Saturday, July 9, 2011

mother as the mentor.

i've been thinking about mothering. like a lot because that's all i do. i haven't been crafting...i mean, i'd blog that. hello. i haven't been baking as much. and when i do, satan smiles upon me.
i.e. dastardly brownie cookies.

 here's what i have been doing: i have been up every three hours feeding baby, burping baby, begging baby to sleep through the dang night. but like i said, she's rude and won't.
(i title this picture:turtle out of her shell)
so i don't sleep at night and then i don't get to nap during the day because of the other chitlins'. and also because, major SIDE NOTE, we're doing construction on our attic to turn it into a freakin' awesome space. hammers. saws. men yelling. no napping.

oh and i got strep. probably because i don't sleep, no?

what. the. H is going on?
well sometimes i think God brings us to the bottom so we will look up and ask for know, because although sometimes it feels like we have it all together, we don't. we need help. so in this haze of all-encompassing mommy-ness and exhaustion, i have had to ask God for help. and it seems as though He  is waking me up spiritually with something has been rolling around in my head lately.

i was at a church group for women and we were discussing how it was important to have someone mentoring you. kind of telling you the truth about yourself, encouraging you as a mom and wife, walking you through issues with your kids. stuff like that. the speaker said we should be mentored by someone older and wiser than us. yes, agreed. sign me up.  i made some phone calls and got me a mentor! bam.

and in that same vein, she continued saying, we should be mentoring someone younger than us. in my head i'm like, what? i really don't have time for that right now. and then she said, if you have kids, that's who you're primarily mentoring/discipling right now. 

oh. oh ya. my every-day-monkey-like companions. the ones that watch me all day. and talk with me all day. and listen to me all day. OH YA.

it made me think of how mothers have so much influence on their children. i believe no one has quite the impact on their spiritual lives... especially if you have littles and you are at home all day with them.this is a great responsibility and i've been feeling the weight of this thought.

a gentle nudge towards a more intentional, thoughtful consideration of my children's spiritual lives...instead of being on cruise control. i am reminded of a statistic by george barna that says, a person’s moral foundations are generally in place by the time they reach age 9 and A child's spiritual identity is largely set by age 13.

i don't want to parent by default. this intentionality has gotten away from me. in just the craziness and busyness of everyday, it's gotten away from me and i am going to be better this year. i have to. otherwise, someone else will shape their lives. like calliou on PBS. noooooooooooooooo! is that why layne whines so much? yes. i will blame it on calliou.

so riddle me this: 
what are you mothers doing out there to invest in the spiritual lives of your children. like thoughtful, intentional things you do regularly? tell all.

i will compile a list of the top 10 or 20 and post them sometime next week.

although i've been a slacker,  one thing that i have done intentionally is in the music area. i got the kids each their own CD player that plays seeds of worship music during rest time in the afternoon and before bed.  it's just straight up scripture set to music and it is awesome. i have even memorized these verses! it works.


  1. Oh Jami...I feel ya on the sleep. My baby is going to be 10 months tomorrow and we are still not getting consistent sleep through the night. Oh for the love. Anyway, there is really no amount of crying or other advice that helps in that regard, it just is what it is and that is okay with me. So, yeah, I feel ya. Love this post because I am also really thinking about how much I sow into my kids lives by being an example in character, attitude, love, and providing them a basis for knowing the Lord. Saying a little prayer for you to day. And that little peanut is just so stinkin precious.

  2. I had to respond because Evelyn is watching Calliou while I read this. Stellar.

    I've been thinking about this a lot lately myself. I'm trying to set up intentional times each day where I connect with my girls and do something to specifically build into them.

    My favorite thing I've added to our day though is whenever Evelyn gets whiny is rather than get mad at her I stop and pray with her that God would change her heart and help her to be thankful and joyful instead of selfish and fussy. It's starting to show fruit!

