Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Evangelism & Engaging Women Online

Ever since I read "Women's discipleship and the Mommy Blogosphere" by Hannah Anderson, I've considered the importance of Christ-following women engaging in conversation online.  The norm of a news feed for an 18 to 35 year-old woman (and maybe other age groups as well) includes blog post after blog post.  The City Moms Blog Network has exploded over the last few years, as have the followings of major 'mom' communities that are pumping out heartfelt content at an amazing rate.  I can't go 24 hours on social media without reading or seeing a post about the daily issues that women face.

Women are talking online
Like it or not, the women in our culture are talking...on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  The women of our culture are looking for answers to life's disappointments, and many search for guidance through their online community before having a heart to heart with a close friend in person.  I've experienced this first hand and have enjoyed this form of community too!
  • When I became a 'twin mom', I joined a Facebook group of other women who'd had twins in the same year.  It was an incredible resource and forum for discussion about how to handle the unique challenges of two babies at one time.  There were several instances where I posted a question and I had some incredibly helpful responses!  While I don't engage it as much now that twins are older, I'm thankful that I could get instant help from other twin moms without the time commitment of an in-person support group.
  • I can't even count the number of times I've received helpful information from blog posts about everything from breastfeeding to home decorating.  Thanks to bloggers, I figured out that I like having a capsule wardrobe, found new strategies for organization and discovered helpful parenting strategies.

Here's the good news:
The conversation is relatively easy to engage in!  If you have a smartphone, tablet or computer; you can join in everyday.  Evangelism that used to only exist among the people you ran into face-to-face can now take place with people across the globe at any time of day.  We have access to the world through the internet, and many women who are flocking to blogs and online communities for answers are desperate to hear some meaningful truth.  They want validation, and they want meaning that they are missing in 'real life'.

Here's the bad news:
Relationships online are hard, and can't ever replace a face-to-face relationship.  We can only go so deep with someone through a computer screen, and it's easy for people to misunderstand us.  So while I think it's wonderful to engage this way, it can't be the only means of evangelism in our lives.  Women will always need to sit across from other women and talk in person!

What are some practical ways we can engage women online and share the gospel?
  • Make people jealous for the faith.  Not by showing a fake 'perfect' life, but by authentically revealing the joy God has given to you in various life circumstances.  When other people are complaining, you can chose to rejoice.  When other people are oversharing, you can choose to protect your loved ones and be discreet.  When other people are making much glorification of sin, you can focus on giving glory to God.  Not out of a heart of self-righteousness or pride, but out of a desire to live out authentic faith before others.  As people see this over time, it might make some people annoyed - but others might begin to recognize that as a follower of Christ, you live with a different kind of peace, joy and contentment that makes them jealous for Jesus.
  • Share gospel-centered content.  There are lots of posts for women that come across your daily newsfeed, but when you read something that touches the heart of a woman's struggles and shares the gospel, you should hit share!  In a moment of weariness, an unbelieving wife might be willing to read a 'Christian' blog post on marriage, that speaks to her need to trust in Jesus.  In a heap of frustration, a mother might click on a post that encourages her to train her children up in the Lord, a concept she'd never considered before.  The word of God and the message of the gospel are powerful, so pass it along and get it in front of other women - not obnoxiously, but joyfully!
  • Be gracious with your comments.  It's likely that you are reading a lot of advice to women and moms that is just completely contrary to scripture.  Not long ago, I read (on a mainstream, highly popular mom blog) a mom recommending erotic novels as a great way to spice up the bedroom.  She was in essence saying, "if you fantasize about other men, you will be more excited to be with your husband at the end of a long day with kids."  When you read things like that, your first instinct might be to rain down the wrath of God, but have discernment and be gracious as you share truth.  Some of the meanest blog comments I read are from Christians who are extremely unloving and self-righteous as they present 'the truth'.  Out-do others, not in showing tolerance, but in showing genuine love.
  • Create relationships and make investments.  If you are going to hang around in an online community, take the time to actively engage other women.  Respond to comments, be personable and friendly and be ready to give an answer for your faith.  Be ready to engage in ongoing conversation and bear with people who don't trust in Christ.  Although it's not the same as a face-to-face relationship, the women I've seen really have the most success with online evangelism have taken those relationships from the screen to the coffee shop - making surface relationships REAL relationships.
  • Add your voice.  It can seem like there is already too much noise out there, so the world doesn't need more bloggers, tweeters, and women sharing their thoughts.  Naturally, the feeling that our voice wouldn't matter makes it seem like we should just be silent.  But resist the temptation, especially if you think that God might have gifted you with the ability to write or engage others personably online.  There are still vastly more blogs and articles filling the listening ears of women with lies instead of gospel hope.  The more women that can step up and offer a loving word of truth for the cause of Christ, the better!  You can reach your own sphere of influence, which is likely different than mine or another blogger's.
You never know...
Here is a little story from almost a decade ago:
When, by God's grace, I put my faith in Christ for salvation, I was totally stumped about what to do next.  At the time, I didn't really have any immediate friends or connections I could turn to.  I didn't know how to connect to a new community or a flesh and blood believer, because I was so far down a path of rebellion.  The only thing I could think of, was to search through my social media connections and find a person - anyone - who could help.  I'm not saying that was the perfect way to go about it, but it's all I knew to do at the time!

