The Mama Confessionals: What No One Tells You About Motherhood

I can remember the summer before our oldest went to preschool. I continued to second guess myself in the weeks leading up to his first day of the twice weekly class he would be going to for a combined 5 hours a week. Were we making the right choice? Would he be ok? Would I be ok? And many more anxiety filled questions that were very similar. And here is a little spoiler alert for all you parents with little babies. These questions, at least in my experience, continue to happen for each new milestone. I don’t think you can really understand this emotional roller coaster if you aren’t a parent.

At the time I was just 6 months out of counseling for postpartum depression and anxiety after the birth to our daughter. During the second week of preschool, I entered a room of 30 women+ women who I had never met to attend a weekly bible study that was held at the church where my child attended school. Clutching my Bible, I felt scared, my anxiety was choking me, but I knew I needed to be surrounded by women who I could learn from, lean on, and laugh and cry with. But most importantly I knew I needed to be fed and nourished with God’s word as often as I could.

As the months went on I found myself actively engaged in reading my Bible and more importantly being convicted by the Holy Spirit. Upon looking back at my sons preschool years I am discovering that he is not the only one who grew up. God has wrecked me. And I mean that in the best way possible.

My mama heart is bursting with love, joy, and goodness when I look at all my kids and see how much they are learning and growing, and changing. And these feelings have me either smiling or crying. The tears are happy but there is also this weird grief element that goes along with it too. It is like I am trying to enjoy these moments because I know they are fleeting by being as present as possible, but by doing this it also causes me this weird heartache.

You always hear other parents tell you that “It goes by so fast.” And that is totally true, it really is, but nobody tells you about this wonderfully horrible wave of emotions that happen each time your child reaches a life milestone.  Based on what I have already experienced I am guessing that each milestone gets more wonderful but equally more gut wrenchingly intense.

Over the past year I have made it a daily priority in our home to be intentional about reading and helping our kids understand the significance and importance of Jesus and the work that was done on the cross. These feelings that I am having as I watch my babies grow up only intensifies my desire to consistently share the gospel message with them. This life is so short. Based on this I have begun to ask myself 3 questions.

  • Have I been consistent in spending time in God’s word on a daily basis? If I can’t commit to daily reading the Bible on my own I don’t know how I can expect to be able to do it for my kids consistently.
  • Am I looking for ways to continue to grow in my knowledge and understanding of the culture and context in which the scripture was written?
  • Can others around me say that they have seen Christ centered change in my life?

With these questions in mind I can then look at what I am feeding into my kids and nourishing their minds with. And let me tell you, I am not sure when it happened but the two oldest have stopped loving veggies and only want hamburgers and pizza the majority of the time. Truly, their souls might be getting better nourishment at this point.

All jokes aside, I am so grateful. The privilege to be a parent isn’t lost on me. Frequently when I lead my kids daily bible lessons and catechism I pray that the Holy Spirit convicts them to turn to Jesus and that they will be called to repentance as they acknowledge that their sin is separating them from the Lord. With very few things for certain in this life I can rest assured knowing who I have placed my hope and faith in and I will continue to pray my children come to know God as their personal Lord and Savior.

Looking back over the last three years, I am not surprised that my son grew and changed. What I had not anticipated was that God had such plans to grow and change me. As our oldest enjoys his final week of preschool I am appreciative for the love, support, teaching, and guidance he has received. I am thankful for the friendships he has made and in turn the friendships our family has made. And lastly as Josh and I continue to raise these little ones into adulthood, I am grateful for my relationship with Jesus who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

PS…To our preschool family, our family has been blessed by being in community with you all!

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What I Learned About Church From Reading The Bible

This past summer I read an article that talked about how gyms and other secular communities are starting to fill spiritual and social needs for many nonreligious people. And this really got me thinking…

What Is The Purpose & Definition of Church? 

And why can’t I make my hobby or activity my own personal worship service? If my intentions and thoughts are God honoring while participating in an activity can I skip church on the weekend? What if I am listening to a sermon?

Which led me back to my Bible. Here is what the Bible says about the church and how it is recognized:

  • Teaching and preaching the Word of God. (Colossians 3:15)
  • Providing fellowship and accountability. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  • Communion and baptisms. (Acts 2:42)
  • Biblical leadership. (Ephesians 4:11-13, Titus 1:5-9)
  • Sharing the gospel mission and discipleship. (Matthew 28:19-20)

The word church comes from two separate greek words.

  • Ekklesia –> gathering of citizens called out from home into a public place or an assembly
  • ology –> study of

Ecclesiology is crucial to understand God’s purpose for believers in the world. Ekklesia in scripture can refer to two different things, the church can mean all Christ followers across the world or the local church and a specific body of believers.

What Church Is Not

In order to understand what church is you need to know what church is not.

Church is not a building. Early Chrisitans met in homes.

