“Just wanted to say thanks for Janelle’s post yesterday,” wrote one mom:
“I just got home from an outrageously awful trip to run errands with my 5 and 3 year old. There was complaining, arguing, rude talk, mean faces (probably from me too, I didn’t have a mirror), a couple of “in your face” disobedience moments, a small melt-down, and a moment when I started praying for help because I literally thought my 3 year old had been taken at the post office, but no she was just hiding behind something because she didn’t want to come when I asked. On my way home I kept thinking, “what is wrong with me?” “Why am I failing at parenting?” We got home, I fixed everyone a snack, let the kids have a little TV time and sat down to read your blog. And that was when I read the post from yesterday for the first time. Thanks for being real and speaking DIRECTLY to my situation today!”
Oh my, can I relate! I can still vividly recall some of those “outrageously awful” errand runs when my girls were little! Those are days as a mother that you don’t easily forget.
As moms, we are quite familiar with the meaning of our Lord’s words in Matthew 6:34: “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Scripture tells it like it is. It doesn’t present some kind of happy-go-lucky picture of the Christian life. No, it says we will have trouble. And each day will have enough of it’s own. In other words, “outrageously awful” errand runs are to be expected.
There may be a massive dis-connect between my own expectations of motherhood and what happens in real life, but there is no disconnect between Scripture and reality. The harder life and motherhood gets the more we see how relevant Scripture is.
And because an “outrageously awful” errand trip is just about as much as we can handle for one day—not to mention that it may be on top of other, more significant, trials we are facing—Jesus warns us not to do something that me, this mom, and most all of us are prone to do at a time like this: worry about the future. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” (Mt. 6:34).
Here’s a rule to live by: Never evaluate your mothering after an “outrageously awful” errand run. Oh I broke this rule a thousand times when my kids were little. Just like this mom, I asked questions like “What’s wrong with me?” and “Why am I failing at parenting?”—questions that draw all kinds of conclusions but offer no answers.
But in these motherhood moments we need the realistic perspective of Scripture. These things will happen. They are to be expected. And they do not mean that I am a failure as a mother or that my children will never receive the gospel and follow Christ. They are simply what Scripture says: the daily allotment of trouble.
And so my first job is not to be anxious about tomorrow or predict my children’s future based on one day’s difficulty. Why? Because I know that my heavenly Father cares for me. If you too had an “outrageously awful” day of mothering today, read Matthew 6:25-34 and rejoice in the God of today and tomorrow.
“How sweet the name of Jesus…the rock on which I build, my shield and hiding place, my never failing treasury, filled with boundless stores of grace.” ~John Newton
So many of you faithful, exhausted, moms wrote in following Janelle’s post last week on gospel-centered mothering. We hear ya because we are right there with ya! And we’ve had several encouraging conversations with Mom over the weekend that we hope to share with you in the days to come.
Yesterday we were so blessed to have Dr. Tom Schreiner, his wife Diane, and several family members join us for our Sunday service. Dr. Schreiner preached from Romans 3:21-26 on the glorious gospel. At one point, Dr. Schreiner, spoke a word directly to dads, but it was a great reminder to me as a mom as well, so I took the great liberty of changing “dads” to “moms”:
“Moms: The most important thing as a mom is the tone in your home, that tone of joy and gladness. Your kids will know it. Your husband will know it. No matter what you say, they’ll know if you’re happy—fundamentally a happy person. You can’t fool children. You can tell them all kinds of things but they know it, don’t they? That gladness comes fundamentally not from our circumstances but from the gospel. From knowing God. From knowing what God has done for us. Then we’ll be thankful.”
As we talk about gospel-centered mothering, let’s not forget that our happiness as mothers comes not from our circumstances but from the gospel. So may God help us find great joy in the truth of these words today:
“But not the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he night be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” Romans 3:21-26
Slumber party with Mom-Mom!!!
God’s Word is like no other book: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16
How do we profit from Scripture?
...gives us peace (Ps. 119:165).
...fills us with hope (Col. 1:5).
...strengthens our faith (Rom. 10:17).
...revives our soul (Ps. 19:7).
...provides us with wisdom (Pr. 1:1-7, Matt. 7:24-27).
...guides us (Ps. 119:105).
...warns us (Deut 32:46).
...corrects us (2 Tim 3:16).
...comforts us (Ps. 119:50).
...enables us to fight sin (Ps. 119:11).
Most importantly, God’s Word leads us to Christ. (Heb 1:1-2).
So why do we neglect to read, study, memorize, and meditate on this precious, life-giving book?
As John Piper comments on Ps. 19:7:, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul”:
“Even on days when every cinder in our soul feels cold, if we crawl to the Word of God and cry out for ears to hear, the cold ashes will be lifted and the tiny spark of life will be fanned. For ‘the law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.’”
O may God help us to faithfully sit and listen to the Lord’s teaching!
~from the archives
You’re looking at dinner.
My son, Hudson, will be two in November, and while he brings his family tons of joy, his sinful nature is on full display. He has mastered the art of screaming and throwing himself on the floor when he doesn’t get his way. And when he’s really angry, he tries to hit me and pull my hair. Good times.
Caly and MJ—my two girls—are 6 and 4. They are at that really fun age where we can create family memories and build relationally. But they both struggle with emotional self-control and sometimes it feels like they cry all day long. Many days I just want to cry too.
Then I hear the phrase “gospel-centered parenting” and I want to crawl into a hole and never come out again.
It feels like yet another thing I’m not doing very well. Am I really supposed to explain God’s righteous wrath toward sin and the wonders of substitutionary atonement to MJ as she wails in despair because Caly won’t give her a turn with the toy cash register? Does gospel-centered parenting mean I have to remind Hudson of his desperate state as a sinner before a holy God, helpless to change without the power of the Holy Spirit, while he screams on the floor with one eye cocked to see if I’m taking in the performance?
Not to mention these things are happening all day long. If I am preaching the gospel to my children every time they sin, the health inspectors will soon be showing up at our door, because nothing else is gonna get done around here.
Please don’t misunderstand. I believe that all our parenting must be gospel-centered. But I think sometimes our idea of what that should look like gets muddled (at least mine does!). We can easily add on all kinds of additional and frankly unrealistic practices that aren’t in Scripture and then we feel overwhelmed by guilt that we are not “doing it right.”
But God’s commands are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). Sure, motherhood is hard work—the hardest job around. But if motherhood becomes a burden, it may be because we have added our own requirements to God’s commands. And thus, in our attempts to practice gospel-centered parenting we unintentionally miss out on grace.
We have a few more thoughts on this topic, but right now I gotta go. Hudson is throwing a fit.
25 Weeks Prego ~ Toes Almost Invisible
My sister, Kristin, and I both love working in the kitchen, but Kristin loves to cook and I love to bake. Honestly, we should work out some kind of system with each other. She makes all my meals and I make all her breads and desserts. Sounds fair, right? I’ll have to call her about that later.
Recently, I found a bread recipe that I have been really enjoying. It’s called “Crusty Bread” and it’s really simple. Simple ingredients and only a few simple steps to pull off the finished product. And it comes out looking so pretty and professional. I don’t know which I love more, the simplicity or the fact that it makes me feel like one of those Panera Bread makers. It’s not a sweet bread. It’s a bread that you would pair with soup or use to make grilled cheese. And the link below provides many different ingredient combinations that you can use to mix it up and make it unique. I’m trying sharp cheddar next.
Another reason I love this bread is that it would make a really fun gift. Check out the post where I found the recipe. I love how the author wrapped each loaf in a tea towel to deliver to friends. So I’m tucking this idea away for Christmas, but also plotting how I can use it now to bless someone in our new church.
So check out this recipe and see if you get as inspired as I did. I’m off to call Kristin.