Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Jessie Clemence’s Cringe-Worthy Moments as a Mom, Plus a Giveaway of Her Book, "There’s a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse!"

Cringe-Worthy Moments
(Or, ways God has let me learn humility)
by Jessie Clemence
Author, There's a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse

Before I had my own children, I had an idea of how parenting would go. I operated under the assumption that I would parent my children to the best of my ability and that would be enough. I believed that my efforts would ensure me happy and obedient children, all the time.

I was wrong.

It turns out that you can parent a child with all your might. You can train. You can teach. You can make up good-behavior charts and bribe reward a child with all manner of stickers and special treats, but these things might not make a difference at crucial times in their life. No parent has ever been able to predict and control every choice a kid makes. That’s the thing about kids -- they come with minds of their own. And this often becomes obvious in front of other people, and we mothers are embarrassed beyond words, possibly even stunned silent.

For example, our daughter recently startled a room full of relatives at the family reunion when she yelled, “Pray, Larry!” at her grandfather. You see, my father-in-law is a dear man of God, but he often takes a bit of time to gather his thoughts before beginning the prayer. My mother-in-law has been known to nudge him with a whispered, “Pray, Larry!” to get him moving. My own husband has taken up this prayer-hesitation as he ages, so I’ve started mimicking his mom at the dinner table. “Pray, Larry!” I hiss at Eric.

I think I’m terribly funny, and if he’s honest, so does my husband. He snorts and starts praying. But we forgot to tell Audrey that sometimes little family jokes are just that -- little and with only the four of us. So when she was hungry at the family reunion and Grandpa wasn’t on her schedule, she just did what comes naturally -- she ordered him to pray. And the whole room thought it was hysterical, except for maybe me. And Grandpa, who apparently doesn’t appreciate being called by his first name by a grandchild. He did get right to the prayer, so I guess the child made her point.

In another example, I think of the time that Caleb threw up on me, all over me, at story time at the library. We were sitting quietly when I suddenly realized he was burning up, then he was throwing up. There was no time to prevent the disaster. My first instinct was to start cleaning the mess, but there was no way I could do that and care for my sick child at the same time. The dear librarians came to my rescue and started mopping up the mess. They cleaned the carpet and the chair and sent me home. My daughter was heartbroken to leave story time early, so they let her stay and then walked her home when it was over.

I could go on and on about the chances God has given me to get over myself as I parent. In fact, I wrote an entire book called There’s a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse, and it’s all about the ways God has let me grow closer to Him through parenting. Each parenting challenge is another chance to move past my initial reaction to seek the good of my children, and to move past pride and self-absorption. These things are poison to our walks with God, and He lets the difficulties of parenting teach us this over and over.

Colossians 3:12-15 says:
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. (NLT)

Those cringe-worthy moments in motherhood give me a chance to do just these things. They let me learn how to clothe myself with tenderheartedness towards a child even when I’m embarrassed. They give me a chance to react with kindness when a child blurts out something at the wrong time. They let me learn forgiveness over and over again, just like Christ forgives me over and over again. My life is not about me. I live to glorify God, and He teaches me how to do it as I parent. I pray that He lets you learn these same blessed things through your own experiences as a parent!

Jessie Clemence is a mother of two fun and occasionally sassy children who keep life interesting. She is married to Eric and their family lives in southwest Michigan. To find Jessie online, visit her blog at You can keep up with their daily adventures there.

About Her Book:
There’s a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse humorously and practically explores motherhood and the ways it changes women. Readers will enjoy Clemence’s practical insights, biblical wisdom, sense of humor and casual, encouraging tone as she experiences the joys and challenges of everyday motherhood and seeks to allow the daily exercises in patience, selflessness and service to grow her spiritually and as a mother.


One lucky winner will receive Jessie Clemence’s new paperback book, There’s a Green Plastic Monkey in My Purse! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EDT on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. She feels it is important for parents to have date nights --a la her Valentine's Day date.

  2. She loves to connect with people through writing about how God’s Word applies to all parts of our lives

  3. I read: The Writer Gets Out of Her House - it is located under Bible Thoughts.

  4. I read on her site under the heading: What I Believe

    I spend a lot of time thinking about what draws people to God. What is that spark in me, or you, or any person on this earth that makes us seek something greater than ourselves?

    I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t know how God works; I only know that I believe He exists with every fiber of my being. I look around this planet and cannot believe that we are all here by some random chemical explosion. And even if that is a reasonable explanation, I cannot understand why humans are the way we are—desperate to connect with someone or something, empty by ourselves, and eager to do great things. I believe that God created us in His image to connect with us, to fill us, and to empower us to do great things with His help.

  5. Anonymous4:39 AM

    I read "What I Believe" on Jessie Clemence site. It is good to see a person say what they believe and use it to inspire her as an author. Thank You BL

  6. I read that the author has been fighting - well discussing - with her husband on finances.

  7. I like that Jessie, the author, believes in God.

  8. I read that she wrote the book first and then started her blog.

  9. I read that Jessie believes God has a humor!

  10. Jessie writes about how God 's work applies to our lives

  11. She feels date night is important

  12. i enjoyed the gluten free posts
    susansmoaks at gmail dot com
    tony l smoaks on rafflecopter

  13. Anonymous3:09 PM

    Jessie Clemence hates skinny jeans!

  14. full name is actually Jessica

  15. I read how she firmly believes that God allows the circumstances in our lives–the good and bad, the easy and hard, the fun and not-fun. He knows our past, present, and future.
    fb/ shirley greenawalt zolenski

  16. I learned she tries to love others as she loves herself.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  17. Anonymous11:43 PM

    Christian writer


Thank you for your comment. All comments are moderated and will go live after approval.