He Sees You

Today I washed and folded laundry. No one applauded.

Today I cleaned the kitchen and all the floors. No one cheered.

Today I made breakfast AND dinner. No one shouted accolades of praise.

Today I picked kids up from school. No one gave me a standing ovation.

Today I did office work for our business. No one patted my back.

Today I comforted teenage girls in their time of emotional distress. No one broadcasted my compassion and patience.

Today I taught my kids to repay evil with good and to love God and love people. No one shouts my name from a stage.

Today I cleaned the litter box and fed all the animals. No one sang a song of glee.

Today I helped with College Algebra, Geometry, Biology, Chemistry and College Writing. No one gave me an “atta, girl.”

Today I paid college apartment rent, auto insurance premiums, and bought the hundredth pair of pointe shoes. Not one person requested an interview to declare my amazing, selfless acts.

Today and every day…day in and day out…I clean, I fold, I wash, I sweep, I comfort, I cook, I love, I give.

Today and every day…day in and day out…I care for and keep human beings alive and thriving.

Where’s my praise? Where’s my public display of adoration? Where’s my grand gesture of thanks?

Nothing but silence.

Then I hear my Father say, “I love you immensely, I think about you all the time, and I see you and know who you are, where you are. When you do all these tasks that seem to go unnoticed, I see. You are not doing these things for others, but for Me. Well done, my daughter. Thank you for caring for who I have given you, with what I have given you.”

Mothers, wives, grandmothers…don’t give up, don’t be discouraged. You are loved and appreciated by your Creator. Keep doing what you do as unto the Lord. The Father delights in you as you bathe your baby and wash those dishes. God rejoices over you as you teach your children about His Son. His banner over you is pure love as you tenderly care for and support your family. He rewards you in special ways that touch only your heart.

Let David’s words from Psalm 139 be your prayer and song each day.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand—when I awake, I am still with you

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

If You Give A Mom Three Toddlers

This is a guest post by one of my dearest friends. It’s just in time for Mother’ Day! Hope you enjoy, “If You Give A Mom Three Toddlers” in the style of “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.”

If you give a mom three toddlers, she’ll probably need a shower.

While she’s showering her two year old will probably pull the shower curtain back and tell her “Hi, I like your boobies.” After she showers, she’ll want to put clean clothes on.

While she’s dressing a Jehovah’s Witness will ring her doorbell and her four-year-old son will answer the door for her.

She will run to the door only half dressed and tell them that this is obviously not a good time, and the Jehovah’s Witness will laugh at her.

After she is dressed, her kids will want to color with markers, she thinks, “Two out of three are occupied, this is a good time to unload the dishwasher!” While the kids are coloring, her two daughters, 2 and 3, will decide they are a better canvas than the coloring book and they will need to wash their hands.

While they are washing their hands, they’ll think it is fun to fill the sink with dirty, soapy water. The sink full of soapy water will make them think, we should throw bubbles all over the bathroom! Her son will hear the commotion in the bathroom, and he will not want to miss out on the fun. Now, he will join in the chaos, also throwing bubbles and water all over the bathroom. Now the bathroom sink, floor, and walls need wiped, and all three kids’ clothes need changed. This makes her think she should get dressed and change out of her pajamas, too.As she is undressing the girls, being naked makes the girls think that they should play dress up. The girls dump their bin of dress up clothes and pick out princess dresses for themselves. Seeing the girls play dress up, reminds her son that he has a foam sword he can use for dress up, too. Playing with his foam sword, reminds her son that its fun to scare and chase the cat with his sword. As her son is chasing the cat, and the girls are dancing and singing to “Let It Go,” she runs into the kitchen to rescue the cat, trips over the dress-up bin, and runs into and hits her shin on the forgotten, open, unloaded dishwasher.

While in the kitchen, she remembers that it is lunchtime and decides to fix lunch, and throws some chicken nuggets in the microwave and pours the kids milk. The chicken nuggets are cooking and this makes her think, “I forgot to eat today, ” and she hears her stomach growling. All three kids are eating their lunch, and the straws in their cups make them want to blow bubbles in their milk. While they are blowing bubbles in their milk, one cup tips over and spills milk on the kitchen floor, and all over the kitchen island. She begins cleaning the island and kitchen floor and finds the three marker lids she lost this morning and a chicken nugget from yesterday. She thinks “I should just clean the entire kitchen floor while I’m down here.” As she cleans the kitchen floor, her kids finish eating their lunch, and her stomach continues to growl.

She finishes cleaning the kitchen floor, and now all the kids are wiped clean, dressed and watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Now, she can finish cleaning the bathroom sink, floor and wall; unloading the dishwasher; picking up markers; and washing the dirty, wet clothes and towels. She feels good about her accomplishments and sits down to eat the leftover scraps of chicken nuggets from her kids plates.

As she is sitting down for her two-minute lunch, her two year old, who wears big girl undies, runs by and hollers, “Mom, I poopied!” She tackles her two year old to change her, which makes her four year old think its time to wrestle. After she is done wrestling, and wiping the two year old, she somehow ends up with poop on her pants, on her arm and under her fingernail, maybe even in her hair. She can’t get the smell of poop out of her nose. She thinks, “Its only one o’clock, I already showered today,” but if you give a mom three toddlers . . . she’ll probably need a shower.

