“Let your father
and your mother
And let her who bore you rejoice.”
Proverbs 23:25 nkjv
“Let your father
and your mother
And let her who bore you rejoice.”
Proverbs 23:25 nkjv
“Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father.” Proverbs 17:6 nkjv
There are times when a Christian woman may come to understand that God is opening her heart to mother a child who has not been born from her own body. Often these mothers are women in waiting, who find they are unable to bear children. Other times this desire grows in the hearts of moms who find they simply have more love to give. Either way, the work before them is filled with love, joy, stress, and at times a burden so profound that it makes it difficult to sleep at night.
These women seek to honor God by providing a home to a child in need. They do this through foster parenting, being a legal guardian, working in a children’s home as a house parent, or through the act of adoption. Regardless of how they come to it, the hill is rarely an easy one to climb. The support available is limited, at best, and friends who can truly understand are seemingly non-existent.
A mother who chooses to build her family by bringing children into her home and loving them regardless of any struggle that may come, has a selfless heart. It’s not easy.
Children who come into foster care, or group homes, or even are adoptable do so because, generally speaking, they are coming out of a difficult situation. Sometimes these children have been in abusive homes, neglectful homes, or have parents who are ill, in jail, or even deceased. These children are often struggling to breath and are overwhelmed by the circumstances of lives that they have no control over and suddenly they are removed from whatever bit of normalcy they know and are dropped into homes of complete strangers. While the strangers might appear to be nice, the child will wonder if they can be trusted, struggle to attach not knowing or understanding why they are there in the first place. Often, the child has no knowledge of what has taken place.
While children can be resilient, the fact is, they are innocent and tender souls who are hurting. They need loving, understanding arms and hearts, but don’t know or trust the ones that they are suddenly expected to live with and obey. They will test limits, rules, patience and love. They will distrust, rebel and disobey. They may have health struggles, mental illness or addictions that will be difficult if not impossible to overcome. And then, there is always the bit of niggling fear at the back of the mother’s mind that wonders, worries or even faces the reality of having to send a child back, back to their former life, back to their biological parents, back to their previous situation.
It’s not easy. In fact, it is hard. For those of you reading this who are IN this place, If you are a mom who prays through the night over a little soul that is hurting, if you are a mom who falls to her knees in fear that the child you’ve grown to love is in danger of being pulled out of your life, if you are a mom who has a broken heart because your child has a broken heart, or if you are a mom who weeps over the pain that your little one is in, either emotionally, physically or spiritually, then we offer you a small measure of encouragement.
But you dear sister in the Lord, are safe in the arms of the LORD your God. He loves you, knows you and can comfort you. He is your Strength, your Rock, your Shield. He is a High Tower who protects you and those you love. You CAN do all things through Him who gives you strength. Your sacrifice is not without merit because you are loving souls and seeking to train them up for His glory.
Blessed be the Lord my Rock,
Who trains my hands for war,
And my fingers for battle—
My loving kindness and my fortress,
My high tower and my deliverer,
My shield and the One in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues my people under me.
Psalm 144:1-2 NJKV
There are times when you will feel isolated, alone and as if no one understands. But you aren’t alone. Even though each situation is unique there is a commonality in the selfless act of extending love during heartache. There is fellowship in knowing that someone else has experienced a similar struggle. Here at R16:16 we have several bloggers in our directory who have become mothers through foster care, or adoption and we want to share their sites with those of you who need some encouragement.
This is the first A Mother’s Heart feature that will be available on the R16:16 Blog. We hope to encourage and support Christian mother’s in their roles and daily work. You may find blog features of women who write about motherhood, or articles of encouragement for various phases of motherhood. You are welcome to share your thoughts and ideas in comments.
Article written by: Renee Aleshire Brown, R16:16 Team Member
We are so excited to share with you an e-zine for Christian teens by Kaio Publications called iLuminate. This great magazine is the result of the work of our Brother Joe Wells. Joe began Kaio Publications because he has a passion for the Lord which leads him to encourage and motivate our young members to live sanctified in Him.