  3. great post! i often wonder this. just the other day i made some relatives of ours that are visiting from out of town some new dish towels just because. and that night my little guy was having a hard time sleeping. i asked him why and he told me that he was trying to find something to give to his friends. next thing i knew he came down stairs with a hair brush all excited. oh geez! well thankfully i had a ton of bubble gum machine in a hidden stash and without thinking twice about it, he gave three of them away. oh my heart immediately filled with joy. he was giving three of his favorite goodies away:) its those little moments that make me realize im doing least once in awhile:)and it makes me take a step back and realize how much our kids are watching everything we do...good and bad!

    hang in there:) my two girls were horrible sleepers too. the baby is now 15 months and is finally sleeping the night:)

  4. O jami did I ever need this. So encouraging. Ps there is also gt and the halo express which include short stories with intermittent themed bible verses set to memorizable song! Grew up on these and have them now!

  5. You Rock! Thanks for this little kick in the pants. I know I need to be WAY more active with teaching my 3 year old daughter when it comes to her spiritual growth.


  6. oh gee, 'cruise control' convicting. okay. so we have an 'appreciate plate' that we use at dinners to spill encouragement on our kiddos (you know, the one that's got the plate gets the love) and i tell my kids (almost) everyday that "i love you for you" (you know the jj heller song) powerful stuff. It's not about what they do/don't do, I love them for who God created them to be. looking forward to reading some more ideas :)

  7. This is something that I have thought a lot about, and I just have to pray that the Lord will continue to guide us in this - we are just at the beginning, and I know it will only get harder. I am looking forward to seeing what other parents do. So far, we read from a Children's Bible each night and pray with our daughter before she goes to bed, which is usually a sweet time, when she is not screaming. I just started following your blog and have really enjoyed it - thanks!

  8. LOVE this. Thank you for stirring the hearts of mothers. Mothering is exhausting, but so incredibly worth it and in my opinion, a straight out honor. That being said, I am SOOOO excited about that site you shared and ordering a cd NOW. I love it. I've been looking for something like it!
    One thing I do with my kids is teach them scripture to quote for different situations. For example, my 5 year old was waking up a lot with "bad dreams" and coming to sleep with us in bed. So I started talking to him about how all we have to do is call out to Jesus and He is there. So when he wakes up in the middle of the night say" Jesus please be with me" and also taught him to say the verse "I do not have a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind"'s worked! He is hiding word in his heart AND activating it.
    I loved your statistics. So encouraging, so motivating, so inspiring- once again, thanks for sharing! Cant wait to see the list that comes out of this.

  9. It may seem unoriginally or even kind of a "duh" thing, but we make it an intention to have our boys pray before going to bed. We get down with them, kneel before their beds and have them pray. Sometimes they pray by themselves, sometimes we pray with them, and sometimes we pray for them (like when they are sick). Praying with your children I think is huge and sometimes so simplisitic that we forget just how huge.

  10. seeds are my favorite favorite favorite! we listen to them all the time. we also have family worship together where daddy plays guitar and we all sing. some of my fav. books for discipling my kiddos are the jesus storybook bible, the story for kids, big truths for little kids and big truths for young hearts.

  11. Great post...such a great reminder of our everyday impact and influence we have on our lovies. (I just did a post about this as well) My hub and I pray with our lovies throughout the day, everydat...and what a blessing it is to see them say their own sweet prayers. Also, we have family devotions every evening as a family. Our kids are ages 7,5,2,and 1. (My 5yr. old has autism) Anywho, my hub reads from the Bible and we do catechism questions with the older 3. It is a special time every evening...tonight it was while all 6 of us were snuggled in our double bed....yes they have their own beds..but we love the snuggle time.

  12. Great post! My kids are 4, 8, and 10... and your quote is one i've heard before but it still freaks me out a bit! I'm not good at structure but try to do devotions with the kids as often as we can... during the school year, we take turns praying on the way to school. I also try to give them a goal each week whether it's related to a scripture: "Love one another, Obey your parents, etc" or related to just being "Christlike" i.e.: be intentional, make someone's day, etc. At the end of the week, we talk about things they did to work towards that goal. Hang in there!

