Mothering Bravely - Part 2



"Life with sticky floors, but happy souls." - Amy Oliver


A BRAVE MOTHER KNOWS HER LIMITS

Knowing when to say yes and when to say no requires bravery. Most often our days are

not filled with good and bad decisions, rather it comes down to better and best. I am

horrible at this. Everything sounds fun to me, so I want to say yes to everything, but this

is not best for me, my marriage or my kids. They all end off getting the crumbs, the

leftovers of my over “yes-ing.” In knowing your strengths you must also know your

limits. You need to know what you must say no to and when to say no. A boundary-less

life is a chaotic life. A life out of order. A life with more mess than fun.


It’s being willing to say no to the trends because it just doesn’t fit within your mission as

a mom to your children. Being willing to do the uncomfortable to honor your limits.


A BRAVE MOTHER KNOWS HER POWER

We, as mamas/women, set the tone and temperature in our homes. You are familiar

with the phrase, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It’s true! It’s scary true.


Our mood, our attitude, our heart condition determines the tone and temperature within

our home. The condition and state of our hearts are the condition and state of our

homes.


Our attitudes don’t just start with attitudes; they start with unguarded, mismanaged

thoughts that give way to much, much more! We have to guard and protect our

thoughts because our thoughts produce our feelings/emotions/perspective, our emotions

give way to our words, our words produce our actions, our actions form our habits, our

habits shape our character and our character determine our destiny.


When we allow our thoughts to run wild we are at risk of not maintaining an

appropriate and positive perspective on our lives, our situations, our family members,

and even ourselves. Perspective can quickly become reality. When I do not believe the

best about my spouse it’s extremely difficult to acting lovingly, much less respectfully

toward him. Everything is impacted by our thoughts, so what are you thinking on most

days? Is it mostly positive or negative? What are the primary emotions you have about

your life and those who are in it? Even if you are joking with friends, what are the words

you use to describe your life, situation, spouse, children, self?


A brave mom doesn’t love every moment, but she cherishes the opportunity to have

every moment. She engages, even when she’s worn-out, used up and completely

depleted. She keeps her attitude in check because she guards and protects her thoughts.

A brave mom knows the power of her words and her impact. She knows the imprint she

is making, and is deliberate in how she does what she does. She is not perfect, but she is

quick to ask for forgiveness when she is out of line.


A BRAVE MOTHER KNOWS HER FLOCK

Know your kids!! What makes them tick, What are their personalities, their interests,

their dreams, their hearts? We have to have a willingness to be a student of our children,

to see them as individuals (not a collective whole that makes the days long and

challenging). In being a student of our children we learn what they value and why. We

learn how they see the world, what they are passionate about and how to speak their

language in meaningful, powerful, loving ways.


In knowing your children, you also have the opportunity to sow into their interests, and

not just herd them around like a pack of wild dogs. This takes intentionality, time and

sacrifice. But we want to invest in the things that they love…allowing them to discover

for themselves their own gifts, talents and strengths. A brave mom is willing to press into

her child’s passion even if it’s not at all what she would pick for herself or her children

(obviously this is within reason and comes with it’s own set of limits or boundaries). This

is about not living vicariously through our children, or dreaming their dreams for

them…making them who WE think they should be or want them to be, but allowing

them just to be them!


A BRAVE MOTHER KNOWS HER ALLIES

A brave mom knows her supports and she isn’t afraid to use them! She knows clearly

those who are going to hold her up when she is weak, who are going to join her in the mess

without judgment, and who won’t be scared away by the ugly.


Mothering is not a job designed for isolation. It is not intended to be done alone. We

cannot do it alone! Not only is mothering more fun done with like-minded moms, but it

also makes it easier to endure and succeed. To cultivate allies we must have a willingness

to risk and be vulnerable with each other. We have to dare to be known and to know. We

have to be willing to be bravely us!


Our allies hold us accountable to our mission and a positive attitude while doing it. Our

allies help us see our flock as individuals and point out strengths in them where we may

have missed it. Our allies call out our strengths and relentlessly encourage the use of them.

Our allies cheer us on to run our race and to finish our course strong. Our allies are life

giving.


A BRAVE MOTHER KNOWS HER CREATOR

A brave mom realizes that she cannot be truly brave or accomplish any of the above

without first abiding with her Lord. Jesus is the author and creator of all things. He knows

all things, see all things and sustains all things. Apart from him I can do nothing – nothing

well anyway. To be the mother I yearn to be, I first must know and cling to Jesus.


God’s Word, the Bible, is living and active. It is sharper than any two edged sword and it

has the power to refine, restore and transform. His truth helps me push through the tough

moments with resolute bravery. His truth helps me withstand the crazy without myself

becoming crazy. His truth allows me to be the kind of mom I want my kids to remember.

And I can sincerely tell you the days I am better at accomplishing all of this are the days

I’ve deliberately spent time connecting with God…the days that I don’t never go as planed

and never as well. Prioritize the time to read the Bible – if it is important, you will find a

way, and if it is not, you will find an excuse!


Prayer! Ladies, prayer works! There are many days that I have to put myself in time out

because my attitude stinks, I am raising my voice beyond normal or necessary levels, and I

am in no way acting consistent with what I am asking my kids to behave like. In my time

outs I have to pray. Asking God for His wisdom, His peace, His words, His discernment,

His calm, etc. If you don’t know Jesus, don’t wait one more day! He is our refuge in this

wild and crazy thing we call motherhood. He is our sanity when everything is falling

apart. He is our hope when everything else disappoints. He is loving, He is good, He is

faithful, He is sovereign. He makes all of this worth it and all of it possible!


Discussion Questions:

1. Which area are you bravest in? Why?

2. Which area do you need the most growth in? Why?

3. How can your fellow moms at Mops help you in your journey toward

mothering bravely?

4. Is there something in your life that needs to change or you need to say no to so

you can mother bravely?

5. How do you maintain sanity and a positive attitude throughout your long days?

6. Are you spending time in the Word? What fruit are you seeing from your time?



- Amy Oliver, MS, LMFT

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