A Book to Help You Live Each Day Intentionally

Have you ever felt like your life is slipping by without your permission? Like despite your best intentions, life is happening to you instead of you happening to it?

About a year ago, I started feeling like that, and believe me when I say it’s no fun. I was too busy, too rushed, too…well…just too everything to do anything well.

Ann Voskamp says about the busy life…”I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing…” (One Thousand Gifts).

Rushing…well-intentioned rushing, but never catching up.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to stay that way. We can make a choice today to live with deep intention, bold faith, and generous love. Our friend Sally Clarkson is showing us how in her new book, Own Your Life.

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Erin’s Review

There are few authors who have influenced my life as a mother as much as Sally Clarkson. Someone recommended The Mission of Motherhood to me not long after my second child was born and I became a stay-at-home mom. It was inspiring and transforming and just what I needed for my new season of motherhood. Since I read that book, I have continued to treasure Sally’s words on motherhood in books and blog posts.

But I’m not just a mother. I am a wife and a writer and a ministry leader and so many other things. I still need guidance as a mother, but I also need advice and inspiration for living my whole life and doing it well. Sally’s newest book, Own You Life, was written with this exact mission in mind.

I’m sure I’m not the only woman who is tired of just surviving each day. And I know that is not how God intended any of our lives to be. In the pages of Own Your Life, I have found gentle, but courageous wisdom for taking back this God-given life, focusing more on Him, and living a life that is full of intention and love.

One of my favorite quotes comes early in the book:

When we own our lives, we choose to make love the priority in our homes, our marriages, and our parenting. From it flows the very legacy that God created us to fulfill.

When the world thinks of the phrase “own your life,” it involves thoughts of control and doing it all {whatever that may be}. In contrast, owning your life as a follower of Christ is about taking responsibility for living an intentional life of love as Christ calls us. It is serious and carries much weight, but there is also much more grace. And the power in which we act to own our life is not our own.

Not our strenuous efforts, but His life generously provides all we need for flourishing lives of ministry.

I’m carrying these freeing words with me, not just as a ministry leader, but in all areas of my life. I’m not working harder to own my life. I’m just getting more focused on Jesus and His ways and I have to thank Sally for putting it all in perfect perspective for me in this book!

Brooke’s Review

As a work-at-home mom, homeschool mom, and wife, I knew Sally’s book would be exactly what I needed. I try very hard to be intentional in my relationships, intentional as a mom, intentional in my ministry, with my time. But honestly, it’s not easy juggling all those things. Over the last year, I’ve gotten much better about controlling my time instead of letting it control me, but it’s still a challenge. I needed some deeper work to begin the process of really owning my own life.

Sally’s book has helped me ask myself important questions, like:

  1. What would happen if I faced the hard places of my like head-on instead of just hoping they’ll go away on their own?
  2. What if the most radical decisions I make for Christ aren’t the ones anyone can see?
  3. What can I do to make myself more productive, but less busy?
  4. What are the things that add to my chaos, and how can I keep them at a minimum?

As I’ve thought through the answers to these questions, and others like them, I’ve begun speak more life into my days, take more responsibility for my choices, and see the Lord giving me strength to say no to what’s not of him, yes to what is, and build boundaries around my life to help me own it.

When Sally Clarkson speaks, I listen, and I believe she lives what she speaks. The message of Own Your Life is her best work yet. If you’re looking for a book to help you regain the perspective on life you might’ve lost as you juggle kids, work, and family life, this book is for you.

Grab your copy of Own Your Life, here!

When Evil is Repaid With Evil

One of the earliest verses my firstborn and I memorized together was Romans 12:21 which says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Over and over again we’d quote it when someone did wrong.  When a child dumped sand on my son’s head at the park, I’d remind my three year old, “What are we to do when someone does evil toward us?” His sweet brown eyes would soften as his high-pitched toddler voice sang out, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

When Evil is Repaid With Evil via The MOB Society

Here at THE MOB Society this month we are reading through the book of Judges and finding new ways to apply God’s Word to our lives. Today we’re looking at chapter 16, where Samson takes revenge upon the Philistines, not for righteous reasons this time, but out of pure, evil spite.

Samson had been wronged by his father-in-law who was a Philistine. In return, Samson burned down the wheat harvest.  To get back at him, the Philistines killed Samson’s father-in-law along with their entire family, then they marched into the land of Judah to hunt down Samson…

Where does revenge stop?

