I used to daydream about all the wonderful things I would do with and for my future children. I was going to make my own baby food and spend hours snuggling. I was going to patiently help with school work and play board games, dolls, and tea-party. I was going to teach my junior highers how to cook, have an amazing chore system, and have many late night chats with my teenagers. In their early adult years our relationship would move from a solely mother figure to that of also being a good friend. I was going to be an awesome mom!
But life doesn’t always work like it does in my dreams. I did not make my own baby food, I learned that I dislike playing dolls, board games with kids can be a real test in patience, and tea-parties gross me out because there is always dirt and fuzz swimming in my little tea cup. We are just now entering the teenage years and I am not sure what lies ahead for us here, but I do know it is easy to get confused about what a good mom really is.
Over the years I have learned the importance of spending time and playing with my children and that I should prayerfully consider decisions about schooling, extracurricular activities, friends, foods, and immunizations. But they are not the most important decisions we make as a mom and certainly do not dictate whether or not we are a good mom.
Here are some things we need to keep in mind as mothers.
As a mother we have a natural desire to protect our children. We would be willing to kill if someone tried to kidnap our kids wouldn’t we? But do we protect our children from ourselves?
We harm our kids by yelling, belittling, talking about them to others and disciplining in anger. It is not only damaging to our relationship with them but also to their little souls.
Love is shown in how we speak to our kids. Oh, I know this is a hard one, but do we know the value and understand the power of words? Our tone of voice and the words we choose to let come out of our mouths can be swords used to destroy or honey used to calm and heal (Pr. 16:24) . The way we speak to our children is a big indicators of who we love more in that moment. Them or ourselves.
Right away our mind goes to money, stuff and experiences. We want them to have a nicely decorated room, cute clothes, fun toys and lots of life experiences like trips to the zoo, music lessons, dance recitals, gymnastics, sports of various kinds, pets that they don’t want to take care of and a plethora of healthy foods. But these are not the most important provisions our children need.
More valuable and more beneficial than all of these things is the word of God. In it we find words that bring wisdom for this world and life for the world to come. You must be in the word regularly so that you can then teach those words to your children and help them see that their ultimate need is for a Savior, a Saviour who will provide them with everything they need for life and godliness.
I don’t mean that she clings to her children. As a mom we need to cling to our Redeemer. It is actually one of the biggest ways we can love our children. We mess up, all the time, our children see it and hopefully we do as well. This is why we need to cling to Jesus. He is our salvation, not just from hell, but also from ourselves and the messes we are capable of making.
We need to cling to Jesus in prayer. We should not go a day without asking God for wisdom and self-control as we parent our kids. We need to repent of our sins and our children need to see this.
We need to cling to Jesus for our growth in holiness. We do this by treasuring his word. God uses his word to change and grow us but this only happens as we read and study.
We need to cling to Jesus for our hope. He is our everything. He saves us from the wrath of God but he also saves us from our imperfect works and our sin. He was perfect for us, he died for our sins and he experienced the wrath of God for us. He helps us and he changes us, he comforts us and he teaches us.
We spend a lot of time trying to figure out what is best for our children. We spend hours researching and talking about healthy food options, whether or not to immunize and what kind of schooling to give our kids. We stress over nap times, nursing, manners and sugar and often seek our identity as a good mom in these things. While these are all important we treat them as if they are of ultimate importance when they aren’t.
Jesus is of ultimate importance. In him is where we must find our identity and to him we must point our children every day.