Don’t Give Up, Mama. They’re Getting It!

When Adeline was born, many people told me how difficult it is to be a mother– you’ll never get any sleep, you’ll never pee alone, you’ll never get time alone with your husband again, you’re basically grounded for the next 18 years. It was what every new mother wanted to hear. 

     In reality, I had given birth to a baby girl who slept through the night from night two, never had any dietary issues, and pretty much just went right along with everything. She adapted to our lifestyle without much fuss. Now, because she was a baby, there were nights she wouldn’t sleep, there was the infamous “I’m almost two and if I have to be in this car seat I’m going to make you regret it the ENTIRE car ride!” screaming phase, but for the most part, the child was the easiest kid to ever walk the earth.

As a two-year-old, we didn’t have many public outbursts, she was a very happy child, sassy-of course-, but primarily easy-going. Obviously, it was all because of my incredible parenting skills and the fact that I excel at everything I do, so my kid must, also, right? What an awesome parent I was.  

And then she turned three. 

This perfect, my-kid-NEVER-acts-like-that-in-public parent was hit in the face with the Mack Truck of the strong-willed child. However strong my will was, believe me, hers was stronger. The fits began- no, no. Not just the “I want a cookie and you said NO.” fits. More like the “APOCALYPSE HAS STARTED AND IT WILL NOT STOP UNTIL I GET A DANG COOKIE AND I KNOW YOU’LL DO ANYTHING TO SHUT ME UP! LOOK, KROGER SHOPPERS! I HAVE A SNOTTY NOSE AND MY MOM WONT GIVE ME A COOKIE AND SHE FEELS LIKE A FAILURE AND IM JUST SCREEEEEEEAAAAAAAAMMMMMMIIINNNNGGG!” fit.  Parenting Self-righteousness? Gone. 

There were fits about EVERYTHING. What underwear to put on. How to wear said underwear. Why we don’t dive head first off furniture. Why we don’t break things. The hard part was that this child, however strong-willed and difficult it was to parent during that year, was the same child that immediate preceding and following the fit was (AND STILL IS) good-natured, good-hearted, sweet, smart, ridiculously hilarious, and the life of any party. My smart, strong-willed child WANTED to be obedient. She WANTED to listen. But she also wanted her own way and couldn’t seem to control her need to do what she wanted. Because she was three. 

 We tried every pre bring trick in the book, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, spanking (yes, we spank. Sorry, not sorry!), reward charts, ignoring (that was laughable), you name it, we tried it. And failed. Miserably. 

For over a year, we couldn’t figure out what we could do to possibly help this child see she NEEDED to be obedient for safety purposes. So, I prayed. 

Lord, did I pray.

I prayed she would be obedient to me so I could teach her to be obedient to God. I prayed for wisdom in how to deal with her strong will and her fragile heart. I prayed for myself, that I would BE the obedient daughter to God that I wanted her to learn to be. And I made sure she saw and heard me praying. I prayed over every little scrape and booboo. I prayed over our attitudes, I prayed over our dinners and our days. It was all I knew to do. It was my last-ditch effort. 

This incredibly good-hearted, delightful child is now four-and-a-half. We haven’t had a tantrum in about three months now.

I wasn’t sure if she had been paying attention, though. UNTIL LAST WEEK. 

I had a toothache. A bad one. I was lying in bed and  My husband was putting the girls in their bed, which he never does without me. (He’s fully capable and the best dad EVER, it’s just something we choose to ALWAYS do together.) As I was lying in bed, Adeline came and crawled up into my bed, laid her tiny, perfect little hands on me, and said this: 

“Mommy, the only way you’ll feel better is if we pray. Thank you, God, for this day. Thank you for blessing us and keeping us safe and thank you that Mommy was healed by the stripes of Jesus. In Jesus name. Amen.” 

It was then that I knew she heard me. She saw me. And she was getting it. 

Be still, my heart. This child, this baby who made me a mommy, this ex-pro tantrum thrower, is going to do incredible things for her Father in this lifetime. And, mama, SO WILL YOURS. 

JUST KEEP ON TRUCKING. They’re getting it. 
Love to my loves, 

Cate

For more Mary From Martha, click HERE to follow us on Facebook!

Supporting God’s Call on Your Husband’s Life

Before Will and I got married, he told me that God had placed a very specific calling on his life. He told me, very plainly, that he was called to preach the gospel, to be a pastor (and that if I weren’t planning to marry him and be his wife, there wasn’t any point in us dating!). As a 17-year-old girl, you can imagine my surprise, but I admired his boldness and saw a man who had a huge heart for God, incredible knowledge of His Word, and a hunger that couldn’t be satisfied. This man answered my questions and my doubts with incredible patience and outright excitement. I married him. 

