Motherhood. There is SO much behind that one word. Think back to your pre-kiddo days. (If you don't have children, keep reading – motherhood is not a role solely for women with children in their home) What kind of mom did you think you'd be? Did you feel ready? Most of us probably had no idea what we were in for! And, for most of us, all preconceived notions went out the window real quick. Because once that baby was in our arms, everything changed. Priorities changed. Schedules changed. I/You changed – physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are great days, and there are hard, hard days. But on all days, "mother" is one of the most important roles we will play.
So, what does motherhood mean to me? It is my mission field. Stewarding my children well, according to the Bible, is something I can do every single day. Motherhood is a constant opportunity to teach God's word, to show His grace, and to reach the generations to come.
Let's be real – motherhood is often overwhelming! I have to repeatedly remind myself that I am not responsible for my child's salvation nor their future choices. While I am honored to play a role in these aspects of my children's lives, I am only called to take advantage of opportunities to teach and model the fruits of the spirit. Children provide MANY opportunities for this! When I am in God's word and praying regularly, it is easier for me to see disobedience as an opportunity to remind my son to "obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." (Ephesians 6:1) I become thankful that God allows me to witness my children's sins so that I can help them see it and remind them what God says about it. I don't do this perfectly. In fact, I probably fail more than I succeed…but God! His grace applies to me, as well. So when I fail, when I lose my cool, He is there with abundant grace. And these failures provide another opportunity for me to share with my children that I am not perfect, that I too struggle with sin. I get to model asking for forgiveness, and they get to show grace. God can even use my failures for His glory! The mission field of motherhood is a field laden with roaring rivers to cross and land mines to avoid.
I'd love to leave you with a few of my favorite resources.
Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman – It shows how motherhood is a calling for all women, not just those who have children in the home.
Praying the Scriptures for Your Children by Jodie Berndt – This has helped me focus my prayer time and has aided my whole family in scripture memorization. So good!
1000 Generations: A Record of our Faith by Sara Haddox – This beautiful heirloom book provides a place to document how God has been faithful in your family in a way that can be passed down for generations. (picture courtesy of 1000generationsbook.com)
By: Vivy Fomengia
I believe a mother’s role is to pray for, nurture, teach, guide, protect, and encourage her children. Here I will share the unique colors I have used to paint a beautiful portrait of what being a MOTHER means to me.
As my son approaches 11 months, we pray together, and I read the children’s Bible to him. I believe that as I train him up in the way that he should go when he is older, he will not depart. Though I will not always be physically present, I believe the seeds that I am planting will activate God’s faithfulness to protect, provide, and guide him.
Observe. I pay keen attention to my son’s tendencies. I do not want to change who he is becoming. Instead, I want to create a healthy environment that will allow him to grapple through the complexities of life, grow in understanding, and flourish in the fullness of who God has designed him to be. My desire is that he accepts Christ into his heart and submits to God’s plan for every area of his life.
Trust God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3.5-6). I often remind myself of this scripture as I juggle full-time work, motherhood, household responsibilities, family, friends, and ministry. These verses quickly arrest my thoughts of being in full control.
Hard. Being a single, first-time mom is currently the hardest thing I have ever done. However, I truly believe God has graced me for this divine assignment. I love everything about what I am learning and who I am becoming. I know that while the days are long, the years are short. I believe my current sacrifices will count as joy in the greater journey.
Engaging. The moment the Lord placed this seed in my womb, we became inherently connected. This connection has developed during his infancy and will strengthen throughout our lives. Seasons will change as well as the levels of engagement, but the foundation will continue to be spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental.
Role model. My son gazes at me and hears every word that I speak. Soon, he will begin to emulate what he sees; this thought alone, causes me to be vigilant of how I function. It also challenges me to become the best version of myself. I am not chasing perfection but truly seeking progress.
