When Motherhood Overwhelms You

jenny when motherhood

I had four hours of sleep that had been interrupted three times by two children.  I had a wisdom tooth that was painfully coming in the same time as my one year olds moler.  It was half term and I knew I had a full week’s work ahead of me.  I always get excited about holiday time with all the kids at home.  I look forward to spending time playing, making and snuggling.  But then all of a sudden I get overwhelmed.  The non-stop questions, the endless holding of a one year old, the disagreements, boredom, and endless mess.

I needed some encouragement.  I was home alone and just needed a hug (you know those good hugs I’m talking about). And as I was making lunch for my four beautiful, restless, noisy children  I decided to turn on some worship music to change the atmosphere.  I put on Glorious Ruins by Hillsong and before the first verse was over I was crying my eyes out.

When the mountains fall
And the tempest roars You are with me
When creation folds
Still my soul will soar on Your mercy

Words that couldn’t have described my feelings any better.  I felt totally incapable of being a mother in that moment.  I quickly put the food on the table and returned to the kitchen.  As I entered I lifted my hands and head upwards and sang out with all my heart the rest of the song:

I’ll walk through the fire
With my head lifted high
And my spirit revived in Your story
And I’ll look to the cross
As my failure is lost
In the light of Your glorious grace
Let the ruins come to life
In the beauty of Your Name
Rising up from the ashes
God forever You reign
And my soul will find refuge
In the shadow of Your wings
I will love You forever
And forever I’ll sing
When the world caves in
Still my hope will cling to Your promise
Where my courage ends
Let my heart find strength in Your presence

I surrendered all my insecurities and shortcomings to God in that moment.  My soul needed refuge and we can only find that in the shadow of our Saviours wings (Psalm 91).  In those 5 minutes I went from discouraged and overwhelmed to my spirit being revived in Christ’s story, seeing my failures lost in God’s grace and and my heart finding strength in His presence.  Only Christ Jesus can do that to us.  Only being in His presence can we be renewed and transformed.  That truly is the power of God’s grace.

Be encouraged, if you’re feeling lonely, inadequate or overwhelmed today look up and remember who our God is.  He can carry you through any storm, shelter you along the way, and renew your strength in his presence.  Never stop singing of his love, and always make time to spend in his presence – that’s where we find his grace to carry on.

Listen to Glorious Ruins below:

Life Goes On

This week my husband has been in India.  India!  He has never been so far for so long ever in our entire marriage.  I was sure I would handle things just fine as he hasn’t been home much anyway in the past few months because of his studies.  But wow!  It’s Friday, he’s flying home tonight and I am t-i-r-e-d.

We were thankfully able to Face Time pretty much every day so the kids got to see him.  This confused my two year old son so much.  All he would say to him was “Daddy where are you?”  But life has gone on without him and what I have missed the most about having him home is his hug.  That safe, secure, loving and gentle hug that just tells me everything is going to work out fine and we’ll all be OK.

So without that reassuring hug here’s what got me through my week.

Happy Weekend! X

Is your husband away from home much? How do you cope without him around?

Applying the Bible in Parenting

Josiah blocks

When I was a kid my dad would pace up and down the hallway between my brother’s room and mine at night. He would speak out scripture after scripture as we fell asleep.  He would do this for a good 30-45 minutes a couple of times a week.  My brothers and I remember this very well and we still remember all the scriptures he used to pray out. It was foundational learning of the Bible.  And throughout every day in every way my mum (and dad) would use scripture to train us up to be God-fearing, Jesus loving, Spirit moving, Bible reading, life saving world-changers.

Using the bible to combat things like fear 2 Timothy 1:7, anger Romans 12:21, insecurity Philippians 4:13 , and un-forgiveness Ephesians 4:32, are all things that every person on the planet will have to face at some point and are all covered in the Bible.  When our kids started having nightmares we would pray over them “God has not given you a Spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7, so that now at age 4 and 5 all we have to do is say “you know what to say”, and they say it out loud until they fall asleep.

Try using this one scripture to show our kids how practical the Bible is to help them make good decisions: “Do to others as you would have them do to you,” Luke 6:31.  Not everyone realises that’s actually in the Bible, but it produces pure gold in our children’s hearts and that’s why it’s called the ‘Golden Rule’.

