Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Kind of Mother...

I have been thinking a lot about lately about the kind of mother I want to be. That I am called to be. Fortunately I am blessed with some role models in my life who are absolutely incredible mothers.....and for years I have been watching what they are doing and learning. That's how we improve and make the best version of the Lord, and learn from mentors we respect. Our church especially is filled with some seriously Godly mothers who are raising up some AWESOME kids....many of whom are now teenagers, in college, or even grown....and they are just champions for Christ. Big time.

I have also taught more children in the past 7 years than most people come into contact with in a lifetime through coaching, summer camps, lessons, working in youth, teaching Sunday school, and being a connections teachers that allows me to teach 150 new students every 9 weeks. I have learned a LOT about parenting in working so closely with children and I am definitely thankful for that opportunity. I look at my students and see some of the qualities I want my children to have, and then figure out some of the things their parents have done to help cultivate those qualities. (It's way more beneficial to focus on what TO DO than what NOT to do).

Sometimes people tell me they think I am going to be a great mother, and man, what a nice compliment that is! As much as I appreciate hearing that though, that is certainly not what I want to be known for.

I've been thinking and praying about this a lot as I've been reading my childbirth & parenting books and studying Scripture. I've said from the beginning my biggest goal in preparation for our little man was to focus on MY walk with the Lord, and I still believe that is truly the BEST thing I can do to prepare for being a mom.  I will learn WAY more about how to raise my children from the Bible than I can any other book, and my prayer is that I will continue to use that as my ultimate guide- even above what I am learning from mentors.

That being said, here are some of the things that have been running through my mind lately about the type of mother I want to be.

I do not simply want to be known as a mother who "puts her kids first." I feel like so many women try to do just that and feel like in doing so, they are being the BEST possible mom. And I just don't agree. (Yes, I am aware this post may not be popular. Thank goodness I don't write my blog to be "popular,"...but I write as reminders to myself & things the Lord has shown me.)

I want to put my relationship with the Lord FIRST, always. And not just SAY that, but do it...truly live it out. I want my kids to see me pray....not just with them, but on my own, all the time. I want them to see me lost in my quiet time. Studying the Word. Teaching His Word to others. Loving others. (That is the second greatest commandment, after all. Love God, love others!) Serving others. (That is what we're called to do....and we are never MORE like Jesus than when we are serving.) If it means that our kid will be late for his bed time because we are stopping so Jonathan can help someone change a flat tire, then so be it. I want them to see that example.

And I want to be known for putting my husband second, only after my relationship with the Lord. That means my kids will not come before my husband. Now I know this is a tough one...really, really tough, and I'm sure I don't even have a clue how hard because I don't have kids yet. I almost think it's a mother's natural instinct to put her children first. But my first ministry is to Jonathan, and I will continue to pray (as I have been since way before we even got married) that the Lord will help me remember this as our family grows. Obviously with babies and children, they have needs that have to be met (duh!), and I am not saying my kids will go without or anything crazy; but ultimately I am called to be a WIFE first, mother SECOND. I think in showing my children how much I love their daddy and want to serve him, then I will be being the best mom I can be. The Lord put Jonathan & I together, & we are now ONE. We are so thankful He is blessing us with a sweet, sweet baby (and hopefully more) to raise and train up, but eventually Jase will move on and have his own life and family. As much as we already love that little man and will continue to love him more and more, we have to remember that God loves him above and beyond anything we can imagine.  Jase will simply be on loan to us, but ultimately he belongs to the Lord. Jonathan & I are one forever though, so he has to be my #1. And I want to model for Jase the kind of wife that I pray he will marry some about some big shoes to fill!

No wonder marriages are crumbling and families are falling apart (which is having devastating effects on our children).  So many women are putting their children first, before their walk with the Lord and/or their marriage, thinking they are being the BEST mom by doing so. But that is not what God called us to do. Kids are not meant to come before spouses, nor are they meant to run their families and are not equipped to do so (although many do).

I've also had people comment they are interested to see how I adapt to motherhood because I am used to being so busy. Most of you know I'm retiring in May to be a stay-at-home wife and mother. (So incredibly thankful that Advocare came into our paths!!  We planned to do this anyway, but have been able to do it much sooner and with way less financial stress because of Advocare- truly a blessing & an answered prayer! We started praying for that very early in our marriage & I encourage the newlyweds or singles to start considering that now....) But I have to be honest.  Even though I will no longer have a full time "job" being employed by someone else, I am not really expecting that to free up my time. My kids are NOT going to get my full attention every second. Yes, I will be the one with them most of the time, but I will still be very busy.

