“Swimmers take your mark”, calls the announcer from the loudspeaker. Beeeeep sounded the buzzer. I dove into the water and glided effortlessly until I took my first stroke. Coming up for air in a fluid motion of succinct breathing, arm strokes, and kicks. I kept a steady pace down the lane, then curled up into a human ball, summer salting underwater known to swimmers as a flip turn and powerfully pushing through at the end of the wall. Then gracefully gliding once again. The art of swimming this heat would be 19 more laps until its completion.
Lap 17, no one on my left, no one on my right. Suddenly I hear the crowd roar as I head in to take my last flip-turn. Just then my thoughts creep in. That loud cheer couldn’t be for me. Someone must have just won I thought.
I had more and more time to think. To second guess. For the enemy to settle in with the negative self-talk. To tell me what I had already been playing in my head. I am the only one who looks like me here, I am not good enough to win this race. My body doesn’t look like theirs. I am not a swimmer.
Succumbed to the doubt I began to slow down. The lead that I didn’t know I had was gone. I had lost the race that I later learned I was actually winning. That loud roar… was for me, they were cheering me on neck and neck down the last lap. Only I couldn’t see it.
Instead of going faster when the crowd cheered I self-sabotaged, I stopped trying altogether.
Have you had moments where you begin to shrink or hold yourself back, too?
It was a sport that I absolutely loved and yet I had convinced myself otherwise.
The Bible tells us in Romans 8:1 that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So why do we continue to condemn ourselves?
If you haven’t started already let God show you who you are through His eyes. You are not your failures or condemned. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.
I want you to acknowledge your shrinking stories, the ones you tell yourself when you are all alone with your thoughts.
If you are harboring those stories and letting them guide you as your truth, you are going to remain stuck. Instead, ask God to speak His word into your life, ask Him to reveal His truth of you.
When you do this, you will go through a change and transformation that God has been calling you to. Then, you will be able to move forward with a renewed identity in Christ.
Hey mama, I feel like the ministry of motherhood is the most rewarding and challenging ministry ever! If you are the best parent, cool under pressure, praise the Lord! However, I have had moments of insanity while raising kids until I started doing this one simple act.
What act am I referring to?
Yes, praying over your kids, for your kids, and with your kids makes you – and them better people!
Here are the top 3 reasons why prayer is necessary for the ministry of motherhood
Stop the Insanity
Since prayer is the lifeline between you and God, when you pray, he listens. As a result, your prayers will be answered (in his timing, of course). Mathew 7:7-8 tells us to seek, and we will find. Knock, and the door will be open. The problem is that a lot of times, his children fail to ask. Maybe you think prayers are for people who are worse off than you. Or that he has bigger things to solve than how to have more patience with your kids.
Sis, the enemy wants you to believe that your prayers do not matter. For instance, you might have reservations about praying for your kid not to touch everything in the store because there are so many people in the world suffering. You might feel your small prayer is not valid compared to all the things you could be praying over. The reason to pray is to build a relationship with your Father. God sees the struggles and pain in your everyday life. He is waiting for you to talk to him about your ministry of motherhood role. However insignificant you think your situation might be, Jesus is waiting patiently to listen and help.
How to pray for your motherhood ministry
Whether you know it or not, motherhood is a ministry. It takes great strength to raise a family. Believe that you are not alone in this ministry of motherhood. Your job is to bring up humans that exemplify what the bible teaches. Since a child understands by example, be the example for your child. For instance, do your children see you reading the bible, praying, and doing good works? Start praying for the ability to lead as God wants you to. Since God hears your prayers, Holy Spirit will guide you in raising your children.
Praying with and affirming your kids
We always did our nightly prayers, but I realized our children needed prayer in the morning too. My kids needed me to set the tone of the day. I had to help them get to a peaceful state of mind before the school day started. Our morning prayer routine turned into opportunities to pray with other family members using the Our Daily Bread app.
