Striving for Good Measure

Dear Lindsey,

“She is inconsolably crying,” was my husband’s text to me while I was at the grocery store

English: Digital fever thermometer Deutsch: Di...

last Saturday. When I got home to the thermometer, it was 103.  Christine (9) has had a cold for more than two weeks, so I assumed it had escalated to an ear or sinus infection. She and I headed for Urgent Care. That was when the stomach flu symptoms began, so we cancelled the trip; no Urgent Care needed. Mom diagnosis: flu.

“To bed you go,” I led her up the stairs to her room.

“But can’t I eat?” she asked so innocently.

“No, ‘Starve a fever, feed a cold,’” I softly quoted the old saying, remembering how hunger fools us into eating during stomach sickness.

“How does starving a beaver help?” she whined.

“Fever, honey.  Starve a fever. You will feel better after some rest,” I chuckled at her misunderstanding as I gave her some Oscillococcum, and she drifted off to much needed sleep.

Sunday morning, although symptoms were gone, I decided to keep the flu to ourselves and stay home from church. Since she and her younger brother are inseparable, I guessed he was next…and probably in that incubating, contagious stage, so I kept him home too.

We listened to church online at 9:30am, and then JR (7) said he didn’t feel well.

Sick children are endearing. His cheeks were flush as if painted on a porcelain doll; he snuggled close as only ill children do. Like an electric blanket, the heat radiated from his body to mine. My prediction was right. Here comes #2 family member falling down with the domino flu. I was glad we weren’t at church.

“102.5” was my guess.  It’s a little game I play – as if running for “mom of the year” (always! 🙂 ). I like to guess what the fever is, and then continually be shocked at how close I am when I get out the thermometer. It’s like somewhere in the birth canal, the baby flips a switch in a woman.  Sudden abilities come to her:

  • to be able to distinguish her baby’s cry 2 miles away in a room full of other crying babies
  • to be able to see out of the back of her head
  • to suddenly think, “because I said so,” is a logical enough reason to bring an end to any argument and…
  • to be able to tell if a child has a fever, within one degree, only by the touch of her hand.

I got the ear thermometer poised (and smiled remembering when one of my toddlers had brought it to me from the closet and said, “Will you measure my ear?”).

97.8 was the reading.

Experience has taught me that, although easy to use, these devices have a lot of inaccuracy. I checked the other ear, my standard operating procedure.

98.3 the other ear said.

I felt again. Was I losing my touch? I really believe it’s 102.5, maybe just 102, but definitely fever. Flushed cheeks…sick sister…I couldn’t be wrong.

I reached for the old thermometer: the one which actually had to be kept under the tongue for minutes that felt like hours. It had been so long since its use, I had forgotten that it spoke! “One hundred and two point five,” said the male computerized voice from the thermometer.

I was right: 102.5.

Mom: -> 1       Ear thermometer: -> 0

“To bed you go,” I said as I carried him there.


“Properly defining the problem is the first step to any solution,” Chris often says. But as in the thermometer story, the measuring device has a huge part to play in problem definition.

The world is a measuring device. It often measures success through the amount of money in one’s bank account, the vacation time allotted, the title of a job or the recognition one receives.

God’s “success” measuring device is different: He sees our love, joy, peace, patience…(Gal 5:22); He looks into our thoughts – are they pure, true, noble…? (Phil 4:8); I suppose He assesses the true treasures of our hearts. God’s measuring device needs no numbers. He simply uses the touch of His hand.

The world’s measurements are inaccurate:

  • “They” say we are not good enough;
      • God, through His Son Jesus Christ, says we are forgiven and perfect. (1 John 1:9)
  • “They” say there is no security without money.
      • God says we can consider the lilies of the field. Don’t they have food to eat and water to drink? How much more does our Father in heaven love us – won’t He take care of us?! (Matthew 6:28-34)
  • “They” say I try too hard and should relax.

Although I know it is wrong, I sometimes still have a worldly flinch in a crowd when everyone is talking about what they “do” for a living. It seems as though it will be a let down when it gets to my turn. “They” are doctors, secretaries, engineers, ICU nurses, HR managers, etc, and then it gets to me: a stay-at-home mom.  Yep, most of my tasks could be done by any teen for about $6/hour.  No training necessary.

Yet, my heart knows that the “world’s thermometer” is inaccurate.

What “pay” can be measured by the crushed dandelions that were handed to me as a Mother’s Day Bouquet with the worm still attached?

What “title” can top the spontaneous post-it note that said, “You’re a good cooker!” or as shown in my heading above,“YOR MI FAVRIT MOM” (as if he has more than one mom).

What “vacation” could surpass a picnic in the woods behind my house where they catch the baby frogs and scoop the salamander eggs in anticipation for spring?

What “recognition” would transcend adult children replicating our efforts in Godliness, marriage and parenthood in their own home?

What “award” could top hearing “well done, my good and faithful servant”?

Sometimes the world’s measurements are wrong, and we can stick to what we know is right.

God bless,


1 Timothy 4:7-87Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

30 thoughts on “Striving for Good Measure

  1. Wow Terri, that was good and so right on! THANK YOU for the reminder that though the world says otherwise, being a stay at home mom is a very worthy position and no amount of money could match it. Though none of us are perfect, I just love the example you set! I’m sorry the kiddos are sick:(. Will pray that all will be well, especially before this weekend.:).

