HOW DOES A BUSY MOM FIND TIME TO SPEND WITH GOD?

I get it.  I am a mother of six.  I know that it can sometimes be challenging to find time to spend with the Lord.  However, it is not impossible! Watch the attached video for a few practical tips. How do you find time to spend with the Lord?  Leave me a comment, I would love to know.

 

How Do I teach My Child to Pray?

 

 My pastor mentioned this Sunday that the devil always comes with His “A” game.  While the devil is on the attack, prayer is a powerful weapon against the enemy.  I want my children to be spiritually successful so I try to emphasize the importance of prayer.  Below are some tips to teach your child to pray.

    • Encourage your child to begin prayer with thanksgiving and adoration for Jesus.  When my children are younger I tell them what to say to start their prayers. My two year old prays the same prayer everyday but it is a starting point.  I start off saying, “I love” and she blurts out JESUS! With time we add on.  One of the first things they learn is that Jesus died on the cross for their sins and that is something to be thankful for.  I have them repeat the following after me, “Thank you God for sending your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins.”  This is foundational.  We then thank God for meeting our needs.  I may have them repeat the following,   “Thank you God for waking me up this morning,” “Thank you for giving me a house.”  “Thank you God that I have clothing and food to eat.”  These prayers of thanksgiving makes them mindful that God is a provider and He is worthy of our praise. As they get older and more comfortable with praying, I take the training wheels off if you will and allow them to pray from their hearts.  They offer up their own thanksgiving.  I must confess that they sometimes can become lengthy in their thanksgiving but praise God for teaching me patience.  I sometimes have to offer up a soft “amen” when they are praying, which is an indicator to them to wrap it up and give the next sibling a chance to pray.  Don’t worry I am not a mean mommy that is hindering the spirit of God.  They are more than welcome to continue to give thanks to God on their own.  I certainly don’t want their worship to go cold.  

 

    • Teach your children about the need for repentance, initially and throughout their walk with Christ.  I love how my Pastor’s wife offers up such a simplistic explanation for repentance, which is saying sorry to God and really meaning it.  Children also need to learn that we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standards and that there is a need to repent (Romans 3:23).  Teach them to say sorry to God in prayer and let them know that it is important to admit their sins to God and ask Him for cleansing (1 John 1:9).  I have had to ask my children for forgiveness.  I have also had to repent in prayer in front of them on more than once occasion for being too snappy.  This is such a humbling thing to do but I want them to understand that we are all in need of God’s forgiveness.
    • Encourage them to tell God their needs.  I have been guilty of trying to be God to my children.  Allow me to explain.  Yes I have been given the task of training them, but God did not ask me to solve every one of their problems or pretend to know the answer to everything.  I am limited in what I can provide, what I know and even my ability to love. The Lord is teaching me not to become anxious about meeting my child’s every need and want, because truth is I cannot.  My job is to do teach my children to bring their requests to God in prayer (Philippians 4:6).  Humbly admit to your child that you can’t do everything and be everyone but God can.  This kind of response puts God in His rightful place in your child’s mind and heart.  Help them to connect the dots when God answers a prayer that they prayed. This then becomes their personal testimony which helps to foster a relationship with God, which is the end goal.  I want my children to understand that I can’t always be there but God is ever present. Prayer teaches them to tap into His presence!  Again this helps them to understand that I am not their savior, God is!
    • Encourage your child to pray for others beyond her immediate family such as church family, teachers, and government officials (I Timothy 2:1-It is so easy for us to become “self-centered” in prayer.  I want my children to cultivate a heart of intercession.  They sometimes come home with interesting stories about their classmates.  I encourage them to pray and not just think about how horrible a situation is.  I also make it a practice to pray for their teachers and other adults in their school building and they catch on and begin to pray for them as well.  Teach them to pray for the persecuted church.  Voice of the Martyrs have great resources for children.

 

How about you?  What have you done to help your child learn how to pray?  Leave a comment below and let me know.

