Moms, rejoice! Tips for summertime fun.

As a mom who loves structure and routine, I see summer as an exciting yet frightening time! When school, church events and schedules take a break it can seem daunting to look at the lack of structure in the months ahead. Here are a few very simple things I have learned for those times when you just need to sit and finish your coffee, you’re trying to make it to bedtime alive, or you simply CANNOT think up dinosaur dialouge for one more minute!

Take it outside:Almost anything you can do inside, you can do outside! Have a picnic, camp in the backyard, or throw some soap in with the sprinklers and call it a bath. I know it’s hot, but the outdoors offer endless possibilities; and it’s good for your health!

Invite a friend:Don’t for one second think you’re the only mom with kids saying they are bored two minutes after they wake up. Plan trips to the park, invite friends over, and be “that friend” who invites herself over so you don’t have to get your own house messy. We are designed to do life together and summer with kids is no different.

Create life experiences:Visit a local dairy or farm, help your kids create the grocery list and talk about budgets, actually take your kids inside the post office, or pick out a profession your child is interested in and visit that place of work. You would be amazed at how interested kids are in the seemingly mundane parts of life.

Think smarter, not harder:The internet is chalk full of ideas for science experiments, DIY projects, arts, crafts, and homemade treats with most of them using supplies you have around your house or would already buy anyways. I have also come across fun summer bucket lists full of great ideas (or help your kids make their own). A little planning goes a long way!

Let them be bored:This may sound counterintuitive, but instead of saving them with tablets and TV why not invite them to play with the toys collecting dust in the closet or use their imaginations? From experience growing up and seeing my boys now, giving kids a chance to push through their “boredom” and get creative is a battle well worth fighting!

And please don’t forget to throw in those days where you stay in your pajamas and watch way too much TV. It’s called balance.

Happy summer-ing!

We would like to thank Kendra Huckabee for writing this post!

One Simple Truth

Editor’s Note: This semester we’ve focused on Titus 2 and the value of godly women mentoring young ones in their faith and everyday lives. Our prayer is that you would be encouraged as you read to connect with God in these areas of your life and obey His voice.

About 10 years ago, I learned one simple little secret at a women’s retreat that has truly changed everyday life at our house. You’ll never see it on the cover of Vogue magazine in a list of top 3 ways to please your man, but it will bring satisfaction to your marriage that the world can’t imagine. Are you interested?

Here’s the secret: The way I treat my husband in the first 1-2 minutes when I see him at the end of the day makes all the difference in showing him honor and setting the thermostat for the rest of our evening together. I often think of this saying and believe it’s God’s heart:

“Treat your family like guests, and your guests like family.” 

When a guest comes over, I want them to know they’re important, valuable, and welcomed. So, I stop what I’m doing, and I go to meet them. I wouldn’t dream of not looking up from my work, or of not getting up off the couch to greet them. I look them in the eye, welcome them, hug them, and tell them I’m so glad they’re there! But when my husband comes home? How is he greeted? Does he feel important, valuable, and welcomed by me?

In Titus 2, we’re told that God entrusted us as women with managing our homes, which includes setting the emotional and relational thermostat!  I challenge you to start intentionally meeting your husband with a smile, a hug, and a genuine gladness that he is home…in a FRIENDLY way. At first this may not feel like it comes from your heart, but as I’ve done this for years, it’s become a simple act that is now rooted in honor and respect for my husband. My home is the domain God’s given me, and I want my husband to feel welcomed there. If you have young kids and the house is scattered with toys, pick them up when you know he’s getting close and teach your kids to get the house ready for Dad. I’m not talking about perfection, but about teaching our kids how to plan for honor.

Older kids need to be trained to stop what they’re doing, walk up to Dad, and greet him with a hug and acknowledgement that he is home. We have a teenager now and still try to practice this every time Gabe walks in the door at the end of the day. We get lazy and selfish, and sometimes she and I have to remind each other to do this. It’s not natural—which is why it has such impact. But we are not natural people! And we don’t live natural lives! We live powerful lives where God’s kingdom comes to earth in our homes and relationships.

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”  Romans 12:10

Honor begins at home. Once your husband is sure that the emotional environment he’s walking into is neither HOT or COLD, I bet you’ll have a chance to tell him about your day. And he may even tell you about his. I dare you; try it!

Jill Moudy from our Plainview campus contributed this post.

The Inspired Mom Class

Editor’s note: This semester we’re focusing on Titus 2 as it relates to many areas of our lives as women. We hope you find real hope and encouragement as you read through these stories of God’s revelation to women all across our campuses.

I recently stopped by the home of a dear out-of-town friend of mine. This was my first time being in her lovely home. Her husband and four children were home and I couldn’t help but be inspired in the short time I was there. Her children were full of life and joy and couldn’t wait to share their treasures with me.

Titus 2:3-5 says this… 

Teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. 4These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, 5to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.”