That has stuck with me through the years, because that person would have never thought our social media connection would eventually lead to me asking them to bring me to church and help me pray through my salvation.  Similarly, you don't know who is watching you or who God will prompt to come your way when the time is right!  It might seem like there are no seeds being planted and no gospel work being done through your online presence, but you just don't know how God might be using it powerfully!  I've had multiple instances (especially since having this blog) where people who I didn't know were reading, watching or listening have approached me with a desire for help and prayer in a time of spiritual crisis.  I can't say I've been some huge part of their lives, but I'm honored to be a small part of their journey.  You never know who will come to you as they watch you live out a life of faith!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Are you feeling discontent as a SAHM?

This post is primarily written to stay-at-home-moms (SAHM).  Not that "work from home" or "work outside of the home moms" won't relate at all, but I just don't have as much perspective in those areas (side note: aren't all of these terms kind of silly, putting moms into categories and boxes? we all work!).  But I haven't held a paid position for almost three years now, and I want to share some encouragement God has given me on the days when it feels like being a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) isn't "enough".

Are you feeling discontent as a SAHM? [from the jensens blog] - courtney reissig quote

While I haven't had a chance to read a copy of The Accidental Feminist: Restoring our delight in God's design (source of above quote), I have had a chance to listen to 2 excellent summary sessions Courtney gave at Midtown Baptist Church.  I thought this quote really captured the heart of the matter when it comes to that discontent, 'blah' feeling we sometimes have in our mundane lives.  Because when my house continually falls apart into a mess despite constant cleaning, when my kids exhibit the same heart issues day in and day out, and when I make it to lunch without having a chance to shower (let alone wash my face or comb my hair) I wonder, "What is the point of all this?!  Is this VALID work to be doing or should I be doing something better with my time?"  Eventually, these feelings can lead to discontentment as I question whether or not I'm doing 'enough' for God and my family.  The answer is simple: we can't do enough - we must rest our hope in the gospel.  But it can seem complicated, because real physical and purpose-driven factors also impact our feelings.  Below, I lay out some of the things I've wrestled through as God's challenged me to seek Him in my current role as a SAHM.

'Staying at home' won't be enough, so I shouldn't feel surprised when I'm found wanting more.
God designed our hearts to be truly fulfilled only in a relationship with Him.  We are designed to worship Him with our whole heart, and only when we live for his glory and enjoy Him can we truly experience peace and contentment.  This truth has been helpful to me, because in the moments when I feel like wiping bottoms, finding pacifiers, and making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is not enough, I don't have to fear there is something wrong with me.  I shouldn't be satisfied in those things alone (even though I do actually enjoy the role of motherhood day in and day out).  Instead I should let that discontent feeling remind me to find my worth in Jesus.  I can only build my self-worth and identity in gospel truth - anything else will fall short of meeting my needs and desires.