 

 

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Tips For Creating A Schedule

Each day I have a God given purpose and I must be intentional about fulfilling it. Having a schedule helps me to effectively manage my time, be more focused and provides direction for my day. It brings a sense of order and discourages me from being lazy and idle.  “Winging” it every day leads to unproductivity and lots of frustration.   With all that said, below are some important tips to consider to help you create a schedule that works for you.

  1. Have I asked God what my schedule should look like?

We are good at bringing God only the “big” things.  However God has specific tasks for us to accomplish each day, which is part of the bigger picture for His purpose for our life.  Take the time and ask the Lord what your schedule should look like.  This means that you will have to spend time in prayer.  Trust me when I say this is not a small matter, seeking the Lord’s face on what you should do and when you should do it makes for a more productive day.

 

  1. Ask yourself, “What part of the day am I most energetic and focused?”

Knowing the answer to this question helps you to prioritize doing the most difficult task when you have the most energy.   For example I am totally a morning person so I do most of my cooking and cleaning in the morning.  If I wait until the evening, I am absolutely drained and the quality of the completed task is greatly compromised because I am tired.  I reserve the evening for doing homework with the children, giving them face time and less demanding household task.  So often we get annoyed with our children because we see them as distracting us from our work.  However when we are careful with our planning, some of this frustrations can be eliminated.  I have six children so I realize that even with careful planning, some children are needier than others but a schedule is a great start

  1. Which tasks do I need to do every day and which ones should be done once a week?  

Having established routines is important and it helps to take away a lot of the guess work out the day.  I not only answer this question for myself but I also include the children in the process.  They also have things that they must do on a daily and weekly basis. Established routines helps to set clear expectations for everyone in the home and minimizes a lot of frustration and repeating of oneself.  Note:  notice how I said a lot of the frustration and not all….children and adults alike know how to get you to repeat yourself…amen.  When you are trying to establish a routine, be prepared to hit repeat over and over again.  PRAYEFULLY everyone will eventually catch on to the routines.  Be patient and BREATHE!

 

  1. Schedule in some me time.  

This is so important to do.  My me time may just be 30 minutes on some days and 1 hour another. However as a stay at home mom I can become resentful about doing for everyone else and not for myself.  I had to get over feeling like this was selfish, it is needed. I typically have my me time while the younger ones are napping. During this time I pick something that will refresh me in some way.  It may be browsing Pinterest and admiring all the projects that I can’t fit in my schedule (just keeping it real here folks)…nothing wrong with a little dreaming.  I may take a nap, give myself a pedicure or call a friend.  But again, this is something just for me.

  1. Ask yourself, “What are some things that can take me off schedule? In other words, what things distract me throughout the day?  What parameters can I put in place to hold me accountable?

Let us be real with ourselves when answering this question. I know that surfing the internet can be a huge distraction for me and totally take me off schedule.  To combat this issue, I put certain parameters in place.  I may set a timer to remind me that it is time to get off or I may deliberately wait until I know I have only a limited time because I have to go somewhere.   This restricts my time and I have no option but to get off.

During the school year, I try not to turn on my cell phone until I have completed most of my necessary tasks.  Having the phone on first thing in the morning can be a HUGE distraction because there is someone or something that is demanding your attention. There are times when I do have to turn it on in the morning when I leave the house.   However, I turn it off once I get home because if anyone really needs to get in touch with me, they can call the house phone.  I also don’t have Facebook or other social media notifications coming to my phone because it is so easy to get drawn in.  Since I am a blogger, I get on Facebook most days to see if I need to respond to any comments from my posts.  I try to restrict my time and may only visit my page on some days.

There are times when the unexpected happens and I have to forgo my schedule and deal with the issue at hand.  There are also days in which the Holy Spirit takes me off schedule and leads me in a different direction.  I try to yield to His voice. So while I promote a schedule, I also encourage you to not hold too tightly to it and miss the voice of the Holy Spirit.  I would love to hear from you.  Do you have a schedule?  What are some of the things you consider when creating one?  Do you think that having a schedule is helpful?

