Monday, October 10, 2016

Can Kids Understand the Gospel? (New video!!!)

Hi Moms,

Today my boys help answer an important question: Can kids understand the gospel? And if so, how much? It's easy to shy away from talking about theology with our kids because we don't want to confuse them. But Jesus praised "childlike faith" for a reason (Matthew 18:3). The gospel is so simple. Sometimes the best way to be reminded of that is to hear it from a child's perspective. Enjoy these six rare minutes of four little boys sitting still to talk about something they love - Jesus!

"Sara Wallace does a wonderful job of taking the practicals of motherhood and relating them to the gospel. I highly recommend this for moms who don't have a lot of time to sit down and do a big Bible study." - Jennifer
Get your copy of "The Gospel-Centered Mom" on Amazon!
Also available on Etsy!

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Dangerous Religion of Birth Culture

I'm just two months away from having my fifth baby. My fifth boy baby. Yes, we just like to keep things exciting around here. All of my babies were born in a hospital. I have been induced every time, received an epidural every time, and all of my babies have been between 10-11lb. I've said, “Yes,” to every pain medicine made available to me. That’s a little history on me. But I’m not here to defend a particular birthing method. I want to defend something much greater. I hope you'll join me.

In the beginning of this pregnancy I was most often asked, "Do you know what you're having?" Now as my due date gets closer I get asked a different question: "Are you having your baby in a hospital?" I can't count the number of times people have asked me this. I don't blame them. In today's culture with so many women having babies at home or in birth centers, it's a legitimate question. I ask other mamas the same thing. It's a point of great curiosity and interesting conversation.

But my concern for all of us is that we are stepping into dangerous, gospel-twisting territory. Birth culture is dividing women into two camps: natural and unnatural. Obviously, there is superiority attached to one of those. No mama wants to be called, "unnatural." So what puts you in the "natural" camp? You can earn points in a variety of ways. You can eat organic while you're pregnant. You can choose between your home or a birth center, but a hospital is out. If you must go to the hospital, a midwife can gain you back a few points. An epidural will lose you almost too many points to recover from. And a c-section? Let's just just say your application to the “natural” club has been denied. 

But the “unnatural” mamas can be just as exclusive. They cluster together to defend each other by turning up their noses at the other side:
“I prefer to trust science instead of Google.”
“I care too much about my babies to risk having them at home."

This hierarchy of motherhood is anti-gospel. Colossians 2:23 says, “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” (ESV) Birth culture seeks to spiritualize things that are not spiritual. As a result, women in both camps are suffering. Women who don't have natural births lose a little shine on their Mommy badges. They feel guilty and inferior. The moms who take the all-natural route are also in danger. They ride on a false sense of security that only lasts as long as their perfect track record - and the bar keeps getting higher. How natural is natural? Where do we draw the line?

This is where we get a glimpse into the enemy camp. Satan is the master of decoys. He loves to distract us with a false enemy while he sneaks in the back door with his real ammo. So many moms gear up for the fiery arrows of vaccines, epidurals, and medical intervention. But Satan's real arrows are fear, anxiety, pride, and finding our identity in something other than Christ.

Recently I talked with a friend who had just delivered a beautiful, healthy baby. I asked her how her labor and delivery went. She said, "It didn't go at all like I planned. I was so disappointed. At the end, I was holding my beautiful baby and crying because I felt like a failure." My heart broke for my friend whose birth experience had been tainted - not because she had a hospital birth, but because she had misplaced hope.

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, "Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith." (ESV)

Our only hope is Jesus Christ. There is no perfect birth plan. There is no perfect food. There are no perfect babies and no perfect mommies. But there is a perfect savior. If we hope in anything else we will be disappointed. We hope in His power to forgive our sin and we trust in His perfect plan for our lives. His plan might include an unexpected home birth for a mom who planned on a hospital birth but didn't make it in time. His plan might be a c-section for a mom who swore she wouldn't step foot into a hospital.

Any mom, whether hooked up to five different IVs or at home in her bathtub can glorify God with her birth story. Hospital Mom, did you miss the window to get that epidural you were depending on? Natural Mom, did you labor at home only to find yourself in a hospital 17 hours later? To both moms I want to say: You did not miss out on anything of eternal value. We only miss out on something if we don't put our hope in Jesus. We miss out on grace, peace, and joy. We are all on the same side, moms. It's the side of not really being in control of anything. God gets to write our birth plans. And He doesn't make mistakes.

