The Unexpected Meal {Teaching Hospitality Through Example}

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Recently, in a concerted effort to get our house sold, we decided to have the carpet replaced throughout the house. If you’ve ever had carpet installed, you know it is mayhem. Everything in the rooms of your home displaced and moved from room to room. Workers in the most intimate parts of your home…for the entire day, if you have a lot of carpet.

Ours took from morning until supper time, as we had the entire upstairs — 4 bedrooms, a loft, and 6 closets — to re-carpet. And for the entirety of our day, three men who we’ve never met, walked in and out of our closets, bedrooms, and through our front door.

Five of my young boys were home that day, and they looked on with wonder at the work being done, and the workers doing the work. These were men that didn’t dress or talk like their teachers at school or church. These were men that took breaks outside in a cloud of smoke. These were men who’s bodies were covered with images and words they don’t see on their parent’s arms and legs. These men worked hard and worked quietly, and like everyone else…had a story. And that story was now spending a day in my home.

When lunchtime came, the boys and I started hunting for what we had to eat. We landed on simple turkey and cheese wraps. My 10 year old offered to help, and while we began to make lunch, I asked him to run upstairs and get a lunch order from the men carpeting: Turkey and cheese with salsa or with mayo/mustard. I assumed they would decline and spend lunchtime away.

But, no. They all wanted turkey wraps. I listened from the kitchen, and each of them paused in surprise, and accepted.

My son ran downstairs with the most enthusiastic smile on his face. I knew what he had just discovered: The joy of hospitality. He worked diligently to compose paper plates of turkey wraps, chips and salsa, and even placed two oreos on each plate. He was delighted and proud. It wasn’t the lunch he was proud of…we’d had fancier. No, it was the delight of knowing he was about to bless some hard-working men who were in his home for the day.

One by one the men came downstairs, grabbed a plate and sat outside to eat. One by one, they came in with empty plates and thanked us for the meal. And my boy beamed.

You see, I learned that day, that our children take our cues about hospitality. Our children hear us when we say,

“We don’t have anything worth sharing,”

“That’s awkward to feed strangers,” or

“Let’s keep to our business.”

They also hear us when we say,

“Share whatever we’ve got,”

“Give with a cheerful heart,” or

“We are blessed to be a blessing.”

They value what we value and get excited about what we think is worthy. Let Christ be our true treasure; for when his is worthy, any and all who he brings to us become souls…of value.

Blessings,

Ruth

www.gracelaced.com

Making Room for Discipleship Training

Let’s face it. Life is busy. Even if your children don’t participate in an abundance of extracurricular activities, life is still busy. Keeping house keeps moms busy. There is always something left undone by the end of the night.

It is so easy to get caught up in the things that are immediately seen. You see dirty dishes and dirty floors, and know you must wash them. You see unfolded laundry that needs tending to. Children need to be fed several times a day. Those needs that beg your immediate attention are often the things that you focus on caring for.

These are not bad things to care for. It is required we care for our children and homes. But, too easily we lose sight of the vision God has given us as mothers. We get too wrapped up and forget the crucial, most pressing need of our children: discipleship. Not passive Bible stories or Bible coloring pages and crafts. But, real, intentional, scheduled-in time to sit with our children and nurture their hearts to live for Christ.

Being a living example is also excellent, and necessary, but the intentional teaching couples with the living examples. It’s difficult to have one without the other and disciple successfully. Jesus spoke in parables in order to help people understand eternal things. But He also walked as a living example of how to live for God; how to trust Him and depend on Him.

I could live for Christ, but if I don’t talk about Him with my children and have conversations about why I make the decisions I do, why we avoid certain things, how to embrace others, then what good is that to them? They only see a mother who lives a morally dignified life. Nothing more. Walking out our faith is essential. But so is setting time aside to specifically teach and talk about Christ; just as He did with his own disciples.

Creating these hard stops specifically for discipleship training does several things. Now, when I say hard stops, what I mean is stopping whatever it is you’re doing to meet together for discipleship. You can do this by adding it into your schedule or doing it at a specific time each day [or several times each day]. Stopping hard simply means dropping whatever you’re doing at that specified time and making it happen.

Here’s what it does:

  1. It shows your children learning about Jesus is important and a priority for your family. When you specifically set aside time from each day and guard it, your children see that you value this time.
  2. It develops a consistent habit of training. Having this habitual teaching and training helps your children grow consistently in character and in Christ. In addition, it will keep the things of God in the front of their minds and they will more readily be equipped to apply the teachings to their lives.
  3. It offers direction and instruction to help your children make better choices. When we intentionally teach our children, we can often prevent bad choices or bad behavior before they develop. We are being proactive rather than reactive.

Planning these times are not hard, it’s following through that can be challenging. The first week can be easy because you begin with gusto. But once the second and third weeks roll around, circumstances arise that seek to steal this time. We must guard this time as precious. Keep it a priority and do not allow complaceny to creep in.

I find  what happens when I miss a day, is that I write it off as no big deal; kind of being nonchalant about it. The problem is, because of this attitude, I do it again the next day. And the more I allow that time to slip away, the easier it is to let it go. Before I know it, our discipleship time is a distant memory that has dissipated due to a complacent attitude.

There will be days missed. It happens. And by all means, give yourself grace, for His are new every morning. But, the goal is to get back to it as soon as possible. Do not let distractions rob you of intentional discipleship with your children.

By Christin, Joyful Mothering

Praying for Your Children On Purpose

I’ve gone through seasons of being incredibly intentional about praying for my children — notice I said seasons. I admit, I’ve not been faithful in prayer, as I wish would have when I look back on the fifteen years of parenting that have already passed.

