What Brings Her Joy?

Honestly, thinking about marrying off my baby boy one day downright terrifies me. I’ve prayed for my children and the right mate before they even took their first breath. I remember carrying each of them, with so much wonder and a little terror because I knew what frailty our hearts and flesh bring into this life. I’ve not prayed as fervently recently as I probably should, but thinking about this stirs all kinds of emotions. I see my son bringing in mudpies through our kitchen and spontaneously gifting me with tiny white flowers growing in our weeds now that spring is here (the best flowers, hands down). Life won’t always be this simple.

dau voire

I like to think that maybe one day he and I can talk about all of this at an age where he might be open to my words, and pocket of experience. I hope that in some way by then I will have won his heart, and his trust. I imagine us in our kitchen talking while his younger sister dribbles the basketball outside one afternoon. Iced tea glasses would be sweating rings of water on our counter and he’d be ready to talk about something I was mostly dreading but anxious to chime in on too. I’d have to be careful not to sweep over his heart in my attempt to protect him.

First, I’d want to hear what he has to say. I want that door to always, always be open. No matter what. Once I let him talk about whatever was on his heart about all of this, I’d tell him that there isn’t anything wrong with looking for a pretty girl but that “pretty” only goes so far. I’d try to help him understand beauty only goes so deep. I’d challenge him to find someone he can be BEST FRIENDS with.

I’d also tell him that you can tell a lot from a person by watching what makes their world go round. What brings this girl joy? Is it always all about her? Does she enjoy helping others? Mission work? Children’s ministry? What is she about, past her outward appearances?

I’d try to help him see that ten years from now, the things that bring her joy are more likely to be magnified in that time frame, rather than change. What she is made of will be more important and valuable to the success and happiness of their marriage than anything else about her.

I’d ask him to look deep and pray. And to be brutally honest with himself.

 

The Power of Humility

 

letter to my sons

A Letter to My Sons (As You Prepare to Start Dating):

It seems entirely surreal and preposterous to be writing a letter to you about the kind of woman you should marry when you’re at the tender ages of seven and almost six years old respectively.

Yet I know the moment in which you will be of dating age will sneak upon me like a thief in the night and I fear there will be so many words I have yet to say on this topic and I’m sure there will indeed be some I miss.

But here’s some advice I won’t hold-back in sharing: there is power in humility.

I once thought being humble meant you never bragged about how great you a really are (and you are really great – I’m your mom, I should know . . . ) and didn’t make others feel like they were “less than” because you are so much “more than.”

There is a component to humility in which this is true; however, the true meaning of humility is being able to say the following phrase and mean it sincerely:

I'm sorry

Daddy and I have raised you up in a home in which forgiveness is mandatory. You practice saying what you’re sorry for and you ask for forgiveness and even if the receiving end doesn’t feel like forgiving, the answer in always “yes.”

Sometimes action must proceed emotion and we are told repeatedly in the Bible we must forgive because we ourselves are continuously forgiven.

Yet even though we’ve raised you this way, I know there will be times when you will be tempted to argue because you know you’re right and she’s not.

And you might be. But arguing to prove you are the one who’s right will only make you win the battle but lose the war.

The goal of dating is to find a future bride, sons. Not everyone agrees with this opinion but your father and I believe there’s really no point in it until you are much older than you are now.

We’ve prayed for these two young women who will steal your hearts and make you both dream of your futures since you were tiny babies. I have no idea who they are or where they are as I write this letter but I do know this:

I pray she is kindhearted. I pray she is spunky and will support you and will make you laugh because oh, sons . . . You will need to laugh. I pray she loves Jesus above all else and is committed to raising your children, ahem, our grandchildren, loving Him, too. I pray she will hear your heart and you will hear hers. I pray you will both practice mutual submission – this submission thing has been made into a dirty word when in actuality, when it’s done the way God intended it to be done, it’s the most beautiful waltz you’ve ever seen.

But I really, really pray she possesses humility. There will be several times in your marriage when you will have to apologize to one another and when one person is unable to do this, it impacts the safety of the relationship.