"Sara Wallace does a wonderful job of taking the practicals of motherhood and relating them to the gospel. I highly recommend this for moms who don't have a lot of time to sit down and do a big Bible study." - Jennifer
Get your copy of "The Gospel-Centered Mom" on Amazon!
Also available on Etsy!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Getty Kids Hymnal: A Treasure Chest for the Whole Family! (EXCLUSIVE Discount Code)

A resource that will impact your family for generations...
Moms, I am excited for our generation of children. It’s easy to hyper-focus on the evil in our society, but the more Satan tries to twist the truth the more refined it becomes. Our kids are growing up in a revival of love for the truth. Out of that revival beautiful treasures are being born - resources that will help us parent according to scripture.

One of those resources is just being released today (9/23). Keith and Kristyn Getty have released their new album, “Getty Kids Hymnal: In Christ Alone.” I was thrilled to get a sneak peek at this project. As my four boys and I gathered around to hear the first strains of worship, I literally felt like we were opening a treasure chest. I want to share with you three reasons why this album instantly became part of the Wallace home. 

So much of today’s kids’ music is like candy - fun, but overall not very beneficial. The Getty Kids  Hymnal is a full, satisfying meal - something that will actually nourish our children and help them grow. Every word is purposeful, driving our kids’ hearts deeper into an understanding of what we believe. In fact, that’s the name of one of my favorite songs on the album: “We Believe.” The words are taken from the Apostles’ Creed, which my kids hear regularly from the pulpit on Sunday. Now those words can resonate in their hearts throughout the day set to the beautiful melody on this album. Keith says, “The words we sing when we’re young are the words that stick with us.” Let’s make those words count.


Although it’s called a “kids” hymnal, this is truly an album for the whole family. For me, the test of a good kids’ album is if I pop it in just for myself even when the kids aren’t around. Last night when I was cleaning the kitchen I turned on the track “Living Waters.” It was exactly what I needed to hear at the end of a long, full day. It fed my soul, lifted my spirits, and made it hard for me to see the dishes through my tears. Solid theology set to masterfully written music is what will make this collection go down in history. And I have to say, I am in love with the Irish flare.


When my boys saw this picture of the sweet Getty girls dancing they said, “Can those girls come here and dance with us?” The joy from the album is contagious. It has a celebratory vibe that reminds us of our hope and joy in Christ. Keith and Kristyn wanted to create a legacy of timeless music that we can pass on for generations to come. That’s exactly what they did.


I love knowing that this music points my kids to Christ and not to themselves. Whether they are old enough to know it or not, their hearts are soaking up beautiful truths about Jesus. The songs are not about how Jesus makes us feel, but about who Jesus is. What a beautiful gift to give our kids - to show them that Jesus is alive, that He saves, that He restores, feeds, and protects us. There is nothing I want more for my kids than to know this winsome savior.

If we teach our kids God’s word when they are young it will stay in their hearts forever. I am thankful to the Getty’s for helping equip parents to teach the gospel to their children. Our kids might not understand all of it yet, but I agree with Kristyn: “It will be there when they need it.” Isaiah 55:11 says, “My word shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” God’s word is alive. I can’t wait to see what it does in the hearts of my kids.

Order your copy of the Getty Kids Hymnal today and get 10% off when you use the code GOSPELCENTERED. Grab a copy for a new mom who needs encouragement! 

62 reviews
 Sara Wallace is the author of "The Gospel-Centered Mom" Bible study. Available on Amazon and Etsy!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Homeschool Schedule: Homeschooling with Five Little Boys

I'm always inspired by how other moms organize their time, especially with lots of little ones under foot. I love hearing the practical break down of another mom's day. So, in keeping with that spirit, I want to take you on a tour of my homeschool day. I have four little boys and I'm seven months pregnant with boy #5.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chuck the Chore Chart? A New Way to Think About Chore Charts

Over the last couple years I have found myself in a beautiful stage of child-raising: my kids can actually clean. My boys are 6, 5, 4, and 2. All four of them can put away clothes and toys, and the two oldest can wipe windows and counters. The can all (attempt to) make their beds. The oldest can clean out the van and the youngest can finally tell the difference between the trash can and the hamper (it was a bit disastrous before that). They don’t do their work spotlessly, but at seven months pregnant I’ll take what I can get. 
As soon as I realized my kids were at an age where they could do chores my biggest question was: “What chore chart do I want to use?” There was a sea of colorful, inspiring ideas on Pinterest. It was a bit overwhelming, but I was excited to start. I dove in and we were “chore charting” it up. But it didn’t take long for me to see that a friendly chore chart could quickly become my enemy.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

No Structure = No Discipline

I’ve only played paintball once in my life. I hated it.

