How I Try to be a Generous Mama

Being a generous, patient, gentle mama is tough; there’s only so much of ourselves which we can spread around and it’s very easy for to be panicked and stingy with our limited resources of time, energy, and attention.

But, I want to be a generous mama — one who is quick to give of my limited resources — I want to be more generous because God is so generous to me.

And I want to encourage you too, dear friend!

Honestly, it’s easy for us to freely give of ourselves when life is going well — when we’re well-rested, there’s a surplus in the budget, and the people around us are angels. 😉

But let’s talk real life — how can we be generous, giving mamas when we’re exhausted? How do we practice generous patience when we’re running late and the gas light flickers on and our kiddos are whining in the backseat. How do we give of ourselves when we just don’t want to read that book anymore?

Mothering well is not an easy task but that is where the Holy Spirit and some practical forethought can help us overcome!

For me, preparing my heart at the beginning of the day helps tremendously. I have a cute little basket holding my Bible and current devotional; it takes a great deal of effort to crawl out of bed early but I never regret the 15-30 minutes I spend with the Lord in prayer and Bible reading.

I also plan our daily schedule out and include blocks of time specifically for snuggling, book reading, or sensory play. Of course, random kisses and play times happen but I find I’m much more intentional and generous when I plan to be.

Then, of course, there are the days when I’m running on fumes and feel like quite the grouch. On those days, it’s important to be generous with myself. That can include:

  • picking the battles I want to fight
  • folding the laundry tomorrow
  • asking my hubby or a friend for help

Of course, what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for you and your family. But, when it comes to loving my son generously it tends to look like:

  • reading Bear Snores On with gusto a few times daily
  • helping him with therapy exercises
  • being quick, yet patient, in the habit training we’ve established
  • slowing down enough to give great eye contact, hugs, and watching his non-verbal cues and communication

The sweet thing I’ve discovered is that when I am intentional and generous with my love, attention, and patience Uriah’s development, behavior, and personality thrive — which are ample rewards for my choosing generosity over the bare minimum.

Tell me, friend, how do you practice generosity in your relationships? I would love to hear how you have been impacted by a generous person in your life!

This week, I aim to fill our days with themed crafts, songs, books, and Scriptures themed around this idea of generosity so I’ll be sharing some of that here on the blog or on my Instagram.

Plus, I’m hoping to send a little giveaway to someone in the coming weeks so be sure to come back for that!

With much love and blessings,

Frannie

Looking at your Husband with Confident Eyes

A wife confident in her husband is a blessing!

A few friends of mine have an excellent ability — they look at their husbands with confident, supportive eyes. Everyone in the room can tell she’s on his side, she’s got his back. Their confidence makes the woman more beautiful and the man more respected.

There isn’t anything truly remarkable about these men except that their uniquely themselves. One is a bit eccentric and brilliant, the other smart and savvy. But the confidence and enjoyment these women have beautifies and exemplifies these ordinary men.

Me? Not so much. Honestly, I like to stay in the background and nurse my quirky wallflower nature.

Then, I married an entertainer. It took me a looooooooooooong time to understand that entertaining was one of Dalton’s innate, God-given longings and purposes. He loves bringing laughter to people he feels close to; it energizes and gives purpose to his day.

By the time we married, I had some resemblances to a sour, prickly old maid you read about in classic literature. I have a sense of humor but it’s simple, childlike, and mischievous. The prickly side of my nature looks down and picks apart colorful, witty humor and shies away from anything that draws too much attention.

There are other gifts and talents I didn’t fully appreciate — his ability to lead, his love for weight lifting, his gift for making the hard choices and following thru, his fondness of spontaneous dancing and jumping into rivers, or his deep appreciation for abstract, theological discussion.

Do you know what a poo-poo attitude does to a person? It shrinks them. Holding back from joining in another person’s joy belittles and discourages them. Ultimately, it breaks down trust and friendship.

