Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Mama Sets the Tone

I sat across the table from my friend Amy. She had the worn, tired look of I- have-little-kids-and-Daddy’s-out-of-town. Her husband was a DNR officer and had gotten a new job. While he worked through six months of school and training in another state, Amy stayed behind to keep the kids anchored. They’d move, as a family, when the training was complete.

“Are you holding up okay?” I asked. I noticed the large calendar on the wall behind her. Not many squares held the dark, heavy X of days-gone-by.

“I’m exhausted,” she said. “The kids aren’t sleeping well and their behaviors are off.”

“That must be hard.”

“It is,” she said. “But I’m the mom and I set the tone. The kids see me first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I try to keep things peaceful. Positive. They look to me for that.”

Our conversation was several years ago, but I haven’t forgotten Amy’s words. They're powerful . They ring true, whether Daddy’s home or not. We’ve all heard the saying, “If Mama aint happy, no one’s happy.” But Amy, in God’s strength, put this one in reverse. Applied a positive spin. In their lives and in their home.

As Mamas and keepers of hearts and homes, we do carry this responsibility. Some days I like it. Some days I don’t. It doesn’t really matter. The responsibility is mine, just the same. It’s sort of like when one of my little guys takes a fall. He stops, examines the damage, and looks to me to see if he should cry. If I say “Shake it off, Buddy”, he’s usually fine. If I fret and fuss and make a major deal over a minor spill, there’s bawling to beat the band.

Mama lays it down.

Of course there are days, those days, when we need rest and grace and the Lord offers both in sweet abundance (that's another post). But in general, this honorable responsibility holds true: If I want my home to be a place of encouragement, growth, and joyful service, a rich place where God’s sweet love flows fresh and free, in His strength I need be walking the walk. Talking the talk.

Setting the tone for others in my home.

Father, only in your grace and strength can I set the tone for a healthy, strong, God-honoring home. Empower me. Fill me. Let your Spirit flow!


  1. You're absolutely right, Shawnelle...even when the children leave the nest and it's just the two of you, it's still that way.

    Beautiful reminder.

    1. Thank you, dear Julie, for sharing. I have such wise friends. You know I was thinking of this, even with our grown children, but I hadn't thought about marriage. I can see it....sending love your way. Happy weekend!

  2. And even when your child is up and grown, Mama still sets the tone. This morning, what a lesson. I was all prepared to fill my day with writing. Had my cup of coffee and mug of water nearby. Decided to move water when the lid popped off and drenched my laptop. Oh, the panic!! I called Katy, she suggested I get to a repair shop right away. The closest place is 20 minutes away. I could have screamed, shouted, cried. But I didn't. I kept calm, took my computer in and I think it's going to be okay. The day is not ruined. I'm typing from Joe's computer and I'm at peace. But my attitude determines my day and the day of everyone around me. I had just finished reading your blog when this happened, so thank you, Shawnelle for sharing your heart so beautifully. Your reminder saved my day. <3

  3. Oh, Monica! Im so sorry about your computer. The boys spilled candle wax on mine last fall. It seeped down into keyboard and was a wild mess. I understand the panic. SO thankful it's going to be okay...and grateful for sweet Katy too! Thanks for sharing that this post touched your life. That just means the world to me. Love you, friend.