'Staying at home' is not an excuse to let my gifts, talents, and intelligence waste away.
I used to think that having kids meant I got to stop working.  WOAH, was that wrong!  I use my gifts, talents, and intelligence more as a mom and homemaker than I ever have in any other paid position I've had.  If you view your job as a SAHM as being limited to entertaining your kids, picking up food off the floor, and meeting basic needs, you might be missing out on what God has available for you.  Each one of my unique gifts, passions, and abilities can be used and played out in the context of my home.  Sometimes I view myself as a mini CEO during the day, managing lots of systems, people, and important operations.  I try to challenge myself to use my time better and be more efficient.  There are depths of things un-explored that I can tap into to help and serve my husband and children.  This is not a wimpy role.  Many people can pick up a messy floor and keep the children entertained, but it takes a focused, self-disciplined, industrious, and godly woman to do train up children in the Lord, leaving a legacy that will hopefully last for eternity.

'Staying at home' gives me options for serving, working hard, and contributing to the world that I didn't have before.
Some might wonder how they can change the world from inside their four walls, and I'll admit wondered this too for a long time.  I thought, "How am I supposed to evangelize and impact people if I only leave the house for appointments and grocery shopping?"  This is somewhat closed-minded.  I've seen multitudes of ways that I can engage in service for the kingdom from my own home, inside the confines of my current responsibilities.  I love to write, and have a passion for sharing what I'm learning with others, so I decided to invest time into this blog.  I love relating to other women and want to invest in the next generation, so I got into a low-key discipling relationship.  I want to study the bible and learn more about God, so I attend a weekly study where I can serve too.  I want to help others in the church, so I make meals and try to serve others with my time and flexibility where  I can.  I enjoy business, so I regularly discuss my husband's work with him, and help him solve problems, giving ideas about overcoming obstacles.  I'm barely tapping the surface of the opportunities available to me if I choose to take them.  Sure, I'm limited by naps and meals, but overall I do have incredible flexibility to use as God directs.  Not to mention, I'm hopefully raising boys that will become men who have a tremendous impact on the world for God's glory.  What a privilege!

'Staying at home' challenges me to put my hope in Jesus, and believe God's promises to sustain me.
I believe one of the biggest things that drives discontentment among SAHM's, is the lack of recognition and clear rewards.  When you are in a paid position, goals and objectives seem to be more clearly laid out.  When you achieve them, you get rewarded, people recognize your hard work, and you feel like you have accomplished something.  There is nothing wrong with those things, and they are important components of enjoying your work.  However, the SAHM rarely knows when her objectives have been met and the rewards of her labor may take decades to show themselves.  Not only that, but only the Lord is watching all of the little things you do well.  Your spouse and children are not constantly doting on what a good job you are doing, "Honey, you cleaned the dishes for the 4th time today, wow, thanks!"  This is admittedly VERY difficult.  A woman in this role has to be completely convinced that the Lord sees her work and that she is working unto him alone.  She has to believe God's promises and find her identity completely in Jesus to be able to sustain this type thankless, sanctifying service.  This in itself doesn't make her a saint, but it does offer a beautiful context for the Lord to shape her into the image of Christ.

Questions for discontentment
In moments of discontentment, I've noticed one big problem: I'm letting my feelings and thoughts revolve around ME and my view of justice rather than basing my feelings on the truth that everything exists for God's glory.  My life is to serve Him, not the other way around.  But in addition to that, there are just practical and physical things that can contribute to a feeling of 'blah' over time.  It's important that we don't disconnect the physical from the spiritual, because often when we aren't being good stewards of our bodies, minds and hearts, this can skew our view of God's purpose for our lives.

