The Mama’s Mite

“And Jesus looked up and saw the single people and empty nesters putting their spiritual gifts to work in the ministry and serving various community programs, and He saw also a certain exhausted mother walking past piles of laundry and stepping on tiny legos at the crack of dawn on her way to read the Bible. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this mama has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have served, but she in her exhausted state still gave the Lord what she had.”

OK, so maybe that’s not exactly how the story of the widow’s mite found in Luke 21:1-4 goes, but I’d like to think God does have a special place in His heart for us mothers.

It’s easy to envy my single friends who have the time and opportunity to travel the world for missions trips or feel like I’m not doing enough when I see friends and family members who don’t have kids in the home serving their church and community all over the place. Yet, I have to remind myself that’s just not the season I’m in now.

My days are filled with young kids, laundry, soccer games, and soon-to-be school homework and PTA meetings. If it takes everything just to wake up 15 or 30 minutes early for prayer and Bible study time, God still honors that. If I can’t make it to my church’s Feed the Homeless program during the summer because of work or family obligations, it’s ok. God honors the service and work I put in for my family and job just as well.

We shouldn’t discredit the number of dishes washed, socks folded, disagreements refereed, lunches packed, booboos kissed or field trips chaperoned. If this is what your days look like, know that raising kids is a ministry in itself. There’s no reason to feel like you’re not doing enough. Do the parenting gig well, and God will honor your work.

How to Have an Epic School Year (for Both You and Your Kids)

I can’t believe that we’re almost near the end of July and less than 25 days away from school. August 22nd is the big day for us. My initial thoughts about the kids going back to school were not very holy, y’all. They were actually pretty me-centered and went a little something like this…

School’s starting again…oh great!! Wait…no, not great.

That means slugging through homework and the kids learning to read again…uggh

I have to start packing lunches and getting the kid’s school clothes ready again, which means waking up earlier than I already do (insert crying emoji here).

Our schedule is going to fill up again and we’ll be shuttling kids from one thing to another.

That means school fundraisers and also more class parties I can’t attend because of work.

Thankfully, after a while I (or probably God) finally took the focus off me, and the question that came to mind was, “How can we (the kids and us as their parents) have an epic school year?” I immediately wanted to poll you all to see what tips, tricks and resources you all use–and I still want to hear from you.

But God.

But God reminded me that having an epic school year begins and ends with prayer. Even before the first day of school we must pray in an epic school year for our kids and ourselves.

I was reminded of a dear friend in our small group who has brought me back to the value of prayer. She takes everything–from the smallest to the largest–to God in prayer. It always leaves me in awe because oftentimes the things she speaks of praying about are things I would often just complain about or not think worthy of prayer time. For example, whereas I will lament to her about my kids being picky eaters, she talks about how she takes very specific prayers to God asking that her daughters have a good appetite and are open to eating a variety of foods. I mean I know prayer works, but I often leave conversations with her thinking, that’s right…prayer is meant for those things, too.

So back to school…rather than making myself miserable thinking about all the drudgery, I’m turning to prayer. As parents, whether our kids go to school or are homeschooled, we can pray for:

  • Our kids…Pray that are kids have an epic school year. Pray for their spiritual, mental and physical well-being throughout the year. Pray that their minds are open to learning and distractions are kept at bay. Pray that they are able to adjust to their new surroundings and are able to quickly find a good group of friends to hang around. Pray that they have fun and enjoy the classroom. Pray that they bring any challenges they are facing to us or their teachers. Pray that their gifting and talents expand and stretch this year. Pray that they will rise to their best selves and then some in every way.
  • Our kids’ teachers...Pray that they have teachers who love and enjoy teaching and are in tune with our children’s learning styles and abilities. We can pray for teachers who will encourage and lift up our kids. And also pray that the teachers may be refreshed at the end of each day.
  • Our kids’ safety...Pray for their physical, spiritual and mental security while they are at school every day. Pray that no weapon that is formed against them will prosper. Pray that they are not in any way bothered by bullies, haters or predators. In addition, in this day and age, we must pray for a hedge of protection over their entire school campus and that no danger may come to it.
  • Our kids’ friends…Pray that our kids are surrounded by other kids who reinforce and remind them of the Christian values, morals and teachings they receive at home and church. Pray for friends who will encourage them to do good in and out of the classroom. Pray that they have a diverse group of friends and are able to learn and appreciate different cultures.
  • Ourselves…Pray that God equips us spiritually and mentally to lead our kids through this school year. Pray for patience, grace, wisdom and understanding. (p.s. I know what you’re thinking…these can be some of the scariest prayers to pray because God might actually give you opportunities to practice patience, grace, etc. However, y’all know these are also the areas that can challenge us the most as parents, so put the big girl panties on and go for it.) Pray that we can recall the school lessons from our youth in order to help the kids with their schoolwork or quickly find the resources to help them. Pray for ways to creatively bless, encourage and love on our children throughout the year. Pray also that God makes us sensitive to any challenges or issues that may be bothering our children, as well as to what their gifting and talents are and how we can promote them. And of course, pray that we also have an epic school year.

 

Now, since the Bible tells us that faith without works is dead, I’d also love to hear about some of the practical tips, tricks, time savers and other resources you use in real life to help you and your kids have an epic school year. Please share in the comments below or you can email me at nextlevelmama@gmail.com. Don’t be stingy in sharing as I’d love to send out a cheat sheet of suggestions to everyone before school starts to give us all some extra ammo for getting the school year off to an epic start.

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