Should A Christian Mom Be A #MeanMom?

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Should A Christian Mom Be A #MeanMom

The hash tag pops up on my feed and my heart drops right before my blood boils. Another Christian mom goes on to explain how she Put. Her. Foot. Down. She’s a #meanmom. And she knows that her kids will thank her when they are older.

Except probably not.

Because nobody I know that had a truly “mean mom” came away unscathed.

I understand that for some of these women, the premise of what they are saying is that they are trying to teach and discipline their children so that their kids grow up to be productive members of society, if not altogether Christ-like.

But I’m afraid. I’m afraid that even the hint of the connotation of being a “mean mom” sets us up for failure.

I know that my heart is naturally drawn to doing the wrong thing. The last idea I need in my head is that being a “mean mom” equates to being the authority in my home. It will taint my approach to my kids and be a seed for pride that I don’t want growing anywhere near my heart.

Why do we have to call ourselves a “Mean Mom” and wear it like a badge to prove that we are the boss of our kids and that we make choices for them that are for their good?

As a Christian mom, yes, I DO want them to listen and to obey (but with reasonable expectations and understanding of their maturity level and Spiritual growth).

I DO want them to know that I say what I mean. But I also believe that if they think I am a “mean mom” then I have gotten off track somehow.

God draws us with LOVING-KINDNESS, moms:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:17

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Psalm 118:6

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103:8

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13

For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13

I can’t imagine God saying to me, “Yeah, I’m a Mean God/Mean Father” and I’m just doing what is best for you cause I’m the Dad so don’t throw a tantrum. It may be semantics but I think it’s dangerous thinking to refer to ourselves as a “mean mom.” The world will do a good job of showing my kids what mean looks like. Heaven forbid they get even a taste of that from me-the one God gave these gifts to in the first place so that they would know His love for them.  Personally, I want to always err on the side of grace in my parenting.

I wonder what my kids would think if they read through my posts about the time I wouldn’t let them go to a sleepover because they didn’t clean their room and saw me refer to myself as a mean mom. Would they listen to me as a junior higher when one of them gets in trouble at school for saying something mean to a peer? Why should they? If it’s okay for me to be a mean mom, then the apple is simply falling close to the tree. When we approach our kids with an “I’m the mom here, so too bad for you” attitude we may get the outward behavior we are seeking but we miss reaching their hearts. That’s not good enough for me.

It that the legacy we want to leave for our kids? Or is it this:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. Ephesians 4:29

Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. Ephesians 6:4

Lord, may my kids know that first and foremost, I love them, am tender toward them so that I can reach their hearts, and may they learn that they can be sad or even angry about my decisions for them but that those feelings can co-mingle with respect and love for me too.

As moms we often wonder if we are doing the right thing by our children but having them identify us with being a mean mom is a surefire way to fail.  Let’s focus on a new “hash tag” shall we?  Take your pick:

#CompassionateMom #Grace-FilledMom #LovingMom #EdifyingMom #ForgivingMom #MyKidsTrustMyDecisionsMom #PatientMom #KindMom #JoyfulMom #GentleMom

YOUR TURN! Tell me, what do you think of this #meanmom mentality? What hash tag do you want to be known for as a mother?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

 

When You Think You Missed Your Opportunity, God’s Not Done

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The Los Angeles Dodgers had just lost to the San Diego Padres and as my husband and I gathered our belongings we hugged the friends around us who were leaving the stadium and headed down to the field for fireworks.

I came prepared.

We double checked to make sure that our picnic blanket was with us and we followed the crowds toward the gates-this would my first time on a professional baseball field!

Except the husband had to make a quick potty break.

So I waited patiently, people-watching.

That’s when I spotted her. My junior high and 10th grade English teacher was striding beside her husband towards the field. I called out to her and rushed over.

The evening had already been filled with fun and fellowship so to get to see this influential teacher who had been the first person in my life to recognize that I was good at something, was the most wonderful icing on the cake. She had inspired me to become an English teacher-truly someone who set the course of my life.

We stood huddled near the gate chatting and catching up-it did my heart good.

And then a groan started passing through the crowd. We were just a couple of feet away from the entrance to the field and a row of imposing police officers was shutting the fences.