Valerie Fomengia, who goes by Vivy, is a government contractor by day, financial coach by night, and new mom to infant Azariah. Her learning experiences with her finances and her passion to help others become financially aware led her to establish Vivy Motivates, Inc. in 2018. Vivy also loves to eat, sleep, travel, exercise, binge watch Netflix, and sob her heart out to authentic Christian worship music. Connect with her on her website here!
By: Amber Smith
Mothering, the word brings to mind visions of fleshy newborn babes, gauzy blankets, with impossibly tiny noses peeking out—sleepy newborn yawns, outstretched hands, tiny and delicately detailed. At the same time, like my son, feeling much less adorable, in those early morning hours twenty years ago, I, too, was born. In-between joyful tears and searing pain, I was delivered as abruptly into this new life as a Mother.
I have always mothered in my capacity as an older sister, neighborhood babysitter, Sunday School teacher. Yet, in all of those years, I was a midwife to the Mothers of the children I loved. As they handed me, my son, I felt the weight of his future and my own, fall squarely into my labor wearied arms. Playing mother was no longer enough.
I could feel the dappled patterns of my family’s past cast shadows over my future. As a child of divorced parents, raised in a cycle of fear, loss, and approval seeking, I wanted more for this child. Being a mother was to be reborn with a new future and the desire to seek a way to outpace the dark corners of my past.
Every birth story includes pain. My past was full of wounds, failings, and losses. These were my rubble to pick over and choose what was going to be true about me. How was I going to overcome it? By choosing to grow in my spiritual walk, I decided to be honest with myself about my fears and seek healing from the past. I chose to be brutally, honestly, and humbly open to what I believed about who I was.
Like my baby, I have learned to trust and depend on God to teach me about who He says I am.
If I was going to grow in my role as the mother God intended for my family, I was going to stand on an infallible foundation. Not the wreckage of my past. When I am afraid, I have learned to seek God, and His Word has led me in truth.
In Isaiah 43:16-19, says,
“This is what the Lord says—he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (NIV)
If God could take a people who did not choose Him, lay waste to their enemies, and make a way for them in the wilderness, I knew he would make a way for me to raise a family in a way that brings Him glory.
Being a Mom means following the lead of the One who knows the way, even when I do not perceive it. Over the years, God has led me through the deep waters of healing and kept His promises to create streams in the desert. You are not bound to your past. He is doing a new thing by giving us a rewritten future if we choose to seek it.
By: Tamika Mahomes
Being a mother is one of the best things ever. But even with all the good times, there's still some bad. Even with all the easy days, there's still some hard. Although being a mother can your greatest accomplishment, it can also be your hardest feat. And despite the hard days, despite the days when we want to give up, through it all, God calls us to this beautiful thing Motherhood!
While we talk about the good days, let us not forget that we made it through the hard. Let us not dismiss the days where we've sat next to our kids and cried, the days when we make mistakes the disrupt our entire mood and perspective, or the days when we tell ourselves and sometimes everyone else that we have no clue what we are doing.
While we should not always reflect on the bad, we ought not to forget the fact that it is sometimes our hardest days that redirect us to the fact that yes, being a mother requires we depend on the Father. Let us reflect on 2 Corinthians 12:9 where Jesus reminded Paul:
"...my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness...' (KJV)
Oftentimes as moms, we want to have it all together, for our kids, for our spouses, and even to leave a misleading media persona. But wouldn't it be something if we realized, no we do not have to have it all together, and no every day does not need to be perfect, and instead understood that even on our hardest days where we feel like we fail at mom life, we can lean on Jesus as our hope, our help and our strength in our weakness.
So yes, it's great to have good days but know that it is okay to have the bad ones too. Bad days do not define you; Jesus does. Motherhood does not come with a book, it does not come with a manual, but it does come with a Savior. Mama, do not miss the beautiful exchange of this season you are in and know that when we depend on Him, we can Mother through it all.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalms 46:1 (KJV)
By: Sharon Fernandez
"Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." Proverbs 31:25-26
From the time you conceive till you deliver, as the child grows up into a fine young adult, the Lord has bestowed an amazing strength to your body and mind, dear Mothers. The confidence you have comes from the Lord. It is He who takes you through all the long sleepless nights. As the child grows, you be filled with wisdom to understand and know just what to do for your child in all the different stages of life. With such grace and kindness, you will teach your offspring the goodness of God by living it out. You shall raise them in the way (Jesus) they should pursue; they shall never depart from it when they grow old.
