Striving to Be a Biblical Gentle Mother – with Abbie Halberstadt from “M is for Mama”

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Episode Summary

Today is a special episode on the Courageous Parenting Podcast as Angie invited Abbie Halberstadt who recently wrote, “M is for Mama” to join her in the discussion of Biblical Mothering in today’s world.

Motherhood is hard sometimes, but hard does not equal bad. We are all striving to be the best Mama to our children, but the journey in learning how to be a biblical mother is not always clear, especially in a world that devalues the duties the role brings and indulges the fleshly desires we must turn away from. The culture of the world is consistently at odds with what Scripture teaches. Not only that but the enemy tempts and deceives many through subtle messages and even NEW parenting philosophies that misguide many parents. 

Today we have a special guest on the Courageous Parenting Podcast– Abbie Halberstadt who recently wrote a book on Biblical Motherhood called “M is for Mama!” Abbie is the mother of ten children and is purposefully waging war on mediocre motherhood with gentleness on her tongue and her life motto of, “Hard does not equal bad.” 

Have you ever desired to just sit and chat with a couple more “seasoned mothers?” Now is your chance, as between them, Angie and Abbie have 19 children and have been at this gig for a while now. 

Main Points from This Episode:

  • Self-Care vs Soul-Care.
  • The difference between the popular “Gentle Parenting” movement & what the Bible teaches us regarding gentleness in our parenting.
  • What surprised us most about motherhood?
  • The concept of trusting the Lord with your womb.
  • What the hardest part of motherhood has been for each of us.
  • The importance of being a “student” and seeking out Titus 2 Mentors in Real Life.

WHERE TO FIND ABBIE & HER BOOK:

You can purchase Abbie’s NEW book, “M is for Mama” pretty much anywhere. (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM, Christianbook.com, Mardel). 

Here’s the Christianbook.com link

Blog: misformama.net

Instagram: @m.is.for.mama

Facebook: facebook.com/misformama

Subscribe (for meal plans and other fun stuff): misformama.net/subscribe

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Full Transcript:

Note: This is an automated transcript and misspells or grammar errors may be present.

Welcome to Courageous Parenting Podcast, a weekly show to equip parents with biblical truth on raising confident Christian kids in an uncertain world.

Hi, I’m Angie from Courageous Mom.

And I’m Isaac from Resolute Man.

We’ve been married for 21 years and have seen the fruit from raising our eight kids biblically. Based on the raw truth found in the Bible.

We can no longer let the culture win the hearts of children. Too many children from Christian families are walking away from their faith by age 18. And it doesn’t have to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way. Join us as we start an important conversation about effective parenting and are following.

Hey everybody. Thanks for joining us for the Courageous Parenting Podcast. I am very excited to have another guest with us on today’s podcast. We have Abby here with us from Emma’s mama, and we will get into that in just a second. But before we do, I just want to say thank you all for just supporting the courageous parenting movement and the the 1 million legacies vision that Isaac and I have to try to encourage and equip parents to raise confident Christian kids for an uncertain world. This is something that we have been passionate about and working towards, and we couldn’t do it without you guys. And so I just wanted to say thank you for the support and remind you as well that one of the things that is really encouraging to both of us is when you leave comments on the iTunes podcast review section, we are getting close to 2000 comments and reviews, which is super exciting. We’re also very close to 2 million downloads, which is another huge milestone for us that we’re very excited about. And we couldn’t do that without the personal recommendations, the shares, the reviews, all the things. And so I just want to say thank you for those of you who have partnered with us, we are doing this with you guys. It’s an encouragement to have other people who are courageously stepping out to raise their kids unapologetically for Jesus. And so we’re excited to have you here with us today, and I am very excited for you guys to meet. Hopefully, this is someone new to you. This is Abby. Abby has just published her first book, which is very exciting. Abby is here with us where people can find you here at the beginning. We’ll also repeat it at the end as well.

Sure, of course. Yeah. I’ve blogged for ten years at this moment net and I’m most active over on Instagram a m dot is .4. mama. So the same thing. Just curious in between.

Awesome. Well, we’re excited to to talk a little bit about the book, but I thought it would be fun just to get to know the lady behind M’s for Momma a little bit. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your family, like how long you’ve been married, how many kids you have, their ages, that kind of stuff first?

Sure, yeah. All of married for 17 years in June. We have ten kids. We have our oldest is Ezra and he will be 16 in May. So he’s 15 now. And then Simon is 14, very 18 months apart. The closest age gap, Della is 11. And then we have nine year old twin girls named Evie and Noah. And then we have five boys in a row. So we have Theo, who is seven, honor who is five, Shiloh who is three, and then Titus and Tobias, which is our second set of twins, and they are 18 months old. And the fun fact that everybody goes nuts about is that both of our sets of twins were born on the exact same day, so they share a birth date of September 24th, eight years apart.

So you have four kids birthdays on one day?

Yes, we just decided to be really efficient because knock it out.

Well, that’s exciting. I actually didn’t even know that you had two sets of twins. I should have paid closer attention.

I need a twins. Well, yes. So we have. What’s really fun is people always like, dude, twins run in your family. But both of our sets of twins are identical, which means it’s not nothing to do with rarity. It has to do with one egg splits, fertilize and then splits. And so we have a set of identical twin girls and identical twin boys. So we kind of have a set of each. And apparently we really like symmetry because vanilla or girls are numbers four and five and Titus and Toby are numbers nine and ten. So of course, everybody goes around 15 kids and another set of twins is number 14 and 15. The Lord notes, I can’t say I’m running for that by any stretch. Twins are amazing, but pregnancies are hard. So, you know, but I always say hard is not the same thing as bad. And my twins are a perfect example of how hard can be a very, very good thing.

That’s awesome. Well, it’s going to be a fun podcast interview because for those of you who are listening, you guys know that Isaac and I have nine kids. Our oldest is 21 and our youngest is nine months. So we have kind of a big span there. We had a first six kids in the first ten years of our marriage and then we had a six year.

Gap.

And then we had our other three and we have two babies in heaven as well. So it’s fun to get another like minded mom here who also has a lot of kids. We get so many questions. I know you do from all on parenting, all different kinds of questions, but I bet that a lot of people are wondering, did you come from a big family? Did your husband come from a big family? And did you set out to have a big family?

Yes, those are probably our three. Some of our top three main ask questions. Definitely. So you don’t come from a big family. I have one brother who is four years older than I am. My my husband does not come from a big family either. He is the middle. Of three brothers. And no, we did not set out to have a big family. You know, people always assume several things because if you’re going to be this weird, you must have had a plan for it, right? I always say I didn’t plan to have ten kids, but I didn’t plan not to. So my goal was never to have a certain number of kids. I was not a girl who I played with dolls. I’m sure that at some point I was talking about how many kids I would have and whether it was going be a boy or a girl and writing down their names and all those things that you do as a kid. But I don’t have strong memories of friends who do have strong memories of that. My girl was going to be Isabella and my boy was going to be David, you know, that kind of thing. I just don’t remember doing that because I didn’t have any younger siblings. I wasn’t a baby person. I didn’t have a lot of experience with small children or having big families. But my parents were very open to a large family. My mom’s body just couldn’t handle it. So I think from an early age, I had conveyed to me that, a, the Lord is the determiner. He opens and closes the womb. So we had a lot of Scripture in our household growing up. Be Children are a blessing. And so even though I didn’t have any experience or knowledge of what that actually looked like, I still had the foundation for being open.

And as a teenager, the Lord really laid on my heart that I needed to give my fertility to him. Even though I wasn’t sexually active. I wasn’t in a relationship. I didn’t know who the Lord was going to have me marry you. No, none of those things. But he just kind of started planting the seeds in my heart and that conviction never went away. So I tried to scare my husband off on our second date. Literally, second date was like, Listen, you need to know that I’m not using birth control. And like this is this is kind of a really big thing for me. And I could end up with a lot of kids, like six kids. I just remember that was like the number of kids that exemplified. It’s a pretty good example of how I didn’t know what families were because that to me was astronomically huge. Yes. Yeah. He didn’t even blink. He just said, sounds good. I like kids. But that was he just took it in stride and he did not. He doesn’t come from a super Christian background. His mom is Christian. His dad is the kindest man but is not a believer at this point. We’re still praying for his salvation. Not a big family, not really a point of reference for wanting a big family. But the Lord would display that desire on his heart. And He told me years later, he’s like, I was thinking like eight. So he was already well past where I was. So that was pretty awesome for the Lord did that, not me.

Yeah. Talk about an equal yoking regarding that heart desire. Right?

Amen. Amen.

That’s really special. A lot of people, that’s something that I think is important for young people to be thinking about. We have a lot of it’s interesting being a parenting podcast. We actually have a lot of young people who are unmarried that listen to the podcast as well, and they oftentimes will come to me and ask for advice on just dating, different things like that. And so I think that that message of when you’re in the dating relationship and this is something parents should have in the back of their mind for teaching their kids to kind of interview those people that they really would be in a serious relationship with for the purpose of marriage. Right. And being willing to put your desires out there on the limb and go, hey, I actually want to have a lot of kids or I want to.

Or I’m open at least.

Yeah, yeah. Or just even just having those discussions just to see where people are at. Because the reality is, is you can’t go into a relationship wanting to change people.

True.

Because you you have no control over that. Only the Holy Spirit can change people’s hearts. Right. And it’s a hard thing is how you view children. So I think that’s kind of cool that your husband was already there and that there was an equal yoking. My husband and I have a slightly different story in that I actually thought I was going to be a celibate missionary and not get married. When I met Isaac, he was like, I’m going to marry you. And I was like walking. We work together and I was walking to the back office when he said that. And I was like, Did he just.

Say.

We have a talk because I can’t be unequally yoked?

And I’m like, That’s awesome. I’m going to be in.

Turkey and not in America, you know? So then when God changed my heart and brought us together, I still, in my mind was not thinking kids and here I am. So I think that one of the beautiful parts about following Jesus is that our lives don’t look like what we thought they would look like.

Absolutely. He writes better plans than we could ever imagine.

Totally. So. So now I’m curious with your kids, what are what are where they’re thinking? Did they talk about that with you guys as far as like what is their future?

Yeah. Yeah, they do. We ask them every now and then, like kind of what they have in mind or what they think they might want the Lord to give them. We’ve got several that are like, Well, I mean, it’s up to the Lord anyway. So I don’t know however many He gives me. We’ve got several that are like, we’ve got one that’s like not getting married, not having kids. They’re terrified of. They’re young and they’re terrified of the kiss at the altar. They’re kind of a shy personality and they’re like, I don’t know. And so it’s funny that that’s the hang up because I’m like, I think you’re going to get that someday. And our older ones have opinions about kid numbers, but I can see like innocence and the lack of experience in their opinions. Meaning like they’re kind of like, Oh, I want to give it a, give it to the Lord, but I probably won’t have more than five. And I’m like, I don’t know if those are going to go together. And also just because I think one of the things that’s interesting is that my mom had trouble having kids, but she gave it to the Lord. So Lord gave her two kids. So in giving it to the Lord, I had no idea. Literally, I could have had my mom’s genes or same health issues and ended up with one zero to I don’t know, know. And instead he’s given me ten, which is far beyond my wildest imaginings and blessed me more than I could ever have come up with for myself, or probably would have chosen for myself, because it would have felt overwhelming at the time. So I guess I just like having the discussions with my kids, but holding it really loosely, because I know the Lord could I could have one that was determined to have 12 and ends up not being able to have any. So I think that that’s just kind of an open handedness you have to have in all aspects of it.

And it kind of goes into when I think about this concept of open handedness, that’s kind of how we as Christians are to live all of our lives, right? Yeah.

Not just kids.

Yeah. I just even think like years ago, I remember as a teenager after I got saved, I was singing the old song I Surrender All and thinking about all the things and going, Oh, wow, am I actually here? I am singing I surrender all. But am I really surrendering all the things? Yeah. And as a mom, like that point in time where I was evaluating like what college I was going to go to, what I was going to do with like profession wise, what I was going to pursue because I had a very different vision for my life back then. Those were the things I was thinking about when I was singing that song. And then again, years later, here I am, like pregnant with my third and fourth baby. Like, that song has come back to me over and over again with Am I surrendering all aspects of my life? And I think that it’s a beautiful concept that we as women just need to be challenged in in every area. But so I have to ask you, what has been the I don’t know if it’s the most, but what is one thing that has really challenged you about motherhood?

I think probably so. You know, you’ve read the book and it’s Vermont and I talk about the gentleman’s challenge in there. I am naturally good at training. I’m naturally good at getting things done. I’m naturally good at results, you know, if you want to look at it that way. But very little about your children is about results driven parenting. It has to be both consistency and training and follow through, but also about the heart. And so something the Lord has just chipped away at for years is just my impatience and my first tongue, like wanting things to just. Let’s get this show on the road. Let’s get it done. So I would say that I’m not necessarily a super emotional person. I don’t have crazy outbursts. I don’t have super high highs and super low lows, but irritation for sure. You’re slowing me down. And that is literally what kids do. It’s like your job to slow us down, make us reconsider, you know? And so much of that sanctification process has had to do with my attitude towards what it is that I’m doing and then the way that I speak about it. So I would say just that whole thing that’s wrapped up in. Gentle speech and gentle attitude not connected to the general parenting movement. I just say that a lot of people connect the two because that word has been used but connected to Ephesians four. Be completely humble and gentle. That’s not who I naturally am. The Lord has had to really grow me in that kindness.

Being on your tongue, I know that for me, that’s been something that I get convicted on a lot when I’m in conversations with my kids and I’m in that mode of We just got to get this done right. Like there there are moments in almost every day where I find myself on the gauntlet of like.

Do, do, do.

Delegation everybody.

Yeah, yeah.

And then going. You know, even just like slowing down long enough to go. Did I actually did I take time to make eye contact with my kid and speak with a kindness.

Where.

Being bossy do you know or being.

Absolutely.

Because there is that there is an element of like a woman, a biblical woman is going to build her house with wisdom. Right. We’re going to be productive homemakers. You talk about being a gatekeeper. I love that word. And all the Bible even talks about regarding our jurisdictions as mothers. But in the midst of it all, are we doing it with gentleness? And I love that you brought up that it’s not to be confused with the gentle parenting philosophy or ideologies that are out there today, because some of those, depending on who you’re listening to, even go into it in my I’ll be honest like some of it is like, is that even parenting? Do you know what I mean?

Yeah. Yeah.

And so or is it so concerned about friendship? But finding that balance, because there’s been a movement in different generations, there have there’s been the generation that said you’re a parent, not a friend, which I don’t agree with that. Do you know what I mean? Because as a woman who has older kids, I have one that’s married. I’m going to be a grandma in the next seven months, which I’m super excited about. Thank you. But it’s a new season, right. And so there has been a shift in parenting when you start launching kids where you’re always going to be their mom, like you love them and you pray for them in the same kind of way. And and hopefully you’ve built that relationship where they come back to you for mentoring, for wisdom and advice, and they share.

They’re absolutely new.

But that is all actually built on the relationship that you’ve cultivated from the time they were little all the way up to where they grow up. Right. And so if it’s just this, I’m the authority that relationship, a friendship doesn’t exist and it has to be built. But they may not want that because they may not understand that they could actually have that. Do you know.

What I mean? Yeah. Yeah.

So it’s it’s interesting because while there was this that statement of let’s be parents, not be best friends, I think that that came out of people not parenting. Do you? Sure.

Yeah.

So here we are, your generation. We’re, like, trying to find that balance of what is biblical, what is biblical parenting. It’s not throwing either baby out with the bathwater, if you will, right? Where it’s like no parenting, only friends. But at the same time, it’s no, it’s not throwing out friendship either. It’s both in a beautiful, synergistic, messy, if you will. Kind of. Yeah. So I would love to hear from you on one of the topics in your book. You talk about something that I have often times I’ve shared on this a few times, but I love this conversation because I think it can never get old. Self care versus soul care is how.

You put it.

Would you mind sharing with me just briefly your own personal struggle with that? Like, where did that come from? What inspired you to write about that?

So a ton of stuff in the book came from this series that I do on Instagram called What You Want to Know Wednesday. And so each week I say, Ask me anything and I’ll answer as many questions as I can. And so you kind of are able to put your finger on the pulse of motherhood in Western culture right now and what women are struggling with and what is universal and what is so really deeply felt need. And this concept in our society that I talk about in the book as being just this siren song of you deserve your entitled to you should have all you need. I’m obsessed, you should be too, that kind of thing. It’s relentless in every form of media, whether it’s social media or the TV or podcasts or whatever. And there’s this concept that we have come to invest, even as Christian mothers, that our children are probably getting in the way of our being our best selves. Now, I did not grow up with this concept at all. This is not what my mother modeled for me. She is a servant hearted, other centered person to a fault, almost. And so because I had that modeled for me, and because any time I ever started kind of being all about me, she would always draw me back to dig your deep, dig deep and put your roots in Scripture.

You know, the Lord is going to have to be the thing that gets you through whatever this is, whatever hard situation or even situations where you start kind of getting impression, look what I’ve accomplished. Average. Look at this. Look about this is worldwide. So I felt like I always had that personality that was checking me. So. I think writing about that came from these questions constantly being how do you get any time? How do you prioritize you? How do you not lose yourself to motherhood? How do you recognize who you are after you become a mother when you used to be this, but now you’ve been changed into this. And I could both relate to all of those things, having grappled with them personally, but I could also step back and say. These are legitimate questions, but you might be asking them the wrong way. You’re not asking, what does Scripture have to say about these concepts? You’re asking, What is your personal experience? Which can be very helpful? And Titus two tells us that we are to go to women who have had more experience than we do with requests for wisdom. However, sometimes I think what we end up doing is simply trying to have a checklist that we’re like, Oh, okay. Oh, I relate. Oh, I don’t relate to that.

And so not listen to her because you don’t relate.

Right? Right. So I talk a lot about how relatability is not the gold standard of motherhood, because if scripture is not our gold standard and instead it’s whether you recognize yourself in someone else. And you’re always going to be doing this because the person that you relate to on any particular day is going to feel like your best friend. But what if they show up the next day with an opinion that you don’t agree with.

Or that there.

Is an addicted.

Kind of way? Right.

Or or you’re feel convicted. Exactly. You’re like, this is my girl. Oh, wait. Mom just stepped on my toes. She’s not my girl anymore. So then you have to say, are these emotions true? And they rarely are. Or am I in script or truth? And so my goal is always to say scripture truth. So I compare self care to soul care in that I do believe that you can go too far into asceticism and say, I’m going to deny my basic needs because somehow I’m holier than her than she is because she is over there taking bubble baths. And I don’t I don’t do that kind of thing. And I think that is another form of comparison that puts us into a pit and the other direction of putting ourselves up on a pedestal, of being holier than thou. That doesn’t help us either. So instead, the question is, how am I prioritizing the soul care of time with the father? Yeah. Am I doing that? Does that look like for me? Not for my friend. So if my friend has an empty nest and she can spend 2 hours in prayer and Bible and I have ten kids at home with me and the babies are up at night. My sole care with the father is not going to look the same as hers, which is why that whole relatability and checklist thing never works out. So what I wanted to do was just kind of say, I know this is really alluring. I know that that message of you should be doing this because you deserve it sounds right and good and true because it appeals to our flesh.

But when we match it against what Scripture says, it doesn’t add up. It leaves us needing the next buzz. It leaves us just craving that next girls weekend. Does that mean that girls weekends are wrong? Because they absolutely aren’t, especially if you’re in a situation where the husband is supporting it and you have made the necessary preparations. And I think there’s a lot of sacrifice that goes into time away from children, because you’ve got to prep for it and you’ve got to be organized. But when we have an attitude of entitlement, very rarely doesn’t lead to resentment. And I found that to be true for myself. And Shawn and I have had to work through parenting rules and who’s in charge when and how to split up child care and all that. And it does weigh heavy on you if you are a stay at home mom, work at home mom who has the primary care of the children, because I talk a lot about the profession of motherhood. But you can’t you can’t just clock out at 5:00 PM. There is no there is no time where you can just go, okay, I’m off. Somebody else come in and take it, you know. So I think that I wanted to stress. Refilling yourself with Jesus is the one thing. That will actually last. The rest of these things can be wonderful. Pick me ups and can be really good times of rest that he has given you.

But rarely. Yeah.

Yeah. But but. But the consistency is in the soul care and the spending time with him.

Yeah, it’s interesting because I think that when I look at the younger me, like if I look, if I was to go back, I’ve been parenting for almost 22 years. So if I go back and I look at the first five, six years of parenting, what I crave for was the next women’s retreat or going to mom to mom group where I could sit my my kiddos would be in the Sunday school classroom and I could have my notes and my coffee and I could drink my coffee without having to warm it up in the microwave. And you know what I mean? Like, and it was every week it was like I was so excited for the next Wednesday.

Yeah, it’s.

Going to be mom, new mom or Bible study, depending on what I was doing. And I now I don’t have those things in my life on a regular basis unless I’m going and speaking at one of those events or whatever, just because of the season of life we’re in where we’re homeschooling high schoolers and junior highers and middles and little like that’s during our homeschool time.

Yeah, right.

And so, but I’ve had to learn that the thing that filled me most wasn’t sitting there being able to drink my coffee all the way down without having to warm it up. What filled me up was the reading of the word and and learning and having something on my thought that was going to. Be exhorting, if you will. Not necessarily on a conviction level, but on the sense of like what’s at the forefront of our mind. We talked about kindness or gentleness being on your tongue, right? Like having something as a spiritual challenge throughout my day that I’m thinking about meditating on.

That.

Helped me to stay on. I don’t usually use this term, but the straight and narrow, if you will, like in the sense that biblically speaking with my kids. So if I got into that, that place where I was like 2 p.m. and I’m exhausted and I’m thinking about what I’m going to make for dinner if I don’t have a meal planned or you know what I mean. And Mom starts dragging.

You know. Yeah.

And you just kind of go, wait a second, kindness on my tongue. When you start to be harsh or you think about your husband, you go, have I have I maybe I should just send him a text and say I love you, or just different things like that are going to come from the Word of God and what he’s put on our hearts for that day. Right.

Sure.

And I think that what’s interesting is I used to depend more on the books and sitting being spoken to, and now I depend more on just opening the word of God.

Yeah.

And that’s where we need to mentor the other younger moms to get to is that place where they’re so confident that they’re going to meet with God that they don’t have to worry about the word not speaking to them that day. Does that mean that they are excited to open it and see it because they know that God has a word for them that they can meditate on that day?

Amen.

I love that your book. I just have to I want to I want to share with the the people who are listening right now some of the highlights that I found as I was going through the book. So at the end of your chapters, you have questions for moms, but you have more than that. I’m just going to show people here. So you have the narrative. Can you tell me about where this idea I haven’t seen the narrative talked about at the end of each chapter in a book before. Where did that come from?

So I probably need to give credit to my publisher, Heather for that. I don’t think she called it that, but she said, I think what you need to do for moms is you have both written a book that’s easy to read because my writing style is conversational but also packed with a lot of dense stuff. So like self care versus self care is not exactly what you just chat about with your neighbor for 5 minutes and then pick a line at home. So you’re not going to dive into that kind of analyzes a lot about our our hearts and our thinking patterns and our backgrounds and stuff. So she said, if if a mom is reading this and a toddler is pulling on her leg, one of the things that I love the most, I even have a hashtag from all my book, Babies, because people are sending me all these pictures as they read the books, nursing their babies while they’re like underneath the sleeping baby, while they have a toddler tugging on their legs, while they’re outside watching their kids on their trikes. And I love that they’re getting it in every moment that they can. And she said, I think that in this busy mom culture, which I don’t know too many moms that aren’t really busy, you need to spell out for them and highlight for them kind of the difference in what you’re talking about.

Because if you just think, oh, mediocre motherhood, I don’t really know what she means by that. Or maybe she means she’s not a mediocre mother, which I make the point we are all mediocre without Christ. But the thing that sets us apart and gives us excellence is the Holy Spirit in our lives and the consistent application of the Scripture with God’s help. It is not because I’m so great or she’s so great and you’re so not so. I wanted to clearly lay out the things that we are drawn towards in our sinfulness and the things that Christ calls us do with Scripture and just make it really clear in each one. So I called it the narrative that she was the one that was like, I think you need a recap. I think you need to elucidate these concepts, concepts very clearly. So no one is having to work too hard to be like, what did she say? Again in that backdrop, I was distracted.

For the postpartum mom that has the fog.

Yeah.

But but the reason why I wanted to bring this up is because how many times have you, like, started reading a book? You’re reading a chapter and you maybe put a bookmark in? Well, for me, I bend a corner of a page.

Yeah. Oh, no. Right.

And then you come back to it and you’re like, wait, what was I reading about? Or Where was I? And what’s awesome is that you don’t it’s not overwhelming. Abby. That’s what I like about this. It’s not overwhelming. You can read a meaty chapter that’s going to challenge your thinking, maybe challenge the way that.

You.

Have viewed certain topics like self care, right? Right. And then you look at it and it’s like three.

Yeah, maybe.

Four things about. Like what the culture is telling you, which would be motherhood versus Christ. Like motherhood, right? Is what you’re going to get from the scripture. And what I love about this is that you don’t come at it from a perspective of, Yeah, I’m a mom of ten, so you should listen to me because I’ve got this together. Like what I’m hearing in your narrative as you are conversing right through the book and said, it’s like, these are the things that I’ve struggled with. These are these are the things that I’ve been convicted about. This scripture says, and this is what has changed.

Me.

And that’s love, because in Christ, we are a new creation. And and I think that today, I mean, we get this even with the parenting mentor program where people are like, give me an equation, give me a solution. So let’s have behavior modification.

Right?

You can’t you can’t like. Yes, praise God that he gave us the very best guidebook for life for all things in life, the Bible. And that includes parenting. There is wisdom for every situation that you would come across biblically, and I love that and I’m so thankful for that. But it’s not an equation.

Because every person.

Is unique, every mom is unique, every child is different, individually woven with different love languages and different ways that they’re.

Valued.

And so the dynamic between a mom and each kid is going to be different even. And so the thing that’s great about this, though, is that for moms, I know that there have been times even in my life, I look back and it’s like you when you get so consumed in motherhood, you can start to lose yourself. Like you start to forget who you are in Christ as Angie and as Abby. Right? And this reminds you because it takes you back to the word and the word is what really reminds you who you are.

True.

And so I. I would encourage moms to definitely pick up the M’s for mama. We’ll get into where you can find that in a few minutes. There was one other question that I really had for you, because as I was reading through the book, you talked a little bit about the pulpit. Well, not a little bit. It’s kind of woven, actually, throughout the book. You mentioned it earlier, the profession of motherhood. And I love this because when I read that chapter, I was like, that’s where I was like, Oh, I like Abby on a like level. I wish she was my next door neighbor because.

Oh, I love that you.

Approach motherhood in the way that I did. So like for, for me and I know many other women have a different story of stepping into motherhood than you did in the sense you had a mom that you looked at as someone who had already committed herself to Christ and was a loving example for you of wanting to you wanted to be a mom when you grew up. Right. And that’s and I also am very blessed. I have a strong Bible believing mom and I love and respect her tremendously. But I had a different story in the sense that I didn’t see myself being a mom. I wasn’t attracted to motherhood. I had never even thought about the concept of being a stay at home mom. That was something that my husband and I had to like figure out after our baby was born, our first child. And it was like this. It was like we were learning by experience. But I also was very aware of the fact that I did not know many things. Like I did not manage my home, I did not know how to cook, I did not know how to be a mom of a baby. I didn’t have a lot of experience with babies. The first baby my husband ever held was our baby, so we had a very different experience. And so for me and part of that is just how I’m wired, I’m more academic and I need to know. So I went out and I bought as many books as I could to learn how to be a mom.

Right.

And I love that you even talk about that. Like, who are you learning from being careful about influences? Can you share a little bit about your your experience with mentors, whether it’s virtual mentors in books or in real life mentors? Because I do think that the young women of today, I think that the biblical young woman values the Titus to mentor. But there are younger women in the Lord that are like, I want that, but I don’t know how to find it. And and unfortunately, the sad thing is I hear from a lot of people that they ask older women to mentor them and they get the know, which I have a personal experience with running a mentoring program where a lot of the older women just felt like they had nothing to teach. They were lacking confidence, they didn’t know how to disciple someone. And so our group was teaching them how to disciple women. But can you share about your thoughts on this?

Sure. Yeah. I think probably the single greatest influence in motherhood would have to be my mom, which is interesting because and I’ll talk more about some others that they’ve brought into my life in just a second, but I know I’ve already mentioned her, but she did not have any of this. She did not grow up really in a Christian household. She grew up in an abusive household. Her father was unkind and violent and her mother, I think, was coping out as far as she got in motherhood. And so my mom came from a huge deficit of love and training and care and people that would pour into her life. And she told me she had one auntie who was kind of her who would teach her how to make biscuits and do things that were just some basic life skills. But other than that, she was kind of shunted aside and ignored. And so I see the Lord and I think that that that story. Knowing what I came from, my mom poured into my life, however imperfect but still so very intentional, should be a huge encouragement to people who feel like I haven’t had this, therefore I can’t do this. The Lord can do it for you in spite of every deficit and every deficiency that you have. And so and every lack that you have in relationships and people who have or have not poured into you in certain ways. And so I want to point that out, because my mom has been my greatest influence, because she is so scriptural, so no nonsense.

But she did not have that model for her. So the Lord had to basically teach her through baby steps and through some women that she was able to connect with during like mid twenties, late twenties, when she was first married. And so she passed a lot of those things, just like I said, that no nonsense. I think probably you’ll remember I said at one point, I’m getting asked all these very specific questions exactly what you were talking about, the prescriptive approach. Give me the formula. What do I do when my 23 and one half month old drops a second nap and you’re like, Oh, is that really the question your dad answered? Or do you really need to know how to create some rhythms that give you a breather when when your child wants to drop their nap? Like, are you asking for just that one little question answer. My mom said people need to read their Bibles and that’s just who my mom is. She is just no nonsense, straightforward, go to the source type of person. So I think that that helped me greatly in combination with kind of similar personality. She and I are very different in how we interact socially, but that no nonsense thing, that’s our personalities and I get it from her. So there’s number one. Two, I prayed for probably a minimum of a decade for the kind of mentorship that you’re talking about and didn’t have it and probably didn’t even know what I was missing.

I just knew that there was something that I was lacking in my walk with the Lord and motherhood. And about five years ago, the Lord started answering that prayer in spades, answering Yes, he answered wait for a long time and kind of grew me through trial and error and having my own family and having figuring things out with my husband and then going my mom was, of course, and in the last five years, he has brought a wealth of Titus two committed homeschooling moms. Now, not all of them are homeschoolers, but that is important to me because as a homeschooling mom, having that affinity and having that like mindedness and having someone who gets your days or ordered right, I think you can learn a lot from people of all different walks within Christianity and all different types of schooling, but just kind of someone that understands, like toddlers and teenagers like you were talking about and how that dynamic is supposed to look and how you get work and how you get the dinner plan made and all those things. And so one of them is a lady that I mentioned in the book. She’s a mother of 12 and Jennifer Flanders. And anybody reading that should go look her up on the Internet. She has so many amazing resources on her website, Flanders family, and so she’s been one of my best friends. I think she is 17 or 18 years older than I am, but we just connect on such a hard level and she has been such a source of encouragement to me.

And the phenomenal thing is she turns around and says, I’m a source of encouragement to her. And so there is some give and take there where you don’t just suck it out of the mentor, but you’re able to turn around and look for ways to be encouraging to them. And maybe that’s part of what happens with women who don’t feel like they can give, give, or they don’t know what they have to offer because it is overwhelming. When people want specific answers to specific questions all the time, you’re like, Well, I don’t have a special needs child who is your child’s age? Therefore I can’t answer you or I have never had a stillborn birth. Therefore I can’t talk to you about that grief or my husband is not bipolar, therefore I cannot relate to that. How can I speak into that when really what the Bible tells us is you’re not the one that has to have all the answers. The Lord has wisdom for you. We simply have to ask. And so I have we actually have a group right now which is such a source of joy to me last summer. So some of this is fairly recent, but last summer Della was asking me if we could have something that she wanted to call Flower Girls Club. She’s very creative. This is my 11 year old, very creative, very writerly minded, loves words, loves descriptions.

So she wanted to have this flower girls club. And I was like, you know, walking along with her summers. And I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I put a pin in that, like I’ll keep that in mind. And then a friend of ours who is 50 and has eight children, similar age range. Her youngest is seven. Her oldest is I mean, similar age range for her being 11 years older than I am. So just shift them all. And so she has some of their twenties down to I think seven or eight and. She was having a little girls Bible study every couple of weeks and then it ended when school started. So I was like, What if we combined this concept of what Della wants to do, crafts and creative things, and get together with Jamie’s idea of this biblical aspect? And I’m going to go to these three or four Titus, two bestie homeschool moms that are ten years ahead of me to 15 years ahead of me, and who, in other words, are at a stage in their life where they can handle get togethers, they have good organization and time management skills. They know how to make snacks for large groups of people. I’m not asking a 22 year old mom as to who’s where you and I were with our first kids. I’m like, no experience and trying to figure out. And they said yes.

And so we just made a schedule and people signed up and it has been the biggest hit. And we have like 25 kids, 25 girls from ages seven up to like 20 years old because it’s homeschooling. We don’t care how old you are. And and there are without trying if I had to think about it, I think there are like six of us that have more than eight children. I didn’t intend for that to happen. And then we put some up to some that have three, some that have one. But so there’s quite the range. But to have that depth of experience with people that are like 10 to 15 years older than I am, that have lots of kids, homeschool, have gone through, all these things have got to see to more than I have. That’s been just amazing. It is such a source of encouragement and joy to me. And it wasn’t even something I was. I mean, I’d prayed for something like that for years, but it wasn’t even something I was anticipating or imagining what happened. And so I always encourage people. I don’t know that your experience will look just like mine. In fact, I’m guarantee it won’t look just like mine, but never stop praying specifically for that kind of friendship and help to come alongside you. The Lord wants to bless you with that, but they maybe wait for a long time. Or it may be you need to reach out because to.

Say, Yeah.

Yeah.

That’s kind of the biggest things. I mean, one of one of the topics that we’ve taught a lot on is mentoring. And my husband and I both have been beneficiaries of having amazing mentors in our life for myself. My first mentor was 45 when I was 15 years old, and ever since then, God has just put a lot of older women in my life who were willing to meet with me and pour into me, which was such a huge blessing. And there’s something that doesn’t compare with in real life relationships.

Yeah.

And I think that that as in today’s world where there’s so much social media and people can think that they’re getting fed socially.

Or.

Spiritually through the social media element. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely a place for it. I’ve benefited from it just in meeting like minded sisters in Christ and even to meet some who are older. And you can learn from people virtually for sure. But there is something about walking in real life and people having that as iron sharpens iron type of relationship where people see you both in your good times as a mom, but also in your messy times as a Yeah, they can carry the burdens or they can come in and be a part of your life and love you through through the hard times. And I know that for myself, those are kind of the times where I’ve learned the most from those women. When I was in a position of needing to be humbled by the Lord and I needed to ask for help, which was really hard, they walked into my life, they sat in the gap, pointing me to Jesus when I couldn’t look up. And that’s not something that you generally get on social media. Like, if you go to social media and.

You.

If you scroll, you’re just going to keep scrolling and it’s potentially going to make you more depressed, right? Yeah. Because of the comparison trap or whatnot. But there are you can use it as a tool to connect.

Yeah, for sure.

But I think that there’s this element where younger women need to understand.

That.

For older women, it’s interesting because I for many years called myself an aspiring Titus two woman because I didn’t see myself as the older woman. Right now that I’m going to be a grandma, I guess I can’t deny that. But I have. I’ve always been in this place where you view yourself differently than other people do. And when you have people coming to you, you kind of have to assume the role right now. That has been a big growth place for me in the last ten years where the younger people in my life did exactly what you spoke of, where you weren’t sucking people’s energy or time, but it was life giving to me. And I think that that’s an important thing for women today to hear, whether they’re 30 and they’re older than their 20 year old sisters in Christ or they’re and they’re older than their 30 year old and 20 year old sisters in Christ are 60. And I’m saying, yeah, some of the most life giving relationships that I’ve had in the last eight years of my life were those sisters in Christ who were ten years younger than me. And though I had those awesome people in my life who are 15 to 25 years older than me for a very long time, and that prepared me to be in a place to be able to give. There was something different that I received in being able to bless others that I think women in our generation need to hear because we need to have both those that are older than us, as well as those who are younger than us in our life. Because that’s how God designed the family.

Yeah.

And he designed it that way intentionally, just like he designed our families intentionally to be an image bearer of the body of Christ, where they’re.

Absolutely.

Right. There’s no way.

Yes. Yes.

So anyway, well, I have had a great time discussing with you, but I want people to know where they can find your book, but where they can find you and connect with you more.

Okay. Well, you can find it most places that books are sold. So Barnes Noble, Christian books, Amazon Books-A-Million Mardell has it. So quite a few different options there and I would love for you to come. Subscribe to my newsletter. I send out meal plans so you guys are free. So it’s from Mama Dot Net Slash Subscribe. It’s a newsletter. It’s a great place to get really practical, helpful things for me. Do a little chatty section at the first and then I give you guys free meal plans and links to the recipes and everything. And then, like I said, Instagram is kind of my micro-blogging world right now. I also share on Facebook. Same as for Momma, but you’ll get kind of bite sized versions of what you get from the book. Lots of scriptural encouragement, lots of articles, but also lots of conviction because we need all of it.

Yeah, that’s awesome. Well, thank you so much, Abby, for joining us on the Courageous Parenting Podcast. And hey, guys, go check out her blog, get her meal planning guide. Like I want to.

Go right now because I could use.

New ideas. That’s awesome. Thanks so much for joining us today.

It was my pleasure. Thank you, Angie.

Hey, thanks for listening to this episode. For more resources, go to courageous parenting and courageous mom. For free online workshops, blog posts and best selling courses. Also, we wanted to quickly tell you about our six week online parenting mentor program. Isaac and I created a powerful biblical curriculum. Here’s how it works. Each week we release a video with a downloadable parenting packet to make it easy for you to incorporate those teachings directly into your parenting.

This is an incredible self-paced program where we cover everything from obedience training to overcoming mistakes most Christians are making. But more than that, it’s a supportive community. You’ll have access to our private online group, Live Webcasts, and the courageous parenting text message line where Angie and I can send you weekly encouragement straight to your phone.

If you’re interested in joining our next online parenting mentor program, secure your spot now at CourageousParenting.com

Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of CourageousMom.com, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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