Well, I’m not here this morning. I mean, yes, existentially, I’m here on Planet Earth still…
…but only just, I think.
(Anyone know where this enchanted spot is just from this picture?)
After two very long days of travel that included 4 flights and lots of layovers, we have arrived in heaven, or somewhere close enough not to quibble.
And since I’m not “here” this morning, I invited Ruth from Gracelaced over to talk about motherhood, since it’s been far too long since we’ve talked to another wise mama about this!
Normally, I would be a little more detailed in my introduction, but in the interest of not annoying my husband (who’s hungry), I will simply say that I find Ruth’s Instagram feed inspiring, her blog uplifting, and her pictures and art absolutely stunning. I hope you will take the time to check her out yourself because this self-described, “unlikely mama to six boys” (!!!) has so much to offer.
So, let’s just dive right in, shall we?
Out of the possible matriarchal titles (Mother, Mom, Mommy etc.), which do you prefer? Any particular reason?
My children call me Ma Ma, which is the Chinese Mandarin title I grew up using with my mom. I was born in Taiwan, and am mostly still fluent in speaking, but my children only know particular words and phrases, so I love when they call me Ma Ma.
You’re an artist (and a talented one at that!). Do you feel like your art is affected by (or even flows out of) your mothering process? If so, how?
Because I so often paint and create my artwork with my children with me, at the table, or looking over my shoulder, I’ve really learned to express and model the process for them– not so much the process of painting technically, but the process of letting go of perfection and enjoying the exploration of creating and imitating the Master Artist, God himself.
You have 6 kids–all boys. Are you a born “boy-mom,” or was that a big adjustment?
I always pictured myself with girls, because of my interests and personality. However, God, in his gracious sovereignty, gave me the perfect family. I have grown into enjoying the noise, the physicality, and the amount of LEGOS and sound effects that come with raising boys. And yet, I do not resign myself to being simply a “boy-mom” as there are so many virtues and attributes that are for boys and girls, and I’m seeking to raise these boys to appreciate much more than dirt and guns!
What did you want to be “when you grew up?” Where did motherhood factor into that?
I never aspired to being a mother. I was too obsessed with graduating at the top of my class and working in the medical field. I pursued everything BUT art and motherhood. But, somewhere in my second year of college, the Lord humbled my heart and revealed much about my pride, my true desires, and my need to look to him for direction in my life. I still was not a natural mama early in my married life; however, the Lord was so kind to grow that desire in me, and truly…I simply fell in love with motherhood.
Care to share your most recent best/worst Mom-ment? (ha! see how I did that? totally cheesy!)
That’s a tough question. I have had so many in both areas! I suppose my best Mom-ment would be a recent conversation I had with my five year old, alone in my room on a “date,” as we talked through his anger that sometimes feels simply annoying or childish. I was so blessed to see the fruit of what can come when we squeeze in imperfect, but deliberate time with our children. With him on my lap, in private, and having tender time to ourselves, made all the difference with that little one. As for worst Mom-ment, I would say that it is more like many moments strung together. In our current season of a deadline for getting our house on the market and losing houses we hoped to buy, the stress level can be high, and my attitude is often impatient and unkind. I overheard my oldest correcting his brothers the other day in a tone that was so clearly mine. It was harsh and ungracious. Praise God for those moments when we clearly see our sinful tendencies as moms– rather than cause us to despair, they push us to remembering that we are broken, just like our children, and need our Redeemer to transform us from the inside out.
What’s your best piece of advice for mamas everywhere? (i.e. the one thing that helps you stay the sanest).
I think one very practical piece of advice I would give is to always try and lower your voice and get down on your children’s level, physically, when correcting or giving them directions. I think we are so quick to shout orders, say things in passing, or throw words out into the air, and expect our kids to absorb them all. When we deliberately look them in the eye, put their faces in the palm our our hand, and speak sternly but softly, we do more to win their trust and capture their attention for what we have to say. It’s also a safeguard for my own heart as well, when anger or impatience rages in the midst of the chaos.
Do you have a life verse or one that’s become especially precious since becoming a mom?
I think Ephesians 3:20 has been that verse for me…and why I included it in my shoppe! That the Lord is able to do more than we ask or imagine is evident in his gracious provision of my boys, and in my role as a mom. He has indeed given more and made more of my life than I knew to even hope for.
