Category Archives: Mom’s Corner

Child Training

“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul” (Proverbs 29:17). Does this characterize your children and your home? I must admit that there are times my children do not give me rest or delight my soul. When this happens, my first reaction is to groan inside with the thoughts, “Oh no, not again!” If my children are not delighting my soul or giving me rest, I have come to realize that the issue can fall back on me. I have become lax in discipline. I don’t like this responsibility. I would rather have gentle reminders bring about results. “A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer” (Proverbs 29:19). This can characterize my children.

Sometimes there are days when the constancy of my children’s infractions has worn me out. I can become very discouraged by it. Considering our younger children, we have several we are working on such basics as: closing the bathroom door when they enter, flushing the toilet and washing hands, putting shoes or jackets in the closet when removed, brushing teeth without reminders, chewing with their mouth closed, and others. Since we begin teaching the children proper behavior in these areas as soon as a child is capable, one might think these habits would be developed by now. There is good news. These are not areas we are working on with our older children, so consistency does pay off!

I have come to see that the big picture can be overwhelming to me. By big picture, I mean tackling all the problems at once. However, if I focus in on one particular area, we often will achieve success. For example, four-year-old Anna was not putting her shoes in her bedroom when she took them off. She did this several times a day. This not only cluttered the living room and caused others to stumble over them, but sometimes it made us all have to go on a hunt for the shoes when they could not be found. We decided she needed to learn to take her shoes and socks to her bedroom and place them beside her bed whenever she took them off. First, we discussed this with her, and I showed her what I wanted her to do. Then for a few days, I would remind her if she forgot. “Oh, Anna, I am sure you are not planning to leave your shoes and socks in the living room, are you?”

I also looked for a creative consequence for failure. If I have too many creative consequences for different areas we are working on, I forget them! So again, I try to have one major focus at a time. The consequence in this case was to be practice. After the teaching and reminding, I would quietly call her back to the living room if she left her shoes there. In a sad voice, I would say, “Anna, I am so sorry you did not put your shoes where they belong. I want you to take them now and put them by your bed. Then come back and tell Mommy.” When she returned I would ask her to go get the shoes and bring them back again. Next I would say, “Anna, you did not remember to put your shoes by your bed when you took them off, so I want you to practice by taking them and putting them there again. Report to me when you are done.” I would have her do this two or three times.

It was amazing how much that little girl could dislike practicing putting her shoes away! I also highly praised her when she remembered to make that trip down the hallway to her bedroom. I would report her success to the other family members in front of her. She did learn to carry the shoes to her room when she took them off, although, as I write this, I think I have seen them out again lately. Maybe it is time to “practice” again.

Often to help me avoid getting frustrated over some of these discipline areas, I will write them on a list or on the whiteboard. Sometimes I do not have time to address a problem. If I write it down, I know I will not forget it, and I remember to deal with it later. For instance, when I go downstairs to put Jesse down for his nap, I might see clothes out in the bedroom or toys that have not been put away. Calling one of the three boys who share this bedroom to come pick up, when it is time for Jesse to get to sleep, is not a good option. I make a mental note about the problem and write a physical note when I get upstairs so that it can be corrected after naptime.

Another reason writing down the problem helps is that with a little time it may not be as emotional or upsetting to me. I might realize I was making a mountain out of a molehill. It will also give me time to pray and ask the Lord what to do about the situation. Sometimes frustration comes because I know we have a problem, but I am not doing anything about it. Maybe I don’t know what to do. I simply need time to pray about it. With it written down, it won’t be forgotten if it is important enough to need attention that can’t be given or figured out at that moment.

Working on one problem area at a time helps me, too, because in order to be consistent, I must be the one who is trained. Once I made a list on the white board that said, “Train Mom to: send children to wash hands before meals and after meals, ask if they flushed the toilet, turned the light off. . . .” When we decided it would be a good idea for our children to respond to us with a, “Yes, Mom,” or, “Yes, Dad,” I would say something to a child and get no response. I would then say, “Yes, Mom,” for that child. I laughed with Steve at how well I was trained in saying, “Yes, Mom.” If I can remember to work in the weak area, or to check on it, we will usually have some measure of success. That is why keeping the number of things to focus on small helps me to be consistent. If there are too many, they all slip away from me.

Evaluate your home life for areas where peace is lacking. Do not be discouraged! Instead, be committed to working toward peace by tackling one area at a time that needs attention. Teach your children with a meek and quiet spirit. Be positive. Praise them for little successes. Look for creative, reasonable discipline for failure. God’s Word is always true, “Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul” (Proverbs 29:17).

Finding Quiet Time for the Lord

Last month in the Mom’s Corner, I shared with you a key to the treasure of spending time on the priorities the Lord has given each of us. This month I want to give you the key to our success in life as a woman, wife, mother, home teacher, neighbor, and Christian. This key comes from the key we talked about in September, but is of vastly greater value. Despite its importance, this key is often not used because there is not time; other needs seem more pressing. This, though, signals an even greater urgency to use the key.

What is the key I am referring to? It is “time alone with Jesus Christ.” There is a reason this key comes from last month’s key. For us to have time alone with the Lord, we are going to find we must plan that time into our day. If we choose to take it during a free, quiet moment whenever we can, we will probably come to the end of the day and realize it has not happened. We will decide to try again tomorrow. The cycle will be repeated the next day and the next day.

We are foolish women if we think we can get through our days the way the Lord wants us to in our own energy and strength. Where does our dependence on the Lord come from? Where do we get our daily manna? Isn’t it from our private time alone in the Word, in prayer, in memorizing Scripture, and meditating on it? I know how absolutely crucial this time is to me. Is my life busy and full? Could I spend this time doing something else? Absolutely! Is there anything else I could use this time for that would produce more lasting or greater benefits for my family or me? NO!

How, practically speaking, do you find time for quiet moments with the Lord in the midst of all the responsibilities and demands of a homeschooling mom? You pray, look at your day, and are creative. You make your quiet time a planned part of your day and remain faithful to it.

Does it have to be early in the morning? No, but I believe that is the best time. You start your day with your focus on the Lord, your heart seeking Him. If you have little children it is easier to not have disturbances if your quiet time is while they are still sleeping. Will it be hard to get up earlier? Probably. However, why make up your mind that you are too tired to get up and fear it rather than try it?

For years, I felt I needed eight hours of sleep to function well. I also struggled regularly with long sleepless nights. About a year ago I changed to seven hours of sleep at night with a short rest in the afternoon. It has been wonderful. I sleep great at night. Had you told me two years ago that I would have to survive on seven hours of sleep a day, I would have been sure I could never make it.

There have been times when early morning devotions did not work out for me. Did that mean I stopped having devotions? No! I planned time during the little ones’ afternoon naps for that time with the Lord. It was a part of my day just like making dinner was.

Another common feeling about time with the Lord is that you barely get started with fifteen minutes or a half hour, so, why bother? Why not wait until you can find the large amount of time you really want? The reason is that day after day will go by when you never find an hour to spend with the Lord. How much better to consistently, day after day, spend a half hour with the Lord, finding it adds up to three and a half hours a week, than to always look for the hour or two that never appear.

Steve and I go to bed at 10:30 p.m., and the alarm clock goes off at 5:25 a.m. I go in to nurse Mary and then have a half-hour devotion before family morning Bible time at 6:25. I spend ten minutes reading a chapter in the Bible, picking a verse that is meaningful to me, copying it in a notebook, and writing a short prayer concerning it. Then I have the next ten minutes for memorizing Scripture and doing a study on the verse I am working on. The last ten minutes is my prayer time. Could I easily spend more time? Without a doubt! However, I am grateful to spend the time I have and offer it to the Lord for Him to use.

This summer I was battling discouragement over some issues with the children. By early afternoon, I felt like my hands were dragging on the ground. I was so worn out from dealing with these issues! As I was bemoaning my discouragement while sewing one day, the Lord showed me that I needed to spend extra time with Him. My unhappiness with the situations and stewing over them produced no benefit, only negative consequences for my family and me, as I moped around. However, turning those needs to Jesus Christ, the One Who carries our burdens, provides peace and rest through trials, and has direction for working through those difficulties, would produce benefit. I began getting out my spiritual notebook and getting on my knees at 2:00 p.m. each afternoon for another half hour. That extra time with the Lord was like a banquet to a starving person!

Here is a story I think we can all relate to. “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).

Our lives as wives, mothers, and home teachers are filled with Martha activities. Let us not give up what Jesus Himself says is better. The foundation for everything you do in and out of your home grows from your relationship with Jesus. Plan that time with Him every day. Be faithful to it. Use the key that will give you the desires of your heart.

A Homeschooler’s Key to Time Management

Four jumpers, two culottes jumpers, two vests, two baby outfits, one skirt, putting ruffles on ten baby outfits turning them from pant sets to dresses, plus keeping current on mending projects. That is the list I came up with as I thought back over my sewing the past eight months. “How do you find time to sew?” you ask. I’d love to share my time management key that will help busy homeschooling moms.

Time Management by the Half Hour

This special key is “a half hour a day.” I have planned in my day a half hour of sewing every afternoon during the week. It takes time to get the project out and to put it away so sewing time is only twenty to twenty-five minutes a day. Over the course of a year, just a little bit each day adds up to–four jumpers, two culottes jumpers, two vests . . .

You might think, why bother for such a few minutes to actually sew each day? For me the slow, steady progress and accomplishment is better than not getting any sewing done at all. If I did not have this time set aside for sewing, I would not get around to it. Other, more urgent things would easily fill this time space. Therefore, if you call at 1:30 p.m., Sarah will answer the phone and tell you I am busy. You will know I am in doing my sewing.

Homeschooling Time Management

If you call at 3:30 p.m., Sarah will also tell you I am busy. You might ask, “Now what is she doing since school is over for the day?” Once more I will share the key to my treasure. I had a desire in my heart, for a couple of years, to have reading time with my little children. Between homeschooling, household chores, meals, babies, and toddlers there always seemed to be something to keep me from sitting down and reading to my precious children. This time the special key is fifteen minutes a day.

I scheduled a fifteen-minute reading period for Joseph and John. The next year I added another one for John and Anna, when Anna was old enough. Finally, two years later I included a separate one for Jesse. This adds up to forty-five minutes of my afternoon. Because it started with only fifteen minutes, added on a little each year, and is planned and set aside just like our morning school time, it happens every day. It is cherished time, looked forward to by both the children and by me, special close time. It is time where I am doing what I have said is my priority rather than being driven by the urgent.

Last year John, my then kindergartner, came to me begging to learn to read so he could read his Bible. With a new baby, I had not planned to teach him to read until first grade, but how could a mommy turn down such a request? Though I wanted to fulfill his desire, I could not come up with even a half-hour block of time to work with him. I prayed about it and discussed it with Steve. Then the Lord showed me I had some fifteen-minute time segments throughout my day that I could devote to phonics with John. As we got started, I found four of these times. That was probably better for his attention span than a solid hour would have been!

Homeschooling and Individual Child Time

I will give you one more key to my treasure. This key is a half hour once or twice a week. Again, I had a yearning in my heart to have one-on-one time with my little children. However, as usual, the weeks would fly by with the normal routine and no individual time with a child. Then the Lord showed me that even if I could not spend individual playtime with each child every day, I could do it once or twice a week. So we started preschool two times a week. Each little one takes a turn, individually, to spend time with Mom. Are they unhappy that it doesn’t happen every day? No, they look forward to their preschool day. As they grow older, preschool time no longer fits the age so the title changes to fun school. I spend this time with one child where he gets to pick an activity to do with Mommy from a list of fun educational choices.