Years have passed since my toddler memorized that verse, but it’s gotten harder to practice.  He has a couple of little brothers now.  Recently, the boys were trying to outdo one another with angry words and evil looks, nasty name calling and muscular punches.  It was the end of Christmas break and the boys were ready for routine to give order to our days.

Even as we took down the twinkling Christmas lights and played the last few Christmas carols, a spirit of evil was rising amongst my sons. It all started when one of them did something mildly annoying. A brother pushed back with an elbow, causing the first to scream. My third son then joined the fray, offended by the noise and hollered for his brothers to “Shut Up!!!” Suddenly a mole hill transformed into a mountain.

I came into the room, tangled in tinsel, and sent them each to their corners. ding ding ding. I was going to end this match before it hit round two.

As they cooled off I went to the dry erase board in our kitchen nook and picked up a marker, then I wrote these words in thick bold strokes:

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else. (Thessalonians 5:15)

A few minutes later all three boys were seated round the table, with angry eyes and feet moving just a smudge too close to one another, ready to go at it again. My oldest read the verse above, then his middle brother took a turn, followed by the six year old. After that I asked them which verse it reminded them of and they all said Romans 12:21. It was hidden in their memories… but hadn’t made it’s way quite to their hearts perhaps.

So I took my fat black marker and made the smallest bump, like a little hill or a “mole hill” below the verse.

“This is how small a little offense can be. A joking insult. A lightsaber fight where someone gets hurt by accident. A heart unwilling to share or include.”

I drew another hill, slightly bigger this time, on top of the first.  “Then guess what happens?  The brother who’d been wronged does evil back…this time it’s a little meaner, a bit nastier… What do you think has to happen next?” I asked simply.

“We find a way to be louder and stronger and hurt the other person more.”

“That’s right” I exclaimed, as I drew a bigger hill over the first two.

My six year old caught on at this point and yelled, “So I came in and shouted SHUT UP!”

I nodded, “Yep, you made a big mountain. And it was ugly and hurtful and I won’t have it in this house. Do you understand?”

He did.

They all did.

And I did too.

Because sometimes I join in the tussle and start paying back evil for evil.

Moms, don’t join the fight. Let’s teach our sons how to overcome evil with our good.

Samson was strong. So are these boys!  Teach them these verses, draw for them this visual, and model goodness yourself.

“Dear Lord, Give us wisdom to see what’s happening when our sons are angry, help us to not march in with our own angry discipline, but slow down to teach them.  Help us to be patient and wise, so that we can overcome their evil with our good – Your good, shining through us each mothering day. Amen.”

Do you ever catch yourself joining in the fight?  Tell me of a time you were able to remain gentle, and overcome their evil with your good, or perhaps a time when you dearly wish you had.

Wendy SpeakeWhether she’s with loved ones in her actual Living Room, alone in God’s Living Word, or speaking to a room full of women, Wendy Speake is inspired to share life and faith with others in creative ways. As Jeremiah had fire in his bones, she too feels compelled to share the Gospel of Jesus – she just does it with stories that probe the glorious and hurting places of life, pictures of faith lived out in her home, and recipes purposed to inspire hospitality. You can connect with her in her virtual living room — WendySpeake.com

Failing to Fit In

He’s trying to fit in and impress his friends. He’s striving to be liked by all…and his antics have become disruptive in class.

As I sunk down in the oh-too-small seat of my son’s fourth grade classroom, this was the news I received at a recent parent/teacher conference…and it hit me like a ton of bricks. This boy she was describing? This unruly kiddo she was speaking of? He didn’t sound like my son. Just as the behavior he was exhibiting at school hadn’t yet presented itself at home. And it left me uneasy.

Failing to Fit In via The MOB Society

At nine years of age, I’m suddenly aware that my guy’s desire for approval is paramount. His frequent joke-telling and humorous nature exist solely in an effort to be well-liked by his friends. He wants to be the kid that others choose to hang around, the boy everyone laughs with…and loves–the center of attention.

He wants the admiration of others–the popularity and approval of his peers. He wants to fit in and belong. I can’t blame him, either. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? We understand what that itch to fit in with the crowd is like and we remember how important the affection and adoration of others was to us at that age.

However, I want him to realize this craving he now has—this thirst for attention—is due to an emptiness within–a hollowness–that can only be filled by the relationship he forms with God through the Bible. It isn’t attainable any other way. This young man who’s coming of age, this boy whose smile can light up a room, this kid of mine who has so much potential and so many gifts? I want him to know that the opinion(s) of this world and those of his immediate friends, mean nothing. It’s who he is in Christ that makes all the difference. His relationship with the Lord will set him apart.

