Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

Moms on a Mission: Sarah R. Moore

Profiles of moms making a difference

I recently shared about the FWG Moms on a Mission series in a blogging group I belong to. Sarah R. Moore reached out to me to ask for more information. Within a minute of being on her page, Dandelion Seeds Positive Parenting, I realized she and I have a lot in common!

Her mission and mine line up incredibly well. Sarah is passionate about encouraging positive parenting and building relationships. You’re going to be blessed and encouraged by her insights!

Families with Grace: What is your God-given mission or passion?

Sarah R. Moore: My mission is help families know Christ’s love within their own homes and to feel His grace and live out His goodness in how family members treat one another. Words alone won’t encourage the next generation to believe. I want children to trust in God’s kindness because they’ve experienced that feeling of physical and emotional safety in their own homes.

Further, I hope to gently bring non-believers to Christ by helping them feel His love as they experience it within the context of gentle and positive parenting. I’m a peacemaker by nature, and I want to help people make peace with Christ, above all.  

FWG: How do you work to live out that mission right now?

SRM: I’m an internationally published positive parenting writer and educator. Still, I’m far from perfect, so I share my struggles as well as my “wins.” I want parents to know that I “get” both sides. I’ve never been one to write about why MY way is best or why someone HAS to believe in Christ; those things are off-putting at best.

Instead, I take a really honest and transparent approach. Sometimes, it feels like my blog posts should start, “Dear Diary…” But seriously, parenting can be HARD sometimes, and I want parents to have solid, research-backed, evidence-based information at their fingertips. Moreover, as a mom, I work to practice what I preach in my own home. My child is going to hold me accountable for this stuff!

FWG: What are some of your biggest challenges in living out your mission?

SRM: There’s so much misinformation out there – along with so many stereotypes. For one, many non-believers assume that Christian parenting is, by definition, authoritarian parenting and that’s simply not the case. Christ welcomed (and sought out!) those with the worst behavior and taught them through grace through parables and role modeling in His own life. He forgave them even when they did positively awful things. He was patience and peace embodied.

If anything, Christians should be modeling Christ-like behavior to their children and to others; we’re the examples that others see in the world. Of course, by definition, we humans are all imperfect, so it’s all the more important that we live humbly and treat others (including children) how we’d like to be treated – the Golden Rule from Matthew 7:12. It’s an uphill spiritual battle trying to show non-believers that Christ was kind and that we can (and should) raise our children accordingly.

FWG: What have been some of your biggest blessings in living out your mission?

SRM: So many! In my own home, I’m constantly reminded of the goodness of positive parenting. I see it manifesting in my child’s kindness that she pours out on others. If she sees someone who needs help, she’s the first one to show up for them – even kids she doesn’t know well (and she’s a strongly introverted child, so this is really something).

And of course, every time I receive an email or a blog post comment about how something gentle I suggested WORKED for a parent or caregiver, especially if it was a departure from how he or she would’ve previously handled the situation – that just makes my heart sing.

FWG: How do you balance motherhood responsibilities with your work/mission?

SRM: That’s tricky, for sure. One thing that helps is that, by necessity, I’ve set some strong limits around my own screen time. My child knows she can count on me to be there for her. I’ve definitely sacrificed some self-care time to get my work done in the evenings after she’s asleep, but in many ways, writing is my self-care. Framing it that way helps me keep the importance of my work in perspective, not only for me but also for my readers.

FWG: What’s the best advice you have for other moms who are following their passions?

SRM: Do it when it feels right. Don’t force it when it doesn’t, otherwise your passion will start to feel like a chore. Just like our kids grow in spurts, our own personal growth happens in much the same way. Trust yourself and trust that God will tell you when the timing is right. I’ve never gone wrong when I’ve trusted His timing with that which I feel called to do.