Here are some questions for further examination:
1.  Are you having regular times with God?  Are you meditating on his promises, enjoying relationship with him, and reading God's word?
2.  Are you taking time to rest?  Not just to check your Facebook or spending time in the shower, but REALLY resting?
3.  Are you taking care of yourself physically?  Are you eating in a way that fuels your body correctly and exercising enough to have energy for your tasks?
4.  Are you making your hygiene a priority?  Are you taking a shower, doing your hair, putting on whatever level of makeup you enjoy, and wearing clothes that appropriate for the public?
5.  Are you engaged in community with other Christian women?  Are you having regular conversations with other adults and taking time to foster your relationships?
6.  Are you trying to make your kids happy?  Are you spending the majority of your day feeling pressure to entertain little ones and trying to fulfill their desires?
7.  Are you primarily identifying yourself as a mom?  Are you actively remembering that you are first a child of God in Christ, then a wife, and then a mom?  Are you making motherhood an idol?
8.  Are you looking for ways to serve and help your husband during the day?  Are you seeing your time at home as a valuable commitment to him as well as your children?
9.  Are you using your gifts, talents, and passions?  Are you spending time cultivating and creatively using those gifts (baking, crafting, gardening, writing, teaching, writing, reading, etc.) along with your other roles and responsibilities?
10.  Are you putting too much emphasis on your to-do list?  Are you feeling defeated daily by the ongoing tasks instead of keeping them in the right perspective?
11.  Are you comparing yourself to other moms?  Are you feeling down about what God has called you to specifically?  Are you convinced that he has something unique for you, or do you aspire to be someone else?
12.  Are you being poured into by an older, godly woman?  Are you getting practical help in the areas that discourage you?
13.  Are you pouring into other women?  Are you teaching and encouraging other women in the body where you have gifts and strengths?
14.  Are you having quality time with your husband?  Are you making it a priority to go on dates and have a healthy marriage?
15.  Are you deepening your knowledge of the bible?  Are you studying scripture in a way that brings you joy and wisdom?  Are you challenging yourself mentally?

Once again, this isn't meant to prescribe what you should do, nor is it meant to convince anyone that they should be a SAHM.  My intent isn't to enter the mommy wars, but to encourage women who have already chosen to be primarily at home with children, that you don't have to settle for discontentment.  I have not arrived, I don't have it all together, and I wish I lived more in light of the truths I shared.  This is a journey that is constantly changing and I'm thankful for God's continual mercy on my life.  Being a SAHM mom, more than many other things, has caused me to really root my identity deep in Jesus, and for that, I'm thankful.  And if you get nothing else from this, I hope that next time you (or I) are in a moment of discontentment, it's a red flag that we must run to the cross to rightly understand who we are and how we can live out our purpose.


Also - the winner of The Gospel-Centered Mom giveaway is Rachel Pereira!  Congrats Rachel!  I've sent you a FB message to claim your prizes.  

If you didn't win, I would still highly encourage ordering a copy of this study for yourself - especially if you are still feeling really confused about the gospel, and how it applies to motherhood.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Gospel-Centered Mom: A Review + A GIVEAWAY!

the gospel-centered mom (from the jensens blog)

How can I give God more glory as a mom?
Maybe you've asked this question before, or maybe you've asked a different question on this list:

"How can I love my kids more?  How can I love God more?  How can I be more selfless?  How can I be a better wife?  How can I keep godly priorities?"  

These are some of the things that consume my mind, day in and day out, and the questions that drive many of my efforts to change.  At the heart of our longings, moms want to know, "...where can I find the strength to care for all these little hearts and bodies with perfect patience and love?" 

Can you relate? 
Are you feeling overwhelmed with your various roles, not only because of their daily challenges but because you are burdened by the desire to handle those challenges well?  If you have been made new in Christ, then your heart does long to honor God in all of your actions, which can actually start to feel like a heavy burden.  But as Sara Wallace explains in her new study, there is an answer to this struggling and striving (and it doesn't require us to 'do more' for God).