     Fast forward two years to a Sunday morning in the church where we met. A pastor from another country, who is very near and dear to our hearts, announced that he would like everyone who felt called to pastor to come to the front for prayer. My husband and one other couple stood and went forward. I sat comfortably in my chair. As Pastor Suarez was praying, I knew I should have gone with him. After all, if that was the calling God had placed on his life and I was called to be his wife, then we were in it together. 

    But at the time, I didn’t feel like God had placed ANY calling on me. It wasn’t until a few years later (when I realized the actual relationship with God was the key) and lots of seeking that God filled me in. He told me my first calling was to be a Godly wife. My second to be a Godly mother, and third, a speaker of His gospel. (I surely never thought THAT would be the calling He gave me.)

So, I made it my mission to support Will in his calling, which just happens to also be his greatest passion- preaching the Word. And while God hasn’t yet given us a platform on which to preach it, while we wait on His timing and His placement, here are five ways I try to support and help my Studmuffin grow and learn in his calling: 

1.) Pray For Him

Men are our protectors and providers. They carry the burdens of the family and guide us spiritually. On top of family life, they have work, they have church, they have just as many things on their plates as we women do. So we MUST lift them in prayer. I pray for him to have wisdom. I pray for him to have patience. I pray for him to resist temptation in all areas and for him to listen for the voice of God. I pray for his safety. My goal is for him to always be built up in prayer. Even if you’re running late in the mornings, when you’re stuck in traffic, just pray a two-sentence prayer over him. God hears our smallest prayers just as well as our elaborate ones. You’ll be glad you did. 

2.) Remind him who he is. 

When God places a calling on us, it doesn’t always manifest immediately. Whether your calling is to be a mother, a Godly entrepreneur, or a Pastor, these callings are all important and they don’t always happen when we want it to. So we wait. Or we are thrust into it. Either way, he WILL get discouraged. Remind him. Remind him who is in control. Remind him why God called him. Remind him why you married him. Remind him that He is who God says he is. Remind him that he has a loving wife and a loving God who both believe in him immensely. Remind him. Then remind him again. Then pray WITH him. 

3.) Speak goodness TO him and ABOUT him. 

In our culture, it seems to be the thing to speak ill of husbands, and really, men in general. We sit with our girlfriends and tell them the latest faux pas our husband has committed and roll our eyes at the stupidity of men. Don’t. My husband is my other half. My covenant partner. I should treat him as such. Speak good things about him to your friends, to your family. Praise him in public. Then praise him in private. Remind him. 

4.) Encourage his passion. 

   It used to irk me that my husband seemed to have NO hobbies at all. Seriously. He isn’t a music person. Not a sports fanatic. Doesn’t have a large circle of friends (neither do I). Isn’t a fisherman or a hunter. It took me YEARS to realize that he has two hobbies: Jesus and Business. Those two things, once he starts talking, he can’t stop. And while generally a quiet person, he has this incredible wealth of information and an eagerness to share it with anyone who will listen. How do I encourage that? I get him books and teachings. I talk about business ideas and marketing with him. I ask him questions about these things. For Christmas, I bought him a CD on entrepreneurial leadership. Today, I went to the book store and bought three books: one on Grace, one on mentorship, and one on pastoring. My goal is to feed his passion. And I find that I learn so much from him by listening to him. 

5.) Become the wife of a man who is called to that position/calling. 

This has been one of my biggest focuses: myself. I’ve been asking God to prepare MY heart as well. Make me gentler. Make me an encourager. Make me a listener. Give me a heart for God and a heart for His people. Make me into the wife my husband needs. 
I’d love to hear what you do to encourage your husband’s call. 

Love to my loves, 

Cate

For more encouragement from Mary From Martha, follow us HERE on Facebook.

Heretic and False Prophet: Why We Should Reconsider Before Accusing.

 In today’s day and age, it is so simple for us to sit behind a screen and not hold ourselves accountable for the things we put on the internet. The thing is we are held to a higher standard than the world. As Christians, what we put out there for others to read directly affects others, both Christians and non-Christians alike. We are planting seeds by pushing buttons. Are those seeds for the glory of God or do they satisfy our selfish need for glory?

On Facebook, my husband and I had followed a certain popular page that creates memes for Christians. For a while, it was funny. Some of them were quite humorous. After a while I started to notice a trend: so-called Christians mudslinging and getting into outright arguments over their religious leanings. I noticed two very serious accusations being thrown around willy-nilly at the slightest hint of disagreement: heretic and false prophet.

Guys, we are to be building each other up, not being keyboard warriors and shining our hineys in an effort to make ourselves seem more righteous. WHAT KIND OF GOD ARE WE PORTRAYING? Not the God I serve. I serve a holy, loving, caring God. I don’t serve a God who is ready to throw me into the pits of hell at the first sign of my indiscretions. I serve a God who sent His Only Son to be tortured and brutally murdered so that I could have life, so that my sins could no longer be held against me, so that HE could have relationship with ME, a sinner who wasn’t worthy.

