Encouragement for Mothers

Raising Kids According to the Bible

Raising Kids

Any parent will tell you that raising children is one of life’s greatest joys. They will also tell you it is a challenging and difficult undertaking. Parenting children at any age, whether a baby, a teen, or a young adult, is a huge responsibility which can be scary and confusing. The good news is that parents don’t have to do it alone. Psalm 46:1 proclaims that “God is our refuge and strength.”

Parenting Instructions

Take comfort. God gives you direction, and His Word is always available to guide you each step of the way. Moses gave the children of Israel parenting instructions before they entered the Promised Land.

Like Moses, your major task, and the one with eternal consequences, is to take every opportunity to impart God’s precepts before they are needed, to “teach them diligently to your children, and… talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up” (Deuteronomy 6:7).

Instructing Parents

Unfortunately, you cannot impart what you do not possess. Committing yourself and aiming at obedience to your heavenly Father will help you raise children who are obedient and possess the knowledge—and an example—they need to walk through this world and live according to God’s Word.

The apostle Paul said of his disciple Timothy, “From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). And moms and grandmoms, take notice. Timothy’s mother and grandmother had devoted themselves to teaching young Timothy God’s forever truths!

Your calling as a mother or grandmother is to faithfully live out what you know and believe in front of your children. Your careful, repeated instruction lays the groundwork in your child’s heart to accept Jesus Christ as Savior.

RESPOND

God, I depend on You each day for wisdom and energy and conviction as I raise my child. Lord, I want to be a diligent student of   Your Word so I am a godly role model for my children. And I want to be diligent to follow Your instructions to teach them Your precepts. Help me to be an avid prayer warrior on behalf of my children, praying diligently and passionately for their salvation, praying that they will walk faithfully in Your ways, praying to be the parent You want me to be! How I need Your help! Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

Prayers for a Woman’s Heart (BRAND NEW!) is filled with this and other devotions and prayers to help you grow in wisdom, patience, and peace as a mom and as a woman after God’s own heart!

REFLECT

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

In what ways does my life reflect my love for God and His Word to my children?

REMEMBER

Creating a Safe Space

how to create a safe space

I carry in my Bible a tattered copy of a newspaper article from the Honolulu Advertiser dated Thursday, January 27, 2000, titled “Tiny Kauai snail wins protection—Agency to develop plan for survival.” It seems that the creature known as Newcomb’s snail—only a quarter-inch in size, a little larger than the head of a nail—is now listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As a result, a team of biologist will develop a recovery plan to help the species survive.

Now, are you wondering why I would clip and save such an article? Why, it’s because of the children. If the government is willing to go to such drastic measures to preserve a tiny brown creature like a snail on the remotest island of Hawaii, shouldn’t we do even more for our children?

Sheltering Your Family

Your job as mom and homemaker is to make sure that your children’s lives are precious to you, that they have a shelter from the world. You see, the home is God’s recovery plan for our family.

Relationships are severed. Friends turn away. Abilities are overlooked. Dreams are dashed.

Simply Blessed

But how blessed is the husband and child who can simply come home after the rigors of the day and know that all is well there … and will remain well. How blessed they are to have one place—a place you are in charge of—that is a safe space, a harbor, a shelter for their bodies and souls.

Home must be the one place our loved ones can count on to hold them up and build them up again. Let’s commit this week to do the work that makes our home a haven. 

Lord, I want to make our home the happy hub of life for my family. Please guide me in creating a warm and bright place that refreshes and encourages my family. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

Discovering the Treasures of a Godly Woman: in this timely book, you’ll be delighted to see how easily you can be like the Proverbs 31 woman … an ordinary woman who made herself available to an extraordinary God—and became a tremendous blessing to everyone around her.

REFLECT

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 NIV)

Do I intentionally make the effort to create a home where my family longs to be?

REMEMBER

Coping with an Empty Nest

coping with an empty nest

Do you miss the laughter and conversations of a full house? Have your kids moved on to college, marriage, or their own homes? I understand how hard having an empty nest can be. It seems like our children fly the coop all too soon! Rather than giving into sadness, I found a wonderful way to deal with the loneliness when my girls left home.

Filling Our Days When Our Nest Is Empty

Now is the perfect time to minister to and encourage those outside of your family. Take some time to pray about these questions:

  • How effectively am I using my free time for God’s Kingdom?
  • What doors of ministry are open to me now?

