Last week I sought to answer one humble mom’s request for advice. Here is the second half of her question:
I want to be a godly mother who sits on the floor reading books to my little one. I want to enjoy the little moments, singing songs to him, but most of the time I’d rather be getting the laundry folded, the dinner cooking or cleaning the house so that I can scratch another thing off my to-do list. Can you give me any advice? How can I change this attitude on a practical level, for I know God must first change my heart. What does it mean to be a good mom? How do you know when to play with your kids and when to make them play by themselves? When do you read them a book and when is it OK to fold the laundry?
This mother’s question touches on an important topic, for I am concerned that some moms of young children live under a load of self-imposed guilt. There are many reasons for this and the result is that we often feel guilty for things that are not sinful and sometimes neglect the things that Scripture does call us to. But that is another post for another time! Whatever the source, the solution is, as always, to return to Scripture.
First of all God’s Word tells us what we are called to do as moms. Among other responsibilities, we are to love our children (Titus 2:3-5). And 1 Corinthians 13 spells this out for us: love is patient, kind, not self-seeking or easily angered. You know it well.
The important thing to remember here is that love is not a feeling. It is something we do. So when we don’t feel like enjoying our children, but sacrifice to serve them anyways, this is not sin but obedience. Now feelings are an indicator so we aren’t to ignore them—but they don’t necessarily mean we have sinned. We should not feel guilty simply because we do not feel like enjoying our children.
What we need to do is ask ourselves, Am I caring for my child’s physical, spiritual, and emotional needs, regardless of what I feel like? Am I loving my child (in a 1 Corinthians
13 way) even when I don’t want to?
Sometimes this does mean stopping what we are doing to read them a book or sing them a song. But we also love our children by serving our husband first, keeping our home orderly, serving in the church, and having a consistent quiet time. Sometimes we love our children best by letting them play by themselves for a while!
On a personal note, when my girls have struggled with feeling like they don’t spend enough time “playing” with their children, I’ve reminded them of my mom. I don’t remember my mom getting on the floor and playing with us or taking us to all kinds of special outings or planning special projects.
But she was there for us. Not only was she physically present in the home, but more importantly, she was content to be there. She worked from sun-up to sundown to keep a clean and orderly home, do the laundry, cook economical meals, serve neighbors and church members. She did our hair each morning, helped us with our homework, read us a bedtime story. She was eager to listen to us, available to help us, happy to be right where she was.
And she raised five children who all adored her. I don’t think any of us for a single second ever doubted her love.
May God give all of us grace to love our children with this 1 Corinthians 13 kind of love.
Just give ‘em a hose!
As mothers it can feel like a wave of worldly, distorted messages about beauty has been ominously rising, only to crash on our heads just as we try to get our mothering feet wet.
The pressure on young girls to conform to an ideal mold of physical beauty is so much more intense than a generation ago. The beguiling voice of the seductive woman is so much louder and more enticing to young men than it used to be.
We mothers can feel helpless in the face of this cultural tsunami. It saturates the music in the mall, it’s splashed on the front of graphic T’s and TV screens, and it soaks through the whispers of kids from school.
How then do we raise our children in this world of beauty gone bad? How can we possibly lift our daughters above the rising tide of destructive messages about beauty from our culture? How can we hope to rescue our sons from the temptation to seek a false ideal of physical beauty?
Take heart, dear mothers. We may feel helpless, but God has promised to help us: “Fear not, for I am with you; be notdismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you” (Isa.41:10).
The beauty of grace that has overwhelmed our own hearts through the gospel of Jesus Christ has lost none of its power. Our Savior can do for our children as he did for us. So we pray with hope, hope in God to open the eyes of the hearts of our children to the dazzling beauty of Jesus Christ.
But our parental prayers, as we know, are meant to issue is faithful action. So over the next few weeks here at girltalk, we will consider a few age-appropriate strategies for teaching our children a biblical perspective of beauty.
Happy weekend from the Munchie!
I am a full time stay at home mom to my one year old son. Over the last couple of months I find myself longing for my son’s nap time to come so that I can have some “me” time, either reading
online, watching YouTube, checking Facebook or just wasting time on the net while sipping my cup of hot tea. I want to be a godly mother who sits on the floor reading books to my little one. I want to enjoy the little moments, singing songs to him, but most of the time I’d rather be getting the laundry folded, the dinner cooking or cleaning the house so that I can scratch another thing off my to-do list. Can you give me any advice? How can I change this attitude on a practical level, for I know God must first change my heart.
