We recently welcomed baby #4 into our family. What an exhaustingly sweet time! With each addition to our family I have been amazed at the creative and loving ways people have shown up for us in these seasons of transition. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to bless a momma with a newborn so you can also show love and support to those moms that are in your life.
Set up two weeks of meals for after baby arrives ( Here is an extremely easy tool to help you set something like this up. https://takethemameal.com/ )
Help prep freezer meals that she can pull out later.
Give local restaurant gift cards for her pull out in a pinch. (Subway, Pizza Hut, etc.)
Drop off a year supply (can be less 😉 ) of paper plates, silverware, etc.
Set up a diaper/wipes pounding.
Offer to come over and clean/vacuum while she takes a bath/shower.
Text her and let her know you are praying for her.
Write notes/verses on a bunch of newborn diapers so she can smile while she’s doing changes.
Make a goodie basket for her to pull out whenever she goes to nurse. This can include mini water bottles, snacks, verse cards, lanolin cream, fun little gifts for her to open, etc.
Drop off new toys/books for any older siblings to help keep them entertained while they all adjust to large amounts of time being taken up with nursing/feedings.
Take any older siblings to the park or library so Mom can snatch a quick nap.
Offer to sit with the baby while Mom goes and does something with any older siblings in order to give them some needed quality time together.
Babysit ALL the kids so she and her husband can go on a date.
Offer to vacuum out their family car. (Someone did this for us with baby #4. I had never even contemplated it as being a helpful idea but this allowed the van to become a clean space for my brain to relax in every time I had to load all the kids up. And instead of being greeted by a mess, I was reminded me of just how loved I am.)
In what was originally a blog post series, Tim Challies shares eleven short biographical sketches of the mothers of godly men who have left their mark in history and how these mothers impacted the lives of their sons. These men include men such as Charles Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, John Newton, and J. Gresham Machen. In very brief chapters, Challies highlights women who had great wealth and great poverty, women with a higher education and very little education, women who had a number of children and few children, as well as women who were married and widowed. Their circumstances were as varied as a group of eleven women’s circumstances today would be. However, all these women had one thing in common: they loved their sons.
As varied as these women’s circumstances were, God also used a variety of means to impact these men. One mom diligently prayed for the salvation of her son; another mom consistently responded with love and gentleness when her son questioned his faith. While most of these women were already believers when they were raising their sons, one mom became a believer after her son was already an adult. Another mom was simply faithful to the tasks that were set before her: to work hard so she could provide for her children.
And God used these women to impact the world through their sons.
I really appreciate the devotional-like quality of Devoted and am thankful for how it reminded me of the incredible potential that God has given to us as mothers. Sometimes I get incredibly weary of being a mom; sometimes I even resent the sacrifices that I sometimes have to make because of being a mom. However, as I finished the last page of Devoted, I was thankful for the encouragement that, even in my most weary and frustrating day of parenting, God can still use my feeble and sin-marked efforts to bring about good in the life of my child.
Fellow mom, if you’ve ever wondered whether what you’re doing as a mom is making a difference in the life of your children, this book can help you see that God does, and can, use the seemingly everyday and insignificant things that we do to impact the lives of our children.
The past year has been different in so many ways for all of us. Most of us have spent a lot more time at home and a lot less time with people; perhaps we’ve also had to do without or get creative with essentials. And undoubtedly, we have all had to redefine “normal.” Yet even with all the changes, a lot of things have stayed the same–we are still wives, mothers, homemakers, friends–and so some advice we have been given by other women over the years rings just as strong and true today as it ever has. We hope these little nuggets of advice that have been helpful to us will be a blessing to you and encourage your heart as you go about the roles and responsibilities that God has placed before you!
“There are times when my husband doesn’t deserve my service and that’s when I just say ‘Lord, this service is for you!’”
A dear friend of mine shared these thoughts at a time when I was really struggling with submission. Her timely comment helped me to remove my husband from the situation in my mind and realize anew that my service is ultimately an act of worship to my God. – Chrystal
“Make your plans in pencil.”