I don’t have an ounce of tomboy in me, which is probably why God blessed me with five little boys. Paintball was a terrifying to me. I never knew when or where a painful sting would hit, followed by the splat of neon goo. By the end of the game I was shaking and I was covered with hits.

Isn’t that exactly how we mamas often feel at the end of a “discipline day?” You know what I mean. The bullets start flying first thing in the morning. The toddler chucks his breakfast on the floor. The four-year-old hits his brother. The oldest decides to enter teenage rebellion at age 6. Every discipline situation is like an unexpected, painful hit from out of nowhere.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Why We Don't Punish Our Kids

In 2013, 16-year-old Cooper Van Huizen was sentenced to two years in prison for stealing his father’s gun. The gun was used in a violent burglary and the boy was held responsible for providing it. His family sobbed as he was led away to a maximum-security prison. Cold, hard justice had been served.

Switch scenes. The setting is my living room. The 4-year-old just wrecked his brother’s Lego pirate ship (with a mischievous grin, of course). Court is in session.

(To read the rest of this article, check out its new home at The Gospel Coalition!)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Homeschool Curriculum - Video

Hi Moms! This is the video where I talk about what curriculum we've chosen for the year and why. I have a teaching credential and I taught elementary school for four years before I started having kids of my own. Now they are my favorite students. I have combined my oldest two into second grade and I am doing preschool/kindergarten with child #3 this year. I also have a two-year-old and another one on the way - due in two months! This video specifically focuses on our curriculum. If you'd like to see how a typical day looks for us, with tips on how to juggle homeschooling and toddlers, check out my blog post "Homeschooling with Five Little Boys".

Sunday, June 19, 2016

After the Conference High Ends

I have to admit something right off the bat: I'm not a huge fan of women's conferences. I have nothing against women gathering together to worship, study truth, and challenge their thinking. Unfortunately, there are many women's conferences flying under the banner of the Bible that are more focused on manufacturing emotional highs than on teaching truth. They send us into a tailspin of emotions that ultimately bring us crashing back down with little to show for it. Being away from home and surrounded by women all longing for spiritual fulfillment creates an atmosphere of vulnerability. God calls us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). Part of that responsibility means being extremely picky when it comes to women's conferences. 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

"Help! My Husband Won't Help with the Kids!"

It's been a long day. Like, the milk soaked into the wooden frame of the couch and your second child ate a caterpillar kind of a day. In the middle of trying to decide what you can make for dinner out of the only three ingredients left in the fridge, you hear your husband pull up from work. As he walks into the house your first thought is an angry vent of pent-up stress: “He never helps around here!”

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Dinner Conversations

Motherhood is weird - and nothing proves that fact like conversations around the dinner table.

("The Gospel-Centered Mom" Bible study is a must-have for busy moms who want to be in the Word! Get your copy on Etsy or Amazon.)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Polite Rudeness and the Not-So-Quiet-Time Strategy (Video)

Welcome, Moms! I hope this video gives you a boost for your week. Sending you love and sympathy!

- Sara

("The Gospel-Centered Mom" Bible study is a must-have for busy moms who want to be in the Word. Get your copy on Etsy or Amazon.)

Monday, May 9, 2016

My Life in a 5 Minute Video

Well, it's finally come to this. 

The "Gospel-Centered Mom" blog is embarking on a new adventure. 

I have to warn you: you are about to watch a video of a mom in her natural habitat. It's messy. It's unpredictable. And even though I didn't vacuum for you and I am in my slippers, I warmly welcome you to my life. Pull up a chair and let's chat. 

("The Gospel-Centered Mom" Bible study is a must-have for busy moms who want to be in the Word. Get your copy on Etsy or Amazon.)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

46 Bible Passages Your Kids Should Memorize Before Leaving the Nest

Hi, Moms! I am so excited to share this with you. Yes, these are my sweet boys. They have something to share with you, too. 

About a year ago I created "Memory Verse Kits" for families. They sold out quickly and with baby #5 on the way I do not plan on making more in the near future. BUT - I wanted to pass along the list of verses to you so you can print out your own verse kit if you so choose! Scripture memory is one of the greatest life-long gifts we can give our children. I want to encourage you moms - start today! You and your family will be so enriched by committing God's Word to memory. 

I want to bless you mamas by taking out the work of combing through scripture and making the painstaking choices of which verses to choose. My husband helped me narrow down our list based on three things: A thorough knowledge of the gospel, Christian character, and defending the faith. We take a gospel-centered approach to parenting, so we chose many passages that specifically point our kids back to the plan of redemption. We chose to use notecards and we weave them into our homeschool days. I would LOVE to hear other creative strategies you mamas use to help your kids memorize scripture. Please comment below with any tips or questions you have. 