Read more from the series

Moms on a Mission: Dr. Karen Dowling

Moms on a Mission: Erin Mayes

Moms on a Mission: Mari Hernandez-Tuten

Moms on a Mission: Kathleen Brooker

Moms on a Mission: Stacey Pardoe

Moms on a Mission: Kristin Billerbeck

Moms on a Mission: Crystal (aka InnieMom)

Moms on a Mission: Pastor Stefanie Hendrickson

Moms on a Mission: Amy Cutler

6 tips for protecting your teens on social media

Ivana Davies, from Find Your Mom Tribe, has some practical ideas for keeping kids safe online.

This guest post is part of the Families with Grace’s Social Media Savvy series that covers a commonsense approach to handling social media as a parent.

Social media has its positives, but like pretty much anything else online, it also has dangers. Scammers and predators are always on the prowl, and online bullying has risen significantly in recent years. Teens are constantly bombarded with ads, threats, frauds and general bad influences.

If you’re a parent, you’re probably familiar with the little gnaw of worry whenever you think about the darker corners of the web. How do I keep my child safe? What can I do to protect them without smothering them?

You aren’t alone. Many parents have these concerns, but a few tips and tricks can help keep your teen safe online.

1. Get familiar with social networks.

Most teenagers don’t use Facebook. Studies have shown that it’s less popular than sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat. Teens also do most of their browsing on their phones rather than traditional computers or laptops.

Knowing these things are important if you want to understand what your child is doing on social media. You don’t have to be a technological genius, but you should have a working knowledge of the problem if you want your actions or advice to carry any weight.

To put it another way, your child isn’t going to let you deal with Snapchat bullies if you don’t know about or can’t even operate Snapchat. Your first step in becoming a social media warrior is learning what the battlefield looks like.

2. Protect their identity.

We live in a world where our GPS-enabled smartphones can track and analyze our locations. Our social media accounts are full of names, addresses, schools, workplaces and family pictures. Most people don’t even think twice about letting an app announce who they are or where they’re going. They might even help with things like vlogs and livestreams!

Make sure your child understands the danger of giving out too much information on the web. For example, they might complain about a late ride, but they shouldn’t share street names or broadcast the fact that they’re a stranded minor at a particular location without any adults around. Don’t let them ask their followers for a lift or accept any offers from accounts they don’t know.

You should also warn them against divulging personal information just because people ask for it. You might be stunned to realize how easily teenagers are willing to share their bank information just because someone claims to need it to resell them some concert tickets.

“Could a weirdo use this against me?” is the golden rule of posting things on social media. Tell your child to memorize it and ask it of themselves before they post anything. A little diligence today can save them a lot of trouble tomorrow.

3. Remember the internet is forever.

People don’t always understand the permanency of things posted online. While this applies to both kids and adults, impulsive, short-sighted teenagers are particularly vulnerable to it.

If they make a questionable post that gets taken out of context and publicly shamed, they could be haunted by the screenshots for years to come. If they share racy selfies that get passed around, both sender and receiver could be in trouble under child pornography laws.

The “delete” button is pretty much useless on the Internet. Make sure your child understands this. If necessary, remind them of all of the silly or embarrassing things that they might’ve posted before, and ask if they would still want to be known for these things five years down the line. Remind them that whatever they post today will have to pass the five-year test someday.

4. Watch out for stranger danger.

Unfortunately, lots of predators are on the web. Some are scammers or identity thieves; others have more nefarious purposes, especially for young people.

The simple truth is you can’t protect your teenager from every creep on the Internet. You can, however, teach them how to recognize the signs of one, and make sure they’re comfortable coming to you if they suspect someone is trying to take advantage of them.

Here are a few danger signs:

  • Anyone who offers to send them money or buy them things
  • Deals that are too good to be true
  • Deals that require them to give personal or financial information to strangers
  • Weird links, ads, promos or direct messages

You should also teach your kids to never trust a profile of someone they don’t know. It’s way too easy for a 40-year-old man to pretend to be a 16-year-old girl! It’s called catfishing, and people do it for money, power, influence, sexual gratification or personal amusement.