"The gospel-centered mom looks to Christ first.  The Gospel is our anchor; our foundation; our lens for our world of diapers, burned dinners, and mommy break-downs.  We have a monumental task ahead of us, but we have an even greater Savior."   

From this lens, Sara goes on to explain what the gospel is, and how it should impact our hearts in our calling as moms.  

What is The Gospel-Centered Mom Study?
For some time now, I've followed Sara Wallace's writing on her blog, "The Gospel-Centered Mom."  Maybe you've read some of her writing, especially her "What to do with Santa?" post that went viral before Christmas.  I love her heart to proclaim the goodness of grace, making application for women in the thick of cheerios and diapers.  Sara's writing is authentic and venerable, but not just so that you can laugh alongside her exciting life with four boys.  Her ultimate goal is to point other moms to the gospel, and to help us see how it frees us to enjoy God and fulfill His purposes for our lives.  So when I had an opportunity to look over this study, I jumped at the chance.  I'm totally on board with her mission and think she is gifted by God to relate biblical truth to tired, weary moms!

What is this study like?:
  • The book consists of 14 chapters, each with a small set of study questions at the end.
  • Each chapter is just a handful of easy-to-read pages, packed full of real life examples and biblical truths.
  • This could be completed easily on your own during a devotional time, or it would make a wonderful discussion starter in a small group of other moms.
  • Sara provides enough scriptures to help you stand on truth, without overwhelming you with passages to spend hours researching.  This is very accessible for busy moms!
the gospel-centered mom (from the jensens blog)

Some big takeaways:
First of all, I'm grateful for how simply and clearly this book spells out gospel application for motherhood.  I've read several books before which have attempted to make this connection, but until I did this study, it never really 'clicked' for me.  I have a feeling I will look back months and years from now, and still reference this book as a turning-point for me in parenting.

Here were some of my favorite lessons:
  1. I need to stop using my mommy grading chart:  I have a standard in my mind for 'the perfect mom' which is mostly made up of cultural ideals and personal preferences.  Each day, I grade myself based on this standard.  If I've done well (fed my kids healthy food, haven't let them watch too much TV, haven't lost my patience with anyone, enjoyed some 'fun' time with the kids) then I give myself a good grade and I feel awesome about myself.  If I've done poorly (grabbed nuggets at the drive thru, let them watch Doc McStuffins re-runs, ignored them for social media, and neglected to keep the house organized) then I feel guilt and shame.  I make sure to 'punish' myself in some way; either through negative self-talk, condemnation, or running to a false idol for comfort (think - eating huge handfuls of m&m's).  This study helped me identify that habit, and name it as a wrong way to view myself as a person and a mom.  God is not a mean teacher, looking at my good and bad for the day, waiting to give me a grade.  He is a loving, merciful father who always sees me clothed in the righteousness of Christ.  I'm no longer under the law, and each day I am seen through the perfect lens of Jesus.  
  2. I need to fill my mind with truth, and rehearse the gospel:  It's really hard to believe the gospel and apply it if you don't know it very well.  It's also difficult to experience the joy, peace, strength, and help that God gives in His word when I'm not connected to it.  God doesn't want me to do this 'motherhood' thing alone.  He wants me to trust Him, come to Him, talk to Him, rely on Him, and live like I am a true daughter (and co-heir with Christ).  The only way out of this mommy-grading chart cycle is to look at Jesus himself, be connected to the vine daily, and be grateful for the incredible grace I've already been given that can't be lost.
  3. I need to come alongside my children as fellow sinners:  Perhaps the most helpful thing I received from reading this book was a better understanding of the gospel's application to discipline.  
    • The gospel applied to discipline means that I expect my children to be un-regenerate sinners in need of grace (which removes the need for me to be angry with them or shocked at their behavior).  
    • The gospel applied to discipline means that I am a fellow sinner, sharing our great inability to do what is right before a perfect and righteous God.  
    • The gospel applied to discipline means that I can explain with an understanding spirit what it means to confess sin and trust in the sacrifice of Christ.  
    • The gospel applied to discipline means that I can give my children the hope of new life, not based on what they will do to 'be better' or reform themselves, but based on becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus.
At the end of this book, my heart beats alongside Sara's:
"Let's be frequent, willing recipients of gospel grace so we can be generous givers of it to our children."