The reason why you will be able to laugh at the days to come, cause each day is made by the Lord, its crowned with His goodness and grace. As you raise every morning, you enter into the time of worship; in the stillness, you receive the promises of the day. This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). Despite the chaos that can take place in the house, never start your day without spending this precious moment even if it were to be just 5 – 10 mins, dear mothers. Truly, it makes a lot of difference, even when you don't have any words to say. Your tears are liquid prayers you offer up to Jesus. He has a bottle collecting all your tears to reward you for all the sacrifices you make to raise this child of God for His glory.
Psalm 54:4 Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Being a mother is not an easy feat. It takes a community to raise a child. Not all of us have such a privilege. You may be all by yourself with a newborn baby in your hand, having no place to stay, no one to ask for help. You may find yourself in a very terrible predicament due to wrong choices made in the past, but you still got this little fight inside of you to want to turn things around for the sake of your child. You want to turn over a new life and start afresh.
Seek ye First His kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). This promise never fails.
Shalom to one and all. God bless you dear Mothers!
Sharon Fernandez, 32, is a young Singaporean born again Christian. She sensed the calling of God as a mother of two and now dedicates her life to serve God in the worship ministry and bible sharing. She spends her time studying the word of God fervently and teaches its application in practical everyday situations. She shares her devotions in her blog and daily devotions in her Instagram. She is known for helping individuals to look for divine wisdom to solve life situations and personal emotional matters through her bible studies. She believes with the help of the Holy Spirit, anyone can truly live their life to the fullest as the will of God is done on earth as it is done in Heaven.
By: Amber Weston
We've all heard the saying; Comparison is a thief of joy. Though I know in my heart that this is true; the tendency to want more than I have, to compare myself and my achievements to other peoples' possessions and achievements, and to feel dissatisfied with my lot in certain areas of life, is an ongoing battle for me. I'll be cruising along, all sunshine, smiles, and gratefulness, then bam, I want what I don't have all over again.
At church last year, we had a series on exile. I found the following definition gripping: exile is when what should be, seems to be losing the battle to what is. In simpler words, exile is when life is not what we think it should be. I have lived this time and again.
As a little girl, I always pictured my life as an adult. I would have a ton of kids, a Chevrolet Suburban, and a beautiful house with a big backyard. As a grown woman, what I have is three kids, until very recently a Honda CRV, and an urban condo with no yard at all.
The discrepancy between what I want and what life is, has caused me to battle a lot of bitterness over the years. Does hating my condo make my life any better? No! Do I need a serious reality check from time to time, and a conviction to be grateful? Yes! Ultimately, if I confront my longing, I know better. I have so much more than lots of people do. There are millions of people in the world who would be so excited to live where I live. I'm sure that all of the people I pass each day at the city bus stop would be downright thrilled to have that CRV. There are women out there who are physically aching to be a mother, while I am so blessed to have three children.
I find that comparison and longing for what others have bleeds into my professional desires. I love to write, but when I am not instantly a bestselling author, then I start to compare my achievements to others. Comparing myself to others is only causing me pain. Comparison shuts me down and causes me to pull away from my work. Very few people are overnight successes, and I know this. #duh But the enemy seeks to make me feel small, and I fall for it over and over again when I let it go unchecked.
Unfortunately, like many women, I also play the comparison game when it comes to my physical self. I hate that I want to look different. I see everyone's best versions all around me, and I don't feel like I can keep up. On other days, when my hair falls in just the right wave, my makeup leaves me feeling fresh, and my muscles feel firm from a workout the day before; at those times, I feel on top of the world. But am I vocalizing that in the same way that I vocalize my negativity? Probably not. I can tell myself once that I look nice that day, but on the other has I tell myself a thousand times that I'm bloated. I lose again when I choose to compare.
