Motherhood, in Life and Ministry

motherhoodlifeministryThere were days when my boys were young that I was just tired and wanted to run away. I didn’t want to even hear the word “mommy”. I didn’t want to be a mother. In fact, I was one of those girls who grew up saying I’d never have children. I often wondered what God was thinking when He allowed me to be a mother. I would grow weary of doing for my children without appreciation or notice.

Then God, in His faithfulness and gentle ways would cause my heart to look upon those precious faces and my heart would remember truth. The truth that His did call me to be a mother. He placed these precious, loud, curious, rough and tumble boys into my arms with a heavenly purpose in mind. Yes God desires us mothers to raise them for Him, to teach them the word and show them the love of the Father but children also teach us.

They teach us to be a mother. They show us the Father and help us to understand His love, patience, mercy and grace. So often we, as mothers, get so caught up in trying to do and be what we think a good mother would do and be that we forget the lessons that God is trying to teach us through our raising children.

In those moments that I wanted to run, give up and give in I learned to run to God. I learned that it was in His strength I could go another day. It was because of Him and what He was doing in my heart that I would learn to keep on fighting for my children. After all if I wasn’t teaching them, loving them, holding them, praying with and for them who would? No one. I was the one God called. I would be the one who would lead them.

Over seven years ago when I led me into women’s ministry I found these same emotions arising. I would become weary of being a spiritual mother. I would become frustrated in the fighting for “children” who seemed to not care. Day after day I would fight battles within and outside that threatened to rendered me useless. My enemies, were my flesh, Satan, the world and the very ones I was trying to minister to. The lies, betrayals, gossip and criticism at times brought great bouts of  discouragement. I wanted to quit, run away and give up.

But God has called me, and so, just like when I felt this way raising my boys, I learned to once again run to Him. God, once again being faithful, reminded me that it’s not about me, or how I am feeling. It’s about them, what’s best for them, what they need. It’s about  who they need me to be – who God expects me to be. I was reminded that I have a God who empowers me to do that which He has called me to do. He called me to be a mother. This my dear friends is a blessing – a high calling. And I had learned that God will enable me to rise above my flesh and do what He has called me to do.

So today God continues to call me into “Mothering”. As I look back I can see how all the lessons beforehand led up to this role as a” mother”. The women God brings to me today are broken, many know nothing of God let alone what it means to be loved by a mother. God is calling me to mother His lost children. Children who do not know Him or know very little about Him. These women, these young girls need to see and experience what being a mother really is about. They need to hear the truth, not only about being a mother but about their heavenly Father. They need to know they are heard, seen and understood. They need mothers who have not only “been there” but who are real and honest about the struggles, and heartache of mothering.

This journey has only begun and I stand with great anticipation to see all that God will do. I am thrilled to serve God in this way. I am humbled that He has chosen me to help Him save these girls and their unborn babies. Working in a pregnancy center will bring new, hard challenges I know and I fully realize that there will be day that I will not  “feel” like fighting for them. I will grow weary and feel  like giving up.

And yet, I have learned who to run to and I will rise in confidence of who Christ says I am and believe the truth of what I KNOW – not what I feel or the lies that the enemy would have me believe – I will stand on the truth of who Christ is and the truth of what His word says.

I will think like a mother, sacrifice like a mother, love like a mother. I will fight like a mother! I will fight with God to help save a generation that does not know Him.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of morguefile.com by greyerbaby

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3 Ways to Help Create an Eternal View in our Children

Ambro, published on 02 November 2011<br />Stock Photo - image ID: 10063272Anytime we look back over our life we often see so much clearer. There are many things I wish I would have done, or not done, as a mother. I wish I would have seen then what I see now as the most important seed to plant in their young hearts. I don’t suppose I did it all wrong, they both are serving the Lord and following Him. But I can’t help but wonder if I could have done a better job cultivating eternity in their hearts. Could I have done better teaching them to live with an eternal perception? Could I have done more to help them live a life pursing eternal rewards instead of the worldly rewards?

Here are a few things that I believe give our children a better start to living with an eternal perspective. These are things I have done, seen modeled and wish I would have done better.

The first two things I see come from Duet 11:18-20 “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul ; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall teach them to your sons,talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,”

1. Make time for God. This does not mean take them to church every Sunday or make sure they attend Sunday School, Awana, VBS, and have family devotions, although all of these things are good and valuable. But the problem comes when we separate “religious” training and our everyday life. If all that we do is the above without including God in the everyday moments of life then we begin a pattern of separating the sacred and the secular.

