The 3 C’s- Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood


I want to introduce you to a beautiful Titus 2 woman, Carol Graham, although most people call her Mama Graham.  A doctor’s wife and mother to 5 grown children {and nearly grown grandchildren} she has a love for God’s Word, teaching and training the next generation, and a HUGE heart for hospitality. {She had this amazing cabin built on her land for missionaries to stay in and we have been blessed to live in it when we visit. She stocks the fridge and even leaves restaurant gift cards for each week so that we can eat out.  Then, she takes me and all the kids clothes shopping for the next FOUR years!!!}

She has discipled countless women in her home on the topics of marriage and motherhood.  She is such a beautiful example of a godly woman and I know that her legacy will be carried on for MANY generations.  Her daughter, Carrie, is one of my dear friends, and you NEED to read her blog, Carrie’s Busy Nothings!! She is witty, wise, and completely fun.

2 years ago when I was home on furlough, I asked her advice on what to share with a group of young moms.  She shared the 3 C’s with me.  It is simple, memorable, and Biblical.  So, here are the 3 C’s with ideas and practical tips added by me.  Thank you, Mama Graham, for investing in the next generation!

The first C in the 3 C’s is Constant Love.

It’s in the midst of the trials and challenges of motherhood that the command comes to love our children.  Once again the Greek word phileo is used to describe the kind of love we are to show.  As with our husbands, we are to love our children with a tender, affectionate, and passionate love. Although many mothers are committed to caring sacrificially for their children, they sometimes neglect to enjoy them. They fulfill the responsibilities of motherhood but overlook the pleasures.“- Carolyn Mahaney, Feminine Appeal

It’s what a child truly needs from us as mothers!

1 Corinthians 13 says this,

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

Visible love is the only love a child can understand. You can’t tell a child, I love you, and expect them to believe it if your actions don’t back it up. Fill up your days not just with time spent with your children, but time loving and enjoying your children.

 Constant Love. Yes, but how?

  • Smile. Really smile at them.
  • Enjoy. Take time to revel in the wonder that is your child.
  • Give them your heart.
  • Engage.
  • Dance.
  • Play.
  • Sing.
  • Listen to their dreams.
  • Whisper in their ear.
  • Bake together.
  • Goof off together.
  • Make memories together.

The mother who reaches the heartfelt needs of her children by helping them feel loved and secure, by believing in their dreams, by noticing when they stray and gently steering them back in the right direction, and by teaching them what they need to know to live full and meaningful lives accomplishes a great work for the Lord.” -Sally Clarkson, The Mission of Motherhood

Here are some additional posts I have written on this topic:

Here is a list of the posts so far in the Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood series:

1. The Beginning
2. The Significance- Part1
3. The Significance- Part2
4. The Obstacles- Part1 
5. The Obstacles- Part2
6. The Obstacles- Part3
 7. Anger and Patience

And here are the printables:

1. Week 1
2. Week 2 
3. Week 3 
4. Week 4

 We will tackle the other 2 C’s next!  Thoughts to share?

Also, I invite you to subscribe!

Linking up here:

Weekend Links

Thank you all so much for your sweet words on this post yesterday.  Women in community is a beautiful thing, my friends.

Source: via Joy on Pinterest


Here are some beautiful posts that I have enjoyed so very much over the past few weeks.  I hope that you will enjoy them as well!!

It seems trivial….the making of a home from Crunchy Peas

Top Ten List for Mothering Without Smothering from Joy-Filled Days

Being Intentional With Our Words from Angela at The Better Mom

Home Sweet Home from Megan at Beautifully Rooted {which is just such an amazing new space!!}

Journey Through The Holy Days from Monica at The Homespun Heart {which has been my favorite blog now for over 5 years!}

What I Learned: Less and More from Megan at Contented Sparrow

Date Night In from Elise at A Path Made Straight

And, do you want to know what post I still continue to receive emails about?  This one: A Kind Wife, a post I wrote for Darlene at Time Warp Wife.  Apparently, a story of my failure continues to encourage women.  Go God! I’ll share my weakness any day if it helps someone else!!