A missionary lady shared this with a group of us when I was in Bible College. The point is that we can make plans but as we make our plans we must remember that God is ultimately in control and we should hold those plans in an open hand. There have been countless times over the years where I have gone to write something in my planner, set down my pen and gone to find a pencil. There have been many times that I have gone back with the eraser and been thankful for that perspective when I made those plans in pencil. – Rachel
“When I was having a rough day with my kids, I’d put them in the bathtub and let them play for a while. Some days they took three baths!”
My older friend shared this with me and we both laughed over it. Her frankness about parenting not always being easy was such an encouragement to me! And it also gave me the freedom to use her idea on my own rough parenting days. – Chrystal
“Just do something!”
When asking an older, wiser woman for advice on how to know God’s will for my life, she gave the illustration of a parked car: it isn’t going to go anywhere as long as it is parked, but once the car is moving, the driver is able to steer it in one direction or another. Similarly, when wondering whether something is God’s will for my life, many times I just need to do something instead of waiting around for the answer to fall in my lap. God will then open or close doors, as He sees fit! – Angie
“Live your life in such a way that for those coming behind you, it will have mattered that you were here.”
Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth shared something along these lines at one of her conferences and I have thought about it many times since then. I may never meet my grandchildren or great-grandchildren but the choices I am making today can make an eternal difference in their lives. – Chrystal
Ask yourself “What can I do now to help make life easier later?”
This is the question that I learned to start asking when I read The Lazy Genius by Kendra Adachi. As simple as it seems, this question has been so helpful during my current season of life with young children. It has made me learn the importance of redeeming the time and realize how helpful it is to pick up a few toys quickly or do some simple prep for supper during naptime. – Angie
I think we can all relate to the busyness this mom is describing. Some days it feels like we are living a never ending cycle of meals, laundry, bills, groceries and kids who need our physical and emotional energy. At the end of the day, we collapse on the couch, feeling desperate to be refueled because we know that tomorrow will require more of the same energy we used up today.
When those days, weeks or months of busyness hit, where do we find our source of strength to carry on? Often, I find myself wanting to turn to my phone, Facebook, a movie, etc. I want somewhere to go where I can just veg out and have nobody needing or requiring anything of me. After all, I’ve earned a break, right?
While there is nothing inherently wrong with enjoying any one thing, I have discovered that when I turn to “things” for my refueling they are always sadly lacking in the “life-giving” arena. In fact, I often end up more tired because I’ve stayed up too late phone-scrolling or binge-watching, desperate for some down time to myself.
Jeremiah 2:13 says “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”
Everything we have ever really wanted or needed is found in God, yet, we are so determined to look in every other place imaginable.
We waste our time digging wells that will never yield anything with which to quench our thirst. We want a refreshing drink but instead of water, we keep on turning up dust.
Jeremiah says that God is “the fountain of living waters.” I love that analogy. A fountain keeps on giving, keeps on pouring. It never stops running. So, when we’re feeling empty, He is the One we need to constantly be turning to for “filling.”
When we open our eyes in the morning and the kids are already clamoring for our attention, will we stop with the kids and pray that God would give us patience?
When the kids are down for naps and we’re feeling stretched thin, will we grab a quick drink from the Word before closing our eyes for that much needed nap?
When we’re feeling short of temper, will we text others and ask them to pray for us?
When we fail to show kindness to those God has entrusted to our care, will we confess that sin to God and accept the forgiveness He offers? You see, when we choose to run to God, instead of all the empty cisterns that so easily draw our attention, we will find the true rest, true strength and true life we are seeking. It can only be found in Him.