It might be discipling another woman in the faith. Writing emails to a lonely missionary. Taking a meal to a cancer patient. Time is yours to manage. Make it count.

Encouraging others requires a heart filled with sensitivity to their needs. If your heart is filled with concern for God’s people, you’ll be privileged to refresh and encourage many. Proverbs 12:25 says a kind word cheers you up. What a sweet gift to give others!

Where do we glean this kindness from? By sitting at Jesus’ feet and studying the Word. Time with God will fill you with His Spirit, which will naturally overflow to others.

Family Forever

And remember to include your family in this ministry of encouragement. Even though our kids aren’t under our watchful eye, they can still be covered by our prayers. Elisabeth Elliot’s mother prayed and wrote letters to her six children twice a week. For 45 years. Before computers and email!

What can you do today to minister to people near and far? As a loving, praying woman after God’s own heart, reach out to someone today—and every day—with your prayers and your love. It’ll fill their hearts … and yours!

God, help me take advantage of every opportunity to share Your love with others. I want to use my free time to serve You and encourage friends and family. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

A Woman’s High Calling: There’s no higher calling for a woman than making God’s priorities your own. In this book (with study guide included!), Elizabeth will help you simplify your life, adopt God’s essentials, and pass them on to others.

REFLECTION

“Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” (Proverbs 12:25)

Take a few minutes today. Who could use a word of encouragement? A call?

REMEMBER

How to Deal with Temper Tantrums

temper tantrum

What mom hasn’t denied their toddler a cookie and then had their normally-sweet child throw themselves on the floor and scream? Sometimes the easiest thing to calm a temper tantrum is to give in and give our child what they want. Especially when we’re running late for carpool, they’re hungry, and we’re tired!

From One Mom to Another

So how is a mom to deal patiently and wisely with a temper tantrum? Take a deep breath and choose to give your children what they need, not always what they want. After all, we know what groundwork needs to be done for the future of our children. Teaching our children self-discipline now gives them a foundation so they can live God’s way in the future.

Is it always easy to not allow a 7-year-old to stay up hours past their bedtime? Or to enforce limited screen time with our teens? I’m afraid not, but take heart. And that’s exactly what it’ll take: a heart of dedication. Scripture says that we’re to teach our children …. No matter the obstacles, the arguments, or the “Yes, but, Moms.”

For When the Days are Long

When we fail to instill discipline in our children, we aren’t equipping them to know how to control their emotions and to make wise decisions. God says to us loud and clear: teach your children and start early in their lives. Teach them faithfully and consistently. And most of all, do so from a heart of love.

Also, remember that little ones are watching and learning from you. Your personal self-discipline and self-control is important. Spending time each day with God and reading His Word sets the path of your life—thinking those things that are true, spending money wisely, reacting with calmness, eating balanced portions—and gives a wonderful example to your kids.

A Final Thought

Some days it will feel like a mountain of obstacles stand in the way of helping your kids choose self-discipline. They’ll protest—that’s normal! But a wise mom doesn’t let whining rock her decisions. God offers you His grace and strength to push through those moments. He is with you as you dedicate your time, energy, and life to Him and your family and take full advantage of the opportunity to train your children.

Dear Lord, thank You for guiding and encouraging me with Your Holy Spirit … especially when I’m tired and my kids are tearful. Help me raise my children to follow after Your own heart. Amen.

RENEWING RESOURCES

A Mom After God’s Own Heart by Elizabeth George offers 10 principles to help moms make God an everyday part of their children’s lives. Order your copy today and receive a free copy of Encouraging Words for a Woman After God’s Own Heart!

REFLECT

“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

In what areas am I personally lacking self-discipline?

REMEMBER

When You’re Not Sure How to Parent

Parent

I was a new mom when I accepted Christ as my Savior. My heart and mind were full of questions about how to teach my daughters about the God and His Word. One day as I read my Bible, my eyes landed on Deuteronomy 6:5-7. God amazed me by showing me His guidelines in three verses for raising my little ones. I read those verses so many times I finally memorized them.

Have you had days when you’ve wondered what in the world you’re doing as a mom? Take heart! God goes straight to the heart of the matter and packed these verse with clear communication to us parents. The first step? We must love God first. Why? Because we become what we love.

This is the reason Scripture instructs us straightforward about where we are to place our love. And not just some of it. The Lord goes further and demands all of our love. God wants us to love Him with every breath, thought, emotion and passion, and choice we make. He wants us to think of Him first and to desire to please Him above all else. And He desires for our love to be intense and complete

I’m sure you’ve people say, “There is no love like a parent’s love.” If you’re a mom or dad, you know this is true! From the moment a parent knows they have a baby on the way, all of our prayers, thoughts, and goals are channeled toward our little one. This tiny being completely consumes and preoccupies our time.

Now put the strength of this love into your love for God. This is how much God wants us to focus on Him … even more! The more we love Him, the more you and I will know about love. This will allow us to know how to love. The more we know how to love, the better you and I will love our own children. And this, by God’s grace, will make you a parent who can raise a son or daughter after God’s own heart.

A PRAYER TO PRAY
Dear Lord, You are the best Father, and I long to follow Your example of selfless love. I commit to loving You most so that I can love my child best. Amen.

MORE ENCOURAGEMENT
A Mom After God’s Own Heart offers moms practical advice and real-life suggestions for helping children, no matter what their ages, to incorporate God into daily life.

REFLECTION
“You shall love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them…” (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

How does the command, “love the Lord your God with all your heart” simplify the many parenting concerns that I have?

REMEMBER
When all your love centers on God, and when you follow Him with all your heart, you will qualify to lead your children to follow God too!

Teen Tuesday: Dating “A-List”

dating

The choices you make about dating will be some of the most important ones you make in your life. That’s why you should make plans now for when you may date in the future. Wait to date until you’re ready to look for a life partner. But until then, let’s do some homework.

Make a list of ideal qualities for your future spouse.
You can find these in the Bible. God’s Word has a lot to say about a godly woman’s character (see Proverbs 31).
And about a godly guy’s character (1 Timothy 6:11). Take your time to read and study these biblical standards.

Next, ask for God’s help to allow you to spot these qualities
in the lives of the girls or guys in your church or youth group.

And last, remember to ask for your parents’ advice.
Then, with all this input, make your “A list” of things you’d like in a person you will date.

Keep your list handy when you’re ready to date. Refer back to your list when you start the dating process, when you meet someone, and when you think you’re in love. These godly standards will be a useful guide for choosing the right person to date.

Meanwhile, while you are waiting and looking, prepare yourself to match the qualities on your list. Allow God to work on your godly characteristics. And remember to be patient …some qualities take years to develop.

A PRAYER TO PRAY
Dear Lord, please help me control my personal purity. Give me wisdom to do what is necessary to keep myself pure in body, soul, mind, and spirit. I will wait patiently wait for Your best to arrive. Amen.

MORE ENCOURAGEMENT
If you wish to encourage your son or daughter about additional teen-life issues, you will find a great resource in A Young Woman’s Guide to Making Right Choices or A Young Man’s Guide to Making Right Choices.

REFLECTION
“… pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (1 Timothy 6:11b)

Teens: What’s on my “A-List” of dating qualities?
Parents: What qualities do I desire the most in the person my teen will date? Have I shared these qualities with my teen?

REMEMBER
Godly standards are a useful guide for choosing the right person to date.

Unmet Expectations

Expectations

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

When I was a young mother, I strived to “train a child in the way he should go,” so that, “when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). A decade later, however, the expectations I’d had for my kids weren’t coming to fruition. Angry, I said to God, “This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be for my family! I did just like the Smith family, but I’m getting different results!

Like a child who doesn’t get her way, I threw a spiritual tantrum. I used my time and energy arguing with and battling against God. Then one day, in between my rantings, I took time to listen to what God seemed to be saying. “But, this is the way it is. What are you going to do with the way it really is?” I realized I had to quit fussing, embrace my present, and quit denying the reality that was before me. After all, it wasn’t helping me, my kids, or my marriage.

You see, because of my unmet expectations, I had been postponing doing anything to improve the situation. Since I didn’t like what was on my plate, I decided not to deal with the circumstances. The truth was that as long as I maintained that attitude—as long as I didn’t accept reality—no progress or change could take place.

