Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 15 – Enjoy the journey
This is our challenge: to enjoy the challenge of motherhood. To enjoy ordinary moments of life and celebrate the little things. What can you do to make life more fun for you and your family?
Here are some things to remember when challenges of motherhood bring you down:
- Jesus notices and appreciates everything you do for your family giving eternal significance to those mundane things done in love. He rewards our faithfulness and the effort you make to serve him with gladness. Jesus washed feet, cooked meals and since he didn’t do anything that was unimportant these things must be important (John 13:14-15; 21:9). “love…action manifested in practical and beneficial ways.” How do you manifest love in your home in practical ways?
- With every act of loving service you’re stacking up eternal rewards. (Colossians 3:23-24)
- Jesus came so you could have life in abundance even in the ordinary and mundane so celebrate the ordinary in life. (John 10:10) Ask Jesus to show you how to make everyday life more fun; let him teach you.
“Joy and fulfillment are either gained or lost by how we approach the small, seemingly mundane tasks of day-to-day life.” ~ ~ Joyce Meyer
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 14 – Keeping it simple
Do you try to live up to the Pinterest mom? When you find you can’t do it like she does how does that make you feel? What’s your schedule like? Do you have more on your plate than you’d like? Are you too busy? Do you spiritually say to Jesus “not today, I have to…” How do we know we’re too busy? We don’t have time for God?
The secret to starting your day right is to start with God even if you have to lie in bed 5 minutes just thanking him, just saying “good morning”. Add a few minutes here and there around an infants’ schedule where you can just rest in his mercy. You can read and pray later. Don’t let this season of deviation turn into a life style. Pay for a babysitter or sitter-swap. We have to spend time with God because that’s where we get our strength and wisdom. If he’s first in our life everything else will fall in place (see Matthew 6:33). Your destiny depends on it, the enemy will fight you on this.
Get dressed spiritually:
- get a fresh start by getting rid of messes and mistakes from yesterday. Acknowledge them before God and receive his mercy and forgiveness.
- Thank God for everything you can think of no matter how small or insignificant. Gratefulness is a powerful weapon.
- Time with God is getting dressed spiritually with the new nature he’s given us. Set your mind to walking with the spirit not the flesh.
- Meditate on scriptures and set your mind to obey them with God’s help:
to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:23-24)
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:9-10)
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:13-17)
- Give your angels something to do. They’re there to minister to you and help you serve God. Confess God’s word over specific areas of your life.
- Set your heart on being a blessing and ask God for ways that you can express his love.
- Pray specifically about your mouth – the mouth can be your undoing (It is with mine)
- Pray that you don’t enter temptation in areas of weakness. Pray about it regularly, not just when being tempted, be proactive.
No matter how small the time you give him, be faithful and it will increase.
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 13 – Shaping your child’s life
Discipline is love, withholding is unloving. Discipline with action not emotions because no amount of anger or outburst will motivate them to change their behavior. Calmly sit down and explain what they did wrong, show them in the Word where the behavior wasn’t acceptable, then tell them the consequences you’re going to impose. Hug them and tell them you love them then let that be the end of it. Be clear and action oriented so they have learning experiences.
Constructive discipline needs clear guidelines with consequences based on the Bible. It’s about teaching them to please God, not us. God’s part is to change their inner attitudes; their job is to choose – good choice or bad choice. We get out of balance when we try to manage all three. Do your part, let God do his, and then let them choose.
Give them increasing authority over their own lives, letting them develop the skills to make good decisions. They will need to make some bad decisions so they can learn to think things through. They need the chance to express uniqueness and personality within acceptable rules.
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 12 – What are you saying?
Do your words create a cycle of failure? Do you use your words to bless or curse? Negative words that reflect unbelief will undo our prayers and the prayers for our children. When we rehearsing a problem in our mind or by our mouth the doubt it creates will undo our prayers.
Talking about your problems, even if the kids don’t hear the negative comments, the enemy does and he’ll use them to enter the problem and wreak havoc. Every time we talk about our problems it makes it harder for them to change, digging a hole you can’t get out.
Our words do affect our children. God has given us spiritual authority over our kid’s lives. The words we speak about them can harm or help them. God wants us to use our authority to enrich our children’s lives and turn successive generations towards him. All children choose whether they will follow God, but if they’re brought up in a God-saturated environment we’ll greatly impact their decision.