2020, a year marked by quarantines, changes, masks and unrest. Yes, my life has looked a lot different this year than I could have ever anticipated, but this one truth in particular has kept coming back to me; the resurrection of Jesus Christ changes everything. This truth has flooded my soul with peace and brought my heart to worship over and over. With so much fear and talk of death this year, I can’t help but be reminded that we live in a fallen world. Covid-19 is just one by-product from the curse of sin. And yet, Jesus Christ came to conquer sin and death! He willingly died on the cross and rose again so that I could experience life, both now and forever.
As a follower of Jesus I do not need to fear death like I once did because “He is the way, the truth and the life” and for the believer who has trusted in Him, “to die is gain.” The Bible tells us that one day God will make all the crooked paths straight, wipe every tear away and that “in His presence” we will find “fulness of joy.” After a year filled with many sorrows, this truth is comforting to me. However, the true life He offers isn’t reserved only for eternity. As a follower of Jesus I also get to experience life from Him, every single day. Jesus Christ has given me access to the Father through His own death and resurrection so that when I am afraid, when my soul feels empty, when my heart finds it hard to love, I am able to go to my God and He calms, fills and energizes like no other.
Over the past 9 months I have listened to the following song many times and it has been just one of many reminders to not forget what Christ’s work has accomplished for me. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow and all of eternity without fear.
When I think of 2020, I think of COVID: the two are pretty much synonymous. So when I think about what was one truth that carried me through 2020, I cannot help but tie that to the one truth that carried me, and continues to carry me, through COVID.
When COVID first hit the headlines and our country went into lockdown back in March, it struck fear to the very core of my being. There were so many uncertainties and unknowns about it (and do I need to add that there still are many unknowns?) that my mind was racing with all the potential outcomes of how it could affect my family. Add into the equation that I was expecting our second child, and the question marks about bringing a new life into this world in the middle of a pandemic loomed at the forefront of my mind.
But God in His mercy, chose to use those days to remind me of His tender care towards His children. Through trivial events like a broken-down vehicle, browned hamburger that spilled all over the floor, and an IGTV devotional clip that I happened to watch, God reminded my anxious heart that He cares about these things that weigh on our hearts because He cares about us, His children. Matthew 6:25-34 points out the futile nature of worrying. Why is worry and fear so futile? Because “if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”
Will he not much more?
God cares for the most everyday and mundane things in the world–the birds and the grass–but we so quickly forget that it is us, humans, who are made in His image. We are His prize creation, not the birds and the grass.
We are the ones for whom He sent His Son to die for on the cross, not the birds and the grass.
We are the ones who will one day live in eternity in His presence, not the birds and the grass.
Why then, are we so foolish to think that God would care for the birds and the grass, but not us?
Will he not much more?
God is our Father and He promises to care for us. When we are tempted to doubt His compassion and care for us, James 1:17 reminds us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” In 1 Peter 5:7 then, we find instruction on what to do when our hearts are troubled and anxious: we are told to cast “all [our] anxieties on him, because he cares for [us].” [emphasis added]
Is there any doubt that God will always take care of us?
Grabbing hold of these truths of God’s sure and steadfast care for me, His child, during those beginning weeks of COVID was such a balm to my anxious heart. Yes, there might be still be great pain and sorrow in store for me and my family. Yes, life might become less comfortable than what I’m used to it being. But I can still rest in the truth that God is my Father and He will care for me.
God’s got this.
I’ve said these words many times over the past year. I say it as much to myself as to my listeners.
My heart has needed the truth of God’s sovereign control more than ever during 2020.
I love planning, making lists and crossing things off my calendar as complete.
It has been so good for me to take an eraser to my plans and say “if the Lord wills, I will do this or that”.
This past year has exposed my heart’s desire to be in control. In the midst of our world feeling strange and swirling with unknowns, it has shown me that I never was in control in the first place. Rather, it was a feeling of control. Yes, 2020 has been hard but it has been good for my heart to recognize that no matter my feelings, no matter the circumstances God is, has been, and always will be in total control. His plans will always be fulfilled. God’s sovereignty is a truth I have always known but 2020 has made this truth come alive; a truth which I cling to and find rest for my soul in.