I can’t help but think about the independence he’s seeking, as well as the lengths he’ll go to impress others. As his mom, I worry. I know how impressionable he is at this age (and in the years to come), how firmly the world presses in and how hard the road ahead can be. I am also equally aware that God’s desire for my son—for all of us–is to live for Him and only Him.

But how do we teach that? How do we get the Word of God to drown out the noisy world around our sons? How do we get His message to sink in? To fill their minds, as well as their hearts? How do we reach our sons before this need for approval takes over?

  1. Pray. Take it to prayer. Always. If there is one piece of advice I can share, it would be to pray and pray often over our sons. It’s where we can draw strength…where we can bow low before our Father and request His will for our boys.
  1. Breathe: It’s easy to get anxious and completely overwhelmed as moms, isn’t it? But our boys need a voice of reason and our ears to listen. Be present and take one day (and one instance) at a time. B-R-E-A-T-H-E!

3. Stay Involved: In Judges 14:8-20, we learn about the importance of the company one keeps, and what that looks      like. Stay involved in your sons life, know his friends, and get to the heart of what makes him tick.

 

Jenny-SulpizioJenny Lee Sulpizio is a Christian wife, mother to three, and author of the recently released, For the Love of God: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Faith and Getting Grace. Through her personal website, blog, and as a contributing writer for numerous mommy sites, there’s always plenty of information to relate to, encouragement to absorb, and a whole lot of comic relief to go around. Connect with Jenny by visiting www.jennyleesulpizio.com.

 

Dear Weary Mom,

Dear Weary Mom,

I wonder if you’re stirring something on the stove, listening to a podcast, wiping a runny nose, and making a grocery list all at the same time…right now.

Before 7AM…

I remember when my boys were really young, dragging myself out of bed, trying not to trip down the stairs because my legs felt like lead and didn’t want to move. With five minutes to spare before four little feet started pounding on the floor above me, I read a Psalm and a Proverb and asked the Lord to make it enough.

But sometimes it wasn’t.

Slowly but surely, weariness crept in. I didn’t recognize it at first. Dressed as a friend, discontent surrounded me and made me feel like I was the only one who had ever wondered if she should even have had children in the first place.

“Maybe you’re not cut out for this…” it whispered.

“You should know how to handle that…” it demanded.

“You’re a mess. You should be ashamed of the way they acted…” it accused.

“You’ve got to get a grip…” it shamed.

And before I knew it, my weaknesses began to pile up in my mind and heart until they were all I could see.

My thoughts went something like this:

“I used to know who I was. I thought I could handle anything. I thought I was strong, and independent, and that I could overcome whatever obstacles came my way. But this is different. I’m failing at everything I hold dear. The thing I want most in the world—to raise good, godly men—is escaping me, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I just don’t have what it takes.”

I allowed my weaknesses to make me weary until my weariness completely took over, controlling how I saw the world, interacted with my family, and even how I trusted God.

Can you relate?

“How many times a day do you catch yourself thinking about what a failure you are, or how your one big mess-up will probably land that little person who watches everything you do straight in the counseling chair a bit later in life? How much of your day do you spend glorifying your weaknesses and wondering what will happen if everybody finds out the truth about who you really are?

Glorifying weaknesses—no matter how big or small—sucks our souls dry of the life-giving hope we need to just keep going.

But there is a different way.

I’m convinced that the place of our greatest weakness can unleash the power of God’s greatest grace (<<—Tweet that). 

Instead of glorifying our weaknesses, letting them control our lives and break our hearts, we can learn to use them to glorify God, confessing our weaknesses and trusting him to make them into something good.” (Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess, chapter 1).

Today, if you’re feeling a bit like what I described above—worn out, worn down, weary—may I offer you some hope?

There is a God who loves you, sees you, and wants to empower you with truth that can set you free to experience joy, peace, and even purpose in your mothering.

You just have to want him to.

Stacey Thacker and I have created a 5-day devotional series based on our new book, Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess, to help you get started on this journey of overcoming weariness and choosing to live a hope-filled life.

It’s called Dear Weary Mom, and is a series of letters from our heart to yours—a perfect place to find the God who wants to meet you in your mess.

Join Stacey Thacker and Brooke McGlothlin for a 5-day devotional series designed to help you find hope in the midst messy motherhood.

