So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” Matthew 5:9

Can anyone please show the political “leaders” of our world how to cooperate instead of compete or fight? Bueller? Ferris Bueller?

While the crapstorm of American politics needs a serious dose of emotional management, I’ve got bigger salmon to sizzle in my mom world. If wearing my best Swiss army gear neutralizes familial discord and showers down blessings, then suit me up.

Because there were chunks of years when my identity snuggled up with the inner wranglings of whodunnit scenarios and battles of the will. Every mom plays good cop, bad cop – and some days chaos erupts no matter how deft our toeing the line abilities.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.”

In my desperate case, the operative word in Jesus’ directive is show. The actions speak louder than words cliché gained momentum when I had kids. As in, the trite expression materialized into my world far too often. 

Many times my actions literally out-screamed my actual shrieks. Think flailing arms, award winning eye rolls, mad skill door slamming. “Each a pillar of behavioral integrity,” said no one ever.

And when said behaviors mirrored me back in the face from my kids, the universe busted a cosmic gut over my contorted disdain. Bahaha.

Whatever, Mr. Milky. Way. For the record, raising kids isn’t as brilliant an endeavor as your starry night…

To which Jesus whispered to me, “That’s when you discover who you really are, Shelby, and your place in God’s family.” 

He then mumbled something about sarcasm aficionado, blah blah. Couldn’t really hear him over my ranting coming through the loudspeakers.

The point God’s trying to make through my jaded satire revolves around a little word called peace. Blessed are the peacemakers, i.e. blessed is every mom walking on the planet who can model productive conciliation.

And when we have sibling rivalry to contend with, standing firm on neutral ground becomes an arduous task. For years I thought God gave me three kids in forty-two months as a candid camera prank. Either that or He didn’t read the memo about my blatant lack of patience.

Being a peacemaker with three kids requires sound juggling ability. No matter how secure the situation seems at hand, one ball of wax always hangs in the air.

We want our kids to get along, love each other, and play nice. Sometimes I displayed excellence in teaching my kids how to cooperate, other times my impatience intensified the friction.

I often threatened punishment or forced apologies between my kids instead of hearing both sides of the story. Peace requires stillness. The simple act of separating our kids and asking them to think about what happened and why they’re mad before we even get involved can defuse the time bomb.

When the blood boil reduces to a simmer we can encourage healthy communication between the opposing forces. Exposing our kids early on to the value of listening to the others perspective before blurting out their litany of complaints sets them up for relational fortitude.

Teaching our kids how to cooperate instead of compete or fight also hinges to the manner in which we relate to our spouse. My husband and I made a pledge to refrain from arguing in front of the kids.

For the most part we did an above average job of following through. However, our egos got the better of us on many occasions as well. But we didn’t fret over our weakness. (Scratch that. The hubs didn’t fret. I think, therefore I fret.)

Eventually we took on good counsel from seasoned people wiser than us who reminded us the importance of our children witnessing “healthy fighting.”

Allowing our kids to think or believe we always get along promotes a dangerous ideal. Kids need to recognize disagreements come with the territory. Showing them how to fight fair, apologize, forgive teaches invaluable lessons for them to bring into their relationships in the future.

Ultimately, the ability to show our kids how to get along with others is a result of having peace in our heart. A heart filled with peace represents a heart saturated with the love of Christ. A heart steeped in the Divine means the person knows who they really are and their place in God’s family.

Not all is fair in love and war. But in God’s Love all is fair.

 

Saving Our Kids from Drowning In a Sea of Hypocrisy – (8th mantra)

Why I choose To Stay Home – (6th mantra)

The Reward Of Caring – (5th mantra)

Emotional Eating Vs. Spiritual Snacking – (4th mantra)

The Importance of Self Love in Mothering – (3rd mantra)

Why Emotional Losses Mean Motherhood Gain – (2nd mantra)

To The Mom Who Is At The End Of Her Rope – (1st mantra)

Shelby Spear

A self-described sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and love enthusiast, Shelby is a mom of 3 Millennials writing about motherhood and life from her empty nest. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.") , and you can find her stories in print at Guideposts, around the web at sites like Her View From Home, For Every Mom, Parenting Teens & Tweens and on her blog shelbyspear.com.

While I Wait for Another Door to Open, I’ll Hold One For Someone Else

In: Faith, Living
Woman teaching another woman by computer

I’m waiting for another door. All my life, I’ve been told that when God closes one door, He opens another. And here I am, staring at the imminent end of the business I’ve built from nothing. Closing down what I started up from sheer willpower, too much caffeine, and the bold determination to work for myself. Scratching out what I made from scratch . . . and it feels horrible. God didn’t just close this door. He slammed it shut, boarded the whole thing up, and hammered the nails in where I cannot pry them open. Believe me. I’ve tried....

