room while an Urgent Care doctor dropped the bombshell that Turbo had Type 1 Diabetes.  That moment was one of the worst of my life, and I had no idea how any good would ever come of it.

But just as God promised, He used it for my good and His glory.  And I've shared all the details of that day and others like it in my just-released ebook, "A Place Prepared."  

If you've ever felt as though life is too overwhelming or that you were unprepared for the things you've gone through, I encourage you to grab your very own copy.  My prayer is that in sharing my story, you'll see echos of your own and be able to see God's hand over every situation in your life.  

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Why I'm Taking A Second Look At Mommy Guilt (Part 1)

Everywhere I look, I see bloggers and speakers encouraging mamas to let go of so-called Mommy Guilt.  And I'm glad...for the most part.  As a mom myself, I know how easy it is to let negativity creep in.  Satan has a heyday in my mind, trying to convince me that I'm not a good mom, that I will never succeed as a parent, and that I'll never measure up in society's eyes.  The reminders not to succumb to that kind of negative thinking are good and Biblical.

But I've also begun to wonder if, perhaps, I've gotten a little too good at shelving Mommy Guilt.  As I've thought through the concept of Mom Guilt, I've come to understand that there actually two different kinds.  And if we ignore them both, we're making a big mistake.

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Why I Was Thankful for A Sick Kid on Mother's Day

On Mother's Day this year, we were on vacation in Monterey.  I was loving the family adventures, the sound of the ocean crashing on the beach, and the break from our regular routine.  Then, about an hour after we'd gotten up, it became apparent that Baby D had contracted a stomach virus.  Ugh.  

I wanted to run and hide from the germs and soiled laundry I now needed to wash.  And I was certain that in our vacation rooms with no way to isolate D from everyone else, the virus would spread like a wildfire through the family.  

But as I gritted my teeth and got started on cleanup (and really, Jon did most of it himself), the Lord showed me just how much I had to be thankful for.

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Three Ways to Be Still

Have you ever wondered why God doesn't speak directly to us the way He used to speak to people in the Old Testament?  Jon and I have talked about this many times.  And while we don't have specific answers, I've actually wondered if He speaks to us much more directly than we're aware of.

A few weeks back, I was reading in Exodus, and a verse I've read a dozen times or more jumped off the page at me:  "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still" (NIV, emphasis added).

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Dear Stay-at-Home Mom, You Are Doing Kingdom Work

Have you ever looked around at everyone else and felt as though your life isn't making any impact?  Do you ever feel like no one notices you, or that you need to be making a bigger splash?  Or have you ever wondered whether or not you should have earned that extra degree, made that advancement at work, or taken that other path that once called your name?

In a world where higher education, prestigious jobs, and social positions are greatly valued, it's easy for us to wonder if we should be doing more, involved in more, accomplishing more.  It's incredibly easy for the stay-at-home mom to wonder whether or not she would be accomplishing more if she were to return to work (especially on those days when the kids have squabbled all day long, dinner is late, and she hasn't had a shower in the past three days).

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4 Ways I Failed to be A Good Friend

If you had to take a test on being a good friend to someone else, would you pass?  I know I wouldn't.  I could blame my introverted personality or my busy schedule.  I could say I live too far away or that I didn't want to interrupt someone's day.  But those would be excuses, not reasons.

Being a good friend doesn't come easily to me.  I've let entire weeks (and in rare occasions, months or even years) go by without checking in on my friends.  A lot of that does have to do with my shy nature that thrives best at home, but a lot also comes from being forgetful (and perhaps a little lazy, too).  

As a Christian, however, I know that friendships are vital.  We need other Christians to come alongside us, support us, and encourage us in God's Word.  If we don't actively pursue friendships for these purposes, they won't happen on their own, and we'll lose those opportunities.

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Verses to Memorize when Your Mama Heart Hurts

When our mama hearts hurt, we need to turn to Scripture for encouragement.  While we might think we need to get our strength from doctors, people, or things, clinging to God's Word is the only thing that can provide lasting endurance.  

