This post is going to have 3 parts. The first is a blog that the Lord really used to speak to me, then 2 parts about what I got from it!! This is a long one!!
Part 1: Motherhood Is a Calling (And Where Your Children Rank)
by Rachel Jankovic | July 14, 2011
A few years ago, when I just had four children and when the oldest was still three, I loaded them all up to go on a walk. After the final sippy cup had found a place and we were ready to go, my two-year-old turned to me and said, “Wow! You have your hands full!”
She could have just as well said, “Don’t you know what causes that?” or “Are they all yours?!”
Everywhere you go, people want to talk about your children. Why you shouldn’t have had them, how you could have prevented them, and why they would never do what you have done. They want to make sure you know that you won’t be smiling anymore when they are teenagers. All this at the grocery store, in line, while your children listen.
A Rock-Bottom Job?
The truth is that years ago, before this generation of mothers was even born, our society decided where children rank in the list of important things. When abortion was legalized, we wrote it into law.
Children rank way below college. Below world travel for sure. Below the ability to go out at night at your leisure. Below honing your body at the gym. Below any job you may have or hope to get. In fact, children rate below your desire to sit around and pick your toes, if that is what you want to do. Below everything. Children are the last thing you should ever spend your time doing.
If you grew up in this culture, it is very hard to get a biblical perspective on motherhood, to think like a free Christian woman about your life, your children. How much have we listened to partial truths and half lies? Do we believe that we want children because there is some biological urge, or the phantom “baby itch”? Are we really in this because of cute little clothes and photo opportunities? Is motherhood a rock-bottom job for those who can’t do more, or those who are satisfied with drudgery? If so, what were we thinking?
It’s Not a Hobby
Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for.
Christian mothers carry their children in hostile territory. When you are in public with them, you are standing with, and defending, the objects of cultural dislike. You are publicly testifying that you value what God values, and that you refuse to value what the world values. You stand with the defenseless and in front of the needy. You represent everything that our culture hates, because you represent laying down your life for another—and laying down your life for another represents the gospel.
Our culture is simply afraid of death. Laying down your own life, in any way, is terrifying. Strangely, it is that fear that drives the abortion industry: fear that your dreams will die, that your future will die, that your freedom will die—and trying to escape that death by running into the arms of death.
Run to the Cross
But a Christian should have a different paradigm. We should run to to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized. Lay down your fussiness at your children. Lay down your perfectly clean house. Lay down your grievances about the life you are living. Lay down the imaginary life you could have had by yourself. Let it go.
Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.
The Bible is clear about the value of children. Jesus loved them, and we are commanded to love them, to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. We are to imitate God and take pleasure in our children.
The Question Is How
The question here is not whether you are representing the gospel, it is how you are representing it. Have you given your life to your children resentfully? Do you tally every thing you do for them like a loan shark tallies debts? Or do you give them life the way God gave it to us—freely?
It isn’t enough to pretend. You might fool a few people. That person in line at the store might believe you when you plaster on a fake smile, but your children won’t. They know exactly where they stand with you. They know the things that you rate above them. They know everything you resent and hold against them. They know that you faked a cheerful answer to that lady, only to whisper threats or bark at them in the car.
Children know the difference between a mother who is saving face to a stranger and a mother who defends their life and their worth with her smile, her love, and her absolute loyalty.
Hands Full of Good Things
When my little girl told me, “Your hands are full!” I was so thankful that she already knew what my answer would be. It was the same one that I always gave: “Yes they are—full of good things!”
Live the gospel in the things that no one sees. Sacrifice for your children in places that only they will know about. Put their value ahead of yours. Grow them up in the clean air of gospel living. Your testimony to the gospel in the little details of your life is more valuable to them than you can imagine. If you tell them the gospel, but live to yourself, they will never believe it. Give your life for theirs every day, joyfully. Lay down pettiness. Lay down fussiness. Lay down resentment about the dishes, about the laundry, about how no one knows how hard you work.
Stop clinging to yourself and cling to the cross. There is more joy and more life and more laughter on the other side of death than you can possibly carry alone.
Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of “Loving the Little Years” and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).