Part of our morning prayer time includes speaking God’s promises over them. For a complete list of the affirming scriptures, click here. When you Affirm your kids with scripture, you tell them how God sees them.
So today, pray for yourself in the ministry of motherhood, as well as the children you are leading. Grab your affirmations or make your own and start praying with and over your kids. I am praying for you! It takes a village to raise a family.
Christian mama’s, let’s talk about raising your Christian kids in the alpha generation. Here’s what you need to know about the Alpha generation. Gen alpha is your current 0 to 10-year-olds. They have the most access to technology; they are the least likely to get enough outdoor time. According to parenting.firstcry.com, gen alpha will be the most independent, reliant on technology, and least like to conform to any religion. Gen alpha could be the most self-absorbed, non-conforming generation yet. With all the predictions around gen alpha, how are Christian parents supposed to raise their children?
Raising your gen alpha child will be a lot easier when you implement these biblically-based parenting ideas.
Christian parents go straight to the source
As a parent, I have been in panic mode listening to what society says about my kids. Until I realized children belong to God. Which means you aren’t parenting alone. You are parenting with God. Since God entrusts you with this gift, it is your responsibility to ensure you are consulting the source. There is an inner peace that surpasses all understanding when you consult with God. So start talking to God about your children. The authors of the newest generational article cannot tell you who your child will be or how to best care for them. But, reading your bible and having a relationship with God will lead you toward healthy child-rearing.
God created your child with a specific purpose and mission. Try to hone and develop their young minds in the ways Christ will have them go. Therefore, resist who society says your children are.
If you can’t change the generation, influence it!
Parents, caregivers, and media influencers raising your Christian kids in the alpha generation can influence society by deciding what your child will watch. For instance, subscribing to positive programming like ChristGEO and Pureflix This encouraging programming has an opportunity to protect their hearts, eyes, and minds from the harmful society programming that may be in the world today. You might not be able to change an entire culture, but you can change a household and influence those who are listening.
Create the Balance for raising your Christian kids
Help your child discover a healthy balance of outdoor time versus screen time. The article from childmind.org, why kids need to spend time in nature, reveals the benefits of spending time outdoors linked to mood and a general feeling of wellness overall. So, set the limits on TV and screen time, get your children outdoors in nature where they can experience the wonders of the creator. Open up dialogue for discussion, discovery, and wonder.
Parents and caregivers raising your Christian kids in the alpha generation have an opportunity to strengthen the youngest minds. Learn all you can about how to sow the seeds of the future by seeing God’s truth for children and help them realize they are set apart. We will never be able to change society; so let the goal be to influence change from where you are and being open to the balance of discovery and wonder.
In conclusion, Go to the source, let God into your parenting; he knows what you need. You can influence them too! You might not be able to control everything that your child will do. However, you can positively influence what they watch and hear. Lastly, create the balance of outdoor and indoor time that their minds need to grow healthy. Implementing these biblically-based parenting ideas will help you raise children in the alpha generation.
Sara Chinakwe is an author and children’s ministry leader. She encourages the youngest of minds and equips women to pursue God’s purpose. Sara inspires women and children to see themselves as God sees them. Sara resides in Sacramento, California with, her husband and two children. You can read more on her blog sarachinakwe.com
Setting up a morning routine your kids will follow is one of the hardest things to follow through on. Before I implemented a system I was always rushing out the door. With a little knowledge about how routines work, you will be able to successfully set your morning routines with your kids, so you all can get out the door!
Why routines matter
First, let’s talk about why routines matter. Setting positive routines lets children know what is expected of them. Children are thinking, capable human being just like you and me. Setting up routines for your child is a healthy way to help them create structure, curb the behavior, and help anticipate their needs. According to healthychild.org Children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent.
If you are new to setting and sticking to routines with your children don’t panic! Start with the desired outcome. For example, you want your child to put his dirty clothes in the laundry bin, instead of the floor (real-life scenario). For this try “front-loading” him, walking him through what he will do when he takes his dirty clothes off, which basket they go in and why create the system he needs to be successful in this task.