Comparison is a thief of joy. Negative feelings breed more negative feelings. And there are six eyes on me all of the time. If your kids are like mine, and you never get a moment alone, our kids are watching us at all times. Comparison is not the legacy that I want to leave for my kids.
I recently read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voscamp, which delves into the practice of thankfulness. Thankfulness is not automatic to us and must be exercised intentionally every day. Ann learns to be mindful of the beauty all around her by looking for things in the world to appreciate little things that might otherwise be ignored. The click of a seatbelt, the crackle in the fireplace, new toothbrushes, boys jiggling blue Jell-O. A practice I have taken to.
Colossians 3:17 says:
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (KJV)
Being thankful is the antidote to the comparison game. The one thing that I should be pressing myself on is being faithful in reading and applying God's word. I should live my life with a heart of gratitude. I should be thankful for everything, big and small.
Ultimately there has to be more than me praying, "Thank you for my blessings." My words and actions must align. I don't want to mislead my children about life's disappointments or sorrows, but I want to model a balance, steering away from the should's.
If I am using that word, I want them to hear this:
You should work hard to achieve your goals.
You should expect that you won't always get what you want.
You should try new things.
You should live your life thinking of how to bless others in word and deed.
You should be truly thankful for the life that you have.
I want to be the type of woman who travels the road to gratitude.
Amber is a wife and the mother of three little lovelies, living is sunny Southern California. Connect with her on her blog The Gilted Life or her Instagram!
By: Queen Majeeda
“Come unto Me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
It's 5 am, and the alarm sounds time to get up. I'm tired, but I must get up because if I don't, I will not have time to spend with God before getting ready for work. The alarm snoozes and sounds two more times like it does every morning because I am genuinely tired – with working, mothering, and all the responsibilities of living. I do a quick reading of God's word and pray a much shorter prayer than I want to so I can get ready, pack my lunch, help my son get ready while my mom packs his lunch, dash through the door and take him to school then head to work before it's late.
Is this living? I feel like I'm living a programmed life. I yearn for more time with God, and so I beg and beseech Him to give me more time so that I don't have to rush my conversation with him. I do this every morning and throughout the day. I feel like other things are taking precedence, and that's not the way it should be. I need time in the morning to be still.
Mornings set the tone for the rest of the day. This yearning to have more time with God has been coming out in my poetry when I find a few minutes to write. My soul is not at rest, and that bothers me. I am frustrated and wonder how will I ever get out of this hamster wheel? Then something major happens. So major, it stops the world!
As a result of COVID-19, everyone is forced to stay at home. Suddenly, I have more time with God. I find peace in the stillness of the mornings, and I commune with God in no hurry. My soul exhales in gratitude to God each morning, I'm not rushing to go anywhere, there's no clock dictating my time spent with the King of the Universe, I am at rest.
Of course, I am pained at the things I see in the news; I empathize with those who are suffering at this time and feel sorrow for those who have lost loved ones. I wish my opportunity to spend more time with God were not amidst this distress, but I believe that these quiet moments allow us to be transformed into the likeness of God.
By: Tamika Mahomes
"Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."
Ephesians 5:15-17 (NIV)
As we are experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, many of us are now adapting to a new reality of being bound to our homes and mandated to social distancing. And while this sudden limit of socialization has caused frustration, boredom, and some confusion, this is a time not to focus on what we can't do but rather what we can do. While this time has forced us to a place of rest, focus, and reflection, it is a time where we can maximize growing in what the Lord's will is.
In today's passage, we see Paul reminding us that we must not waste time but instead make the most of every opportunity. So I ask you today? What are you making of this opportunity? Are you spending your time binge-watching shows on Netflix? Are you spending your time seeing how much online shopping you can accomplish? Are you spending your time scrolling social media? Or are you spending this time to grow yourself and develop into the person that God is calling you to be?
