I asked her to share about motherhood today. I PLEAD that even if you aren't a mother, you'll take them time to read this and maybe even pin it for later. It's everything you could possibly need to hear and know. And if you are a first time mom, mom to a few, mom to a lot, or even a veteran mom with years of experience under you belt, I pray you read it too. We often need reminders and this is such an encouraging one. Seriously, get ready.
I am a sinner. I am not the best mother, godliest mother, most organized mother, most creative mother, most fun mother, most silly mother, most patient mother or the most loving mother. I fail in every area. Because I am flesh. But I am so thankful for the grace of Christ. He redeems, renews and restores. And because of him, I am a learning mother.
I would love to share with you a few things that I have learned and that I am learning as a mom. (in random order)
NO COMPARING. Comparing leads you to covet. Which is sin. When I compare my husband, my home, my things, my kids or my life to someone else's, I am discontent with who and what I have. Comparison will steal your joy. I promise. Learn to praise the Lord in all things, for all things he has given you.
NO COMPLAINING. This is a big one. Motherhood is work. Such hard work. That pretty much goes without saying. Philippians 2:14 tells us to "do all things without grumbling......" that means love your husband, care for your children and run your home without complaining. That is hard to do. But when we seek Christ and understand that our joy is made full in him, then there is no room for complaint. He is using the trials of motherhood to make us more like Jesus and to teach our kids how much we need him. Complaining only puts the focus on you, contentment gives glory to Christ.
NO CONTROLLING. understand that God is sovereign. give him control of your children. give him the reigns. we can love them, teach them, and show them Christ. but we can not control their hearts. be faithful to live Jesus before your child. but don't try to control their spiritual life. forcing religion on your kid, only teaches them to hate religion. encourage them to love Jesus, to love his word and to serve people. then allow the Spirit to work. If He can control the tides of the ocean, i'm pretty sure he can handle our families.
PUT YOUR HUSBAND FIRST. outside of your relationship with Christ, your husband is priority one. meet his needs first. love him and serve him in the way you are called as helpmate. be submissive. pray for him. speak highly of him to your children. encourage him often. take joy in keeping his home. be excited when he gets home from work, go out of your way to serve him. make your home a safe haven. be a generous servant lover for him. and NEVER complain about him to your children or anyone else. NEVER. This includes social media. When your children see that you love their daddy, that you pray for him, build him up, kiss him, hug him, support him and protect him with your words, you are giving them a precious gift. Seek to have a gospeled marriage. A true picture of Christ and the church. Mothering 101: have a biblically healthy marriage. Ephesians 5:22-33 is a great place to start.
GRACE. Whew. This is a big one. I could talk for eons about what it means to have grace, to show grace, to live in grace and to need grace. Its probably my favorite thing about Jesus. His grace towards me. It brings me to tears when I think of His great grace. I beg for grace each day. I need His grace just to live. but as much as I need it, how much do I show it to my kids??? I have had a hard time with this one. this is where my flesh gets embarrassing. this is where it gets real. I've had to learn how to give grace to my kids when they deserve none. I must give them grace to be little, to act like toddlers, to be silly, to make mistakes and to learn from them. I must discipline them when they need it. but I must also allow the Lord to work. I can't be surprised when they sin. instead I must teach them the gospel.
instead of pointing out their imperfections I must point them to the cross.right now, I am learning most about grace through my Jovie Claire. my 3 year old dramatic beauty of a girl. she does everything with flair, and a lot of emotion. she's hilarious, tons of fun and I LOVE being her momma. she wants to be just like me, go everywhere with me & do everything I do. she even likes to dress like me and she dreams of the day that she can be a mommy. I am so aware of her sweet presence and her little eyes always watching me. and its painful for me to admit that i'm not always patient with her, that sometimes I snap at her, rush her to learn or try to force her to "be good". I have tried to get her to please me; to hang on for my approval, or to seek my acceptance. wow. that is just not the gospel. I have been convicted to parent in a different way. when correcting her, I tell her that we do all things as to please the Lord. that she doesn't obey to make mommy happy but to honor Jesus. that Jesus loves her, died for her and rose for her. and in return, he wants Jovie to love him. and that as a little girlie, she can love Jesus by obeying her mommy. that I am happy when I see that she is understanding a little more about what it means to live by God's word. and that nothing she does or says could make me love her less. I have to be more patient, more long suffering, more loving and less selfish to show her His grace.
Our children learn most by watching us. we can speak to them about grace, preach to them to have grace with others and even lovingly tell them about God's rich grace. but if we don't live out grace in front of them, we are hypocrites. we need to display grace to our kids as much as we beg the Lord to display it to us.
2 Corinthians 12:9 says "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. therefore i will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me"
DISCIPLINE. This one can be tricky. I feel like everyone handles this in different ways. And i'm not talking about spanking vs no spanking. I mean how to discipline. Finding what works for your child, your family and the way you want to teach them.
Proverbs 13:24 tells us that he who loves his child is diligent to discipline him.
Proverbs 6:23 tells us that the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.
