Sunday, May 12, 2013
Four Things God Showed Me Concerning Motherhood
Four Things God Showed Me
“How could I ever be a good mom? How do you even define being a good mom? How will I know what to do with this baby growing inside me? I came from so much abuse with words like physical, emotional, sexual. I came from yelling and screaming and being told I was stupid and ugly and worthless. I have no business having any children, but God I want a lot of children. I want five kids…”
I was very scared to think of raising my first child. I only had nine months to think about it. I was not the kind of young girl that dreamed of family, a happy home, and lots of kids. I was in college and career bound. I was not sure what I felt about kids, having come from such a tragic upbringing. That is until I felt those first kicks of a baby growing inside. As the instincts of motherhood began to work in my heart, I realized that I longed to have many kids and to be a mother that was a good one. So I prayed, I watched, and I asked lots of questions.
Sitting on a shelf, twenty-five years later, is a framed card. It is a special card that was given to me at a baby shower for Elliot, my first child, 25 years ago. With my delivery date just a few weeks away I was given a precious gift. This gift more precious than the amazing stroller, or carseat and all the cute little boy outfits. I was given the Word of God. Spoken from that card and into my desperate desire to be a good mommy and a true mommy heart.
“4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the door rames of your houses and on your gates.”
ONE: God showed me what mothering would like in this passage. I had asked for scriptures from Godly woman, on mothering and was given book after book after book on how to parent. I could learn from these books, but more importantly how I desired to have my children know and love God. So began my journey to live out this passage of scripture.
a. We wake up each morning and thank God for our day. Around the table while eating breakfast.
b. We listen to the words of the Christian music in the car on the way to school. We talk about the words and how God is in our hearts, our songs, and our thoughts.
c. We pray out loud for the things God puts on our hearts. It’s okay if a young child does not understand what praying should be or not be. Allow them to express what is on their young hearts and encourage them to have conversations with God during the day. Teach them how to pray for their friends, neighbors, family, and actions.
d. It is okay to be a Jesus Freak kind of mom. Get silly for Jesus and allow your kids to be silly about Him too. “Wave To Jesus” A song that Emerson and Ethan made up recently is totally silly and I love it.
e. Open your Bible and share stories at bedtime and talk about them. Find a passage that a child can relate to and make it the story of the week. Allow them to draw pictures and illustrate the story, so they can hold up pictures each night of the story. I have been reading every night the 23 Psalm to the boys and they have it almost memorized. (memorization was not the objective, reading the story is, but they are learning)
f. Teach your children to Honor the name of Jesus, and teach them the names we call God by. Ask questions like…”what is a good name to honor God by today?” And then we make references to that name and talk about it some more.
g. We do a lot of writing too. When a child is disobedient, I will ask God to show me an appropriate scripture for this child to learn from and guess what happens…. They get sentences, copied straight from God’s word. (I was told by a few moms, years ago, that this “tactic” will only cause my kids to resent God, and want nothing to do with Him. Quite the contrary as I see all my children embracing God with so much passion. The Holy Spirit can and will work through their young hearts too.
h. When out on a walk, with sun, wind, rain or storms acknowledge His handiwork and ask your kids questions on how they see God, and why he would make this or that. You would be AMAZED at the questions they ask. It is okay if you don’t know the answers because lack of info. allows you dream with your children all the questions we can ask God when we see him face to face.
TWO: I asked a lovely lady who was a mother to her own four kids, and grandmother to many, if there was one book she would choose to read, aside from the Bible, what would it be. I was standing in her home, in a sea of books lining her entire library of shelves. Just one book I could pick up and read while I nursed my newborn baby.
“The Blessing” by John Trent and Gary Smalley
“Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love and Acceptance
I held the book in my hand and read the title over and over. I really did not understand love and acceptance and then I turned the book over to read the back. The book just about fell apart from it’s previous reader and the attention to the detail’s of this book. As I read the back cover tears spilled down my cheeks. It read:
“The authors detail the five elements of the blessing
1. Meaningful touch: Having been so terribly abused this was a huge issue for me and I so longed to NOT withhold meaningful touch from my children, for fear I may become those parents who hurt me.
2. A Spoken Message: Words, that could teach me how to love my children.
3. Attaching High Value: I was raised to think I had no value and to feel worthless, now I could learn how to do better than my parents.
4. Picturing a Special Future: At the time I did not know what this meant, but by the time my first child decided what he wanted to be when he grew up I knew just how to respond. Elliot’s three-year-old little fingers gripped my hands and said…”mama I want to grow up and make sure people know about Jesus.” And we prayed that God would honor his little three-year-old plans.
5. An Active Commitment: Active, not passive. Learning how to be present, showing up in the areas of need for each and every child I have been blessed with.
I did not take this sweet lady’s book. I had to save up some money to buy my own. Then I found the book on a friend's shelf and “borrowed” hers. I sit here today, beside me that book I “borrowed” over 23 years ago.
I now use this book in mentoring young moms and admit this is the only book I have ever read on parenting, cover to cover, aside from the Bible. I own many good books, but never had time to start and finish. I am sure there are many good books out there, but this one is what grew my heart into motherhood.
THREE: Praying Without Ceasing and out loud.
a. Pray with your children, even as infants before each time they lay to rest.
b. Pray when you are tired and have nothing left to give or say.
c. Pray when you see them begin to understand the smallest of concepts.
d. Pray before each meal.
e. Pray while they are playing.
f. Pray with your children before they get out of the car and walk into the school.
g. Pray with your child when they are struggling.
h. Pray with your child when you are struggling.
i. Pray words of praise and thanksgiving to this amazing God.
j. Pray just because you can and.
k. Talk to God about everything, and while they are young they will know nothing different than to call unto God with the joys, the sadness, the disappointments and see Him as He is.
FOUR: “Eighty percent consistency is not that bad.” I heard that from a popular Christian speaker when Elliot and Emily were little charges in life. I felt that I was in constant battle, (which I now call constant training) It was darn right exhausting me. One afternoon I sat down to have a cup of tea, and again needed to step in with parental authority, but I did not. I sat, and sat, and sat until my tea was gone. And I did not feel bad at all. I did think that I was slipping as a parental authority. The toys were not picked up, there was no follow through on my part and I cringed to think that this day I just decided to drink some tea. The message from this speaker spoke to my heart. It was a message basically saying that if you don’t “get-it” every time, don’t beat yourself up. And I did not. I extended grace to my mothering and tried never to let myself fall under that 80% mark.
"May God bless you as mothers pouring into the hearts of your children every single day. It's not an easy task, but I see the rewards every day as I watch my own children experience God, experience answered prayers, experience His grace, and experience His love. If the list above seems daunting start with a few things to develop habits in your behaviors and those habit then become those of your children." Start with praying out loud and over your children. If you don't know what to pray, open the Bible and read to them out loud. Blessings and Joy, Elizabeth