Because a TRUE understanding of the gospel will change us, and it can help us live out our desire; to bring glory to God in ALL THINGS, even the crazy season of motherhood.

Thanks to Sara Wallace from The Gospel-Centered Mom, I'll be giving away a FREE COPY of the Gospel-Centered Mom AND I'm throwing in a $10 gift card to Starbucks (just because - you probably need a break to go read somewhere in peace).  
the gospel-centered mom (from the jensens blog)

To Enter:
Basically you can have a total of 4 entries - Comment (here or at the FB page), FB page like, Twitter follow, Social Media share :-) Just make sure you tell me what you do, even if it's all in one comment....this is my first Giveaway and I'm testing the waters!

The giveaway will end on FRIDAY, MAY 1ST, 2015.  This giveaway is open to US residents only.
I will announce / contact the winner on MONDAY, MAY 4TH, 2015.

And even if you don't win, please consider picking up your own copy and using it as a personal or group study!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lies in Disguise - "Good moms have happy kids"

Lies in Disguise - Good moms have happy kids [from the jensens blog]

I've seen this quote about 100 times, and 99 times, I've just let it slide.  I mean, who wants to be known as the stuffy mom who yells at her kids for spilling milk and making a mess?  Who wants to be compared to museum moms of the 1950's, who (we hear) were strict with children about not touching vases or sitting on couches.  Not I!  But I wonder if this "dirty floors and happy kids" message isn't really the truth that moms need to hear either.

Why it sounds good
From the moment your little newborn cries for the first time, everything in you as a mother wants to comfort them.  They grow a little older, and you do everything in your power to dry their tears; pacifiers, white noise machines, rocking chairs, bouncing, bottles, nursing sessions - whatever it takes to show them they are loved and cared for.  And this is good.  There is a crucial season of a child's development which requires parents to soothe, dote on, and respond vigilantly to their child's perceived discomforts.  It's easy to get into this groove, and not really realize where the stage ends - and suddenly you forget that it's more important to care about what it means to love them in the long-term (which doesn't always include quenching a child's immediate cravings).

Here is the picture this quote paints:
The kids have been playing with their toys all day.  They are having a blast - laughing and giggling together.  Many projects and fun moments have been tackled.  Mom is right in the mix of things.  She loves playing and being with her kids more than anything else, and if that means leaving cleaning until later, so be it!  It's all about being available for her kids every minute of the day, to make memories with them and laughing.  Mom is all about the kids.  The kids love her for making them happy.  All is well.  You are a good mom.

Who doesn't want this?  Messy floors and happy kids...

Why it's a lie
Can I just assert for a moment, that there is NO command in the bible which makes us personally responsible for our child's happiness?
  • We are responsible for training our children in the ways of the Lord.
  • We are responsible for teaching our children God's word.
  • We are responsible for holding our children accountable for their obedience to us.
  • We are responsible for providing for their needs.
  • We are responsible for teaching them the difference between wisdom and foolishness, and for protecting them from foolishness.
  • We are responsible for loving them (the biblical way of loving, which Jesus modeled for us)
  • We are not responsible for making sure our children are entertained.
  • We are not responsible for preventing our children from experiencing boredom.
  • We are not responsible for giving our children everything they want.
  • We are not responsible for dropping everything we need to do in order to let the world revolve around them.
  • We are not responsible for making them 'feel' happy.
In fact, I would assert that moms who are pre-occupied with "happiness" as their end goal of parenting have some of the LEAST happy children out there.  Because a mom who makes it her primary mission to show her kids a good time, enables them to not learn how to find contentment and joy on their own - born out of tough circumstances and relying on God.  A mom who says, "my kids have to be happy for me to be a good mom" is putting a burden on her shoulders that wasn't put there by God and can't be done.