And right now is the best time to begin committing verses to memory.  Even if your mama heart isn't suffering at the moment, if you memorize Scripture now, you'll have it readily available if something unexpected happens either to your family or to someone else near you.  

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What a Passover Meal Taught Me About Perfection and Grace

For the past several years, Jon and I have tried to put together a Passover meal of sorts for the spark plugs.  Each year varies slightly, but our goal is to serve grape juice, unleavened bread, and lamb while we have the kids take turns reading various Scripture passages that pertain to Passover and the Last Supper.  

This is a great way to help everyone connect the Old Testament sacrificial system with Jesus' perfect sacrifice on the Cross.  

This year, we had many of the traditional dishes:  barbecued lamb, boiled eggs, bitter herbs with salt water, carbonated grape juice.  But while the boiled eggs turned out perfectly, the gluten-free unleavened bread I tried to make flopped royally.

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6 Things to Do When Your Mama Heart Hurts

6 Things to Do When Your Mama Heart Hurts

Seeing children suffer is one of the hardest things in the world.  It can even make us begin to question whether or not God is as good as He claims to be.  And if you're anything like me, you would much rather do something other than sitting idly by.  While I think learning to wait well is a skill that every believer needs to develop, I also believe there are at least six things we can do when our mama hearts hurt.

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Does Your Daily Quiet Time Need A Makeover?

On paper, I look like a fantastic Christian.I've been saved for nearly 30 years.  I grew up in a Christian home.  I went to a Christian college and earned a minor degree in Bible.  I'm married to an amazing Christian husband.  I even read my Bible every day for over 5 years.

But just because I look good on paper doesn't mean that my faith is strong or that I have life all figured out.  In fact, the very opposite is true.

Whenever I go through a crisis, I panic in fear instead of standing boldly in faith.  While I have a lot of Bible facts memorized, I really don't have the first clue about applying the truths of God's Word to my life.  And even though I read my Bible every day for so long, I never studied it or let it change me.  At times, I actually feel like a Christian fraud.

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How to Start A Coffee Tradition with your Struggling Son

Jon and I used to watch Locked Up Abroad, a documentary on Westerners who have been incarcerated in another country.  (I don't necessarily recommend the show; I seem to remember some pretty gruesome details at times.)  Most of the stories were about men who had decided to do drug runs once or twice to earn extra income and who had been caught in the process.  Without fail, what they all regretted most was having hurt their mothers by their poor choices.

And it made me realize something important:  we as mothers have a profound influence over their children, even when we don't feel like we do. 

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3 Ways to Pray When Your Mama Heart Hurts

"When Your Mama Heart Hurts" was one of the most-loved posts on the blog last year.  And you know what?  It was one of my favorites to write, too, because it's something that's often on my heart.

From physical infirmity to spiritual struggle, there's no shortage of heartache that we as parents go through as we watch our children suffer.  That's simply life in our broken, fallen state.

But for the believing parent, there is always hope.  And I've come to realize that there are three very specific ways we can pray when our mama hearts hurt.

 

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On Whole30, Celiac Disease, and the Bread of Life

I'm currently in the middle of my first-ever so-called Whole30.  I don't have anything against grains, legumes, dairy, or sugar - I love a giant cookie as much as anyone else - but I decided to try this month-long eating plan for a few reasons.  For starters, I have some small health concerns that I'd love to reverse naturally.  More importantly, Whole30 is similar to the diet and lifestyle that we've found best suits Turbo's diabetes and Celiac Disease needs, and I think he really needed someone to journey with him on his food adventures.  Plus, I had some support since a few of my extended family members had recently done it themselves.

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Can There Be Beauty in the Hallway?

