Mother's day approaches and I find myself prayerfully desiring to magnify Christ with my motherhood, and to finish the work He's given me to do in bringing up my sons in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. I also find myself thanking God for the mother He gave me and noticing women and mothers all around me, praying that they would find their worth in Christ and thereby truly fulfill their call to nurse and train others up in His ways. And I find myself rejoicing in the beauty of adoption as I get to see my God set the fatherless in the family of my sister and her husband and watch as He makes a barren woman the happy mother of children.
Mothering is a reflection of our great God and when we walk in the grace of Christ's life working in and through us, our mothering becomes a monument built up for the glory of God.
If you are a mom, God has given you a house to build for Him.
Oh how I'm preaching to myself here!
It's not an unnoticed work when its done unto the Lord. He sees. He cares. He gently leads. Just as He gave Leah and Rachel the ministry of building the house of Israel for Him, by giving their lives to raising 12 sons, He has given you and me the ministry of building a home that reflects His glory by giving our lives to raising our kids in His ways. That's not just telling them His ways (though it is that too), but raising them IN His ways.
He's given us the ministry of bringing up children IN an environment of HIS ways. That means we must be dying to self and following Christ daily. It means we give them a home where they hear prayer and praise, wisdom and kindness from our lips and our actions. It means they see us respecting their father (whether we're married or divorced). It means they see us reaching out to others in Jesus' name, loving His word and trusting in His promise of new life.
We have such a great calling! It's great and it's by the grace of God that we get to partake of some of His story as moms!
Lately the Spirit has been speaking these things to me:
1. Don't try to extract the poison, the flesh, the "tares" from them, just pour the good, the pure milk, the clean water of God's word into them. This means I must stop fretting over every evidence of the sinful, fleshly nature I see in them, trying to pull out every weed and drop of poison, but rather I must faithfully water them with the word and bring them up in a life of God's good ways. This doesn't mean I don't discipline them, it just means I don't tailor a heavy yoke of trying to strain out every bit of flesh I see, rather I let God's law (God's word) be their teacher and boundaries. Nor does this mean that I don't care about the sinful, fleshly tendencies I see in them. It just means I cast all those cares upon the Lord, intercede for them, and trust in God's promise which is stronger than their nature.
2. Building healthy children begins with a friendship with their father. This means that just as my sons were physically born because I united myself with my husband (in the intimate bond of friendship God made for husband's and wives to enjoy), just as it was the tool through which God brought two new lives into this world, it is the tool through which He builds up healthy lives in them. And in spirit, as I intimately bond with Christ in prayer and praise, new life is in me and I am able to build up, not suck the life out of, my husband and children. More important than any specific teaching or action is that I am satisfied in Christ, that I do all I do as unto Him, and that display love and respect to my husband before my kids.
3. Whatever you want for your children, you have to be first. I think that's self-explanatory. Specifically the Spirit is leading me to lead my kids into a life of fearing God not man by conquering my own tendency to fear man. And the sure-fire way to destroy the fear of man is to preach and serve Christ. So I am praying for and looking for ways to, in my children's presence, preach Christ and serve Christ to their peers and the people I encounter in a day. One of the ways that I've begun to do this is by visiting my son at lunchtime at his school and giving thanks to God with him and his friends. He's so afraid of what his friends will think of him because he doesn't see them pray, but I pray that seeing me pray in the midst of them, without fear, will blaze a trail of confidence in God (fearing God) rather than a false confidence in man.
4. Teaching them will draw others to Christ. Jesus pointed out that He was here to feed His children (referring to Israel, specifically His 12) and when the gentiles came to receive from Him, He said things like, "Why should I give the food meant for the children to the dogs?" He wasn't being mean. He was doing the work His Father gave Him to do rather than the work that men wanted Him to do. But in doing so He wasn't merciless to those outside of the house of Israel. In fact in His commitment to teach His 12, using every encounter to set them examples and speak words that would lead and guide them, He often involved Gentiles who were saved while Christ taught His twelve through them.
I long for the people around me to know Christ, the people "out there", yet I feel restrained and powerless to reach them. God has a work for me to do even though I see a lot of work "out there" that I could do. Yet, even so, God is powerful, and in doing the work of teaching my sons His ways and setting examples for them to follow, I get to reach out to the "others" in my life. It's requiring prayer and a sensitivity to His Spirit, and a willingness to submit to His will and turn from my plans when they may not be His.
5. Keep fighting for your kids in prayer... God is! For the past several weeks I've been meeting with two other women in my area for a Moms In Touch International (MITI) meeting once a week. We get together and we pray for about an hour for our kids, they're friends, and their schools. It's awesome!
Last night, on the way to the store, I caught a piece of a speaker speaking to a conference of MITI. He talked about how his mom (the founder of MITI) faithfully clung to God's word and never let God forget about her son though he strayed from the Lord. My heart was so touched. My sons are only 6 and 4 and yet I already feel them slipping from my grasp. So then, rather than trying to cling to them, I must cling to God's word and lift them up in my hands to God, and not grow weary in interceding for them.
The speaker gave this scripture and I know it's for me to take in praying for my kids in the power of God:
...the Lord your God Himself fights for you... Deuteronomy 3:22
Lately I've grown weary, overwhelmed with what I see circumstancially, and what I know about my sinful nature. I've been hearing the accusations of the enemy, and the condemnation he throws my way, and I've cowered in weeping. But the Spirit has been a faithful friend to lift my head and remind me of the way to overcome my accuser and to help me remember the promise of God's word which is more true than what I see.
May the Lord continue to help me in my weakness, to help each of us in our desire to build up a home that brings Him glory, and to intercede for our children without loosing heart.
Happy Mother's Day mom and all you moms!
Here's that wonderful "Invisible Woman" video. I never get tired of watching it! :)
And here's the link to the message from Ty Nichols, Fern Nichols ( the founder of MITI) son.
Also, here's a link to the Moms In Touch International site.