And yes, I also know that probably sounds SO SELFISH to some people, but I feel like it's just the opposite. It's selfless. And let me explain. I will not be filling my time with things for myself....but serving others. And I will bring my kids right along with me as I do that. First of all, I feel like that is giving my kids a more honest grip on reality. The world will not ever revolve around them, and I don't want to mislead them into that way of thinking. Trust me; my children will get PLENTY of quality time, and LOTS of unconditional love from us. But I want them to have a heart for the Lord and a heart for serving others, just like Jesus did. As far as being busy, yes, my schedule is packed.....but it's not with nail appointments, hair appointments, lunch with girlfriends, shopping, etc. (Not that any of those things are wrong, by the way.) My schedule is usually packed with something that serves someone else in some way, and I have NO INTENTIONS of stopping those things. In fact, I think that is part of what is going to help me be the best mother I can be. (No, I don't plan on being back to "normal life" right away....I know it will take time to rest, recover, and adapt to life with a new little one who requires almost constant attention in his early life...I'm just saying eventually.)  Now I know I will have to say no more. I am not saying I will put others before my husband and children....they are my ultimate calling, ministry, and priority. I am just saying that I will continue to serve others so I can model that for my children & help them begin doing it at an early age too. I have a heart for that, and as believers, we are called to do that.

I am also a HUGE, HUGE believer in the importance of having a well-rested and well-fed child. As a parent, those are two of my main responsibilities after teaching them about Jesus.  There are immense benefits to both, and Jonathan and I plan to do our very, very best to make sure that our children have a routine/schedule that allows them to be both well-fed and well-rested. But I have to remember this too.  Above all, we are Christ followers. Jonathan & I both teach in our church. Right now we attend 4 services every Sunday. No, we don't do that to earn "points" or so people see us or because we feel obligated...we do that because that's what we have felt led to do. Unless the Lord calls us from that, we will not stop them. We WANT our children to be in the house of God, learning Scripture and surrounded by other believers. And we want them to see us TEACHING and sharing the Gospel with others. Obviously we may not be able to continue in the same way as we have in the past, but I think it is so important for our children to be at church & to see us serving there too.

Here is another thing. As a mother, I do plan to continue working out regularly and eating as healthy as possible. This one may get some of the eye rolls, but I feel like that is part of my calling as both wife and mother. I want to stay looking good for my hubby (because he does for me, and like I said, he is my #1), and I also want to model a healthy lifestyle for my children. I HAVE to be an example to them, and that includes taking care of my health. Exercise is a HUGE aspect of "taking care of my temple." I want to try to incorporate my children as much as possible and teach them to be active too- taking walks, doing family workouts, playing, riding bikes, etc. And part of the reason I am so passionate about that is for disease prevention. I want to be in top health in my old age as well so my kids aren't stuck taking care of an ailing parent (no disrespect meant by that...& I would do it in a heartbeat for my parents without thinking twice....I'm just saying that as a parent, I want my grown children to be free to do what they're called to do at that point in their life, not having to take care of Jon & I because we made any poor lifestyle choices that resulted in an illness); and that means investing in my health. Thankfully working out is something I enjoy (and Jon & I enjoy doing together), but I would still do it even if I didn't. Do you think I ENJOY paying more for organic foods, washing & scrubbing all those fruits and veggies, and then spending hours each week to prep healthy meals & snacks?? Not really. But I do them anyway.

Of course there is so much more....but these are a few of the things that I have been mulling over in the last few weeks. I am truly so thankful for the Lord's PERFECT timing and for this sweet blessing. He knew the perfect time for us to have children. Looking back, I am so grateful that now is the time and it didn't come sooner because I was nowhere close to where I needed to be spiritually (and of course I still have a long, long ways to go- we have never "arrived" and can always keep growing). I feel like I am just now 'mature' enough in my walk to be the kind of mother I was called to be, and I cannot WAIT to experience the joys of motherhood!!!

Thank you for letting me share my heart. And thank you to all of my friends & family who are already leading the way and showing me such a great example of the kind of mother I want to be...


Anna Demko said...

You amaze me every time!
Inspiring post and I absolutely agree! God should be the priority in our lives, not children. Husband comes before kids every time - he was there with me before kids came along and will be long after they are gone. Our relationships takes priority.
Absolutely have to model healthy lifestyle and stay healthy and fit. It shows that you care about yourself and want to be there for your kids as long as possible, not just a couch potato to be looked after.
Keep at it, and don't let people discourage you - who cares that they don't agree.

Christi said...

A very moving post!