The field was full!!

What had been such a happy moment was suddenly a let down. I had been looking forward to these fireworks for months! We threw our hands up in the air with an “Oh, well!” and resigned ourselves to missing the show.

A few minutes of visiting continued and then a loud blast jolted us around.

There, right in front of us from where we stood in the parking lot was the launching point of the fireworks. They shattered through the night and fell in arches of beauty right over our heads.

We had the best view in the house.

And just like that God whispered to my heart as I stood in awe with shards of light scattering down around me. “Amber, what you sometimes perceive as a missed boat or a disappointment is often an opportunity for Me to prove My faithfulness.” I needed that truth from Him at this time in my life when loss has been a real and present part of my daily life.

The tears leaked out, try as I might to contain them. Everyone in that stadium must have thought the show was for them but I knew that God had something special in mind just for us-those of us who felt that we had been diverted from something good when in reality we had been repositioned for something great.

Is that you? Are you reading this today from the perspective of standing outside the massive stadium, feet shuffling, peering over the fences, and feeling left out?

Then you are in a very good place indeed. You are perfectly planted right where our Sovereign God wants you. You can pass off the decisions you have made and chalk them up to lessons learned-like not stopping for a potty break on Fireworks night at Dodger Stadium-but don’t ever believe that disappointments can’t be redeemed into desires come true.

Trust God enough to believe in your heart that whatever you have to let go of is making room for something better.

That’s just like God. He comes to us when our nets are empty after a long night of fishing and tells us to cast our nets on the other side, just one more time. He stands before the stone of a tomb and tells us to roll it away so our Lazarus can walk out. He forces us before the Red Sea and tells us to walk on through it. He jolts us around on our heels and reveals a night-time display of blazing beauty for a young mom and her mentor.

He loves a good surprise, and nothing is too hard for Him. Allow Him to take whatever night you are wading through and illuminate it with His goodness, as he did for me. Turn around and stand in awe at the way He orchestrates your life, and allow the light to shower you with His goodness in His perfect time.

For with God, nothing is ever a missed opportunity.

YOUR TURN! What is something special or meaningful that God has done in your life to let you know that He sees you and hears you? 

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

A Book List That Will CHANGE Your Life

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Confession: I feel like some of the authors and characters in books that I love most are true friends even though we have never met or they are figments of a writer’s imagination. In a chapter of my life where friendships in real life often take a backseat to caring for a family of five, I admit that a great book has often filled the gap in my heart and my soul over the years.

And some of these books have literally changed my life. Can you relate?

I recently asked my Facebook friends this question: What book changed your life (besides the Bible)? The answers came fast and furiously. It’s an easy answer for me too, and I thought it would be helpful to compile all the answers and list them here for you as well.

Some of these books include affiliate links and when you make a purchase through that link, I earn a few pennies that help me in my ministry of writing at no extra cost to you! Here’s to wonderful languishing moments with great books-enjoy!

BOOKS THAT CHANGED MY FRIENDS’ LIVES:

Leaves of Grass

The Prophet (received numerous votes)

Isralestine

Created to be His Helpmeet (received numerous votes)

Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul

Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret

My Utmost For His Highest

The Seeking Heart

Knowing God (received numerous votes)

Lord of The Rings

Knowledge of The Holy

For Love’s Sake

Passion and Purity

Stepping Heavenward

Love as a Way of Life

The Pleasures of God

Experiencing God

Babywise

Born Again (received numerous votes)

Don’t Waste Your Life

Mindset

The House on Mango Street

Redeeming Love (received numerous votes)

Tender Warrior

A Confident Heart

The Peacemaker

Shattered Dreams

Conviction to Lead

The Shepherd Leader

The Gospel According to Jesus

Attributes of God (received numerous votes)

The Outsiders

Grace  by Max Lucado

Life of the Beloved

The Practice of the Presence of God

What’s So Amazing About Grace

Breaking Free

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (received numerous votes)

The Power of a Praying Wife (received numerous votes)

The 5 Love Languages (received numerous votes)

Life on the Edge

When God Writes Your Love Story (received numerous votes)

If

Eyes Wide Shut

Velvet Elvis

The Hiding Place (received numerous votes)

Love and Respect

Fresh Faith

Because He Loves Me

Grace Based Parenting

Lioness Arising

PERSONAL FAVES THAT CHANGED MY LIFE: 

(received numerous votes)

The Purpose Driven Life-this book is one that I have re-read many times. A perfect book for anyone who is questioning God’s purpose for their lives, or wondering who God is anyway. It grounded me in a time of grief and reminded me that my story is bigger than any one chapter of my life.