Do we realize the weight of an accusation such as heretic or false prophet? I honestly believe that if we did, we wouldn’t throw it around so hastily.

   Mark 7:6-9 defines a false prophet as one who “constantly honor Me with their lips, but their hearts hold off and are far distant from Me. In vain (fruitlessly and without profit) do they worship Me, ordering and teaching (to be obeyed) as doctrines the commandments and precepts of man. You disregard and give up and ask to depart from you the commandment of God and cling to the tradition of men (keeping it carefully and faithfully). And He said to them, You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to keep your own human regulations!”

So, here is my question: When we accuse someone of being a heretic, a false prophet, we are, in essence, judging their hearts to be turned form God. And why? Because they disagree with us? Because we are so much more righteous in our understanding? No. We call them heretics and false prophets because we are too righteous in our own eyes to be calm and lovingly discuss the intricacies of the Word of God, because we are puffed up and afraid of being wrong.

James 4:11 tells us My brethren, do not speak evil about or accuse one another. He that maligns a brother or judges his brother is maligning and criticizing and judging the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a practicer of the Law, but a censor and judge of it. Only one is the Lawgiver and Judge Who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you that you presume to pass judgement on your neighbor?

No. Instead, we are to edify each other, to encourage, to counsel, and to do it LOVINGLY as we are given examples:

1 Thess 5:11: Therefore encourage one another and edify (strengthen, build up) one another, just as you are doing.

Galatians 6:1-3: Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are responsible and controlled by the Holy Spirit should set him right and RESTORE HIM and REINSTATE HIM without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye o yourself, lest you  be tempted also.

2 Tim 4:2- Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage- with GREAT PATIENCE and CAREFUL INSTRUCTION.

1 Pt 3:8 Finally, all should be of one and the same mind, sympathizing, loving each other as brethren, compassionate and courteous.

Friend, when we are Christians, everything we do is a reflection upon Jesus. Nobody wants a God who is bitter, self-righteous, and waiting on the ready to attack. And that is a good thing because that God doesn’t exist. God is a God of mercy, grace, and restoration and it is time that we as Christians start presenting ourselves to each other and the world as children of that loving God.

 

Love to my loves,

Cate
For more from Mary From Martha, click here to follow us on Facebook.

When Mama is Needed in the Middle of the Night

Today, Superman and I spent ALL DAY packing and loading a moving truck. Tomorrow, we begin a new adventure. Or an old adventure again, however you want to look at it. We are moving back to Mississippi. 

For twelve hours today, the two of us packed, moved out, and cleaned a house while my grandmother kept our girls. Since everything we own is in a truck, we decided to stay the night at my grandma’s house. So, we brought our air mattress and descended upon the formal living area, all four of us. 

We made up a couch for the girls and figured they’d be fine since we were in there with them and they sleep together. Ah, yes. We will get a good night’s rest tonight, close on the house tomorrow, and drive our happy selves to good ole Mississippi. 

We were naive enough to think it would just be that easy. 

We knew better. 

Here’s how the night has actually gone: 

We laid everyone down about 8:45pm. They were sleepy. They talked a bit, they walked a bit. Then the crying commenced. And it didn’t stop. For over two hours Abbie Faith cried and rolled and moved and cried and yelled. Awesome. I put her in bed with her dad and sister (now sleeping on the air mattress) and left the room to sleep in the other living room because Abigail refuses to sleep if I’m around. She’s been like this forever. When Mommy is in the room, forget sleep. So for an hour, I dozed in another room while she napped with Dad and Sister. 

Then, Addie Grace Coughed at precisely 12:04am. And Abbie woke. And then she screamed. And cried and yelled. And then she threw up. Awesome. It was clearly because she was so upset, right?

Cleaned up the kid. Tried to rock her back to sleep, but, alas, no sleep was to be had. So I put her in the truck and drove her around town (FYI: we are about 20 mins from town). When I was about 15 mins from home, Abs pukes again. A lot. In the truck. Wonderful. 

IT IS NOW 2:46AM and I’m awake in my Pawpaw’s recliner with a sleeping baby, afraid to move or breathe. 

BUT…

God gives us grace to handle situations like this when we are sleep-deprived and exhausted from a long day’s work. Tonight, he has replaced my irritation at not sleeping with gratefulness for the snuggles I miss out on when she sleeps in her own room with her sister. He’s replaced my frustration with peace. 

  
It may be a ridiculous time of night, but there is an incredible man snuggling with my big girl in the other room and a sweet, sleepy baby in my lap. I am blessed. 

And starting tomorrow, we get to chase our dreams and His will as a family