Servanthood in Motherhood

flower-8539_640Motherhood. I breath it in and out every single day.

My sweet boy has forever changed my life and deepened my perspective about the things that matter most. I adore him with every ounce of life in me.

Motherhood: A journey that has challenged me in new ways.

Sleepless nights, less time for things like exercise, interesting grocery shopping adventures, never-ending laundry piles, and a need to warm up my morning coffee about five times before actually finishing the last sip.

Motherhood: A journey that fills my heart with indescribable joy.

Cuddling with the sweetest little boy several times a day, hearing the cutest little phrases come out of the cutest little 3-year old mouth, witnessing the proud look on my little one’s face when he learns something new, and experiencing life through the eyes of a child.

Motherhood has the power to refine us so that something beautiful deep within us can be reveled.

motherhood...

Changing dirty diapers, cleaning up food-painted walls, being spit up on 10 times a day, and surviving off of little sleep might not seem like glamorous work. But when we give of ourselves for the sake of our children, we are doing some of the most important work that we will ever do—work that has the power to develop within us a selfless spirit. And while no one might notice our acts of service, we can rest assured that there is One who always does.

In a self-serving world it can be difficult to keep a clear perspective as mamas—but a servant heart is greatly valued in the Eyes of our Maker. And if He values it, we should too.

Every mama needs a guilt-free break ever so often. Time to re-charge, unwind, re-focus, and do something non-mommyish. Yet we’re always on mama duty. We’re always thinking about our kids and talking about them when we are away from them. We’re always moms.

Motherhood has the power to bring joy to the depths of our souls in a way that nothing else in this world can.

Our children have a way of captivating our hearts and filling us with joy. Even though our days might be inter-weaved with challenges, the gift of motherhood echos around us. And it doesn’t take much—a hug or kiss from our child, a peaceful stroll around the block together, hearing an unprompted I love you, enjoying an ice cream date, and the list could go on and on…

There’s something joyful about knowing that our kiss has a magical way to heal ouchies, that our chest is a comforting place for our little ones to rest their heads, and that our voice of assurance is a soothing sound to our children.

Motherhood may be messy sometimes, but there is joy around every corner. Something to be relished and remembered. Something to be learned. Something to be embraced. And something to remind us that we are daughters of  God—a God who desires to bring us closer to Him through our multifaceted stroller-pushing, diaper-changing journeys.

After all, HE knows a little something about servanthood. He knows what it means to be selfless in the purest form.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. ~Mark 10:45 (NIV)

God sent His one and only Son to earth for us. Jesus, fully man and fully God, served us with His very last breath as He hung on the Cross and died for our sins. The sinless, spotless Lamb took our place so that we can experience the beauty of having a relationship with Him in this moment and into eternity.

Let us remember His example as we face and embrace motherhood. While we might get to see some of the fruit of our work in this life, we will probably see so much more of it when we meet our selfless Savior face to face in Eternity.

Selfless love has a way of coming full circle. The more we give away, the more our hearts overflow with joy. There is an eternal purpose behind every act of love. 

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. ~Ephesians 6:7 (NLT)

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hannah

*Top Photo Credit

(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood, All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Teaching Children to Value Prayer | Popsicle Stick Prayers

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Prayer is an important part of our walk with the Lord. It something we can and should start teaching our children about when they are young. And the younger we start teaching them, the better.

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. ~Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

My son is just under three years old. Before he gets tucked in bed at night, my husband and I pray with him. We ask him who he would like to pray for and he usually lists different people in our family. Sometimes he will ask to pray for things like the trash truck, because he’s connecting to what is a part of his world. So we will pray for the trash people who come to our neighborhood and thank God for the work the trash trucks do to help us. My husband and I usually do the praying, but within the last few months our son has started to show an interest in saying prayers too. He is good at the “Dear God” part, and with some guidance he will say a few additional words. He is learning how to pray and it is special to witness.

As I was thinking about how to further enrich my son’s learning about prayer, this Popsicle Stick Prayer activity came to mind. It is a simple, meaningful and tangible way to teach young children how to pray. The idea is to fill a container with prayers that are meaningful to your children and then choose a few of them to pray about with your children each day—bedtime would be a perfect time to fit this in.  Whether your children are just beginning to learn about prayer, or if your children already have some prayer routines in place, this activity will get your little ones excited about praying.

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You will need:

2 small containers

 jumbo size craft sticks

sticky back fun foam

a good marker

labels 

supplies

The metal pails I used were leftover from my son’s 2nd birthday. They are the perfect size for this activity and they can be found for about $1 a piece at places like the dollar store. Recycled plastic containers would work just fine too. Fun foam brightens things up a little bit, but you can keep it very simple and skip that part if you want.