Watching TV, scrolling social media, it all seems like a way to pass the time, but the truth is the more time you spend pouring those things into your soul, the more those things begin to control and lead your life. Could you imagine if you instead spent those hours in the Bible? Could you imagine how we would grow as God's sons and daughters? Our time is not meant to be wasted but rather we need to make our time so precious that we refuse to allow non-essential things to distract our essential relationship with God.
In closing the passage, Paul reminds us not to be foolish and to understand what the Lord's will is. To understand what the Lord's will is, we have to be close to the Lord; we have to read, know, and understand his word. Church every Sunday and listening to online sermons is simply not enough! In order to see change, we must understand it begins with intentional time with the Father. Psalm 19:7 says:
"The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple." (KJV)
God's word converts or changes the soul. When we are in the presence of the most high, we have no choice but to be changed and transformed. God's word calls us to be different, it calls us to be set apart, and it calls us to be more like him. So today friend, I challenge you (and myself), to put down the remote, put down the phone, put down the distractions and turn to Jesus, turn to the WORD and ask him, Father, how can I spend this time to be more like you. Let us allow this time to be time unwasted.
By: Alexis Newlin
It’s an old frenemy of many of us, one that I would love to be rid of.
Worry says I must ponder a thing over and over again. To not do so means that I am just ignoring it. If I don’t think about it constantly, I don’t care. I don’t want to fix the problem.
I must fixate on it constantly.
These are such lies.
Yet it is my broken belief system. I’m not alone; many people struggle with anxiety and worry.
Worry, which is the ugly second cousin to anxiety is defined as:
I feel this definition defines my breed of worry best: (of a dog or other carnivorous animal) tear at, gnaw on, or drag around with the teeth (Lexico*)
When I am wrapped in the clinches of worry, it feels as if I am being torn at and dragged around. Everything feels ripped away: my joy, my peace, my knowing that God is in control.
I’ve been told that to worry is to rock in a rocking chair, expecting to get somewhere, yet you’re going nowhere. Now, this is the truth. Worry is unfruitful. The only fruit it produces is anxiety, discomfort, irritability, illness.
It is not the way God wants me or anyone else to live.
This morning, my old frenemy decided to visit. I’d lost my debit card the night before, and although I’d immediately reported it lost, I still worried that something could still happen.
As I sat, coming up with every worse scenario possible, even ones outside of the lost debit card, I found myself wrapped up once again in the worry trap.
Thankfully, God came to the rescue. He asked me why I was so anxious. Then he kindly pointed me to Matthew 6:25-34, and verse 27 stood out:
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (ESV)
Worry does not add to your life. Instead, it takes it away.
Just look at some the symptoms of anxiety:
God knows how damaging anxiety and worry can be to our bodies. That’s why He wants us to avoid it.
So how do we avoid anxiety and worry? We trust God. We have faith that he is in control; we remember he takes care of everything.
If He cares for the birds and the small blades of grass, how much more does He care for us? We have a heavenly Father who loves us so much and take care of every need we have. Every. Single. One. All we have to do is ask Him.
Bring your burdens to God; don’t carry them on your own; we are simply not meant to.
Alexis is a 36-year-old lover of Jesus, loose leaf tea, roller coasters, writing stories and going on adventures. Originally from Marietta, GA, Alexis now resides in Fresno, CA. You can always find Alexis outdoors enjoying a walk in her neighborhood, scoping out the newest food truck, hanging out with friends or planning her next trip. Her church, The Revival Center, and family mean the world to her. They have supported her through the loss of her mother and her own cancer diagnosis. Alexis enjoys encouraging others by reminding them not to look at what they see, but to always look to God, who is working in the unseen. Alexis currently writes for several online ministries and just launchedThe Brave Podcast in January 2020. Connect with Alexis further by clicking here!
By: Angela Lawley
How do you see yourself? What do you see when you look in the mirror?