To get signed up for this 100% free challenge, and receive updates from us designed to encourage your heart, simply enter your email address below and follow any directions you receive. Your first letter will come to your inbox on Monday, January 26th. If you’re reading in an email, simply click over to the MOB Society blog to enter your email address.

Choose Hope!

Brooke

Brooke McGlothlin

Brooke McGlothlin is co-founder and President of Raising Boys Ministries. She’s a mother of two boys who believes God has chosen her to fight for the hearts of her sons. She can be found most often on her knees in prayer, not because she’s so holy, but because God is. Not because she knows how to raise godly men, but because she believes in the God who loves them more than she does.

Join her 5-day devotional series co-written with Stacey Thacker, Dear Weary Mom, by clicking here.

When Your Boy is Bent on His Own Way

The morning clouds broke into sunshine as the students happily donned their flowing robes and straightened their hats. I took my place among the faculty preparing to watch the senior class earn their diplomas after twelve years of education. I wasn’t a mother at the time, but many of these teens had been in my classroom every year since 10th grade and I felt that maternal instinct kick in as I prepared to say goodbye and send them off to college.

When Your Boy Is Bent On His Own Way via The MOB Society

Thanks to Facebook, I am now connected with many of them and I can see just what became of these young adults that I had poured my heart and soul into for so many years. Most of the time, I am proud. But occasionally, I see the remnants of lives shattered by wrong choices and misplaced values.

That same angst must have been what Samson’s mother and father felt when he decided to marry a woman from the Philistines instead of from among the women of his own people. After all, his mother had been visited by an angel of God twice as a promise that Samson would deliver his people from Philistine bondage:

“You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” Judges 13:5

The book of Judges explains that Samson was set apart from birth. His parents did everything in their power to raise him as the angel of God had commanded them, but something went wrong. As an adult, Samson let his eyes lead his heart and he chose a woman that would eventually lead to tragedy upon tragedy.

And their marriage? It never had a chance.

Samson’s parents had warned him; they tried to guide him in this decision, but we wanted what he wanted. Perhaps you’re  raising a boy who seems bent on his own way too. It’s tempting to write a son off after those kinds of poor choices isn’t it?

Questioning  God’s purpose in their lives is only natural and yet, God was Sovereign over Samson’s decision to marry that less-than-ideal bride. In fact, God would eventually use Samson to fulfill exactly what He had promised before his birth. Samson would indeed, be used greatly by God to rule Israel for 20 years and to defeat the Philistines.

It was messy.

And Samson didn’t learn his lustful lesson with his young bride. Yet another woman would cause him to forget his calling and follow his emotions instead. But that’s not the totality of Samson’s story. Samson was filled with the Spirit of God over and over again, despite his failures.

The same is true for our sons too. Our sons are not the sum of their mistakes or bad choices. Time and time again I can look back over my own life and see how God redeemed both my immaturity and my sin. That’s what God does. He takes the weak, the unlovely, the foolish, and He makes them strong, beautiful, and wise.

Are you there, Mom? Wondering if your son will ever fulfill his purpose in life because he doesn’t seem to be following the path that you encouraged him to walk? Do not be discouraged. Remember that God does indeed have a plan for every life He creates and that His plans cannot be thwarted. His arm is not too short to save!

Keep breathing life into your sons with Truth from God’s Word.

Persevere in prayer over their lives.

Be available to offer wisdom when they need it.

Trust in God’s bigger plan for you son’s life and remember that His ways are often not our ways. Hope ever in the beauty of God’s ability to restore and renew, and let your son walk the path that God has laid before him.

Just as Samson’s life was a journey of both pitfalls and profound purpose, so it will be with our boys as they too become men whom God will use greatly for His glory. God’s not done with our sons, moms. Raise them well, and relinquish them to our great God who loves them and Whose purposes will always prevail.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Can you remember a time that you made choices that your parents would not have approved and yet God used your situation for good?
  • Do you worry about the path your son will take when he is older?
  • How has Samson’s example given you food for thought?

Amber-LiaA former high school English teacher and budding novelist, Amber is a work-at-home mom of 3 little boys under the age of 6. She and her husband Guy answered the calling to start Storehouse Media Group, a faith-friendly and family-friendly TV and Film production company in Los Angeles, CA. When she’s not building sand castles with her boys on the beach in Santa Monica, CA or baking her famous Triple Layer Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake, you can find Amber writing to encourage families on her blog at www.MotherOfKnights.com