Hebrews 12:5-11 "and have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? if you are left without discipline, in which all participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? for they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
The Lord disciplines us because he loves us. that is how we know we belong to him. he disciplines for our good that we may share in his holiness. WHAT??? What an awesome God we serve. He cares enough to correct us so that we can be more like Him!!! it is His loving-kindness that leads us to repentance. I believe in grace based parenting. but I do understand that sometimes we must discipline quickly and firmly so our children learn. but if we discipline without teaching and without bringing it back to Jesus, then we fail. I confess that I have disciplined out of anger, frustration and just because I feel put out. but God calls me to discipline with love. take the time to teach why we must discipline, how it is necessary and how it is beneficial for us. use every instance of correction to point out our need for a Savior.
FORGIVENESS AND PRIDE. be slow to anger, quick to forgive. how can we ask God for forgiveness when we fail, if we can't forgive our children? do we constantly hold their wrongs over their head? do we quickly remind them of their faults? or do we forgive? are we too prideful to show them forgiveness? are we too prideful to ask their forgiveness when we mess up? do they live with a mom that is never wrong? never willing to lay down her pride and humble herself by confessing a sin and asking to be forgiven. Pride is something we all struggle with, every day. It is very hard for me to ask my husband to forgive me when I know i'm wrong. I want to hold on and fight for myself. Or when I snap at my kids and lose my temper I justify it by saying they made me do it because they weren't obeying or taking too long to do so. BUT I want to be available for my husband & my kids. I want them to know they can always come to me. but if I never humble myself, never forgive them, never ask for their forgiveness then i am building a wall. and i'm teaching them that my need to save face is greater than my need to love them well. I need to remember that a HOLY mighty creator God forgives me each day, humbled himself on a cross and is available to me at all times. who i am to be haughty, proud or unforgiving before my children?? I love the truth of Psalms 103:12 "as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us". and Proverbs 11:2 says "when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom".
ENJOY THE DAY. a few years ago when Jovie was battling severe acid reflux and I felt weary and exhausted a sweet friend reminded me that the days are long but the years are short. I have never forgotten that. I think of it often. I am in the early stages of motherhood. and I will, you will, have long hard days. but savor them. thank God for the day that you have to love this little one. because one day your home will no longer smell like dirty diapers, the crayon will be faded from your walls, that stain in your carpet won't seem so big, you will have time to wash and brush your hair, PBS kids won't play endlessly on your I, you will serve no more PBJ sandwiches and you will no longer step on hot wheels cars. your kids will be grown and out of your home. I often say that will be my saddest day. when my youngest moves out. even thinking of it brings me to tears. I am learning that the busy, loud, chaotic days at home are my favorite. they are the memory makers, the precious days and the sweetest times of my life. feel free to leave the laundry a little longer, unload the dishwasher later, watch tv at a different time and eat dinner a little later b/c you are enjoying your children. give them the grace to make a mess and then make a game out of cleaning it up. sit down with them to watch a movie, read a book or rock them to sleep. Praise Jesus that you have a child to soothe at 2am or a baby to nurse when dinner needs to go in the oven. These are fleeting days. Don't feel defeated by your housework, your grocery list or dinner menu. Enjoy these things. Ask the Lord to renew your spirit. Find joy in a typical day at home.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. have a healthy body image. because I know that my daughter is watching me, I must take care of myself. as unto the Lord. I have struggled with my weight my entire life. that's a different blog post. but I refuse to pass that on to Jovie. I will not let her see me obsess about my weight, image, pant size, make up or hair. I can be fit, eat healthy and dress modestly to set a biblical example before her. I want her to know that her heart before the Lord is priority.
SEEK JESUS. the longer that I am a mother the more I realize my need for Jesus. I mess up daily, but He is there to restore me and show me how to love my kids. I need Him just to make it through each day, the good and the bad. I want to be a vessel. I want to lay down my cross and follow him. so He can love Jack, Jovie and Judah through me. I want my kids to live their lives for the gospel and that starts at home. I need Jesus just so I can teach them Jesus. I have learned the hard way, too many times, that mothering on my own, out of my flesh always leads to sin. I am not capable of being a good mother. or a godly mother. I need Jesus to intercede, I need Him to work through me. my heart and my flesh fail. I am dead in my sins. I am not even able to seek Him on my own. I need him every hour, for everything. 1 Chronicles 16:11 says "seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually".
to be a godly mother, i must ask Jesus to help me seek Him. so that He may be the overflow.
I can not tell you that I have mastered these things. I probably will never master these things. but He is faithful. I'm so thankful He sustains me. so humbled that he continues to forgive me when I fall. I am still learning each day. and I probably could add to that list if I tried. ok, I know I could. not because I'm super mom. I'm not. but because Jesus uses my short comings as a mom to show me my need for Him. He gently reminds me that He is able. And reminds me of the many, many times He delivered me through the easy days and through the not so easy days.
Motherhood is an absolute joy. A gift from the Lord. And my wildest dream come true. I give all glory to Jesus. He is worthy of all praise. And if I am ever doing anything right it's only because of His grace. And I'm thankful for my incredible husband that supports my mothering and encourages me each day. He works hard so I can work hard.
Be encouraged knowing that Jesus is ALL you need to be a good mom.
Psalms 127:3 "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward."