Ten Ways to Keep the Darkness at Bay


I know most of us here are Christian moms but we want the same things as every other mom right? Every mom wants to keep her kids safe, help them grow up healthy and strong,  protect them from monsters and let them believe they’re super heroes, agreed?

All mothers can pretty much agree on these points but as moms following God, we have different standards and we see a bigger picture. We see beyond keeping our children safe to making them holy vessels fit for the Master’s use. We see far past our children’s temporal lives and gaze into their eternal futures.

If you’ve ever seen the first Hobbit movie, you might remember this line:

Galadriel the beautiful elf asks Gandalf,  “Why the Halfling?”

Gandalf answers: “I do not know. Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love…”

“The small everyday deeds of ordinary folk…” We’re just ‘ordinary moms’ so how do we hold onto the light as the days grow dark? How do we live a life that tells? How do we exhibit the small acts of kindness and love, faithfulness and humility? What can we do as we raise our children to ‘keep the darkness at bay’ in a world growing darker by the day?

The biggest thing I learned raising my daughter is this:

What you model they will follow.

Here are ten things I believe it’s imperative for us to model to our children to keep the darkness at bay:

  1. We will become what we think about. The word teaches us, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” Guard your heart for out of it flows the issues of life. Be discerning in what you allow into your heart and home via the media, books, internet, music, video games etc.
  2. Listen to your children, especially the older ones, with grace, not judgement and as you listen, pray for discernment.
  3. Believe in your children’s dreams. This is the one thing I lacked growing up. There were expectations for my life but no encouragement and no direction for how to achieve them. As a result, I floundered after high school going to four colleges in two years and not graduating from any of them! I eventually figured out what I wanted to do but I would’ve been saved years of heartache had someone believed in me early on.
  4. Be generous and develop a generous spirit. Live the giving life because we can only keep what we give away. Be generous with your time and your treasure.
  5. Practice His presence in the cooking and the scrubbing and the teaching. Raising children takes time and the daily drudgery will either wear us out or form our character. As moms we serve day in and day out with little rest and less acknowledgement. But drudgery can be turned into the divine with the right focus. Can you change a diaper the way He took a towel…?
  6. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Everything flows from this. Everything. Your loving will drive your living and doing.
  7. Invest in your child’s future. Make what’s important to him be important to you. Value their choices by investing in their dreams. When our daughter was turning 18 but working hard in her fledgling music career, I worked a part time job so I could buy her a really good guitar for her 18th birthday. I sacrificed many hours on my feet to provide her with a professional level guitar she still uses today. My husband and I believed deeply in her future and did what we could to support her in it.
  8. The culture is not your friend. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s good for you or your family. Pray for discernment and wisdom before jumping into what the culture says is acceptable behavior. 1 Corinthians 10:23 says it like this: All things are permitted, but not all things are profitable. All things are permitted, but not all things build up.” Something that may be just fine for me may not be God’s best for you and the only way to know is through prayer and the witness of the Holy Spirit. There are no shades of gray.
  9. Use your words wisely and well. Words build up or tear down, they bless or they curse. They also can determine someone’s future success or failure. Death and life resides in our tongue so use words with caution and great care.
  10. Believe your children are here to change the world. Because they are! Each of us has a divine purpose and a unique calling. Our job as parents is to dig deep with God and figure out what our children’s purposes are. As we press in, He will show us.

Our children are little mirrors, reflecting in their lives what they see in ours. What are your children seeing?



4 Practical Ways to Reach the Heart of Your Child

4 Practical Ways to Reach the Heart of Your Child

Our children are in a stage of shaping and growing while under our care. They have so much potential and we have so much influence in this season. Often we have goals and ideals for our children that we want to implement but aren’t sure how to do that in a practical way.

And sometimes I think we can overcomplicate something that can really be quite simple. Sometimes it’s not always easy making the hard decisions for our children, but the Bible gives us some great direction as parents.

So here are 4 things you can do to reach the heart of your child.

Spend Time With Them

This is one of the most tangible things you can do with your children, and honestly, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Play a game, read a book, kick a ball back and forth outside. Most of the time, children don’t care what you do with them, just that you do something with them.

Spending time with your children is the most tangible way to show them you love them. That’s how they perceive it best. And there is no way around this very real need. It’s a large part of nurture that cannot be ignored. You can reach the heart of your child by being their biggest fan, by investing yourself in their lives in more ways than just meeting their physical needs.