Praying for Your Children

There was this one year that I prayed for each child on a different day of the week. And another year in which I participated in a Moms in Prayer group — and oh my, we saw the Lord move on behalf of our children in amazing ways! But for the most part, my prayers for my children have amounted to something like this. . .

Oh God, be with them. Keep them safe. Help them to be wise. May they love you fully. And may they want to know you personally and make you known.

While this prayer may seem fine, it sort of feels like the cliff notes version of a larger book that should be read in order to get the full appreciation of the content. It’s not all that I can do as a praying mother. And I want that to change.

Lamentations 2:19

Arise, cry out in the night,
    as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
    in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
    for the lives of your children . . .

Although I have journals scribbled full with pleas and petitions to the Lord, there aren’t enough of those pages filled up with prayers for my children. I think I’ve pushed praying for my children aside because their needs feel so easily met by me at the moment. In light of other circumstances we’ve faced, like family tentions, life-changing decisions, and health crises too many to count, my children are doing just fine. Fine is fine. But for how long?

Their lives will only get more “un-fine” as they grow up, which is why they need their momma praying for them on purpose . . . now. {click to tweet}

So as I turn to face the next decade of being a mother, I want to invest my time in bringing more than passing pleas to the Lord. I want to pause long enough to reflect on their needs and pray for them the way I’d want to be prayed for by others.

I want to give to the Lord what I see in their personalities that need His touch.

I want to talk to God about the struggles they face and the fears they feel.

I want to hand over to their Maker my concerns about their relationships.

I want to yield to the Lord His plans for their lives and get out of the way of the story He is writing.

These desires to pray diligently for my children may be lofty, but I think they reflect the heart of God.

 A longing to pray for our children comes from the Spirit’s conviction and most certainly will face the enemies opposition.

So how can we move forward with a plan to pray for our children that won’t be stumped by fleshy distractions? It think it looks like this:

  1. We need to start with prayer, asking God for His strength to move in this direction.
  2. We need to ask for someone to hold us accountable — someone who shares the passion and will be willing to ask us weekly, “So how did you do in praying for your children this week?”
  3. And we need a simple plan for how to pray, like this resource you can download from moretobe.com, so that we can be intentional.

What do you think, momma?

Will this be the moment in which you decide that you’ll pray for your children on purpose?  Will you embrace the fresh start, here at the beginning of a school year, and set a goal of sticking with it for more than a month?

I hope so. And I’m willing to ask you to hold me accountable, too. I want the next decade of my mothering to be marked by a commitment to pray for my children. Let’s do this together.

Shine Bright & More Beautiful,

Elisa

moretobe.com & elisapulliam.com

 {Don’t forget to grab the “Praying on Purpose for Your Children” download available at More to Be!}

Not Something you do, but Someone you Raise

someone you raise

Remembering back to my early years of being a mom, it’s still incredibly vivid just how lonely and overwhelming my days (and nights… can I get an amen?) tended to be. I had an overabundance of hormones and emotions, and not nearly enough sleep to balance them all…unfortunately for both myself…and my husband.

And so often in the midst of those dark monotonous days, I found myself wondering if just maybe God had made a major mistake in allowing me to be a mother after all. I had all these expectations and hopes imagining what motherhood and marriage would look like, and what I was experiencing most certainly didn’t seem to match up to any of them. And so, it was in that place of comparison, loneliness, self-pity and sleep deprivation that I found myself desperately needing to find a purpose and a connection beyond my husband and children.

And so began the birth of my blogging and YouTube career.

Now, I don’t for a moment regret the decision to start my blog or YouTube channel, for it was in choosing to share the “Me Too” moments of my life (and most especially the ones shared back with me) that helped in healing from the postpartum angst, anxiety, and struggles I found myself struggling to get out of.

Yet, as it would happen, it was in the midst of seeking to find my purpose on those pages and platforms that God was truly able to open my eyes and heart to the platform I was already being gifted to grow.

The one he’d blessed me with at home.

It wasn’t a realization that came easy though, and in those years (and still to the second I write this post and beyond) I have had to face some tough truths about my selfishness and desires. But having that giant mirror held up to my heart truly ended up being the best thing that could ever have happened to me. Because as I slowly began to look up from the mirror and take notice of what I had always deemed so important, I realized none of it any longer held the same appeal.

And while the seed had long been planted, it’s really only been in these last few years, and especially in these last two of our homeschooling journey, that I have come to truly appreciate that before all else, it is the family God has blessed me with, that is my greatest purpose of all.

I assure you this perspective definitely becomes clearer once you and your babies are consistently sleeping through the night! I also assure you there are days even with a lot of sleep and older children, that this perspective is a bit harder to call to mind and believe. Thankfully God’s truth doesn’t change based on our emotions or circumstances!

And while I still long to have purpose and connection outside the home, it’s no longer to fill an empty void. Because now I realize that anything I’m blessed with beyond my family, is simply just an overflow of abundance. A blessing to be sure, but never one that comes before the two little souls that stand before me each and every day.

I  know the years of being a mother can at times be overwhelming, lonely, thankless and tiring. And I know that in those years, we long to be used for a purpose, to live with intention, and to make a difference somewhere…somehow…

But the truth, the reassuring comforting truth is…

God has given us a purpose.

He has asked us to live with intention.

And in staying faithful to what he’s called us to, we will absolutely be making a difference in little lives each and every second of the day.

For there is truly no greater platform that you will ever build or be responsible for, than the one he has blessed you with right there in your home.

Blessings,

Summer Saldana

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