Do you have kids? I have three children. There is less than three years span from the eldest to the youngest. When they were all in diapers, only one could walk, and two were still in a crib I was pretty sure I was NOT going to survive motherhood. Now that they are all in the “home stretch” of the teen years, embarking into adulthood, I am completely confident that we all survived just fine, despite my many shortcomings. I can remember snuggling them to sleep after a long day of never-ending diaper changes, picking up toys only to turn around and see them all out again, changing clothes from blowouts on either end. Feeding the toddler breakfast and lunch, spoon feeding cereal and baby food to the baby and nursing the infant, trying desperately to keep them all satisfied in a timely manner. Keeping the floor vacuumed so the babies don’t get dirty or eat something gross. Doing laundry so they didn’t run out of cloths after the 20 changes that day. Getting supper ready so when my husband got home he didn’t have to come from the stress of work into a chaotic home, and MAYBE having time to keep clean underwear in the drawer. (I was really bad at that last one). After a day like that, which was mostly every single day, I would lay down with my son to snuggle him to sleep while the girls slept in the cribs and I would just cry. Partly from the joy of how much I loved these little bundles of cuteness, and gratefulness that God would entrust them to me. Partly because I was exhausted from the day. Mostly, though, they were tears of absolute fear that I was in way over my head and I was terrified that I was going to be a horrible mother. TERRIFIED.
Motherhood is no joke y’all! I mean, we all want to give the absolute best to our kids. We want to see them succeed in life and we can’t stand to see them suffer. So, we read books, get advice from every mother we know, research every little ailment and abnormality, and (Lord, help us) we see what everyone else is doing on social media. Why? Simply because we love our children so much and desperately want to be the absolute best mom we can be. There really is no playbook to follow when they hand us our first baby. In a world where the LOUD minority have taken center stage on almost every issue known to man and claim “expert” as their platform, motherhood has become even more exhausting. With every new fad comes just one more expectation that moms compare themselves to. Can I please give you permission to just STOP. We make it way to hard on ourselves!
I am so grateful for some godly women that God put in my life who shared their wisdom with me in those early years of motherhood. These women taught me to slow down. They taught me to ignore the hype of “mainstream” media. There may not be a playbook on every little detail of motherhood, but these women helped me learn what biblical motherhood looked like. The Bible doesn’t tell you what kind of diaper to use, what age do you start baby food, should they sleep in your room or their own room, because none of that matters! Your child is unique, your lifestyle is unique, so your parenting choices should be unique. The Bible does, however, give us some black and white responsibilities as it relates to our role as mother. Here are the main ones.
Love. This is a no-brainer, I know. We have a God-given responsibility to love our children. This love is shown in many ways, including the next three responsibilities we are going to look at. One of the things that God urges the older women in the church to teach the younger to do is to love their children. (Titus 2:4) Proverbs 31 gives us a beautiful insight into how a woman loves her children, by feeding them, clothing them, working hard for them, and keeping a godly home.
Teach & Guide. We have a duty, as born again believers, to teach our children to love God (Deuteronomy 6:5-7). Solomon, well-known for his God-given wisdom, notes that mothers are to be teaching their children. (Proverbs 1:8, Proverbs 6:20, Proverbs 31). Timothy was noticed for his sincere faith which was a direct result of the teaching and guidance of his mother and grandmother. (2 Timothy 1:5) We must teach our children the gospel and guide them into a relationship with Christ. We teach them how to walk with God, how to talk to God, and how to listen to God. If we, as Christian moms, don’t teach our children to follow Christ, there is an enemy who will gladly come in and lead them in another direction. God tells us in the ever popular, wildly mis-interpreted proverb, to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) This, contrary to some opinions, is not a promise. It is, however, a general rule that when followed has a very high success rate. When ignored, and a child is not trained and guided “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) it is a near certainty that the child will not follow the Lord into adulthood.
Discipline. One of the most debated topics among opinionated mommas. I won’t throw my opinion in the mix. I would much rather see what God says, as He is the one we should be following in every area of life. God gives us plenty of warnings and wisdom when it comes to disciplining our children. Usually, each parent will have their own opinion when it comes to discipline style, but the Bible is clear that parents need to share the responsibility of discipline. (Luke 2:48, Hebrews 12:7-9) The Bible is also clear that there are various ways to discipline, but discipline must be a part of a child’s life. (Hebrews 12:10-11) True discipline corrects and guides the heart of the child. Behavior modification only works to a point and when our discipline only addresses the behavior and not the heart it will not be effective long-term. So, our discipline needs to be thought out, varied in application, and bathed in love and compassion for our child. There is a time, in every child’s life, where a healthy, loving, non-angry spanking is in order. Ok, there are lots (and lots) of times. God tells us very plainly in Proverbs 13:24 that “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” We are told that a child who gets his own way brings shame on his parents but a child who is corrected brings you comfort. (Proverbs 29:15, Proverbs 29:17.) Proverbs 23:13 says “do not hold back discipline from the child, although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.” The bottom line is this: every child craves a disciplined environment. A child who has a disciplined life from birth has a great shot at being a very well-adjusted, responsible teenager and will have an awesome head start into adulthood. In contrast, a child with little to no discipline in their life will likely never grow up, cause his parents a lot of grief and will definitely struggle in many areas of life.
Pray. The single, most important thing you could ever do as a mom is to pray for your child. We must pray, believing that God hears us. We must pray in the will of our Heavenly Father, not our own will. (1 John 5:14) There are plenty of times when we are at the end of our rope with one or more of our children. They might be going through a part of their journey that has you worried and full of sorrow for them. There will be times that you just don’t even know what to pray for. Pray anyway. I love Romans 8:26-27 that tells us that the Holy Spirit searches our hearts, helps us in our weakness and intercedes on our behalf when we can’t even think clear enough to gather our thoughts. When you wonder if your prayers really even matter, then jump over to James 5:16b and read “the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” Like Hannah, we can pray for our children even before we have them and pray for them as they grow. (1 Samuel 1-2). We should be praying for their salvation. We should be praying for their future spouse. We should thank God for them always. We can pray when we’re frustrated with them, ask for guidance on how to deal with them, pray for patience when they have high energy. As they grow, we pray for their struggles, show thanks for their strengths and ask for God to develop their gifts and talents. Pray that they walk in the Spirit and don’t give in to the sinful pleasures of the world. The list is obviously endless, but the responsibility is vital. Get in the practice of praying for your children.
You might be wondering where this week and my last blog post fit into the series of Christian Women Working. Next, we will be looking at the biblical role of women in the church. After that, we are going to take a practical look at how we can fulfill our God-given role in every area of life when we also are juggling a career in the mix. Out of what we looked at today (I hope you looked up the scripture passages), which responsibility do you struggle with the most? Are there any other Bible passages that have helped you in your journey as a mother? Drop a comment below so we can all be encouraged and encourage one another! We moms need all the encouragement we can get!