Q & A’s for Mission-Minded Families: MOTHERHOOD

by Passionate Homemaking’s monthly contributor, Ann Dunagan.

As I’m writing this article, it’s Mother’s Day morning. It’s not even 7am, but my husband and I have been awake for hours. Outside my little round window, I’m looking out over the fluffy clouds, and feeling so overwhelmingly thankful. Right now, Jon and I are en route to California to welcome “home” our oldest son, a USMC 1st Lieutenant in Ground Intelligence, who returns tomorrow from a dangerous military deployment in Afghanistan. It’s an exciting life-moment, but for this time to coincide with Mother’s Day is like a special gift, just from God!

This month on Passionate Homemaking, Lindsay asked if I would share my 5 top tips for mothers.

So, how do I put a lifetime of principles into a few concise tips? I’ve come to realize motherhood is a complex calling. It begins with a tiny little person growing inside of us, but the ramifications this has on every area of our life and future are HUGE!!! Successful motherhood is not easy, and it’s definitely not for wimps. Good motherhood demands everything we’ve got, plus more. It requires strength of character; discipline; reliance on God’s grace (and lots of help from friends and family); endurance; a new heart for intercession, like we never knew before; lots of laundry soap, Comet, and Windex; laughter; and VISION.

Just to let you know, I absolutely LOVE being a mom. Some of you may have struggled with accepting the idea of motherhood, but not me. Even from the time I was a girl, I’ve always longed for the whole package-deal. I was raised as the oldest child in a fairly large family (with six kids), and throughout my childhood and youth, I always looked forward to being a mom. At our wedding, Jon and I requested a prayer of blessing for lots of kids. And then, once we started having babies, we’ve been praising God for this dream come true!!!

A fun mommy moment, with our youngest child, Philip (a few years ago)

I love the feeling of a baby growing and kicking inside me (and that season when laying on the couch and eating well gives me a feeling of productivity). I love the challenge and work and JOY of giving birth. I love nursing and nurturing a precious newborn (and seeing those big eyes looking up at me). I love snuggling with toddlers, managing a houseful of rowdy munchkins, mixing batches of yummy cookies at a crowded kitchen counter, enjoying deep conversations with teens, envisioning possibilities with young adults . . . and aiming our arrows into the world to do some SERIOUS damage to the kingdom of darkness. WOOHOO!!! I love it!!!

Tip #1 – Be confident in God’s calling.

“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Motherhood is a vital calling, envisioned in the heart of God. By God’s grace, it can be a position of influence and a sacrificial place of leadership in our society. It’s SO big . . . However, the tricky part of the call, is that most women don’t realize the possibilities and they don’t seriously train themselves for the job. Most mothers (even Christian moms) get so discouraged in the position (because they’re too concerned about what others think about “wasting” their gifts and intelligence), or they get so bored (because they don’t realize or “tap into” the kingdom-advancing possibilities).

Our daughter, Caela, with orphan children in East Africa

With motherhood comes an anointing and a GRACE for each child and each day. God has this for you, but you have to receive it from Him. By your own efforts and strengths, motherhood can get ugly; but praise God, you’re NOT by yourself. Motherhood is not about making you look good, it’s about glorifying God and making Him look good. It’s not about making kids happy, but about training them to be holy. Your days may seem mundane and unimportant, but motherhood is a high and holy calling.

“If God calls you to be a mother, don’t stoop to be a queen!”

I do have a few thoughts regarding work outside of the home, especially if you have young children. If you’re feeling a longing to go back to work, ask yourself to honestly evaluate your motivating reason. Is it fear? Discontentment? Boredom? Personal esteem? Just needing a break from the kids? Is your desire to work a true need for additional income, or could God give you other ideas to live with less . . . Or to make money from home? In my opinion, a full-time stay-at-home mom can raise the standard of living for the whole family, more than any job. God has called us as mothers to “mother” our children. It’s not a job for a professional . . . Or for your mother-in-law.

Tip #2 – Be consistent.

As a mom, be consistent in discipline. Be the mom. Training kids for God is a big deal and a holy responsibility. We’re training our children to live with the understanding of both the LOVE of GOD and the FEAR of GOD in their lives. The way we parent will give our kids a reflection of who God is. When God says something He means it. When He gives an instruction, it’s important. He’s not fair (in the way we view fairness); but He is just and good. We need to reflect the heart of God as our child’s parent. And as wives, we need to let our husbands be the leaders.

I saw a mom with a screaming kid. “If you stop screaming, I’ll give you a candy.” OH MY!!! NO!!!

Nip it in the bud, and please be a consistent mother to your 2yr old. Training little ones is so much easier than trying to undo bad decisions in the teenage years.

With teenagers, be the mom, not the buddy. When they’re in junior high, begin to establish WITH your kids what God’s plans and purposes are for their lives. It’s BIG stuff. Don’t back down. And seek God’s help every day. Look to other families and older teens who are good examples. Seek other family friends who can “echo” your godly counsel. See the big picture, and help discipline and train your child, like a LIFE-COACH, to help them accomplish all that God has for this season. Hold tight when they’re little, then begin to let go as they get older. See the long-term target, and get your kids to see it too!

Our daughter, Christi, ministering to children in a slum area in Cambodia

Tip #3 – Guard the gates of your home.

As a mom, be on-guard at the gates of your home. Your home is GOD’S kingdom headquarters in an enemy territory. You need to guard the eye gate and the ear gate. Guard your thoughts and guard your kid’s thoughts. Take every bad thought — discouragement, lie, fear, worry, temptation, bad attitude — CAPTIVE to the obedience of Christ! Guard against media, movies, evil influences (like demonic cartoons, games or horoscopes, books, or toys), fleshly printed material (women’s magazines, romance books, chick-flicks, bad-influence friends). One thing I’ve found is to stop JUNK on day 1, at the very door of your home. Don’t give evil or slight compromise a foothold (it won’t get easier if you let things “slide” for a while). The family lives to please God, not to please us as parents (or to make us look good), and not to please the kids. Your home is a sanctuary, and a retreat center, and a discipleship training school. Don’t “punish” your kids by grounding them to stay home, or to punished by sending them to their rooms.  Don’t you want your kids to LOVE being home with you?

Tip #4 – Mother by faith, not by fear

As a mom, be a warrior, not a worrier. Parent in FAITH, not fear!!! Release your kids to God, and to GOD’S purposes. Be passionate about raising kids for God, but don’t take more “government” than God requires. Do your battle in prayer: and wrestle against principalities and powers (identify your enemies, like  strife, rebellion, sin, or laziness). Your kids are not your enemy, and neither is your spouse. Take your concerns & spouse disagreements to a higher authority — GOD– and Pray!!!

Also, realize that as your kids get older, HORMONES are your friends, not your enemy. They are created and designed by God to help our children desire to find God’s life partner. Don’t fear the teenage years, but help your kids to bring their feelings and desires under God’s control.

Tip #5 – Rely on God’s GRACE!!!

Just live in God’s grace, and abide with Him. See this ABIDING MOM vs. SUPER MOM chart.

Don’t follow anyone else’s packaged-parenting-plan, and don’t put yourself on a guilt trip if you don’t measure-up to what’s working for other mothers. Yes, be willing to learn and to receive counsel and to get  organizational ideas — but seek God’s unique divine guidance for each day. If you’re needing advice with a particular area in your mothering, get help; but if something doesn’t work for your family and your personalities, whether that’s a home schooling curriculum, or a meal plan, or a cleaning schedule, or a devotional plan, or a sit-down corporate regular family Bible study plan, just relax!!!

And let your husbands be the men they are called to be (which might mean not always talking or trying to get your way and wanting to implement all your ideas.  You don’t have to be amazing; just walk with God, and be faithful. Just be you (with God’s help), and be the unique family God has created you to be.

Raise your kids for God, and get ready to RELEASE your arrows to God’s destiny!

By the way, our son oldest son is back home in the USA. What a blessing!!!

About ADunagan

Ann Dunagan is a longtime homeschooling mother of 7 (ages 11 to 25, with 4 graduates), an international speaker with Harvest Ministry, co-founder of orphan ministries in East Africa and India (caring for over 700 children), and author of several books including The Mission-Minded Family. With a passion for the Lord and the lost, Ann motivates families for world missions.

43 Responses to Q & A’s for Mission-Minded Families: MOTHERHOOD

  1. Rachel Andres April 8, 2013 at 10:27 am #

    My husband and I don’t have any children yet, but I have been learning as much as I can to try to be prepared. My biggest fear is not leading them in the right direction to love God and care about what He wants above everything else. Especially now that we have moved to a new country and we don’t have the strong Christian friends and family around us that we did in Tulsa.
    Your blog has been an encouragement to me and will be a guide in my husband and I’s future child raising. Having known a couple of your kids during my time at ORU, I can see how these precepts were so thoroughly integrated into their lives.

  2. tinnitus March 9, 2013 at 1:39 am #

    It’s going to be ending of mine day, except before finish I am reading this fantastic article to increase my experience. tinnitus

  3. Heidi July 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

    Double like! Wow … sometimes I get anxious thinking about raising our kids and we only have one so far and he’s only 10 months old! This was really encouraging to read. I’m so happy I’ve found this biblical, legit blog!

  4. Sherrin May 22, 2011 at 2:32 am #

    When I read this I was feeling a bit down. It was a huge encouragement to me as I read about your experiences and why you love to be a mother. I aim to be a joyful mother and to love motherhood, not just love my children. You are an example and I thank you for sharing.

  5. Adrienne May 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Ann – every time I read one of your posts, I finish it in tears! I love your heart for the world and your willingness to watch your children explore it and contribute to it at such a young age. What an amazing example, this is totally my heartbeat as a mother and I am so encouraged to see someone who has gone before and has the good fruit to show for it!

  6. Kate @ thedebtfreefamily.com May 18, 2011 at 4:47 am #

    Thank you for this post! As a mom who struggles with the feelings that I am “wasting” my talents, I constantly need to be reminded that motherhood is THE highest calling on my life, and the greatest fullfilment of my “talents.”

  7. Jessica May 17, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    This was awesome. Thank you for helping me have the desire to fall and my knees and pray more and lean on the Lord more. I have been giving into my natural man which has been laziness lately as well as other weaknesses. Thank you. I will save this to refer back to.

  8. Scarlett Von Gunten May 17, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    Hi Ann,
    Thank you for your great article! I love all your tips and value the wisdom that God has given you! Thank you for being bold enough to share with us your heart! I need Biblical and practical advice to parent my children and I appreciate you!! You are such a beautiful woman inside and out!! You inspire me Ann! And I love your commitment to God, your husband and your children! You have motivated me with your heart for missions! Thank you that you keep writing! God bless you!!

    • Ann Dunagan May 17, 2011 at 6:12 pm #


      Thanks for your sweet encouraging words. You’re a wonderful mother, and I was very blessed to meet your family and children. It’s very obvious that you have embraced your calling and taken it seriously. Your kids are AWESOME!!!

  9. Crissy May 17, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    I think Ann’s best advice in this article is to guard the gates of our homes.

    We need to do this with everything from music to movies to toys to food to cleaniless to our language. Every aspect.

    I once had a pastor who used the reference of a pot of coffee (sin) and jug of water (purity). One drip of coffee will not dis-color the water too much and you may not even notice. However, over-time, several drops of coffee into a jug of water will eventually make the water yucky.

    It frustrates me when parents allow children to play video games, eat packaged/fast food everyday, spend endless hours on FB, watch R-rated movies….. and then wonder why their child isn’t getting good grades in school!! Duh!! Or another thing that angers me is when parents used bad language, but tell their children not to.

    • Ann Dunagan May 17, 2011 at 9:37 am #

      Amen Crissy!!!

      Even a couple hours of Sunday morning and Wednesday night church attendance (no matter how good it is) is not enough to counter-attack a whole week of continual negative input. God has called us as parents to diligently disciple our children and to be consistent examples within our homes!!!

  10. Jaci May 17, 2011 at 5:01 am #

    I agree with the headings of your tips. They seem to coincide with the Bible, but it seems there is a lack of Biblical references in your tips. In addition, I think the initial ideas of the tips are good, but some of the side-comments are a bit insensitive and perhaps too judgmental. For example, the screaming child. I am sure a majority of people would not agree with this tactic of parenting, but how do you think someone who has tried this feels when they read this in caps and with several exclamation points?
    If I were a new Christian and had made some mistakes parenting I would feel slightly condemned. I think what you have to say may reach those who are strong in their faith, but I think it would be good to keep in mind that if you are trying to witness to all moms, some of those moms might be at the beginning of know God and how to parent godly, and saying that one should not do certain things (that aren’t directly backed up by scripture), can be confusing and accusing.
    I guess what I am getting at is that even though most of what you have to say is based on God, some of it is merely opinion. But the opinion is said with as strong or stronger voice than the Biblical parts, and the Biblical parts are not backed up clearly by certain scriptures. I would simply like to caution you on this and help you recognize that tone can go a long way in sending a message you may not have intended to send. And being aware of this and that not all readers come to this with a strong Bible background may take offense to some really good things because of how they are presented.

    • Ann Dunagan May 17, 2011 at 6:28 am #

      Thanks for your input Jaci!

      As I write and speak, I do want to be sensitive to the maturity and hearts of others. However, I’ve found that sometimes a gentle or cautious word doesn’t penetrate as deeply as a strategically aimed “sharp” (or perhaps “blunt”) word. In this setting, I know that most of our Passionate Homemaking readers are young mommies who want to live for Jesus, and many want to be challenged!

      I agree with you that God’s Word need to be our foundation. In our family, the Bible is our basis for everything; however, this motherhood post was not meant to be a theological study, but merely a sharing of practical heart-to-heart tips. Over the years, as Jon and I have strived to follow God’s word as we’ve raised our seven kids, we’ve found some principles and keys that have worked well for us; and I was very honored to have this opportunity to share my opinions!!!

      As I wrote, I just relaxed and shared from my heart. My prayer and hope is that God would bring encouragement to precious moms who are needing to see the big picture!!!

      Blessings to you!!! :)

    • Crissy May 17, 2011 at 9:10 am #

      As parents I think we’ve all had that moment where we are at a public place and our kid is acting up and we say something like, “if you calm down and behave, we can have ice cream” or “if you can sit still the entire service you can have a treat.” Whether you agree or disagree with the parenting tactic, I believe Ann is just saying it isn’t the best route to take, all the time.

      My thoughts?….if you are at an important setting (i.e. wedding, funeral, graduation) and you have to pull the “be-quiet-get-treat” card, go for it. But if your child throws a fit everytime you are in line at the grocery store and you give them a candy bar to shut them up, that is wrong as it tells the child that bad behavior = reward. Instead we need to teach that good behavior = reward.

      • Ann Dunagan May 17, 2011 at 9:31 am #

        Thanks Crissy! I appreciate your thoughts.

        I’m trying to grow in learning how to regulate the passions in my heart with compelling passion, without condemnation, and to be strong in my beliefs, without coming across harsh. It’s tricky sometimes. My husband has had many discussions with me over the years, about my tone. Please know that my heart is really just wanting to encourage moms, at whatever maturity or spritual stage each mom is at!

  11. Kim May 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm #

    question for you. first I really enjoyed this article, it is where God is leading me right now. I think what you say about staying at home with the kids is totally right on. I notice that you have alot of things outside the home that you do, such as writing, missions, speaker, etc. How do you balance that? I have found the times I get involved with these types of things I may as well be working.

    • Ann Dunagan May 17, 2011 at 6:12 am #


      This is a great question!!! Here’s an article I wrote about balance. There’s also several chapters in The Mission-Minded Family about finding God’s daily divine balance.

      God’s answer is not going to be the same for each of us, and even for me, God’s balance has been different in different seasons of motherhood. As I’ve surrendered each decision to the Lord, He’s helped me to know when to say “yes” to outside ministry, and when to say “no.”

      One thing I also found through years of studying about missionaries and their families is that the heroes who also had fruitful families (such as George Mueller and Hudson Taylor) were known as men of fervent prayer.

  12. Jesse May 16, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Great comments and article! I agree with definitely being a mother and caring for our families but the part about working outside the home is really bugging me. I kinds feel like it’s a low blow to mothers who do work like were not dedicated to our children or are “bad mothers” because we have a gift and we use it. God has given me a passion to be a mother and also use my gifts outside the home. Unfortunately not by choice I am a single mother and have to support my children by working. Therefore I have no choice but to let “the professionals” watch after my precious children while I am away. Does this make me less of a mother? Of course not, but I do know u can’t do it on my own and only with Gods amazing love and grace. I am by no means a perfect mother but I know I am a good mother regardless of if I am able to stay at home to “mother” them.

    • Ann Dunagan May 16, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

      Dearest Jesse,
      You know what God has called you to do!!!! God has a special grace for you as a mother, and as a single working mother!!! Don’t let anyone discourage you (including me). Be confident in your unique calling!!! If you were here with me right now, I would give you a big (((HUG!!!))) and ask you how I could pray for you. Whenever you hear any momma ideas or family messages that don’t fit your situation and what God is showing you, just “Take the grass and leave the sticks!!!” May God stregthen and encourage you and give you His unique grace, that’s just for you!!! You are a precious sweetheart!!!

      • Donna May 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

        Amen. I’m not sure what you do for work, but work is 1. allowing you to care for your family and perhaps 2. part of your calling and important gift for others. I have encountered working women who have touched me deeply through their work.

  13. Brandi May 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm #

    I jsut want to say that I LOVE your contributions Ann!!! I have been so encouraged by each one!!! You always leave me with so much to think on!!! Thank you for the “hormone perspective”!!! I needed to hear that!

    Praising the LORD your son is home from deployment!! Tell him thank you (from a reader) for serving our country!

  14. Amy Lynne May 16, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

    Such important reminders! Thank you so much for sharing and being so encouraging!

    I am also so happy to see your son is home safe and sound!

  15. Shila May 16, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Thank you for this post. I am a stay-at-home mom of three, who also home schools. I have a degree and sometimes feel pressured(be myself really), to provide financially for the family, though it is not needed. It is a matter of pride really. I love your point that staying at home raises our standard living more than working, because it would be a very different lifestyle if I was working, and even more stressed out. You had many other good points too and I will bookmark this and pass it on to friends. Thanks again.

  16. Mariposa May 16, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    Thank you so much for this post! I will be having our first child any day now and this was very encouraging to me. I know God will give me the grace and strength to do His will, but it’s nice to be reminded of it once in awhile. God bless!

    • Ann Dunagan May 16, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      Mariposa, WOW!!! As you go into birth, remember that God is your strength. He will give you grace and strength for each hour, and each contraction. Embrace the harder ones with JOY, knowing that your time to meet your precious little one is getting closer and closer. Remember to relax and to allow God’s peace to fill your heart and may His perfect LOVE (both for you and your husband and your baby) remove all fear (I John 4:18). What an exciting time!!! I’m thrilled for you!!!

  17. Tonya Daniels May 16, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    Ann, such encouraging words to those of us at home with young ones… I have 3 under 3 1/2 and feel the certain need for consistency in my life. Its nice to be reminded to relax and not feel like we have to run our days/ homes just like other moms that we know, but to just accept wisdom and apply it to our life as it fits. One thing I have learned in my short journey of motherhood so far, is that when you are honest with fellow moms about your shortcomings and struggles, you find that most other moms struggle with the same or similar issues, and its really refreshing to know that we all have the same challenges! Thank you for your wisdom!

  18. Amber May 16, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Thanks for the encouragement to us moms!

    On the topic of working out side the home (or finding fulfillment outside of motherhood/homemaking), how does one deal with a situation where the husband seems to expect the wife to be a mom/homemaker, yet not respect that position much? A situation where other women he knows (who have education and jobs at his level) seem to be regarded as equals and friends– yet I have never felt esteemed in his eyes, let alone be accepted as a close friend to him? This makes me feel that IF I were smarter, more educated, or had a prestigious job that I could meet his standards for an equal partner and friend….but that if I continue in the path of mommyhood I’m in, I’ll always be worthless to him. It’s a weird situation, because when I try to talk about it, we’re both in agreement that being a SAHM is best for our kids, and what he (and I) want for me. Personally, I would love to always be a SAHM, but if I’m continually not accepted as an equal, I’d rather pursue college and a career. Any thoughts/advice???

    • Ann Dunagan May 16, 2011 at 9:28 am #

      Amber, I would encourage you to think about how your husband specifically CHOSE you, out of all the women in the world. He asked you to marry him, to be the fulfillment of his dreams and desires, and to have the joy of bearing and raising his/your children. What a blessing that he wants to provide for you, and that you are in unity about the value of you being a stay-at-home mom. Seek God for your worth and be assured of your priceless value in His eyes.

      As for learning and growing, I would encourage you to keep your mind sharp. Meditate on God’s word, and stretch your intillect through reading and self-study. You don’t have to have a higher education to be a learned person. Go to the library and seek the Lord for
      some areas that you can learn to be able to communicate with your husband. Maybe look for areas to ask him for his opinions and to help you understand his perspectives. Instead of belittling yourself, learn to esteem and respect your husband’s mind and his hard work. Be confident in your calling to motherhood and your calling to be your husband’s helpmeet. And remember that out of all the women in the world, your husband chose you!!!

      • Jessalyn @DesiringVirtue.com May 16, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

        That was really wise advice Ann!

        I think we can all struggle at times with this issue because most of us grew up with the world’s view of worth in our minds. College, Graduate School, etc are seen as the ultimates while something like being a mother is just kind of hum drum. Ultimately we have to fight those thoughts with God’s revealed Word and lean on him for the strength we need to do what he has called us to do as wives and mothers.

    • bobcat May 17, 2011 at 1:30 am #


      What do YOU want, deep down? Do YOU want to be a homemaker, for you? (you mentioned that you agreed that it was best for your kids, but is it also what you want for you?) If so, then I think you should keep reminding yourself of that. Say to yourself, “I could have chosen to do anything….but being a homemaker is the job I chose, and I am going to be so awesome at it, that I will blow everyone away with my amazing skill in this job I’ve chosen.”

      I don’t necessarily think it’s important to impress or please others in your homemaking, but just stick with me in this line of thought. If this is what you chose, I think you should treat it like a job, and then you will have more confidence and self-worth in what you are doing, and not compare yourself to what other women have chosen. THEN, once YOU are feeling great about what you do, maybe some of that will rub off on your husband? He can’t see the value in what you do, if you don’t realize that value yourself….I’m talking, REALLY realize it, to the point that you have tons of pride in the bread you knead and how squeaky clean your floors are. I have noticed, in any area of life, that when we have confidence in ourselves, it sort of commands the respect of others. But if we put ourselves down, and think we don’t stack up, others observing us will also think the same thing.

      I have noticed that confidence goes a long way in the world of some men. It may just be the subconscious “language” that your hubby speaks, and he doesn’t even realize it. I honestly think it’s an evolutionary thing….think of men as hunters in the wild, fighting for survival. Confidence will breed comraderie in ancient times. So maybe he is picking up on the confidence those working women give off? So basically, you need to understand that some men do respond to that, and knowing that, combat it (aka, “work around it”) by being confident yourself. So it’s not a bad thing……you can turn this into a good thing and use that knowledge to your advantage (by being confident).

      As in, do YOU realize how smart you are? I bet you are pretty smart! Do YOU realize how efficient you are? That if you wanted to, you could climb the corporate ladder and kick butt? But you are using your skills for something you chose!

      So do everything you can to build yourself up. We already know how irreplacable stay at home moms are, but you really need to learn to walk with a certain confidence because of that. It is something I have had to teach myself how to do, and honestly, something I haven’t quite perfected. I do it moreso because I feel like less of an equal to others that know me, not necessarily my husband.

      But if you already have a lot of confidence in yourself, and don’t compare yourself to others, and already think you’re awesome, and he doesn’t agree…..then I would say to my husband, “I am working very hard at what I do. I take a lot of pride in it. Sometimes I feel that you don’t see me as your equal because I am not out in the workforce, and that hurts my feelings. It would mean a lot to me if you could try harder to let me know you respect me and see me as an equal, because your opinion means a lot to me. I need to hear and see that I am respected, through your words and actions.” Something like that!

      I hope that makes sense. I hope it works. That would be my first-line advice for someone in your situation, but I don’t know if you have already tried that and are doing that.

      I just had one other thought. Sometimes this technique works with my husband and I. Basically, ask what you can improve upon. Say something like, “I have to be honest…..I feel like you don’t necessarily respect me as much as some women out there who are highly sucessful in a career. (but say it kindly, not in an accusatory way) Whether or not that is true, I was just wondering……is there anything more you think I could be doing, to make you see me like that? (ask honestly, like you are really open to what he has to say) Like would you like for me to brush up on current events more, so we can talk about those kinds of things together? Are there any books you would like to discuss or hobbies you want to do together?” He might say that he would like to see you use your leadership skills somewhere. Or in guy talk, “go do something.” Haha. Just take whatever grains he gives you, and try to work with it.

      And you have to be ready for ANY answer you get, because hey, you asked! Check your pride at the door. When you create an open environment, and make it clear you are willing to take advice/criticism, you may be surprised what you hear. Like I have been told I need to shower more (I could tell he didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but I did ask). I have been told it would be nice if I got up earlier and wasn’t so difficult in the mornings. That isn’t easy to hear! But hey, I asked! And knowledge is power. If my husband tells me something that he thinks I can improve on, it hurts a little at first, but then I realize in the end, it will make our marriage stronger for me to improve in certain areas. So maybe there is something that you could be doing, that you had no idea about, that would help. You may be surprised what he has to say, if he felt that telling the absolute truth was safe. Maybe there are things you could do that would help. Good luck!

  19. Heather May 16, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    What a great post! Thank you for the encouragement and tips. It so easy to allow things that aren’t the important stuff to overtake the really important things. Great reminder!

  20. Nikki May 16, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    Ann, thanks for being a “Titus 2″ woman in my life! Love you :)

    • Ann Dunagan May 16, 2011 at 7:34 am #

      Nikki, I see you more as a kindred sister bosom-friend!!! Love you too!!!

  21. Jessalyn @DesiringVirtue.com May 16, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    Thank you for this wonderful advice. I love to be able to glean insights from moms who have already been there and can see the fruit of obedience. Praise God for his grace in motherhood!

  22. Sarah May 16, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    Wow! Such a great reminder this morning! It’s been one of “those” mornings and I desperately needed some inspiration and encouragement- this was it! I was really encouraged by the reminder that there is the grace that I need each day and for each child. Thank you! Also, I’m so happy that your son is back with you, what a blessing!

  23. Lori May 16, 2011 at 5:26 am #

    Fabulous post! I especially liked “Mother by faith, not by fear” and your insight into the hormone issue.

    • Ann Dunagan May 16, 2011 at 7:41 am #

      Lori, my husband actually gets the credit for the “HORMONES are our FRIENDS” saying. When our oldest was nearing 13, I was freaking out wanting to set our rules and ordering every “I kissed dating goodbye” sort of book. My heart was SO wanting to do things right, but my husband could see that my motivation was FEAR-based. It’s really a huge foundational difference. So far, we have 1 son married (to an amazing girl!!!) and 2 other young adult kids in serious relationships that we’re thrilled about!!! God is good.

  24. Bethany May 16, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    Thank you for this! Just what I needed this morning. With two very young daughters and a baby due in June, it’s easy to get bogged down in the daily struggles and to lose sight of what this whole “mother” job is all about. Thank you for reminding me of what the purpose of my calling is.

  25. Jen Pazdur May 16, 2011 at 3:32 am #

    Thank you for posting this article and taking the time to reflect on your years of “service” raising those warriors. I am planning on printing this off and making time to reread this often this week. Your words were truly a blessing to me! THANK YOU!

    • Ann Dunagan May 16, 2011 at 7:03 am #

      Thank you Sarah! We’re praising God for our son’s safe return!!!

  26. Suzin May 16, 2011 at 3:13 am #

    Thanks Ann for this post. I work outside of the home, but still found tons of great suggestions and encouragement from what you were saying. I especially love your first point-be confident. Sometimes I forget that God chose my children especially for me and to confident that in Him, I have what it takes to parent effectively.

    Thanks again so much…

  27. Amber May 16, 2011 at 2:35 am #

    Thank you Ann!!! I am due with my second child this summer. I went back to work part time after our daughter was born because my husband’s job at the time wasn’t covering our basic needs. My husband has a better paying job now, so I just left my job in anticipation of the new baby and starting homeschooling our 3 year old. I am so excited, but also afraid of the isolation of being a full-time SAHM with little ones. Your post was so encouraging and reassured me that home is where I should be, and God’ grace is sufficient!

    • Randi May 16, 2011 at 5:45 am #

      @Amber- I started staying home before our 2nd child was born. Now we have 3 (2, 4 & almost 6 yrs) and I am a SAHM. I also had an isolation issue when I first started staying home. I got pretty down and depressed and didn’t want to leave the house much. I would encourage you to find a group or 2 to join that you can go to with your children. We go once a week to a Mom’s Bible Study where the kids have their own Bible study time and the mothers have our own. It has been a life saver and has given me that renewal time with deep Christian conversation with other women in all stages of life.