Priorities and Homeschooling

What is the treasure that I have been giving you my keys to? The treasure is time spent on the priorities God has led me to have. The Lord has given us each the same number of hours in our day and responsibilities that we must fulfill during this time. We can always be driven by the urgent, or we can take control of our days. We can set aside time for not only the responsibilities, but also those God-given heart desires.

These are examples from my life. Time management makes the difference for me as a homeschooling mom. What about you? What project have you put off now that you are homeschooling because there isn’t time to finish? What have you wanted to do with your children but are always too busy for? Seek the Lord to see if He would have you spend any of your time in these areas. If He directs, try my time management ideas for homeschool moms by planning fifteen minutes or thirty minutes each day at a set time and make those things happen. See how even a little bit, day after day, can net satisfying results at the end of a month or year. Try the key to time management for homeschool mom, which the Lord has given to me. Perhaps it will be a key to time management for you too.

Weariness

“Today I am weary.” That was a part of a letter I recently wrote to a friend. Her response was very encouraging to me, so I asked if I could use it in a Mom’s Corner. Here is what she said.

“The purpose of this fax is to encourage you to keep laying the foundation. I know that you do not want to quit; keep building. Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit. These years will be over so quickly. There will be no more diapers to change (of children belonging to us); no more babies to nurse; no more toddlers to crawl into our lap or to tug at our skirts or to open the door to the bathroom when we are in there. All too soon the door will stay shut; our laps will be empty; there will be time to do all the ‘things’ that we think we’d like to do. But Teri, will that make us happy? No. What will bring joy to our hearts are the memories we hold of our children, and of the times we had together with them. So, let us make diaper-changing a memorable experience. Let us build memories while making supper. Let us lay the foundation for future generations, moment by moment, in the lives of our children.” Sandy

This is so good for me to keep in mind. I am always having an influence on my children either for good or bad, whether I am rested or weary. When I am tired, feeling overwhelmed, can I let go of what I think I have to do? What will count for eternity? What do I want my children to remember about me? Will they remember a mom who fussed and nagged at them? Will they remember a pleasant, tender mommy who smiled at them, loved them, and encouraged them even when she was tired? Our attitude and how we approach a situation makes all the difference! Does it matter if all the schoolwork is finished, the house is tidy, and the laundry done? I don’t want it to if the only way to accomplish it is with negative emotion from me. Yes, these things are goals I will work toward, but please, Lord Jesus, only when I can pursue them sweetly and patiently.

What opportunities the Lord gives us each day to learn to depend fully on Him! I am not capable of being the mother I want to be, and that I know He wants me to be, in my own strength. I am aware of that every day when I see how I react naturally to things that are difficult. I want to learn to cry out to the Lord for His strength, grace, and mercy throughout my day. I can testify that as we have hearts that desire to please the Lord, He does the work in us. He has worked many changes in my life from a mommy with three small children who could hardly wait until they were in school full time to where I am now. Was it a special formula? Seven steps to change? An overnight miracle? No, but a faithful Savior working in a sinful mother’s life over the course of twenty years.

Perhaps you are caught in the middle of an overloaded schedule. If irritation is creeping into your interactions with your children, can you ask yourself, “Will this count for eternity?” When you are exhausted, will you rest and let tomorrow’s worries take care of themselves? “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:33-34). Build the foundation with your children one moment by one moment.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

Discouragement

Several years ago, I shared with you in a Mom’s Corner something that always hurts my heart. When I walk in the mornings, I pass by several day-care homes. I watch mommies and daddies take little children and babies from their car seats, carrying them into a house to spend the day while they go to work. My mind quickly imagines my own little ones snug in their beds, soon to wake and spend their whole day with their mommy and family. My heart fills with sadness for those day-care children and gratitude for my own children’s circumstances.

Remembering these scenes is good for me when I am tempted to complain or murmur about my situation. If I consider the alternatives to what I am doing, I know there isn’t anything in the world I would rather be doing. I also don’t feel there is anything else in the world of greater importance.