Psalm 37:5 (NLT)

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

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THE ANSWER FOR WHEN A PARENT FEELS INADEQUATE

I don’t always do this mommy thing right.  Some days leave me a frazzled mess and I just want to get under the covers and go back to bed. The call feels so much bigger than me and my inadequacies are on full display.  I sometimes get away with looking as if I have it all together from the outside, but come through my front door and sit with me long enough and the truth will be revealed.  My house is not always Pinterest clean, and my children are not always well behaved.

Being a parent is not for the faint of heart, there are so many twist and turns and unknowns.  All six of my children have distinct personalities and right when I think I have it figured out, they say or do something that leaves me scratching my head.  There are also days in which I honestly don’t know how to respond to them or respond in the wrong way.  Days in which I yell when I should listen or hastily move them along to the next task instead of pausing to give a hug. Then when I get to the end of the day guilt sets in and I put more emphasis on what I did wrong, how I should know better.

I am learning that I can’t give up and cry woe is me if I have a less than perfect day in parenting world.  If I put the emphasis on me always doing it right or knowing all the answers, I will always disappoint.  God has used parenting to pull back the layers and show me how I have made an idol of my wisdom and my perceived strength.  I have been guilty of taking my focus off of God and getting wrapped up in MY ABILITIES…great formula for failure.  However I am learning to embrace His mercies that are new every morning and humbly admit that I just cannot do this journey on my own.  I NEED GOD…DESPARATELY! I am more convinced more now than ever of my need to pray. But as always, when I seek Him from a humble and broken heart He answers, making for a more successful journey. How about you? What has your parenting journey been like? Has it been difficult for you to admit your need for God in the process?  Do you accept His wisdom when He gives it?  Leave a comment and let me know.

 

 

 

Quick and Effective Potty Training Method

I do not like potty training. At. All.  But it has to be done. I have often heard that you have to go when the child is ready but I think it is equally as important that the trainer is also ready.  Potty training a toddler is not for the faint of heart.  My almost two year old has been showing signs that she was ready, but I was not…until yesterday.  I was talking on the phone to a good friend and she encouraged me to not ignore the signs and miss this “great” opportunity to get number 6 out of diapers.  I had to get my head in the game.  So off to Walmart I went with all six kiddos in tow.  I was tickled by how excited the siblings were at the idea of getting Faith potty trained.  We picked out a potty and she was beyond thrilled.  She screamed if anyone touched her potty. It had to be in the front of the cart with her.  So one would think that she would immediately sit on it when we got home…not so.  She screamed and refused to sit on the potty last night. I backed off and decided to give it a try again today.  I was pleasantly surprised at how she “Embraced” this new adventure.  I think it may have had something to do with the fact that she did not have 7 people standing there cheering her on to go potty…yeah I suppose that was not a good introduction.  Today most of the crowd was at school so I think she was a little more relaxed.  I have used different methods of potty training but the one that I am choosing to go with has proven to be the quickest and most effective.  It is tiring and flat out gross but totally worth it. So what am I doing?

  1. Clear out my schedule and stay at home MOST of the time for the next three days.  Consider this potty training BOOTCAMP.
  2. Get rid of the diaper in the day and put on big girl underpants.  No pull ups?  Yes, no pull ups, it really makes a difference in the long run.
  3. For most of the day she is in her underwear and a T-shirt (diaper only at naptime and when she goes to sleep for the night).
  4.  Set the timer and every 30 minutes we take a field trip to the potty.
  5. We have toys and books to entertain when we are on the potty.  Believe me when I say the distractions help.  I like to have Legos on hand because the putting together and pulling apart takes a lot of time and is a great distraction.
  6. It can be difficult for a child to get used to the idea of sitting and waiting.  I do not have her stay on the potty for too long, the point is not to torture her.  When she begins to fuss, I let her get up.

This method was not my original idea.  You can read here and  here for more details.  Most promise that if you use this method you can have your child potty trained in 3 days… consistency being key.  I used this method with child number 5 and he was potty trained in a week and a half…not a bad deal.  This is not to say that we did not have accidents after the initial training.