What are your favorite posts from the week? I’d love to hear!!

When Cheese Sandwiches Make You Cry

I wrapped up homeschool and prepared lunch as the kids got things ready to head over to the MAF school to join classes for the afternoon. Hannah asked what was on the lunch menu and I answered, “Cheese sandwiches, apples, and Pringles.”  She gasped, “With sliced bread, real mayonnaise, and real cheese?” I nodded yes and the room erupted with whoops and hollers.

And I burst into tears.

What for me, as a child, was a mundane, boring lunch, was for my children the equivalent to a trip to Disneyland.  Really.  On our island, it is rare to have real cheese, good tasting mayonnaise, sliced bread, and the right flavor of Pringles all on the same day.  It didn’t matter that the electricity had been off for the last four hours, or that it would be off for another four.  They were thrilled and thought a cheese sandwich was the greatest thing, well, since sliced bread.

 I looked at their faces, my precious ones, and saw so many things. Thankfulness at precious souls that are thankful for the little things. But something else too.

Pain. Mine, not theirs.

They don’t know what they are missing.  They don’t know most American kids think cheese sandwiches are mundane at best.  They don’t know their own culture.  And my heart breaks.  What of all the little things they will never know?

My mind drifted to the story my MK {missionary kid} hubby told of returning to the US on furlough from Brazil and beginning first grade.  He told how he was given a test of pictures of men dressed up.  He stared at the paper, confused.  He had no idea what they were. The teacher collected the papers, laughed, and asked incredulously, “You didn’t answer the questions.  Don’t you know this is a fireman, a policeman, and a baker?” He was crushed and embarrassed, and the memory still stings.

And the sobs began again, for that little boy and for my own.

They call them “Third Culture Kids” because they will never fully fit into their home culture, but will never fully fit into the country where they live. They are an in-between species, a category unto themselves. What have I done to them?

Sure, there are lots of things they get to do, have seen, that others never will.  My mind searches as I think through all the blessings of their life. Jungle treks, ministry trips, exciting places and foods.

But what of the struggles they have had to face? Are facing? Living away from grandparents, being the entertainment and focus wherever they go, waking up every morning to the sound of the mosque, having so few American friends that really understand, the constant struggle of communicating in another language, the list goes on and on.

My mama heart cries for what they miss.

See the glass as half full, some will say. Yes, I know. And on a good day, one without physical pain and with electricity, I could. But today I am stripped bare and all I can do is to cling.

Cling desperately to Him.

 Life here, my third culture life, is a constant cycle: stripping of myself, choosing to cling to Him, rinse, and repeat. Because, really, I have no other choice.   And I’m thankful.

 Some days, choosing to cling means that all I can do is see the cup that is placed before me.  Not the one that could have been, not the one I think I want.  But the one that is there, right there, that has been lovingly given to me to drink.

My cup.

I see the cup that has been placed before me, and I drink. I cling. And, I will bring praise.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26

You will keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock. Isaiah 26:3-4

This is my battle song {doing battle with fear and self-pity….join me?}

This is my prayer in the desert
When all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in my hunger and need
My God is the God who provides
This is my prayer in the fire
And weakness or trial or pain
There is faith proved more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the faith
I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and he is here…..
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

{Additional Scripture: Psalm 103:1, Ephesians 3:20, Psalm 77:13-14, John 15:4, Philippians 4:6}

What is your cheese sandwich moment? What is your cup, the one before you?

Linking up here:

Anger and Patience- Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood

When we began this series, so many of you said that the biggest struggle you face in mothering is not getting angry and along with that learning to be patient.

