The other day, my three boys tramped downstairs to the kitchen. They were arguing.
“He took my quarters!” my seven-year-old pointed to his brother.
“No, Mom, I brought these quarters home from Mom-Mom’s house!” the accused brother defended himself.
As I tried to get the story from them, one…at…a…time, the words of blame kept flowing, with frequent interruptions and scowls.
My temptation in these moments? I want to bring swift resolution through my commands and directives: “Boy #1 is wrong. Boy #2 is right. Case closed.” I want peace for myself more than I want to teach my children God’s Word.
But my words—although very important!—are not sufficient. My children need to hear God’s Words. They need Scripture, which is “profitable for teaching, correcting, and training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). They need God’s promises and commands sown like seed into their little hearts. They need the words from God’s mouth, which never return empty (Is. 55:11).
So we return to the most often quoted verse in the Chesemore home—Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
“Is corrupting talk coming out of your mouths?” I ask my boys. “What words would give grace to your brother?”
And surprise, surprise—Scripture serves me too. I need the life-giving words of Scripture as much as my sons. I too need the encouragement and correction of Ephesians 4:29.
This is one reason why I must sit and listen to Jesus’ teaching every day. So that I—and my boys—can profit from His Words.
—from the archives
My new favorite album:
Counting Stars by Andrew Peterson
“The song “Planting Trees” is about investing in the things that matter and kingdom work. I wrote it for my wife who is not a singer/song writer, is not a musician or an artist—she is a great mom and makes our home this beautiful, magical place. We were at a retreat together, and I think we were in a small group, like a little breakout group, and the question we were all answering was, ‘What is it that you’re doing to change the world?’
“My answer was easy because for the last 15 years or so, I have had a clear sense of my call, I’m called to write songs and to encourage people and to teach people and entertain them, too, while I’m doing it. So I have a clear vision for what it is that I do and it’s easy for me to see the fruit of that ministry because I’ll get a case of e-mails or I’ll get to talk to people at shows.
“Then the question came around to my wife and her answer to the question ... was that she’s raising these three kids in the kingdom. She’s impressing the words of the Lord on these children and raising them up to change the world. It was just a beautiful thought to me. It’s too bad that moms out there don’t get e-mails from random people telling them what great mothers they are. So this song is kind of an e-mail thanks to her for that idea that the greatest work we can do on this earth is investing in other human beings for the sake of Christ. It’s hard to picture a more direct version of that than a mother blessing her children.”
She rises up as morning breaks
She moves among these rooms alone
Before we wake
And her heart is so full; it overflows
She waters us with love and the children grow
So many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless someone
And I can’t sign off without thanking you for all your encouragement and support in response to yesterday’s post. Your care never ceases to amaze us! Thank you!
Nicole for my mom and sisters
If you’ve been reading this blog from the beginning, then like it or not, you’ve been along for the bumpy ride that has been my pregnancies.
First, you read about my health crisis following the birth of my son, Jack; then you waited and prayed with me through secondary infertility; you rejoiced with me when I got pregnant, prayed for the safe pregnancy and delivery of my second child, Tori, and shared in my joy when she was born. And then you waited, and even kindly inquired, as my sisters got pregnant and had babies (my adorable niece and nephew!).
Little did my husband and I know, that in the midst of all that waiting, God was working. He was creating new life, and He was preparing our home to receive that life.
Today, I’m thrilled to announce that we are expecting. Two.
No, I’m not pregnant with twins. In God’s gracious and surprising providence, my husband and I are hoping to adopt two children from Ethiopia.
We haven’t met our new children yet, but, God-willing, we would like to adopt a boy and girl around Jack and Tori’s ages. They may be biological siblings or become siblings upon joining our family. We don’t know. And we don’t know how long the adoption process will take—it could be a couple of months, or as long as a year. In fact, there is a lot we don’t know yet!
But we do know that God has led us. We do know that He is faithful. And we are very excited to one day meet the children God has ordained to be a part of our family.
Right now, we’re slogging our way through a “paper pregnancy” (which, let me tell you, is vastly preferable to three months with one’s head hanging in a toilet!). We’ve completed our home study and hope to be able to send our request to Ethiopia in a few weeks.
We’ve already been immensely blessed by the support and encouragement of both of our families, dear friends, and our local church—a community with a rich legacy of adoption.
And all of you—you who have been so very kind to me and my family through the last six years—can I ask you to pray for us once more? I know you will, and my heart is full of gratefulness.
I can’t wait, some day soon, to introduce you to my new children.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
In addition to tuning out our fears and turning up the volume on truth, we must fight fear with laughter. Sound ridiculous, even a little irreverent?
Irreverence is precisely the point. We must not dignify our fears—sin-generated, false predictions of a graceless and God-less future—by giving them the attention and obedience due only to God and His Word. Laughing at our fears is entirely appropriate, because up against God’s promises they not only look, but actually are, ridiculous.
The Proverbs 31 woman doesn’t take herself, or her fears, too seriously: “She laughs at the future in contrast with being worried or fearful about it” (ESV Study Bible note, Pr. 31:25). This may sound flippant or naive if we don’t already know her to be a woman of diligence, wisdom, and strength. She trusts God, and so she laughs.
“One of Satan’s great lies is that God—and goodness—is joyless and humorless,” explains Randy Alcorn:
“In fact, it’s Satan who’s humorless. Sin didn’t bring him joy; it forever stripped him of joy. In contrast, envision Jesus with his disciples. If you cannot picture Jesus teasing them and laughing with them, you need to reevaluate your theology of Creation and Incarnation. We need a biblical theology of humor that prepares us for an eternity of celebration, spontaneous laughter, and overflowing joy.”
Laughter, not fear-filled wonderings, will properly prepare us for our future: our immediate future and our eternal future full of celebration and overflowing joy. So thank God for His promises today and “laugh at the days to come.”
—from the archives, because this is where I’m at today.
At eighteen months, my sweet baby MJ is “coming into her own.” Theologically speaking, the doctrine of sin is on full display in her little life. Despite a limited vocabulary, she has no trouble communicating her demands or displeasures. Screams will suffice.
So when Mom shared this quote with me the other day, I had to smile—and thank God for the transforming effect of the gospel:
“Oftentimes parenting can feel like a battle. And the “enemy” is your two-year-old who’s just thrown their dinner on the floor (again); or your fifteen-year-old, who’s just slammed the door on you (again). But still your job is to show them what our Father in heaven is like. Yes, they need to learn to live under authority. But they also need to learn of a God who welcomes His enemies, loves His enemies and gives His life for his enemies.” (Gospel Centred Family by Tim Chester and Ed Moll)
As you march toward mothering battles today, may God give you grace to welcome, love, and give your life for your little (or not so little) “enemy”—as Christ first loved and gave Himself for you.