My kids are shocked (as they are every year) to find Christmas stuff out in the stores in September. But this year Christmas will come a little early to the Whitacre home too, because yesterday was the release of the new Sovereign Grace Christmas Album: Prepare Him Room: Celebrating the Birth of Jesus in Song.
The reality of the incarnation, the Son of God taking on our flesh and bones to save us, will be an eternal source of wonder, gratefulness, and joy. These fourteen songs are an attempt to capture that mystery in song.
This album is unique in that it accompanies a family devotional and classroom curriculum written by Marty Machowski which are designed to build gospel hope and enduring theological depth into your celebration of Christmas. You can find more information on those here:
“Jesus went without comfort so that you might have it. He postponed joy so that you might share in it. He willingly chose isolation so that you might never be alone in your hurt and sorrow. He had no real fellowship so that fellowship might be yours, this moment. This alone is enough cause for great gratitude!” ~Joni Eareckson Tada
Y’all are coming up huge with your comments for our book on emotions. Thank you!
We’re learning (no surprise!) that many of you struggle with your feelings as a mother. We just finished a series on helping our children with their emotions, but what about our emotions?
Children bring out love, tenderness, joy, impatience, fear, anger, frustration, despair, and guilt like no one else in our lives. Not to mention that we do this job in isolation, with fluctuating hormones, and sleep deprived. Motherhood is an emotional pressure cooker.
Here’s how you describe it:
“Something about the sound of my baby’s shouting causes such an irritability to rise up in me.”
“Emotions plague me, and as a result, my household. My poor parents had no clue, leaving me with no clue. So here I am, feeling like I am setting up my kids for failure.”
“I feel so guilty, and fear that my relationship with my seventeen year old son will be damaged beyond repair because I lack self-control and lose my temper.”
“I longed for my child to regain his composure and have some self-control while I was losing my own.”
“Sometimes I’m feeling overly emotional and one toddler tantrum throws me over the edge. I usually reserve the cry-sesh for when the babies are napping but is it wrong to feel so much better after releasing that pent up emotion?”
We should have it all together by now! But instead our emotions are more confusing and overwhelming than ever. We can’t handle our own feelings much less teach our children. We never had godly role models to show us the way.
How do we get a grip on our mommy emotions? Can we learn how to handle stressful moments with peace and poise? Is it possible to be free from guilt? Can we understand and even overcome our powerful emotions?
Scripture’s solutions are in plain view, if we know where to look. So let’s take a look together, shall we?
God did not curse us with emotions to make motherhood more difficult and confusing. He gifted us with emotions so that we could experience motherhood to the fullest, be a blessing to our family, and most of all, enjoy and delight in Him.
By the grace of God, our emotions can enrich our lives instead of darken them:
~We can find the “way of escape” when all we want to do is scream.
~Instead of lashing out, we can learn how to respond with kindness and grace.
~We can have peace, even in the chaotic hour before dinner or during the tense, late-night sessions with our teenager.
Motherhood, to borrow the words of JI Packer, will never be “a joyride” but when we learn to biblically handle our emotions, it “will become increasingly a joy road.”
Sunday morning it was raining buckets and I woke up late because one of my children kept me up during the night.
As I reheated my coffee—which had already brewed, stayed warm, and shut off before I woke up—I stared at my kitchen counters which were covered with grocery bags full of non-perishables I had yet to put away from last night’s grocery run.
After a swig or two of Sumatra, I managed to find a pair of not-too wrinkled pants for my oldest son that he had prematurely thrown in the laundry hamper, and miraculously dug up four hair bands from the bottom of the pretties box because my girls wanted matching pig-tails (they are sisters, after all).
Of course, I couldn’t find anything for me to wear. And did I mention it was raining buckets?
I raced around, getting everyone ready for church, and the mess seemed to grow around me: cereal bowls unwashed, clothes on the floor, barrettes spilled everywhere. I knew it would take all afternoon to straighten up.
The thought passed through my head that what I really need, more than anything right now, is a quiet morning at home.
But on its heels came another, truer thought: No, what I really need, more than anything right now, is to hear preaching from God’s Word.
This, this is what I really need, more than anything.
“Yes, I hear the sermon; but who is speaking? The minister? No indeed! You do not hear the minister. True, the voice is his; but my God is speaking the Word which he preaches or speaks. Therefore, I should honor the Word of God that I may become a good pupil of the Word.” ~Martin Luther
I need to hear God speak to me.
And this conviction changes everything. For when I believe that God is speaking to me, each and every Sunday, through His Word, delivered by my pastor, then there is no moment of the week I look forward to more.
My pastor’s sermon is no longer an inconvenient interruption to my self-focused and hectic life; it is not one of a smorgasbord of equally good options whereby I can receive God’s Word; it is not boring or irrelevant or, at best mildly entertaining.
No, for one hour or so each week we gather to hear God speak to us through his Word. There is nothing we need more, nothing we should anticipate more.
God is speaking!
How quickly I lose sight of the wonder of this truth.
But my eagerness to hear God’s Word preached on Sunday is a measure of my hunger for God’s Word. If I am passionate about the Bible, I will be passionate about hearing God’s Word preached. If I am a “good pupil” of the Word then I will want to sit under gospel-centered, biblically faithful preaching more than I want to get some rest, clean my house, go shopping.
In other words, I can’t be passionate about the Word of God and indifferent to the preaching of God’s Word at the same time.
To love God’s Word is to love to hear God’s Word preached.
“A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God’s boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it.” ~D.L. Moody
“Few things frighten me more than the beginnings of barrenness that come from frenzied activity with little spiritual food and meditation.” John Piper
Fall and the start of school means frenzied activity. So why do I forget this every year?
In those final, lazy days of summer break, when my kids get bored and restless, I start to long for the structure and schedule of school. Then I get what I wished for and wonder, “What was I thinking?!”
I’m running on cold coffee and stale brownies, struggling to keep up. The laundry is turning sour in the washing machine, we’re already a week behind our homeschool schedule, and yesterday I discovered that my son went into science class unprepared because I forgot to give him his homework. Let the mistakes begin!
Mornings are the frenziest (and the time that I’m most likely to make up words). Getting a family of six prepared for takeoff and launched into the day is a challenge. Doing it without sinning against anyone and everyone? Extreme challenge.
And so my Bible reading and prayer have been pushed off to later and later in the day—so late that it isn’t happening. I’m not being lazy and I really want to spend time with the Lord. It’s just that I can’t send my son to school without a lunch, or give up teaching my kindergartner how to read, can I?
But I’m starting to feel it. The beginnings of barrenness. I need God’s Word. I need His presence. More than anything. (John 15:5)
So where do we find the time? Finding the time to spend with God each morning often begins the night before. We have to get practical in order to prioritize the spiritual.
Here are some practical ideas that are helping me right now, along with some suggestions the other girltalkers threw in as well:
I’ve started making lunches before I go to bed at night. No matter how tired I am, or how late it is, I don’t go to sleep until my husband’s and son’s lunches are ready in the fridge.
Mom used to empty her dishwasher before she went to bed, that way it was ready for dirty dishes each morning.
Make your coffee the night before. Set out your Bible, reading material, and supplies (pen, blanket, tissues etc.).
Train your children to stay in bed each morning until you come and get them.