God should be spoke of daily, not in a forced way but in a way that is natural. A parent should look for ways to point their children to God in the everyday ordinary ways. Look for teachable moments. Look for opportunities to teach your children about God’s character and His truth.

For example, during the summer my granddaughter and I were outside when she spotted a bunny. She was so excited and began chasing it. She said to me after she realized she wasn’t going to catch it, “Nana I wish I could catch him and take care of him, he is so cute and cuddly!” My response to her was, “Isn’t it wonderful that God created something so cute and cuddly! God will take care of him because God cares for all the animals he created.” From there she began to ask questions about God and wanted to know others things He created. It was a small thing, and yet it planted truth in her little heart and opened up a conversation about the Creator God.

2. Make time for family. This is so important. Today in the pursuit of the “American Dream” we have lost the importance of the family unit. Quality and quantity time has been replaced with mom and dad pursuing their careers, and children pursuing sports, dance, music and the next top video game.

Today more than ever I believe the family is being sacrificed. Family no longer spend much time together. They are busy running to sport games, dance recitals, karate, and so much more that there just isn’t time for the family to sit together at meal time. Our family tried to spend several meals a week eating together around the table. I still cherish those meal times. It was there that we had wonderful conversations, laughed until we hurt and yes we even had some of out biggest arguments. But the point is we were talking, sharing and together.

Another way to build the family up is “unplugging”. Take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and go for a hike, a picnic , go to the beach or camping for the weekend. As a family we loved all these things and our boys still speak of them with fond memories. Our boys didn’t have cell phones until they were about sixteen and driving, but even then it was before texting and the ability to get online with your phone. Today I think in order to help with the unplugging I would lock all phones in the car or maybe only carry one in case of emergency. (just a thought)

Be willing to make sacrifices for the family. What I mean is in light of every decision you make as husband and wife make sure you are putting the family first. I remember on one occasion when my husband had the opportunity to take a better paying job, it would have meant a lot more money and more opportunity for moving up. We talked and prayed about it for quite some time. Are boys were older and so we talked to them about it too. I remember one of them saying something about if we have more money they could have more things. THINGS. That wasn’t what we wanted for our children.

My husband ended up not pursuing the job for one reason, the family. This job would mean more traveling and more hours. Instead of being away from the family 40-50 hrs a week it would be 60-70 hrs. They let him know up front that those kind of hours would be expected. He wasn’t willing to sacrifice his family. As a result of that decision when it was our son’s senior year he was able to attend every home and away basketball game. He was also able to be there for every soccer game for our other sons senior year. My husband was able to be an involved father even during those moments that they might not care if dad was there or not.

3. Make time for others. John 13:34 reminds us that we are to “ love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”  Galatians 5:13b says “…but through love serve one another.” We had an advantage in teaching our children to serve others since they grew up next to their grandparents. Even when they were quite young they would be over there helping in the garden, cleaning up the yard and collecting eggs from the chickens. As they grew there help increased to chopping wood, mowing, getting snakes out of the house and many other needed chores. They loved helping their Pop-Pop and rarely was it something they were “made to do”. The advantage of this was them learning to serve.

There were other ways we tried to help instill this principle also, like serving in shelters, helping with Angel Tree, mission trips, and serving a summer camp. I remember our youngest son desiring to serve at a youth camp for inner city kids the summer after his senior year of High School. We weren’t thrilled with the idea due to the fact that there would be little to no money saved for college, but we allowed him to go and it was life changing for him. He also had the opportunity when he was 15 to go to Japan on a trip to teach soccer and share Christ, it was another life changing trip. These opportunities should be encouraged even when we as parents may feel they should be pursuing a job or other things. It’s in service to others that our children learn the joy of serving the Lord and making sacrifices to do so.

As I said above, we didn’t do these things perfectly. I wish we would have spent more time in all three areas. I wish we wouldn’t have “bought” into the worlds views when it came to what was important to spend our time on. Our boys were involved in school and outside activities but God, family and others always were most important. We weren’t willing to make sacrifices in these areas, which included our children not being able to play in town sport leagues because they would have to play on Sunday.

Yes I know, I can hear the arguments now! But you know what? Our boys still played school sports in High School, and one even got offered a scholarship to play in college. (Unfortunately he blew his knee out his senior year and the scholarship offer was taken back.)

I am sure there is so much more to this topic of creating an eternal view in the hearts of our children, but I think these three things are a good start.

You Are Not Alone

Each path in motherhood life has it’s ups and downs. We journey through mountains, over deserts, along the ocean and through open fields. We journey through the darkest nights, rain storms, sunshine, fog, and seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter.

