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Perfect Women Aren’t Real

 

 The Gentleness Challenge is coming to a close. I know for many of us who participated in the challenge, we had some discouraging days where we blew it…I’ll be the first to raise my hand and admit despite my best efforts, I lost my temper this month – {ahem} more than once…

The reality is – there are NO perfect moms but that should not stop us from pursuing a good and Godly life.  We are all a work in progress.  The greatest lesson we can learn from a challenge like this is that we are flawed (the cross says that we are all flawed and in need of a savior and repentance), we are weak (when we are weak, then we are strong – 2 Cor. 12:10), and we must lean hard on God daily to help us be the women He created us to be!

Perfect women aren’t real, and real women aren’t perfect.  We are not left alone in our imperfections – read Isaiah 41:10:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

The God of the universe says – I am with you – I will strengthen you and help you – we need only to turn to him and allow him to help us!

Take hope in this – it was flawed mamas who raised the greatest world changers.  Abraham Lincoln said:  “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my mother.”  The statue of Liberty is of the sculptor, Frederic Bartholdi’s, mother.  Hundreds of people a day go and visit lady liberty and look up at Frederic’s greatest influencer – his mom!  Super Bowl football players look into the camera and say “Hi Dad!” Noooooo – they say “Hi MOM!” 

We know of many famous women who have achieved great accomplishments in this world – their names are in lights – but think of the many many unnamed women who rocked the cradle of great men and women who changed the world.  They will forever be unnamed but their influence is forever with us.

Dear Mamas, do not lose heart. Do not grow weary in doing good. (Galatians 6:9)  You are raising the next generation and we can’t do it alone.  We need to daily be on our knees in prayer – not just for our husband and children – but for ourselves!

If you missed a part of the Gentleness series here’s a look back:

Week 1 – Yelling At a Bud Won’t Make it Bloom

Week 2 – Replacing Old Habits With the New

Week 3 – Anger Management

Week 4 – Michelle Duggar – A Role Model for Gentleness

Now let’s look ahead.  My dear friend Joy – a homeschooling mama of 5 and missionary in Indonesia is beginning a series Monday on her blog, Grace Full Mama, titled:

She will be including printables, encouragement and lots of practical tips for mamas.  I encourage you to join her for this series.

But first – could those who accepted this challenge share how things went in your home this month?  I invite you to leave a comment in the comment section with feedback.  If you are a blogger, I invite you to “copy” and “save as” this button and put it somewhere on your blog and link it back to https://womenlivingwell.org Then link up below!

Walk with the King!

Courtney

35 Comments

  1. I was definitely made more aware of what I need to work on to be a gentle mama. It is a lifelong process! You are right, we will never be perfect, when we mess up He is there to help us. In fact, I am going to give a little talk about this at MOPS soon so I’m glad to share that I am not the perfect mom as some people think! I intend to work on this challenge all year. Thank you for posting this series and I’m all ready for Joy’s Motherhood series. You ladies have a calling from the Lord to help all women to be who God wants us to be. Thanks!

  2. Hi Courtney! Having recently discovered your blog, I’m happy to have found it. Looking forward to going back through this series, and hopefully jumping into Good Morning Girls. Looking so forward to being a regular reader!!! Have a super start to your week!

  3. Hi Courtney – just wondering if there is another way to get to the Proverbs 31 link. Enjoy all your posts. Thanks, Kelli

  4. Courtney, I am so thankful for this series. I did not join in through linking up, but enjoyed reading your posts…and the last one about Michelle Duggar…that one remains in my mind and has helped me tremendously these past few days. Thank you so much!

  5. I became much more aware of how I spoke to my kids and my husband. I listened more instead of just jumping in and bossing around. I was able to start teaching my kids to speak to each other in softer voices, even when in conflict. All in all, our home is more calm and peaceful. I believe this has been a huge step in shaping me into the woman and mother I strive to be. Thank you for your part in this Courtney! I have searched for years for this kind of information and encouragement.

  6. I’ve enjoyed this series and the encouragement to be gentler to those around me. This is a critical area that takes deliberate action for me! Truly it is a lifelong way of life with continued practicing to gain more and more gentleness! Thanks for hosting this series and being an encouragement to so many.

  7. I have loved this challenge, and it has certainly helped me bite my tongue. Today I am having one of those days where my son seems quite focused on getting under my skin. I suspect an underlying something though. Just as I was close to despair, I set the boys up with some quiet activities, decided to cancel school (we are homeschoolers) and have 30 mins of computer time for me. And tehre is your post on perfection. You are so right through Christ we can do anything. A big deep breath then I think i will restart the day .

