“My mother was always there, but never there.”
This quote has haunted me for years, in a good way. I can’t find the original source, but it is what I remember from an interview with the grown daughter of a well-known feminist editor. Her mom worked from home, but as far as her daughter was concerned, her mom was not present at home. She might as well not have been there at all.
I realized when I read this that it is possible to be a “stay-at-home mom” but not consistently stay at home. To be there for my kids in body but not in spirit. To get them breakfast, lunch, and dinner, provide clean clothes and shuttle service, but not give them my full attention.
Nothing less than my full attention is required, though, if I am to fulfill my biblical responsibilities as a mother: to teach them diligently (Deut 6:6-9), discipline them lovingly (Prov. 13:24), love them constantly (Titus 2:3-5).
And nothing can distract me from caring for my children faster than my Internet connection.
Going online takes the edge off the harder aspects of mothering. It thaws that icy feeling of isolation. It scratches that itch for “intelligent” conversation. It momentarily frees me from the mundane. And checking in with my phone or laptop for “just a moment” doesn’t seem like such a big deal.
But all of those moments come at a steep price. If my kids have to say my name three times before I look up because I’m glued to a fascinating article on my computer, or if I’m constantly checking my Twitter feed but fail to notice one of my children is speaking unkindly to his siblings, or if I go online every day (many times a day) but go several days in a row without praying for my children, what will my mothering legacy be?
One day, when my two sons and two daughters think back on their childhood home will they remember me as being fully, attentively, happily there?
Sick child meant no church yesterday, so I listened to several sermons online. This is an excerpt from a wonderful sermon on faith by Sinclair Ferguson:
The Lord is constantly calling us to obey Him in connection with things that we don’t know what the next step is going to be. But He is saying to us, “Will you not trust me?”
Remember the conversation that Simon Peter had with Jesus on that day of the breakfast at the sea in John 21? They are walking along and Jesus actually says to him, “Now trust me Peter, you are going to die for my sake.” And Peter sees the apostle John hanging behind and he says, “Well, tell me about this man.”
And you see what he is saying. He’s saying, “That’s a huge challenge to my life. I want to know that I’m getting fair dues. And before I fully trust you for this, I need to know what’s happening. Are other people going to do this? Or is this just me?”
Isn’t it amazing, that in other respects if the Lord said to us, “I have an exclusive plan for you. I don’t have this plan for anybody else, you’re the only one that has this plan,” we say, “I want to have that plan if nobody else is getting it.”
But when it comes to trusting Him we’re inclined to say, “I might trust you if everybody else is on board.”
And we face that challenge constantly, don’t we? We find ourselves in situations where faith is challenged and because there are others on board we march on and we stand up. But there are situations where there is nobody else there. From the human point of view, people are challenging us.
But from the divine point of view, the Lord is saying now, “Trust me. Know me well enough to trust me.”
~from “The Old Couple” by Sinclair Ferguson, June 12, 2012
For more on John 21 watch Mom’s message from The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference, “The Snare of Compare”
Today I drove to the bank.
I couldn’t find my deposit.
I drove home.
I couldn’t find my deposit.
I went back to the car.
I found my deposit.
I had been sitting on said deposit.
I drove back to the bank.
P.S. I’m pregnant.
Recently, Karen wrote in response to the post, “Because We Want To”:
As I read it I thought, “Yes, people are like this, restless and wanting diversion from reality.” And I realized as I read that I can understand people who don’t know Christ seeking solace in the distraction of the Internet, perfectly logical. But why does it also often describe me, as a believer? And not just me obviously or you wouldn’t be writing this series.
What have we missed in our understanding of our faith and our life in Jesus that we could fall into such a cheap substitute for real rest and peace? How could we buy this lie?
It’s something I will be thinking and praying about much more in the weeks ahead—and discussing with my friends (not on-line!) Thank you for your wise use of technology that is opening my eyes to face this and to hopefully in the process, draw closer to Jesus through His word. I am so glad He is the real source of peace in a heart-breaking world.
Our hope for this little conversation is to provoke all of us to ask heart questions like Karen. And to find our answers, with the help of the Holy Spirit, in the Word of God. Out of hearts satisfied in Christ, may we steward the gift of the Internet in such a way that keeps us from being “ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 1:5-9).
We’ll pick up the conversation next week, talking about online habits and home life.
As of yesterday, you can now watch the video from Mom’s message at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference. Enjoy!