Maybe you struggle with unmet expectations too. One of the most common areas of disappointment for women is in our marriages. It’s oftentimes difficult to face the less-than-desired reality in them. For most of us, our fantasies, expectations, and dreams about what marriage will be are usually different from the day-to-day realities of married life.

So, the questions that face our unmet expectations are:

What am I going to do about the way it is?
What solution or plan does God want me to pursue as a remedy?

You see, once we accept our reality, we can then use our time and energy to make it better. So, challenge yourself today to acknowledge unmet expectations. Then, accept what is real and commit to trust that God oversees and has overseen every detail of your life —your singleness, your marriage, your family, your job, your every circumstance. This will guide you to act on what is true and real (Philippians 4:8), rather than resent reality and idly wait for fantasies to magically materialize.

A Prayer to Pray
Dear Lord, with a heart full of faith and hope, and with You by my side, I will let go of unmet expectations. By Your great grace, I’ll trust that my circumstances are for my good and Your glory. And through Your strength, I’ll pursue wisdom to make needed changes. Amen.

More Encouragement
You will find more about God’s wonderful character in Loving God with All Your Mind.

Reflection
What action am I postponing by denying the reality of a specific circumstance in my life? When have I faced reality and positively changed the situation that was holding me back?

Remember
God oversees and has overseen every detail of your life —your singleness, your marriage, your family, your job, your every circumstance.

When Everyone Is Looking for You

looking

Do you ever feel by the end of most days that everyone is looking for you? Well, in a small way, you are getting an idea of how Jesus may have felt on one particular day that is described in Mark 1:29-39. No matter how tired Jesus was,

  • He reached out and healed Peter’s mother-in-law in the house (verse 31).
  • He reached out and healed all who were waiting outside the house (verse 32).
  • He reached out to the rest of the city to help them (verses 33-34).
  • He reached out to all Galilee, to those in other towns in the area (verses 35-39).

How do you decide who gets—and truly needs—your attention and care? Here’s one way Jesus answers this question. The day after the super busy day just described, He prepared Himself for another people-packed day by getting up early before everyone else, disappearing to a quiet spot, and praying (verse 35).

The results? Prayer refreshed God’s Son for what would be expected of Him during the new day in front of Him. Prayer also gave Him direction for the day. And prayer can do the same for you. Like Jesus, check in with the Father for His lead. Then begin at home by being available to your family.

Drawn from Finding God’s Path Through Your Trials by Elizabeth George. In this helpful resource, Elizabeth discusses the hard times we all face and reveals how people can “count it all joy.” 

Where the Golden Rule Begins

Rule

How would you describe the atmosphere in your home? For instance, what do you hear? Bickering, yelling, arguing, and angry words? Whining, complaining, tattling, or back talk?

The solution is Jesus’ Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (see Luke 6:31).

Living the golden rule at home starts with…

  1. Living the golden rule. Check your own heart and actions. What’s coming out of your mouth? How are you treating your family members?
  2. Setting some rules. Determine what behaviors are in and out. The goal is family love.
  3. Focusing on the importance of family. Train your children from Day #1 to be the best siblings they can be—sweet, helpful, kind, and encouraging. A family should be “one for all and all for one.”

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31)

In Raising a Daughter After God’s Own Heart, Elizabeth George provides an engaging and inspirational resource for every mom who wants to lead her daughter to a godly life by example, encouragement, study, and prayer.

A Generous Soul

Generous

Most people and families—and maybe you too—are simply trying to stay afloat financially. That makes it hard at times to think about giving some of your hard-earned money to your church and to others. But you must realize you are not giving to others or even to a church. You are giving to God as an act of worship.

When it comes to your giving, the issue is not how much you give, but your heart attitude when you give. This is a part of what brings about God’s blessings upon you. As Proverbs 11:25 states, “The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.”

As you fill your soul each day with God’s Word, your heart will overflow in a multitude of good works. Only it won’t be work! And it won’t be because you have to. And it won’t be to get something back in return. No, giving from your heart will be pure joy, motivated by pure love for God, who has given so much to you.

 

In Proverbs for a Woman’s Day, Elizabeth George takes you on a journey through the 31 chapters of Proverbs, which cover the matters closest to your heart, including how to…

  • trust in God when it’s hard
  • find fulfillment in your marriage
  • train and enjoy your children
  • conquer your bad habits
  • pursue lasting success

© Copyright 2017
Elizabeth & Jim George


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