Moms, have you ever tried to make your kids happy?  Because I often try.  Every time I have just given my toddlers what they want - because I want to turn whining into laughing, crying into fun memories, and tantrums into high fives - my children just need more from me.  They are a bottomless pit of wants, and I can never do enough to satisfy them.
One cracker turns into, "and a cookie too please"
One extra minute on my phone turns into, "no, ipad too!"
One begging, pick-me-up moment becomes, "waaa! don't put me down!"

Trying to fill a child's desire for being happy and comfortable is impossible.

And besides the fact that we aren't responsible for our children's happiness, I wonder if the pendulum isn't swinging to from the 1950's extreme of "perfect homes and strict mean mommies" to "sloppy homes and run-ragged child-centered mommies".  Is this quote helping us become industrious women who find a biblical balance between keeping up with our homemaking responsibilities AND caring for the hearts of our children?

Why it matters:
Moms living by the mantra of, "all for the sake of happy kids" are at risk for neglecting important and crucial lessons that children need to learn.  Moms who are ignoring other important tasks and relationships to focus their all on their children are creating a false world-view for their kids that will be detrimental later in life.

Because it's possible that the mom who leaves a mess on the floor all the time because she doesn't want to impede her children's play is sending the unspoken message:

  • You are in charge around here.
  • This house revolves around you.
  • Having an orderly and sanitary environment isn't as important as having fun.
  • Mom doesn't care about dad's disdain for messy floors, she just wants her kids to be happy.
  • Guests just need to deal with our environment - it's about them adapting to us, not us serving them.
  • It's not that important for us to take care of the home and material possessions God gave us.

Children need to see that mom loves them, that she is present and available, that she is loving and nurturing, and that she values her relationship with them more than a clean house...
Children also need to see that mom works hard, has boundaries, expectations, standards, other responsibilities, and keeping her home in order is one of those things.

Probably the biggest issue with this "good moms have happy kids" mentality is that "happy kids" (who have been given every want and whim) will likely have a hard time grasping the gospel and recognizing their need to depend on God.
  • A child whose parent is meeting their every need will have a hard time seeing need for Jesus.
  • A child whose parent is bending over backwards and letting everything else slide to see their child 'happy' will likely think that the world is self-centered instead of God centered.
  • A child whose parents never allow them to be bored, discouraged, frustrated, unhappy, or dissatisfied, will have a hard time seeing their sin and need for a greater satisfaction found in God.
Lest you think I'm harsh and I want us all to have unhappy little children and pristine houses, let me reassure you that is NOT the case.  I want my children to be happy just as much as any other mom, but I don't think happiness is something I can give them.  I want them to experience some uncomfortable moments for the sake of being humbled before God, at which point I pray they can trust Christ and find true joy.

Because joy isn't based on circumstances.  And I want to have joyful content children, even if it means sometimes I can't play with them because I need to mop the floor.  And if I'm going to have messy floors, let it not be because I was striving for happy children, but because I was busy training them in the ways of the Lord.

p.s.  If you in fact have pinned this quote or have it on a plaque in your house, you don't need to take it down on my behalf.  I get that the heart of it is just to say, "sometimes it's more important to be with your children than it is to clean your house".  And that's true at times.  The meaning of this series is simply to deconstruct widely accepted cultural norms, sayings, and standards and view them critically in light of God's word - not to spoil all the fun in Hobby Lobby display plaques.  :-)  so quote in peace.


Lies in Disguise is a series geared towards identifying unbiblical teaching and thinking, subtly infused into our day-to-day lives.  The hope is to encourage others to filter and discern all things through the truth of the bible.