Hoodwinked

My February book recommendation is “Hoodwinked” by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk. The tagline on the front of the book reads “Ten Myths Mom Believe & Why We All Need to Knock It Off.”

IMG_4947

This is so true!!   I think we believe certain lies that as a mom, we need to do it all right, enjoy every minute, be everything for everyone, so our kids will not make bad choices. At the end of each day, this false thinking leaves us feeling discouraged and exhausted. This book helps us see some of the unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves and how we need to stop believing these myths but instead focus on the truth. In the book, there are 10 myths that they discuss and I found them all very helpful!

Myth #1 Mothering is Natural, Easy, and Instinctive

Myth #2 The Way I Mother Is the Right (and Only Way)

Myth #3 I Am “Just” A Mom

Myth #4 Motherhood is All-Consuming and All-Fulfilling

Myth #5 A Good Mother Can Do It Alll, All At Once

Myth #6 Motherhood is a Rat Race

Myth #7 Motherhood is the Luck Of The Draw

Myth #8 Everything Depends On Me

Myth #9 I Have to Do It All Right, or My Child Will Turn Out Wrong.

Myth #10 My Child’s Bad Choices Means I’m a Bad Mom

Today, I just want to focus on Myth #6, “Motherhood is a Rat Race.” Now let me be the first to say that I struggle with this one. Life gets busy, kids schedules get full and we feel like life is just running around organizing, planning, scheduling…always rushing to the next thing. Can anyone relate to this one? Since this one is a struggle for me, I loved this chapter in the book!   The authors say this, “I have come to realize that the only way for the best of who I am to pour out to my family and in my ministry is to slooooow down. Make time for the moments in life.” I believe many of us are missing out because we are just too busy.

To help gain some perspective, they recommended these quick two exercises. They first said to take your age and subtract it from 81 (the current average age life expectancy of a woman) and then multiply it by 365 days to get an idea of how many more days you have left on planet Earth. Then, they ask you to take the age of your child and subtract it from eighteen (the age when most kids leave for college) and then multiply it by 365 days. This is how much time you have left with your child before they become an adult. If you have more than one child, you can do it for each one of them too.

WOW- this was eye opening!!!  Ladies, we need to be intentional with this limited time we have with our kids. My oldest turns 13 at the end of this month, I have about 5 years left with him living at home and if I multiply that by 365 that is only 1,825 days.   The authors say, “We count our days so we can make them count. Counting our days will help us clarify our mission as moms and live with greater purpose.” I LOVE this- I want to make every day count; I want to be intentional.

To do this, I have to carve out time in my schedule. The authors suggest making a list of your top priorities and then putting them on the calendar. Here are some examples that they shared in the book that I really liked and want for my family:

  • I want to have a daily quiet time alone with God
  • I want to pass along my faith to my kids
  • I want to be a fun and loving mom who is intentional and fully present
  • I want us to eat together as a family
  • I want to be a family that serves together

Lastly, they say to protect your time! This is the hardest part because this is where we have to say no to good things so we can say yes to the best things!!   About a year a half ago, I read the book, “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst (another great book) and it talked about having more margin in your life so you can choose the Best Yes. This chapter in the book talked about the same thing.  Listen to what the authors say, “Learn to discern the best things from all the good things out there takes wisdom. There is freedom in not saying yes to every single thing that comes your way. You come to realize that in saying no, you are actually saying yes. Saying yes to the ones how need you the most right now.”   This is so true but so hard to do!

Below is a prayer for me and for you as we try to prioritize our time!

Dear God, I pray right now for our time as moms! I pray we will use it wisely! I pray we put you first God and make time each day for you! I pray next that we protect our time with our families and that we will be intentional with every choice we make! God, I pray we will make every day count! In Jesus Name, Amen!

Love you all,

Jodi

 

The Greatest Gift

Even though it is close to the end of December, I would still like to recommend a book to you.  It is called “The Greatest Gift… Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas” by Ann Voskamp.   She also wrote another great book called “One Thousand Gifts”.   Ann begins each chapter with a section of scripture and then adds her own thoughts which I truly have loved; they are so full of truth.   At the end of each chapter, she also includes an action step and some reflection questions to encourage you to go deeper.  This book was meant to be read in the month of December; however I think the devotionals and nuggets of truth are so strong that it can be read any time of the year.

IMG_4154

There are so many amazing chapters in this book that I would love to share with you. Because of time, let me share today’s devotional reading; it was Luke 1:26-38 where the angel appears to Mary to share with her that she has been chosen to carry Jesus.   First of all, let me start off by saying that I am so in awe of Mary and her response to the angel’s news.  She says, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May everything you have said about me come true.” Her response is amazing to me; it is a complete surrender to God even when the circumstances did not make sense.    I don’t know about you but I would have lots more questions like how will Joseph react to this news and will he still want to marry me.  Or what will the whole town think and how do I explain this… but instead she allowed God to use her in an amazing way because of her willingness to say yes.   In her book, Ann says, “Your greatest gift is not your gifts, but your surrendered yes to be a space for God.” Ann encourages us to make space. This is such a busy time of year with so many items on our to do list that sometimes we forget to make space for how God wants to use us this Christmas. My challenge for you in these last couple days before Christmas is to make space and be open to how God can use you- it could be simply encouraging another person either a friend or stranger, it could be giving to someone in need, it could be extending love and forgiveness to someone that has hurt you, or it could be welcoming someone into your home for the Holidays. I don’t know the exact details but I know God wants us to be willing to say yes just like Mary modeled to us.

I love the way Ann says it in her book, “There is no need to produce or perform or perfect- simply become a place for God.  That is all.”   If we are all honest, we have tried to either produce more, perform better or be perfect. It just leaves us exhausted and unfulfilled because this is not God’s desire for us.   In the previous chapter, Ann says this, “You are most prepared for Christmas when you are done trying to make your performance into the gift and instead revel in His presence as the Gift.”   What does God want for Christmas this year- He wants you! He wants you to accept his gift of Jesus and let Him be your Savior and Lord of your life. He also wants you to shine brightly for him by using your gifts He has given you to show others Christ’s love and forgiveness!!   In her book, Ann says, “You’ve got to use the life you’ve been given to give others life.” I just love this!

My prayer for all of us is that we can truly remember God’s love story to us this Christmas and our focus will be on the special gift of Jesus.   I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas!! Remember God loves you so much!!

Love, Jodi