How my husband and I celebrated and made a family memory
Age & Stage
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Who is first in your heart? Your children — or God?
When thinking about motherhood, you often consider the beauty and the challenges. Do you ever consider the fact of idolatry? Though it is not your first inclination to think about this, with all the worries that come with motherhood, you may be making an idol out of your children. Take a look at the story below to see how you can turn your eyes upon the Father in the midst of being a mother.
I had had it.
All day long I had given and given and given until I had nothing left to give. A frustrated, angry spirit was quickly replacing my “good mommy” attitude.
So I put my baby in his crib then sent my girls to their room with instructions to play Barbie and leave me alone. Truthfully, this wasn’t one of those “Now precious girls, let Mommy be by herself for a while” days. Right or wrong, it was more along the irritable lines of “I have got to have some time by myself so go to your room.”
As I fell exhausted into my chair, I mentally calculated all that I had done for my children that day. I had nursed the baby and attended to his every need. I had taken my daughters to the library and craft camp. I had stopped at the grocery store to get ingredients for a healthy dinner. I had washed loads of laundry and cleaned the house. Without reservation I had given my family my best effort all day long. Everything within me had been poured out for them; every last reservoir of strength was gone, save one.
Now all I could do was cry out, “God help me!” and wearily pick up my Bible.
Not expecting anything particularly applicable from the Old Testament, I nevertheless started reading where I had left off in 1 Samuel. Within moments, a verse almost leaped off the page at me. “Why do you honor your sons more than Me?” God asked a parent in 1 Samuel 2:29. It was as if God was asking me the very same question. The thought gripped my heart as I continued reading.
First Samuel tells the story of Eli, who served as the high priest of Israel during the time of the judges. Scripture shows that while Eli seemed to serve God wholeheartedly, he had a weakness that eventually led to his family’s downfall. His problem? Eli was more partial to his sons Hophni and Phinehas than to God. When they pursued sex outside marriage, indulged in wicked behavior and even blasphemed God, Eli honored his sons so much that he scarcely disciplined them for their behavior.
God warned Eli of the judgment looming over his family and asked the piercing question of honor. If only Eli had listened to God’s warnings, if only he had allowed the question to penetrate his heart, if only he had put God first in his life, he might have repented and avoided the resulting tragedy.
But he didn’t. Eli continued honoring his sons more than God, so God brought judgment on the family. Hophni and Phinehas were killed, Eli died in shock, and his family forever lost its honored position as the high priests of Israel. As all this was happening, his widowed daughter-in-law gave birth to a son and named him “Ichabod,” meaning “the glory of God has departed.” This tragic sequence of events all started when Eli allowed his children to have first place in his heart.
As I sat there that afternoon, I almost dismissed Eli’s story as not applicable to my life. After all, my 4-year-old does not blaspheme God, my 2-year-old is hardly sexually promiscuous, and the dirtiest thing my baby does is fill his diapers.
However, I couldn’t get past the deeper message that the text has for every parent. Though the original question has a historical context, the thought it conveys is timeless: Why do you give all your best to your children and give Me second place?
There I was, desperately needing a break from serving my children, when God took the opportunity to tell me how much I needed to be with Him. He wants my relationship with Him to supersede every other relationship in my life, including my children.
I really wrestle with this, though. And, as I’ve informally surveyed other mothers, I have found that it is truly a common struggle. We “good” mothers tend to give all our best to our children, seldom leaving time for ourselves, much less God.
However, regardless of our children’s ages or stages, God always demands first place in our hearts. He wants you and me to honor Him more than we honor anyone else.
This is a fine line, because mothering our children well is a way we honor God. Taking care of our children, even going beyond the call of duty for them, is not the issue, though. The heart of the matter is that nobody, not even our kids, should have a higher place in our hearts than God, lest they become our idols.
My children — idols? Your children — idols? It seems almost ludicrous to refer to them that way, yet that is exactly what they become when we honor them more than God. Consider these questions:
Please don’t read me wrong. I am not suggesting that we become such spiritual legalists that we ignore the realities of motherhood. Teaching the alphabet, cooking healthfully and involving our kids in sports are excellent things to do. Figuring out how to be the best mom possible is good and admirable.
However, we cannot — indeed, we must not — allow these pursuits for our children to minimize our pursuit for God. We cannot be fooled into thinking that all the great things we do as moms are more important than being intimate with God. The stakes are too high, for we risk our families becoming like Eli’s if we put our children before God. He must have the highest place of honor in our hearts.
It took that day of absolute frustration and exhaustion for me to be reminded of this. Since that hallmark day, I’ve begun asking God this question each morning: “Lord, how can I put You first today?”
When you and I ask God that question, we must obey whatever He tells us, whether it’s to home school our kids, take them to the library, minister to a neighbor or even spend time alone. It is amazing the strength that He will give us when we carry out His plans for our lives. By seeking God first, all the many aspects of our lives will fall into place, for our good and His glory.
Nothing will make our homes radiate more than His presence. Nothing will enhance our children’s development more than having mothers who really know God. And nothing will make us better mothers than giving our Lord first place in our lives. It all comes down to a question of honor.
Whom are you honoring most today?
Copyright © 2003, 2022 Tosha Lamdin Williams. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used with permission.
How my husband and I celebrated and made a family memory
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As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism
Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, Strong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers.
Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.
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Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married Sex, Sacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.
“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.
Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!
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After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!
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Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.
Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.
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Dr. Randy Schroeder has spent more than four decades writing, counseling, speaking, and teaching. For nearly 25 years, he was Vice President of Student Personnel Services, Dean of Students, and a professor of pastoral counseling at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. He’s also led a successful counseling practice helping individuals, couples, and families to thrive in their lives and relationships.
Effective parenting is now within your grasp! With this inspiring how-to comprehensive book, achieve extraordinary results in raising a child to be self-assured, self-reliant, and responsible! You will be able to successfully lead and lovingly encourage your child toward a Godly life!
God designed marriage to reflect His love to the world; and because of this, the enemy wants to destroy God’s beautiful design. Based on his book, Defending Your Marriage, Dr. Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff share about the reality of spiritual warfare against marriages, and how to combat the enemy’s lies with the truth of God. Couples will be encouraged that they’re not alone in the fight for a godly marriage and better equipped to be a shining example for the world around them.
Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution. Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biola’s Center for Marriage and Relationships where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast.
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Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.
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Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,
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In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.
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Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.
With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.
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Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of Reality, Tactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.
In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.
Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.
Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married Sex, Choosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.
Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.
As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.
Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.
Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.
As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.
With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.
Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.
Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.
Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order Book, Have a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.
Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.
Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven
W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.
This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.
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