2014 at 6:23 am | by Carolyn Mahaney
Question: How do you deal with the distractions of social media as a mom with young kids?
Answer: Recently, I heard a report about children “acting out” in order to get the attention of parents glued to social media. Whenever we hear a study like this, we moms feel guilty about our social media consumption. We probably take in too much Instagram or Twitter each day, but how do we set limits?
We all want help. More than that, we want compelling reasons that motivate us to change our habits. Thankfully, God’s Word tells us why it matters how many times we check Facebook each day. He gives us a vision of motherhood and social media that is bigger than the size of our smartphone.
God has given us—among other things—the challenging and glorious task of raising little listeners. And in order to teach our children how to listen well, we must be good listeners. Here are three reasons to consider limiting social media so we can listen to our children:
1.Listen to show your children you love them.
Love is not…rude (1 Cor. 13:4-5) and so listening is one of the primary ways we show love to our children.
When we look up from our laptop and look them in the eye the first time they say our name…
When we listen without glancing at our Facebook feed, for as long as it takes for them to finish their story…
When we refuse to be distracted by the “like” notification on our phone, even as they stammer and stutter their way to the point of their question…
…we are telling our children: “I love you more than I want others to love me.”
Let this question guide our social media consumption: Will our children remember us as someone who was always stealing a glance at their smartphone while they were talking, or as a woman who loved to listen, as a mother who loved them enough to listen?
2.Listen to show your children how to love others.
Listening is a lost art these days. Rarely do you meet a genuinely good listener anymore—someone who looks you in the eye and concentrates on what you are saying for more than thirty seconds without glancing at her phone or interrupting or turning away all together. We are all guilty, and yet we all wish we knew more people who were eager to listen to us. Listening is a meaningful, loving, thing to do.
As moms we can raise a new generation of loving listeners by setting a godly example. When we listen attentively to our children, we teach them how to listen to others, we model what it looks like to take an interest in others, and to prefer others before ourselves (Phil. 2:3). We teach them to love others by listening.
3.Listen to show your children how to listen to God.
Most importantly, we resist the pull of social media and listen to our children so that we can teach them to listen to God.
We are not training our children merely to be good listeners but to be God listeners.
We want our children to learn how to put aside distractions, how to quiet their hearts, how to pay close attention, so that they might listen to the voice of God.
Only God can save our children; only he can remove the barrier of sin and satisfy his just wrath against their sin through the cross of Jesus Christ.
But as mothers we are called to train our children in such a way that they will be ready to hear his voice, and like young Samuel, say “Speak Lord, for your servant hears (1 Sam. 3:9).”
When we as mothers resist the distractions of social media and quiet our hearts before the Lord and when we listen attentively to our children, we will raise little listeners (and obeyers!) like Samuel.
And that, my friends, is one very good reason to turn off our smartphone.
“If the only thing you have to offer is a broken heart, you offer a broken heart. So in a time of grief, the recognition that this is material for sacrifice has been a very great strength for me. Realizing that nothing I have, nothing I am will be refused on the part of Christ I simply give it to Him as the little boy gave Jesus his five loaves and two fishes—with the same feeling of the disciples when they said, ‘What is the good of that for such a crowd?’ Naturally in almost anything I offer to Christ, my reaction would be, ‘What is the good of that?’ The point is, the use He makes of it is His blessing.”
Ever feel like you have nothing to show for all your hard work in the home? You make lunch for littles only to sweep more crumbs off the floor. You organize a closet only to have it get cluttered again. You train your children and they throw a fit at the family gathering. You serve your husband but he doesn’t seem to notice.
What’s the point?
Nothing drains our zeal for homemaking like the feeling of futility. As the wise man in Ecclesiastes asks: “What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” (Ecc. 1:3)
His answer is as (apparently) disheartening as it is realistic:
“Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, andthere was nothing to be gained under the sun” (Ecc. 2:11, emphasis mine).
This is reality—the reality of your life and mine, your homemaking and mine—without Easter Sunday. Nothing to be gained. Worthless. Pointless. A waste of time.
But the cross of Jesus Christ, and his resurrection from the dead, changes everything. Not only has death been “swallowed up in victory” says Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:55, but also the futility that flows from death. Because of the resurrection, our work is not a waste of time.
“Therefore [in light of the glorious resurrection], my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
What should we do in light of the resurrection? Here in this verse God tells us: “stick with it” “don’t give up” “keep working.” The resurrection of Jesus Christ not only certifies that “it is finished,” it tells us to “get going.”
The resurrection motivates us to work hard, for all work done “in the Lord”—for his glory and in his strength—is not in vain. It is not pointless. Because of the resurrection all floor-mopping and sippy-cup-filling done “in the Lord” will last forever.
Sure, if we work in our home for human applause our work will be in vain. Our family will never appreciate us enough. The world will never esteem us enough. Even if we seek our own personal satisfaction or fulfillment, we’ll come up empty. Nothing will be gained. We might as well go chase the wind.
But if we abound in the work of the Lord, for the sake of the glory of our Lord, we can be absolutely sure it is not in vain, as surely as we know that our Savior rose from the grave.
“We see here, dear brethren, in being told to remember Jesus [and his resurrection] that there is hope even in our hopelessness.
When are things most hopeless in a man? Why, when he is dead! Do you know what it is to come down to that, so far as your inward weakness is concerned? I do. At times it seems to be that all my joy is buried like a dead thing, and all my present usefulness and all my hope of being useful in the future are coffined and laid underground like a corpse. In the anguish of my spirit, and the desolation of my heart, I could count it better to die than to live.
You say it should not be so. I grant you it should not be so, but so it is. Many things happen within the minds of poor mortals which should not happen; if we had more courage and more faith they would not happen.
Ay, but when we go down, down, down, is it not a blessed thing that Jesus Christ of the seed of David died, and was raised from the dead? If I sink right down among the dead men yet will I hold to this blessed hope, that as Jesus rose again from the dead, so also shall my joy, my usefulness, my hope, my spirit rise.
‘Thou, which hast showed us great and sore troubles, shalt quicken us again, and bring us up from the lowest depths of the earth’ (Ps. 71:20).
Today we’re excited to introduce a new venture on 52home—Reclaimed Wood Signs. Janelle and Mike, along with their four kiddos, have had a lot of fun driving around Indiana farmland in search of old wood (although some family members consider the mandatory Chik-Fil-A stop to be the best part of each wood-finding adventure). They have turned their home into a workshop: sawing, sanding, staining, and painting each sign by hand.
Every 52home sign is made from reclaimed barn wood, hand painted and lightly distressed. It comes sealed and ready to hang with hardware attached. Custom signs are also available. So if there is a name, quote, verse, or favorite family saying that you would like to have on a sign, we can work with you to create something unique. We hope you enjoy the new 52home signs!
If you take a survey among Christians and Non-Christians on what is the most important holiday for the Christian, the majority will affirm that it is Easter. But have you ever had the feeling that you just didn’t properly celebrate Easter because you let it sneak up on you? In more liturgical traditions, this hasn’t always been the case. For the last 1700 years many parts of the church have given attention to what’s called “Holy Week”. This is the week dedicated to remembering the last week of Jesus’ life, from Palm Sunday to Maunday Thursday to Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday.
We want to encourage you to not let Easter sneak up on you this year. To that end, here are some suggestions for Holy Week, along with a few resources to assist you:
Read the events of Holy Week in the gospels.
The most important way to prepare ourselves for Easter is through reading and meditating on Scripture. lists the events of Jesus’ final week along with the gospel texts that record them. This is ideal for helping one read through the relevant gospel passages during Holy Week.