I am certainly no expert, and I only hope and pray that the resources that I give you are an encouragement. First off, as you begin to see the significance of mothering and embrace that, and then work at overcoming the 3 obstacles we have talked about, these things should significantly cut down on the struggle.

But, what about when you’ve done all of those things and you still feel like exploding? My best advice is to be constantly in prayer.  My prayer life has grown significantly since becoming a mama! I realize now that I have no strength of my own and everything I need in the moment comes from him.

So what do you do in the moment, when you are angry and want to take it out on your child? Give grace in the moment. I wrote this post for The Better Mom a few months ago and using this as a guideline in the moment of my frustration has greatly helped me!

So, I decided to make it into a printable and the amazing Beth from Beth Stone Studio created this printable complete with some of her original artwork! I hope you love it as much as I do!

 Click here to download the printable

And the best series I have ever seen on the topic of anger is from my friend, Christy at One Fun Mom.  She has lots of posts, practical advice, and Biblical help for those of us who struggle with anger.  Go read her series, Anger and Children!

Next week, we are going to tackle the 3 C’s of Mothering! There will be lots of practical help and I hope you will join me!

I invite you to subscribe or join the conversation on the Grace Full Mama Facebook page.

Here is a list of the posts so far in the Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood series:

1. The Beginning
2. The Significance- Part1
3. The Significance- Part2
4. The Obstacles- Part1 
5. The Obstacles- Part2
6. The Obstacles- Part3

And here are the printables:

1. Week 1
2. Week 2 
3. Week 3 
Linking up here:

Too Busy- Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood Obstacle #3

How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard, An American Childhood

We’ve been talking obstacles, and here is the next one:

Obstacle #3- We are too busy.

When my oldest, Britton, was just a wee one, I was given a tape {yes, a tape!} on the seasons of motherhood by Beverly Bradley.  That tape changed the course of my mothering from then ’til now.  She told how she was a highly involved pastor’s wife, serving on committees, heading a homeschool group, speaking out for the unborn at rallies, etc.

One day, as she was in the midst of serving all of these other people, her son asked why they were always busy and she rarely had time to spend playing with him.  It broke her heart. The next day she went and resigned from all the good ministry. Were they good, important things? Yes, but she did not want to waste the precious time she had to invest in her kid’s hearts.

Those ministries were better left, she decided, for another season in life. She went home to tell her son what she had done. He was already in bed, so she rubbed his back and told of her decision. He started weeping and whispered quietly, thank you.

I wonder how many of our little ones would voice the same thing if they could?

We’re too busy, so we miss time in the Word (obstacle #1). And, when we slow down, it is easier to keep from getting overwhelmed (obstacle #2).

“The season of young children is a time to refrain. Refrain from most outside activities, even some church activities. Now is a time to be faithful in discipline…it’s the springtime of mothering. Redeem the time, don’t waste it.” -Sono Harris

When we hurry, we tend to get impatient, and leave little room in our life for simple joys or spontaneity. Somehow we have bought into the lie that being home just isn’t good enough.

Whether it’s fun activities, ministry, or general good things, we have to learn to say no. And saying no can also mean limiting the computer, phone, and social media.  It’s important to leave margin in our lives to spend focused on hearing the hearts of our children.

We have to un-hurry.

Some of us must address the issue of hurry if we are to live the grace-filled lives God calls us to live.  So take a deep breath, let it out slowly, pause to pray, and enjoy an un-hurried day.” Glynnis Whitwer, An Unhurried Life

Yes, you say, but then I’ll be bored! I hear you.  If you hang tight with me through this series, I have lots of ideas of how to fill your time intentionally.

But my children like to get out! I understand, but just because my kids want to eat cookies doesn’t mean I give cookies anytime they want. Too much of a good thing is, well, too much.

Am I saying stay home and never go anywhere? Not at all! We just have to be careful that we are not over-scheduling our lives, and missing out on the opportunities to enjoy the small things. You know deep in your heart where that balance lies. 