    Thank you for the encouragng words gentle reminders and lessons of the heart you have presented in this series

  8. I am so very thankful for this challenge and how it awakened me to how I haven’t always chosen gentle ways to interact with my precious son. I have fallen and picked myself up many times this past month, but now with a purpose and an awareness I didn’t have before. The encouragement and accountability here have been awesome! Thank you Courtney and all who have shared here this month! 🙂

  9. Thanks for the challenge series! This is an ongoing challenge these days but I am so glad that i am not alone and we can encourage one another in God’s strength:) I can only hope and pray that my kids will forget the bad days and remember how much i truly love them and that those moments will be the ones to change their lives:)

  10. All i can say is just thank you for all these posts and the challenge! i faced some VERY hard dark days when i too lost it and felt utterly defeated! i could feel God doing a work in my heart so please please pray for me!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. As always you have encouraged me to be a better mother and to pursue Jesus even more! I can’t be a gentle, kind, patient mom without His help.
    I tried to slow down, speak soflty and be kind. Most days went well and then days (like yesterday) I lost control. I yelled, I stomped my foot, I wasn’t gentle with my sweet little ones. I felt horrible and asked God to help me, once again. I asked my kids to forgive me, and my hubby too.
    Praying for even more fruit of the Spirit in my life – every day!
    Thank you for the challenge!!!

  12. I have learned SO much by doing this challenge and have changed my way of thinking. I did loose it more then a couple of time this month as well however, I am thinking about it more then I use to. I also have tools now that were not in place before. Thank you for helping BOTH my husband and I take on a different perspective to parenting. This is always what we have wanted but by following this challenge it put it all in motion!!

  13. I just found you tonight, so I’m going to go back & read the previous posts. It will be a challenge indeed, but such a great idea. Thanks!

  14. Have you ever read the book “She’s Gonna Blow” by Julie Barnhill?! A great recommendation for moms- because I think at one time or another we all struggle with anger or impatience and lack of gentleness!

  15. The Gentleness challege was so inspiring and challenging at the same time.
    Inspiring for me as a mum to aspire to be..with God’s Grace.
    Challenging as I find in society and education that they are not so ‘gentle’ or understanding – my son has emotional and behavioural difficulties stemming from before he came to us (he is adopted) he suffered trauma and my whole life seems to be ‘battling’ the system – we must remember that we know our children best – life is not easy here in Scotland – but with God’s Grace and Strength we will endure and with friends – here and on line we can get through and become the women and mothers God has called us to be.
    PRAISE GOD
    love Tricia , Kirkcaldy, FIfe, Scotland, U.K.

  16. Oh, I am SO bummed I missed this! I could really use some tools for being a softer mom. One of my worst qualities as a parent is yelling. I hate it. I grew up in a home with lots of yelling, and I know that part of it is habit, but at the same time I know God has given a spirit of gentleness (Gal. 5:222) and I just have to learn to tap into it. I really need to break the cycle of yelling!

  17. I have to say I only lost control one time this month. I’ve come a very long way since our children were babies. I used to loose control everytime I told them to do something and it seemed as if they ignored me or chose to do what they wanted. Fast forward twenty-one years, I’m now more patient and have realized I too do not do what I know I need to do and when I know it needs to be done. After having a seizer when our younges was only 1 1/2, I realized life was way too short to make a big deal out of small things. I had to live each day to the fullest and what happens – happens. After going throught that and getting my health in order, 9/11 happened. That’s when I began appreciating the small things from my husband and children. I began showing my appreciation and my love for everything that comes my way. That’s when I stopped nagging at my husband and children for just about everything, instead I told them thank you, I spent more time with all of them. Fast forwar to a couple of weeks ago, I came across your post regarding “Anger Management” a day after I completely lost it with one of our teenage sons. I completely lost it in ways that should have never been done. I was so ashamed of myself for loosing it so badly with him, and on top of that our other teenage son was there as a witness. After cooling off for a few minutes, I had gone into the kitchen (it was lunch time), we talked about the situation calmly, I apologized, gave him a big hug (that in itself was a huge accomplishment in itself – he’s not a hugger by any means) and I announced in front of both of them that my behavoir was unacceptable and something that should have never occured. I have not had another outburst like that since then. Being we homeschool our boys, I get the opportunity of being around them 24/7. It has been challenging for the past five years, but well worth it! I have learned a lot, including learning how to be more patient and understanding.
    Thank you for sharing all of your thougths and showing us how to live a much happier life not only with our children, our husbands and ourselves.

  18. Thank you. I read Ministry of Motherhood in the fall and God has been moving in my heart and life in the area of gentle mothering… it has been such a blessing to find this winter GMG and WLW. What an encouragement.

  19. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I am a mom of an almost 2 year old and one due in 8 weeks. I needed this so bad, I have been already finding myself loosing self control when it comes to my daughter, and lashing out when I should not be, and then I deal with the guilt! I have been encouraged, challenged and grown through this so much. I may even make myself read these every week just as a reminder/encouragement to keep Christ in my parenting . Again I cannot thank you enough for this series!

