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The Intentional Mom

Being purposeful doesn’t mean taking everything super-seriously, it just means thinking about things we may not otherwise think about in the busyness of life.
By Shaunti Feldhahn

As some of you know, I’m a busy analyst, author, and speaker – but much more importantly, I’m a wife to my husband, Jeff, and mom to two great kids ages 10 and 8.  At least they are 10 and 8 for the moment. I feel like I’m going to wake up tomorrow and find two teenagers living in my house.

Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.  See if this also rings a bell: From the point when my kids were toddlers, I’ve had hundreds of women stop me in the grocery store or at my speaking events (since I often bring the kids with me) and say, “Oh, enjoy every moment of this phase while they are little: It goes so fast.”

It reminds me of something that happened when Jeff and I got married 16 years ago.  What a day that was!  After months of planning and dreaming and working long hours to get it all ready, the ceremony seemed to pass in a delightful blur and soon we were facing cheers from the crowd and being introduced as husband and wife. A few weeks later, Jeff mentioned seeing a particular couple who hadn’t been able to attend the reception, but was at the ceremony.  I said, “Really?  I don’t remember seeing them. But then, it all seemed to go so fast—I don’t remember much about the ceremony itself.”

Jeff smiled sideways.  “I remember everything about the ceremony.”

I looked at him, surprised. He continued. “One of my groomsmen told me to enjoy every moment. He said it could either rush by quickly, or be soaked in. So I was purposeful about really enjoying every moment.”

Six years later, when our daughter was born, I started to hear echoes of those words from all the women who told me to enjoy the time because it goes so quickly.  I found that every one of those women knew what they were talking about, with regard to the speed of time. So I figured that following their words of wisdom would be a good idea, too.  So in these past 10 years I have soaked in every bit of delight that God wants to bring me in my kids. My awareness of every passing day is made all the more poignant by the fact that I’m a working, traveling, mom—and because there are times that I can’t bring them with me on the road, I know there are times when I am missing things.  It makes me appreciate all the more the times that I do have and it gives me the desire to be extremely purposeful about enjoying them, instead of letting the days slip by and wondering where did the time go?

I’ve found it is so vital to be purposeful about our lives as moms, as wives (for those who are married), as workers (in whatever we do), and simply as women.  Being purposeful and intentional doesn’t mean taking everything super-seriously, or reading every book on the shelf about parenting or marriage.  But it does mean being aware of what will make us (and the people around us) thrive and live the abundant lives God desires for us. It does mean sometimes thinking about things we may not otherwise think about or realize in the busyness of life. It does mean being aware about what will ultimately bring glory to Him, and giving Him our lives to use as He wants. And thankfully, if we do that, He promises us grander adventures than we ever could have imagined.

Copyright © 2011 by Shaunti Feldhahn. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

This article originally appeared on MomLife Today, FamilyLife’s blog for moms.

FamilyLife is a donor-supported ministry offering practical and biblical resources and events to help you build a godly marriage and family. 

Meet the Author: Shaunti Feldhahn

Shaunti Feldhahn began her career as an analyst on Wall Street and today is a bestselling author, speaker, and nationally-syndicated newspaper columnist.  Her recent bestsellers have sold more than two  million copies and have been translated into 20 different languages.  The books in her popular “Only” series, including For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men, and For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women, For Parents Only and For Young Women Only (both of which were co-authored with youth speaker Lisa Rice), and For Young Men Only (co-authored with husband Jeff Feldhahn and Eric Rice, husband to Lisa Rice) have led to great life-change—and plenty of fascinating conversation—for men, women, parents and teens around the country. She has also authored two true-to-life spiritual thrillers. 

One reason Shaunti’s books, talks and columns have hit such a nerve is that she applies her background as an analyst in a whole new way.  She holds a master’s in public policy from Harvard University, and a bachelor’s in government and economics from The College of William & Mary.   Prior to becoming an author, she worked in the financial arena on Capitol Hill and later on Wall Street, analyzing the Japanese financial crisis for the highest level decision makers of the Federal Reserve System.  She now applies that same skill set to investigating eye-opening truths that many of us tend to miss.  (For example, what women don’t ‘get’ about men!) 

As a popular national speaker and broadcaster, Shaunti travels extensively and has shared her findings with millions of people through conferences, television, the internet, and radio. She has appeared on such diverse media outlets as Fox News, PBS, TNT, Soap Talk, The Alan Colmes Show, Focus on the Family, and FamilyLife Today.

Shaunti and her husband Jeff, with whom she coauthored For Men Only, are active leaders in their Atlanta-area church and, as parents of young children, enjoy every minute of living at warp speed.  They have become quite good at juggling soccer games, karate lessons, Jeff’s business (software company World2one), and family speaking trips with the whole traveling circus in tow.   As their favorite shirts put it, “Life is good.”



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