The first day is the MOST DIFFICULT.   Be prepared to clean up messes and your patience to be tested in new ways.  But hang in there, it will click for your child if you remain consistent.  What is your favorite potty training method?

How I prepare for church with a large family

At the beginning of the year my husband told me that one of our family goals was to get to church before it starts. Yeah we were pretty much that family that showed up in the middle of praise and worship and sometimes later. He is not late for his job and the children are not late for school he reasoned.  The Lord wanted us to have a renewed perspective on going to worship as it is more important than a job or school.  Point well taken Pastor Tyrone. I will say it is a lot of work but with more deliberate planning on my part it can be done. Hear me when I say that I write this post not as an expert or as someone who has mastered all of this.  I am in the thick of things here folks but I have found that consistently implementing the following steps has helped us to be punctual.

1. Washing and combing the girls hair can be very time consuming.  With that in mind I now try to wash and comb the two older girls hair on Saturday.  This way I just have to focus on Faith’s hair on Sunday morning. No more playing beauty shop on Sunday mornings.

2. Select and iron clothing for children and adults midweek.  This is a huge time saver.  When I say select clothing I mean everything, including accessories (tights, socks, belts, etc.).  Make sure the tights you thought would work don’t have holes in them, not fun to find this out on Sunday morning.   Even with a designated spot to put them, shoes can quickly go missing from our shoe closet downstairs.  Tyrone has made it a point to get the younger two boys church shoes and put it in their rooms as opposed to the regular shoe closet. This way we don’t run the risk of searching for missing shoes as we are heading out the door.

3.  Fill your vehicle with gas during the week, don’t wait until Sunday morning.

4.  We also try to make sure everyone completes their homework either on Friday or Saturday.  This way we don’t have to stress about signing papers or completing homework before or after church. I realize that this may change as the kids get older and their homework becomes more difficult.  However at this point in the game we are trying to teach them to prioritize and prayerfully these lessons will stick.

5.  Restock the diaper bag with pampers, change of clothes and wipes the night before. In the morning, I have a designated child pack snacks for the younger ones and fill the sippy cup.  He is also instructed to take the bag immediately to the van once the task is completed, ensuring that we do not leave the diaper bag behind.

6.  Get to bed at a reasonable hour.  We try not to entertain the mindset of  ” oh it’s the weekend so we can stay up as late as we want.”  We don’t allow the children to stay up late on school nights so the same holds true for the night before we go to worship.   Our service starts a little later but we try to have breakfast together on Sunday mornings and we also have to travel a distance for church.  We are not mommy and daddy kill joy so the kids may stay up one or two extra hours later but we encourage them to get a good night sleep.

7.   I aim to get up at least a hour before the entire family on Sunday morning.   This means I have to be wise about what time I go to bed on Saturday night.   During this hour I cook dinner.  Don’t be too impressed, I try to make my Sunday dinner as simple as possible and make the oven do most of the cooking.  I do not try new recipes on Sundays.  I stick to what I know and what I do well.  Sunday is the day for whole roasted chicken, ribs, roast, etc.  I like to slow cook my meats so I put it in  first thing in the morning and by the time we are ready to leave for church 4 hours later, I can take dinner out the oven and put it in the fridge.  I also aim to prepare sides that require minimum work like oven roasted sweet potatoes or steamed vegetables.  It takes me approximately 30 minutes most mornings to prepare a nutritious Sunday dinner.  We sometimes choose to eat out on Sundays as a special treat but this is an exception not the rule.

8.  We have a departure time in mind.  This sounds simple but it really is needed.  If you have the mindset that we will leave when we can, it doesn’t give you a goal to work toward.  Announcing to the older children what time we want to leave  helps to keep them on track and keep us all on the same page.

With six children 11 and under things  won’t always go as planned but the above steps have helped to minimize a lot of frustrations on Sunday mornings.

What are some things your family does to prepare for Sunday Worship?