 Have any of you ever wondered where this class is being offered? I have! Where IS this class and PLEASE sign me up! Everything mentioned in these verses are things I struggle with daily and if I could just find me one of these older women, I’m sure they would help me figure out how to be a woman. 😉

But here is what I discovered in the home of my sweet friend: Living life with other women is the class. She’s not much older than me, but she is further along in motherhood than I am. In 30 minutes, God used her to teach me how to love and connect with my children in a way I hadn’t thought about. It really was as simple as that.  I’ve been thinking and praying for months about how to connect with my three-year-old boys’ hearts and involve them in the daily chores. In the short time I spent visiting and sharing time with my friend, God answered those prayers with three very practical ways to love and train my children.

Are you wondering how to find an older woman to learn from? One of the easiest ways for older and younger women to connect in our church is through Life Groups. I can’t tell you how many opportunities I’ve had to learn AND teach in my group. Being a part of a Life Group is a very simple way to put Titus 2 to practice in your life.

I would like to leave you with this quote from one of my favorite older women, Elizabeth Elliott.

It is doubtful that the apostle Paul had in mind Bible classes or seminars or books when he spoke of teaching younger women. He meant the simple things, the everyday example, the willingness to take time from one’s own concerns to pray with the anxious mother, to walk with her the way of the Cross with its tremendous demands of patience, selflessness, lovingkindness—and to show her, in the ordinariness of Monday through Saturday, how to keep a quiet heart.

Amber Curry wrote this post. To learn more about her, please follow this link.

Heart of a Mother

The heart of a mother is one that, for some, is hard to explain and even talk about.  When I think of how to explain those words, I immediately get a picture of my own mom.  Growing up I felt very safe and secure. Both parents were and still are strong Christians. My brothers and I were loved and disciplined in a Biblical way and really never questioned our upbringing. It was good. My mother kept the home fires burning.  She did mom things: cooking, cleaning, carpooling, attending sports events, and church functions. She was a fantastic model for me. It wasn’t until I faced challenges of trying to become a mother myself that I began to realize there was more to a mother’s heart than meets the eye.

 

At the tender age of 38 I thought I was ready to attempt this “mom” thing. Little did I know that the road it would take me down would be one of great heartache. My journey to motherhood began with a miscarriage. A few months later, I gave birth to  a little girl only to be with her for an hour before she took an early flight from this earth and said goodbye. Later I carried a child for only 28 weeks and had to say goodbye yet again. Definitely not the journey I had pictured. My faith was challenged, but it kept me from spiraling into despair, and yet my heart still had to grieve the loss.  God never left; He just had a divine calling on my life called adoption. On June 14, 2006, a 7-pound, 14-ounce big blue-eyed little girl was laid in my arms! What else could I say, but, “WOW!” The heart of a mother began to swell within me.

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That little girl is now 11 years old.  Time flies! As I examine my road as a mother, I have begun to understand what was going on behind the scenes of things my mother would do. It’s all beginning to make sense. I’m blown away by how the heart of a mother reflects, in many ways, the heart of God.  We read about His heart for us in His word.  He instructs us how to live, then commands us to instruct our children. He protects us and in the same way, instills in us the heart-felt need to protect our “littles”. Psalm 18 is a beautiful picture of how He fights for us. So we also are not afraid to fight on behalf of those in our care.

 

My mom-heart gets foggy at times on what’s a true reflection of His heart. Actions that seem unimportant to me speak volumes of love to my child: a dorky valentine card, conversational candy hearts, a miniature box of chocolates, things that are no big deal to me are huge love actions in my house right now. These are opportunities to reflect His love in ways that my child can understand.

 

I love that the mom-heart He placed in each of us reflects His heart. What else can we say but “WOW!”

Kori Covington wrote this post. To learn more about her, please follow this link.

Seen & Heard

Seen & Heard

This week we asked Kendra Huckabee of the Lubbock Campus to share a little bit of how she loves her family well during the Valentine’s Day holiday.

This past weekend we took a day trip to Clovis, NM, of all places, to take our boys to a traveling dinosaur event called Jurassic Quest. Think robotic dinosaur museum (or circus…whichever you prefer). Throughout the entire planning process, buying the overpriced tickets, and honestly, even on the drive there I kept thinking:

“Why in the world are we doing this?”
“This better be worth it!”
“The things we do for our kids…”.
But seeing my 3 ½-year-old dinosaur fanatic’s face light up at every turn immediately made me glad that we chose to take the time to do something he loves. Loving my family is one of the most important jobs I have. Although it has taken me some time, learning to show love to each member of my family in a way that speaks to them individually and makes them feel seen and known is the best way to do it.
John 13:34 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Jesus gave us the perfect example of how to love people. It’s so cool to me how when Jesus healed people, had an encounter with someone, or spoke into someone’s life it was different every time. He didn’t have a “How to Love People” checklist that he followed. He simply knew them and loved them in a way that was specifically meant for them.