  13. Great post! My kids are 4, 8, and 10... and your quote is one i've heard before but it still freaks me out a bit! I'm not good at structure but try to do devotions with the kids as often as we can... during the school year, we take turns praying on the way to school. I also try to give them a goal each week whether it's related to a scripture: "Love one another, Obey your parents, etc" or related to just being "Christlike" i.e.: be intentional, make someone's day, etc. At the end of the week, we talk about things they did to work towards that goal. Hang in there!

  14. Amen to the Jesus Storybook Bible. It is a far cry from the normal cheese-fest that are most children's Bibles. The pictures are beautiful, the stories are written brilliantly and I cry at nearly every night when I read it to Lila. We also say her verse to her every night (Isaiah 43:1-3). Lila means "You are mine" in Hebrew and this verse talks about how the Lord has ransomed us, saved us, called us by name and said we are his. I think the key is to talk about Jesus to and around your kids and take advantage of the moments when they seem interested. Discipling is all about modeling - we show our kids what we value by the things we talk about, the words we use, the things we do day to day.

  15. I love every time you post. It's like whatever you're writing/on your mind is exactly to me.

    I think you're my mentor btdubs. So, I'll just come live with you, I can share a room with turtle.

    lub you..x100000

  16. So true isn't it!?! I find my self on auto all the time. In our house we pray often, when we see a car accident as we drive by, on our way to school, etc. We also play worship music constantly in our house and car. One other fun thing we love to do is write our bible verse from church on our chalk board weekly to read at each meal.

  17. Oh my adorable! I'm not a mom, so I can't give you any advice, but I can give you my prayers! :)

  18. I love this post! First off, I had to laugh at the no sleep part. My youngest is 2 months and so I feel ya!
    I've been thinking about this a lot too lately, especially with my boy toddler who knows what he wants and is VERY vocal about it. How do I help train him to submit his little heart to mom and dad so that he can truly give his heart to God? I felt God asking me to write out specifically what we need to work on in the little man so I did. I picked one thing to really focus on and work on. I find that if I focus on one issue/training in one area it is much more effective and I don't feel as crazy. Once he's doing good in that area we can move onto the next. Last week it was helping mom pick up the toys. Next week it will be learning to not scream when he can't have what he wants. :)

  19. Oh wow. This is so my hear as of late. I've been blogging about it - in fact just this week I deleted my facebook account. It was pulling me away and turning me on auto- oh, every 10 minutes or so.

    My three little ones need a nurturing mommy fully in the moment and living intentionally for the Lord, and for them.

    We try to make an effort to bring the family together. Whether it's something spiritual/biblically based or not, it's our family time. (My kids are only 4,2, and 1)

    My favorite is our Art night. Each kid (the olders) have a sketch book. We invested in some quality art supplies as well. So Wednesday after dinner we get the baby to sleep, turn on some worship and spend the evening creating, whether with oil pastels, color pencils, paints, clay, chalk...etc.

    It's such a great way to come together as a family and just rest in Jesus, in the worship, and the time spent together chatting and making memories.

    ;) Loooooove your blog. Your authenticity and your beautiful writing are what bring me here. thank you!

  20. I too have been convicted about getting intentional with my littles' spiritual lives. Here are a few things that we do:
    Gratitude Journals

    Memorizing Scripture

    I've included the posts where I wrote about them

  21. How crazy that my husband and I were talking about this topic just this morning. Talk about a God thing!

    I can't wait to see what your readers share, because I got nothing.

    Wait! I did see this post on The Siebert Family blog about incorporating God's word in our kids life. Really fun idea that could be used with discipline!

  22. barna stresses me outtttt. aghhh. i, too have been overwhelmed with this responsibility. i just finished the most wonderful, amazing book. i highly recommend it. it's called "give them grace" by elyse fitzpatrick and jessica thompson. it focuses on our need as parents to be grace givers more than rule givers. because that will make them understand the need for the rules. and, most importantly, their need for Jesus. i know you're exhausted but you will stay awake. promise. it's a good one.