Then, your job is to follow through. Checking in to see your child is actually doing what he is supposed to. When he is successful in putting his clothes in the appropriate place immediately praise him for his efforts. This works with clean-up time and every other routine too. Your child will be following routines in no time!
Pro Parenting Tip: Make it a game! Kids of all ages love games, try to incorporate routines that are fun and creative.
They crave autonomy
The best thing you can do for your child in setting up a morning routine your kids will follow is giving them a choice. As an educator, this has been a tool that has served me well. When children feel they have a choice they are more apt to be empowered. Throughout the day children may be treated as though they don’t have a voice because they are “just kids”, but children know and understand more than we give them credit for. So having them make choices that you are offering is a great way to give them the autonomy that they crave. It will also make them feel empowered to make better choices you are not around.
Pro Parenting Tip: Don’t save your child from their not-so-great choices. Let them learn from their mistakes. Then, be there to guide them through it.
Start your routine at night
Setting a morning routine your kids will follow actually starts the night before. Your nightly routine acts as an anchor for your morning routine. So practices like getting your babies to bed at a decent hour, most children need 10-12 hours of sleep or more (even your teens) will be a healthy start to their day. Set a limit on screen time before bed, try having your kids read a book before bed to help their mind “get ready for sleep”. If they are younger read a book to them.
Set up the nightly routines like making sure you have everything ready for school so your morning transition will be smooth. Set the night up having a wind downtime such as bath, brushing teeth and, family time. Having a nightly routine will help you get your child up and ready the next day with ease.
Set a routine in the morning too
Help your child wake up comfortably, do they like to ease into the morning or can they jump out of bed and be ready to go. Not all kids are the same so allow them the time and space they need to wake up. I have been known to sing wake-up songs, open curtains, set alarms, and give cuddles. Try different things to see what works with your child’s age and comfort. Make sure your child has a breakfast that gives their brain energy (sugary cereals just make kids crash).
Pro Tip: Set the mood in the house by playing music to create a peaceful transition to leave the house.
In conclusion, setting up a morning routine help children learn how to function in structured environments. As a parent, you are the facilitator of creating your child’s routines. Incorporating them in the process instead of just telling them what to do builds up a healthy parent-child relationship. Setting your child up for success starts at night and flows into the morning. Help creating structure in other areas will help you establish better routines overall. Further, giving your child a choice will make him feel empowered, thus taking ownership and responsibility for himself and his environment.
Sara Chinakwe is an author, teacher, and children’s ministry leader. She encourages the youngest of minds and equips women to pursue God’s purpose. Sara inspires women and children to see themselves as God sees them. Sara resides in Sacramento California with her husband and two children. You can read more on her blog sarachinakwe.com
Ever wonder how to Overcome to-do-list frenzy? Guest blogger Christine Williamson from mygracewalk.com helps you learn how God’s lists keep you sane in the midst of the chaos.
As a mom, I have a love/hate relationship with August. On the one hand, I love it because soon, my four children will be back into the school year routines that everyone has dismissed for the summer. I abhor August because it ends my time with all my kids at home. It’s a bittersweet tug of war for me.
Several weeks ago, I was scurrying around helping my son and daughter get ready to head back to college. It’s mid-August, and the kid’s brains seem to kick back in. They realize they have a long list of things to do before leaving. Of course, many of those things need my help. Suddenly I have a list with tons of things that have to get done. Can you relate?
Shopping for clothes, shopping for food snacks to go back with them, shopping for supplies. There were more things on the list, but I am sure you get my point!:)
There are the lists of items the school needs uploading for admittance. In addition, there is the packing and making sure the kids see as many friends and family members that want to see them before they go. It can be an exhausting process.
I have a list too!
On one particular day, I, too, had a list of things I wanted to get done. Such as, I wanted to spend time in my bible study and research verses for my next blog. Ideas were swirling in my head I wanted to get on paper. I really wanted to write! I was even looking forward to grocery shopping and doing some cleaning around the house.