Not having confidence in your husband’s personality and nature builds barriers of distrust and walls of shame.

No one wants their personality, thought process, humor, or enjoyments belittled.

That’s why I choose to recognize that the differences in our personality as good. I choose to have confidence in the uniqueness of my man and encourage you to do the same. Let’s appreciate the handiwork and creativity of God by accepting and appreciating the natures of our men.

Let's have confidence and enjoyment in our husbands @ AuthenticVirtue.com

Romans 12 encourages us to love without hypocrisy (no eye rolls or shaking of the head) and to honor and have great affection for each other — this includes our men! How we respond to the personalities and interests of our hubby’s reflects the love of Christ. It’s that important.

If there are areas in your husbands personality or nature that are not all they could be, pray for your man. Communicate your thoughts and talk over what you are seeing. My hubby always says he needs to know what I’m thinking, even if he disagrees, so that he make the best decisions possible.

But, for a lot of our husbands, having confidence in who they are will be a life-spring and freedom badly needed and highly rewarded.

Tell me — what aspect of your partner’s nature do you find different from your own and how do you respond to that? I’d love to hear from you!

Cheers to happier husbands and happier marriages!

Frannie

Self-doubt in Motherhood

A sweet but vague truth has been spinning inside my mind and, to help put it all together, I’m going to try and put the thoughts into words …

That guilt you’re feeling (the mommy guilt) … it’s a lie.

The fears you have about your child’s development and people skills … they’re a lie.

Any doubt or anxiety plaguing you about your child or your ability to mother … all lies.

Being introspective, I wrestle terribly with self-doubt, fear, and guilt over my role as mother and how my little will turn out. I put value on doing well which means any sign of delay, struggle, or failure sinks me to my knees.

Currently, one struggle of mine is learning how to handle Uriah’s tantrums since he isn’t yet able to communicate with many words. As we walk through these (wonderful!) toddler years, I’m seeing a sweet independence develop within Uriah; we’re learning how to help him deal with those emotions constructively and Biblically.

When a melt down happens or Uriah is unusually fussy, the enemy whispers lies into my heart — if you were a better mom he’d be able to communicate better; if you had only spent more one-on-one time with him today he wouldn’t be throwing a fit; if you don’t respond well this time you’ll train his character poorly and he’ll always be rebellious …

I could go on and on describing the daily onslaught of lies I hear about my role as mother. I’m sure you can too.

But, sweet mama, let’s listen to truth. Let’s identify the anxious, condemning thoughts for exactly what they are — lies meant to tear you down and make you less effective as a mom.

Then, fling your burdens, gaze at Christ, and focus on the truth He has spoken over you

You are God’s workmanship created for good works that God has ordained

Mama, you have been called to be your Little’s mother. God created you to help them grow into people who love and do good. You are called, so you have been equipped.

You are a new creature in Christ which means old habits of fear, anxiety, and condemnation are over

God will help you guide your children’s character towards godliness. Because you yourself are learning and growing into the image of Christ you’ll be able to gently guide your own children.

And remember, you are never alone

God promises that “because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.”

If you are feeling conviction about your parenting or priorities, repent and move on. But the next time you feel crippled by self-doubt, worry, or guilt remember Whose you are and Who is living in you.

You’re not alone, mama. We have been called and chosen for this role — let’s believe that truth and cling to it!

Happy weekending!

Frannie

To the mother in the NICU this Christmas

Advice to the mother spending Christmas in the NICU or PICU.

I see you … you’re drinking Ronald McDonald coffee you smuggled into your little one’s room sitting in the middle of IV alarms, feeding tubes, ventilator equipment, and nurses chattering in the background. You’re spending Christmas in the NICU, PICU, or surgery floor. 

I see you smiling at your baby — thankful to be with her even if she’s in a warming tank or you’re wearing those noisy isolation gowns.

Despite your smiles I know you’re struggling with tears and questions — why do we have to spend the holidays here? Why do we have to endure this?