  23. i beat the word into them with a stick. you think i'm joking.
    there is this really cool app called
    ~truth and life "new testament"~
    this is great for my boys, it's a dramatized audio bible. i make them listen everyday. i have tried to make the read the bible on their own or me read it to them and they don't stay interested. this app makes bible reading time FUN like disneyland... maybe.

  24. Ugh! Calliou. He's so irritating. Great post and I love the CD idea.

  25. J and I have been working on this for awhile. a couple things we have been working on that come to mind. scripture memory. we've gotten pretty deliberate about it and it's important to me that they know the addresses too because it was never stressed for me to know where the verses where found so i'm like. "the bible says to trust the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." then when people ask where it says that i don't know. (I'm gonna make a great pastor can't you tell? ha.)

    another thing that we are talking about is sacred parts (hands, eyes, mouth, ears) we are trying to lay the ground work for them that they need to be deliberate about what they allow with those parts ie, what they watch, listen to, say and do.

    I'm also trying to always explain my position to logan. if he asks me why we do or don't do something i give him as detailed an explanation as he can understand. i spent too much of my life doing weird stuff like only wearing dresses because "that's what we are supposed to do" so lame

    i guess to me the keys to mentoring your children are communication and consistency.

    the other thing is we have to not be too hard on ourselves as parent mentors. i've had many talks with my mentor where i think i have totally screwed up my kids for life and she tells me every time that the fact that i care if i do or don't (mess up my kids) is enough to tell her that i won't. (does that make sense?)

  26. For us it's by making it part of our everyday. It's just what we do. We read The Jesus Storybook Bible every morning (GREAT BOOK!), they listen to Adventures in Odyssey all the time. Jeremy Camp is my middle boy's favorite because all that's on his mp3 player is Christian music. We make sure going to church & serving others is part of who we are as a family. Our newest thing is establishing a weekly Sabbath day. A shabbat (rest) day to focus on God and our family. This will be a huge change from the go-go-go we're used to.
    We've also made the decision to home school. We want our kids to have a Biblical worldview. They're not going to get that at a public school. We can't afford to send them all to private school so we're going to home school to make sure they have a Bible based education.
    None of this means we're perfect at it. In fact, just this afternoon I told my oldest boy that we were going to memorize verses on giving and generosity because he's had a selfish attitude lately.
    We are imperfect parents raising imperfect kid but we're doing it by the grace & guidance of a perfect God.

  27. I hear you! I especially appreciate your phrase, "I don't want to parent on auto-pilot". How sad it would be to miss this special time (but how to stay! :)

    We received a book of blessings for our son's dedication. We are getting into the habit of reading them over him at night. Blessings are powerful stuff.

    Also, thoughtful & beautiful children's books of faith (google Aslan's Library) & questioning children with "I wonder what your favorite part is? I wonder what part is sad or hard to understand?"

  28. I'm sorry Jami, I know it is so hard at the beginning. Try and keep remembering it gets easier eventually. It's nearly impossible to do without sleep. I'll pray for sleep for you bc that will help everything.

    On a daily basis I read to Caleb. We read books about God and Jesus. All we listen to in the car in K-love. When reading the Easter book a few months ago he kissed the picture of Jesus when I said he loved him more than even mom and dad did. It Touched me heart.

    on a side note. I really dislike Calliou. He is sooooo whiney! :)

  29. I am so going to get these CDs for my kids. what a great idea. thanks for sharing Jami !

  30. You are the best. I laugh out loud while my best friend and reading your blog. So you have a special place in my heart :).

    Okay, intentional parenting ... isn't it so hard to remember that we are mentoring our babes on a daily basis? I just love asking questions and fielding their questions. And we LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible. And, of course, Seeds.

    I'm looking forward to your list!

  31. OK, soooo needed this today. Like everyone else, apparently. Your words "auto-pilot" really struck me. Like one of the other moms, Facebook is a total time suck for me. Why? It's so lame!!! Anyhoo....

    I too would like to start being more intentional. And focused. After all, these are moments and years I will never get back. My little guy is on the cusp of turning 3 (as in 6 days).