Protect Their Heart from Negative Influence

There is much debate which abounds when it comes to what is considered negative influence. This is a place where discernment is necessary for you to make those decisions.

It begins with the media allowed in your own home. This may be the most powerful influence aside from their peers. What children take in is what helps shape their beliefs and can either shape their hearts with goodness or with evil. I think because there is so much garbage and very little wholesome media, we tend to compromise.

We cannot lie to ourselves and believe that negative media won’t have a negative effect on our children. That’s not to say that a child will become a criminal for watching negative television, but it can still awaken and feed behaviors and desires that are not of God. It is our duty as parents to keep their hearts protected, especially as they mature. What may be OK for us as adults to watch could be damaging to a child. Be mindful of what their hearts are taking in.

Plant Seeds of Truth

Children are born with a sinful nature and their hearts need to be taught and shaped with the Truth of God’s word. A child left to himself is likely to draw upon his own conclusions when not offered direction and instruction.

This may not seem like a practical step, but learning and knowing God’s word, planting in the hearts of your children, is a very practical step. The more they know the Truth, the more they can draw from it when faced with conflict and situations that require wisdom.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:10-11

There are so many wonderful resources and tools out there to help with this. Doorposts is my personal favorite. I understand teaching our children the Bible can get overwhelming! Start small.

Our children cannot live God’s truth and know what is good and right and true if they aren’t taught or don’t see it. Which leads to my next way.

Be an Example

Jesus was our ultimate example and we often draw upon His leading to live our own lives. We need to do the same for our children and lead by example. We need to be constantly in the Word, on our knees, and living out what God has called us to do. We need to apologize when we make mistakes and show our children we are not perfect and that we need Christ.

Christianity isn’t about getting all the rules right, because we won’t. It’s about embracing the grace we have been given and utilizing it to empower us to live a life worthy of the calling of Christ. (Ephesians 4:1) When we seek Him, we will find Him. Our children need to know we seek Him and live for Him. It shouldn’t be hidden.

The biggest follow up I can offer you in light of these tasks is to be consistent. Consistency is a key to growth and stability.


Shaping Your Child to Live Outside-the-Box

Shaping Your Child to Live Outside the Box





quiet or loud? Intellectual or artistic? orderly or inspirational? driven or gentle? Humorous or serious?

“Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed.” Romans 12: 1

Early one morning, my chatterbox little boy ran into the room, jumped on the couch next to me, snuggled and said with a sparkle, “Come on, admit it, mama! You must love me the best because I am the most fun of all your kids.”

Followed by, “Nuh huh! She loves me best because I help her the most and you just get into trouble!”

And so the conversation escalated. My answer, “I love you the Nathanest! I love you the Joy-est!” You each have a place in my heart that only you can fit.

Personality–what a strange animal!

Perhaps you prefer one type of personality, and some personalities are surely easier to deal with. But the reality is, all personalities are holy to the Lord.

God gave me two introverts and two extroverts and a variety of different issues in between to shepherd. He expanded my soul and stretched me by challenging me to look at them from His eyes.

We live in a world that values conformity. We want to use our force, our power, our authority to make people, and our children, fit into the box. Be good. Be tame. Be moral. Don’t bring attention to yourself. Don’t contend or question the norm.

I remember a time when Nathan had brought some boys home from a class he was taking. A mile high pile of chocolate chip cookies, just out of the oven, was the enticement for them to stay around in my kitchen and jabber. One of the boys always called me, “Dude, mama.” From him, it was a compliment. I had attained approval.

As they were talking, they said, “We thought Nathan was so weird when he first came into our class. He walked up to the teacher and introduced himself and said he was looking forward to being in the class. We all thought, ‘Everyone knows you don’t speak to a teacher in front of everyone else.”

He then went on to say, “All of us learned by third grade to fit in, don’t do anything that would call attention to yourself or you would be bullied by the whole group, all of your peers gang up against anyone who is different—everyone is supposed to fit in. So when Nathan comes and doesn’t care what people think and makes friends with everyone, even the teachers, it blew our grid of norm. Truly, for a while, everyone thought he was a weirdo.”

Quietness but fire underneath fits the description of one child, while steady Freddy, slow but dependable; funny, in your face charming, another. All have pushed my buttons through the years, but they have humbled me, too, in a good way. I now know for sure that I cannot control my children–they are free agents with a will and desires and dreams, all unique to the call on their lives and the personalities God gave them.

But, no matter the personality, I am called to shepherd them to love God, to teach and train them to have the character underneath that they will need to complete the tasks God gives them to do in their life time.

Most important, though, as a mom, I am called to control but to release them into His hands, as they are, to live out their uniqueness in a world that needs them to sparkle as God made them.

Nathan called me yesterday and said, “Hey, guess what, I got a new commercial with Nike! Keep praying, mom. God is opening doors.”

This from the child who never fit into the box–always dreamed of something bigger, some way to influence the world. We are still waiting to see and spending time on our knees, but if I had followed the advice of those in the world who just knew “God’s will” for us and told me to spank Nathan more, to make him fit in, I would never have seen God’s will, would never had known the story of God shaping a young man’s soul to be passionate for Him, to have the courage to dream, and to love him unconditionally with his stripes and spots–just as God had made him.

Sally Clarkson

Sally blogs at Sallyclarkson.com

What Every {Worn-Out} Mom Needs

I know as a busy mom it can be so hard to grab a few minutes by yourself to study God’s Word every day. It really can be soooo.hard. After a sleepless night or a hectic wake up routine the last thing on our minds is sitting still for a while to read, contemplate and pray. But I want to share something that I have been thinking about a lot lately…

When I get to the end of the day and I am worn out, tired and sometimes just plain exhausted, it isn’t long before I come to the realization that I am not abiding in the One who gives me the very strength to get through my day. If I would of only taken the time to go to HIM! The Lord provides all I need to accomplish what He has for me. Every.single.day.

Friends I know it is hard but I want to encourage you today to take (or make) the moments to spend time with the Lord, to come back to center, to the Rock that helps you hold it all together. Take even just a few minutes at the beginning of your day, in the afternoon or what works with your schedule and spend time abiding in the Lord. As you make this a habit you will find your true REST from resting in Him.

Many women ask…where do I start? I need a good devotional. Something that isn’t too long, but is still deep and gets me reading my Bible. Here is a fantastic choice if those statements ring true for you. The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a 365 day devotional with daily Scripture readings. You will love Nancy’s strong emphasis on God’s Word and her sound Biblical teaching. It gives you the time to study the Word, as well as learn and grow as Nancy expands on the scripture and applies the passage to your life.


This particular devotional by Nancy Leigh DeMoss is included in The Christian Living Bundle along with another resource I want to show you. I am so excited to listen to this with my children. It is a great way for your family to learn the Bible through song, which is just plain fun!


Focus on the Family’s The Singing Bible includes 50 original sing-along songs. It sets Scripture to music and includes memorable lyrics and tongue twisters, making understanding the Bible an exciting journey. This collection is fast-paced and perfect for use at home or during car trips. Lyrics included. Song titles include “God’s Promise,” “Noah Built a Boat,” “The Bible Book is True,” “Joseph’s Dream,” “Psalm 23,” “Listen to Wisdom,” “Daniel,” “Elijah,” “Jonah and the Whale,” and many more!


The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss retails for $19.99 and The Singing Bible retails for $25.oo for a total of $44.99.

But for 6 days only you can get The Quiet Place and The Singing Bible, along with over 75 other eBooks, eCourses and audio for only $34.95 (a value of over $1,140)!!!! The Christian Living Bundle is chock full of resources to encourage you in your walk with the Lord (devotionals, christian classics), along with resources for parenting, marriage, personal finance and fun things for the kids!!

Click here for more info or to buy now.


Even-Tempered Mother by Tabitha @ Meet Penny ($4.99)
Financial Parenting by Larry Burkett & Rick Osborne ($7.95)
From Grouchy to Great by Ruth @ The Better Mom ($4.99)
The Spaghetti Shots by Courtney @ CourtneyWestlake.com ($4.99)
Teaching Your Child How to Pray by Rick Osborne ($10.49)
The Unwired Mom by Sarah Mae @ SarahMae.com ($4.99)
Three Decades of Fertility by Natalie @ Visionary Womanhood ($5.99)
When Motherhood Feels Too Hard by Kelly @ Generation Cedar ($4.97)