Put your words to work – we are called to bless, no curse them. When you’re tempted to speak words of doubt think on these:
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21
From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things Proverbs 12:14a
Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. 1 Peter 3:10
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 11 – Dare not to compare
We’re anointed by God to raise our kids to be individuals, not carbon copies of us. He’s given them individual gifts and talents. But sometimes we’re not thrilled with our own uniqueness so we compare ourselves to other moms, trying to impress them. Unfortunately, we pass this attitude on to our kids.
There is an epidemic of insecurity in moms today. But Isaiah 54:17 says “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.” Security is part of our spiritual inheritance. Believe that you are secure in Jesus.
Don’t compare yourself to other moms at church, in media or magazines. What you don’t like about yourself is just the thing that God can use. It can be your greatest asset. Find out God’s plan for you, your children, and follow it.
What are your gifts, what did God create you to do?
“Be yourself. Be the mom God created you to be. Use the gifts He’s given you, and follow your unique, individual bent. Don’t try to follow anybody else’s program. Stick with God’s.” ~ ~ Joyce Meyer
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 10, Free to move forward
Even if you started poorly in life if you put God first we can end up good. Even our kids can turn out good in spite of us. So many moms feel guilty about not doing enough…shoulda, woulda, ought, but our children can overcome any mother’s disadvantages or mistakes. Guilt doesn’t please god. It breaks his heart. He sent his Son so we could live guilt free.
To live free from the guilt cycle there are scriptural truths every mother must understand:
- When Jesus went to the cross, he defeated sin once and for all. We can consider ourselves dead to sin by focusing on Jesus and not our shortcomings or mistakes. We’re free to stop being legalists and extend God’s grace and mercy with kids.
- Study what bible says about guilt, forgiveness and grace. Jesus paid the whole price for every sin we’ll ever commit, past present or future. We need to receive and believe it. Pray the word; mediate on the verses you find in your study.
- There’s nothing you’ve done so bad that God can’t forgive. Don’t ignore parenting mistakes, but acknowledge them and apologize. Then pray for your children and trust God to cover the situation. Just don’t buy the lie that children can’t recover from your mistakes.
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 9 – Accentuate the positive
There is nothing more aggravating than complaining, whiny, ungrateful kids with negative attitudes. But could they be getting their attitudes from us? Are they reflecting our behavior?
If we have hope in all things, why is it so easy to drift to the negative? It’s always easier to make the wrong choice; right choices are always harder and take more work. We have a Bible full of promises but we must spend time with God daily and be determined to obey him if we are to see the fulfillment of those promises. Complaining is a sin and if we engage it we open the door to the enemy and before we know it our home is a mess.
Our negative attitudes and complaining not only grieve the Holy Spirit but our family too. Choose to be gracious not grouchy. A good attitude doesn’t come from having the best of everything in life it comes from making the best out of life. God’s power can take what we think is our worst enemy and make it our best friend.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 8 – Can somebody please help me?
Do have a best friend, confidant, or counselor? Is there someone you run to when you need help or advice? Ask yourself, how did that go, was it helpful? You know, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to be our counselor, our confidant. Often we don’t get His help because we’re running to others and not to God, either because we’re not confident we’ll hear or be able to discern his voice.
So what can we do to improve our relationship with the Holy Spirit? Strengthen your confidence in your divine connection with the Holy Spirit by focusing on what bible says:
As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him. (1 John 2:27)
And don’t forget to ask. To tap into the wisdom God offers you need to ask him for it. James 1:5-6 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
To enjoy the benefits of an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit you must also embrace it. Step out of your comfort zone and the Holy Spirit may lead you to places you may not choose…wonderful and amazing places.
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 7 – No fear here!
Do you believe that it’s normal to worry about your kids? That’s actually a lie from the enemy, it’s not an inevitable part of having children, and it’s certainly not a virtue. A mother’s love doesn’t have to be in a constant state of anxiety because the bible tells us to fear not.
What will worry do for us? It will steal our joy, drain our enthusiasm for life, and darken our days with anxious thoughts and evil forebodings. It wastes our time, makes us sick and creates mental and emotional torture. Worry is sin. It’s disobedience to God. We’re supposed to live by faith not by fear.
How can we over come worry? First, we must fix mind on God’s word, not our worries. Second, refuse to dwell on the negative thoughts that creep into our heads. Third, talk yourself out of worrying; speak life. Do it by faith and your feelings will catch up. Your emotions don’t have to dictate our decisions and reactions.
I constantly fight this area; first with my children and now my grandson. It’s so easy to fall into the worry trap. When I find myself in the grip of evil forebodings, I remind myself if it doesn’t line up with God’s word it’s a lie of the enemy. If it’s a lie then the opposite will happen. I talk myself sane with the word of God.