So why do I get discouraged? I let my thoughts dwell on the negative parts of my circumstances rather than keeping them fixed on gratefulness for them. If each time my little one’s fussing began getting to me, I were to think, “Lord, I am so grateful that this child is here with me and not spending each day with someone else,” rather than, “Will this child ever stop crying?”–wouldn’t that give me a different perspective on the difficulty?

I can truthfully tell you I know this principle in my mind, but putting it into practice isn’t something that comes naturally. As a matter of fact, I am selfish and will think “poor me” thoughts if the situation lends itself to such thoughts. I have had to see my discouragement as displeasing to my Lord and confess it as sin. In God’s time, as I cry out to Him to strengthen me in this area of weakness, He has been giving me the grace to think the right thoughts in what are naturally discouraging circumstances to me. It is a process He is still taking me through.

How much am I walking consistently, day by day, in gratefulness? When was the last time I thanked my husband for his hard work out of the home that allows me to stay home? Am I regularly expressing my gratefulness to my children for being able to be home so I can homeschool them? These thoughts need to be in my mind and then shared with my family.

Last year, I would tell one of my children that my school time with him was one of the very best parts of my day. Almost every day, he would reply that it wasn’t good for him. I continued day after day and eventually the closeness and expressed love for our time together overcame his dislike of the school material. He eventually stopped his negative remarks, reaching over for my hand and giving me a big smile when I shared my happiness over our school time.

Will my family think I am a content wife and mother if what they see and hear is discouragement and complaining? I can know in my heart that I am content and happy, but those around me want to hear me say it in words. Frequently, I will find if I am happy they are happy. My spirit and attitude is conveyed and transferred to them.

May we as homeschooling mothers remember to have grateful hearts for our tremendous privilege of being at home with our children. May we know that the investment of our lives in our families will count for eternity instead of being burned up as wood, hay, and stubble in an outside job. May our attitudes and faces convey to our family the contentment we find in our role as wife, mother, and teacher.

Posted in: Mom's Corner

A Wife’s Submission

As I have shared with you in other Mom’s Corners, the Lord has been working in my life in relation to my husband’s leadership in our home. I have a real-life example of this to share with you.

Recently, my husband announced that he wanted to make some changes in our evening schedule. This would involve all of the children joining the little boys and him for their evening time in the Word. Wouldn’t you think that would delight a mother whose greatest desire is to have godly children? Delight was not my first reaction! Not at all! I immediately thought of many reasons why Steve’s plan would not work; my face told what was going on inside. When Steve questioned me, I began telling him my excuses. Before I had the last one out of my mouth, each of the older children had joined my rebellion with their own reasons.

The Lord convicted me of my lack of submission and wrong attitudes. Still, my heart was not following what I knew was right. I was selfishly hanging on to fears of what a change might mean for me. I asked Steve’s forgiveness for my not having a positive response to his plan and for sharing my negative reactions. I still had a “thought” battle to wage to bring my heart to follow what I knew God wanted from me. I desired to not just grit my teeth and plaster a smile on my face. I needed to be truly willing to be a helpmeet to my husband.

Daily the Lord is giving me opportunities to be tested, tried, and refined in this area of submission. I have been trying an experiment in faith. When I want to remind Steve of something, I write it down in a prayer journal and pray about it. God can work in Steve’s heart to deal with an issue when the time is right rather than me bringing it up. To be honest, even in this experiment I fail regularly. The other day I went to bed praying about, and determined not to bring up, my desire to have the Christmas decorations taken down. The very next morning, though, I mentioned it. Steve’s response was, “Would you believe just this morning as I was praying I was thinking about that?” I saw God working but was robbed of joy. I had gone ahead and brought it up rather than waiting on the Lord.

When I think of submission to my husband, one of the things the Lord continues to show me is that I have to let my husband be the leader. I am quick to question, remind, suggest, offer opinions, and give input. As I have evaluated this behavior of mine, I have come to see that it is trying to control my husband. If I can set my pride aside long enough, I can even objectively view it as treating him like a child rather than my mature husband. If you were to ask me if I were a submissive wife through these married years, I would have said determinedly, “Yes!” However, I was living “the letter of the law” of submission. The “spirit of the law” of submission would be willingly following, without always having a better way, another idea, or a reminder.

