On Raising Daughters: Beauty Queen or Brainiac?

“Please, Mommy, please!” She begged with round eyes and crinkled nose.  Her most fervent desire? To sign up for the local beauty pageant and wear a fancy dress.

It’s one aspect of mothering a daughter that I never anticipated….as a mother of mostly boys.

It’s true that daughters are different, and therefore, we worry about different things – teaching modesty and authenticity, teaching beauty that comes from within, teaching God-derived confidence and mothering skills, and a million other things I might never have considered teaching specifically to our boys.

It’s also true that one can find all sorts of conflicting advice about what is best for little girls.

Let them be princesses!

No, let them be tom-boys!  

Teach them the joy of femininity!

No, teach them to seek equality!  

We all want to raise strong daughters, but what does that really mean? Should we teach them the strength of femininity or of brain power?  Should we teach them to be princesses or tomboys?  Mothers everywhere tend to disagree on this issue. Perhaps the answer is less complicated than we have been led to believe!  Beauty Queen or Brainiac from Being Confident of This

 

When so many different opinions exist, how can we know the best advice to follow?  Which way is right?

Should we let our little girl participate in the beauty pageant or not?

 Join me over at Kaylene Yoder’s place as I share about what kind of daughters we should be raising and how to love our daughters best!

Meet you there!

Jen :)

Sharing with: Tell It To Me Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sdays, A Little R&R Wednesdays, #TellHisStory, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth, Faith Filled Fridays

How To Give Your Kids a Good Christmas

I woke up feeling a little sorry for myself this morning, sorry for my family, too.  It hasn’t been the Christmas season we expected or wanted, and I’m left wondering: how do you give your kids a good Christmas when nothing seems right in your world?

We’ve spent the entire month of December ill now.  Influenza spread slowly from one family member to another.  Several children ended up with  infections. My asthmatic lungs were hit hard and our physician threatened me with hospital time.

Thankfully, it was just bronchitis and not pneumonia.

Just bronchitis, ha.

A pharmacy worth of medicines clutters our kitchen counters still – fever reducers, cough meds, antibiotics – you name it, we probably have it right now. Or at least that’s the way it feels. :)

Is life turned upside down right now for you? And it seems so much harder because...it's Christmas? You can give your kids a good Christmas without health, without money, without extravagance. You can give your kids a good Christmas by...                  How To Give Your Kids a Good Christmas

Then, this weekend during our church Christmas program practice, our middle boy began complaining of stomach pain. By the time we had removed costumes and were ready to leave, he was on the floor curled up in a ball, crying. It frightened me because he is our tough cookie, the kid who rarely complains of pain.

So, when he started to scream that his stomach hurt, I left immediately for the closest ER!

We spent a day and a half at the hospital under observation, with many people praying – the world over. The surgeon mentioned appendicitis, but his symptoms didn’t fit exactly. Finally, his white blood cell count dropped, his pain subsided and we were able to go home.

We were overjoyed!  He talked about playing with his little brother and sister and how happy he was to come home in time for Christmas.  I grinned in the front seat, glad to have my funny, enthusiastic boy back. We were almost home.

All seemed right in the world again.

And then, suddenly it wasn’t.

Our oldest son woke in the middle of the night with an asthma attack. Then, I got sick and so did he.  On top of that, the only little one who didn’t already have an ear infection complained that his ear hurt.

I’ll admit, friends, my heart travelled straight from rejoicing to complaining because it’s almost Christmas and it just doesn’t seem fair, really.  Our children were only back at school for a week, and already ill again!

How can you give your kids a good Christmas when everything goes wrong?

How?

I know I’m not the only one struggling for joy right now.  In fact, I’m certain that many of you are experiencing trials much deeper and more painful than ours.  If I really knew the depth of them, I’d probably be ashamed of my own complaining.

And maybe you’re a mom like me who doesn’t really mind so much for herself, but for the kids!

Maybe you lie awake at night worrying about life circumstances.  Maybe you’re experiencing the pain of loss or separation from loved ones. Maybe your finances are in such a state that you don’t even know where your next meal is coming from.

Maybe you catch hold of joy for a few moments only to  quickly lose it again.

Whatever your lot might be this Christmas, know this: you can still give your kids a good Christmas.

You can give your kids a good Christmas without health, without money, without extravagance.

You can give your kids a good Christmas in spite of pain, loss, broken relationships, and whatever other trials you might be experiencing.

You can because He came.

Luke 2

And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

He came!  Emmanuel, God WITH us – that’s what Christmas is really about. Christ, the Hope of the world, in human flesh, for love of our wandering hearts.

We have to let go of this expectation of holiday perfection and embrace the reality that human life is flawed, messy, painful, even at Christmas.

Christ came right into the midst of that mess, born in a stable – there’s nothing clean about that.

You want to give your kids a good Christmas?

Let go of the worry.

Embrace Christ.

Is life turned upside down right now for you? And it seems so much harder because...it's Christmas? You can give your kids a good Christmas without health, without money, without extravagance. You can give your kids a good Christmas by...      How To Give Your Kids a Good Christmas

Show them Hope, Love and Peace.

Teach them of the Savior who willingly left Heaven’s splendor to suffer alongside us here on Earth. That’s a Love like no other, my sisters in Christ. He chose us. He chose pain. He chose death, so that we might experience life in abundance.

He did it for you, for me, for them.

He did it “for all the people.”

The wonder of Christmas has little to do with presents and food and fun.

The wonder of Christmas is the keeping of a thousands-of-years-old promise, hundreds of promises, really.  The wonder of Christmas is Christ.

Romans 8

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves,waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Do you feel it, friends?

The joy of Christmas is spreading right through us.

