Disciple Where You Are

It is no secret that after a woman has a baby things change. Our bodies change drastically, our hormones rage for control, our little bundles put new demands on our time over and above the demands that were already placed on us, we have to share our husbands with another human (or another human if you already had little ones)…EVERYTHING CHANGES! This includes our ability to continue to serving in the Kingdom in the exact same way we did prior to having babies.

As moms and Christians, I think it is so easy for us to get hung up on what we aren’t doing for the Kingdom of God. It’s so easy for us to put undue pressure on ourselves by comparing what we are doing in versus what another person is doing. But God doesn’t ask us to focus on what we can’t do for the Kingdom. He doesn’t even require that we stress ourselves out endeavoring to force our lives to mirror the quantity of service we carried out before having children. Colossians 3:23 validates this point of how the Lord values quality over quantity (although some of us will have more full schedules than others). It says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (NIV).

This means whether you serve as a leader in your church, home school your children, serve as a vocalist on the worship team, manage a team for a company in corporate America, provide a home for foster children, go to school full time, or teach in the children’s ministry once a month, you should do it with all of your heart as unto God, not to please people and gain their approval. We are all called to serve God’s Kingdom in some way.  Whether we bring God glory as we work in the secular or sacred arena is irrelevant. What matters is that we obey Him by bearing His image properly wherever we are.

I am not saying that it will be easy to serve as a wife, mother, leader, etc…What I am saying, though, is this: as we prioritize efficiently and ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we should be doing, God’s grace will help us to accomplish all we need to accomplish! Second Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” As such, we must learn to rely on God’s grace, sisters. Never demean, underestimate, or despise the role you play in  God’s Kingdom. It may not be what another person is doing, it may not be as visible, it may not be as much as what you used to do, but it is valuable! The only exception to this assertion is if you know that you should be doing more and that you haven’t allowed the Lord to utilize your gifts at full capacity.Otherwise, continue offering yourself to God, bringing your gifts and roles and callings and responsibilities with you.

I can most definitely relate to all that I have shared up to this point! After I had our son, I had a hard time accepting that I couldn’t be as flexible as I wanted to be for the ministry. I also felt like I was not adequately carrying out the Great Commission or shining the light of Christ as much as I wanted. I thought, “Who am I reaching if I am in the house most days bound to the demands of a a little person? What can I do with a screaming baby in a cart in Target?” The Lord has spoken to me several times about these thoughts and perspective. Here is the summation of what He has been saying:

Disciple where you are. Serve well where you are. You are raising a little boy who will soon be a young man living in a culture that disregards Me. Train him to love Me, to honor Me, and to live in the world but not like the world.

Sometimes we get so focused on what we are doing for the Kingdom, rather than who we are grooming to take our place in the next generation. As Andy Stanley put it, “Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.” I couldn’t have found better words for this myself. Be encouraged, mamas! You were made for “this.” And only you know what your “this” is!

Cheers to serving well!





P.S. If you would like to help donate to get me into the mission field of Ecuador this summer to help disciple others, please visit gofundme.com/ashleymariegray


For Your Sanity

When I finally decided I would do this blog “The Crowned Jewel,” I was hesitant to put a mommy category. First of all, my kid is only 13 months (how time flies). Secondly, I didn’t do all the things over his first year of life that the new mommy articles say you should. Come to think of it, I didn’t not do all the things they said you weren’t supposed to do, either…Basically I felt pretty under-qualified to be offering advice. Nonetheless, I decided to add the category to share my perspective, what worked for me, what I find challenging, etc. and so on. Ayden is healthy, vibrant, and happy…so that’s all that counts in my book.

All this said, today I wanted to share the importance of having a schedule. Whether your little one is 6 months or 26 months, it is really important to have a schedule for him/her, especially if you’re a stay-at-home mama. Babies, toddlers, and children thrive from structure, so it is in everyone’s best interest to begin developing a schedule. What I noticed with Ayden is that he has kind of set his own schedule since he was about 5 months from nap time to play time to lunch…just based on his personality and communication of needs to me.

Let’s be clear, though. There will be days that your little one absolutely couldn’t care less about a schedule, napping, eating well, getting dressed to go out, or having quiet time in her crib. It’s on these days we learn to go with the flow and pray for a multitude of grace and patience–which I have discovered the Lord always provides 🙂 Then there are the days when all your little one will want to do is sleep and be mellow. Not because he’s sick or anything, just because that’s what he wants to do that day (good for you!). What’s important is that you try to be in tune with what your baby/child needs so that both of you can have more smooth days than bumpy ones.

Below you will find what Ayden’s daily schedule looks like. I have increasingly added more structured learning times as he has gotten older, but the bones of the schedule have been the same for several months now as he has learned to settle into a schedule.

I’m saying a prayer for all you mamas out there reading this! May the Lord give you the strength, wisdom, and joy you need as you care for your little ones. This is a calling He has equipped you for on both the good and challenging days. This is another post for another day, but it I also have my own schedule that coincides with Ayden’s down time…allowing me to work, nap, step out of the house (when my support group is available to sit for us), etc.

In closing, you were made for this, mama! Enjoy your little ones while it lasts, because time seriously flies! And…for your sanity, start implementing that schedule 🙂

Ayden’s Schedule

8:10- Wakes Up (chills out in crib…I leave toys on his changing table so I can freshen up)

8:30- Breakfast (Usually toast and applesauce/yogurt/cream of wheat/sausage)

8:50- Learning Time (Your Baby Can Read)

9:10- Worship + Music (I play keys, he bangs on his drum and dances lol…usually turns into playtime at some point)

9:30- Snack (teddy grahams, apple slices, crackers…)

10:00- Story time (learning book)

10:15- Naptime (make lunch during nap)

12:45- Lunch (Fish sticks, baked french fries, applesauce, baked chicken breast, stage 3 foods whatever I have on-hand)

1:00- Learning (Your Baby Can Read)

1:20- Playtime

2:30- Quiet Time (Ayden loves his crib and will let you know when he needs quiet time–gets a little whiny)

3:00- Snack (usually same as before) + Run around time

4:00- Naptime (make dinner)

6:00- Dinner (Baked chicken, string beans, stage 3 foods…he can eat what we eat basically)

6:30 – 7:30- Combination of running around, daddy time, a little learning TV, sneaking up the stairs, etc…)

7:30, 8:00, or 8:30- Bedtime (After a full day we usually have no qualms at bedtime. He has a bottle then goes to sleep.)