Our Top Ten Most Viewed Posts

While we are taking a break from sharing new content this month, we thought you might be interested in checking out our “Top Ten Most Viewed Posts.” Click the pictures below to read along!

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1) Motherhood vs. Your Quiet Time

Motherhood vs. Your Quiet Time

2) Marriage…After Baby

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3) Personal Prayer Testimony Video and How to Make a Prayer Notebook

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4) How Motherhood Changes Your Body

How Motherhood Changes Your Body

5) Five Powerful Phrases Our Boys Need to Hear

5 Powerful Phrases for Boys

6) #MomLifeUnfiltered: To My Younger Self

#MomLifeUnfiltered To My Younger Self

7) Finding Joy in Sorrow

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8) Learning to Trust God in the Middle of the Night

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9) God is Still Good: A Mother’s Journey Through Grief

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10) Oh Be Carefule Little Boys What You Hear

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If any of our posts minister to you, we would love for you to share them with someone else! And if you don’t want to miss out on new content from Missional Motherhood you can subscribe via e-mail above. Thank you for stopping by!

Surrendering My Plans for the New Year

by Lindsey Wingo

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Happy New Year from Missional Motherhood!

As we enter this new year, many thoughts flood my mind about the one that has come to an end. Friends have lost children this year. Others have experienced the pain cancer brings. A few have fought for their marriages through circumstances that seem impossible. Others have experienced loneliness, depression and anxiety.

On the other hand, some have had a year full of joy with the addition of new babies, adventures, jobs, homes, and relationships.

As I sit and ponder, I find myself pressing pause.

Breathing in.

Asking the Lord to bring the refreshment only He can bring.

I want His perspective. Continue reading →

Loving Our Real Life this Christmas

by Wendy Anderson Schulz 

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In the ’80s the family picture Christmas card became all the rage.  Moms dressed their families in matching red plaid, teased their hair, and dedicated an afternoon to getting that perfect card picture. This was no small feat in the days of film cameras.  You knew if the film came back and your eyes were closed, or you were not smiling, you were in trouble with Momma.  It was hours of stress for what has become a simple click—make the family look perfect once a year.

While I love receiving Christmas cards, it has been 10 years since I sent one out, and most of our friends have given up as well.  Today we don’t have to stuff the kids in their matching Christmas outfits and line them up for one perfect staged picture each year. Thanks to social media, now we do it every day.  The worlds of Facebook and Instagram have taken what used to be a once a year farce and turned it into a daily event, especially at Christmas.

There are all the standard season photos:

  • The fancy “we love each other so much” Christmas date night picture.
  • The relaxed “Christmas movie day in PJs” picture.
  • The “look at our craftiness” Gingerbread House making day picture.
  • The 30 “look at my cleverness” daily elf pose pictures.

Day after day there is a very quiet, ever present pressure to get the perfect picture, to crop out the dirty dishes on the counter, to add a filter to reduce those circles under our eyes, and post it up to our social media accounts.

For Real Life? Continue reading →

A Paper Trail of Proof

by Jenny Stricklin

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I told my husband one year that ALL I really wanted was a love letter. But not just a sweetly signed Hallmark card. A deeply personal, well-thought-out, and very specific handwritten letter from him to me.

Don’t get me wrong. He was really great at daily speaking and showing love. But we’d just had our first two kids 13 months apart, and some of you know what I mean when I say that those first couple of years felt a lot like full-blown mayhem. In the middle of the crazy life, I wanted a written record that our relationship was still moving forward. I wanted to be reminded of who we were and why we loved each other, to remember “us” stuff and linger over the details. I needed a fresh indication that even with busy toddlers, interrupted conversations and leftovers for dinner, our love was real. And I wanted proof that I could grip with my hands.

It may sound like a silly request, but I can say that my man DELIVERED. I woke up that morning to a manila envelope holding a small stack of pages each filled up with beautiful words that warmed my heart and fully exceeded my expectations. And don’t you know that I read and reread the love letter many times over. There’s just nothing that beats having a written record of love and commitment.