Radical-This book echoed the cry of my heart that Christians get off the couch of comfort and live radically-the definition of a thrilling life on the edge with Christ.

Crazy Love-Francis Chan was my pastor for 9 years and he walks what he talks. The passion in his message of what a life devoted to God should look like changed my perspective on religion verses relationship with God.

Heart of Anger: Practical Help for Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children-this book is a must read for ANYONE. Not just for parents. I learned so much about good conflict resolution from both a very Biblical and practical approach in this book. It’s a life changer for all of your relationships.

Jane Eyre-I have read this novel more than any other in my life. The quality of writing and the heroine’s personal journey of forgiveness and integrity through hard choices as well as the most romantic of all love stories weaves throughout this intelligent novel that was way ahead of its time. This is what it looks like to love God more than your own desires and how God honors you for it.

The Mission of Motherhood-This is my number one favorite parenting book. Sally’s heart for listening to the Holy Spirit to guide us in our parenting and her loving approach to dealing with kids is foundational in my life as a mom.

Boundaries : When to Say Yes,How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life-I need to read this one again! For anyone who struggles with how to say no and needs discernment in their lives-this is the book for you! There are several topic-specific versions of this book too!

The Lord of The Flies-I taught this novel for nearly 10 years in the classroom. No other novel I have read so brilliantly depicts the heart of man at its sinful core. If you believe that man is inherently good, read this book and think again.

Day by Day with Charles H. Spurgeon (Out of Print. Similar Collection here)-I read Spurgeon every day. Have done for the last 15 years. If you need encouragement and solace from a word poet, this is your devotional.

YOUR TURN! Please, add the title of the book that CHANGED your life and tell us why!Which of these books do you want to read first?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

Dipping My Toes In The Water….I’m Back!

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The water lapped at the edges of the pool as I slathered SPF 50 on my son’s skin. He had advanced to the swim class that no longer required that I get in the water with him and he was about to explode with excitement. Seven little “Dolphins” dipped their eager toes in the water. The lifeguard took roll and the 4 year olds entered the shallow end. I settled into my lawn chair in the shade near the edge of the pool, and relaxed.

Then they walked past me.

Two beautiful little girls, identical in every way. Twins. They shimmied out of their cover-ups and swung their long braids out of the way to put on their swim goggles before hurrying to join the class.

I looked around me wondering who let the massive elephant on the pool deck and how he had managed to sit on top of my chest. I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing for the entire two minutes it took for the sisters to make their way into the pool.

And then I cried. No one knew that behind my dark glasses and brave smile, I had to keep wiping away my tears.

That’s how grieving goes.

That’s how you go on with your life after you lose your own twins to miscarriage a month ago.

That’s how you release your sorrow and then cheer for your boy who is before you in the here and now, blowing bubbles “to the fishes” and floating on his back like a starfish.

I never know when it will hit me and sometimes it takes much less than a pair of actual twins to cross my path to reduce me to tears. Some days are much easier than others and some are pretty awful. But each day is one that the Lord has made and I can rejoice and be glad in that Truth.

So I do.

Since I began blogging consistently about a year and a half ago, I have never taken even a week off from writing. For the month of June I took a hiatus while I physically healed and met the needs of my family. It wasn’t something I planned to do, but felt that I needed to do.

I have sensed God telling me to “Be still and know” that He “is God.” Perhaps that is what you need too……

I wasn’t sure how long my voice would be quiet, but I felt the Lord nudging me back. So today, I’m starting off by writing a post for The MOB Society.

Just as those excited yet timid swimmers entered the pool, I too am “dipping my toes in the water.” 

Will you read it? Click here to read, “How to Grow Spiritually By Doing Nothing” and thank you all so much for praying for me and encouraging my family over these recent months. You all richly bless me!

