Thursday, September 9, 2010


Yesterday was the first MOPS meeting of the fall semester, and I decided to attend. I had wanted to get involved in SOMETHING this fall, but all of the bible studies that appealed to me required a good solid committment, and with our fall schedule completely booked and a baby on the way, I just didn't feel like overbooking myself and getting stressed. Since MOPS is only once a month (with a play date or two thrown in), I figured it was a perfect compromise, and still gave me that encouragement as a mom that I needed. I walked away from yesterday's meeting completely refreshed and with a refocused outlook on training Brayden.

The speaker was Michelle Duggar. Yes, as in the woman who has 19 children. If you've read my blog for long, you know I have questioned the logic between having a baker's dozen worth of kids. It's not that I think she's a bad person or has made bad decisions, but her decision to have that many kids is definitely not for me. Despite my thoughts, I have the utmost respect for the Duggar's and how they raise their kids. Her words spoke so much truth to where I am at. I feel like a lot of days I am just a sitting duck in a huge pool. I want so desperately to have some meaning to my day, but generally end up on the couch completely exhausted and feeling as if I just MADE it. I want to swim laps in the pool of motherhood. Not that I will be completely efficient, but I don't want every day for the next few decades to look like I am just wading my way through the jungle of it all.

Michelle basically took the entire two hours to talk about building Godly character into your child. I felt like I could have sat there and listened for hours more, as I frantically jotted down notes and sayings that she shared. She used practical advice, not just admonishing us to build our children up but showing us HOW to do it. One of the things that really spoke to me is using the menial moments of the day as opportunities to make Christ known to the hearts of our children. She followed up by talking about curtailing anger. I have to be honest, I struggle with the anger part. I tend to have a short fuse, and I demand justice with little thought to the extension of grace. While I am trying to work on this, I know it will be a long road for me to walk. Dealing with a strong willed child day in and day out definitely is rubbing off those rough edges and teaching me to curb my anger. How can I show Brayden Christ if I am constantly becoming angry during those menial moments. I lose my opportunity to teach, and instead teach a negative. Michelle said that one thing her husband has said is that with a strong willed child, they may require more discipline (they actually call it correction, which I kind of like too) and consistency, but if you temper that will, they will become strong willed leaders who are strong willed for the cause of Christ. I need to keep that in the forefront of my mind as I deal with saying "no" for the same thing 546 times a day. My son will be a great leader, but I must make sure that he is guided in the right direction!

I could literally write a book about all of the things she shared about. I will end with the three character qualities that Michelle and Jim Bob think are the most important to instill at a young age:
  • attentiveness: Showing the worth of a person by giving undivided concentration to his words and emotions. She said there is great importance in your children giving you their eyes; if you can't get their eyes, you will never be able to get their heart. I have really been trying to work with Brayden on looking at mommy while I explain what a rule is or what he has done wrong, but this really encouraged me to try even harder.
  • obedience: The freedom to be creative under the protection of divinely appointed authority. She spoke on INSTANT obedience. Not counting to 3, not saying things over and over again and then correcting... INSTANT. She snaps her fingers, and teaches her younger ones to clap. I really struggle with this one due to the fact that I have a strong willed child, but it makes so much sense. God has appointed us as parents to watch over our children; if they don't heed our instruction, they step out from under the umbrella of protection that God has created. Teaching our children instant obedience to OUR voice will teach them to be instantly obedient to the voice of Christ when they are older.
  • self-control: Instant obedience to the initial promptings of God's spirit. She used an example that she uses with her younger ones with potty training. God has given us initial promptings similar to those that are biological (like the initial prompting to go to the bathroom). He wants us to develop self control so that we are able to instantly obey. If we ignore those initial promptings (lack of self-control), there are consequences (like going to the bathroom on ourselves). This character helps refine our children so that they are able to hear and heed the promptings of God and receive the blessings of listening to him instantly. 
All in all I am SO glad that I decided to join MOPS. I really feel like this will help me become a better mom to Brayden, and give me a little outlet to connect to other women who are walking the same path as me right now.  And just a little FYI, MOPS is an international organization, so if you are interested in learning more and finding one near you, just visit their website.

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