Keep Reading

Separating Work From Home is a Must For Me

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mom with baby smiling

If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 11-year-old boy with his pale feet sticking out from under the blanket, on his way to the morgue after a gun accident.   If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the still, blue form of the 3-month-old who passed away in his sleep. We gave CPR and all the medicines “just in case,” but that baby was gone long before his caregiver brought him in through the door. If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 3-year-old...

Keep Reading

When Teens Are Hard to Love, You Love Them Harder

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy sitting with hood up

I lay face down on the floor, praying. Praying in the loosest sense of the word. Praying in the Romans 8:26 way—you know, when the Spirit “intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Because I could not utter any actual coherent thoughts at that point. I was weary and beaten down. Day after day I had been in combat, battling an opponent I didn’t anticipate: one of my children. My own child, one of the people I had lovingly grown inside my body and loved sacrificially for all these years, had staunchly and repeatedly put himself in opposition...

Keep Reading

In This Stage of Marriage, it Feels Like We’re Roommates Who Share the Same Kids

In: Faith, Marriage
Distant couple on phones in bed

How do you get it back? How do you get back the love you once had? Everyone told me marriage was hard and having kids was hard, but I had no idea it would be this hard. I thought everyone was lying because our relationship was solid before marriage. We were best friends. Some days I feel like we’re roommates who share the same kids. It disgusts me even to say that, but it’s the truth. Marriage is hard and has ugly sides to it that everyone seems afraid to talk about. RELATED: Keep Showing Up Even When Marriage is...

Keep Reading

You Are the God of Details, but God These Details Don’t Make Sense

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Window open with shutters

That was not the plan. What just happened in there? We walked out a bit defeated. More than a bit. I felt deflated. Things were supposed to be different by now. This wasn’t what I asked for or expected. This wasn’t even what they told me would happen. We cross the street in silence. Headed to the car and as soon as I shut the car door, I could no longer hold it in. I let the tears flow. All this unknown. I don’t understand. This is life. This is foster care. This is what we chose. That doesn’t make...

Keep Reading

I Am a Good Enough Mom

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother kissing toddler

I came to motherhood knowing nothing about the job. My mother’s example wasn’t an example at all, more of something to forget, and maybe even get therapy for. My own son was the first newborn I’d ever held. When I became a mom, I was 23 and clueless.  Because of my personality, I wanted to do everything right and parenthood was no exception. I read all the books on parenting I could. I talked to older moms and soaked up all the advice they gave me. Having no idea what I was doing made me look to outside sources to inform...

Keep Reading

God’s Plan For Me Wasn’t What I Expected

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman walking with children silhouette

I grew up in a family where we knew who God was. We went to church, and we were involved in church. However, when we weren’t at church, time spent in the Word fell to the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, my parents were wonderful people, but we didn’t make that a priority in my house.  Going into adulthood, I realized I had deceived myself into believing I had a relationship with God. I knew God loved me, but I questioned whether I loved Him. I wasn’t living life in a way that was glorifying to Him. I’m not only...

Keep Reading

But God is Still Good

In: Faith, Living
Woman looking out window

“I can’t afford a new one,” I thought to myself as I shampooed another stain. This can’t keep happening. Maybe I made a mistake. I have to make this last. And the couch. And the clothes. And all the things. We are done having babies. The price of food has doubled. It’s astronomical to fill the cars with gas. Things are closing in on me. How can I best serve my family? Survival mode engaged. When I read the news, when I follow the headlines, when I listen to the conversations around me . . .  I hear fear. Loss....

Keep Reading

Jesus Helps Me Smile Through the Weary Moments of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman holding toddler girl, color photo

“Mom, why aren’t you smiling?” My 4-year-old took one look at my face, and like an open book, she could read me. Sometimes I wish I could hide it better, tucked behind an infinite smile or a pasted-on happy face. Sometimes I wish my beautiful children—so young, free, and fun—wouldn’t see my face on a day like today. RELATED: Motherhood is Hard, But Loving You is the Easiest Thing I’ve Ever Done You see, it’s just so hard—all of it. And I am just so tired. Between working a job, trying to keep up with being a supportive wife and...

Keep Reading

The Guilt of an Angry Mother Meets Grace

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and son hug at home

“No one’s perfect,” I think. I’m mopping up my overspilled anger like the remnants of an erupted chocolate volcano that hit the kitchen floor.  It was the last bucking whine of “I don’t want chocolate in my milk” that did it. The culmination of about one million “I want chocolate in my milk”s ended with a sticky muddy river of it from highchair to floor.  After reasoning with my toddler, which never works well, I gave in to his adamant refusal of white milk for a chocolatey exchange. He responded to my surrender like a 2-year-old. He revolted. Little feet...

Keep Reading