When we moved into our current home a little over a year ago, I was a bit apprehensive about having a house with a hallway.  I've shared before that hallways, whether literal or figurative, aren't my favorite things.  But as I've grown used to my new home and as I've walked down my new hallway countless times, I've begun to notice something totally unexpected:

I'm falling in love with my hallway.

Honestly?  I can't believe that I'd ever even like a hallway, let alone love one.  But as I walk through my hallway multiple times a day, I've come to realize some important things about it:

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3 Ways to Enjoy A Slice (or Two) of Humble Pie

This past week I got to eat not one, but two slices of humble pie.  And if I'm honest, they didn't taste all that great, at least not at first.

With the first slice, I thought I had some wisdom to offer a friend who was going through a hard time.  But it turned out that I had completely misunderstood the situation, and my insights were so off the mark that they didn't really relate what she was experiencing.

Oops.

(She was very gracious.)

For the second slice, my quartet was preparing to sing in front of small audience.  I had prepared well, so I thought, and was really starting to feel confident about my part.  I hadn't given much thought to what might happen if I got nervous.

However, I now know what happens when nerves hit:  I can't sing.  At all.

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Why I Said Goodbye to Social Media

Obedience.

This word isn't all that popular today, not even in many Christian circles.  Obedience often (always?) requires sacrifice.  And sacrifice is uncomfortable.

Last weekend, Arabah Joy's weekly newsletter landed in my inbox as it normally does each Sunday afternoon.  Now, I've long enjoyed her challenges to seek a deeper walk with Christ, and I eagerly look forward to reading what she has to share.  But this weekend's email hit me like a ton of bricks.

"What do you need to stop doing in order to start growing in your faith?" she challenged us.

And I knew immediately what my "stop doing" list needed to entail:

Social media.

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Do You Have A Heart Murmur?

Obedience.

This word isn't all that popular today, not even in many Christian circles.  Obedience often (always?) requires sacrifice.  And sacrifice is uncomfortable.

Last weekend, Arabah Joy's weekly newsletter landed in my inbox as it normally does each Sunday afternoon.  Now, I've long enjoyed her challenges to seek a deeper walk with Christ, and I eagerly look forward to reading what she has to share.  But this weekend's email hit me like a ton of bricks.

"What do you need to stop doing in order to start growing in your faith?" she challenged us.

And I knew immediately what my "stop doing" list needed to entail:

Social media.

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5 Lessons I Learned from Reading My Bible Every Day for 5 Years

When I was in high school, I heard about a young woman who faithfully read her Bible every single day for over two years.  Since I was used to reading consistently myself, I decided to take on the unspoken challenge to see if I could read every day for two years as well.

Starting that day, I made sure to faithfully read a portion of Scripture daily.  My aim was for 1-3 chapters per day, though occasionally I was only able to snag a few verses from Psalms or Proverbs.  All through the rest of high school and well into college, I kept reading - even when I was sick, even on days I flew from California to Florida for school, even when I didn't feel like it, I read.

By the time I stopped, I had read my Bible every day for well over five years.  And during that time, I learned a lot about myself, about spiritual growth, and about grace.  Today, I want to share 5 lessons I learned from reading my Bible every day for 5 years.

It is possible to read your Bible every single day.

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Is God Faithful When Life is Bleakest?

Do you ever stand in amazement at God's provision?  I certainly do.  Three years ago, family and friends put together a fundraiser for Turbo's much-needed insulin pump.  No one who participated had any expectations about how much they would be able to raise for us - they simply wanted to donate to our need.  The fundraiser ended up covering the entire cost of his pump plus supplies for over 2 years.  Friends, I can't even begin to express what this did for my faith.  I can only say that God is faithful.  So faithful.

When my friend Julie from Tokyo Blossom Boutique experienced her own medical trial and got to experience God's faithfulness first-hand in her own life, I asked if she'd be willing to share her story with us here on the blog.  She willingly agreed, and I am so honored to be able to let you read her story today!  It echoes so much of what I've personally been through, and I know her story of God's faithfulness will inspire your faith, too.

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