The end of the story on evening Bible time with the little boys is that God gave me great joy. I began to lay down, before Jesus, the sacrifices that I felt might be involved for the older ones and me. I asked God to help me to creatively figure out where to fit in the things I had been doing during that time. I asked Him to give me a heart to happily support my husband–to be a helpmeet rather than a hindrance. He has! Now I get Jesse and Mary ready for bed a little bit earlier, read to Anna before teeth brushing, and brush Sarah’s hair during the Bible time with Daddy. That time has become something I look forward to; it brings us all together for the most important focus we could have as a family before going to bed. Daddy is teaching us that we are men and women of God. Daddy is interested in our spiritual growth!

May we encourage one another to be wives and mothers with meek and quiet spirits, in whom our husbands can fully trust.

Dealing with Daily Pressures

The sticky note was titled, “Mom’s Pressure.” The following items were listed on it: wrapping Toni and Nettie’s gifts, making Anna’s Christmas dress, John’s phonics, meeting topic, Mom’s Corner, Christmas letter, more Sarah school help time, Christmas gifts, clean fridge, work on baby book, spelling bee, Gram’s puzzle, work on Sarah’s Christmas dress. These were things that I was feeling pressure about; things that needed to be done or decisions that needed to be made.

When I expressed to Steve that I was overwhelmed with what all had to be done, he encouraged me to make a list of these things so we could sit down together and figure them out. Just making the list helped greatly because I was no longer trying to keep track of all of them in my mind. The mountain didn’t look quite so high when it was written on a little sticky note.

Before Steve and I sat down to talk about the list, I had already eliminated cleaning the fridge, allotted Saturday night to wrap the presents that needed to be in the mail, decided to use my daily sewing time to work on Anna’s Christmas dress, put “as time permits” beside John’s phonics, and “don’t worry about it” next to needing more Sarah school help time.

As Steve and I talked about the other items, we were able to make some decisions. We also agreed to pray about the ones that had no clear leading at that point. No longer was I carrying a burden of pressure.

As homeschooling moms, with the task of running our households and getting school done each day, we easily fall prey to being overwhelmed by what we have to accomplish in a normal day, not to mention when “extras” come along. When we allow our minds to dwell on these burdens, we become discouraged and lose the joy and delight in following the path God has called us to. Not only does this affect our hearts, but also our husbands’ and children’s.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Could it be that when the yoke feels hard and the burden heavy, we are carrying a burden of responsibility that we have loaded on ourselves? Before I wrote down the list of what was pressure to me, I was feeling like I had to clean the refrigerator. When I evaluated my priorities, I realized I didn’t need to take on that project right before Christmas. It is now the middle of January, and I never did clean the refrigerator. It doesn’t look too bad! The spelling bee was Christopher’s project, not mine. I was involved in concern over it that I didn’t need to have.

Sometimes the burdens are there because we allow ourselves to worry about a situation rather than taking it to the Lord in prayer right away. Worry, anxiety, and pressure should all be signals to us that in some way we are not responding to the situation properly. Without the Lord’s help, the hard places will easily become burdens. We want to learn to cast all our anxiety on Him. I have often heard Elisabeth Elliot, the popular Christian writer and speaker, say she will get down on her knees in prayer to give worries to the Lord and do that as often as the worries return.

I don’t want my focus to be on the things that I think I need to accomplish. Then my eyes are essentially on myself, my agenda. My family will fall victim to my frantic push to get everything done. My “list” may grow shorter, but is it worth it if I am irritable with my children, won’t sit down to talk with my husband, or skip quiet time with the Lord?

I pray that our daily pressures, that never ending “to do” list, will help us learn what it means to serve a Savior whose yoke is easy and burden is light. May we see those “to do’s” as our service to the Lord, not as burdens. May they turn our eyes to Jesus, not put us into despair. May the Lord teach us how to truly rest in Him.