I'm a mom of older kids now. I have worked out of the home, from home and in my home! Yes, I'm a sahm now so I work in my home! I've been bad about putting my kids first. Sure there are some reasons behind it initially but it doesn't matter because ....

Serve husband and I spend much time doing this and it is clearly seen by our kids. We are not perfect, but our oldest child is showing us that what he sees from us has rubbed off. He loves to serve others. Of course as an older mom, I'm feeling a desire to slow down serving others and take care of myself. When school schedules for 3 plus church, activities etc I gave up my working out schedule and Bible study time. I'm stepping back in the fall so I can spend more time on those.

Working out, eating properly...yes, yes, yes! This is how you'll keep up your energy, too! :)

Do make sure you take time for other relationships, too. I've seen so many friendships go away because of mommy hood .njust a thought.

I'm so excited or Jon & you.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I am a stay At home mom of a toddler and I love it! I whole heartily agree with this post and I try to live it out in my live but... Wow it is so hard. ( especially the putting your husband before your child, I love my hubby but it is sill difficult.) I love that you are already thinking about these things and I think that will make it easier for you to stick with them since you are already conscience of them. We have started a new routine and it is working great, to read my son his children's daily devotional during breakfast, He looks forward to it every morning and will request it if I am running behind. It shows us BOTH to keep our eye on God and a great way to start the day.

Janet Dubac said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful post! You will surely make a great mother. Indeed, there should be nothing more important than our relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. After all, our first priority as mothers is spiritual in nature--teaching our children morals, values, and above all, faith in God.

Anonymous said...

I can not wait until you ARE a full time Mom. I doubt, and hope, you put your husband and his needs before your child. Your husband is old enough and capable of doing things on his own, your children are not.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog often and I have never posted before. I think that you need to re-evaluate your priorities. Heaven forbid, your husband could leave you tomorrow. Your child is forever. And I know you believe that you and your husband are "1" but your child is growing inside of you. You + your child are LITERALLY 1. Just something to think about.

Anonymous said...

As a working mother, I can tell you that saying you won't put your child first is preposterous. If you're working at all, hopefully you're working to maintain the lifestyle you have and want to keep FOR YOUR CHILD. There's nothing wrong with giving your child attention, in fact most would agree the problem with families today is not that we put our children first, but that parents DON'T give their children enough attention. So children seek this attention from other sources, which often times ends up badly. A happy baby means a happy mom - therefore he without a doubt comes first. You can teach your child independence without depriving them of your attention.

I would like to finish by saying this, if you're going to follow the bible - follow it fully. You can't pick and choose parts of the bible that best suit your lifestyle. So remember you will be unclean for 7 days after you give birth and Jonathan shouldn't touch you or he too will be unclean.

Chels said...

Great post my friend!
I am so thankful for such a Godly friend that I have in you!

You are so right about all of this!! God, husband, kids, others- that's exactly how God designed the family.

I struggle daily with making sure I put Brian before Andi, Brock, and Cooper but I am striving everyday to get it right!
Love you and your heart!
And I know it's not always easy to share what God has laid on your heart but He will honor your obedience!

Anonymous said...

I have been a long time follower of your blog. I have always thought you are your family were adorable. And I have agreed with every post you have made ... Until now. I vow to never read your blog again, starting now. For you to say you will serve your husband and his needs will come before your child makes you sound horrible. As someone mentioned aboce, your child is GROWING INSIDE YOU. You + your child = 1 I think it makes you sound like a very sad and pathetic woman and future mother to ever say your husbands needs will come before your child. I hope you change your mind after seeing that sweet babys face. I hope he never leaves you - Your relationship with him will be over and your child would probably want nothing to do with their mother who had ignored them all their life.

Mama’s Minute said...

I agree with this post 100% and am glad that I have friends that stand up for the same beliefs. You are an awesome example of living for Christ in this world. Sometimes it's not fun to be in the crowd that goes against the grain, but when you stand tall and share with others it makes a difference!

The kind of mother we are matters to God, our husbands, and children first. When we focus on them all the other things dim and God honors that.

Love you and your heart! :)

Anonymous said...

I hardly ever comment on your posts even though I read them all, but with all the negative comments on this one I just felt I should :)

I'm a college student and I can honestly say that they way you live your life totally inspires me! Your devotion to Christ is contagious, even over the internet! I wholeheartedly believe in your priorities and agree with them, including putting your relationship with the Lord and your husband first! If those aren't solid, then the other areas in your life would be so chaotic and thats definitely not what a child needs to be raised around! Your devotion to God and your husband (and by no means does this meant she is going to neglect her child, people!) will be something that is so valuable for Jase, I love it!