The title “iLuminate” comes straight from Matthew 5:16 where we are told to let our light shine and reflect all glory to God. “iLuminate” will challenge, encourage, and inform as you strive to shine for HIM. The subscription rate is $10 per year or $16 for 2 years and the magazine is published bi-monthly.
So what will you find in this magazine? iLuminate is an interactive e-zine with links to the Kaio Facebook Community, and Twitter Page as well as a video message from the editor. Articles will be a variety of messages geared at encouraging teens in their daily walk in Christ, from dating and current events to bible study, every page has been thoughtfully considered to catch the interest and spiritual needs of their target reader.
As parents you can rest assured that Joe holds scripture as his highest standard and he seeks only to encourage his readers in truth.
Kaio’s mission is… “to Challenge, Encourage, and Inform teens and families. Whether you find yourself in the midst of a storm or you are on the edge of the forrest looking at a path that leads to the unknown, we want to be a help – a tool that can generate discussion that can help direct you back to the Bible where the real answers from our Heavenly Father are found.”
Joe, a graduate of Freed Hardeman University, has worked in ministry since 2000 and currently serves as the preaching minister with the Lakeside church of Christ in Orange Park Florida. He and his wife Erin have been married for 11 years and together they work diligently serving the Father. They travel all across the country in ministry to members of all ages with Joe speaking at gospel meetings, youth rallies, camps and lectureships. Erin is a regular writer and pod-caster for Come Fill Your Cup a blog of encouragement for sisters by sisters. They are parents to 4 gorgeous children, 3 boys and 1 girl ranging in age from 8 to 1 year. They are attentively teaching through homeschooling as they train up their children in the Lord.
Kaio Publications also offers a 4 part downloadable audio seminar by Joe Wells called “Where the Wild Things Are” where Joe explains to his teen audience the reality of this jungle called life. He challenges them to decide if they will plant their roots in culture or by the stream found in Psalm chapter 1.
Kaio Publications is a non-profit organization that functions solely on financial support from within the brotherhood. Be sure to follow Kaio Publications at their Facebook Community Page or on Twitter. If you would like to support their efforts in teaching our young members by making a donation please visit their Donate Page.
We are so excited that for our readers in the month of April, Kaio is offering a buy one get one free special!! Don’t miss out on this offer!!!!
*Posted by Team member Sharla*
Sometimes you just need a bite of something sweet, something that feel decadent, something chocolaty. More often than not the choice to enjoy such a treat isn’t a choice that is healthy. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. Chantelle who blogs over at Happy Healthy Holy Home, came up with this healthy version of a brownie bite.
Chantelle loves good food but is always looking for healthier ways to eat the foods she loves. That’s what prompted her to come up with delicious goodness, her desire for something sweet an decadent but a healthier version of it.
Raw Chocolate Brownie Bites, that are healthy for you. What is her secret? Click over to her blog for the recipe. While you are over there be sure to click the Follow button so you can receive all of her updates right in your inbox. Who knows you just might find another recipe or two made healthier.
Cooking and meal planning can become overwhelming. 3 meals a day plus snacks, 7 days a week, about 30 days a month, 365 days a year, that’s about 1100 meals a year. Sure we eat out for some of them and other times we may be invited into someones home, but the reality is that we prepare most of those meals ourselves.
Whether your single and cooking for yourself and a few close friends, or your a mom to many the fact remains, that’s a lot of meals to plan for. For some cooking is a joy, meal planning is natural and grocery shopping is met with anticipation. For others it is met with dread and the overall task seems daunting. Whether you are an old hat at cooking, planning and prep or just need a little boost, we want to encourage you in this effort by providing a month of encouraging posts, recipes, tips and ideas to help you along.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a large skillet drizzle olive oil, heat pan. Add steak and sear apx. 8 minutes on one side, flip and sear apx. 4 minutes on the other, or until desired preference. Remove steak from skillet, let rest. In the mean time, add 1 T. olive oil, sugar and vinegar, heat over medium low heat, reducing mixture, about 10 minutes.