    We do a lot of what has already been mentioned: go to church, talk about Jesus, we pray together, etc. One thing that hasn't really been mentioned is that we actually talk about Bible stories all the time, like while he's playing and what not. I will say, "Hey, what happened to Daniel?" or "Where was Jonah supposed to go? What happened when he didn't listen? What happened when he told God he was sorry?" and things like that. It just makes it more "real" to him. BUT, one thing I really want to focus on is memorizing scripture. He's got a great memory, why not put it go good use, eh? Plus, I want the Word to be buried in his heart.

    Aaaannnd this was a mini novel of a post. Sorry 'bout that. But I love your blog. Truly.

  32. We love Seeds!!!

    And as far as spiritually leading/investing... We do a devotional every night before bed. THere are some great ones at Then we can build on it the next day.
    I think setting a good example is priceless. Let them see you reading your Bible. Get it out when you nurse the baby instead of being on the laptop (Reminder to myself as well!) Pray with them. About everything. Not just the generic "thanks for the food" but the real stuff. OK, I'll shut up now. I could go on and on....

  33. I've been needing some direction in this same department...can't wait to read the list you come up with.

  34. I'm not a mom, but I think that one thing my parents did well for my brothers and me was reading the Bible every night before bed. But it wasn't any old Bible - no, this was The Picture Bible. It's like the Bible in comics. Kind of awesome. We loved it because there were all kinds of pictures to look at, and my parents loved it because they were literally reading through the Bible with us. I'm sometimes surprised even now at the obscure Bible stories I remember because of those evenings spent with The Picture Bible. :)

  35. Oh my goodness! This has been on my heart as well. I can't wait to read some of the suggestions others have made and see what your top 10 list will bring. Thanks for addressing this topic!

  36. I'm totally guilty of mothering "on cruise control". And because of that I often don't always LOOK at my children and LISTEN to them. Instead things like, "how many things can I get done at once in a 30 second span!?!?" are going through my head. But something I DO try to do is weave Jesus into every day aspects of our lives. For example, Jaymin was pouring water on me and Jeff's feet at the pool one time and I used it at a time to teach him about Jesus washing the disciples feet. This is the second time I've heard about "seeds of worship"! Totally going to get some. When I was a kid I had music that was scripture and still remember those verses today!

  37. dear jami:

    i recently realized that i don't know what i am doing. i'm really excited to hear the highlights because i am slightly terrified that i'll screw uo.

  38. Oh boy doesn't every mommy go through this phase. My children are sleeping thru the night but I am the one sick and trying to not put on the cruise control. It is hard but I have really enjoyed a magazine that has some great ideas and such for parenting. It is by Focus on the Family and it is FREE!!!!!!!!! It is called Thriving family and has this great monthly calendar of ideas to do with your children during the summer. I look foward to every year!

  39. great post! love hearing your heart girl! keep rockin it. so many things are an idol: to do's, sleep, having enough mommy alone time / kiddos quiet time / nap times, etc. deep things churning in the hearts of a lot of mommas it looks like. maybe a revolution to affect and invest in our next generation more deeply. geeze. keep writing jaim.

  40. oh, my ideas: the jesus storybook bible, using art as a tool for question asking and storytelling, repetition, i turn everything into a song - cheesy and serious.

    can't wait for this list. brainiac idea.

    i'd really love to hear more mommy's ideas on scripture memory for themselves and their kiddos. i suck at it, but am longing to eat it and have it stick. i don't think i have a brain anymore sometimes.