Ashley said...

I read your blog all the time but never comment either. I just wanted to say that I agree with you 100% I have no doubt that you will be an excellent mother! I believe that you must make time and make your husband a priority in your life even after children(and no, that doesn't mean you are neglecting your child or not giving your child the attention he deserves)Thank you for being so honest and being such an inspiration!

Emily said...

I know this post has caused some strong reactions! Even as someone who believes many of the same things you do I was even caught off guard a bit by a few things...but the reality is all these things are great IDEALS and there is nothing wrong for having high hopes for yourself as you enter motherhood. There is nothing wrong with setting goals and having aspirations. Heck, before I had kids I would often say that my baby would be fitting into mine and Zach's life...we would not be revolving our lives around him/her! You see how much that changed ;) My ONLY real concern in this post is for you. I think it's WONDERFUL to have goals for yourself and to aim for those goals but I know how easy it is for things not to go as planned. As your friend I just don't want to see you upset or disappointed or get down on yourself if motherhood isn't always like the picture you have in your mind of it being :) I say that out of love because I am a HARDCORE perfectionist and have very often found myself in a position where I'm beating myself up over things that I just need to let go and not stress over! I'm SURE you'll find a balance with it all and will be an amazing mama!

ty said...

I think the negative comments are coming from those who don't fully understand what you're saying. No one is talking about ignoring your child. Just that your child will not run your lives, and that your husband is still the leader and head of house. I commend you for standing firm in your priorities. I'm neither a wife nor mother, but I completely respect you for these beliefs - in fact, when I think about it, they are very close to my own.

Kellie N said...

I love your blog because it's so honest. I have enjoyed your posts on pregnancy because they're real and provide great insight to those of us who haven't yet embarked on that journey. I commend you for writing what you feel and believe, even if it's viewed as unpopular to some. I am sure you will be a great mom and I look forward to reading about your experiences in motherhood!

Kristi G said...

It always catches me off guard when I take the time to read the comments on your blog and see how far and wide your reach has become. I am so proud to know that you are spreading God's message all over this country!

For those of you who "know" Danielle through her blog, as someone who has the absolute BLESSING of being around her in person on a regular basis, you should know that you 100% get the real, true to life, Danielle all the time. She is an amazing, inspiring, God-filled woman and I admire her.

For those naysayers... I'm not concerned for Big Jon EVER wanting to "God-forbid leave her and THAT BABY" (uhh... rude. He HAS a name!) If you had the privilege of being in their presence you would know that their God-filled marriage is a God blessed marriage - and they are sickly in love with each other!

As a (gasp) young, working mom, with a doctorate, who teaches children (and young adults) everyday who thinks that the world revolves around them Danielle couldn't be more SPOT. ON. God made man... and then a wife. Submission has NOTHING to do with becoming a slave, and everything to do with loving your spouse more than anything else in the world. From growing up in a household knowing that my mother and father made EACH OTHER a priority, to creating that in my household now with our children, I KNOW that nothing made me - or my own children - as sure that they loved me more than knowing that my Mom and Dad loved each other with a burning passion.

My children will tell you, "Who does Daddy love the best?" Mommy. And vice versa. It's the way it is in our house. We are a team, and they are the manifestation of how much we love each other. I pray that my children, or that my husband, NEVER thinks that I would put them before him, because God the Father didn't intend our families to be established that way. If I'm talking to my husband, my children are NOT going to butt in and interrupt. They need to understand that we are talking and they're going to have to wait.

Call me a bad mom if you want, because the joy in my house and the peace I have with the Lord is all that matters. I pray that if you have a marriage that you see is otherwise that you will pray and think deeply about these priorities now and that God will move in your heart to begin making amends.

Marriages fall apart when the order isn't correct. When you put your children ahead of your spouse one day you're going to wake up to someone whose only common thread is your children. What happens when they're ready to live their own life and become independent (which IS ultimately your job as a parent.. to insure that they could live without you)? Will you move with them? Will you be a part of your son's marriage? Will you drive a wedge and hope that he never loves her as much as he loves you? Will you enable them to the point that they won't be ABLE to live on their own?

THIS is what society is becoming, and the bottom line comes back to understanding that when God's order reins, life proceeds in the way that it was meant.

Love you Danielle! Can't WAIT to see what amazing things that God has in store for your family!

Anonymous said...

Such a passionate post. I really appreciate your goals and ambitions in life and love and motherhood. I think as a mom to two young babes that motherhood has opened me up to things I've never known and priorities have shifted. Luckily I don't believe that anything has to be set in stone. We evolve, life evolves, stages change. In the beginning the babies are all consuming, they literally can't do anything for themselves. Of course we attend to them and as a result our time with our spouses vanish, our patience due to lack of sleep vanishes, our libido vanishes for many reasons. But it's a stage. It will change soon and our priorities will shift again. I don't believe in the husband first vs. child first model. I see more shades of grey. Neither resulting in the sacrifice of the other. We make time as parents to spend moments together for ourselves and for the benefit of modeling for our children. I take time to eat well, exercise for myself and to model health for my children. Please continue your loving plans and thoughts for your life as well as acknowledging that things may shift in the moment. Doesn't mean you lose who you are, just shifting for awhile. It is such an amazing time in a woman's life, so rewarding, so challenging. I wish you luck and have enjoyed seeing you entering this new phase of life! Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Dear sweet girl this is awesome. I have read several of your blog posts after I was shared a link to one of the ones on marriage. I was intrigued a little by your softball background (my husband is a college softball coach) and began to completely stalk your blog (in a good way). It is very evident that you love the Lord and strive to do his will. This post is right on. No one may agree but ultimately your children are going to grow up one day and be gone and you still have to know how to live with your husband and love him just the same, or more than the day you gave birth for the first time. Yes, putting your husband first is one of the hardest things to do but ultimately it is what we are commanded. I truly do not believe that you would put your child's wants or needs to the wayside. Keep living for God sweet girl!

Unknown said...

I'm not a "blogger" but once in a while I'll come across a blog on Facebook and that's just what happened to me today. My Christian sister posted one of your blogs of Being a Godly Wife and it really spoke to me and I want to thank you for that post. Then I was browsing through some of your other bogs and this one stood out to me. I'm about to be a mom soon...VERY SOON. In about 6 days. And I am too having a little baby boy (Tyson). I've been so anxious and nervous and scared and excited all wrapped up in one person and I've prayed about these feelings but I believe this is what the Lord had for me to read to put my fears at ease. I agree so much with everything you wrote. I really enjoyed reading it. The more I read your blog post the more I feel in my heart that I have found a friend that understands the same beliefs I have. I am still what some still call a "Baby Christian" but from what I do know from the Word that you are 100% spot on! It's hard to explain these things to people especially non-believers and I've tried so many times. I look forward to reading more and more from your blog and thank you for sharing these things. Take care and God Bless you and your beautiful family!

K said...

The negative Nancy's don't understand. I understand where they are coming from because it does sound crazy! It sounds absolutely crazy to non-believers. To a Christian it makes perfect sense. I read this post and your other post clearing up the confusion and I honestly am inspired. All of your posts make me say "Oh my goodness! I never thought of it that way. " I love your posts and the way you live your life. You are an amazing Christian Woman. Keep up the good work.

Unknown said...

Thank you for being so open and honest. I found your blog through Pinterest when a friend posted your blog entry about being a Godly wife. The more of your entries I read the more it makes sense to me why I may have trouble with my marriage. My priorities are all wrong! I am putting my sweet little boy ahead of my husband and I'm not leaving much room from my God. Thank you for being a light in this dark world. Thank you for using your blog as a ministry. The Lord has truly spoken to me through your blog.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog since March-ish..and I must say you are so amazing! I really wish I could meet you because I am always excited to see what you post next! I have never commented before but after seeing all of these rude people say such horrible things to you..first off this is your blog and as you have stated you did not write this to be popular. And I have seen what putting your children first and not your spouse first does. It destroys families! My parents do not even look at each other anymore because they put my brother and I first. And now my mother has become depressed by this and put herself in a ton of debt because she believed that she needed to put herself first and went too far. It has even caused problems between my boyfriend and i because of the stress it has caused. And all I have to do is read your blog and put your words into actions. Since I have done that, we go to church together now, we are working on our relationship, and talk about the future such as finances and whatnot. You have truly been an inspiration to me and because of you, I can build my relationship with God again and move forward.

Anonymous said...

As the product of a home where the kids were put first and then the husband, and after having experienced homes with Christ centered, covenant marriages in Christian community, (and after reading Gods spoken Word)- I 100% agree with you Danielle. Praise The Lord for you sweet girl!! You are a woman after God's own heart! Thank you for standing firm in faith and for knowing that you need not fear man but God and God alone. Gods Word is powerful and true, and it offers the best advice on every aspect of our lives, including motherhood. Continue passionately seeking God and He will be a lamp for your feet!

Unknown said...