In a saucepan melt butter with olive oil, add minced garlic and lightly saute until tender, do not scorch. Stir in the spinach and tomatoes just until spinach wilts, remove from heat.
Drain pasta. Stir alfredo sauce into pasta, add the spinach and tomatoes.
Slice steak thinly, lay steak slices over pasta, drizzle with glaze.
Serve with a side of crusty bread and a salad.
I love to cook. I enjoy preparing a meal for my family or friends. I am not one, however, who loves meal planning. I don’t plan by week or month. I plan by keeping a well stocked kitchen. By having what I need on hand, I am able to choose my meals each day based upon what suits my taste or the amount of time I have to prep. I recently did a blog series “Meal Planning When you Don’t Like to Plan.” I then turned the series into a Free downloadable eBook. It’s filled with tips, ideas and recipes. You can find the eBook on my blog, Great Peace Academy.
~This post was written by team member Renee’ Brown. You can read more of her writings on her homeschooling and family blog Great Peace Academy.
We read that the greatest possible love is a friend who would lay down his life for another. Christ Jesus did that for each of us We also read that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church, meaning, be willing to give up his life for her. We read that as wives we are to respect our husbands.
When we choose to marry, we stand in front of a roomful (most often) of people and declare that we will love, honor and cherish one another. Do we, however, truly consider the cost of that decision? Do we weigh what we will be giving up in order to receive the marriage?
Yes, we do give up some things, anything worth having is worth the cost of having it. Sadly, there are many who see marriage and family as a hindrance, as a common and ordinary thing. They can’t see it as exceptional, because they choose to not see it that way. For them the cost is too high, too extreme, because they choose to hold onto the cost.
Our team mate, Shanna, recently wrote a marvelous article titled: 5 Things I Gave Up to be A Wife and Mother. In it she dispels the ugly attitude that exists in the minds of many and clearly shows that her decision was and continues to be a decision of choice. She explains her loving and willing decision to daily be a wife and mother.
I recently came across an article with a title that immediately captured my attention. It was one of those blog posts that, once published, goes viral immediately. Unfortunately, unlike other current web successes such as open letters to daddies who are kind and understanding to other people’s children on flights, concerned mothers of sons advising teenage girls against immodest pics on social media, and husbands spreading the word that marriage is about more than “me”, this post had a decidedly more acrid tone. It was a scathing diatribe against a woman’s decision to be a wife and mother. The title, “I Look Down on Young Women with Husbands and Kids and I’m Not Sorry”, pretty much sets the hateful tone for this short but sad article. Despite my immediate guttural reaction (and against my better judgement), I continued reading said article. I would liken this decision to passing by a horrible accident that you KNOW will be gruesome but having to look anyway. Believe me; this post was WORSE than a train wreck.
After my mommy senses went into overdrive, steam flooded from every orifice of my body, and I screamed aloud, “Oh no, she didn’t!”
Shanna’s article went viral. We live in a time when many, many look down on marriage as if it’s not important. or that the choice to be a wife and mother is somehow a lesser choice. Yet, many women continue to make that choice esteeming it to be a first thing. Shanna is among them as are all of the women on the R16:16 team.
What about you, are you married? Did you choose to give up anything? Is it a work in progress? Or, are you one of those who mistakenly thinks your marriage and family are entirely about YOU? Maybe you feel that marriage and family are not worth the cost.
Then again, perhaps you have considered marriage and made the choice to not wed, seeking rather to dedicate your life in service to the Lord. There is no command to marry, but as Christians, whether we choose marriage or we choose to be single, we each have the same first priority, that of honoring God above all else.
~Article written by team member, Renee Brown.