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He doesn’t care the cost, time, or distance it takes to show his love towards us.
I would have much rather stayed home this weekend in my pajamas drinking endless cups of coffee than standing in the cold watching my son move dirt around with a paintbrush to uncover a “fossil”, but I would have robbed myself of a chance to show love and my son of a chance to receive it.
I’m so thankful that I chose to move my SELF out of the way this weekend so that we could shower our son with love in a way that spoke to his little dino-loving heart.
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, chocolate and teddy bears have never really been my thing, but loving my people is! My goal this Valentines, and every day, is to take the opportunity to speak my family’s love language. I pray that you, too, will take the time to love your family in ways that make them feel seen and known. Whether it’s something simple like their favorite candy, or a random trip to another state to see robotic dinosaurs, learn what and how they love and show them love in that way.

Some things that have helped me learn how to love my family:

The 5 Love Languages books by Gary Chapman
DISC personality test
Simply spending time with them

 

This post was written by Kendra Huckabee from our Lubbock Campus. To learn more about her, follow this link.

Raising Warriors

The ranch. It’s a place I have always been able to find the desires and longings of my soul. Over the years that I have known my husband and been taking trips to the ranch, every trip helps me to see the beauty, romance, and adventure that my soul craves.

That is, until I became a mother.

Then it started to become a hassle. An undertaking if you will. All the gear, all the stuff to take “just in case,” all the fear. I will be three hours from anything if something happens. Taking kids to the ranch just isn’t the same as taking only myself.

And so, the ranch began to lose its magic, just as I think we let motherhood lose its magic. We let motherhood lose its power. We as mothers have such an intrinsic need to care for our children, to meet their needs, that we forget what a precious gift we have been given. We forget the power and the purpose with which our feet have been set on this path.

God didn’t make us mothers so that we could aim to keep our house clean, make the perfect meal seven nights a week (in addition to cute breakfasts and perfectly packed lunches), and present perfectly behaved miniature adults to the world on a daily basis. God didn’t give us children so that we could create picturesque monthly photos of our babies for social media, and make Pinterest-worthy projects and nurseries. None of these are bad things, it’s just that we are called to so much more.

God gave us our children to foster the next generation of hearts for His kingdom. He gives us our children so that we can teach them to love, to live from their hearts, and to learn to trust in Him. God gives us our children—entrusts them to us—so that the next generation of warriors are raised with the Word of God implanted into their hearts and a fresh fire and passion for Christ on their lips.

This last trip to the ranch showed me that in the craziness of life, I have missed it. I have been given the opportunity to live a wild adventure every day. And not to go alone, but to take my children with me. I have been given the chance to show my kids beauty all around us, every day. I’ve been given the gift of teaching my kids the greatest romance of all time—the romancing of their souls by Christ our Savior.

Motherhood is not just a list of tasks to be performed every day, or a checklist of thing to do in order to be a good mom. It’s an invitation to participate in the greatest, most rewarding adventure of all time: the adventure of training warriors for the kingdom of God. Motherhood is a chance to change the world beyond ourselves, to have a lasting impact on the world we will someday leave behind.

I sure don’t want to miss this opportunity because I was too busy looking at the pile of laundry at my feet. Do you?

This post was written by Brooke Kellum. To read more about her, click here. 

Mom Guilt…

Teething. Sickness. Growing pains. Sleep regression. TWONAGERS…. (I wish I could use the big-eyed emoji right about now) You guys know what I’m talking about!

You’ve had a long day of trying to keep your patience, your child chose not to eat anything at dinner; it’s time for bed and he says, “I’m hungry.” UGHHHH!!!! You get him something to eat, then something to drink, then re-brush his teeth, finally get him to bed, and sit down with a big sigh…FINALLY I can rest!!

Hop on some sort of social media, and the first thing you see is some motherhood quote about being patient because they grow up so fast (or something like that). And BAM, mom guilt strikes again! The devil creeps in through that one post and whispers in your ear, you weren’t good enough today.

Y’all, this is 100% true! Since becoming a mom I have figured out that if I’m not proactive when those words are whispered in my ear, then they don’t stop. If I don’t speak life into myself, I can’t speak life into others, including my child! The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy and the first thing he is after is your happiness.

Before I was aware of what was going on, I would spiral into this negative way of thinking, and attack my every move. “Not good enough” became: not patient enough, not healthy enough, not loving enough, not enoughbut is that what our Father in Heaven says about us? NO WAY!!! He says,

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

He made you the perfect mom for your children. Your kids don’t need Daniel Tiger’s mom—they need you!!

They need the mom who is able to speak life into them, because she speaks life over herself. The mom who spends time with the Lord because she makes the time to do it. The mom who is confident in who she is, because you are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).

So next time the devil whispers in your ear, remember that you are enough, and tell him to shut it!

This post was written by Dana Kimmell. To read more about her, click here