Church is not an event. In 1 Corinthians it says that they were to do things that would strengthen everyone present like sing, teach, and share revelations from God. Not all church gatherings may have had all these elements but these are a few of the things that occurred. Church is about worshipping God but it needs to be looked as different from an event or production.

Church is not a business. The church is a living organism rather than an organization.

Before I had kids, when I was at my peak of teaching group fitness, yoga, and personal training clients, I would occasionally skip church in order to hike, bike, swim laps, run, or participate in another form of physical activity. I justified skipping church to take care of the body God had given me and to enjoy spending time outdoors in God’s creation.

At face value this idea seems good. It is God honoring to take care of the body He gave you and there is nothing wrong with enjoying the beauty in creation and giving thanks back to God. God is the creator of all things and he created all things to glorify Him. The problem that arises is when these activities replace church and try to become a substitute under the guise of creating your own kind of “worship service”.

What I Learned

The church is the body of Christ and each of us has a specific function within that body. If we are truly seeking to follow Christ and be a part of God’s church then we understand that God has called us to be in fellowship with other believers. The church is far from perfect because it is filled with sinners. Myself being one of them.

The beautiful thing I have learned is that by reading, singing, praying, and learning from the Bible in church God is glorified and by His grace and goodness I am being transformed by His word.

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How Family Discipleship Works in Our Home

For the last 6 months our family has been reading, studying, and memorizing scripture together, and using a shorter catechism. Josh and myself did not grow up in homes where this was modeled. So if we can do this anyone can. I know I am always so thankful to read examples of what this looks like in other families and thought that I would offer out a very basic outline of what we are doing.

First and foremost, if you as the parent aren’t committing to read your Bible it will be hard, to nearly impossible, to make a habit of family discipleship with your kids. In order for this to work you have to be in God’s word yourself. This year I am reading a chronological version of the Bible. Josh is using The Bible Project reading plan.

Second, pick a time of day that works for your family and be consistent. But also be aware that leading your children to follow Christ should be happening throughout the day. For our family breakfast time Monday – Friday is what has been working best. I make sure that the kids food is at the table with our books ready to be opened. We spend 15 – 20 minutes five days week at breakfast focusing on family discipleship. If you are looking for ideas on how to disciple your kids during the ins and outs of the day check out Reset for Parents: How to Keep Your Kids from Backsliding by Todd Friel.

And lastly, keep it simple but keep the truths of scripture in front of your kids. My kids need to be reminded daily of the Gospel message and to be honest so do I.  The resources I am sharing today are what we have been using for the last 6 months. They don’t sugarcoat or downplay Biblical concepts or doctrine but the wording and repetitiveness of the lessons makes these these truths easier to grasp.

Our breakfast time begins with prayer. We pray that God opens our eyes and ears to see and hear what he is saying in the Bible. I always make sure to remind the kids that they are about to listen to God’s Holy Word. This helps to insure there is minimal amount of interruption while scripture is being read.

We are currently working our way through the New Testament with our kids using Old Story New by Marty Machowski. You can look inside the book on Amazon to see how the lessons workOld Story New uses a ten-minute a day structure and walks children through the great truths of the Christian faith in the New Testament. There are simple discussion questions (and answers!!) for each day’s devotion to help children understand and remember Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and the birth of the Christian church. Old Story New is a family devotional program designed to explain God’s plan of salvation through the New Testament and is suitable for children from preschool through high school. I can’t say enough about this great book! We also have The Gospel Storybook Bible and read the corresponding story several times throughout the week.

After we complete the lesson for the day we spend 5 minutes on our catechism question for the week. For reference we are using New City Catechism. Today many churches and Christian organizations publish “statements of faith” that outline their beliefs. But in the past it was expected that documents of this nature would be so biblically rich and carefully crafted that they would be memorized and used for Christian growth and training. They were written in the form of questions and answers, and were called catechisms

Josh and I truly believe there is benefit for us and our children being familiar with and knowing doctrine. Using this question and answer method the catechisms explains clearly what the gospel is, but also  lays out the building blocks on which the gospel is based, such as the biblical doctrines of God, of human nature, and of sin. It also helps to address false beliefs of our culture so that believers can reflect the likeness of Christ.

You can download the New City Catechism app on your phone. We love this app because it is free and we also have easy access to the songs that make it super easy to memorize each question/answer. There are 52 questions and every week we do a new question. Our kids enjoy the songs and it is amazing to see how much they are learning. We also have it in book format as well which can be purchased HERE. We finish the last few minutes reviewing memory verses from Sunday school and preschool.

And that is how we have been doing family discipleship in our home the last 6 months. It is nothing fancy but it works for us. As parents we can’t feed into our kids what we aren’t nourishing ourselves with.  We have to believe what we are pouring into our children now is what the Holy Spirit will build upon later. The concepts we are teaching our kids are being imprinted on their mind and heart, waiting to be connected with new insights, teaching, and experiences.  It is our responsibility to build this biblical foundation in their minds and hearts.

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