I have shared with you how I receive e-mails from both discouraged and encouraged moms. Knowing what it is like to be a discouraged mom, I wanted to give you some ideas about how to become the encouraged mom. Not only in my own life have I evaluated the differences between feeling discouraged and feeling encouraged, but I have been considering what I read in those e-mails as well.
Here is an example of how it works. This mom writes me and says:
“How many times do I have moms tell me that they CAN’T do what I do, usually because they are a ‘different personality’ . . . as if it is my ‘personality’ that is my strength. It is wearying, and often I don’t even want to share anymore the real answer to ‘how do you do it,’ or respond to the ‘I could never do it.’
I am just finishing up a very long week of making up the first six weeks of lesson plans for six children . . . from a brand-new kindergartener up to two in high school. I have not wanted to spend my whole week this way, but it was my choice, by the choices I made in the weeks leading up to this week, and God has still sprinkled in time to go pick beans and cucumbers in the garden in the cool of the evening, to visit with friends and their children, and tonight a church dinner at our home.
I have experienced too many times where God has enabled me to do what He has asked me to do . . . usually through being faithful to my schedule, and ‘doing the next thing,’ while still listening to His voice and being sensitive to changes that are brought my way through His plan. He enables me by His grace to do what He has called me to do, even to finishing up that last lesson plan.
I have been encouraged and taught to choose to do the right thing, even when other things might be calling me, and I might be tempted to label them something ‘spiritual’ to give myself permission to neglect what I am really supposed to do. It is tempting nearly every day, but God always blesses obedience.” A mom choosing obedience
Every day we have a choice set before us concerning what we will do with our time. We can do what we need to do, or we can use that time in other ways. I want to encourage you in the blessing of fulfilling your responsibilities. Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed by what needs to be done or discouraged by our children’s behavior that we retreat to the computer, a book or magazine, the TV, a hobby, or whatever it is that we use for comfort and escape rather than running to our Lord Jesus Christ. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” These same words are repeated in 2 Thessalonians 3:13. We make that decision of what we will do with our minds—feel sorry for ourselves or think right thoughts and turn to Jesus. Rather than dwelling on the negative, we can to choose to be grateful for the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives and for our husbands, our children, our homes, our daily bread, our comforts, our churches, and so much more. We can choose to get busy and do what needs to be done.
Look at what happens when we use our time to fulfill our responsibilities. This is part of the first e-mail I received from a young mother.
“I am a very undisciplined person. I’m lost when it comes to keeping my toddler occupied. I find myself doing the very thing I hated as a child. I use the TV.” Mom to one two-year-old
Here is a portion of an e-mail from this same mom after she had made some changes in how she was using her time.
“My life has changed significantly since I’ve created and implemented a MOTH Schedule.
My daughter no longer watches an excessive amount of TV. We are having preschool everyday. She has learned to clean up her toys, put socks away when I fold laundry, and set the table for our evening meal. We spend an hour outside every day. I read to her every day. She has ‘play alone’ time, computer time, and she even helps with some of my chores. She loves to dust!! We also have a devotional time everyday. My daughter (25 1/2 months) knows the schedule and anticipates the next activity.” Mom to one two-year-old
All this mother did was begin to make different choices in how she was using her time. At first an undisciplined mom who was using the TV as a babysitter, she decided to put together a schedule to help her do what she wanted to do. As she began implementing that schedule, fulfilling the responsibilities that God had given to her, she was blessed with amazing results. Not only is this young mother experiencing the joy associated with yielding her time to righteousness, but her daughter is as well.
This summer on our blog, I shared a work project that I was doing with my girls. This motivated another mom to evaluate what needed to be done in her home and how to include her daughter, who is only four years old. Look at the results!
“After reading this post yesterday, I realized that there are a few deep cleaning chores I needed to do. Today I cleaned my living room furniture, polished my living room tables, deep cleaned my refrigerator, coffee pot, and a few other things in the kitchen—all with my four-year-old daughter by my side. She enjoyed helping me very much. She kept asking what she could do next. We had a great time.” Another mom
Can you relate to the excitement this mother is experiencing as she chooses what to do with her time? Rather than being discouraged and dejected, she is energized, happy, and satisfied. She has done some important cleaning, spent time with her daughter, and helped her daughter learn to rightly choose how to use her time. Isn’t that what we want for our lives in our roles as mothers?
Discouraged or encouraged? The answer is pretty simple: what will I do with my mind and my time? However, the carrying out of that answer can be quite difficult. It starts with a yielding of our minds to obedience and then a yielding of our time to obedience. While we may think that yielding our time will keep us from doing what we want to do, in reality it frees us to be the Christian women we want to be. May we be women who yield to righteousness with our minds and with our time.