If your child doesn’t understand the dangers of catfishing, try registering for a fake account yourself to show them how little effort it takes to lie on the Internet.

5. Install controls and blockers.

Lots of parental control software is on the market and doesn’t have to be a bad thing that your child rails against.

For example, your teen might not appreciate any programs that monitor his web activity or limits her screen time, but he or she shouldn’t be bothered by adblockers or virus blockers. As long as you’re not butting into their conversations, they probably won’t care if you know who’s on their friends list.

Content filters are usually the biggest argument. Teenagers don’t want to be restricted from seeing “inappropriate” content like they’re little kids being denied access to an R-rated movie. Try sitting down with them and seeing if you can agree on reasonable content filters for things like violence, pornography and hate speech. R-rated sites might be okay for older teenagers, but you can draw the line at X-rated.

You should probably stay away from things like keyloggers. Unless your child is being punished, that level of scrutiny is only going to foster resentment.

6. Always be willing to listen.

At the end of the day, there’s only so much that you can do to protect your child on social media.

Your best bet at staying “in the know” is to keep an open line of communication with them. Emphasize that you’re always available if they want to chat, discuss, whine, rant or ask questions about something that they’ve seen. Even if it’s just complaining about spam accounts or a bad website design, it’ll build trust between the two of you, and they’ll be more likely to seek you out if and when they have a real problem.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. You won’t have a rapport with your child after a single conversation. Just like parenting classes would tell you, it takes consistent, everyday effort to maintain an open and honest relationship about their online activity, but it can definitely be done.

About the author:
Ivana Davies is an educator turned stay-at-home mom to a beautiful 7-year-old girl and a playful 5-year-old boy. She found so much parenting information online that she started her own blog, Find Your Mom Tribe, to share her experiences and struggles as a mom. You can connect with her on Facebook and Pinterest.

This post is part of Families with Grace’s Social Media Savvy series that covers a commonsense approach to handling social media as a parent. Check out these other posts from the series:

Social media savvy series

A commonsense approach to handling social media as a parent

Social media is everywhere. According to Pew Research Center, 72% of Americans use some type of social media in 2019. Even more remarkable is that number was only 5% in 2005!

To say that social media has grown by leaps and bounds is an understatement. And my generation of parents is the first to deal with social media from the time our babies were first starting to grow in our bellies and onward.

Social media is its own beast to conquer as a parent guiding our children. It has become so prevalent in our culture that even toddlers will reference posting something on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. I’d daresay my kids’ generation should be rightly called the YouTube generation for their love of it!

While many parenting decisions lend themselves to looking at those who have gone before us and how they handled things, social media doesn’t fall into that category. I can’t tell you how my parents handled social media with me as a child, because social media wasn’t around. We are blazing a parenting trail and we need to be aware of where the trail is leading.

I don’t think social media is a big, bad evil. I use social media for my work, for my blog and for my personal life. But I do think it needs to be approached with caution and practicality. While we may fire off a post without thinking or upload a picture without a second thought, we need to be a bit more intentional.

What is coming on the blog

With all of that in mind, over the next couple of months, we are going to explore a few different topics relating to social media and parenting:

How social media impacts moms

What we should (and shouldn’t) post

How to keep our kids safe on social media

When to let kids on social media

How social media affects our kids

How you can get involved

Because we are all in this together, I’d love to hear from you about your experiences with social media and parenting. Whether you’ve done something that worked or something that failed, I’d love to hear from you to potentially incorporate your experiences into the series. I’m happy to use a pseudonym if you prefer.

You can contact me by clicking the “Contact” tab at the top of each page or by sending me a direct message through the Families with Grace Facebook page.

And if you are a fellow blogger who is interested in writing a guest post on any of the above topics (or have an additional idea that is related), please contact me as well. I’m happy to chat about how you can get involved with the series and link to your own blog.