For Children

A Perfect Pet for Peyton by Gary Chapman & Rick Osborne ($3.99)
Because I Said So Combo Pack by Kim @ Not Consumed ($8.49)
Christ in the Commandments by Luke & Trisha @ Intoxicated on Life ($8.99)
Christmas Celebrations by Kerry @ How to Homeschool My Child ($14.95)
Katie and Addie (with J.D.) Love Washington, D.C. by Michele Wetteland & John Rose ($8.99)
Learning to Speak Life: Fruit of the Spirit by Michael & Carlie @ Managing Our Blessings ($4.99)
Saying Yes to God As a Family by Kristen @ We Are THAT Family ($1.99)
Thanksgiving Heart by Stacie @ Motherhood on a Dime ($3.99)
The Singing Bible by Lightwave Publishing ($24.95)

Business & Personal Finance

Bible Incorporated by Michael @ MichaelPink.com ($10.00)
Born to Win by Zig and Tom Ziglar ($9.99)
Christian Business Legends by Rick Williams and Jared Crooks ($10.00)
Christian Wealth Building by John Muratori and Michael Pink @ MichaelPink.com ($77.00)
Discover Your Purpose by Jory @ JoryFisher.com ($19.97)
Managing Money God’s Way by Bob Lotich @ ChristianPF ($5.99)
My Father’s Business by Peter Tsukahira ($13.99)
Rainforest Strategy by Michael @ MichaelPink.com ($25.00)
Selling Among Wolves by Michael @ MichaelPink.com ($15.00)
Taking Back the Gates of Commerce by Michael @ MichaelPink.com ($77.00)
The Art of Storytelling by John Walsh ($10.49)
The Road to Purpose by Carlos L. Malone, Sr. ($12.81)
The Untold Secret that Creates True Wealth by Brig Hart & John Beehner at Ask Wise Counsel ($13.84)
Wired for Success Programmed for Failure by Dr. James B. Richards ($13.49)

Married Life

25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband by Jennifer @ Loving Life at Home
100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa @ Club 31 Women ($9.99)
100 Ways to Love Your Wife by Matthew @ MatthewLJacobson.com ($9.99)
365+ Ways to Love Your Wife When Your Kids Are Young by Leah @ LeahHeffner.com ($4.99)
Intentional Marriage by Crystal @ Serving Joyfully ($4.99)
No Longer Two by Jennifer Miller ($8.99)
Pulling Back the Shades by Dannah Gr1esh & Dr. Juli Slattery ($8.99)
Team Us: Marriage Together by Ashleigh Slater ($10.49)
Worth the Fight by Kayse @ KaysePratt.com ($3.99)
Your Supernatural Marriage by Bob & Audrey Meisner ($12.61)

Christian Classics Series

Absolute Surrender by Andrew Murray ($13.99)
All of Grace by Charles H. Spurgeon ($13.99)
Answers to Prayer by George Mueller ($14.99)
Fellowship of the Burning Heart by A.W. Tozer ($13.99)
God the Creator by John Clavin ($15.99)
Names of God by Nathan Stone ($5.24)
Power, Passion & Prayer by Charles G. Finney ($14.99)
Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards ($15.99)
The Classic Collection on Prayer by E.M. Bounds ($18.99)
The Holy Spirit & Power by John Wesley ($14.99)
The Incomparable Christ by J. Oswald Sanders ($6.74)
The Overcoming Life by D.L. Moody ($16.99)
The Pilgrim’s Progress in Modern English by John Bunyan ($17.99)
The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink ($15.99)

Christian Living

Equipped for Effectiveness in Spiritual Warfare by Al Pittman ($11.99)
Extraordinary Grace by Gary Chapman & Chris Fabry ($17.99)
How Big is Your Umbrella? by Sheila @ SheilaWrayGregoire.com ($2.99)
It Happens After Prayer by H.B. Charles, Jr. ($9.74)
One Kingdom Under God by Dr. Tony Evans ($6.74)
One Minute After Your Die by Erwin W. Lutzer ($5.24)
Relationships for Life by Richard Marks, PhD ($9.99)
Watching God Work by Carolyn Koontz Dearteaga ($13.99)
Who Are You and Why Are You Here? by Dan Miller @ 48 Days ($35)