* These from the New American Standard Bible
** This list works well even if your kids are already in an AWANA program. There is a lot of crossover, but also more passages that help fill in some gaps that AWANA doesn't cover. 
*** "Passage" refers to consecutive verses. There are actually 72 individual verses in this list. 

Please print them, share them, pin them...from my heart to yours! 


Genesis 1:1
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

John 1:1-3 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Psalm 100:3
Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Jeremiah 32:17 
Ah Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.

Colossians 1:16 
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.

God’s Word

2 Timothy 3:16-17 
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Psalm 19:7- 8 
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Psalm 119:105 
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.

Hebrews 4:12 
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.


Ephesians 2:8-9 
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

John 14:6 
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

John 3:16 
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Titus 3:5 
He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 11:1 
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Romans Road

Romans 3:23 
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Roman 6:23 
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8 
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 10:9 
That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 5:1 
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,

Confession and Forgiveness

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 103:12
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 51:10 
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 32:5 
I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin.


Matthew 6:9-10 
Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew 6:11-13 
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

James 1:5
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Romans 8:26
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Loving Others

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Luke 10:27
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. 

Romans 12:9-10
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.

Matthew 7:12
In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

James 1:19
This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Ephesians 6:10 
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 

Ephesians 6:11
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 

Ephesians 6:13
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 

Ephesians 6:14
Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness. 

Ephesians 6:15
and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 

Ephesians 6:16
in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  

Ephesians 6:17
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:18
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

God’s Sovereignty

Ephesians 1:4-5
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.

Romans 9:15-16
For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

John 10:28-29
And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Psalm 139:16
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.

Isaiah 45:7 
The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity;

I am the Lord who does all these.

Trusting God 

Proverbs 3:5-6 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Philippians 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 26:4
Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord, we have an everlasting Rock.

Psalm 32:7 
You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. 

New Life in Christ 

Ephesians 5:8 
For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.

Colossians 3:1-3
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Galatians 2:20 
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

"The Gospel-Centered Mom" Bible study is a must-have for busy moms who want to be in the Word. Get your copy on Etsy or Amazon.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Your Husband's Love Language - Translated

Recently I came across a thread on Facebook discussing practical ways busy moms can bless their husbands. I scrolled through the comments, expecting to find the typical list of easy ways to keep a man happy. But I was in for a pleasant surprise. Instead I read comment after comment about genuine love. Selfless love. Love that was willing to go the extra mile.

Without even realizing it these women were drawing a line in the sand between two words that can make or break a good relationship with our husbands: The difference between pacifying and preferring our husbands. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Problem with Reward Charts

Kids love reward charts. Parents love reward charts. Charts keep things simple and objective. They are motivating, fun, and effective.

Unfortunately, it might be time to give them up.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Kids in Big Church

A couple weeks ago I posted this photo on the The Gospel-Centered Mom Facebook page. A friend had taken it while visiting another church. 

I was floored by the flood of responses. 

Yes, there was controversy. Most parents feel strongly about the topic. But overwhelmingly the responses reflected encouraged moms. It was like a huge weight had been lifted. I credit that feeling to two profound truths that were acknowledged in this simple brochure:

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Life as a Human Sponge

All day I absorb. I absorb my kids’ tears. I absorb their kisses. I absorb the mess of the house. I absorb the fatigue of the same old discipline situations. I absorb the tedious preparations of feeding, clothing, teaching…and I absorb my best laid plans flying out the window because of unforeseen changes. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Problem with Praying for Our Kids

My Prayer Problem 

It's true. I have a prayer problem. Instead of letting prayer draw me closer to God sometimes I let it take me down winding paths of worry. “Let’s see. What should I pray about for my kids? Well, let’s start with all the things that could go wrong. That sounds logical.” Like the disciple Peter I start to focus on the waves instead of the Savior - waves, I might add, that haven’t even happened yet and probably never will.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The 50/50 Marriage: Why it Doesn't Work

A Crazy Marriage? 

I recently saw something on TV that made my jaw drop. It was a blonde, fresh-faced young woman boldly sharing on a talk show with the whole world that she served her husband in every way, every day. “I make love to my husband whenever he wants. When he gets home from work I have a hot meal waiting for him. I don’t expect him to do any housework at all. It’s my job to care for him and I love it.” From the look on her face you knew that Courtney Joseph, author of "Women Living Well," meant what she was saying. The faces of the women in the audience were harder to read. There was a mixture of surprise, pity, respect, and definitely confusion.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Moms Who Build, Moms Who Destroy (How to Tell the Difference)

I'm in the Lego phase. Since I have four boys I think I will be in the Lego phase for...the next 107 years. Right now the boys are 6, 4, 3, and 2 so their definition of "building" is very broad. They can work on Legos for an hour and by the time they're done I still have no idea what they made. To me there is very little difference between their treasured spaceships and the mound of creations they destroyed and tossed aside. 