That day was the day before my daughter moved into her dorm for her freshman year at college. Let me share with you, I did not get one thing on my list done, but we completed several items from her list.
That evening as I sat and rested, yes, it was a packed full kind of day. I found myself thinking of the lists we make. All the things we think have to get done. We get ourselves caught up in a cycle of living by what we get done from ‘the list.’ I wondered if we had a list of things that really mattered and if we worked as hard to get those items done.
I thought about my bible study and the list of things Jesus gives us. That’s right, Jesus gave us lists or instructions on how we are to live our lives.
Overcome to-do-list frenzy with the 10 commandments
The 10 Commandments:
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery
You shall have no other gods before me
You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain
Honor your father and mother
Do not kill
Do not commit adultery
You shall not steal
Don’t bear false witness against your neighbor
You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife
You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods
Over the years, I have spoken with several people that thought of the commands as rules we had to follow to please God. I don’t look at them as rules but as guides or instructions on how God wants us to walk our faith.
Another list to consider is the items God tells us to arm ourselves with. I encourage you to read Ephesians 6:10-18, but in short, the list goes something like this.
Overcome to-do-list frenzy by putting on your armor
Let’s arm ourselves with:
The belt of truth
The breastplate of righteousness
Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
The shield of faith
The helmet of salvation
The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
I absolutely love how Jesus tells us how to protect ourselves from the enemy. We are under constant attack from the devil and require God’s divine protection.
Now, if you are still in Ephesians, flip to the left to John 13:31-35. Jesus can whittle down all these commands to the one we should emulate in our everyday life. Take a close look at verse 34.
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." John 13:34 ESV
Yes, I know for many of us, there are some lists we need to write out. I can tell you, if I didn’t write out my grocery list, I would forget half of what I needed and would buy tons of unneeded stuff.
For me, my passion in life is staying obedient to my God. Therefore, I take this one command deeply to heart. But, it can be very challenging. There are many times I don’t want to love someone. The someone that hurt me or disappointed me. The person who broke promises or lied to me. Truthfully, I know it’s not me loving them.
I believe in my heart that if I am obedient to Jesus’s command, he will pour his love through me to them. I can love them with Jesus’s love. You can read my blog, My Unusual Walk in Obedience to God’s Word, at mygracewalk.com to read more on my perspective of walking in obedience and how fulfilling it is.
Overcome to-do-list frenzy with love
Jesus takes us right to the heart of the matter, what’s most important. Love one another as he loved us.
As a believer in Christ, my focus is living how Jesus lived and how he wants us to live. It is my greatest joy to imitate his walk as closely as I can.
There is no way to know why God loved us so much that he sent his only son to save us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have erternal life. John 3:16 ESV
We have no right or claim to it; it is a gift we can humbly accept, a gift he gave his life for. Jesus loved us so much he called us friends.
"No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing: but I called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:15
To thank him, I will strive to be obedient to his command to love one another, to walk my walk as close as I humanly can to his walk.
So, I will ditch the many lists I think are very important to everyday life and concentrate on his lists.
Overcome to-do-list frenzy the list Jesus has
The Ten Commandments
Wearing the Armor of God
Loving my neighbor
My friends, I have four children and know how busy life can be; when you haven’t overcome the to-do-list frenzy. Yet, if we follow that one command, to love one another, Jesus and the Holy Spirit will guide us to accomplish what he believes are the vital items on our list that need to be accomplished.
I pray the heavenly Father blesses you with the peace of Jesus in your life today.
Meet the Author
Christine Williamson is the creator of her blog, mygracewalk.com. Her purpose with mygracewalk blog is to not be a biblical scholar, but a sharer of life! She is a wife, a mom, and, working woman who has transformed into a Jesus Chasing Gal! Her purpose is to share and chat with you, to encourage, to hopefully build a community of sisters traveling this road of life together. Using her experiences to show you how God was with her while she was broken, knowing that while she cleaved to Him, He was building her back into the woman He made her to be.