My Not-So-Pinterest Life (Post and Giveaway by Emily T. Wierenga)

The cookie jar is empty.

The laundry, piled six loads high on the dryer and the boys won’t sit through homeschool. I didn’t sleep well last night and I haven’t had my coffee and all I can think about is needing to make those cookies. Because what kind of mother doesn’t have cookies in her cookie jar?

Making a home

I am constantly failing Pinterest’s Martha Stewart standards. I don’t have a chalkboard with tonight’s menu on it — goodness, I don’t even have meat thawing, and it’s day-old Chinese for lunch. Again.

I’m rushing the boys, yelling, taking my pent-up mother-guilt on them, forgetting that home is not a casserole or color-coded towels or clean toilets.

Home is mommy’s arms, is Daddy wrestling with his sons on the floor, is a stack of board books piled precarious on the coffee table because your two-year-old is addicted to building towers.

I don’t have to be a great housewife in order to make a home. It’s not about my casseroles or my manicured lawns; it’s about my state of heart, and unless I am filled with peace and joy, my home will feel distant and cold.

Home is sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor and pulling your boys to you with tears in your eyes and begging them to forgive you for getting stressed out over an empty cookie jar.

Because your life is beautifully full.

And you sit there for a while, a tangle of arms and hearts.

It’s taken me 33 years to find this place with the broken doorbell and the dirty door mat. I traveled the globe searching for it. Because we’re all, deep down, searching for our Father’s house—our eternal dwelling.

Home is a place for the broken to break bread. And in my traveling I learned the comfort of a cooked meal, of a welcome mat at the door, of family’s open arms, and when my Mum got sick with brain cancer I returned to take care of her and found God at her bedside. In the eyes of a woman who homeschooled me, who baked bread every week, who made home for me.

How about you friends? Do you feel the pressure to keep your cookie jars filled, your floors squeaky clean, your laundry neatly folded and put away? Can I say something to you, if you do?

Stop! Stop, and rest. Because friend?

You are more than your clean floors. You are more than your folded laundry or your stocked shelves. You are more than the role of Mom or Homemaker or Wife. You are a woman. You are an intricately designed creation woven in your mother’s womb, whose hairs are counted by the Maker of the Universe. You are loved.

Our lives are not Pinnable. They’re messy, with peanut-butter fingerprints and toy cars and runny noses. And you know what? They’re perfect.

Because in the end, it’s the family that makes the picture, not the frame.

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I am excited to give away a copy of my newly-released memoir, today. Just leave a comment here on the blog to win.

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I’m also giving away a FREE e-book to anyone who orders Atlas Girl. Just order HERE, and send a receipt to: atlasgirlbookreceipt@gmail.com, and you’ll receive A House That God Built: 7 Essentials to Writing Inspirational Memoir – an absolutely FREE e-book co-authored by myself and editor/memoir teacher Mick Silva.

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All proceeds from Atlas Girl are benefitting The Lulu Tree, a non-profit dedicated to preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers.

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Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including the memoir,Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit www.emilywierenga.com. Find her on Twitter or Facebook.

Armed With Truth (A Giveaway)

The dank basement was dark and it was one of my least favorite chores to venture into it to either grab something from the freezer or restart the dryer.  Only one thing made it even the least bit more bearable–reciting scripture.  I’d turn the corner to the basement stairs and creep down them all the while muttering, “The Lord is my shepherd,” or variations of, “For God so loved the world.”  They were some of the only scriptures I new at the time, but I knew their power and there was something calming about reciting them aloud when fear threatened to overwhelm.

Armed With Truth Giveaway July

I attended a private school and Bible memory was both expected and graded.  There are differing views on whether or not scripture memory should be a requirement, however I don’t think there is anything negative that can come from scripture memory.  Our brains are incredibly amazing systems, designed by and all-knowing God.  If we can do the legwork of memorizing the scripture, I’m confident that in times of need, God will allow those verses to resurface and aid us.

Armed with Truth makes temporary scripture tattoos to help kids (and moms!!!) {Ok, let’s just be honest–ANYONE could benefit from wearing these tattoos!} commit scripture to memory.  They have ten-packs for sale with topics such as missions, identity, and being Christlike.  They also have an awesome designer series which is more image-based.

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Today we’re excited to offer TWO $15 store credits this month for use at ArmedWithTruth.com   All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog to enter.  You can comment about anything, but we’d love to hear a scripture that’s special in your life or the life of your boy(s).  Also, please feel free to share this via the web as well as check out the website to drool over all the fabulous designs.