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 6 – Take a break…and believe
Do you ever feel like running away from home? I sure have. We all get weary and when we do this is dangerous territory because we can lose control of our emotions, we overeat, overspend, make bad decisions and get cranky. When we have nothing left to give anymore, we try to put something back, anything that will fill the void that children can drain from of us. Weariness is the enemy’s playground because we just don’t have what it takes to resist temptation. We must find ways to refresh and rest every day.
Would you like to live like you’re on vacation? Then take Jesus up on his offer in Matthew 11:28-29: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Like a vacation for our souls. Leave it to Jesus to solve the problems we can’t, to change attitudes others, choose to remain in his rest.
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 5 – Keep your eyes on the mirror
What do you think Jesus would do about misbehaving children? First, he’d be confident about disciplining because he has the wisdom of God’s. Second, he’d always be patient because he has the fruit of the spirit. Third, he wouldn’t worry because he trusts God for protection. Finally, he’d be a good example 24/7 because he’s the perfect image of God.
We can be like this too because we have Christ living in us. If this is true why do what he wouldn’t do? Understand, our souls and body haven’t been resurrected like our spirits. We haven’t been transformed into his likeness. We’re a work in progress and it’s a long and difficult process.
What can you do? Be patient with yourself and remember it won’t happen overnight. Just keep trusting God. Keep looking to the bible to reveal who you are in Christ and let it show you the changes you need to make with the grace of God. Only then can you live out of your true identity.
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 4 – Fill ‘er up!
In “The Confident Mom”, Joyce refers to moms as maternal Jekyll and Hydes. Can you relate? I know I can. One minute I’m “oh I love you my precious” then a second later Hyde says “ARE YOU KIDDING ME, YOU DID WHAT?” Do you think a mother’s love has limits or is it unconditional? First Corinthians 13:4-5 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” Seriously…patient, kind, not easily angered? I know it can surely be challenging when your child dumps water on your computer (like Kai did this morning) or when you walk into a kitchen and the floor is covered with sugar, salt, spices and for a little color lets add a bottle of mustard.
When challenged by motherhood, remember you can’t give away what you don’t have. Do you believe God loves you unconditionally? Take the time to study God’s love. Confess what the bible says about his love. Spend time meditating over verses like John 3:16; 15:9,13; 16.27; 17:23: Romans 5:8: 8:38: and 1 John 3:1. As Joyce says, “If we want to pour out God’s love into the lives of our children, we must first receive it for ourselves.”
We’re often so busy taking care of the needs of others that we ignore our own needs. The result is often fatigue, weakness and even illness. The best thing you can do for your family is to spend time with God daily. But where you go, how you find the time to be alone to get that first hour of the day with God can be a challenge. Don’t ever feel guilty about this time away from your family. It’s the best investment in your family that you can make. Your time with God is a supernatural cycle of investment and increase.
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 3 – God can handle it
The storms of life come into all our lives at one time or another, and another, and another. Deuteronomy 31:6 says “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” How has this verse help you in your storms? How have you seen god’s hand in the storm?
He is with us always, even raising difficult children, screaming children, colicky babies, out too late teens, wayward 20 something’s. He’s there in the mountains of work, in despair over your challenging situations and in the dryness of broken relationships.
Don’t panic in times of trouble, don’t have the attitude “I can’t handle this”. Just ask God for a verse to pray and lean into Jesus. Whatever your need, god will give you the grace to deal with it.
“God will help you succeed as a mom and fulfill his plans through you, not because you’re perfect, but because he’s perfect.” – – Joyce Meyer
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 2 – Perfect women need not apply
Do you strive for perfection in any area of your life? But then, if we were perfect we wouldn’t need Jesus. Remember, God wants us to do only a few simple things:
- Make Jesus our lord and savior
- Get to know Him and His word and develop an intimate relationship with Him
- Lean on and trust him for wisdom and strength
- Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit to change us
Simple? Remember, these too are gradual because we learning as we walk our individual journeys. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect but to have a relationship with him. What can you do to lessen the pull of perfectionism? Separate your who from your do. We are human beings, not human doings.
If you’re concerned about the mistakes you make while your children watch just be quick to repent and get back on track with God. Your kids will see that too and it will help them to see how things are done in the real world. They need to know we’re spiritually mature and spiritually growing. Let them see you pray every day. Let them hear you praise god. But also let them watch you stumble and get right back up walking in faith. Give it to Jesus, pray they then won’t be harmed by your occasional mistakes.