Beyond the vows: To love and to cherish

“Beyond the vows” is a new series about what marriage relationships actually look like once the wedding is over and life happens. Learn more about the series and how you can share your own story here!

Taylor Lee, from Accomplished Family, is sharing her story of learning what it means to love and to cherish her husband for the “Beyond the vows” series. You’re going to be blessed by her story!

I had found the man I was supposed to marry at an early age, even though it took me a few years to realize that. He was kind, sweet and had the best sense of humor. I was broken, full-of self-doubt and lost.

Every time I broke up with him, he was always right there when I decided to run back into his arms. He was crazy about me, and I was forever scared to put all my eggs into one basket.

He wasn’t perfect. Each time I would find a flaw I would distance myself from him and tell myself he was not the guy. I let him go again and again.

I would find temporary boyfriends. Once I realized that they weren’t the match for me, I would find myself reaching back out to my favorite guy.

Despite all the times that I would break up with him, he was always there for me when I needed a friend. I finally got smart and asked him to take one more chance with me. I knew as well as he did that it was a gamble.

I might’ve been finicky, but I absolutely loved him. Always had!

Love wasn’t the problem.

In time I figured out how to show that love. Things were good.


It took me years to figure out the importance of cherishing him. Love simply isn’t enough when getting into a marriage.

Love isn’t going to keep the fire going.

Understanding that you care about the person you married isn’t enough either.

Love isn’t going to get you through the hard times.

Cherishing your significant other is the key to making your marriage last.

We found this out the hard way.

Although we cared for each other, we didn’t work at it. We simply said the words, but there was a heavy lack of action behind the love. There was no push on either end for us to communicate with each other; our marriage suffered because of it.

They say that the first year is hard. They are right!

In a few short months we were ready to call it quits. We seemed to be two totally different people, and a divorce sounded like a better solution.

Ultimately, it took him moving out for both of us to realize that we needed each other. It wasn’t enough that we loved each other.

You can love but if you don’t put in the time to take care of someone, they start to understand that they aren’t worth your time.

Although it took some time for both of us to realize, we are now stronger than ever before.

We take time to talk to each other, and we work to strengthen our relationship.

We flirt with each other — even between the work, school and two children. We always make time for each other, even though our dinner and movie have now switched gears to our living room rather than a night out.

Sometimes you don’t realize how much you need to grow until things happen, and you must make a change to make it work.

If you love him, you must work on that love all the time.

Knowing that you love him is only half of it. You must work on showing him through your actions that you love him, and you must love yourself enough to expect him to do the same for you.

Things aren’t always going to be blue skies and rainbows, but if you work at it, it will continue to flourish. Love each other through and through.

Think of everything that he does for you, what you do for him and how you can spend time together to make it a great life.

Take time as often as you can to spend time together. Don’t just sit on your phones in the same room. Actually put the phones down, look into each other’s eyes and communicate.

Share your dreams and aspirations with each other. This will help you to grow together instead of just trying to make it through the day, day after day, year after year, and then, when the kids are grown wondering, “Who are you?”

If you take the time, you will feel the love. It’s been five years for us, and I sincerely look forward to everyday with him. Be thankful for the man you married. Love him. Cherish him. He’s worth putting the phone down for.

Learn more about the “Beyond the vows” series and how you can share your own story here!

Find other articles from the series:

Find Families with Grace content elsewhere

Sometimes other bloggers include my content on their blogs either through links or guest posts. I’m alway super excited when that happens! Be sure to check out these posts and blogs from fellow bloggers who are doing great work as well.

Guests posts from Families with Grace

Anxiety Stories: Stacey S.

Stacey’s Mom Life: Real Moms Interview Series

The Greatest Legacy: A Father’s Love

Chronic Pain is not Your Identity

Links to and mentions of Families with Grace

When anger takes over

31 Cheap meals for when you’re broke from Organizational Toast

Self care: Practices to reduce stress, accomplish goals and benefit mind & body from Radical Strength

How to spring clean: 24 Tips, hacks, reminders, and plans

Fun Easter activities for kids

Your list of new Christian bloggers for 2019 from Milk and Honey Faith

Live a life showered in grace from Nicki Schroeder

Kindness is Infectious: 10 People Share How They Show Their Kindness Each Day

Easy appetizers: 11 Fantastic, mouth-watering recipes for the big game

Start new Valentine’s Day family traditions (that are easy and fun!)