Teaching our kids how to apply the Bible to their every day lives is absolutely key to successful living.

We need to root our children in the Word of God because “They are not just idle words for you – they are your life.  By them you will live long…” Deuteronomy 32:47.  As they grow up and they get bullied in school, hurt by their best friend, faced with a moral dilemma or end up in a crisis they can use the Word  “…because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4.

Scripture is real wisdom and power that we all have at our disposal.  Knowing the Bible just isn’t enough.  We need to teach our kids how to use it!

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10 Steps to Teach Your Kids the Bible

Eliana steps on the beach w text

So I’ve shared about why I believe teaching my kids the Bible is the most important thing in my last post here.  Now let’s get real practical as to how to make it work.  How do we actually make sure our kids know what’s in the Bible and, even more important, remember it! 

Here are 10 simple steps on how to each your kids Bible scripture.

1. Keep it short

Keep the passages at one or two lines tops when they’re young (4 and under).  Too much is just too difficult.  Right now we’re only doing very short scriptures with maybe one or two longer one’s in there for my oldest.

2. Make it fun

If it’s not fun its a chore.  We like to turn the verse into a song or a rap or a rhythmic reading. My kids absolutely love this and you’ll start to hear them singing or rapping scripture throughout the day, I love it.  This way it’s fun to learn and easy to remember. If you’re not musical then here’s my favourite recording of kids songs of scripture Steve Green – Hide Em In Your Heart Vol 1.  I listened to it and now my kids listen to it.

I also found this new fun and modern cd series: Seeds Family Worship: Power of Encouragement, Vol. 5 

3. Be consistent

Find a time that works best for the family and stick with it.  We do this at the breakfast table while we’re eating or in the car on the way to school if we don’t get to it at breakfast.  I start by saying, “who remembers what Genesis 1:1 says?” And I’ll get a super excited “oh, oh , I do, I do” from my kids. I do this at least 5 times a week, but don’t beat yourself up if you forget every now and again.  Just try to pick a time and stick to it.

4. Use one translation

Pick whatever translation you want, but stick to that same one.  This just helps a whole bunch in memorization.  I really wanted to use the Message Bile because it helps me understand the scripture so much more, but it’s quite long-winded.  I use NIV as it’s modern and the scriptures are straight to the point.

5. Help them understand

Putting the verse into a real life situation makes them understand what they’re saying.  Otherwise it’s just hot air and they’ll never get what or why they’re doing it.  For example, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1” Did you know that God made the whole earth, the sky, the stars, trees and even us!  These can be huge concepts but can seem simple to our kids.  Be prepared for lots of great, funny, sweet and strange comments from your kids.

6. Have a reward

I’m not all that organised with our Bible verses so I don’t keep track on paper or have any fancy charts, but when they master a verse we go all out in showing our praise.  In fact we take them round to every adult in the house (there’s 4 in ours) and show off their amazing achievements.  They’ll get a sweet from one and a coin from another, but they pretty much feel awesome for their accomplishment.  You can get really creative with this so the sky’s the limit, just make sure you can sustain it.

7. Take it reeeaaalllly slow

If your kids are as young as mine then you’ll need to really set the pace slow. Don’t overwhelm them with too much too fast.  Let them set the pace.  If they’re not getting it then move on to another one and come back to it at another time.  I wanted to have a goal of teaching them a new scripture each week, but that was just too fast for everyone so now I wait until they can recall all the scriptures they’ve learned at the drop of a hat before I move on to the next.

8. Teach them where it is

I always make sure to make them memorize where the scripture is in the Bible.  I tag on where it is at the end so it’s part of the scripture.  I usually make this rhythmic to help them remember it.  But this is where it can get tricky so be super patient and help them along as big numbers get tricky for the kids.

9. Start as young as you can

I would start teaching them scripture as soon as they can talk.  They may be speaking babble back but trust me, they’re taking it all in and then by the time they’re 3 they can say it back to you perfectly.  If you’re starting with older kids they should pick up on these quick, but you’ll need to make it a real habit if you want it to stick.