Part 2: I love how God can use someone you haven’t seen or talked to in forever to encourage you and remind you of His plan for your life. God did that on Sunday for me. Emory and I recently started attending a new church, one that is much closer to our home. I am sure most of you know how difficult it is to uproot your family from a church you are so invested in, and make a change. It is a change we have been discussing for over a year, and finally felt as if God was saying now is the time….Do it now. So, we spent the summer visiting this new church, participating in their VBS and learning our way around a new building and new classes. The kids have adapted very well. They have friends from school and extra-curricular activities that are in their Sunday School class and they love it. That is why we made the move. We did it for them, so they would have friends at church that they also went to school with. As most of you know, it is harder as adults, it is hard to get plugged into a new class, make friends, etc. That’s where we are though, trying to find a new Sunday school class, new friends, etc. We know several families that attend this new church, in fact, 5 of them live in our neighborhood, and 3 others have adopted through Faithful Adoption Consultants. It’s not like we don’t know anyone….but, still it is hard.
Last Sunday, after Sunday School, we ran into a couple that we haven’t seen in quite some time….it was such a divine appointment, and I am sure she has no idea that I feel that way. She has no idea that God used her Sunday morning in a mighty way. She probably has no idea that God spoke to me through her.
So, I’ll back up just a bit…..As you all know, we have 6 children 8 and under. We own 2 businesses and stay very busy between church involvement, kiddos schedules and work. Lately, I have felt very alone. I have had many pity parties for myself. Allowing Satan to whisper in my ear things like, “Noone gets you and your family, noone wants to be friends with someone with 6 little kiddos, you don’t have time for friends, etc, etc.” I have believed those lies, and I have felt very isolated because of them. The truth is that just like the blog above, this is my calling. The Lord has called me to be a mother to 6 beautiful children. He has called me to invest myself into them, to lay my life, my wants and desires down for them. He has called me to give up friendships, and activities that I once enjoyed, so that I can invest in them.
On Sunday, I ran into an old friend. She basically said everything the blog above says, and she said it 48 hours before the Lord allowed me to read the blog above. She told me of her feelings of isolation and loneliness, and her desire for more friendships, but that God gently reminded her that this is the season of life that she is in. This is the time when she needs to pour into her children, love on them, teach them, disciple them, etc. This is a crucial time in the lives of her children, and this is her purpose.
Now, you may be thinking, OF COURSE IT IS!! But, for me…that was a revelation. It wasn’t anything that I didn’t already know, but a new perspective about how I was feeling. It instantly gave me a new outlook, a new way to look at the season of life that I am in.
So, the post above was another way of God reiterating to me, that this is where HE has put me, that it’s okay not to have friends that I hang out with, that doesn’t make me weird or unlikeable, and that is what I needed reassurance of. I needed to be reminded of my purpose.
I can very much relate to the writer in the 1st paragraph, when she tells of her 2 year old telling her that her hands are full. We often get similar statements when we walk into public places with 6 children. We also get many other comments, some nicer than others. I feel very confident that our answers have honored our children, and always given them value and self worth, but this brought to my attention the need to make sure that my answers always do. That when people suggest that my hands are full, that I tell them YES, they are full of 6 beautiful, happy, smart children. To tell them that I couldn’t imagine my hands with anything else in them! I need to make sure not to give an answer for those people to hear in order to brush them off, but give an answer for my kids to hear in order to encourage them! We want our children to know that God called us to be their parents, that He called us to have 6 kids and that He has chosen each one of them for THIS family. We want our kids to see that we always have the attitude that the Lord has blessed us with the privilege of being parents to 6 of His children.
Part 3: The last thing that really spoke to me in this post was in the last section. I realized that I am guilty of not always doing things joyfully. The Lord really convicted me of the attitude in which I choose to do things. I want to make sure that my children see me helping them with homework, cleaning, cooking, etc with a joyful heart. That helping them, and doing things for them is not a nuisance, but a privilege.
I know this post was incredibly long, and for that I apologize. I just wanted to share my heart, in case anyone else is feeling the same way I was. The Lord has given me such a peace since Sunday, and I am so grateful. I felt like I needed to share it!!