It cannot be contained. The whole of creation leaps with joy – He is born! Promise fulfilled, salvation at hand, redemption nigh. Hope in human flesh.

How to Give Your Kids a Good Christmas, Is life turned upside down right now for you? And it seems so much harder because...it's Christmas? You can give your kids a good Christmas without health, without money, without extravagance. You can give your kids a good Christmas by...

Here’s how to give your kids a good Christmas: tell them the story of Jesus.

It’s the only thing that truly matters.

Clinging to hope and joy along with you this Christmas season,

Jen :)

Also sharing with: Monday Parenting Pin It Party, Mama Moments, Mom’s the Word, Wholehearted Home, Missional Women, Tell It To Me Tuesdays

Peaceful Parenting (No Thanks to Pinterest)

We’ve been experiencing some parenting problems in our home recently.  With four children, it’s bound to happen from time to time!

One of our children is struggling socially at school since we moved last summer and has requested to home school this fall.  While I’m willing and capable of teaching him at home, we want to be certain it is the best solution for him.

At the same time, one of our preschoolers has been demonstrating disrespectful behavior by grunting or growling when I attempt to correct him.  It’s basically the same thing as saying, “NO, Mom!” I wasn’t expecting such stubbornness to surface at the age of four! What happened to my sweet two-year-old?

Continuing in our efforts to parent with Christ in mind is difficult when we aren’t seeing results.

What am I doing wrong?

What should I do differently?

Sometimes when we’re parenting, there is no clear right or wrong answer.

And this is where I struggle.

In the age of social media, it's easy to find conflicting parenting advice. How do we know which method is right or best? Overcome parenting guilt and find peace  by...

When I lack enough evidence to declare one parenting choice as superior to another for our family, I often worry that I’ll make the “wrong choice.”

I can become obsessed with gathering information from various sources in an attempt to make an informed decision. Unfortunately, when I turn to parenting resources (even Christian parenting resources), I often find that they can contradict each other in the details.

In our “how-to” age, we can access a hundred different opinions, or even tried-and-true techniques, about any given subject at any given time.

Which one should a desperate parent choose??

As a mama of four children, I know that not a single method will work well with every child, every time.  Thus, one potential problem with looking to others for help is the tendency to see that repeatedly re-pinned, how-to post as gospel-truth.

In the age of social media, it's easy to find conflicting parenting advice. How do we know which method is right or best? Overcome parenting guilt and find peace  by...

As I was thinking about social media and how it has changed the way we parent, I wondered: what happened to relying on the Spirit to guide us?

What happened to prayer?

I’ll be the first to admit that when I encounter a problem or challenge, I often run to other humans for wisdom first!  After all, it’s natural to ask our peers for advice.  However, consider King Solomon’s humble request,

However, consider King Solomon’s humble request,

“Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (2 Chron. 2:10).

You see, Solomon had some pretty big shoes to fill when taking over his father David’s kingdom.  How would you like to be next in line after the “man after God’s own heart?”  Solomon knew he lacked wisdom for leading. He also faced a huge project, the building of the temple! The temple would be a place of worship for generations to come, and that burden rested on Solomon’s shoulders.

Parenting is a little like that, isn’t it?

We know that the choices we make will affect not only our own children, but also our children’s children and even the generations to come.  Like Solomon’s task, our task is also great, for a whole world of lost people is at stake!

The key is remembering Whom our children ultimately belong to.  Solomon recognized that He was given authority not over his own people, but over God’s people and that the best leader for those people was God Himself.  In the same way, as parents we’ve been entrusted with these beautiful beings, but they don’t really belong to us.  They belong to Him.

Here’s how to have peace as a parent:

Like Solomon, we parents should ask God for wisdom to lead them, His children.

Please hear me out; I’m not suggesting we exclude the advice of others altogether. I really do enjoy Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media forums and have successfully used many ideas from other savvy moms (along with a few epic failures)! :)

What I am suggesting is that we not forget the ultimate source of wisdom when it comes to parenting, or really anything in life – our Father God.

In the age of social media, it's easy to find conflicting parenting advice. How do we know which method is right or best? Overcome parenting guilt and find peace  by...

In the midst of my parenting problems, I hear His voice.

Trust Me.  Ask ME for wisdom instead of asking others first. Be led by the Holy Spirit and by my WordAfter all, I am their Creator; who better to understand them and their needs, but me?  Persevere in your purposeful parenting and wait to see what happens.

I still don’t know how to best correct our four-year-old’s sudden defiance, nor do I know where our middle child will attend school this coming fall (update: he has adjusted well to his new school!).

Both situations are works in progress because I am a work-in-progress parent and my children are works in progress as well.

However, I do know that in the midst of my uncertainty, I can trust Him.  He is in control. He knows my heart is in the right place.

He knows I want to be a peaceful parent, not one ruled by fear, or dare I even say, by Pinterest? :)

My sisters in Christ, if like me, you often feel confused by the wide variety of parenting styles, methods, and opinions out there, I hope today you hear His voice: trust in Me.

If you find yourself lying wide awake at night wondering, “What am I going to do with this child?!,” ask for wisdom.  And then sleep peacefully knowing that although your children have imperfect parents, they are perfectly protected in the hands of the Father.

In the age of social media, it's easy to find conflicting parenting advice. How do we know which method is right or best? Overcome parenting guilt and find peace  by...

I’d love to hear from you, if you are willing to share!

What parenting issues are you struggling with lately?  What scriptures have you turned to for wisdom or  encouragement in parenting?

Jen :)

If pressure to be a perfect parent plagues you, you might enjoy:

The Superwoman Myth

  

 

 

 

You might also enjoy:

http://wegotreal.com/things-arent-always-as-they-seem/

Also linking up at:

http://abidingwoman.com/