For the first six months of Caly’s little life, she hated the car. Whether we were going five minutes down the street or on and extended road trip, she would scream the whole time. The moment the car stopped and you removed her from her car seat, she would stop. To say the least, this made me dread any time in the car. I have great sympathy for this mother and her desire for a little peace and quiet.
Desperate for time to think? Here’s one person’s approach to getting it.
A family took a car trip together, and each person was allowed to bring one tape to listen to on the way. Each had to be quiet during the other’s tape. The daughter listened to hers the father went next, then the mother’s turn.
Her choice? A blank tape that gave her 20 minutes of silence to relax and enjoy the trip. With a little planning , she’d found a way to make time to think and a quiet place to do it.
What’s your strategy?
—-Communication solutions, adapted from The Productivity PRO web site
Janelle for Carolyn, Nicole and Kristin
On Monday, Kristin shared a quote about Elizabeth Prentiss’ faithful discipline of her children. Many of you are probably familiar with her classic book, Stepping Heavenward or maybe her hymn, “More Love to Thee.” Her writings have been encouraging women for almost a century and a half.
But now, we have a chance to get to know the woman behind these well-known works. That’s right—the next installment of the girltalk book club is a new biography of Elizabeth Prentiss by Sharon James entitled: Elizabeth Prentiss: ‘More Love to Thee.’
The back matter asks:
“Do you sometimes feel that you would be able to grow in love for God and others—if only your circumstances were different? Maybe you find that the sheer demands of everyday life squeeze out time for God? Perhaps a terrible tragedy has made you doubt the goodness of God?”
“Read this true story to find out how one woman discovered that:
-The most difficult circumstances are ‘God’s school’ to teach us more about his grace.
-The very busy times are precisely those times when we need—and can find—God’s strength.
-The worst of tragedies can draw us closer to God.”
I know I can’t wait to learn from the lessons God taught this godly woman!
So go ahead and purchase your book by clicking here. In a few weeks we’ll explain how the book club will work this go-round, but we hope you will enjoy this selection along with us.
If you are a member of a Sovereign Grace Ministries church, on a recent Sunday you enjoyed a viewing of the annual Mission Presentation. And if you’re like me, you wanted to stay in your seat and watch it all over again. It was, by far, the best one yet.
Today we learned from Carolyn McCulley (one of the principal architects of this multimedia presentation) that it is now available to watch online—as many times in a row as you like!
Even if you are not a member of a Sovereign Grace church, I predict you will be inspired and encouraged by the stories of the gospel going forth in New Orleans, Louisiana and the United Kingdom.
Enjoy the show!
The entire family descended on my parent’s house for dinner last night. This wasn’t just any dinner—this dinner had been on the calendar for over a year. That’s right, I said a year. In fact when I checked my 2006 calendar in January, last night’s dinner was the only date scheduled for the year ahead.
Why such advance planning? Well, we had the extreme privilege of enjoying dinner with Justin and Lea Taylor and their two sweet kiddos. They hail from Chicago and don’t find their way to the DC area often, hence our scheduling so far ahead.
If you don’t know the Taylors, take a minute to check out Justin’s blog, Between Two Worlds. Justin works for Crossway Books and is a dear friend to my dad. We had a delightful time and I’m not just saying that because the food was good! Justin and Lea made us feel as if we’d known them for years. We talked and laughed until we finally had to take the babysitters home.
The Taylors came bearing early Christmas gifts. (Good food and gifts, does it get any better?) They brought each of us our very own copies of two new books that should occupy everyone’s bookshelf: Suffering and the Sovereignty of God edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor (we posted pre-release exerpts here, here, here, and here) and John Owen’s Overcoming Sin and Temptation edited by Kelly M. Kapic and Justin Taylor. Consider adding these to your library if you haven’t already.
Justin and Lea, thank you for hanging with us last night. We had a super time. Let’s put something on the calendar for 2007!
In response to yesterday’s post on child discipline, one of our readers, Stephanie sent me the following email:
I wanted to share a quote with you that a dear friend wrote out and gave to me right after my first was born. I have it posted on a cabinet by my sink so that I have to read it every time I do dishes. It has been such an encouragement to me, like your quote. It truly is imperative that we train our children with an eye for their souls. May God be our strength during this incredible task!
“That she has trained her children for heaven, rather than for earth, for God, rather than for man—she is the parent that will be considered wise at last. Train with an eye to my children’s souls. We are made what we are by training. Our character takes the form of what mold into which our first years were cast. The path of obedience is the way in which He gives blessing. Determine to make your children obey you, though it cost you much trouble, and cost them many tears. Obedience is the only reality. The mark of well-trained children is that they do whatsoever their parents command them - cheerfully, willingly and at once.” John Ryle 1888
Thanks for this wonderful quote and important reminder, Stephanie!
