Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Book Club - The Ministry of Motherhood (Week 2)

I have to tell you that it's been great for me to be reading The Ministry of Motherhood this summer. It has already been an encouragement and I love that Good Morning Girls has added verses for daily reading and reflection. I have really been encouraged by the Bible reading and the fact that I actually have time to read and reflect on one or two verses a day. Makes me feel like I've accomplished something.

As for reading the book, that's a little more difficult. I love to digest books and with all the house-hunting, packing, wild-boy chasing, decorating-ideas collecting, it's been hard to read and not be distracted or...fall asleep. :) But I made it through the introduction and have been challenged by Sally Clarkson's model and her words. There were so many good parenting tips that weren't given as "tips" but were told in stories of how she handled situations with her kids. It was very encouraging to me.

I'm thankful that "God has created very normal people like me to have a ministry - a spiritual impact in the lives of other people" - in my children and through my children. And although it isn't as obvious as doing ministry in the neighborhood, church, community, world, it is still important enough for me to devote myself to ministering to my children. I've also been challenge to view my children as disciples and to really disciple them or train them spiritually, emotionally, and socially I need to be intentional and have a plan. And GIFTS is a good example of a discipleship plan in the lives of your children:

G - gift of grace
I - gift of inspiration (motivation and purpose)
F - gift of faith
T - gift of training
S - gift of service

These are the gifts that I can give my children as I minister to them. And I'm excited to read more in The Ministry of Motherhood to glean ways of how to gift my children with grace, inspiration, faith, training and service.

If you're reading along, what are your thoughts on The Ministry of Motherhood? And if you've blogged about it, I'd love to add your link.

Breanna at  
From Chalkboards to Cheerios

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book Club - The Ministry of Motherhood

I've had The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson on my nightstand for months. And I just haven't found the time to really dig into it. It's not like it's a "heavy" book, but I wanted to make sure that I was in the right frame of mind to really study and learn from the book. And that time is now!!

Good Morning Girls is hosting a book club using The Ministry of Motherhood! God has great timing. I stumbled across it when I was catching up on Jolanthe's news at No Ordinary Moments. I'm not really starting a "group" but you can join me if you want to. The official start of the book club is Monday, May 23rd (although the Scripture reading started on May 16th). GMG is so organized and has gotten Scripture together for daily reading throughout the week to accompany the book. There are numerous verses to help strengthen and encourage us as moms.

Here's the information:

1. A reading schedule from GMG (they have some other great printables to create a binder for your notes about the book and your thoughts on Scripture).

2. The GMG uses the S.O.A.P. method for meditating on the daily Scripture.
The S.O.A.P. Method stands for:
1.  S- Write out the scripture passage for the day.
2. O- Write down 1 or 2 observations from the passage.
3. A- Write down 1-2 applications from the passage.
4. P- Pray over what you learned from today’s passage.
3. Please let me know in the comment section below if you want to participate and we'll figure it out from there.

Good Morning Girls is also providing the following support:
Our Web Schedule:
On Monday’s, you’ll see Sally Clarkson’s exclusive videos pertaining to that week’s reading in Ministry of Motherhood. Wisdom just pours out of Sally so you won’t want to miss what she has to say each Monday. The only thing better would be to have Sally Clarkson sit right next to you and mentor you personally!
On Wednesday’s, we invite you to link up or comment in the comment section and share what you are learning during your quiet times- this is your day to interact! As a change this session, we will also have several bloggers guest posting on what they learned while reading Ministry of Motherhood!
On Friday’s, Courtney and I will close with a discussion on what we learned through that week’s reading as well as share our answers to some of the discussion questions.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Toes Like Pearls

Tonight I'm missing little toes.

My baby is three years-old. And his feet are not little anymore. He has boy feet, not baby feet, not even toddler feet. He has little boy feet. I rocked him tonight and was really sad that his feet are getting big. :) That may sound ridiculous because he still has pretty little feet in the scheme of things. But his little toes are gone. And I'm sad about that. I wonder if I'll ever again kiss tiny toes that are my baby's. My heart aches for those toes, those feet. It's a small thing but still it's a reminder of what we lost a little over a year ago.

Anyway, that's what's been on my mind tonight after rocking my little man to sleep. So, for those of you that have little toes to kiss, do that. Kiss them. Enjoy them. And be thankful for all those little things - especially those 10 little things.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review: Boundaries

For those of you who don't know me, I have a hard time saying, no to people. I will say yes to almost anything because of my very empathetic heart. But I'm learning as I get older that saying yes to one thing means you're saying no to something else. And most of the time I was saying no to myself and to my family - in an unhealthy proportion.

A friend recommended the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. And let me tell you it was an encouraging and sometimes difficult book to read.