I’ve entitled this series Mombassadors because I believe that we have the potential to be ambassadors for Jesus + examples of joy in a profession/calling that’s rife with opportunities for negativity if we let it be. But it takes a very conscious effort/choice on our parts. Because being a mama is hard! What kinds of things do you do to actively choose joy in motherhood?
I guard my heart from bitterness, anger, or negativity by being thankful. Thankful for salvation, thankful for forgiveness, thankful for grace, and thankful for all the blessings I don’t deserve.
Quick! Don’t think too hard if you can avoid it. What are the first three “M” words that pop into your head that describe you as a mom?
Molder (not to be confused with moldy)
Oh, ya’ll. I know I’m the one that wrote the questions, but Ruth’s answers to them were just so great that this interview felt fresh to me all over again. I love her advice about lowering your voice and getting down on your kids’ levels especially. Every. single. time I do this, my discipline is so much better given and received.
And now, Ruth would like to give away TWO things to one lucky reader!
1. This uber-practical and fun veggie slicer.
2. Any 8X10 print of your choice (excluding giclees) from her absolutely gorgeous selection of hand-drawn art in her shoppe.
Side note: Ruth has some awesome prints that would be perfect for Father’s Day, but you need to order by TODAY to ensure delivery by next week.
This one’s my fave:
All you have to do to enter is answer the following question:
To me, grace in motherhood (either your own or from your mother) means _____________________.
letting your children become their own persons by nurturing their strengths and not always pointing out.their weaknesses
Something I need to extend more to my oldest. I feel like I am so hard on him and he is a great kid.
Forgive yourself and start again.
letting go and letting God.
realizing my Saviour has given the perfect for me children. perfect for mine and their growth.and to be thankful for the journey.
It means parenting the sweet clever child I have been so graciously given and not a set of expectations I have for myself and him.
Talking less and listening more.
Letting my ideas of perfect go and giving grace!
Choosing joy each & every day!
… that I’m far from a perfect mother but I have a perfect Savior to help me in this journey
… that I am so far from a perfect mother but have a perfect Savior to help me in this journey.
Admitting when you are wrong and asking for forgiveness.
Grace in motherhoods means stopping, swallowing that terrible pride and kneeling down and saying, “I’m sorry. I was so wrong and handled that badly. Can you forgive me sweet child of mine?”
Being able to be completely raw with our children, to me, is the ultimate earthly example of grace. Because us Moms need it too!!
Grace in my mothering means taking me where I didn’t want to go in order to produce in me what I could not do on my own. It’s Gods gracious work that does that. I would not naturally choose to be selfless but by gods grace I am made more lovely and loving because of his pressing through to me by grace to see the beauty in serving my loved ones.
To me, grace in motherhood means abiding in Him, picking up my cross daily and following. Not about me but what God is doing in me, which will often be messy and ugly. He always brings beauty.
Remembering that I’m learning and growing on this journey of motherhood just as my kids are learning and growing in life. I don’t have to have it figured out or perfect, I’ve only been at it for 5 years! Each year I find myself becoming a better mother by His grace.
Grace in motherhood means I’m not done yet. Tomorrow is another day. His mercies are new for me and my kiddos.
Grace in motherhood goes two ways. First, it’s God’s grace to not have to be a perfect mom and realize each mommy has their own personality and gifts. There is no such thing as a perfect mom but by God’s grace we can let go of ideals and expectations and guilt because if our image in Christ. This frees me from Mom Guilt. Secondly, it’s God’s grace for us to our kids. We may be the best example of Jesus to our children. It’s pouring out his love and blessings to our children as they grow and learn who He is and why they should give their lives to Him. Praise God for his amazing grace!
Grace in motherhood is forgiving yourself as God has forgiven you. Then, try again. 🙂
To me, grace in motherhood means to be continually striving to grow and learn from God about my role as a mother. It means, that every morning, I wake up and can greet the day fresh and with the chance to do it a little better today. To not be weighed down by past mistakes, to ask forgiveness when I have wronged or hurt. It means letting go of my pride and anger that sometimes builds. It means that I have been given a great gift that I didn’t deserve and I want to do my best to take care of my boys that made me a mommy and help them to flourish.
gifts from God; my child here on earth and my twins in his arms in Heaven.
Oh, my heart aches for you, Kristie! I don’t know when you’re twins went to be home with Jesus, but I can only imagine how hard. Praying for you!