  20. I joined the challenge a little late, but I can’t even begin to explain what a difference it has made in our household. I am always reminding my children to “have self control”. I talk to them about self control constantly, but never realized that ME losing my temper, was setting the opposite example!
    As I’ve been lowering my voice when things aren’t going well, I’ve noticed how IN control I finally feel. And because I’ve made the choice of self control, I no longer have to deal with the guilt that comes in the aftermath of anger!
    It’s a win-win for everyone!
    Now I’m really working on coming up with ways to praise my kids (like you were talking about in Michele Duggar’s write-up) that mirror the fruit of the Spirit.
    Thanks so much for the gentleness challenge! My household is at PEACE!

  21. Loved this series! It came at a time where I really needed to focus on gentleness. Found myself almost whispering a couple of times. Lol. Somedays I felt like I was getting on to them all day long. Those days were the hardest as I was actively trying to praise them more. I have noticed a difference. It’s been neat to see them respond to the praises and uplifting for me to not feel the guilt of losing my temper. Thank you! Praying that God will continue to work in our house!

  22. The challenge was very helpful in making me aware of what sets me off with my children–not that I am blaming it on them—my sin is my sin—but it helped me prepare for those situations. My husband saw how serious I was about making strides in this area of struggle, and began a journal with me, where he wrote a little assignment (usually things to pray for, praying with my children, & a Bible passage to consider for the day) & his own words of encouragament for me for that day, and where I responded by journaling about when I had controlled my anger & where I had not. Then we would talk about it a bit after the kids went to bed, or if it was a busy night, he would journal a response to me. This was so huge for me, to have my sweet hubby being so supportive (and honestly, this was something he did on his own, and it was not something he would have typically done—it raised my respect for him so very much, and I gave him a lot of praise about it because it touched my heart so greatly!), and he was willing to put in this extra work to encourage me day by day. I did make strides in this area, though I certainly had my bad days. My husband and I decided we were going to keep up the journal, as it really brought us a lot closer and helped us to understand one another better. Thank you for addressing real issues that women frequently don’t talk about!

  23. I was very aware of my words and actions during this challenge. I have been struggling in this area for sometiem and thogu hremorseful, had not truely repented, turned away and talking steps to change.
    I messed up but my kids commented that I was quick to repent and ask forgiveness when I raised my voice or spoke harshly. I made a poster-sized chart and velcro foam stars (I would make hearts if I redid it). The title says, “Treasuring Christ”. We don’t use it as a reward chart, it is more like a meter. Each child has six stars. It has worked well for me to diffuse many sitautions by first asking the child to go and remove a star when they are not responding rightly. This gives me time to think and slow down. My “Wise Words for Moms” reference is close by and we have been able to take each instance back to the cross and the gospel. At this time, a discipline may also be given through many different forms depending on the child and the sin. This is also a time when they are encouraged to pray and repent. At the end of day, the kids get to replace all there stars and we remember God’s mercies are new each morning. We have also had a discussion about how just because you did not loss any stars does not mean we do not need a Savior. Even our best deeds are like filthy rags without Christ. We have been able to content with many unseen heart issues through these talks. Even my four year old is able to understand that he has disobeyed and this does not please God. The chart is just a visual reminder of our need for Christ. Our deeds do not earn us more or less favor but they do reflect our love for Christ. We want to grow in our love and obedience to our Savior. I do not have physical stars, but I do keep a mental meter for myself. I have confessed any instances of anger to my husband. Thank you for this series.

  24. This challenge was awesome!!! I really watch myself and i try to help my husband out with this as well. My husband is a yeller and I notice how my kids react to him when he yell sand how they react to me when I stay calm. BIG DIFFERENCE!!! So I try to work with him in a gentle way as well. Thank you so much for all the tips and advice and eye opener. This maybe a weird question but are there any resources or guy christian blogger that would work for my husband?? I notice there are a billion for woemn to refer to but not any for guys. It may not be a guy thing butjust curiuos. Thank you again.

  25. The Challenge really helped me to focus on the tone of my voice and how loud I speak when I am upset. I really focused on lowering my voice to a whisper when I wanted to raise my voice. I think this in it self is a huge change for my home and my children. I also focused on getting on my children’s level when correcting them and not giving too many commands at one time. I think so often as mothers we expect way to much from our little ones. Thank you for this challenge and for inspiring me daily to love God more and for encouraging me as a wife and mother.

  26. What I loved about this challenge is that I told people I was doing it and when I got angry, I remembered what my intentions were. I remembered that I was TRYING to be a gentler mommy. So the accountability was fabulous. Thank you so much!!

