If you’re new to JessConnell.com, or want an overview of what my “best hits” are, these are my TOP 25 ARTICLES (by pageviews/popularity):
“Recently, on an older post about exhaustion, I received this comment:
“I don’t want to offend anyone but why do people keep having more kids if they are already exhausted with 1 or 2 they do have?”
There are so many answers I could give, but for me, it all boils down to this:” (click to read WHY HAVE MORE KIDS)
“Though the news did not surprise me, it did sadden me. My heart did flip-flops. It’s a similar feeling to the one I got when the Bill Cosby stories began breaking… sick to my stomach… so incredibly, gut-wrenchingly sorry for his wife… saddened at the depravity our sinful hearts will lead us to… but ultimately, certain of its veracity.
But you know what else that news drives me to do? Oh, sister… fellow mom… friend… Sister/Brother in Christ… it makes me look in my own heart and see the foul wickedness right here.
The reason I was certain of the veracity of the stories is because I know the wickedness that resides here in my ugly human heart, and the ugly sins that want to take up ever-increasing real estate in my soul.” (click to read JOSH DUGGAR & THE PROBLEM WE ALL HAVE)
“At this point of motherhood, it seems I should walk around with caution tape. That would give everyone around me a warning before they talked to or interacted with me.
Maybe I could wear a sign:
WARNING, WARNING, WARNING!!!
DO NOT GO INTO THIS CONVERSATION WITH GREAT EXPECTATIONS. In fact, DIAL THOSE EXPECTATIONS BACK TO ZERO and then I might have the opportunity to impress you, or at the very least, meet your expectations.
THE WOMAN YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENGAGE IS EXTREMELY TIRED.
She may make conversational topic leaps that make perfect sense inside her tired brain but appear nonsensical to you. She is talked out and touched out.
SHE HAS ABOUT 1.25 mL OF “EXTRA” TO GIVE OVER THE COURSE OF A WEEK (which, chances are, she’s already doled out).
APPROACH WITH GRACE AND CAUTION.“
“My husband, Doug, and I are privileged to be able to do marital and pre-marital counseling through our church.
Here are some of our thoughts for the about-to-be-married virgin couple about having healthy, realistic attitudes about honeymoon sex:” (click to read 20 THOUGHTS ABOUT HONEYMOON SEX FOR VIRGINS)
“I sometimes hear moms almost bragging about it… “it’s been ages since I’ve used the restroom alone.” “She’s persnickety & suddenly won’t eat anything I make!!” As if being a Mommy Martyr makes you a good mommy.
There is a HUGE difference between what the average mom puts up with today, and what would have been allowed 30, 60, 100 years ago. Interestingly, in our post-feminist era, with women determined more than ever to not let *anyone* “walk all over them,” there are a whole lot of toddlers, kids, and teens out there doing just that.” (click to read ARE YOU LETTING YOUR KIDS WALK ALL OVER YOU?)
“Unfortunately, this last week in particular, I and my children have seen incontrovertible evidence that (at least for me), stress and yelling seem to have a direct relationship. When stress increases, the volume and frequency of my yelling increases as well.
So this weekend, I asked a group of godly women to exhort me in regard to yelling. I’ve tried self-shaming; I’ve tried behavior modification; I’ve tried visual reminders…
I knew something needed to change.
That “something” was my heart and mind. You see… I was not seeing it as sin; instead I was justifying it in my mind. My justifications went like this….”(click to read STRESS, YELLING, & SIN)
Several years ago, I was able to take a basic biblical counseling class, and one of the sessions focused in on the “Anti-Psalm.” This exercise was a challenge for us to better understand what a text is saying by carefully thinking through the exact opposite meaning.
It can be very insightful to look at the “opposite” of what we say we believe, and see how much we (unfortunately) identify with the very ideas we claim not to believe. It’s also an excellent way to clarify the positive meaning of a text.
Today, I want to do that with the Proverbs 31 woman. (click to read THE OPPOSITE OF THE PROVERBS 31 WOMAN)
“Because of Feminism, we have had less training, and less mental preparation for motherhood and daily care of the home than any other generation before us. The vast majority of us did exactly what you have outlined here– got our degrees, and were prepared to use them in a sterile, professional environment.
What we WEREN’T encouraged to do was to consider how basic human biology might affect the pursuit for successful sterility and “you can do anything”-ism we’d been raised to believe in. What we WEREN’T encouraged to do was spend time with moms of little ones, and most of us grew up in 2-child homes, so our reality was far removed from any awareness of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and the real, daily demands of raising young children.” (click to read UNPREPARED FOR MOTHERHOOD: THANKS, FEMINISM!)
“There is a level of heartache that goes beyond the normal highs and lows of life.
It cannot be quantified. Words don’t do it justice. It keeps you up at night, doggedly chasing you, taxing your mental reserves all day long. Even if you’re not an emotional person, tears threaten to fly down your face without a moment’s notice. It weighs heavy on your mind, soul, and body. The embers do not quickly cool.
This kind of pain is often hidden away, raw and unseen in our comfort-driven America.
When in the thick of it, there is not enough time in the day or energy in your heart to reach out explain yourself to people. The people who get it, will get it. And the people who don’t? They may never get it, and it may not be their fault.
Perhaps some willfully believe the worst, but many people just don’t know what to do with deep, soul-level heartache…” (click to read 5 Things To Do When Your Heart Aches)
“He struck me as a normal person, that was the horrible thing about it. He was cool, objective, matter of fact. ‘This is my war duty. I did my war duty.’ It was like I had to go out and cut down so many trees. So I went out and took my saw and cut the trees down. He was just acting like a normal, unimportant individual.
He simply answered the questions, and as far as I could tell, told what happened without emotion. Without emotion. Without a sense of guilt. Not in the slightest apologetic, not in the remotest degree was he apologetic. In a sense, I think he showed a certain pride in accomplishment.”
– Whitney Harris, member of the prosecuting team at the Nuremberg trials, on Rudolf Höss,Commandant of Auschwitz
Reading this quote immediately transported my thoughts to abortionists, vocally pro-abortion women, and clinic workers who believe they are merely “doing their duty”– without emotion, without a sense of guilt, without apology.
The opening of Auschwitz in Poland happened 70 years ago, this week. The stories that come from that wicked place still horrify and are difficult to take in. I would rejoice if, one day, the horror every decent human being feels about Auschwitz would be matched with the horror they feel about abortion… (click to read 20 WAYS ABORTION IS LIKE AUSCHWITZ)
We’ve opened our homes to small groups for over ten years:
- We’ve hosted short-term groups (i.e., a single-book study that only met for that one topic, and then disbanded)
- For four years, when we lived in Istanbul, we were the primary host home for a house church that met, week in, week out with a meal, sermon, prayer time, plus occasional communion & baptisms– with anything from 10 to 40 people in attendance in a given week. (Avg: 15-20)
- For the last two years, we’ve hosted a small group in our home, ranging from 3-8 families each meeting time.
I’d like to speak to the WOMAN– the wife in the host home– is that you?
Let me encourage you with these SIX things that can help you GO the distance as a small group host home: (click to read 6 TIPS FOR JOYFULLY HOSTING A SMALL GROUP)
“there are things I know about sex. There are things we all know. There are biblical truths and facts about our bodies that are undeniable.
And I think those facts ought to influence how we parent.
[Please note: under each fact below, I share how that fact influences the ways that Doug and I parent our seven children. I want to point out that our oldest child will be 13 this summer. What that means is that I’ve done a good portion of this multiple times over now, but it also means that there is a large portion that I have NOT done. In those areas, I am sharing out of observation of wise and unwise practices of others, the teaching of biblical truth that I have received, and the plans that Doug and I have thought through in regard to how to handle future things. I am a Christian woman writing as a fellow-traveler who has some thoughts about these things, rather than a seasoned guru who has raised forty-two godly children to adulthood.]
While we can’t solve every problem “out there,” we CAN bring about change within our own homes and families…” (click to read THE TRUTH ABOUT SEX & HOW IT AFFECTS OUR PARENTING)
A commenter said:
Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone decided to have 6+ children!? We are already outgrowing our planet. People used to have 5+ kids… nowadays, with vaccinations and healthcare, and food availability, it just doesn’t make sense. Think about minimizing your footprint, and yes, that means procreating less and using birth control.
So I responded…
rather than trying to convince this commenter of something that is clearly the opposite of what he/she believes, I’m just going to share, as best I’m able, our personal experience with living life as a large family and the eco-footprint we leave. I write this not as an exercise in self-justification, or as a litany of reasons why others should live life as we do, or even to put forth that this is the case for every large family, but just to counter some of these thoughts about sustainability with my own personal experience. (click to continue reading LARGE FAMILIES & SUSTAINABILITY)
Have you seen the images on Facebook, trumpeting the amazing, lifelong, unbreakable bond between mothers and sons?
Here are some quotes I’ve seen on these photos:
- “There has never been, nor will there ever be, anything quite so special as the love between a mother and son.”
- “The bond between mother and son… remains unchanged by time or distance”
- “My son is a promise that I will have a friend forever!”
- “There is nothing stronger than the love between a mother & son.”
- “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.“
Christian mom, have you ever thought (when you read these things) that you’re being lied to, and that your emotions are being preyed upon?
…the next time you see one of these pictures with a heart-grabbing quote telling you how nothing will ever change and how your son will always be your sweet little baby boy, ask yourself if it is actually true in light of the very first few verses that tell us about the first family, and God’s plans for the world. (click to read WHAT EVERYBODY OUGHT TO KNOW ABOUT MOMS & SONS)
Here are 25 things the Bible says about raising children, discipline, and parenting.
The classic parenting verses are here, as well as a few unusual (not-often-quoted) portions that include direction and insight about how God sees children, parenting, and discipline.
One of the things I considered as I read through these verses is that a lot of modern controversy centers on spanking. People bandy back and forth about whether or not it means a literal rod, what age children it means, and whether or not spanking is effective and good, or terrible and abusive. And, ya know, that makes sense, since there are a number of passages about physical discipline here.
Reading these verses all together like this puts spanking, in the context of a guiding, loving relationship. It is described as a loving, deliberate, measured decision on the part of a parent to physically chasten a child who is foolish in order to teach wisdom. Ultimately, when done promptly, in faith, (not in anger, vindication, fury, retribution, annoyance) Scripture indicates that this loving action can “save his soul” from Sheol– Hell (the eternal destination for a fool who thinks there is no God and acknowledges no other authority in his life outside of himself).
However, this was more interesting to me as I looked at these verses– given the way modern parents talk about:
- being disrespected by their kids
- how their kids never want to be around them
- the way their kids’ peers wield greater influence in their lives than they do
I believe it could cause far more controversy if people thought through how seriously God takes the teaching of children, and the assumption of family togetherness and parental influence. (click to read 25 THINGS THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT PARENTING)
My blood began boiling over this issue a few years ago, when the (supposedly) “safe for the whole family” Christian radio station in my area began advertising “Mommy Makeovers” throughout the day, every day. The ad went something like this:
“Sick of your post-baby flabby midsection? Ready to treat yourself and your body to some ‘me-time’ now that the kids are back in school? Undo the effects of pregnancy. Call Dr. So-and-so and set up your Mommy Makeover today!”
“If you’re looking for excuses to get out of sex, or reasons to stay mad at the mistake-making human husband you married, you’ve come to the wrong place.
But for the rest of you… the tired mom who just wants a little extra sleep, the woman for whom the initial delight you had in your beloved has faded into a hum-drum occasional physical interaction, the wife who feels exhausted by her children and has been excusing “not having anything left over to give” to the man you pledged your life to… to YOU, I have a few things to say.
Know that I’m not saying this from some lofty tower of well-rested ease. I’m an oft-tired mom of six, going on seven, children– including lots of little ones. We moved across the country less than six months ago, and are definitely in a more tired season of life…”
#18- HE IS GOOD.
“On Saturday, we were sledding with good friends, and had been for hours, when it all came to a halt. I’m typing this late on Tuesday, our fourth night in the hospital.”
January 2016– our 9 year old daughter got a skull fracture, and we didn’t know which way it was going to go.
“Looking at her that day, I’ll spare you all the details, but it was plain to me that the rushed, panicked words we were exchanging (in my effort to keep her from going unconscious again) could be some of our last conversations on earth. I deeply felt that I was not guaranteed even another 30 seconds with my sweet daughter.
And then… I was up in the helicopter, strapped in. Couldn’t see her. Couldn’t squeeze her hand. Couldn’t help her. Couldn’t talk to her. Couldn’t control a single dad gum thing.
And there was such beauty in it…”
“Before you go on a camping trip, you “make provisions” — which means, you’re giving yourself the supplies, equipment, and food you’ll need for the trip. So when Paul says, “make no provision for the flesh,” what he’s saying is, “look for the things that will sustain your flesh, and don’t pack those things. Cut them out. Avoid those things, so that your flesh will be without support in your life, and will die, unfed.
In case you don’t remember from when we’ve talked about yelling before, “fits of rage” is listed alongside orgies as an “act of the flesh.”
So how can we apply this principle to our flesh when it wants to yell?
What has been most consistently helpful to me in my battle against yelling is the combination of two things…” (click to read MAKE NO PROVISION FOR YOUR YELLING)
I guess I’m a slow learner. It took me lots of babies and births to finally start figuring it out…
- After baby #6 (born in our home in Texas), my midwife gave strict instructions: “don’t get out of bed for a week. And if you can help it, don’t start doing chores for two weeks.” Though I was skeptical, I figured, I’ve tried “doing it all” and not really slowing down much. So, why not try what she says? She left a note on my door (like the one pictured to the right– click to enlarge) telling others to let me rest. When she came for my 3-day-later appointment, she scolded me for being up to answer the door. She was dead serious about this resting stuff. So, I was serious about it too.
Do you know what happened? (Click to read 7 WAYS I BEAT POSTPARTUM STRESS)
Q: My 2.5 year old son is having tantrums, laying on the floor, thrashing and screaming. I feel like something is wrong! Is this normal? What do I do?
A: Yes, this is something “normal.” Tantrums are without a doubt something you will face as mom, and every single one of my children has tried to pitch a fit, throw a tantrum, scream and fuss, whine and holler, stomp, and/or lay down and thrash on the ground (well, not Theo yet, but he’s only 8 months old… give him time, and –sadly– he will too).
It’s part of living with a little sinner who wants to go his own way.
He thinks he knows better than you, but needs you to be firm and not let him do things like ignoring what you say, screaming, and throwing tantrums.
The very *SECOND* something like that happens… (click to read HOW TO HANDLE TANTRUMS)
While breastfeeding, I tend to stay (how should I put this?)
- heavier than I’d prefer
Yeah, those adjectives work. You might have other words you’d use. Keep those to yourself, please.
Basically, I’m not the gal the breastfeeding books all talked about.
I’m the one who holds on to every extra calorie with a tight-fisted iron grip and can’t seem to drop more than about 10 pounds after I have a baby until that baby is weaned.
(In fact, sometimes — after that initial 10-pound drop the first day of the baby’s life — I GAIN weight.)
It happens every time, and now that I’m postpartum with baby #7, I’m (mostly) OK with it. I’m writing this out not to justify myself (because I really am, like I said– mostly– OK with it), but rather, because I think there’s a lot of pressure on moms now to be a thin, fit, “trim,” sculpted, tight, ab-possessing, thigh-gap-holding mama.
Too much pressure.
And I don’t want my silence to contribute to that unhealthy, often-unrealistic message.
Here’s the thing: If you are able to maintain your milk supply and be a breastfeeding extraordinaire AND lose weight, more power to you. For my part, I can’t manage to do both, and breastfeeding is not something I’m willing to give up to be thin.
I was intrigued when I saw the headline:
“It’s OK to sleep next to your infant child. In fact, it’s beneficial”
Even though I’m not a co-sleeper in general, I was mildly enthused to see the headline. That word “OK” drew me in.
Yes! What we need LESS of in America are rigid rules that make mommies neurotic! More of telling moms that “it’s OK” to try/do XYZ… less articles out-ruling every possible mommy practice. Less severe lines in the sand. Phew! Give tired mommies a break!, I thought.
So I opened up the article with a degree of excitement… but then I came to this quote in the middle of the article:
In most of the rest of the world…parents think it’s downright cruel to put a baby in a separate room or even a separate bed. Who would be so heartless?
And my excitement gave way to anger.
Dang it. It IS an article espousing rigid rules. Pretending to be a freeing article, it’s another constraining one instead. Dang it dang it dang it.
Now, I’m not so concerned when it’s the LA Times doing it… but I am concerned when I see and hear this same attitude of judgment coming from Christian sources.
Let me offer our recommendations for kids up to elementary-ages. We have seven kids, ages thirteen and under, so I’ve got a little more than a decade, and many different personalities’ worth of “experience,” invested in this advice.
These are the non-electronic toys kids actually LIKE.
(In fact, if you add up my kids’ ages separately, this advice has nearly 50 years’ worth of day-in, day-out kid-play “cred” behind it. Which makes me sound WAY old– I’m “only” 36, for the record.)
Here are our TOP Non-Screen Toys (that actually get played with):
[Click to read: BEST PICKS FOR NON-ELECTRONIC TOYS KIDS ACTUALLY *LIKE*]
Ever wondered– What does the Bible say about women?
I thought it would be helpful for us to see how women are described in the Bible, positively and negatively, as we strive to be godly women. This is a fairly exhaustive study of the word “woman” in the Bible, with all of its uses and descriptions…
THESE ARE THE TOP 25 MOST-READ ARTICLES ON JESSCONNELL.COM.