The Year of Motherhood: Serving Our City Together

This post was written by contributor Jamie Ivey.

Serving our City Together

In the eleven months of my year of motherhood challenge, I never imagined that this one would give me the most trouble.  I would have looked ahead to November and thought – EASY.  I love our city.  I love to serve.  This will be a no brainer.

Instead it was super hard.  I’m not sure if it was the time of year that made it hard.  Are we too busy now?  Oh that’s a lame excuse to not serve.  Or is it my kids ages?  Are they too young to get it?  Yeah, even lamer.  Kids only know what you teach them.  Did I just not see the value in this?

None of my excuses seem to matter.  I learned a lot about myself and my kids by looking back on this month.  I learned that:

#1 Your kids only know how to serve if you teach them.  When I take a meal to someone after they have had a baby I usually don’t bring my kids.  It’s just easier that way, y’all know what I mean!  But, unfortunately they never see me buy my favorite food for someone else instead of our family.

One thing that we’ve started this year is we have money jars and each of the kids has a spend and a give jar.  They kick and scream each time we have them put money in the give jar, but I know that in a few weeks when we get out the Compassion International catalog and all pick out a goat for a family they will LOVE it!

#2 Kids are resilient.  My kids threw a screaming fit when my mom and I took them shopping to buy presents for other kids for our Operation Christmas Child boxes.  I told them they couldn’t get anything for themselves and you would have though I told them they had to eat broccoli for a month.  They were SO distraught.  And I was SO frustrated with them!  BUT by the end of the shopping trip they were really putting all their heart and soul into picking out gifts for little boys around the world.  I went from frustrated mom to very proud mom during that one shopping trip.

#3 Serving takes planning.  My mom came up one weekend to visit and we took our kids to fill up her shoeboxes.  After that I planned on our family serving with a local business here that serves food to homeless people, and of course I kept forgetting to call and then before you know it, it’s Thanksgiving.  Yes, we served by filling up shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, but our family didn’t serve together in the way I imagined.  Serving takes planning, it doesn’t just happen.

The Jesse Tree

 My goal for December is to actually do the Jesse Tree with my kids.  Last year I had big plans to do this, and never did and that is actually what inspired the whole Year of Motherhood challenge.  I’m happy to announce that we’ve already started because I have an amazing church that sends home a planner each week on what to read and even the paper to color.  They know moms need a little help sometimes!

Bigger than me doing the Jesse Tree with my kids though is how I want to actually enjoy this month.  I want my kids to love Jesus more after this month.  I want to love Jesus more after this month .  My hope and prayer for all of us in December is that we relish the time with our famiies.  Cherish the small things and let’s show our kids that Christmas is about Jesus and Jesus only.

Join this discussion.  How do you help your kids keep Christmas about Jesus?  Click HERE to share all your great ideas with all of us!


About Jamie
Jamie lives in Austin with her husband, Aaron, who is the worship pastor at The Austin Stone Community Church, and their four kids. She’s passionate about loving her husband, following Jesus, talking about adoption, and trying to be the best mom she can be to the four cutest kids in the world. She loves family nights, reading a good book, and could eat Mexican food three times a day. You can find her blogging at, or on twitter @jamie_ivey.

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  • Kat Lee says:

    I love your honesty and perseverance, Jamie! Thanks for inspiring us this year – with successful months and more real life months.

    Regarding Christmas, we’ll be doing the Truth in the Tinsel Advent activities. I’ve learned I’m not all that crafty, so I love that Amanda has made printable ornaments too for days when doing the crafts just doesn’t work out.

    I love reading scripture around the table after dinner during the holiday season. I wish it was more of a habit for us the rest of the year too!

  • Jamie says:

    Thanks Kat! yes I’ve heard AWESOME things about the Truth in the Tinsel Advent activities. What a great thing for us moms!!!

  • Mary Hurst says:

    Hey Jamie!

    Starting this month I have been challenging my family as well. We started with our thankful list for the month of November and now in December we are doing an Advent Random Acts of Kindness activty. Reading more about your Jesse tree has inspired me to also do this with the kids. After searching for it I got tons of ideas but now feel a bit frazzled. Are your matierials you received from church share-able (is that how you even spell that? Hmmm)? I would LOVE to get as much help as possible 😉


  • Lauren says:

    I’m planning on doing the Jesse tree, too… Ann Voskamp shared a free resource through her blog the other day. I’m including the link.

  • Heather says:

    Here is one I found…it’s free 🙂

  • Kelly S says:

    I’m so glad I came across your site. The way I try and remember Jesus at Christmas time and then I have started a tradition with my son is that on Christmas morning we always have a cake and sing happy birthday to Jesus.

  • Joyce says:

    Love that pic of them with their baskets filled. 🙂 And yes!! It does take planning. I always forget that part too. For the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, we actually get stuff throughout the year (using coupons for toiletries, sharing items from their party favor bags from various birthday parties (fun! but don’t get played with me and end up in odd places in our home), etc), so it’s always on our mind.

    An awesome book I recommend is The Sparkle Box. A wonderful story about the gifts we can give Jesus on His birthday. 🙂 It comes with a sparkle box too, so my girls are excited to open it on Christmas.

  • Shaunna Upgren says:

    Hi Jamie,
    I have looked at your blog a lot before and LOVE your Year of Motherhood so much. It has inspired me to to do my own Year of Motherhood for 2013. I am wondering if you have a link or a list of each month and your goal for that month. I have tried to find it on your blog, but can’t. (that way I don’t have to search through all your blog posts for each month and try to figure out what you did each month. 🙂 Seeing your list for each month would so help inspire me and get my creative juices flowing of some ideas I would like to include in my Year of Motherhood. Thanks so much for sharing your Year of Motherhood with us….I have loved it!