  41. Dear Jami,
    I met you on Mission Rd last year while walking our dog. And I just found your blog via K-Fulghum's. And I pretty much snorted and giggled while reading your post. Thank you for providing some much-needed entertainment AND thought-provoking-ness (i just made that up). You are now on my Google feed.
    Whitney (with the black shaggy dog)

  42. looooove this post, topic is one of my faves ever!!! well put, ms jami, as always. yay! we too love the jesus storybook bible & seeds worship tunes. one other thing that comes to mind is our prayer know the junk drawer full of miscellaneous whatjamacallit doohickeys, etc? a pastor friend of ours gathered a ton of cool little things into a bowl and uses it as prompts to pray. It's great for all ages: buttons, rocks, little crosses, small missing pieces to board games, you name it. We have collected a few things at hobby lobby (small charms of various things) and it is delightful how vast & varied the prayer requests can be. I.e.: a tiny squirrel figure: thank you God for squirrels. -or- thank you Jesus for loving me even though I'm nuts. ;) -or- you name it. Just a good reminder that we can talk to God about anything, anytime, and it does not have to be eloquent! Love your post(s!), thanks.

  43. I stumbled upon your blog by being nosey from a friend's know, during that time I should be intentionally mothering. No, not really :)

    One thing I can say we do right in our casa is we go through the children's version of the Westminster Catechisms. Okay, so no, stop thinking Roman Catholic. These are a series of questions and answers of who God is and how He relates to us. I think it is so beneficial for little ones to have a solid biblical foundation of exactly that...this is not mommy and daddy telling you. Anyway, basically we go through one Q&A a week (on our dry erase board, at breakfast, for dad at dinner)...easy peasy. When we're done we start over again. And, truly, it's an amazing thing to see them actually able to relate these truths in everyday life!

    Just an idea for our little disciples!

  44. hi:) i am embarrassed to say that I have never ever commented-boo, i know. especially after that one post of yours about reaching out and not being a silent blogger but to reach out and encourage, etc...I mean, i totally agree w/you on all that-and i almost left a comment to devulge my stalking. almost. so anyhoo here i am posting a first! i am so glad you just intro-ed me to this seeds of worship site!!!! my two girls and i just began this a.m. back on an 'intentional learning scriptiure together again journey' and what a perfecto tool this site is with all it's dwnloads and music. our intentionality is simple and purposeful(it's gotta be w/another on the way in dec.).i pick a verse, let the 4 yr. write it (with help) on the art easle, we do a quick coloring/craft that i make up-and chat about the verse while crafting(and story behind it) and then put the verse to a familiar song, twinkle little star or something. and seriously they know it by the next day just by singing it through out the day(another intintional thing on my part)...any how-not rocket science, just what has and is working for us. so thanks again for this site!! and i promise to never leave you a novel are flippin halarious.and inspirational.double amen.

  45. hmmm.. these are all great. but i am especially fond of the girl who met you while walking dogs. that's funny. :)

    here is my big fat problem... i realized that as much as it is my job to bring God in .. it is even more my job to get my giant patootie out of the way and let Him work. i think i was so scared of coming off to 'christianey' as a pastor's wife/family that i held back a lot. i didn't want to drown them in a holy rushing flood of books, and talks, and music and service projects and do do do. i read a book.. "grace based parenting" and it rocked my selfish heart off. i realized that more than anything i could do or say or read ... they need to see me living a from the depths of my soul jesus is my rock kind of life. that means sometimes they hear me cry over my failings. that means we have talked about when times in my life when my heart has been a cold lump. that means they see me lift my hands and tell them to hush for a moment because i need to worhip. it means i have witnesses and i can not lead where i have not been. Lord help me.

    we still read and do and sing and all... but it is an extension of a conversation. an honest dialogue of who we are and why we are and what we will become. and actually that is the entire summary of why my blog was named what it is.. all i want to be about and for them to see is something real. holy convicting. thanks for that lady.. i'm off to pray for mercy on my well intentioned and sorely failing heart. :)

  46. wow on all the long comments. i didn't read them so if i'm repeating just delet :) another great resouce for good kids music is soveriegn grace childrens music. (they actually have awesome music for us too) and i love the book "don't make me count to three"'s really practical in how to talk with your kids and make christ-like living a daily part of your lives not just something you do on sunday morning and wednesday night.
    i also get the question why a lot in my about a gazillion times a instead of getting annoyed by it i try and take those times to teach and usually it comes back to God in some way.
    (p.s. our pastor is moving to kansas city to pastor a church there in a couple weeks...maybe it's yours!)


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