YOUR TURN! I sense God asking me to “Be still and know that I am God” at this chapter in my life. How about you? What is God communicating to you at this current stage of your life?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well! View an Exciting Reality Show Life By Design, A TV Project with Lisa LeonardHolley Gerth, and Dee Kasberger!

Better In The Arms Of Jesus, My Miscarriage

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Sometimes, the sacrifice of praise that we offer is nearly unspeakable. It’s the quiet raging of a heart that knows unwaveringly that God is good when bad things happen.

It’s the silent tears that fall knowing without a doubt that God is capturing each one to hold in a bottle. It’s the ability to minister to others walking a hard road when your own pain tempts you to say that you have nothing left to give.

And it’s the hope that you have when all that you hoped for is gone. It’s keeping your head above the waves of grief that keep coming.

Sometimes, the sacrifice of praise is simply knowing that you don’t have to understand.

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. Hebrews 13:15

I never imagined God would give me 5 children. Never considered the blessing of twins. It was the happiest of news to find that out nearly 9 weeks ago. And it was the saddest of news to find out this week that our new babies are now home safe in the arms of Jesus.

Better in His arms than mine. Better with Jesus than here. He holds my babies, and He holds me. Yet I will praise You, Lord.

This was the portion that God Providentially set before me on the day I found out that they had most likely passed away. Of course verse 20 was especially for me as God whispered to my heart that my hope is in my future with Him in Heaven. He didn’t leave me to flounder alone. He gave me His Word to cling to and His Spirit to comfort me:

New Heavens and a New Earth

17 “See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I will create,
for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying
will be heard in it no more.
20 “Never again will there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
the one who dies at a hundred
will be thought a mere child;
the one who fails to reach a hundred
will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 No longer will they build houses and others live in them,
or plant and others eat.
For as the days of a tree,
so will be the days of my people;
my chosen ones will long enjoy
the work of their hands.
23 They will not labor in vain,
nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune;
for they will be a people blessed by the Lord,
they and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are still speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
and dust will be the serpent’s food.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord. Isaiah 65:17-25

This song has blessed me over the years and I always prayed that I would never feel the depth of it from personal experience as a grieving mother. But God’s ways are not our ways. It especially blesses me now. Held, by Natalie Grant:

 

Will you pray for my little boys who will find out this news in the next day or two-that their hearts will be able to know God’s goodness in our grief?

 

Is It The Kids’ Attitudes? The Husband? The Mess? Why Angry Moms Yell…

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I’ll be the first to admit the areas where I need to grow as a mom. Being angry and yelling at my kids is not one of them. But I get it. It’s something that I am incredibly sensitive to and have experienced in my own life-I understand how destructive it can be, and how even when this is the tone of a home, that God’s Word can redeem the lives of those who are affected by an angry yelling mom.

That’s why I felt compelled to raise my hand to be the administrator for a facebook group online called No. More Angry MOBS as part of The MOB Society ministry (For Moms of Boys, By Moms of Boys). Within just a few weeks we have swelled to nearly 3,400 women who recognize that we need support to deal with our anger and the way we parent our children. If you would like to be a part of this group, then you can ask to join here.

This is a letter I felt compelled to write to the ladies in the facebook group after my pastor preached on the effects of temptation this past week. I couldn’t stop thinking about our No. More. Angry MOBS group and the root of our issues. Perhaps it will reach your heart too:

Dear No. More. Angry MOBS,

I only want to write happy positive words to you today. I want to write something that will make you just feel good. But I can’t.

I can’t because if we really want to change the hearts of 3, 200 women and if we really want 3,200 homes to be lights on a hill, then we have to talk about owning our sin and we have to talk about surrender and we have to talk about about obedience.

We are not angry yelling moms because our kids throw balls in the house. We are not angry yelling moms because of our child’s medical conditions. We are not angry yelling moms because our husbands are not spiritual leaders in our homes. We are not angry yelling moms because we have 4 kids under age 6 and we are tired. We are not angry yelling moms because we feel alone. We are not angry yelling moms because of our pasts.

We are angry yelling moms because of our own sin.

We are angry yelling moms because we have not believed God when He tells us that there is a way of escape when we are tempted.

We are angry yelling moms because we are not obeying.