Regardless of where we find ourselves in the journey we are often unsure of the next step. We have not come this way before. Each road is new, it’s different, and does not always look just like the path others have walked. Sometimes we feel so alone. Its seems no one else is with us on the path. We have lost sight of those who are ahead or those who are walking behind. And we wonder, “does anyone understand?”

A young bride is fearful and unsure how to be a good wife. She looks around and so many seem to have it together. The marriages of her friends seems…dare she think it? “Perfect?” Yet she feels hers is falling apart. She feels afraid and alone.

A young mom hasn’t been able to leave her home for weeks. She doesn’t understand how all her friends are able to attend Bible Studies, get together for lunch and stay sane. She is overwhelmed with motherhood. She feels as if she is walking this journey alone.

A mother of a prodigal is desperate for understanding, but she feels as if she is being judged. She spends her day crying and praying. Her heart is breaking. Does anyone see?

A mother says goodbye to her last child and wonders, “what now?” As she looks around it seems that others along this path know where they are going. They are pursuing careers, going back to school for degrees, they are DOING something. She wonders to herself how did they know what to do? She feels alone.

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All of us have found, or will find, ourselves in one of the above scenarios. Some may find that they are in more than one. I have walked them all. I have found that each path there has been one constant, regardless of how we feel we are never alone. Our God walks with us through each stage. With each step we take He is preparing us for the next pathway of our journey.

We must remember that it may LOOK or FEEL like we are alone but others are with us. There are other women on the same path. We only need to look, speak out and be willing to be transparent. Be willing to share your story, as you do you will find other women who have felt the same. They have walked a similar path.

To often the enemy preys on our mind during these times of aloneness and whispers lies. He convinces us that no one would understand, and that other’s lives are perfect. He tells us we  are alone in our struggle. He wants to keep us alone and silent.

But we must speak out. We must speak truth. Once we begin sharing our struggles along the journey we WILL find that other’s are struggling too. We WILL find that we are not alone, other women are just like us.

So dear one, where ever you find yourself today I pray that you know you do not have to walk alone. I would love to hear your story. I pray you will allow me to walk with you.

Why Momma is Angry

He stood there telling me he did not want to do what I had asked. He was three, I was angry. I took him by the arm yanked him toward me. He fell into the wall. I yelled. He cried. Then I cried. I then wrapped my arms around him, hugged him and told him how sorry I was. He wasn’t hurt. He was scared. I was scared.

ID-100104411.jpgMy anger had never gotten that bad. It wasn’t his fault. He was three. I cried to Jesus.

Several years later. Another child. He was four. He was angry. He stomped back to his room and slammed the door. He was a lot like me. He had learned what I had model.

It wasn’t his fault. I was the one who was angry. In fact I was angry a lot. It was always there, somewhere deep inside threatening to erupt. Most of the time I could control it. Most of the time it lie hidden just beneath the surface.

Once again I cried to Jesus.

I began counseling. I needed to understand. I didn’t want to be an angry momma. I loved my children deeply. My boys were my life. They were precious gifts. I wanted to be a good momma.

Here is what I learned. This is what took years to fully understand, come to grips with and heal.

My anger was not about them or my circumstances. It was a heart issue. My heart was yucky. There were things I had not dealt with. Things left unsaid. The past had been buried and needed to be dug up.

There were wounds that were oozing with infection. That infection had spread to the point that it could no longer be contained. I could just keep dealing with the oozing that came out but it would effectually become worse. I had to deal with what was causing the infection. I had to deal with the wound. I need to allow Jesus to go deep inside and cleanse the wound. It was deep and it had years to become rancid. It smelled. It was messy.

It did not matter to Jesus. Patiently, loving and with much grace He began to clean out the infection. It would take a long time to fully heal but the there would be growth. I would be less angry. I would understand that my anger wasn’t directed at anyone but the hurt the infection causes.

I had to deal with my issues. I had to take an honest look at what painful circumstances were causing my pain and showed itself in being anger. As I allowed God to work through these things I grew to handle my anger in better ways.

I still got angry, but I didn’t slam doors. I still got angry, but I didn’t “lose it.” Instead I chose to write, pray, remove myself until I calm down, write, and pray.

Momma do you get angry at your children? An anger that can be hard to control? Do you get angrier than is warranted? Then may I encourage you to talk to someone. A friend, pastor, counselor or your husband. Be willing to look inside to see if there are things you have not dealt with. Ask God to reveal the true state of your heart. Ask Him to reveal those things that may be causing the anger.

Then be willing to work hard through these things. Be willing to do it not only for your children but yourself.

Photo courtesy of  David Castillo Dominici, at www.freedigitalphotos.net