24 Amazing and easy spring activities for toddlers

Beyond the vows: For better or for worse

“Beyond the vows” is a new series about what marriage relationships actually look like once the wedding is over and life happens. Learn more about the series and how you can share your own story here!

Melissa, from Momma Melissa’s Musings, is sharing her story of being married for better or for worse for the “Beyond the vows” series. You’re going to be inspired by her story!

When my husband and I got married we had the dreams that most newly married couples do, I guess. We wanted it to just be the two of us for a little while and then we would start our family. I wanted five kids, and he was willing to give me what I wanted. Then we would raise our children and grow old together as we served the Lord in the ministry. 

Little did we know the trouble that we would have along the way. When you are planning and envisioning your life, you don’t really envision the rough times. You think everything will go just like you plan it. When we said “for better or for worse,” I am not sure we were picturing what it would actually take to see our plans come to fruition, but God knew. God knew what we would go through and everything happens for a reason and in God’s timing. 

About a year and a half to two years into our marriage, we decided that we wanted to start a family. Well, months went by with no pregnancy and we both started to get discouraged so I went to the doctor. Turns out I have polycystic ovarian syndrome and a thyroid disorder, so I was put on the proper medication and told we could keep trying. As each month passed, hope faded. We dealt with a lot of anxiety and worry that it would never happen.

Finally, after nearly two years of trying, we found out in November 2010 that I was expecting our first baby. We imagined all the things that parents-to-be imagine. We dreamed about what that child would do, who they would be and what kind of impact they would have on our lives. We planned out the perfect way to tell our parents and extended family. Everyone was so overjoyed and celebrated with us and dreamed those dreams with us.

That is when it happened. That is when we experienced “for worse.” The loss I felt was so great. The loss of a child, the loss of the hopes and dreams, the loss of memories that we would have made. I kind of collapsed into myself a bit, but my husband wouldn’t let me collapse too far. He wouldn’t let me cry by myself. He didn’t want me feeling alone, even though sometimes I felt alone when I was with an entire group of people.

I went through times of depression, anxiety and worry that we would not conceive again and we would never be able to realize our dream of being parents. My husband encouraged me to talk these feelings over with him and let him grieve with me. He was my rock. Even though this was definitely “for worse,” keeping God at the center of our marriage, we were able to become stronger together. We clung to His promise in His word that He would not leave us or forsake us and the hope we had of one day seeing that baby.

As more months went by and our due date came and went, the hope of a new pregnancy was fading. I had nearly given up on God when a visiting preacher preached a message on the persistent prayer. I was so convicted that I began praying anew and with a new spirit, all the while understanding that I don’t know the mind of God. His answer could be “no,” but it could also be “not now.”

Two weeks later we found out we were expecting our Rainbow baby. That pregnancy was filled with anxiety and worry and many ultrasounds and checking on the baby. We clung to each other for strength as we both clung to the Savior. The moment we welcomed our first child into the world was definitely “for better.”

The Lord has blessed us with three miracle babies that the doctors weren’t sure we would ever have, but God knew. He knew all the “for better” and the “for worse” that we would ever have and ever will have. I am sure there will be many more of these times in our lives, but with the Lord’s help we can make it through them all together!

Melissa is a stay at home wife to a husband who is in full time ministry. She has three beautiful children who are 6, 4 and 3 years old. In her free time, if she gets any, she loves to craft, shop and spend time with her family. You can find more about Melissa on her blog, Momma Melissa’s Musings.

Learn more about the “Beyond the vows” series and how you can share your own story here!

Find other articles from this series:

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