It’s okay; I know that your burden is very real and very heavy.

Can I give you some advice as a woman who spent 281 days in the hospital with her baby?

Mama, decorate your baby’s crib. Even in the middle of the storm, you need to find ways to make these days special.

If baby can tolerate stimuli, I hope you sing her your favorite Christmas carols and dress her in the outfit you got at your baby shower.

Eat the extra cafeteria sugar cookie and take a little time to look at the Christmas lights down the street.

Give your husband an extra long kiss before he goes back to work.

Please buy a tiny Walmart tree and set it up in your Ronald McDonald apartment and enjoy the free gifts they leave hanging on your door.

This is your Christmas.

This horrible, exhausting, lonely Christmas is your Christmas and one day it will end.

One day you’ll look back at this season and wonder how the days passed so quickly.

But until then, be easy on yourself. Find ways to make these precious days count.

You need to survive these days just as much as your baby needs to survive. You need to be gentle with yourself — after all, you’ve lost so much normalcy — it’s okay for you to grieve the loss of normalcy.

It’s okay. 

Love and blessings from someone who has spent the holidays in the NICU and PICU

Frannie

Compatibility Isn’t What Makes Marriage Work

Hello, sweet people!

I originally wrote this post in 2016 — it’s crazy how drastically life has changed since then! But I’m more convinced than ever that compatibility isn’t what keeps a marriage together through the long haul. I’m also convinced this is a lesson we need to learn every year. 

I’m learning what real love is … and it’s beautiful.

There are many misconceptions about love and how best to make relationships work. One of the most deceiving and killing is the lie that compatibility is necessary for a thriving, successful love. Sadly, many friends, lovers and even church family separate when they feel a drift in their compatibility from one another.

Friends, this is wrong.

What Makes Marriage Work

When we base our vows on the typical definition of compatibility  we head down a road of disappointment. Marriages are not meant to be built on how well you compliment your spouse and how well your personalities work together.

Nothing in life is meant to be built on this.

Spouses can be annoying. You can be annoying. The traits and personality quirks you initially found cute can turn into irritants. We’re meant to rub each other raw … that’s one way God works our character.

Instead of basing a relationships value on how well you work together examine your ability to suffer together.

The original, Latin root for compatibility is compati which means to suffer with

Suddenly, being compatible isn’t as fun as before.

Sweet friend, how well do you suffer with your friends, spouse and church family? How well do you show them genuine, authentic love?

Young lovers, please don’t base your relationships on how well you compliment your significant other without asking yourself the simple question: am I willing to suffer with them? Will you suffer with them when finances get tight? Will you suffer with them when they lose all respect, when your child is dying, or when they lose a job?

Make Marriage Work

Honestly, this has been an interesting and new concept for me. I knew that Dalton and I’s relationship needed to be built on an enduring, committed love … but the idea of suffering with? Well, #tbh, that threw me off.

To avoid being overwhelmed, I took this new challenge one practical step at a time. In the past, suffering with Dalton meant being able to give a good back massage when his body ached and cheerfully keep to our budget. I knew that if you aren’t willing to suffer through the small, inconvenient moments then you’ll crumble when the hard stuff hits.

And how true that was! For us, suffering changed from minor irritants to gigantic hurdles! We endured living apart for 7 months while our son had surgery after surgery. For Dalton, suffering meant sleeping on the hospital couch for 9 weeks while I was on bed rest, not turning up the heat in the winter to save money, and driving back and forth each week so I could stay with Uriah while he was in the NICU.

Had we based our marriage on the easy moments we couldn’t have made it through the last few years. How thankful I am God carried us through that traumatic season of  life!

And it’s true for all of us — you may hit iceberg sized difficulties in the future but for now you’ve been given small opportunities to grow deeper in love.

What do you think? How have you grown in your ability to suffer with your friends, spouse or church family? Or is this an area needing strengthening? Share your heart … and let’s grow in grace together!

With love, blessings and coffee,

Frannie