If you want some example here are a few women in the bible that made mistakes:
- Sarah – didn’t wait for God to give her a son but ran out ahead and today we see the effects throughout the Middle East.
- Rahab – although a prostitute she helped the Israelite spies, married one of them and became great-grandmother of King David.
- Bathsheba – In an adulterous relationship with King David, she had a son but God allowed the child to die. Then she has Solomon who was considered to be the wisest king in the bible.
Then there are more contemporary mothers, such as your very own mentor mom. I’ve had to fight perfectionism all my life but I have learned to trust in God and remember that I am not what I do.
How have you conquered the need to strive for perfection?
Bible Study Notes: The confident Mom, chapter 1 – Are we having fun yet?
Are you a joyful mom or is your joy burdened by the daily mundane? What can you do about life’s burdens? You can:
eliminate it…does it really need done at all?
Delegate it…can someone else do it?
Procrastinate…does it really need done now?
But at a deeper level, how can you have the confidence and joy to be a mother?
- Believe God has equipped you with all you need.
- Don’t focus on weaknesses and shortcomings
- celebrate what God has given you
“God didn’t create us to raise our children under a cloud of insecurity. Insecurity saps our faith. It robs us of our joy. It cheats us out of the boldness we need to really excel at what God has called us to do.” – – Joyce Meyer, The Confident Mom
Walking the walk!
This may seem like common sense to most of you but it was an epiphany for me. Since I heard the news of Kai’s conception in June 2011; I’ve thought about and researched how to teach young children about Jesus. The problem I ran into was that I was trained in secondary education and taught at the university level. My brain had trouble adjusting to small people thinking.
I thought about it…no ideas. I researched, Googled and asked for advice at church…no ideas. I did this for nearly two years. No kidding. You’d think someone so educated could come up with a solution. I’ve even taken child psychology. So I finally asked God…
So how do you teach young children about Jesus? Just like you teach them about anything else…they learn by watching you. I sure had trouble wrapping my grey matter around that one. “It’s just that easy?” I thought. No lesson plans, no bells and whistles, no arts and crafts? No, not any of it; it’s just me showing him who Jesus is through my actions and words.
What can you do practically to train young children? Here are a few ideas.
- Keep it simple. Keep it at their level. At this age rote memorization is the only way they learn. They have not yet acquired analytical or critical thinking abilities.
- Pray with them, for them, and over them in their presence.
- Read the bible, or a children’s bible which is mainly bible stories.
- Sing to them, not just simple children’s songs like Jesus loves me, but songs that make you want to jump and shout to the Lord. Songs like “Our God”, “Big House”, “kings and Queens”, “Born Again”. What songs bring out the joy of the Lord in you? You can bet it will do the same for your little one. When they see you joyful, praising Jesus, they’ll want to too. They may not understand now but in the future they won’t fear publically praising God.
- Last and most important, practice what you preach. Demonstrate a Christian attitude and Christian behavior. Apologize, use manners and show kindness to others. Be purposeful with your child and don’t talk at them, they know the difference and respond in kind.
I started purposefully employing these actions with diligence and consistency about six months ago, Kai is now two and a half. Does he know Jesus or want to be saved? Of course not; he’s not capable of understanding these concepts yet. But when he’s older and able to understand he will at least have background knowledge with which to build. This is so important in learning anything new not just for children but everyone. Learning is always easier when we have something to build upon or relate to.
Have I noticed any changes? Yes…
- Kai no longer just listens as I pray but actively participates. He gives thanks at dinner and prays with me at bedtime.
- He enjoys bible stories now, before he was too young and didn’t care to be read to. He just couldn’t sit still long enough. Later he wanted to control the reading by telling me what was going on in the book, but now he actually listens and asks questions. But he still likes to tell me what’s in the pictures.
- Kai loves the music, he dances, shouts with joy and tries to sing the best he can.
Does he understand anything about Christian life? I’d like to think he’s at least getting a solid basis from which to grow from. Just when I thought all my efforts weren’t sinking in he surprised me. The other day Kai got up from his nap, walked to my computer and asked “what’s that”? I said, “It’s my bible study, I’m learning about Jesus” to which he replied “AMEN”. I think he’s getting it.
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New Life 501 – The Next Generation, teaching our young will provide practical tips on teaching your children about Jesus. These lessons will be based on my own lessons with Kai. You can expect these later in the year and be aimed at early preschoolers. As Kai grows so will the lessons from preschool to college…yes I plan on being here that long.
His middle name is JOY, or at least it should be. Joy oozes out of every pore.
In case you aren’t sure, that was him in yesterday’s post too.
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Object of my affection
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