We start developing boundaries as soon as we exit the womb. I can say that I didn't really see it at the time with my boys but when I look back you can see how small but obvious those boundaries are - as an infant. That's just crazy to me, but it makes perfect sense. They are slowly developing and are learning that they are not "one" with mom anymore. They also start to exude independence when they learn to move and explore. And then their language kicks in and one of their first words is inevitably no.
Boundary construction is most evident in three-year-olds (that was shocking to me). By this time, they should have mastered the following tasks:
  1. The ability to be emotionally attached to others, yet without giving up a sense of self and one's freedom to be apart.
  2. The ability to say appropriate no's to others without fear of loss of love.
  3. The ability to take appropriate no's from others without withdrawing emotionally.
    (pg 72-73)

That seems like a tall order, but I can see it in my boys and I want to help them develop healthy boundaries because they will cycle through creating boundaries again in their tween/teen years, and again in their 20's.

I see the cycle return in the lives of the students my husband and I work with. Those 13-year-old girls who are trying to be attached to their parents but want to be their own person and want their freedom. They want to be able to say no to their parents without feeling judged or unloved. They also are learning to hear no's from their parents without withdrawing from them and secluding themselves. But I gotta tell you, the experience is way harder in the teen-years than it is as an infant or even a toddler. :)

We as parents need to remember that as our children practice setting their boundaries we need to show that our love is constant and doesn't fail (1 Cor 13:8). When we detach from our "misbehaving children" instead of staying connected with them we misrepresent God's love. When we show hurt or disappointment, even passive rage, we are sending the message that our kids are unlovable. They are not lovable when they don't behave. That's a tough statement. (pg 75) It's hard knowing that I've misrepresented God's love and I need to work on my heart to help my children develop appropriate boundaries.

This book also goes past the parenting and shares with readers how they can develop healthy boundaries even if they didn't learn them as they were growing up. And it's hard work. Whether we are learning to say no to a parent, to our grown children, to our spouse, to our boss, or even to ministry opportunities.

I struggle with saying no, sometimes out of pride. "If I don't say yes, who will do it? How will it ever get done without me?" And I do have certain gifts that are often utilized, but sometimes just because I'm good at something doesn't mean that's where my heart is. :)

I've said no to a few opportunities this spring in areas of ministry that I know are not my gifting. I did feel that guilt of "things falling apart if I don't help out" or like I was disappointing people. But that's not what happened. Other people (the planners or people on committees) may have had to change their plans or their strategies but it was still ok. And the two times that I said no to a ministry opportunity that is not my gifting or not my heart's calling, God opened a door for me to serve in a way that is more comfortable and natural for me.

I was asked to do a monologue at a women's Bible study. I've told people before that when it comes to acting, I'm more like Simon Cowell: I know what looks and sounds good, but I can't do it myself. :) Well, I can do it, but I'm not very good at it nor am I comfortable with doing it. And I had a hard time saying no. But when I did, God blessed me with an opportunity to serve a mom that had lost her twin girls at 20 weeks. I was able to go to the hospital and be with her and her husband. And that was a blessing to me and I think to the couple as well. I know that if I had said yes to the monologue I wouldn't have been able to go to the hospital that same morning and I would have felt terrible guilt over saying yes to the thing that was less on my heart. But God worked it out for His purposes but I need to be proactive and say no.

And it goes beyond ministry. It goes to boundaries within family relationships. Whether you're dealing with adult children mooching off you, people taking advantage of you at work, your spouse verbally or physically abusing you, or even if you are an adult dealing with your parents or siblings. Some of these boundary situations are way more than just feeling like you've disappointed the Sunday School committee. When you're setting boundaries within relationships, there is hard work and pain that are connected to boundaries - or our lack of them.

When we think about saying no to people who are close to us we need to consider:
  1. What do we stand to lose by setting boundaries? We need to know the risks and prepare our hearts for the consequences of our boundaries.
  2. Are we willing to risk loss by enforcing our boundaries? Are we willing to accept the consequences?
  3. We need to be diligent in making up for what is lost. If we lose a friend, parent, sibling, child, or our job over setting boundaries with them we need to work on our hearts. We need to have a support group ready to love on us after a boundary-setting loss; to reassure us that the boundaries we set are healthy and appropriate.
  4. We need to do it! It's healthy to have boundaries and we need to count to three and jump in (after prayer and some wise council).
  5. Remember that the hardest part is the beginning. It may not go perfectly or the way that we expected (whether that's better or worse) but we need to do it.

The book goes through different scenerios and relationships and gives practical ways to set boundaries and deal with the aftermath that comes with it (anger, manipulation, retaliation, abandonment, etc).

Boundaries is a great book for parents learning how to teach their children healthy boundaries right from the beginning. It's also a great book for people learning to set boundaries in relationships, work, or ministry. I'm sure I'll reference it often. Thanks Kerry, for the great recommendation!

Other recommended reading:

Boundaries in Dating:
Making Dating Work

Boundaries With Kids:
How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children

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