  27. this is about to be one of the realist things ive ever written and another human has read. i come from a very broken and hateful home where my mother and grandmother still speak to one another in very profane language. this was my life and is my life when im around them. my family is involved with drugs and things that go with that life and so ive always been exposed to the negative the hateful the revengeful attitude and environment. so of course it rubbed off on me it was imbedded in me actually. my ma would use 10 curs words in order to ask me to get a glass of water. thats just how it was in my house. so as i grew up i refused to curs but the YELLING oh the YELLING i would yell…i still yell…and the creative way i figured out how to say mean hurtful things not really with the intention to be mean but to be wat i had grown up with. my tongue is terrible and i knew that and as i began growing in christ like really growing because ive been saved since i was 7, i knew in my heart i had to change it i couldnt go on with this type of speaking leaving my mouth. then it happen i got raped when in the military and got pregnant with my daughter……i was burden discouraged and lost. i never wanted a child out of wedlock or to be a single parent. my stand on abortion is strong so i automatically became both in an instant. well that was about 5 years ago and i was lost and still am lost in a sense on how to be a good mother. and honoring God in all i do. i mean honestly until about 3 months ago i didnt even know children were a blessing. i found your site it was soooo encouraging then u started this challenge and it was something that was right on time for me. im caring and compassionate but gentle……i wouldn’t use that to ever describe me. im over 6ft tall large frame very strong dominate basketball and volleyball player. but the challenge was soo encouraging. it made me get closer to God get in touch with myself. it was so beautiful enlightening. oh it was wonderful. for the first time in my life i didnt automatically yell. i surely wasnt perfect but its def a step or two in the right direction.i spoke in a manner that was pleased with that i didnt mind God or anyone else hearing. its a beautiful feeling .im still far from being done but oh thank you for this thank you thank you thank

  28. Courtney, thank you for inviting us to join you on The Gentleness Challenge. I too have been finding myself much more aware of how I react to and approach situations in my daily life with my daughter and others. I have also noticed the devil coming at me even harder because of my efforts to focus more on the Lord and what type of mother He wants me to be. I am always strengthened in these attacks though because it helps to remind me that it is only because I am striving to be closer to Jesus that the devil is trying to trip me up even more. He HATES our growing closer to the Lord. I look forward to continuing my Gentleness Challenge with Christ and will also be looking into Grace Full Mama for “Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood.” Thank you for telling us about it! God Bless!

  29. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for the challenge! It has definitely challenged my thinking and my actions. While I did not always meet my goal, I was more aware of my words. Your tips to whisper and pray, pray, pray really helped me. Today while disciplining my 2 year old I feel to my knees to pray and rely on God’s strength and not my own. Thank you for sharing your journey and challenge with us. God bless you!

  30. I am so grateful for you doing this series. You gave me the tools to see what I was doing wrong. Half of it was because of me being tired and irritable and taking it out on my kids. The other half was putting the blame on my husband for not helping me out at all and expecting me to do everything. I learned it was my attitude that needed shifting and instead of yelling, just talk gently and things will get done. Thank you again.

  31. I loved this challenge. It has changed how I am as a mother! I am so much more gentle. I work harder at not yelling. It wasn’t that I lost it all the time, I just assumed when you got mad you raised your voice to get results. That seemed the way to do it. Now I don’t yell at them when I am not getting results. I stop the behavior ahead of time. I found I just need to be quicker to address the issue, remembering they have not been here on the planet too long. I also need to make sure I don’t expect out of them what even most adults have a hard time doing which is a big one if you have teenagers. 😉 Patience and training. I thank God for this challenge and opening my eyes to a whole new world of mothering!

  32. Thank you for this challenge!! God has been working on our families meekness, gentleness, etc since last year and nothing seemed to help. But so much of what you challenged us to has made lasting changes… I see hope for me to leave a legacy of gentleness where before I just said “that’s not me, I’m just loud, etc.” but God has shown me it’s not about me (again!) it’s about becoming more like Christ!! My oldest (8) shared at our dinner table that he struggled with anger and harsh tones and it broke my heart to think I led to that. We decided as a family anytime anyone spoke in a harsh tone others had the freedom to yell “TEBOW” and we had to bow our knee to pause, pray, and then seek forgiveness for our meanness. Needless to say I got very annoyed at them yelling “TEBOW, TEBOW!” at first but then it truly helped me to whisper and think before I spoke. God is changing our home and I thank you for being a vessel in that change!! PTL for moms who love to help!! Thank you

  33. I REALLY enjoyed the Gentleness challenge. I have been able to do better with my patience with my kids and I found that I really turned the corner the week you gave the Michele Duggar example, to talk EVEN more softly than normal when disciplining. I am finding myself doin that. And then topping it off with the praises of my kids. I’m clapping more, smiling more, and seeing my children more for who they are…CHILDREN learning their way through this world. So blessed by this. You should make a printable will these steps for easy reference!!!! 🙂 So blessed by you and your blog!

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