  2. Love it!! And can so relate! I love being a “Momma” and now I’m totally loving being a grandmother!!! A blessing beyond ‘measure’! Thanks Teri! 🙂

  3. Wow, Terri,
    Again you hit into where I am with people in my life!
    I had a similar conversation yesterday with our “other” son (son-in-law) who was not raised in a positive or Christian home. It was all about being called to higher standards when he became a member of our extended family.
    Something had happened earlier in the weekend. I needed to meet and talk it over with him, to explain his error and suggest ways he might grow into the man we know he can become. His repentance was swift, his reaction toward my suggestions was heartening and his desire to change was very encouraging.

  4. That is so true.. I’ve heard the phrase (and regrettably have also said) ..” oh just a mom, or just a stay at home mom.” There is so much more to it than that.. and the way you have listed it out is just the beginning. Thank you for putting that all in perspective being a mother and raising children as you stated “would transcend adult children replicating our efforts in Godliness marriage and parenthood in their own home?” As I am raising my children I am raising the next generation. I am setting that foundation for them. That is not a “job” I take lightly. Thank you so much for your example and teachings.

  5. Thanks for the reminder to be as it reads in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

  6. Thanks Terri for the reminders. Phil 4:8 is a verse that keeps “popping up” in my devotions lately. Thank you for using your gifts to teach others about God’s truth.

  7. well said! we do the best we can, with what we have and we know there is ALWAYS room for improvement in a gentle, God-taught way. the lessons are have to want to learn them.

  8. Loved it Terri!

    Through it all I would never trade my title of “momma” for anything this world has to offer. It is a high calling that I accept and pray i will one day as good as the example I had.

  9. You’re always so very right . The worlds thermometer is really wrong.. I will hold to that the next time I have some person say ” oh” with a sad look on their face. When I tell them that I have to best job in the world, staying home with my kids. I will assume that they are sad not for me, but for themselves, wishing they could stay home too.
    As for getting eyes in the back of our heads the moment we become mothers, I would like to put in a formal request, that we should get an extra set of hands instead. 🙂

  10. Such a wonderful reminder to me. Thank you Terri. You have a beautiful way of writing and so eloquently express God’s heart.

  11. Wow Terri, great post. I love the way you can take a common experience and turn it into such a great lesson. Too often I find myself trying to measure up to the wrong thermometer, thanks for the reminder.


  13. thank you thank you thank you!!! I am a stay at home mom (and sometimes struggle with the world measurements vs God measurements when I am the only stay at home mom in my family and circle of friends) what a great analogy and reminder of the value of the role of motherhood. Just because it goes unpaid doesn’t be it goes unseen by God! i am still crying from this — so thanks again!!!! this made my day!!!

  14. Terri, I am doing Zondervon’s Prayer Devotional Bible this year. Each weekend’s devotionals feature a portrait of a great Christian leader of history, who was known for their prayer life. The one of Susanna Wesley (1670 – 1742) titled “No Higher Calling” reminded me of you. Here it is:

    No one is busier than a mother with ten children — unless the ten are the survivors of the nineteen she gave birth to — unless her husband is a clergyman who is often absent from the home for weeks and months at a time and is imprisoned for unpaid debts, leaving her to manage both household and parish — unless she also had to suffer the loss of almost everything she owned in fires that twice swept through her home.
    Susanna Wesley was a VERY busy woman. Her family teetered on the brink of starvation so many times that she came to almost dislike the very thought of bread because she had to work so hard to get it. “Strictly speaking, I never did want bread; but then I had so much care to get it before it was eaten, and pay for it after, as has often made it very unpleasant for me. And I think to have bread on such terms is the next degree of wretchedness to having none at all.”
    Yet for all that demanded her attention, Wesley knew the real battle was spiritual; not against flesh and blood, numerous and needy children with hungry stomachs, or unpaid debts.The way to victory was through obedience and a willingness to suffer; through times spent in spiritual reading, worship, Scriptural meditation, self-examination and prayer. Her famous son, clergyman John Wesley said of her, “For many years my mother was employed in abundance of temporal business. Yet she never suffered anything to break in upon her stated hours of retirement [prayer times], which she sacredly observed from the age of 17 or 18 to 72.” To use a phrase from Bill Hybells, “Where some would find themselves too busy to pray, Wesley knew that she was too busy NOT to pray.”
    Susanna Wesley was also animated by a keen sense of the high calling of raising children in the knowledge of God. Though gifted intellectually, and remembered by many as a woman of unusual beauty, charm and intelligence, she felt the most strategic use of her life and gifts was to pour herself into her family.She said, “I desire nothing in this world so much that they may walk in the narrow way which alone leads to happiness.” The world would later feel the impact of her single-minded sense of vocation through the work of her sons John and Charles.
    But her choices were not easy ones, and she often longed for quiet and uninterrupted time with God. She prayed,

    O God, I find it difficult to preserve a devout and serious temper of mind in the midst of so much worldly business. Were I permitted to choose a state of life, or positively ask of Thee anything in this world, I would humbly choose and beg that I might be placed in such a station wherein I might have daily bread with moderate care and that I may have more leisure to retire from the world without injuring those dependent on me.
    Yet I do knot know whether such a state of life would really be the best for me; nor am I assured that if I had more leisure I should be more seriously devoted to Thee and serve Thee better than now. Therefore, O Lord, show me t hat it is, undoubtedly best to keep my mind in habitual submission and resignation to Thee.

    “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.”
    Philippians 4:12-13

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