10. Put it into practice.

Remember the whole reason for teaching your kids the Bible.  It’s to place the Word of God in their hearts so that it will be the first thing on their mouth, it’s to teach them how to apply the Bible to their every day lives.  For example, my oldest went through a phase of back talk and moaning every time I asked her to do something so I taught her Philippians 2:14 “Do everything without complaining and arguing.” I put that on a label and put it on a jar so every time she back-talked or moaned she would have to give me a coin from her money-box and put it in that jar and then every Sunday she would put the money from that jar in the offering at church.  That is ‘practising what you preach’.

If you’re thinking ‘where do I start?!?’ don’t worry, I’ve searched for a few easy references for you.  I hope they help and inspire you to teach your kids the Bible!

30 Easy Bible Memory Verses for Toddlers

ABC Printable Scripture Cards

52 Bible verses for children

Updated 21/11/13 Bible Games

Why I teach my kids the Bible

Josiah and Olivia

For me the most important thing that I could ever teach my kids is how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  How to make him the King of their hearts.  And the only way to sustain that relationship past childhood is by teaching them the Bible.  Because I can tell you right now, taking them to church is not enough! Having the Word of God in their hearts must come first because “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” Luke 6:45.  I want to make sure I know what’s in my kids’ hearts.  I teach my kids scripture so that they understand how amazing our God is, why we believe in Jesus, and why it’s important to live His way.  

A lot of us forget that God was the first parent – ever!  We can only show love because he first showed us how to love (John 15:12). Thinking of the Bible as a parenting handbook may seem strange, but that’s exactly what it is!  It’s our Father God’s life handbook.  If you want your kids to have the best life possible, teach them God’s Word.  God’s plan or career path for their lives is infinitely better than any we could ever chose.

Olivia and Eliana

Teaching our kids the Bible is absolutely crucial to them succeeding in life and living to their maximum potential.  We were created by God and for God, Psalm 139:13-14. Therefore, only God knows our full potential, all that we’re capable of, our gifts and talents, hearts and minds, and he has already got the best possible plan for each of our lives – Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 2:10.  And if God has a plan, then we don’t need to be lying awake at night wondering where our kids are going to end up.  All we have to do is be diligent at teaching them God’s Word so that they too will know that He has the best plan for their lives, so as long as they are living God’s way for his purposes, then everything else will be taken care of and they will flourish in life. “But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33.

Why I teach my kids the bible

The first time any of my kids hit a crisis in their lives, no matter how big or small, I want them to always go back to what they know, the Bible.  That’s the handbook I want them to use in life,  not Psychology 101, Google, Facebook or Twitter.  I want the Word of God to be the cornerstone of their life.  That’s what’s held me together throughout the storms of my life and I am so thankful I grew up knowing that Jesus died on the Cross to save me from the destruction of my own selfish, foolish and wrong actions, the one who shows me new mercies every morning and who’s grace is sufficient in everything.  The most important thing is to make sure we know it so that we can use it!

So go ahead and dive right in.  It’s never too early or too late to start sharing the Word of God with your kids.  What they gain from it is eternal.

Tallulah pre haircut

Here are a few scriptures to encourage you and explain why our kids need to learn the Bible.  Soak it up!  It’s life changing.

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.” Deuteronomy 9:18-21

“For the word of God is living and active…” Hebrews 4:12

“…faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Roman 10:17

Amen!

Happy Weekend

This is the first of a few posts about teaching the Bible to our kids.  Look out for my next post: 10 steps to teaching your kids the Bible!

For better or for worse


Tynjen @ Wembley

 

It’s November we’re starting the countdown to Christmas and life is already crazy full.  As I’ve mentioned before my husband has exams coming up, in three weeks to be exact, and in that time he has to lead the children’s group at church twice, spend two days in London revising at Uni, fly off to India for a week of work, attend home group and prayer meetings, work, work and study, study and study some more.  This is nothing new for us as a family as he’s been doing this for 7 years now, but the amount of hard work, dedication and grit and spit, spit and grit we have to put into this season never ceases to amaze me!

