Children are a gift from the Lord! How often do we stop and truly consider the stewardship that our little (and not so little) ones are? It is both joyous and daunting to come to grips with the reality of our position as parents. It is a wonderful privilege, but it requires diligent efforts and calculated investments to purposely shape and influence the lives which have been placed in our hands. Parenting offers a sphere of influence of which the power resides with us, Mom and Dad. It is an opportunity to mold and guide little hearts and minds to seek their Savior and then to desire to be like Him. It is a tremendous responsibility!
A responsibility that is far greater than me. Of which the requirements exceed my abilities, my wisdom, my understanding and on many occasions my self control :). But there is hope! Parenting doesn’t stop with us and our often inadequate attempts. In fact, for me, “true parenting” really started when I yielded this area of my life to the Lord. I’m just not that great of a mother within myself, but when I let God do the parenting through me………….now there’s a mom that I want to be! There’s a mom whose efforts and investments can bear eternal dividends. I had to learn that I cannot always wish to reap in my children what I do not sow. Therefore I have had too many times confess my faults, allow God to re-tune my heart and let my short-comings serve as a reminder of how much I depend on the Lord to be the steward I so desperately want be. I have to remind myself daily that it matters how I live, particularly in these areas:
Mommy matters in the way she talks:
“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6
Ever wondered just how to respond to the many surprising challenges you may face as a mom? I have many times. I have also failed a great deal in consistently exemplifying Jesus in every situation that comes my “parenting way”. One day though, Colossians 4:6 struck a cord in my “mother heart.” How should I respond to my children? Even during those exceptionally testing times? According to this verse it is always with grace. Even during reproof? Especially during reproof, because reproof is meant to be godly correction, not a venting of parental anger. It is a means of steering our children out of the danger of their sin and disobedience and leading them unto the way that is “safe”. I’m afraid that at times, I have within myself accomplished the opposite – “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: Proverbs 12:18a. What I would love to get better at is building and wise teaching – “but the tongue of the wise is health” Proverbs 12:18b. It is incredibly fulfilling to see our children blossom when we intentionally build them up with wise words.
Our children believe what we say (well, most of the time) and therefore we need to be extremely careful in the words we choose to use. Without realizing it we can easily make our children believe wrong things about us, God and themselves, that they wouldn’t have, had we practiced the necessary self control.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29
Mommy matters in the way she walks:
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” Hebrews 10:24
Nothing solidifies more in our children’s minds what we are trying to teach, as when they see us acting it out ourselves. If you’ve ever wondered how ineffective talking the talk without walking the walk is, take note of how your children struggle to do what they hear you say without seeing you doing it yourself. It’s really quite unfair. Our children’s hearts and minds are incredibly pliable, ready to soak up much of everything they hear and see. A sobering reminder that parents cannot reap what they do not sow, or on the contrary, we cannot be shocked if our children display a behavioral problem when we are in fact the ones feeding it. I am incredibly thankful for the patience and mercy that God shows to me everyday and I pray that I will do the same for my children. I have to consider whether or not my example and behavior is leading my children unto love and good works.
Mommy matters in the way she thinks:
Remember the saying “you are what you eat”? In spiritual terms, I think one might say “you are what you think” .
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” Luke 6:45
How we meditate as moms has a great influence on how we act and interact with our children. Thankfully Gods Word has the remedy for any ailment of the heart and His truths the power to do away with any erroneous thoughts we have been harvesting.
Our attitude will, for a great part, be determined by how we think/meditate.
Mommy matters in the way she prays:
I have learned that I am only as good as I am Spirit-filled. One grows to a point in your Christian life where you clearly understand that without God, you are nothing. It is simply not within me to do good………in my own power…….all the time. We may be able to hold it up in public but what happens at home is what carries most weight in our children’s hearts and minds . My fleshly habits would love to take reign, but being filled with and led by the Holy Spirit is the “prevention” for damages that might be caused by a mommy’s fleshly rants.
Mommy matters in the way she spends her time:
I once read a quote that said: “Children spell love T.I.M.E.
As a child, being raised by a single mom with a limited income, life was pretty simple. For birthdays we received items of clothing we desperately needed and Christmas consisted of one or two economical yet meaningful gifts. At times circumstances were as such that we depended on others to make it through. I clearly remember the Sunday morning, when my sister and I walked into the Sunday School room, a girl loudly exclaimed: “Look, they are wearing the clothes we gave to the church’s “welfare closet”! A humbling experience! Yet, though my ego a little bruised, I felt no real panic, because my heart was full. At home, there was a mother who consistently provided in needs that far exceeded that of material desires.
She diligently gave of herself and of her time and made us feel anything but deprived. She, in the midst of her limitations even managed to create beautiful memories. We loved our bi-weekly trips to the Library. “Pay day” take-away meals. Visiting around the kitchen table or in her room, praying together and a special treat, watching symphony orchestras and choirs perform at our local theaters (a personal favorite!). Because we enjoyed these things together, we had a strong “family-bond” and a feeling of belonging, which in return generated in our hearts great loyalty and respect for our mother. Life was meaningful because we had each other! I am reminded that our children cannot “hear” from us primarily during times of rebuke and correction. Parenting needs be intentional. They need opportunities to grow strong bonds with their parents.
Life consists of different seasons. In some seasons they need us more than in others. This may mean that during these times we have to give a little less of our time to others. But, one day the tables will turn and when our season of “labour” is done we will have more freedom to give to others what right now belongs to our children.
As much as I would love to be the perfect teacher to my children…all the time, I have to accept the fact that I myself am a student. That God is aware and in control of my “place” in His “school” of sanctification. That He will use my children to teach me dependance on Him, to accomplish spiritual growth and to reveal His unending patience with me. I will never be a perfect parent, but I must continue striving to be all the Lord intends for me to be.
In the end, I believe that what matters most about “mom”, is God working in and through me!
With love, from my “mothering heart” to yours!