We are angry yelling moms because we are not willing to die to ourselves.

We are angry yelling moms because we are not dealing with our own hearts first before trying to “fix” everyone and everything else around us.

We are angry yelling moms because we are not willing to go through the pain of sacrificing ourselves for the cross and for God’s glory.

Consider Jesus. He lay on the ground, in the dirt, in the Garden of Gethsemane. He faced the greatest temptation of His life and it brought Him to His face in prayer three times while his friends slept nearby. His agony over the temptation and what He faced in anticipation of bearing the sin of the world for all time and separation from God caused Him to sweat like blood as He begged God to take it from Him.

He wrestled with the temptation to walk away, but He yielded. He yielded to God and did not give in to the temptation, but surrendered to the cross. He comes away from the garden with renewed strength, and the power of God that is in Him for life and Godliness is released within Him because of His obedience. He is able to face the cross with dignity, head held high, and with stalwart and glorious obedience.

The result was life changing for YOU.

It’s true for us too. When you are faced with temptation, you have an opportunity to deny yourself and obey God by choosing the right path. And when you do, you will grow in your walk with God and be filled with God’s strength and ability to impact your children and your husband with all the power of our great God.

Changing your anger requires absolute radical surrender.

You and I will never amount to anything spiritually unless we learn to absolutely surrender and obey. And we will impact generations when we do!

God says:

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. Hebrews 5:7-8

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. Hebrews 2:18

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

He gets it. Jesus understands our temptations. He endured the greatest temptations of all, but “For the joy set before him he endured”.

Is the joy of your salvation enough to motivate you to put an end to the anger? I pray it is so, dear sisters.

I imagine 3,200 homes where moms wake up different tomorrow. Homes where gentle answers turn away wrath. Homes where women love others even when they don’t deserve it. Homes where women stand in peace and strength of the Lord. Homes where women look like trees that flourish even in the desert. 3,200 homes where women bear fruit no matter what. Homes where women realize that their problems are opportunities for God to prove His faithfulness. Homes where women are on the front-lines of raising a new generation who sees firsthand what it is to live like they have been redeemed, radically graced, and passionately devoted to doing right over and over and over again with patience, self-control, love, joy, peace, godliness, and wisdom. Homes where kids are loved so radically that they have no memories of being punished-just as God removed our punishment and guilt and placed it on Jesus at the cross.

That moment of temptation when you are tired, and your kids are being kids, and you want to explode, is the moment. It’s that very moment that is the test-will you stop and go in the opposite direction, choosing to pray and ask God to help you? Will you deny your natural instinct to anger and yelling by replying with love and a gentle answer? Or will you give in?

The only place you can learn and grow, mom, is in the place of temptation.

Let’s grow together. Let’s surrender as Jesus did. And let’s come away with renewed passion for Christ and with lives radically changed to love God and love others.

Nothing else matters more today.

Much love to you, sisters.

YOUR TURN: What is the true root of your anger? What do you do when temptation of any sort arises in your life? Have you had victory in this area-encourage us with your testimony!

 

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Can God Use My Failures As A Mother For Eternal Value? (A MOB Society Post)

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Overcoming Their Parents' Sin

 

My three sons did it when I was quick to anger because they interrupted “my time” on the computer. They did it when I made a promise to take them to the park, and then went back on my word. And they did it when I succumbed to laziness and their shirt for a club meeting wasn’t washed and ready. They did it over and over and over again.

They overlooked my sin and more than that, they were quick to forgive.

As if that wasn’t convicting enough, they don’t wallow in the aftermath of how my sin affects them. They just move on, lovingly.

There have been times when I wondered if the biggest challenge my sons would overcome in life are my own failures and sin nature as a mother.

To read the rest of this post, click here and finish reading the article at The MOB Society! I’m writing about how we can practically overcome our feelings of failure as moms, and how you can go into each day with HOPE! I pray it encourages you!

YOUR TURN! Do you ever feel like one of the biggest challenges your sons will face is your own sin or failures as a parent? How do you deal with the guilt that you feel in a Biblical way?

 

Follow me on Facebook for more inspiration and discussion! Find me on Twitter: Amber Lia and Instagram: MotherOfKnights. Start pinning on Pinterest as well!