In a similar way my husband challenged me to document my year with the Lord. Nothing fancy necessarily, but like he did with the love letter, he suggested I take time to write down evidences of my growing relationship with God…“proof” of His activity in my life that year and of my commitment to Him. Obviously God isn’t desperate for a handwritten letter like I was. But in all likelihood, unless I write it down, details will get lost and precious memories will slip from my mind. Continue reading →

Sing the Songs

by Laura

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In our house, when the Christmas music comes out, the Christmas season is officially here.  It’s the prelude to the celebration, opening the door into a time of remembrance. There is something about music that stirs up our souls.

Angels we have heard on high,

Sweetly singing o’er the plains,

And the mountains in reply

Echo back their joyous strains.  

God with us.  Immanuel. God became flesh and dwelt among us. The epic story seems to crescendo with angels and shepherds, stars and wise men.  The baby born in Bethlehem is the fulfillment of a long awaited promise.

One of the traditions around our table is to light candles every evening in December.  While we light them, we sing the ancient words of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.  It’s such a simple addition to our dinner hour.  But it has become a way for us to pause as a family and remember that we are both celebrating Christ and waiting for the fullness of all God’s promises.

Before you envision raptured faces lifted nightly to the heavens, let me pause for the young moms on this one.  We are not talking about a perfectly-pitched, instagram-worthy moment. My children do not sound like a boys’ choir. My husband and I, for good reason, do not have a record label. On some nights it’s chaos.  Generally speaking, we are still in the fake candle phase of life. We may or may not have to remove foam swords from the table at times. This year, I bought candle snuffers for my older boys to use to extinguish the flames after the song.  With three boys 6-years-old and under, the addition of real fire to our dinner table was colossal.  But, candle snuffers for personal use? You can well imagine.     Continue reading →

His Presence is Our Present

by Leslie Hollowell

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“You make known to me the path of life; you fill me with joy in YOUR PRESENCE, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11 (NIV)

“Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of YOUR PRESENCE, Oh Lord.” Psalm 89:15 (NIV)

As I sit here striving to put my thoughts down onto paper, I am trying to picture my Heavenly Father sitting across the table cheering me on. To be honest, today has been a hard day. People can be a bit rude during the holiday season. Everyone is hurrying and scurrying around trying to get shopping done and trying to make sure everything is just right for Christmas day.  I, too, caught myself getting a bit annoyed while waiting in lines and trying to weave my way through bumper to bumper traffic.  It’s so very easy to focus on the task at hand and forget the people and purpose of the Christmas season.

And then, I remembered these two verses that I have been pondering for a few weeks:

“… You fill me with joy in Your Presence…” Psalm 16:11

“Blessed are those who have learned to praise you, who walk in light of Your Presence, Oh Lord.” Psalm 89:15

It was at that moment that I took a deep breath and stopped and quietly asked the Lord to fill me with Joy in His Presence. Continue reading →

The Best Gift We Can Give

Guest Post by Mallory Allen

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December is here. Christmas is just around the corner. It really is a warm (literally in the South these days) and fuzzy time of year and, some might add, stressful at times. During this time of year, many of us add the extra roles of interior decorator, professional shopper and tradition keeper to our already long, everyday list of to-dos. We pull out boxes of ornaments, lights and the many other festive things Hobby Lobby has convinced us we “need” to make over our house for one month. We carve out time to comb the mall (or surf the web), trying to find the perfect gift for each of our family members. We strive to keep traditions alive from not only our childhoods, but those of our husbands’ as well, while also forming new traditions as a family. We spend time wrapping gifts, attending church musicals and Christmas parties, organizing a large meal, and sending out Christmas cards; but somewhere along the way we must really decide what is most important in these busy 24 days leading to THE day that is Christmas.

I love giving gifts. My husband jokes with me and says I may love it a little too much! This year I was taking “inventory” on what presents I had and what I still needed to get when my 3-year-old came in and asked me, “Mom, why do we buy everybody presents for Christmas?” I decided this may be a good time to put down the list for a teaching moment. Being three, he is just learning what this whole Christmas thing is all about and understanding enough to ask questions and really get into it. For about six months now I have been telling him the story of baby Jesus. So I took this moment to teach him that baby Jesus was the best gift ever given to us. He would later go on to give us the ultimate gift by dying on the cross for our sins and raising to new life so that we could be forgiven. When we disobey or do bad things, we can now be forgiven because of Jesus, and have Him come to live in our hearts if we simply ask Him.

