Thursday, January 27, 2011

Precious Wisdom for a Mom with Ugly Business

Two of my favorite writers are Doug and Nancy Wilson. The couple has written a whole series of books on the Christian home and family and they are, in my opinion, superb. I haven't read all of the books yet, but the ones I have read (and the one I am reading) are some of my favorite books.

I just finished Praise Her in the Gates: The Calling of Christian Motherhood by Nancy Wilson. I cannot tell you how this book blessed me! As I have said before, the past 12 months or so have been difficult. We have struggled to keep a routine, there has been so much transition, lots of special events and traveling, lots of bad news, and very little "normal." I am sad to say that all this has taken its toll on my work as a mom and homemaker. I have had to say "I'm sorry," a lot this year to both Casey and Braelyn, for being over-emotional, impatient, critical, and at times disinterested in keeping a clean and orderly home. Ugly Business.

After a particularly difficult day with Braelyn (I love routine and Braelyn loves routine and when we are lacking in routine for a long time...she and I have difficult days), I was so fed up with myself (yes, myself...because I knew that I had not been giving her the structure, boundaries and patience that she needed) that I sent myself to a timeout. Good thing about adult timeouts is that that they're at Starbucks. Anyways, I left the book I was reading behind and took with me Praise Her in the Gates, because frankly, I needed a Come-to-Jesus meeting about my responsibilities as a mom, and I knew Nancy would give it to me straight. And she did!

I sat down with my white mocha and went straight to chapter 8...Loving Daughters. Man, oh man! What a heart adjustment I received! It was so humbling and convicting and long was the list of things I needed to repent of. But I was so thankful! And I was so encouraged! I went back to my little apartment refreshed, praying that the Lord would help me love my daughter matter the circumstances.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes from that chapter:
The first thing that mothers must remember in raising young women is to be kind. A critical spirit is a destructive thing, and mothers must not be too hard on their girls.

Women are role models for their daughters, and they must teach them about meekness, submission, respect, deference, courtesy, and holiness by example.

Daughters need to feel important, loved, accepted, needed, wanted, and appreciated. Mothers must be diligent to praise their daughters, not for their achievements primarily, but for who they are.

I am happy to report that the last few weeks a good routine has been restored to our home. Bedtimes, mealtimes, chore-times and, not to be forgotten, playtime have all returned to their proper place. And certainly, the Lord has been hard at work in my own heart and mind. Sure enough...I can see a delightful change in all of us. Are things perfect? Right now, I have two unmade beds, a giant hamper full of towels that has been there since June (not exaggerating), and yesterday Braelyn was in her jammies all day until we went out to eat for dinner. But, my home is a pleasant place to be...and that is the goal and a grand reward for a mother's hard work. has been a hard year. Books don't really tell you how to manage your home well while moving or losing a loved one or grieving a miscarriage. I have yet to find that book. And I know...there is much grace for such instances. Much grace. But...the Lord has placed me in charge of managing our home come hell or high water, and because I am so well loved by Him I ought to do it with excellence. Among the many lessons I have learned these past months, I have learned that when my circumstances are getting the best of me...I must pray. I was not praying before. I was relying on my own resilience, which, I've come to discover is insufficient. I must pray very diligently that God would help me to continue in my duties with a joyful heart despite trials and sufferings and travels and special events.

Again, I cannot say enough about this book. All the chapters are filled to the brim with precious wisdom. I might do another post on another favorite section, but I do encourage you to read this book for yourself. I'm not really sure why I had to share all my ugly business in order to tell you about this book...but oh well. Now you know about a great book and that I have ugly business and as a bonus...that you're not case you happen to have ugly business too. ;)

May the Lord be present in all of our imperfectly pleasant homes!


Amber said...

Remember me from HDFS at UH? I found your blog and have been following for a little while. I really like this post! I think I will order that book on your recommendation right now.

Steph said...

Of course I remember you!!! How are you?!!! So great to hear from you, Amber!!! I'm glad you found me! Do you have a blog? I'd love to hear what going on with you! :)

And should get that book! :)

mandi said...

I'm getting this! It sounds so good. I love that it has a whole section on loving daughters. I'm presuming there is one for sons as well???

Steph said...

you are one smart cookie, Mrs. Mandi! Yup...Respecting Sons. ;)

popsiclesontheporch said...

Steph~what a beautiful writer you are. Love the way your honesty and the things you are wrestling with just oozes from your writings. After reading the name Nancy Wilson it suddenly dawned on me that the homeschooling book I am currently reading called, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, is by Douglas Wilson.

I got to wondering if this was the same Wilson family. Sure enough, I went to go get my book and the first page mentioned Nancy his wife. Pretty cool! I will definitely now be on the look out for her books. Thanks for sharing. And yes, I too have ugly business. Thanks for sharing yours too! ; ) Love ya girl.

Keri said...

How wonderful that book sounds!! Gonna have to find it! I need to learn more patience too! Sometimes I treat Ava like she is 10 when she's only almost 2! As a mother we all just have such high hopes for our children!

Alicia Z said...

Steph, Do they sell this at Barnes and Noble? Got a gift card to use and would love to buy this book. Thanks!


Shari said...

Thank you for sharing what's on your heart. Your transparency is so very touching and has greatly moved me. Also, thanks for the book recommendation. I'm adding it to my books to read this year.

P.S. My parents are the ones who have Tucker! :)

Casi Howard said...

Thank you so much for this blog, Steph. I totally understand the part where you talked about relying on yourself to get through things. I think that has been one of my biggest struggles this year as a wife, mom, and girl's leader. I cannot do it all on my own! Thank you so much for sharing. I just ordered another book by this lady and hope to order the one you recommended too!