Pleasant Disciplining

Recently I began to play back in my mind how I interact with my children, especially when it comes to discipline. This is an area in which the Lord has been teaching me, so I have been aware of it over the past few years. I could picture the stern look that sometimes comes to my face as I interact with an offender.

I have brought this before the Lord, asking Him to teach me how to discipline without becoming emotionally involved. Steve has likened this process to a policeman giving a speeder a ticket. This is just part of his job. The policeman isn’t angry with the motorist; he isn’t frustrated with having to give a ticket; he doesn’t have an irritated tone in his voice; he just does his job. As a mom, that is how I have wanted to handle my discipline situations. My job is to teach and train my children. There will be times when this will involve discipline. If I expect my children to learn from training and teaching situations without ever needing discipline, then I am setting myself up for disciplining filled with negative emotions. If, on the other hand, I expect that discipline will also be a part of my mothering job, then I can have a better chance of handling it as the policeman does his job.

I have realized that I not only want to discipline without being negatively involved emotionally, but also choose to go a step further and be pleasant through the process. As I have tried this over the past two weeks, I have seen some positive results. One of my children even told me the other night that they liked it much better when I was happy when correcting them. There are some reasons why I think this may be. A pleasant attitude on my part while disciplining eases the tension of the situation. It relieves me of any negative feelings that I might take away with me and carry into the next interaction with that child. It shows honor and respect for the child. If Steve has to correct me on something, I want him to be pleasant with me; I owe my children the same courtesy.

Proverbs 16:21 says, “. . . the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.” During discipline, we want our children to learn from our instruction. Therefore, it would benefit us to heed God’s Word and choose to use sweet words. Our attitude and tone can cause our words to lose their pleasantness.

We often will not feel pleasant, so we have to choose to act pleasant. The Lord has been showing me this is a choice I can make. I do not have to act according to negative feelings. This choice is a part of taking my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ as 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells me to do. When I do make the choice to act pleasant despite feeling negative emotions, I find my feelings will begin to become positive too.

What about you? Can you think back to your recent interactions with your children? Are you looking at their faces? Are you smiling at them? Are you being pleasant with them? I pray each of us will choose to make our homes pleasant places by our pleasantness even when it is necessary to discipline. May God make us women who build our houses up rather than tearing them down with our own hands (Proverbs 14:1).

A Mother’s Gratefulness

Having a baby creates many great topics for a Mom’s Corner. What I want to share with you this month has to do with a grateful spirit versus a critical one.

My family graciously and lovingly allows me to stay in bed recovering for a week after the birth of a baby. Steve takes time off work while the rest of the family helps him run the home. Sarah especially went “extra miles” in serving and blessing. Not only did she spend her days accomplishing things that I normally would do, but she also wanted to do special things for Mom. She made my favorite candy for dessert one night and my favorite breakfast the next morning. She was careful to have a treat of some kind on my plate each meal and would often hold the baby while I ate. Sarah was the one who went through the house picking things up and putting them away so the house would stay tidy.

The week after Mary’s birth gave me the perfect opportunity to work on a grateful spirit. There were times when, even though others were doing all my work for me and relieving me of almost all responsibility, I would criticize how a job was done or perhaps its timing. My heart grieved when the Lord would prompt me that I had had an ungrateful attitude. How much better to express my gratitude for what was done and let love cover over any inadequacies.

Steve has helped me see, as we discussed my desire to learn to have a grateful spirit, how just saying “thank you” is not always enough. I have felt I was grateful because I said “thank you,” so I must admit, I did not receive his insight graciously at first.

I am seeing in my life that I can choose to be grateful for what my family does, or I can be critical about how it was done. Which attitude is going to generate a desire in their heart to have a servant’s spirit and be willing to help? I can get so wrapped up in the job being done well that I forget to have a spirit of praise and commendation.