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And yet somehow we still have to make time for our marriage.  How oh how can we possible do that!  Well I’ll tell you, we laugh together, as much as possible.  Whenever we have an hour on the couch watching telly we’ll watch something that makes us both laugh and if it doesn’t we’ll turn it off and talk and laugh about all the crazy silly things going on in our lives.  I used to really struggle with this.  I would get offended if my husband would try to make a joke about all the hard work I/he/we were doing thinking he didn’t care about it all.  Oh how naive I was.  My husband truly is amazing.  It’s taken me so much time to figure it all out.  But he’s really helped me see the joy in life even during times of struggle, to see the beauty when everything is a mess, and to share love when you feel you have nothing left to give.  Hearing my husband laugh is medicine to my weary bones and laughing with him is such a liberating expression of our love for each other.  And at the end of every day we can look each other in the eyes, smile and say, “I love you” even when we’ve had the worst day/week/month/year of our lives.  And that is marriage.  Choosing to love each other for better and for worse.  It sounds so sweet when you’re exchanging vows at the altar, but living it out is a whole different thing.  I choose to love my husband when the road gets rough and the tough gets tougher.

For my love, my one and only…

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Living Out Loud

Colour '13

Mummy and Tallulah, Women’s Conference 2013

At every baby dedication my father has done he always shares how as parents we need to live our faith out loud in front of our children.  To never hide away whenever we need to pray or worship, but to instead invite our children into our prayer closet so that they can see the relationship we have with our Saviour Jesus.

This is definitely something my parents did in front of me growing up.  Every day I would walk down stairs in the morning to see my dad on his knees in the living room and my mum reading her Bible.  My mum would then make me some toast and I would snuggle up with her as she read me the Bible.  Precious memories that I will never forget.  I didn’t understand it, but I loved listening.  I listened to her until I was old enough to read my own Bible.  And then every day I read a chapter of the Bible.  This was never a job or a punishment.  I always felt very grown up and would make connections to the stories I read in my Bible to the stories I was being told at Church or from my parents own Bible readings.  It was such a natural thing in our family to read the Bible.

Another thing my parents always did was give Praise to God for every victory, blessing and accomplishment and cry out in prayer whenever there was a need, hurt, or worry.  To this day the first thing I see my mum and dad do when they wake up is read their Bible and pray.  My dad now has the luxury to not get out of bed until he’s met with God (I’m sure that day will come for me – in about 100 years), but they still dedicate their mornings to God.

Josh and dad nigeria

My dad and oldest brother, Josh in Nigeria ’89

How do we as parents show our faith to our children?  Because I can tell you right now, taking them to church is not enough!  They need to see it in action.  They need to see how faith in Jesus Christ actually makes any kind of difference in their lives.  Faith without actions is dead (James 2:26).  Strong words but oh so true.  Our children learn from our actions so much faster than our words.  We need to be a living example of Jesus in their lives.  Does mummy do a victory dance and say, ‘Oh yeah, I did it’ when she succeeds at potty training yet another toddler or does she shout out ‘PRAISE GOD we did it!!’ does she go into a complete panic attack when a child gets hurt or does she immediately start praying for healing, protection and comfort for her little one.  Such a simple shift in our attitude that can make the world of difference between our children growing up to serving and loving Jesus to not getting why they have to bother going to church anymore.

I absolutely love to pray and worship.  I find myself constantly praying in my head and out loud, especially in the Spirit when I ‘get a feeling’ about something or someone.  But I don’t run to my room every time I need to do this or go silent on my kids.  I just let it come out in the midst of whatever is going on.  I’ve been watching Disney movies with the kids and had profound revelation of God’s Word or his love for me that I just have to share it with the kids.  “Wow, you see we’re all kings and queens in God’s family, just like Simba, we just have to always remember who we are.”  Totally profound to me that the Lion King can teach me so much about being part of God’s family (more on that later).  But he does it every day in some little way.

If praying and singing out loud doesn’t come naturally to you then you need to start practising.  Are you living your faith out loud in your home?  Because if you can’t express your love to your Saviour in your home you’ll find it almost impossible to show it outside to the world.  Giving praise to God for every little thing, like finding their missing blanket, or fixing a broken toy, finishing all their food for the first time all week or getting dressed all by themselves is a little faith expression that will transform your kids lives as they grow up.

So go ahead, sing out that worship song as loud as you can, have a dance party to some praise music and show your kids how fun it can be to love Jesus.  Pray with them when there’s a prayer need and read your Bible with them on your laps.  Precious moments like this make Kingdom builders of our children.  Just think, every day you are evangelising, witnessing and getting people saved right in your own home.  What a privilege it is to have our children part of God’s family forever.  And in family no one gets left behind.

Eliana and Kya