P.s.–these make great stocking stuffers or party favors ;-)

**Giveaway closes July 31, 2014 at 11:59 PM**

Open Position at the MOB Society! Calling All Titus 2 Moms!

Are you a mom who has raised her children well?

Did you raise them from a distinctly biblical worldview, sharing the Gospel with your life?

Are you committed to helping the next generation of moms learn to love their husbands and children?

Do you have a passion for coming alongside young mothers, offering them your wisdom and even your life for the cause of investing in the future?

Are you familiar with the behind-the-scenes of blogging?

Do you know your way around Social Media?

If so, please pray about joining our MOB Society Leadership Team as our Titus Two Team Ministry Head!

Our current ministry head, Gina Smith, has stepped down. She’ll keep writing in the series, but can’t lead us anymore. We really want this vital ministry to continue, so if you’re interested in joining our team, please send an email to themobsociety@gmail.com. Include the following things:

  1. Your understanding of and vision for Titus 2 ministry as outlined in the Bible.
  2. A brief testimony of your parenting experience and where your children are now.
  3. Your experience with blogging and social media.
  4. Why you would like to be chosen for this position.

We’ll prayerfully sift through all applications as quickly as possible, and God-willing, choose someone to take up the mantle! Thank you!

 

 

Letting Go In Spite of Fear

He’s completely outfitted in baseball gear.  The grey pants are just a wee bit too big on his gangly frame and his blue Lego shirt doesn’t quite fit the athletic camp, but he loves it and it’s going to be a hot day.  Yesterday I walked him into the complex, met his coaches, slapped him on his back and walked away.  Two and a half hours later I came back and picked up an ecstatic, confident boy beaming from the praise garnered from attentive coaches and helpers.

Letting Go in spite of Fear

The next day dawned and after the morning craziness I pulled into the parking spot closest to the door.  Breathing deeply, I turned to Ro,

“So bud, you ready for this?”

“Yep!” he assured me.

“What’s my phone number, in case there’s a problem?”  He rattled off the seven numbers faster than I expected.  I had no more excuses.  “Ok, bud, have a great time and I’ll be here to pick you up after practice.  Swing hard, run fast.”  He kissed my cheek, hopped out of the van and strutted towards the door.

He did it. I did it.

Walking into practice may not seem like a huge deal to you, but to me it was epic.  I wasn’t sure if my son made it the fifty-five or so steps into the building and onto the turf with his coach, but after a good five minutes of sitting in the parking lot to assure myself that he didn’t need to come back out, I drove away, trusting that obviously everything was kosher because no one had informed me otherwise.

I’m a fearful girl.  It’s weird to even write that, but it’s the truth.  My imagination can get the best of me without even trying.  The what if’s  overwhelm and I can come up with every scenario from plausible to statistically improbable.  If it’s on the continuum I can probably concoct it, but I don’t say that proudly.  No, it’s something I’ve really had to work on.  Today was one of those days–the one where I decide to put all my praying into practice and let my son take a wee step into becoming a more responsible boy.  Instead of unbuckling two toddlers and hauling the infant carrier into the complex, I’m letting him walk in by himself and Lord knows I don’t feel ready, but he is and quite frankly, he has to learn to do this sometime.

I want to be perceived as a good mom as well as actually PERFORM as a good mom.  Partner that natural desire with my personality (INTJ and a 1 on the Enneagram) and you have a recipe for skyhigh expectations and a fear of failure or anything less than perfection. This makes me extremely neurotic at times which can be both good and bad, but I hate to fail and what’s the worst thing to fail at:  motherhood.

A good mom doesn’t let her child fail.  A good mom doesn’t allow her child to get hurt.  A good child doesn’t let her child walk there alone or do that or a good mom hovers and never lets her child out of her sight.  All of these expectations and more swirl in my head, and I become more and more fearful of letting mys on spread his wings because WHAT IF…AND THEN?  The fear and anxiety can drive a girl crazy.

LOVE > FEAR

He’s got crazy bright eyes that widen as he smiles and presently he’s missing one of his front teeth while the other adult tooth protrudes through his gums.  His smile is all sorts of wacky and heartwarming.  He’s all big brother to three girls and little brother to one and yet his boy-ness always makes itself known.  Already wanting to protect us, he volunteered to ‘get his bat’ yesterday when we found a rogue woodchuck trying to inhabit our shed.  (For the record we live in the city-ish…so a woodchuck in the shed was a big deal.)  I love this little man-child fiercely and my first instinct is to hold tightly and control.  To grasp onto and protect because that’s what mothers do, right?  They keep their offspring safe.