Written by: Larissa Hoffman

Train Up a Child

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”    Proverbs 22:6

Remember potty training?  Each of my children learned to use the potty at different rates.  One took a few weeks, one took a few months and one little stubborn redhead took a year or so.  The reward system I used was this:  One M&M for pee, 2 M&Ms for poop.  Simple, yet effective.   As trying and messy as those days were, potty training was simply a warm up for the rest of my mothering life!  And during those toddler years, discipline was simple (in retrospect)!  Time outs and quiet time in bed were NOTHING compared to what’s going on in this house now.

The preteen and teenage stage is much more complicated.  Now, there are iPhones to monitor, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram accounts to monitor.  Parental settings are needed for the T.V. and the internet.  When the rules are broken, consequences must still be enforced.  Phones are confiscated, Xbox power cords are taken, T.V. is banned, internet privileges revoked.  Those kicking and screaming toddler fits are replaced with sulking, nasty looks, and “Do My Parents Hate Me” quizzes on the internet.  When I was a kid, I was sent to my room as punishment.  Now,  “Get out of your room and come downstairs with the rest of the family,” is a punishment.  Geesh.

In this house, you break the rules, you abuse your phone, T.V.  and internet privileges, there WILL be consequences to pay.  Go read a book, play some chess, go make a snowman.   Do I enjoy removing the seemingly only joy in a teenage boy’s life (his electronics and phone)?  No, of course not.  I get no pleasure in inflicting this “torture” upon my child.

In this house, there is no such thing as privacy…I mean, go take a shower by yourself and get changed by yourself…but that’s about it.  Your bedroom is MY bedroom, your phone is MY phone.  I’m paying for it and I will monitor what communication is communicated through it.  The same goes for your laptop, PSP, netbook, Xbox, and every account you are signed up for.  Do I enjoy being on constant watch for the welfare of my children?  No, of course not.  It’s time consuming.  But it’s vital.

In this house, we believe in listening to uplifting music.  We believe in watching wholesome and inspiring movies and T.V. shows.  Violence, sex and foul language are not approved for the eyes, ears and minds of my children.  Once in a while, something inappropriate will be on T.V. or in a movie we’re watching…the channel gets changed or the T.V. is turned off.  Is that convenient?  No, especially when you’ve rented the movie from Xfinity or Netflix.

I may sound like a drill sargent, but I take my responsibility as a parent very seriously.   Checking my kids phones and search histories is a pain, but it’s necessary.  Do it, parents!  Yes, your child may be mature and trustworthy, but they’re still kids.  The human brain does not even fully develop until the age of 20.  Teenagers are poor decision makers, no matter how responsible they seem.  It is still our job as parents to watch out for them!  Who is your kid texting?  Who is your kid skyping?  Who is your kid playing video games with online?  What movies and T.V. shows are they watching when you’re not around?  Be vigilant, moms and dads!  Your child’s future depends on you!

Did you know that teenage boys who are exposed to pornographic images have a high risk of becoming addicted to pornography and sexual vices as adults?  Do the research!  It’s true.  Ask any man, “When did you first view porn and how did that affect you?”  I guarantee you, the first picture of a naked woman’s body they ever saw is seared into their mind.   I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers here or offend anyone.  I’m just being real.  This is the world we live in.  Don’t let your guard down.  Don’t be lulled into apathy because you’re too busy with life to stop and engage in your child’s world.

Know who your daughters are talking to.  The sex trafficking industry is in OUR country.  Daughters of normal, all-American families are taken.  How?  Because parents are out of touch with what’s happening in their child’s life, virtual and real.  The internet and smartphones are a real danger if not monitored properly.  Research it.  It’s happening.

You wouldn’t hand over a loaded gun to a little child, would you?  A smartphone, laptop or facebook account can be just as deadly to a teenager.   Train them to use it and keep a watchful eye.

I will continue to NOT allow my 9 and 11 year old daughters to dress in clothes that make them look like teenagers.  I will continue to encourage them to play with baby dolls and Barbies.  Why do we force our daughters to grow up so fast these days?  There’s no way you’ll catch my girls taking pictures of themselves making the duck face and posting it on the internet!  I teach them to be beautiful on the inside first and to be modest in their outward appearance.  Sounds old-fashioned, huh?  I don’t care.  It’s for their protection and the maintenance of their innocence.

My kids are MY responsibility.  God has entrusted me with His precious gifts.  It’s up to me to be a wise steward of what He has given me.  Life would be easier for me if I let my kids do as they please and avoid conflict and confrontations with them.  But, my desire is for them to flourish into whole, loving, responsible and Godly adults.  That’s my job.

If you’ve been searching for purpose in life and you have children, here’s your sign.  Your purpose is to raise those children in the way they should go.  Teach them and train them while you have them under your roof.  Once they are gone, they’re gone.  Don’t look back and say, “I wish this and I wish that.”  Be a diligent and vigilant parent now!

I’m far from being the perfect parent.  I’ve messed up plenty.  And when I do, I apologize to my kids and my God.  With the grace of God filling in the gaps for me, I have the hope that my children will love the Lord and make a difference in their world.

Being a mom is sometimes a tough and thankless job, but it is also the most rewarding job of my life!  I thank God daily for my little blessings!