But to them there is a huge difference. I can tell because when one brother wrecks a precious jumble of mismatched blocks, the other brother wails in agony. They are either building or destroying and they know the difference.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

When Mamas Worship Productivity

Alright, I’ll admit it. I’m one of those people. You know, the really annoying ones you can never just sit and watch a movie with because they have to be working on something while they watch it. Relaxing for me means doing something productive. I was born with caffeine in my blood. I multitask to the extreme.

I just love to get stuff done.

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Favorite Christmas Tradition: Prayer Cards

Moms, I'm convinced one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is prayer. Sometimes we get so caught up in the daily grind of meals, laundry, and disciplining that we forget to take a step back and evaluate: "How is my child doing? What are his strengths and weaknesses? How can I pray for his developing character?" 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Parents: Stop Expecting Your Kids to Obey

Yesterday I had a standoff with a three-year-old. I had just told him to sit on the couch and think about how he could be more gentle with his little brother. He folded his arms and said, “I will not think about anything.”

I was momentarily speechless. I wasn’t used to him talking to me that way. He was a pretty laid-back kid. And, after all, that kind of disrespect is not part of our home. He should know better…

…shouldn’t he? 

I had to catch myself. No, he does not know better. He, like all of us, was born with a sinful heart. If gone unchecked that sin is ready to show itself at every possible opportunity. 

I also had to remind myself: That kind of disrespect most certainly is part of our home - because our home is filled with sinners.

Parents, we have to expect our kids to disobey. They do not come to us as perfect little angels and they don’t come to us neutral. They come to us with a heart problem. And God has given us, their parents, the job of training those hearts. 

My son was not off the hook for his disrespectful answer - but more importantly, neither was Mommy. I had a job to do. My son was doing what came naturally to him - disobeying. It was up to me to show him how to obey.

Most Christian parents would claim to have high expectations of obedience for their children. It’s easy to forget that the burden of those expectations falls on us as the parents. Expecting our kids to obey starts with expecting ourselves to do something about their disobedience. They don’t know better. We do.

If we don’t expect our kids to disobey we will be caught off guard when it happens and we will respond in one of two ways: 

1. Anger and frustration. Think about the last blow up you had at the kids. Most likely they had done something disobedient, destructive, or just plain foolish. I remember telling my six-year-old last week in a moment of frustration, “I never thought to tell you not to cut my tube of toothpaste open with scissors. I can’t make a rule about EVERYTHING. You know what’s right and what’s wrong!”

But, no, he doesn’t. That’s why he has Mom and Dad. We are his beacon in the darkness, showing him the way to life and peace. I need to be prepared, not angry. My training should always be done in gentleness and patience, knowing that my son and I share the common problem of sin. If my Savior was tempted in all things as I am so that He can show me grace (Hebrews 4:15), how could I not show that same grace to my son? That doesn’t mean excusing sin, but handling it with gentleness. 

2. Oblivious parenting. At a birthday party a couple years ago I saw a mom tell her son not to eat anymore cookies. She went back to talking to her friends - and he went right back to eating cookies. 

Do we sometimes expect our kids to obey, but don’t expect ourselves to have to put forth the necessary effort to train them? It would be nice if giving an order was enough, but it’s not. We have to show our kids how to obey and be ready to show them what happens when they don’t obey.

These are training years, parents. We are in the trenches. Yes, we will miss out on conversations with our friends. We might have to suddenly hang up the phone or pull over the car. We have to parent with the expectation that our kids will disobey and it is up to us to step in immediately and train them. Obedience does not happen naturally.

There is a beautiful parallel between God’s parenting and our parenting. God knows we are sinners, but He does not treat us as our sins deserve because we are His beloved children (psalm 103:10). However, if He lets our sin go unchecked, He would not be a loving Father. He disciplines out of love (Hebrews 12:6).

When we expect our kids to disobey we are able to strike that balance of grace and discipline. We should not get angry and frustrated, but we must also not become passive.

Do you have a short fuse when your kids disobey? Remember that they are sinners in need of grace, just like you. 

Do you take a passive approach to parenting, assuming your kids are obeying you, or at least obeying “good enough?” Remember that they are sinners and sin requires action. Since they are too young and foolish to handle it themselves, their precious lives are in your hands.

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