I know many of you read Loving The Little Years when it was released a couple years ago, but have you had the blessing of reading Fit To Burst yet? Oh my. Good words. It may have been one of the last books I read in 2012 (along with God Rest Ye Merry and Future Men) but I think it may yet be one of the many I also read in 2013. It simply cries out for repetitive reading, and thanks to the busy life the author has as a diligent mother herself, it is written in short, concise, easy-to-fit-the-reading-into-real-life sections. It can be done by reading in ten minute spurts… and let’s be honest, a lot of times, that is just about the maximum number of minutes a busy mom can dedicate to reading in any one sitting. 🙂
Here are a few things that I underlined; I know they’re taken out of context, but I hope they bless you nonetheless (whether you’re a parent or not).
Sacrifice isn’t really sacrifice if it involves only doing what you want.
Motherhood is not just a job, it is an identity. More importantly, it is an identity that begins and ends with giving.
Prioritize [your children’s] needs. Think their needs are more important than yours.
Your thoughts alone will not play into the memories of your children.
If you could be the most accomplished mother in the world on your own strength, it wouldn’t matter in the end.
It is so easy as mothers to look at the work we do on behalf of our families and resent that it is free to them… When we imitate Christ, we want to give what costs us much, and we want to give it freely.
Thank God things to bake have nothing to do with your salvation.
We don’t all need to be making biscuits, but we should all be doing something. We should be getting our hands into stuff to give. We should be blessing others, thinking of others, giving to others. And we should be doing it so freely that we don’t remember it, because we are willing to wait to see what is done with it.
…Apparently my expectations were not aware of what my life is actually like. My expectations were ignoring–intentionally, too–that I had spent the day with a toddler. And that a mountain of laundry had been tamed. My expectations ignored the dinner that was served. They pretended not to notice the clean children or all the dishes that had been done that day. They turned a blind eye to the baby that was (at that time) growing inside. My expectations were a seriously mean boss.
When you are a mother and a homemaker, you are your own boss. The days are what you make of them.
Making a list that you cannot accomplish does not make you a better housewife.
The real goal here should be to illustrate for our children the attributes of both great leadership and faithful following. They should see us setting realistic (but maybe difficult) goals, and working hard toward them. They should see us being visionaries who are anchored firmly in reality. They should see us steadily plodding, faithfully working on things in a realistic way. They should see us laboring hard to make a beautiful life for them while not losing sight of them in it.
At the end of our children’s lives, we hope it is worth a fortune. But at any given moment it is the little things that contain the gold.
Our opportunities to bless our children are often most present when we least feel like it.
You could cheerfully sing with the kids the whole way to church–laying down that little piece of gold that worshipping fellowship with them matters more to you than showing up on time.
We should not be correcting our children in the interest of making our lives easier (although it most certainly will). Correct them in the interest of making their lives richer.
Repetition should not be discouraging to us, it should be challenging.
Having room to improve is not something to be sad about, it is something that should encourage and inspire us.
Some incredible fast years of my life were made up of the longest days in history.
We need to be now who we want to be then. The future is happening right now. It isn’t just bearing down on us faster, it is going past us, too. Some of that future I imagined has already come and gone.
Fruit is a vehicle for seeds… As we work to bear fruit, we are also bearing the seeds of a lot of future fruit.
Part of [our] duty is to help our husbands love our children… You are to help him convey his love to them. When your husband goes off to work, he is loving his family. When he brings home a paycheck, he is loving his family. But if there is no mother taking that paycheck and translating it into hot meals, into clothes for the children, into the comfort of home, then the children may very well not feel that love from their father. It is a mother’s job to communicate the love that the father has towards his children. It is our job to translate.
Having a right relationship to the father of your children is one of the greatest gifts that you can give your children.
Preparing and serving food isn’t just one of the most repetitive jobs that we have, it is also one of the most powerful.
There is more to saying grace than just a nod to God as the provider of food… It means that we are asking Jesus to join us.
Christianity was simply assumed in our house, but it was always alive. It was always being applied to our lives, and not from a distance. There was always the understanding that if the Word of God teaches something, that’s what we believe. There was no negotiating with it, ignoring it, or simply choosing to not apply it.
Our faith should be a shield to protect our children’s faith.
[Faithful parents] cannot provide the roots for their child’s tree, but they can lend the strength of their own roots.
Grace is action… Grace is not a facilitator of sins, it is a solution to them.
You might be embarrassed when your friend is harsh to their child, but were you embarrassed when you did the same thing in the privacy of your own home? See that kind of thing. Apply it to yourself.
I know that what people see isn’t the complete story. I know that some of the times when our parenting is most honoring to God it doesn’t look like we are doing very well.
Oftentimes I will know it’s true that nothing’s wrong, but I feel so “stressed” because there is so much to do, so much that isn’t done. This kind of stress is simply the ambient noise of faithfulness… Some kinds of “stress” are simply what happens when you are being faithful.
If the first thing that doesn’t go smoothly sets you off in a chain of fussing and demanding, blaming everyone but yourself, you need to recognize how your children are simply following you… They aren’t motivated to obey you cheerfully because you aren’t motivated to cheerfully obey God. You are indulging yourself, and so are they.
Good leadership always starts with the leader. It always starts with what you expect of yourself. If you are engaged in disciplining yourself, your children will know. They will mimic that. They will want to follow.
We make a point to discipline only when we have a biblical name for the offense, because we want our children to know that what we are doing is enforcing God’s law.
Being seriously about dealing with sin is honoring to God, because it is being serious about forgiveness.
When we ask God for direction on each of the little things, not only is direction provided, but progress is made. Sometimes, you need to ask God to show you each little foothold. That is not a sign that you are failing. It is not a sign that you will never find your way out. It is a sign that you are still on the journey, still obeying, and that you know who to ask for help.
Gratitude enables us to do our daily work as unto the Lord. It makes the little things that we do every day an offering to God.
We lift our hands in a gesture of lifting our worship up to God, but also a gesture of lifting the work of our hands up to Him. Asking Him to use the things that we do in the course of the week for the kingdom. We lift up the hands that have been in the sink with the dishes, hands that have been fixing hair and buttoning pants, hands that have been wiping off the table and driving to school, hands that have been changing diapers and tickling tummies, hands that have been busy holding other hands. These hands, this work, Lord, take them… And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is nothing better or more powerful that I could be doing with my hands.