To me, grace in motherhood means that I’m not really in control (what a relief!) but I serve the One who is always so lovingly in control.
means that we aren’t remembered for our worst moments in motherhood
is understanding we all need a Savior!
to me, grace in motherhood is receiving the Father’s love to wash over my heart again and again after I have failed my kids… being able to know that I am loved in my imperfect mothering and then receiving strength to pour out the same merciful love to my children
Grace is motherhood is seeing Jesus in every part of my ordinary, mom day. His hand is on and in everything.
grace is choosing to let my expectations take a back seat when the kids are tired and stressed out.
Grace is treating others as you’d like to be treated, without expecting that treatment in return.
Oh, and being that graceful example for your children, forgot that part. 🙂
…understanding that I am flawed, but God covers me, restores me and makes beautiful things out of dust!
…asking for forgiveness when I blow it, and knowing that leading by example, my children will learn what grace truly means.
Loving my children where they are, always remembering that they are my brothers in the kingdom as well as my children to nurture and train. We are in this messy walk together and love and grace covers all.
…to laugh and smile instead of sigh and furrow my brow.
Apologizing and asking for forgiveness when I mess up with the kiddos.
For me, grace in mothering is God’s infinite grace with me…His patience and gentle molding of my character!
It is extending forgiveness to my children AND to myself. As another commenter said, we are all works in progress, and mercies are new for kids and parents every morning. I’m thankful for that.
having the strength to give grace.
For me it’s trying to show my kids unconditional love even in the ugliest moments as my Heavenly Father so graciously and abundantly shows me.
To me, grace in motherhood (either your own or from your mother) means seeing my children through the lens of our Heavenly Father and giving them the same supernatural love and kindness He gives me.
At the end of the day, relishing in the good moments and comforted by the fact that His grace is new each day and tomorrow I can start over with the goal of less bad moments.
Knowing I am just as sinful and in need of a savior as those kids.
Grace in mothering, for me, is the gift of a new heritage and Father when we are redeemed!! We get to move ahead one day at a time, by Gods wisdom & strength not our old patterns and painful pasts. Praise Jesus!! (Thank you for the tip on correcting a child on their own level in a quiet voice. The Lord showed this to me awhile back and it affirms His leading!! Another way He is growing and leading me in motherhood by His grace!)
God’s patience with me
Trying to humble myself and ask my kids for forgiveness (which is often!).
To me, grace in motherhood means the chance to do better tomorrow, the simple and plain moments that take your breath away when you remember to view them with thankfulness, and the (undeserved) forgiveness of my children.
Grace in motherhood to me, means that Jesus wiped away our sins and God already loves our imperfect selves. This brings a beautiful peace and cadence to the rhythm of our daily lives together as a young family seeking to grow in Him each day.
Deliberately seeing God in the little things of the day.
Living an authentic life with my kids. Being willing to ask for forgiveness from them and give it to them daily.
Realizing that, as a nearly empty enter, while I can see things I wish I had done differently, I did the best I knew at the time and God will fill in for all my shortcomings.
Right now, for me, grace is knowing that we are all still figuring this out and learning to understand each. Christ is not finished with any of us yet!
Starting each day anew, being able to laugh, and live IN the moments!
Taking a deep breath & trying again.
Looking past the action or attitude and loving the person behind it.
Apologizing when I mess up, again
picking up that fussy teething baby one more time even when she arches her back and screams. 🙂 That’s grace from where I’m at right now; I’m sure it will change as she grows!
Apologizing to my kids when I mess up.
Loving my children unconditionally, and not placing unrealistic expectations on myself as their Mom, or on my children.
Being authentic and real, showing my children I’m trying, but I also fail, and that is where Christ’s ultimate grace abounds!
Dying to self….everyday
I agree, Sarah! I feel the same way (even though I struggle with this everyday!)
Unconditional love….and eating the sloppy half eaten cookie out of your todler’s hands.
To me, grace in motherhood means humility.
Peace in the home, peace in conversation and correction. Which is a little bit about my own self-control, so that I am equipped to extravagantly give grace….
My mom is always willing to put our needs above her own without making a fuss over it. It is so graceful and Christlike.
My mom loving me not condemning me through my teen/young adult years 🙂 She was so gracious about my mistakes, the older I get, the more I come to realize she has a better grasp of Grace than I ever will .
Letting go of pride.