“By walking away from a busy, accomplishment-oriented society into a quiet world of deep relationship, service, and home-life, I will establish a far-reaching legacy that extends throughout many generations.” -Laura Booz, Blogger Behave
Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I rushing from one thing to the next?
  • Do I have space in my life to just enjoy my kids?
  • Do I feel stressed if I have a day free, with nowhere to go and nothing to do?
  • Do I have a hard time saying no to things, especially when they are good things like ministry or another church activity?
  • Do I secretly feel that being home isn’t enough?
  • Do I have trouble sleeping, thinking of all the things I have to do the next day?
If you said yes to any of these, it may be time to slow down.
It is shown with the sacrificial life of giving up what we wanted to do, or the job we hoped to have, in order to build a soul through the attention of ourselves. A looking into the eyes with true interest and compassion instead of looking at a screen while half-heartedly listening.  These are the sacrifices of our love, the moment-by-momet giving up of ourselves, the constant year in-year out practice of worship as we serve those in our home in order to please His heart. - Sally Clarkson

Learn to say no to things that crowd your time and leave room for the unexpected joys of life.
 Purpose to seek out the glorious in the mundane. Some of the very best things in life are the unscheduled ones!
Now, for today:
1. Seek out a little quiet space to write our your plan for overcoming the obstacles we’ve discussed. Pray over your plan and then act on it!
2. Spend some unhurried time today with your kids!

Click here to download the printable

Related post: Making Family Your Primary Ministry at The Better Mom

What are your thoughts? Do you feel like your life is too busy?

Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood- Obstacle #2

We are talking obstacles this week! Yesterday we talked about overcoming the obstacle of forgetting to fill up on Living Water.  And the 2nd obstacle that’s keeps us from fully embracing a heart for motherhood is…..

Obstacle #2- We feel overwhelmed.

Source: Uploaded by user via Joy on Pinterest


Have you ever felt that way as a mother? Ha, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel overwhelmed!

The good news is that we don’t need to do it ourselves.

2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I would rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 3:5, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything form ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.”

Yes, the calling is high, but He has given us Himself!  Are you weary?

Matthew 11:28, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”

Isaiah 40:29, “He gives strength to the weary and to him who lacks might, He increases power…”

The Lord loves mothers. He loves you and He loves your children. He wants you to fall into His arms and find rest. He is El Shaddai- our refuge and our strength.

He wants to comfort you, care for you,  and strengthen you. He wants to whisper words of love into your ear and give you the strength to carry on.

This isn’t about striving harder and doing or being more. This is you releasing yourself to Him and watching Him take over. It’s exhausting, I know. I’m not minimizing this. Take care of yourself, but also realize that motherhood is all about sacrifice….dying to ourselves. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed because we feel that it isn’t fair that we have to give up so much, and we do.

So, during those times where we feel hopelessly overwhelmed what can keep us going?

 ”Inspirational historical models may provide a temporary enthusiasm, but a mother of dominion needs something more. Otherwise, the grueling day and night demands of crying infants, filthy bottoms, vomit-soaked blankets, strong-willed naughtiness, physical exhaustion, dull routine, deferred gratifications, lack of recognition, cultural criticism, and personal disillusionment will bring the work of her hands to a grinding halt.
There she sits, exhausted on the edge of her bed, her face in her hands, wondering, ‘Where is the glory in this?’ She needs something more empowering to keep her going.
 She needs to gain and maintain the deep conviction of the glory, honor, and nobility of selfless service. This she finds at the foot of the cross, looking up to the One who earned for Himself, ‘the name that is above every name’ by emptying Himself, taking the form of a bond servant. There she beholds her Savior, who mopped up the damning vomit of her own sin with the precious sponge of His perfect life and atoning death. The love of Christ constrains and compels her to press on. The Spirit of Christ empowers her.” Womanly Dominion, pg. 120

So, today when you feel overwhelmed (and you will), take it to Him lay your burdens at His feet, and ask for His strength to carry on.

Are you weary? Do you feel overwhelmed? Share your thoughts in the comments! And come back tomorrow for Obstacle #3 and this week’s printable!

I also invite you to subscribe.

Here is a list of the posts so far in the Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood series:

1. The Beginning
2. The Significance- Part1
3. The Significance- Part2
4. The Obstacles- Part1

 And here are the printables:

1. Week 1
2. Week 2 

Linking up here:


Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood- The Obstacles

We started this series at the beginning {a very good place to start} and last week we talked about the significance of motherhood and then discussed it again.  I hope you are enjoying the printables too {week 1 and week 2}!

So we have the big vision, we understand the significance of mothering, but why is it so difficult to live that way in the

mundane-ness of life?

This week we are going to look at 3 big obstacles that keep us from fully embracing our job as mother.  Three things that hinder our ability to see clearly and enjoy the job that we have been given. {I’m sure there are more, but these are my top three!}

The first one is this:

Obstacle #1 – Forgetting to fill up on Living Water

Girls, we need to be in the Word…daily. I don’t want this to be a guilt trip thing, but I do want you to take it seriously. Mothering is going to take every single thing we’ve got, and quite frankly, it is going to take MORE than we’ve got. That is why we need to be in His Word and sitting at His feet every day. We need to feed our children out of our abundance.  SOOO many mamas write to me and tell me they just don’t have time for a quiet time.  And you know what? If you are looking for absolute quiet, you are probably right!! But if you are willing to get creative, I promise that you have the time to fill up on Living Water!

Yes, you ask, but how? My day is already full from dawn to dusk, and I just can’t wake up any earlier.

I realize that during the season of young mothering, it is so difficult to have a “quiet time.”  So, here are some suggestions:

Keep a Bible handy wherever you “hang out” most. Whether it’s next to the nursing chair, the bathroom, the kitchen….wherever you can steal a minute or two. Read a few verses and allow them to speak to your heart. Then meditate on the verse as you go about your work. Say it out loud to your children. Write it on an index card, and keep it with you as you go about your day.

Pray as you cook, or clean, or wipe noses. The Bible encourages us to “pray continually”. And, yes, there will be interruptions, but I dare say that the Lord understands, since He is the One who gave you those interruptions!!

Listen to the Bible online. This is my favorite thing to do. The kids and I listen to the Daily Audio Bible every day. I love it! In one year, we will have listened to the entire Bible! It is soothing and simple.  Try it!

Put on quiet worship music. Choose music that puts you in a calm, worshipful mood. Choose music that helps you express your heart of worship as you sing along. My favorites are; Peace Like a RiverGlory RevealedFernando Ortega, and Seeds Family Worship. I find that all of these minister to my heart and the hearts of my children.

                                                                                                                                               Source: via Joy on Pinterest


Saturate yourself in God’s Word. It will change your mothering. It will change your heart as you seek Him for wisdom for life with little ones.

Give to your children out of the overflow of your relationship with the Lord. Let God’s love pour out, spill out, ooze out, and touch your children’s hearts. Now, go get in the Word!!

Two great resources for studying God’s Word are:

1. Savoring Living Water E-Book

2. Good Morning Girls

Come back tomorrow for Obstacle #2 and Wednesday for #3 and this week’s printable! If you haven’t already, I invite you to subscribe!

What is your favorite way to make sure that you fill up on Living Water? I’d love to hear!

Linking up here today:

Cultivating a Heart for Motherhood-The Significance

On Monday we started talking about the significance of mothering.

It is hard to see the big picture when we are in the middle of the mess of everyday, isn’t it? Um, yes, and a hearty AMEN. But, stop with me for just a quick second and let’s take a look….and get inspired!

Imagine with me for a moment what would happen if we truly understood and embraced our job as mothers. What if we chose to look at ourselves as world changers? What if in His strength and by His might, we could truly change this world for the better by the way we raise our children?

What if we looked not just at the here and now (the dirty dishes, diapers, messes, task after task), but at the future? And not only our child’s future, but the future of many generations to come?  Galatians 6:9 says, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, in due season we shall reap if we faint not. ”

She [a mother] is handling never-dying souls. She’s daily conducting heart surgery on eternal spirts whose forever destinies are influenced most profoundly by the hands that rock their cradles, wipe their noses…. open their Bibles, prepare their after-school snacks, and turn off their bedroom lights. Those motherly hands are molding characters which will become men and women who will turn the world upside down either for good or for evil. Now that’s a job that counts. ” – Mark Chanski, Womanly Dominion

It’s a big calling….a calling that will last forever!

I love these thoughts:

Download this as a PDF

Throughout history we can see examples of how one woman greatly influenced and even changed history by embracing motherhood.

One example of this is Sarah Edwards, wife of Jonathan Edwards.  Sarah supported her husband and his very long works hours and devoted herself whole-heartedly to the raising of their 8 children. And what was her legacy?

Throughout the generations can be traced: 11 college presidents, 65 professors, 100 lawyers, 30 judges, 66 physicians, 80 holders of public office, 3 mayors of large cities, 3 state governors, 1 controller of the US treasury, 3 US senators, 1 Vice-President of the US .

Now, hear me out on this one. I’m not saying that big important professions is the goal. A long line of passionate-for-Jesus anything would have been equally impressive.  This list is simply showing just how far-reaching our mothering can be!! We are raising mighty arrows for the Kingdom….arrows that will go from our house and shoot out to the world for generations to come!

Psalm 127:5, ” Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”

 Now, I want you to take a few moments and think all of this through.  As you read this, what is the Lord speaking to your heart? What is your desire or your vision for your home and mothering? Take a few minutes in a quiet place with a cup of something hot and sit quietly and dream.  Then write out what your vision looks like.

Click here to download the Vision Printable

I know what you are thinking. Great. Wonderful. That sounds so nice. I like the ideal, but I am so far from that ideal in my everyday life. Where I live, my everyday existence is far from victorious. My day to day involves lots of poopy diapers, sippy cups, laundry, and grubby fingers. How can I live intentionally when I can’t even get a shower?

I’m so glad you asked because that is exactly where we will begin next week! Next Monday we will look at 3 big obstacles we face as mamas.  

I hope you’ll join me.  As always, I invite you subscribe so you don’t miss anything! 

Here is a link to all previous posts in this series.

What do you think so far? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Freedom To Be Different

My 4-year old son loves to wear a striped shirt with plaid pants…..every. single. day. These two items of clothing make him feel comfortable and bring a bright smile to his face {they make him really, really happy}.  The thing is because he is a twin, there are two sets of each shirt and pants, so there is almost always a clean pair. Ahem.

At first, wanting my kids to look nice and appear put together, I would encourage him to wear something different. I would help him pick out different clothes, ones that co-ordinated.  And he would.  But, sure enough, by 10 o’clock in the morning, those different clothes were exchanged for the old faithfuls.

Join me today at RooMag to read the rest of the story and join the conversation! See you there!

Mati Lampu

Two of my least favorite words right now are mati lampu, which means literally, dead lights.  Which you can probably guess means no electricity….which means no internet. It has been happening a lot lately, and I have been learning to be thankful even when things do not go the way I want {meaning, no water, no lights, no fans, and no internet}. It’s been a good growing time for me as I choose to be thankful in all circumstances!

Since the electricity was off all day yesterday, I was unable to post the 2nd day of the Motherhood Series.   Thank you for understanding and grace, and I will be posting it, Lord and electricity willing, on Thursday.

And, speaking of light, have you seen this?


Formerly Relevant, now called Allume is launching today with lots of new and exciting things going on! Make sure you join in their Twitter party tonight! Go check it out!!

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