This past week (in between caring for my poor husband who contracted a stomach virus) I’ve been intently focusing on the discipline of my three boys. It’s so easy for me to overlook or tolerate half-hearted obedience: children who comply (at least by the second command), but make it clear through a facial expression or body language that they don’t want to obey.
However, along with Brian, I am responsible to teach them to obey the first time and with a joyful heart. Because after all, this is the obedience our Heavenly Father requires.
So often my unstated goal in mothering is “peace and quiet” for me. (Although, I’m not sure why I think that’s likely with three boys!) But God has called me to a higher purpose in mothering—to train my boys to obey their parents so they will receive the blessing and favor of the Lord and so their hearts will be tender and open to the gospel.
Recently my mom pointed me to this quote a friend shared about Elizabeth Prentiss—author of one of my favorite books, Stepping Heavenward. This powerful description of this godly mother is worthy of posting on my refrigerator:
“With her children she was a model disciplinarian, exceedingly strict, a wise lawmaker; nevertheless a most tender, devoted, self-sacrificing mother. I have never seen such exact obedience required and given, or a more idolized mother. ‘Mamma’s’ word was indeed law, but—O happy combination!—it was also gospel.”
I pray that God will help me to be a faithful and “wise lawmaker,” but that my word would not just be law, but gospel too!
As mothers of three or more, Kristin and I can both confirm that the following is absolutely true! Thanks, Charlotte, for sending this our way.
May your weekend be marked by the joy and peace of God!
for Nicole, Kristin, and Janelle
BIRTH ORDER OF CHILDREN
1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.
Preparing for the Birth:
1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don’t bother because you remember that last time, breathing didn’t’ t do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your eighth month
1st baby: You pre-wash newborn’s clothes, color-coordinate them, and fold them neatly in the baby’s little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean and discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can’t they?
1st baby: At the first sign of distress—a whimper, a frown—you pick up the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing
1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby’s bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.
1st baby: You change your baby’s diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every two to three hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.
1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, Baby Swing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.
1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home five times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.
1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby.
2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn’t squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.
Swallowing Coins (a favorite):
1st child: When first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child: When second child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for the coin to pass.
3rd child: When third child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!
For the better part of a year, sweet Caly has held her own with four crazy boy cousins. However, it would appear that a little friend is on the way. Yesterday the sonogram technician told Steve and me that she was “100 percent certain” we will be having a GIRL in March. No name decision yet, but the future of girltalk is growing stronger!
Thanks to all of you for your prayers and love!
I recently had a conversation with a woman who expressed regret over how she had parented her daughter. Mothers or not, we all have regrets. We are sinners, who, although “made anew by an unseen power of grace,” (The Valley of Vision, “Man A Nothing”) still await glorification in heaven some day. Maybe our regrets are mild and nagging, or perhaps they overwhelm our everyday thoughts and stymie our progress in godliness.
Whenever I am tempted to wallow in regret over a mistake, an unwise decision, a sinful comment, I have often found encouragement in these thoughts from Charles Spurgeon:
“What is the use of regret unless we can rise by it to a better future? Sighs, which do not raise us higher, are an ill use of vital breath. Chasten yourselves, but be not discouraged. Gather up the arrows which aforetime fell wide of the mark, not to break them in passionate despair, but to send them to the target with direct aim, and a more concentrated force. Weave victories out of defeats. Learn success from failure, wisdom from blundering” (Spurgeon on Spiritual Leadership by Steve Miller, p. 93)
Let’s get off our mental couch of despair over past sins and mistakes. Let us not be like the one the apostle Peter describes as “so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (1 Peter 1:9) By the power of Christ, let’s be all the more diligent to make our calling and election sure (v. 10). Let’s weave victories out of defeat.
All the girltalkers awoke this morning feeling extra tired and a little achy (Nicole especially!) from having walked many miles over the past two days for our annual shopping trip. We say it every year, but it’s true once again: This trip was our best one yet! We had a blast together and were able to finish almost all our Christmas shopping to boot!
How grateful I am for the friendship I enjoy with my three daughters. I’m even more thankful that they passionately love the Savior, ardently adore their husbands and children and delight in their homemaking careers, and faithfully serve in their local churches. I am a rich woman indeed!
However, I am freshly aware that this relational richness is not of my own making, but a gift from God. As my all time favorite preacher reminded us in his sermon on Sunday from 1 Corinthians 4:7: “What do you have that you did not receive?” Of course, the only right and appropriate answer to this question that Paul asks is: Absolutely nothing!
This reality should have a humbling effect on our souls and should produce expressions of gratefulness as we identify countless gifts throughout our day. Instead of arrogantly imagining we had something to do with all the blessings we enjoy, let’s recognize they come to us straight from Calvary.
For further (and more profound) thoughts on this topic, take some time to listen to my husband’s sermon. And may God receive the glory for all the good gifts He bestows—most of all, the gift of His Son.