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Directions:

1. Together with your children, come up with some prayers to add to the sticks. You can focus on praying for certain people or extend it to pray for your children’s school, your church and so on. I chose to start by just focusing on people (mainly our immediate family), so our sticks got filled with names. Either way, use a permanent marker and write a name or prayer request on each stick.

2. Add the fun foam to the sticks by removing the white labels and sandwiching together 2 pieces of fun foam per stick (sticky sides facing each other).

3. Add labels to the two containers using the wording “praying for” and “prayed for.” I used Avery oval labels.

4. Add all of the sticks to the “praying for” container.

5. At bedtime or a certain time each day, have you children pick a certain amount of sticks out of the “praying for” container. Then pray for those people/requests with your children. When done, move those sticks to the “prayed for” container.

6. Once the “praying for” container is empty, take the sticks from the “prayed for” container and add them back to the original container. Having two containers rather than just one, ensures that your children make their way through all of the prayers. You can easily change things up and add new prayers along the way.

pray

We have just started doing this activity with my son at bedtime. He picks two “prayers” each night and we pray together. It has been a fun way to see him get excited about praying!

hannah

(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood and Hannah Bollinger

Training Up

Today I have the pleasure featuring this guest post by Juliet K. Kennedy! Juliet’s blog is one of the first I started reading when I first started blogging. I instantly fell in love with her writing style and connected with the content of her blog. She is a beautiful person and a beautiful writer. I really believe God connected our hearts through this very big blogging world—it’s such an honor to feature her work right here today! Thanks so much Juliet for sharing this message with us!!

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training up post

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

~Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV)~

On Palm Sunday in 1975, a 19-year-old mother walks down the aisle of small church in Eastern Ohio. She stops at the altar and bows her head. In the moments that follow, she whispers a prayer to Jesus, confessing her sins and believing in her heart that He is Lord and died to save her.  When she arrives home after the church service, her husband notices the change instantly. She holds her one-year-old daughter and vows to raise her to know and love Jesus.

In the spring of 2007, a 33-year-old mother weeps in her car as she drives home after a long day of work. If she is lucky, her one-year-old son will still be awake and she’ll have a few minutes with him. But the turmoil of being away from him for many hours each day wears heavy on her, and she cries out to God for help. That moment marks a change in her heart, and in the months that follow, she prays and trusts in God more than she has in years. As she holds her son, a desire grows deep within her to raise him to know and love Jesus.

That 19-year old mother was my own mom. And the 33-year-old mother? That was me.  Motherhood transformed our hearts and our faith walks.

My mom’s faith walk began in her childhood. God gave her two aunts of strong faith who were devoted to sharing Jesus with her at a young age. At church, they dedicated my mom to Jesus. They told her about missionaries and taught her how to pray. They trained her up in the way she should she go.

When she was 15, her father died. She couldn’t understand how a loving God could allow her father to die. So she turned away from God for a season.

But her beloved aunts laid a firm foundation of faith within her. And when the time was right—after the birth of her first child—she returned to her faith in God and committed to training up her own children in the way they should go.

My mom kept her promise to teach me about Jesus. She faithfully took my brother and me to church and constantly prayed for us kids and for my dad, her husband. God heard and answered many of her prayers, including my dad making a commitment to follow Jesus. This transformed my family, and together, my parents taught my brother and me about God’s character, truths, and commands. They trained us up in the way we should go.

I grew up knowing and loving Jesus. I blossomed in my faith during my high school years but strayed from it in my twenties. Though I still attended church with my husband during that time, I failed to invest my heart and time into my relationship with Jesus. I hobbled through the motions of Christianity.

Then I became a mom. The birth of my son ignited a yearning within me to draw near to God.

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.

~James 4:8 (NKJV)~

Though I wandered from my faith for a season, the solid foundation my parents built in my childhood still remained. And when the time was right—after the birth of my son—I returned to my faith in God and committed to training up my son in the way he should go.

As parents, we carry a great responsibility to train up our children in the way they should go—the way of Jesus, our perfect example. But how do we do this?

*We begin with loving God with all our hearts, souls, and strength, and by sharing this deep love with our children.

*We train them by sharing God’s Word with them and by praying with and for them.

*We train them by the way we live our lives and by the way we forgive and show grace to others and ourselves.

*We train them by leaning on Jesus and allowing him to lead the way for us as parents.

As our children grow into adults, they may stray from the faith we have taught them. But the foundation will still be there, and during this season, we put our trust in God and pray for our children.

And when the time is right, there is a good chance that they too, like us, will return to that faith and never depart from it.

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JKK Headshot 01a (10-22-13)About the Author: 

Juliet K. Kennedy lives in beautiful Colorado with her family. She discovered her passion for writing when she was in second grade. In her free time, she delights in writing fiction stories, articles, and devotions. She blogs about faith, motherhood, and writing at www.julietkennedy.com.