I look at my hands and they’re just flesh.  There’s a scar where I burned my hand while baking cookies for that man-child and my body shows the wear and tear of five babies grown and birthed and I’m reminded that I am just his mother and while that is a very important job, it is not all-powerful.  No, indeed, I am not his Savior and no matter how much I plan and control and send lunches and worry my little heart off, I cannot offer everlasting hope to my Son.  No, there’s only one who can do that.  In fact He’s already done that.

So today, I sit in my car.  He’s going to walk himself into baseball camp again and Lord knows I’ve prayed about it and he’s ready for it and I’m kind of ready for it, but he has to walk anyways.  Fist bump and a hug and he’s out my door and quickly through another one.  My prayers follow him like vapors jetting out from a comet and my eyes linger as I whisper one last remembrance, “He’s Yours.”

 

Parenting Well With No Blueprint

Are you a mom whose childhood is filled with heartache and disappointment due to your parents’ choices? Maybe your childhood was plagued with abuse, neglect, legalism, divorce, abandonment, a dysfunctional home or anger etc. Do you desire a different family environment for your own children than the one you grew up in? Is there a deep longing in your heart to break the generational sins and strongholds of your family?

I know all too well that coming from a background immersed in pain and brokenness can leave you feeling less than qualified to be able to parent your children well. How are you supposed to know how to be a good mom and point your children to Christ when it was never modeled to you? Hear me when I say this–your parents’ mistakes, bad choices, lack of love–their story does not have to be yours. Let Him redeem your story. Let Him use you to break the cycle.

If you want real change in your home and in your families the change needs to start with you.

Parent Well With No Model

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Does God reign in your heart? You cannot make these changes on your own strength and wisdom. You must be a follower of Jesus Christ. You must be a woman who studies his word, who communes with Him through prayer, and who seeks His kingdom first.

Seek first His kingdom and all these things will be added unto you. (Matt. 6:33)

If you are a follower of Christ as I stated above your parents’ mistakes, your pain filled childhood and even your own mistakes do not define you. You are new creation in Christ. Since you are a new creation press forward and don’t dwell on the past.

                  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17

It’s so easy to tether ourselves to past hurts and pain. It’s easy to drop anchor there and harbor grudges and resentment. Some of us may feel if we forgive, the pain is somehow no longer real or maybe we feel that by not forgiving we are punishing those that hurt us. Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy. The enemy doesn’t want you to forgive, but God tells us to forgive as Christ forgave you. Refusing to offer forgiveness is destructive and can cause bitterness. Bitterness in your heart then spills over into your parenting.

Christ is your model

When you have only seen something done one way it is hard to imagine it being done a different way. Although you may not have had an earthly parent that modeled God’s design for families, God himself modeled it to you. This is why it is so important that you have a viable prayer life and that you draw from the living well of His word. You can’t read His word and not be changed. It breathes life to the soul and softens the hardest of hearts. Press into the one who can give peace and teach you how to love. He demonstrates love, patience, self-control, grace, compassion, discipline and is slow to anger with all of His children.

Parenting choices need to be rooted in Godly wisdom, not fear

Those of us who have this type of past, who so desperately desire to parent differently can have a bent towards making choices for our family that are rooted in fear or even legalism. The moment you begin make parenting choices rooted in fear is the moment you say you trust yourself more than you trust the Lord. You are saying He is not enough. But God says He will give us wisdom if we only ask. (James 1:5)

Heart to heart

There is not enough allotted space to be able to write everything I want to write. If you are a woman whose heart is still tender from the pain you experienced growing up. I wish I could say this to you while looking you in the eyes. Sister, I’ve been there. I know the longing of wanting to hear your parent say “I love you” only to be met with silence. I grew up with abuse, lack of love, a home filled with anger, divorce, and watched one of my parents abandon our family for their own selfish venture.

Our parents are sinners. Forgive them anyways.  Our parents are also not our savior, nor can our joy be rooted in their choices and love. Plant your feet on firm foundation, which can only be found in your Savior, the one who is a father to the fatherless. He loves you with an unconditional love that we cannot possibly comprehend.

Prayer

Father,

Give us the wisdom to parent our children well. Break the cycles of generational sins and strongholds. Give us patience. Fill our homes with peace. Let love be overflowing in our homes. Lord reign in our hearts. Thank you for the love you demonstrate to us. Amen

Resources

Parenting resource- Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick

How to study the bible – Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin