Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What I learned at Dot Mom

I had a lot of you ask me what Dot Mom is exactly.  So I thought I would talk a little more about it and share a little of what I gleaned from it.

First of all.......the name is a little deceiving.  This is not a blog conference.  Actually it has NOTHING to do with blogging. This is a conference put on by Lifeway designed to encourage and equip moms from a Biblical perspective.  I think the "dot mom" title confuses people.  It's my favorite conference (and I'm not really a huge conference girl) because the speakers and the breakout sessions are all centered around giving you practical information to help you be a better mom and wife.  Sometimes you just need someone to say "you are doing okay" and "here are some ideas of how to do things even better".

I thought I would share a little of what I learned to maybe give you a glimmer of it.  I heard so many great speakers and took so many notes but I want to share two of my favorite take aways with you.

There are breakout sessions on topics from everything like "Adoption", "Homeschooling", "Marriage and sex", "Single mothers", "Anxiety", "Infertility", "Discovering your personal ministry", "The art of nurturing boys", "Reconciling loss and a loving God", "Medical discernment for the Mommy", and a ton more.  I had a hard time deciding which to go to.

One of my favorite breakouts was led by a lady named Karen Alexander-Doyle.  Laurie had heard her at the last Dot mom and has raved about her ever since.  She has an amazing testimony. She was married to a pastor who was killed when her 3 sons where teens.  She has had several terminal cancers and continues to survive.  She speaks on discipline.  She taught on both preventative and corrective discipline.  It was SOOO helpful to me.

In Preventative Discipline, She broke down one of my favorite scriptures on parenting, Deuteronomy 6:5-9, which basically talks about using God's word and teaching your kids in every aspect of your life.  She broke it down so literally and I plan to apply so much of it.

 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

The verses says "When you sit in your house" and she applied that to meal time.  She said they quit spending dinner time griping about things in their day and instead they could only talk about what God did for them that day (she said but it was still good to have a vent time later in the day).  She said her sons began to say positive things about each other and fighting began to diminish.   She also talked about what her kids heard her saying on the phone or watching on the TV.  They are watching and learning from us.

The verse says "when you walk" and she spoke of letting your kids help you in ministry.  She said it's easy to make a meal for someone and make your kids stay out of the way while you do it, but she would invite her boys to help and talk to them about why they were making the meal for a family and then take them with her to deliver.  (I love this because my parents modeled ministry to me and it's something that's so natural to me now and I want to pass on to my girls).

The verse says "when you lie down" and she said one of the best things she ever did as a parent is every night she would lay down with her boys in their bed at bedtime (from a young age through the teen years) and asked them about the happiest part of their day and the hardest part of the day.  She said it was amazing what they would share when it was dark and they felt safe. And she had an open line of communication with her boys because of that time.  It was easy to want to rush them to bed and not do this but it was worth the time and effort.

Then she went on to talk about the other verses by saying your home should point to Christ.  Work with your kids on memorizing scripture and learning application.  Tell them every day you love them.

Karen just had so much wisdom and advice.  You can read more about her here.

We also heard from Steve and Debbie Wilson who do marriage conferences.  They talked a lot about expectations in a marriage.  And how unspoken, unrealistic and unmet expectations can cause so many problems in a marriage.  It's so important to communicate.  (By the way - if you are looking for marriage speakers or a marriage conference to go to - I can't recommend them enough).

And Angie Smith (who I love dearly) shared about the need for control in parenting and went to two Bible Stories - the story of Moses and his mom who gave him up to be used by God and Hannah who gave up Samuel to be used by God and how it's so hard to let go of our grip and trust God with our kids.  It hit me RIGHT where I needed it.

I don't know if they will have another Dot Mom or not, but if they do - I will for sure let you know in advance because if you are a mom, you need to plan to go.  I promise you won't come home empty handed.  No blog, no social media needed! :-)

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