Parenting and motherhood.
The unending, never finished, frustrating yet oh! So fulfilling call to be everything to a little someone.
What does it take to parent well? Is there something that all mothers can do in every season of parenting that ensures raising healthy children?
*** Note – I didn’t say “perfect children”. I said “healthy children”.
How does one woman make a profound and lasting impact on the little lives under her care?
How does a woman, filled with estrogen and human weakness, make it through all the seasons that childhood presents?
The sleepless nights and terrific two’s … the challenging teen years and the rapid ‘tween years …the days of preschool delights and the blink of babyhood … the ache of the first day of kindergarten … the emotional implosion of sending a child off to college!
Parenting and motherhood.
It’s not for the faint of heart.
“Older women … encourage the young women … to love their children …” – Titus 2:3 & 4
As an older woman in the Body of Christ, may I gently coach those younger women with children still under their watch?
May I encourage you, tired and desperate young mom, how to love your children in a powerful and life-giving manner?
I believe that God, in His gracious goodness and divine providence, has allowed us, as frail humanity, to parent the little lives given to us because He wants us to parent just like He does.
He wants us to be like Him! Imagine that! And there is no other calling or job description in which this is more true, or carries more weight, than in the arena of motherhood.
You are the first glimpse of God that your children ever see.
Your children will only see God as kind and as loving as you are.
Your children will attach the characteristics that their parents display to the characteristics of Father God.
If you are unbending and harsh with childish behavior … that is the way that your children will view God. They will see God as a caustic and hard-to-please Father with little mercy for His children.
Mother … your life … your words … your responses … your reactions to your children should never be birthed out of human personality but should always reflect the character and nature of God!
Whew!! That’s quite a challenge, isn’t it?! How can I show the character of God to immature, disobedient, crying little people?
Well … you can do it because it is what you have seen and experienced in your relationship with the Father.
It’s what God does for you every day … you are the immature, disobedient, crying piece of humanity that God is perpetually kind and loving toward.
My encouragement to you, spent mother, is to put on the mantle of Christ. The mantle of Christ fits very well … it never goes out of style … and the mantle of Christ always ensures beautiful results.
You don’t really want to be like you … you really do want to be like Him!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” – II Corinthians 1:3 & 4
As a mother, our daily heartfelt prayer must sound something like this,
“Jesus! I can’t do this without You! Lord, I pray today that I will decrease and that You will increase! Lord, let there be less of me and more of You!
Less of my impatience of more of your patience!
Less of my perfectionist tendencies and more of Your mercy!
Less of my unbending nature and more of Your lovingkindness!”
If you are impatient and demanding with your children … that is the way that your children will view God. Your children will falsely believe that God is indignant and ready to blow at the slightest provocation.
And nothing could be farther from the truth.
“But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.” – Psalm 86:15
Mothers … it is time to realize that if you truly want to be the mother that your children deserve and need … then you will become like Jesus.
You will be loving and kind with every word that you speak.
You will be gracious and compassionate with their childish behavior.
You will let them know on a daily basis that they are loved unconditionally … regardless of how they act.
You will not withhold affection or verbal affirmation but will cultivate an environment where even the most fragile of personalities is allowed to flourish and grow under your Christ-like care.
Our job description, as the children of God, this side of heaven is two-fold:
1 – To bring glory to His Name in everything that we do.
2 – To grow more and more like Jesus everyday that we are alive.
Mothering is the greenhouse where these 2 earthly assignments are most on display. And, mothering is also the venue where there is the most at stake. Your children’s first perception of God will be reflected in how you treat them and in what they see in you.
So today, dear mother, lay down your personality. Die to self and then flourish as you become more like Him!
Spend time with your children because God aches to spend time with you!
Laugh with your children because you serve a God Who rejoices over you!
Show mercy and forgiveness to your children when they don’t deserve it.
Be patient with their childish behavior because God has been patient with you.
The good news is this … where we are weak He is able to be our strength! Christ loves to empower foible, imperfect mothers with His unending joy, love and strength.
He’s gotcha, mom! Lean into Him and all that He is. One of the greatest delights of motherhood lies not in raising perfect little robots, but in allowing our children to see Jesus in the eyes and heart of their imperfect mom.