Because One Day He Will Leave

It happened only a few hours after my first son was born. That’s when I realized something was going on and my future would never be the same. I was holding my newborn son, freshly swaddled in a blue-and-pink striped hospital blanket; my fingers traced the lines of his face while I whispered words of love and safety to him. He turned his face upward and fixated his eyes on mine. They were—and still are—a deep, deep blue.

-...your son will one daylove (1)

But something happened in this moment; it was something I had no way of anticipating, something from which I have never recovered. As I sat there gazing into his eyes, completely and utterly in love, I realized that it would not always be this way. Someday, he would love someone else more than he loved me. Someday, he would leave me for another woman.

Perhaps you didn’t think these thoughts when you held your son for the first time. (My husband tells me I’m “special” that way.) And maybe, you haven’t ever really considered the fact that your son will one day love another woman more than he loves you, but I have. And it terrifies me. 

So, I’m learning to pray, not only for my sons, but for the women my sons will one day love. I pray for the women they are becoming. I pray that God will prepare a special girl for my 7 year old who knows how to bolster his fragile confidence and loves to cuddle. I pray that God will give my 4 year old a wife who laughs at his jokes and loves his deep chocolate brown eyes. But more than this, I pray that my future daughters-in-law will be women who have a sense of themselves. I pray that they will know that their value and worth comes from God, not a man or a career or a child. I pray that they will be women who need Jesus—not my sons—to be complete.

One of the most common struggles that I see among women our age—okay, one of my most common struggles—is that we look to things other than God for our identity and wholeness. This is why we judge each other so easily. We center our identity on our parenting style, our body size, or our professional accomplishments; and when they are threatened, we feel threatened. When someone challenges them, we feel challenged. And we turn into small, fearful women who succumb to all kinds of sin in order to protect the things that give us our worth.

This can even happen in our marriages. When we position our husband’s love and affirmation as the source of our identity, we will do anything to protect it–even if it backfires and ends up harming him in the process. But when God becomes the source of our wholeness, when His identity becomes the source of our identity, we become women who can love our husbands freely and completely. We become…

>Women who have such a strong sense of God’s love that we do not need to whine and pout when we feel needy.

>Women who have such a deep understanding of God’s generosity that we can respond with joy even when money gets tight.

>Women who so trust in God’s providence that we do not have to manipulate or control our husbands when we disagree with their choices.

>Women who have so experienced God’s grace that we are able to be gracious when even when our husbands disappoint us.

And so, this is what I pray for the women my sons will someday love: Make them women who live fully and completely in God. Make them women full of grace and kindness and wisdom because they know the source of grace and kindness and wisdom, Jesus Christ himself. If, dear Lord, my sons must someday leave me for other women, let them be these kinds of women. And just so they’ll know what this kind of woman looks like, Lord, make me this kind of woman today.

 

Hannah Anderson is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Made for More: An Invitation to Live in God’s Image (Moody, April 2014). She lives with her husband and three children in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. You can connect with her at her blog sometimesalight.com on Twitter@sometimesalight.

Boys, Hospitality Is More Than Tea and Scones

I used to think that showing hospitality meant inviting people over and feeding them BBQ pork sandwiches with all the fixings or hosting an elaborate tea with homemade scones in honor of my friend’s new baby, but sitting under the teaching of my pastor Francis Chan for nine years did something to me. 

For the first few years of my marriage, we lived in a tiny apartment with no yard. I was feeling pretty good when I decided to swallow my pride and host my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary in our home where we squeezed in nearly 30 of their lifelong friends for dessert, reminiscing about the days when my parents drove too fast and ran with the wild crowd.

 As a new mother, still searching for what it meant for me to be a woman by Biblical standards, I knew that hospitality was part of what God commanded me to display towards others. Except that the idea of showing hospitality didn’t really cost me anything. I love to cook, bake, and plan events. My husband and I are both social butterflies, so having people over energized us. We delighted in opening up our home. And that was all good. But eventually, my definition of hospitality began to get a bit more uncomfortable. 

I listened as my pastor talked about the fact that they had up to seven or more house guests in their home at any given time, plus their family of six…in a house that they had purposely downsized into in order to give more money away for those in need. A woman from Guatemala with four kids had recently moved in. Francis had met her at the local homeless shelter and brought her home for six months until she got on her feet. It was radical. And Biblical. And convicting. 

My family recently started memorizing Romans 12. Verse 13 of the chapter says: Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

This passage comes on the heels of the early church-at a time when people were selling what they had so no one was in need, when persecution was common, and loving others meant life-altering choices. To think that I was giving myself a pat on the back for hosting brunch made me realize how “American” my mentality had become.

Add text (6)   I can’t tell you how many times I have been blessed beyond belief by someone’s invitation for dinner, or by friends who have thrown events for me. I’m not dismissing the incredible blessing that is, or how much it meant to me personally. Heaven forbid we stop doing those kinds of happy and generous things for one another-I know they please God.   But Heaven forbid that’s were it ends for me or that my sons grow up to think that is the extent of what a hospitable woman looks like. 

I believe we need to stretch ourselves far beyond the point of feel-good hospitality, to nitty-gritty sacrificial hospitality too. Like the time my single friend came over every Thursday for six months after a hard day’s work to wash and fold my laundry when I had my first baby. 

How about you? What can you do to go outside your comfort zone? 

Here’s a few ideas: 

1. Offer your home with a backyard to a friend who lives in an apartment so she has a bigger space to host her child’s birthday party. 

2. Loan your extra car to a family who sold their second car to pay bills during unemployment. 

3. Cancel sports and dance classes for a semester and decide to serve meals as a family at the local shelter once a week for a semester.

A Biblical woman is a hospitable one, no doubt about it. But perhaps our definition of hospitality has become too narrow. I dream about the day the world hears the word Christian and immediately recognizes them as extravagantly loving-those people who adopt orphans, open up their guest rooms to strangers, and pour out but seem to always be filled. And that’s the kind of woman I’m praying for as a wife for my boys. I just pray they recognize her because she first looked a lot like me.

Pray with me?

 Dear Father, Open my heart to what it means to be a hospitable woman. Guide us as a family towards those who need to be shown love through our hospitality, and fill us up with Your wisdom and strength so that we can bless others. May my sons see in me first what it means to love others through my generosity and resources, and may they seek to find a woman who displays Biblical hospitality in their future wives. In Jesus Name, Amen!

RESOURCES: 

1. Read more about Francis and Lisa Chan’s hospitable lifestyle here.

2. From my “Books Worth Reading” book list, one of the most life-changing books by Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God.  

3. Read more from Romans chapter 12 here…. 

Amber lives in Southern California with her husband and 3 boisterous sons under the age of 6. She writes about faith and family from the perspective of a work-at-home mom, Hollywood producer and writer. You can follow her God-sized dream journey and their “Testoster-Home” at www.motherofknights.com.

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!






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