Humility leads to trust. Trust leads to intimacy. Intimacy leads to the kind of soul connection God wants you to have with your wives.

So while I pray you are able to say “I’m sorry. I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?” I also pray she is able to say the same. It’s part of mutual submission and once you figure that all out, you can get through anything.

Together.

I love you two little monkeys,

Mom

Dear Lord, please help me to raise these boys to seek young women who love you to be their wives. Please guide me in instilling humility in both of them and please help me to remember to have it myself. Please also instill humility in the hearts of their future wives – girls I don’t even know yet but you do. When we humble ourselves to you, Lord, we can humble ourselves to others. Amen.

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if you want to show the world you’re a #HopeWarrior

Last week we introduced you to this lovely necklace from Origami Owl, and challenged you to be a #HopeWarrior—fighting for hope with everything you have.

This idea of being a Hope Warrior has so pierced our hearts, that we decided to make it a kind of regular thing around here. Today, we’re excited to bring you this news:

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That’s right! Every single month one MOB Society newsletter subscriber will win a #HopeWarrior necklace from our friend, and Origami Owl consultant, Stephanie Mills!

Winners will be selected using random.org and notified by email!

Note: As a bonus for signing up for our newsletter, you’ll start receiving our amazing exclusive monthly BoyRaiser newsletter, our monthly #PrayingForBoys prayer calendar, and our weekly eblasts with great deals and steals for boymoms! Please be sure to follow the verification instructions that will come in an immediate email. If you don’t, you won’t be entered, and nobody wants that!






Sign up to access the monthly BoyRaiser!

Seek Her Heart: A Letter to My Son (on girls)

My Dear Son,

 Lately, you’ve been at the forefront of my mind. In fact, you and your future are pretty much all I can think about. With each passing day, month, and year, I’m infinitely aware of how fast time is flying by–how quickly you’re growing up.

 And it’s hard.

 You’re my boy–the one I’m raising, the one I cry over, laugh with, love, and yes, worry about…which is why I feel the need to share something with you (before I forget).  

-Don't let the world fool you into

 Now, I know at this stage of the game, you’re not all that interested in the opposite sex…but the time is coming. I see it already. Like when the young ladies from down the street show up at our front door, unannounced. Or the way your female classmates say “hi,” as they pass by you at school. And even though I can’t help but smile each time one of these precious creatures approaches you, there’s something I want you to keep in mind as those not-too-distant days of dating (and eventually marriage) hurriedly make their way onto the horizon:

 Set your sights on her heart.

 Pretty soon you’ll be spending a lot of time thinking about girls. Undeniably, there will be a number of them vying for your attention too. But the woman you fall in love with? The one you want to spend the rest of your life with? Son, her beauty doesn’t reside in her appearance. It’s not in the warm smile she boasts, or the made-up face she wears. Her beauty dwells within. It’s the way she loves the Lord—and the way in which she’ll love you. It’s in her faith. It’s found in her heart.

 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. –Luke 12:34 (NIV)

So, don’t allow our culture or this world we’re living in tell you otherwise. Don’t let it fool you into thinking that a woman’s worth is in the way she dresses, the way her hair is styled, or how her body looks…because it’s a lie. However, a woman whose heart resides in Christ? That’s the girl you want. A woman who loves and fears the Lord? Son, she’ll love you as the Bible instructs her to–when the money is tight and the bills are big, when hardship is found, and when illness is present. Indeed, that’s the union you’re looking for–one that’s centered in Him.

 This season that’s approaching? The road that’s just ahead? I pray you’ll seek the Lord’s counsel…that you’ll remain in His word. And I pray that the girl whose heart you seek to win, will have an everlasting love for our Heavenly Father.

 Because it’s everything.

 All My Love,

Mom

Taking Action:

1. Point the Way

Everyday our boys are subjected to images (via media) focused heavily on the outward appearances of women. But as their moms, we’re not powerless in what they’re exposed to. We can teach them to appreciate modesty, just as we can coach them on what’s most important in a world that chooses to do the opposite.

2. Pray

No matter their age, we can pray for the future of our boys and those of the women they‘ll marry. We can ask our Heavenly Father to provide them with wisdom and discernment in the days ahead. Because God should know the sound of our voice, the bending of our knees, and the cries of our heart.

Pray with me?

Heavenly Father,

 We come to you today seeking wisdom for our sons. We pray for the hearts of the girls they’ll date, along with the wives they will one day take. Lord, help these children cling to your truths, remain obedient to your will, and honor your commands. Provide them with the inner strength they’ll need to avoid the pitfalls the enemy places in their path. And we pray for their hearts. Lord, keep their intentions pure and their sights set on you.

 We ask this in your Son’s name,  

 Amen. 

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In the Face of Fear: 3 Ways to Cultivate Valor (without invalidating their fears)

In my last post I wrote about chivalry and I so enjoyed the discussions that blossomed out of that post.  If you’d like to join in, you can find them here.  While most of us find it easier to teach our sons courtesy and generosity, the common thread was that we were somewhat stumped when it came to cultivating valor.  How do we acknowledge and validate our sons’ fears and apprehensions, yet still encourage them to be brave and courageous?

In The Face

 

Plausible Fears vs. Implausible Fears

First of all, I think it’s important to teach our sons the difference between plausible and implausible fears.  I almost named this section legitimate and illegitimate fears, but I think those terms invalidate our sons’ fears.  By labeling them plausible and implausible, we are teaching our sons to discern what is and is not worth their time.  For example, a plausible fear is that their teeth might hurt while the dentist is examining them.  This fear is absolutely within the realm of possibility.  An implausible fear would be that the dentist will turn into and evil green alien and jackhammer their teeth out of their mouth.  It just won’t happen.

Talk About It

“Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” – Albus Dumbledore.

It’s true.  The more we stuff the nagging fear down, pushing it beyond our realm of consciousness and refusing to even utter the presence of a fear, the larger the fear grows and the harder it is to overcome.  I want my son to be comfortable with the words, “I’m afraid” and “I’m scared.”  We were hard-wired with a fear system to help keep us safe and quite honestly, I think my son needs to listen to his fears a little more often, especially when considering jumping from high perches or speeding on a bicycle.  It is okay to be scared, but sometimes we must be scared and do it anyways.  A few pointers are as follows:

  • Don’t label fears as “silly” or your son as a “baby” for being afraid of certain things.  Even as an adult, I don’t like dark basements and spiders will make me squirm from across the room.  Yes, I know that I can just squish them, but still, one too many times watching Arachnophobia with my brother as a child.
  • Don’t say you’re too old to be afraid of that or become exasperated when they are fearful.
  • Do encourage them to pray.  It can be as simply as “Dear Jesus, help me not to be afraid,” or as elaborate as they need.

Facing the Fear

Then there are those fears that must be faced down and trampled, but not always in one stampede.  Many wars with fear can be won by triumphantly being victorious over tinier battles.  Break down the fear into bite-size chunks and then praise him above and beyond what you would feel as normal when he displays courage.  My son was afraid of the dentist.  Our first visit a year and a half ago was fraught with tears and terror.  The hygienist took one look at my son and knew there was no way we were going to get a cleaning done that day, but she was politely insistent that he at least sit in the chair and let her look in his mouth.  I encouraged him that it was indeed safe and that they would not do anything other than look in his mouth (FYI, don’t promise this and then surprise your son with a “sneak attack.”  That kind of action will only cause a lack of trust between you.)  and see what was up.  The whole time he was in the chair both the hygienist and I were applauding his bravery.  He was still scared, but he held still and did what he had to do and that, my friend, is courage.  Now, a year and a half later we have fabulous dental appointments at which he isn’t scared or apprehensive.

Many times your son needs to hear you, his mom, supporting him.  Sometimes all your son needs is to know that you are in his corner rooting for him and that he will come out on top.  What a privilege and an honor to be cheering him on…

What are some ways you have been able to encourage bravery?  What strategies can you share about facing fears (either your own or that of your sons’?)