So simple. So profound. So easily grasped by the heart of a child. After reviewing this with him, I went on to tell him that we give gifts to others whom we love, to celebrate the best gift given to us on that first Christmas. This really connected with him. So now he will tell you the best gift is baby Jesus, followed closely by a new bike, as to be expected for a 3-year-old.

His simple question helped put things back into perspective in my own heart, as it is so easy to get caught up in to-do lists and lose Christ in our Christmas.

My husband and I want to give our kids the best gift we can give each Christmas, and that is to point them toward Christ. Everything else comes after this main goal.

It’s not easy though. Slowing down in the midst of the craziness is impossible unless planned. We are a young family, with a 3-year-old and a 4-month-old, and by no means know exactly what this should look like. We are still learning what works for our family each year. But I want to share with you a few ideas we have picked up along the way and watched other godly parents we look up to do with their children to prioritize Christ in Christmas: Continue reading →

The Gift of Advent

by Laura Jones

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“There is something about saying, ‘We always do this,’ which helps keep the years together. Time is such an elusive thing that if we keep on meaning to do something interesting, but never do it, year would follow year with no special thoughtfulness being expressed in making gifts, surprises, charming table settings, and familiar, favorite food. Tradition is a good gift intended to guard the best gifts.” 

 Edith Schaeffer (Christmas Spirit, 1999)

As a little girl, I remember thumbing through the ornaments on the felted advent calendar at my grandmother’s house. Year after year, she would hang it up four weeks before Christmas. The sequined ornament shapes were intricate and reminded me of jeweled candies. Oh, the tension of waiting; it took forever to reach Christmas! Day after day, I snapped on the ornaments and counted down. Would Jesus’s birthday ever come? It seemed like forever.

And here I am as a mom, watching my own children fight over whose turn it is to hang the sparkly felted ornaments. They feel the tension of waiting and longing every time they count down to Christmas day. This is the tension that we, as Christians, must embrace as we wait for what God has already promised through Jesus but not yet fulfilled here on Earth. That is the beauty of practicing advent in tangible ways around the house. It teaches us to lean into the longing; it guides us into reflection and repentance.  And this is where we meet Jesus.

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Advent is a centuries old liturgical practice that looks backwards and forwards simultaneously. It looks back to Jesus’ miraculous Incarnation and leans forward into the reality of the Lord’s prayer: heaven is coming down to Earth. Christ will return and put this broken world to rights. Advent pushes pause on the frenzy of the season where good things tend to crowd out the Best Thing. All the parties, all the gifts, all the dinners are good gifts. But the greatest gift is the Gospel of Christ. Practicing Advent allows us as families to sit down, exhale, and contemplate what Christ has done in the past and what He will do in the future when He returns in glory.  Continue reading →

The Journey to Jesus

by Heather Neese

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“And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)

So often during this time of the year, I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season—presents to buy, trees to decorate, memories to create and maintain, celebrations to attend, and food to prepare.  And I do all of this while trying to keep my focus clearly centered on the true meaning of Christmas.  It can most definitely be a whirlwind. At times when all is said and done—when gifts have all been unwrapped, the Christmas dishes are in the dishwasher and put up for another year, and guests have departed—we find ourselves exhausted.

I am certain many of us have asked ourselves, “How do I more effectively make Christ the center of my Christmas?”  

I have pondered this question over the past few days. Because let’s just be honest with each other. Along with the joys of the season, come the harsh realities as well. As I sit here typing, I am overwhelmed by the vast grief I have witnessed or have been made aware of over the past several months: Continue reading →

God’s Word for the Barren Womb

by Melissa Langley

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If infertility strikes a woman by surprise, how much more unexpected is the struggle of secondary infertility? Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. Statistics show 20 percent of women experience secondary infertility, which is twice the number of cases reported for primary infertility.

Infertility is a silent struggle.  A woman feels alone and invisible at times.  On the other hand, her struggle is very obvious: she has no children!  But for the woman who has conceived and birthed a child “effortlessly” and then finds herself in this unknown world of secondary infertility, her struggle is unexpected and even perplexing. She finds herself dealing with the passing of time and maybe even the pain of losing a child through miscarriage. A new set of emotions and thoughts floods her mind – “Will I ever experience the miracle of pregnancy again?”  “Will I ever hold a newborn in my arms again?”  “Will I be able to give the gift of a sibling to my first child?”

Continue reading →