I have had to stop myself many times in the past three weeks to try again with what I was starting to say. I have had to go back and ask forgiveness for an ungrateful spirit. It is not easy for me to humble myself. I can usually justify any criticism that I am giving out, but I feel God is working in my life to have a grateful heart instead.

I pray that you, too, will think about how you can express your gratitude to the members of your family, not just a “thank you” but also a genuine attitude of praise. We express our love by building others up, and gratefulness will certainly do that. I hope God will continue to work a grateful spirit in each of our lives!

Waiting on the Lord

Most of our homeschool support group knows we have been, as a family, waiting; we are waiting longer for this baby to arrive than for any other birth yet. This has been good for each member of our family in developing patience. We trust completely in God’s sovereignty over the timing for bringing our baby. We are daily given opportunities to be gentle and patient, to think about others’ needs rather than our own, to keep murmurs and complaints to ourselves, and to keep our attitudes positive.

We don’t know why this baby did not come before its due date as six of our seven children have or why it is lingering longer than the one other that went past due date. But there are some things that, from our perspective, could have played a part. The week before the baby was due our four little children came down with colds that lasted for a week and a half. Had our baby been born at that time, the sick ones would have had to look at the baby from a distance, not being allowed to touch it so it would be protected from their illness. Having the baby wait also gave me the pleasure of not missing the first homeschool meeting but getting the opportunity to see old friends and meet new ones.

As we have looked to the Lord for what He wants us to learn through waiting on a baby, I have seen how waiting applies in our homeschooling situations. There we are often waiting too: waiting for direction on a curriculum decision, waiting for a child to grasp a concept, waiting for character growth, waiting, waiting, waiting.

With a baby, as in some homeschooling waiting opportunities, we have no choice but to wait on God’s timing. What we can choose in the waiting is our attitude. I can complain each time I am asked about whether the baby has come or not, or I can have a positive response. I can focus on my discomfort, lack of sleep, and impatience for a tiny baby, or I can focus on the Lord, praising Him throughout the difficulties.

During any waiting process, I want to make sure my heart is constantly on the Lord with an attitude of praise rather than murmuring. My tendency is toward self-pity and complaint during a difficult waiting situation. I want to manipulate the circumstances, force an answer or solution, and mutter my frustrations to my husband. Is that God’s way or my way? God wants to use that time period to turn my heart and reliance to Him. When that happens, He receives the glory.

Recently, we had a decision to make concerning which of three phonics programs to use. I wanted the decision made quickly so I could get on with my planning for the new school year, but the decision was not an easy, cut-and-dried one. I pondered over it, poured over the programs several times, discussed the pros and cons with Steve, and complained about how hard it was to decide. Finally, Steve suggested that I start praying about it, waiting on the Lord for an answer. That was what I should have done in the first place.

I can excitedly report that when I did what God wanted me to do, the decision was not nearly as hard as I had made it to be in my own thinking. I saw God’s direction and leading, but it didn’t come the first time I prayed about it. Each time I started to feel anxious about no decision, that would be my signal to pray for God’s will rather than worrying. As Steve and I discussed those phonics programs, it was clear to us that one of them could easily be blessed by the Lord because of the content used to teach the phonics. That was where we felt the Lord guiding. If I doubt the decision, it is an opportunity to go back to praying and put my mind on trusting God. The decision was made under His direction; it should be left in His control.

As we face these waiting situations in homeschooling, may God teach us to accept them with a positive heart and expectant attitude just as we can choose to wait with joy for the arrival of a baby. His answers to needs that involve waiting for homeschooling are just as trustworthy as His answer to when a baby is brought into the world.

P.S. Our time of waiting for Mary ended eight days after her due date. We had some challenges with the labor that we had not experienced with any of our other babies. Since she came after due date, we had many friends and family interested, concerned, and praying for her delivery. Do you think God had us wait so He could answer the prayers of His people on behalf of Mary and me? We praise our Lord Jesus, giving Him the glory for Mary’s arrival.

Posted in: Mom's Corner