Devotional Life

#Disciple by Scott @ Simple Life, Abundant Life ($4.99)
30 Days to a Life Made Full by Shanti @ Life Made Full ($14.99)
30 Daily Appointments with Heaven by Dr. Reggie Anderson ($2.99)
A Thousand Years by Stanton Lanier ($8.99)
Good News of the Day by Yo Snyder ($16.99)
Guilt-Free Quiet Times by Emily @ Glo-Girl ($9.99)
Mornings with Tozer by A.W. Tozer ($13.49)
Pause by Chris Maxwell ($9.99)
Prayers & Meditations by Christin @ ChristinDitchfield.com ($10.00)
Prayers That Change Things by Lloyd B. Hildebrand ($9.99)
The Quiet Place by Nancy Leigh DeMoss ($14.99)
This God We Serve by Rev. William J. Morford ($12.97)

Reaching the Lost

How to Know God Exists by Ray Comfort ($7.50)
Reach: How to Use Your Social Media Influence for the Glory of God by Laura @ LauraKrokos.com ($4.99)
The Way of the Master by Ray Comfort ($7.69)
They Call Me Dad by Philip @ Stella’s Voice ($12.95)


Inspirational Novels

Junia: Woman Apostle, Only a Girl by Wanda Vassallo ($14.26)
Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar ($9.99)
The Prodigy Project by Doug @ All Truth is God’s Truth ($9.99)
The Turning by Davis Bunn ($9.99)

Also….. The Ultimate Bundles team asked several sponsors, with no strings attached, to provide meaningful BONUS GIFTS. One of the first to step up was Dayspring Greeting Cards who offered a choice of heart-warming gift card packages to choose from.  Another, is a downloadable DVD workout series for getting in shape and maintaining health. With a retail value of $62.99 it includes a Biblical study guide for stewarding your health. Bonus gifts alone have a total retail value of over $160

For as little as $34.95 you can receive over $1,140 worth of valuable eBooks and eCourses that address the issues of life most of us face at one time or another, from a profoundly Biblical worldview. The BONUS GIFTS alone are worth more than four times the price of the bundle! So, if you want to ignite your faith, strengthen your family and help your professional life, there’s no better place to start! All the hard work has been done for you…

The Ultimate Christian Living Bundle will only be on sale for 6 days – from 8am (EST) on Wednesday, November 5th until 11:59pm (EST) on Monday, November 10th.

You can buy with confidence because your purchase is covered by the Ultimate Bundles 30-day guarantee: you have a full month to enjoy all the books and courses in the bundle, and if you don’t feel like it’s made a huge difference to your family’s life, you’ll get your money back in full!

Here’s what you need to know about the sale:

When? 8 a.m. (EST) Wednesday, November 5 until 11:59 p.m. (EST) Monday, November 10 (or until 18,500 bundles are sold)

What? 75 eBooks plus eCourses and more, PLUS over $160 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Purchase the bundle HERE.

How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth over $1,140, and it’s yours for as little as $34.95. Sweet deal, right?

When you’re ready, you can either buy here directly, or right through the website. It’s fast and easy, and you’ll have your bundle sent to you via email within minutes.

Click here for more info or to buy now.

Remember, this bundle is available for 6 days only, from 8 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, November 5th to 11:59 p.m. (EST) on Monday, November 10th (or until 18,500 bundles are sold).

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

And one more thing …….

I have a fun surprise!

I have this lovely bundle of goodies to give away to one of you!!! This bundle includes some of my very favorite things, most of what can be used while you are relaxing and reading your eBook bundle!!

How to enter (must do both to enter):

1. Purchase The Ultimate Christian Living Bundle by clicking HERE through The Better Mom site.

2. Copy and share the following with your friends on Facebook—>>> Have you seen The Ultimate Christian Living Bundle?!?! Over $1000 worth of Christian Living eBooks, eCourses + music for only $34.95 for only 6 days!! http://bit.ly/1xZ6HBy

ONE winner will be announced next Friday November 14th, 2014!!

{Set of 3 Tea Towels from Anthropologie, Love Came Down Lantern from Dayspring, Set of 2 Owl Mugs from Anthropologie, Walk by Faith Notes from Dayspring, Matching Redeemed necklace and bracelet from Dayspring, Set of 3 Notebooks from Anthropologie}

The Ultimate Christian Bundle Giveaway

Happy reading my friends!!!


Ruth Schwenk

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