This is important because it is what shapes how we see others and how we see God. About 5yrs ago, my family and I were living in 400sqft of living space. Before you start feeling sorry for me, this isn’t a tragic situation; it was a necessity. You see, we were building a business and wanted to save money, so we converted part of our building into living quarters. It was very smart of us, but being a family of four with two very fast-growing boys, this situation soon wore its necessary appeal. For four very long years, this situation wore me down. So much so that I hated everything about it. I would find myself in my bathroom, giving myself pep talks through tears. “You can do this, Angela,” “God has so much in store for you and your family. Just keep going!”
But you see, I didn’t see it, and I especially didn’t feel blessed. All I saw was a struggling Momma who was at the end of her rope. I was tired, sad, and hopeless. Then in a time of prayer...ok, let’s be honest, I was complaining to God. He reminded me of a few of His promises. One was every Christian's favorite motivational scripture. Jeremiah 29:11:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (NIV)
Yeah. That’s a good one. We can camp out there for a while. I can still hear myself give God a “yeah, yeah.” Remember, we are being real! The next scripture He reminded me of was another good one from Jeremiah 1:5:
"...before I formed you in the womb I knew you." (NIV)
At this moment, I pictured God as a loving Father who gently lifts Jeremiah’s chin. Looks him straight in the eyes and gently reminds him of this profound truth. As the Father began to remind me of these truths, my heart started to soften because I see Him doing the same thing for me. Then He drove it home with this one, Philippians 4:19:
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (KJV)
I cry thinking about this moment with my God, as the Holy Spirit started to minister to me. All the frustrations began to melt away. I was gently reminded of a few things that day:
1). God never forgets His children. We are apart of a beautiful plan that was laid out before the foundation of the earth, one that will show the world that we serve a faithful God. When he was creating every inch of you, He was making plans and ways out of every struggle.
2). Don’t allow your circumstances to cloud your understanding of who you serve. We serve a mighty God who is faithful. A God who cares about your needs and wants us to be blessed.
3). Being uncomfortable for a season doesn’t mean God has forgotten about you. Take that time to seek the Father with all your heart so that you can see Him in every situation.
4). Don’t see yourself through the eyes of struggle; look at your struggle through the eyes of Jesus! It will change your heart, and it will welcome the Holy Spirit to fill your situation with the peace that passes understanding.
To end my story. As a family, we started speaking by faith that our needs would be met. We worked hard and stood on the truth that our needs were met. We thanked God for the season we were in and allowed Him to help change our perspective. We saw ourselves as blessed because we had each other, and most of all, we had Jesus. About six months later, an old friend walked into our store and asked if we were looking for a house. We told her, yes, and she offered a home that she had available. It was almost six times the size of the space we were in!! Hallelujah! This is where you dance!!
We have been in this house for five years this August. And every time I walk around it, mow the lawn, even do the dishes, I thank God for our blessing. Now when we have a struggle, I immediately thank the Father, and I see myself on the other side, blessed! When I walk into my personal bathroom...(( Mommas, give me an Amen)) I turn and look in the mirror, and I see a child of God who is blessed, who is heard by God, and who is an overcomer. AMEN!!
My prayer for you today is that you start seeing yourself the way God sees you, even though your struggles. You are blessed! You are loved! And God sees you! Don’t lose hope!
Angela Lawley Founder of Giving Hope Ministries. Host of Giving Hope Podcast -Teacher women’s Bible Study. Angela is a 2007 graduate of Rhema Bible Training Center, where she graduated with a certificate in Helps Ministry. Angela and her husband Ryan have been married for 20yrs. They own their own business in their home town of Canton, Tx. Angela is the mother of two amazing boys Nicholas and Aiden. Three years ago Angela decided to start a home ministry where women from all backgrounds could come and hear the Word of God. Her heart was to teach and equipped women to fight for their marriages, children and their God given place in this world! There in her living room Giving Hope Ministries was born and is growing day by day. You can join her live every Sunday evening on the Giving Hope Ministries Facebook page. Connect with Angela further by clicking here!