First, I want to encourage you for your humility. It is obvious you want to be a godly mother and I am confident God will give you grace—and is already giving you grace—to do so!And let me say, I don’t know any mom with young children who doesn’t long for nap time to come! I know I sure did when my kids were little! There is nothing in God’s Word that says you should not desire rest.
In fact, God has ordained rest. He himself rested on the seventh day.
And God created us to need rest. We moms are creatures. We have limitations. We get tired and we need rest. That’s the way God has created us to be. It is one of the ways he reminds us of our dependence upon him.
And as we said all along in our series on the Internet, it is not wrong to enjoy Facebook or read articles online. These can be wonderful ways to relax, stay in touch with friends and family, grow in our knowledge of God and the world etc..
But instead of “me” time, we as Christians should approach all our time—even our leisure time—as “God” time. Therefore we should rest to His glory, just as we work to His glory. And bringing our rest into this light helps us to evaluate it biblically:
Is the content of my restful activities God-glorifying? (1 Cor. 10:13, Col. 3:17)
Is the goal of my rest to be refreshed in order to better serve my family and others? (Matt. 20:26-28)
Is the time I spend on leisure activities appropriate or excessive (one way to tell is if essential things aren’t getting done!)? (Prov. 20:4)
As moms, if we bring our leisure time into the light of God’s Word we can enjoy it for His glory. This will not only protect us from excessive or idolatrous pursuit of restful activities, but it will also help us to enjoy the rest God provides, that we may be refreshed for service.
But you’re asking a great question which has sparked a few more thoughts, so I’ll pick up here next week.
~from the archives
Every Saturday night my mom made us breakfast for dinner.
Pancakes were my favorite.
Especially when she made them with chocolate chips,
and let us have Cool Whip.
It wasn’t a big deal, but I never forgot.
Now my kids get breakfast for dinner on Saturday. Sometimes they get chocolate chips and Cool Whip, too.
It’s not a big deal. But maybe they won’t forget, and maybe someday their kids will get pancakes on Saturday too.
A few months ago, when the weather was mild and our kids were playing together at a park, Janelle and I chatted about writing a few mothering posts for the blog.
“I don’t know,” she hesitated, when I pitched the idea. “I am very aware of my sins and shortcomings as a mom.”
“Me too!” I agreed. “But maybe that’s why we should write about it. If nothing else it will challenge us to be more faithful mothers.”
“I guess so,” she agreed, before calling to our children that it was time to go. A chorus of complaints met this announcement and we both looked at each other and laughed. “Yep, we’ve got a lot of work to do!”
We aren’t perfect mothers and we don’t pretend to be.
But that doesn’t mean we are content with imperfect. The mothering bar we’re aiming for is high. It has been set in place by God himself: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).
As moms we must be humble and admit we fall short of the bar of mothering perfection. Very. Far. Short. We are not always patient with our children. We are not always faithful to teach and train and discipline. We give in to selfishness, anger, laziness, and grumbling.
That’s why a mother who is grounded in the gospel looks two ways. She really does have eyes in the back of her head.
A gospel-centered mom first looks back to her justification in Christ. She remembers that all of her mothering sins and shortcomings have been nailed to the cross of Jesus Christ. That he became sin for her that in him she might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21).
But she doesn’t stop there. The gospel-centered mom looks forward too. She strives with the Holy Spirit’s power that works within her to be perfect as her heavenly Father is perfect. She stands on the ground of forgiveness and accesses grace—through God’s Word, through counsel from godly women, and through prayer—to grow as a mom. To be more patient, more joyful, more consistent, more loving. To be perfect.
Moms need grace. We need grace to admit that we are weak and grace to not settle into those weaknesses. We need grace that frees and forgives and grace that gives power to grow.
~from the archives
Debbie has a cute funny for us this week. See y’all Monday! Nicole for the girltalkers
I was early in my fourth pregnancy feeling quite tired and green. Needless to say, the house had not had much attention in a while. I walked into the living room to find my three year old daughter walking on the sofa. She knew that was not allowed in our home. So with the little energy I had I managed to gently remind her “Honey, you know you are not allowed to walk on the furniture.” Her sweet reply was simply, “Mommy I am not walking on the sofa…I am wiping the crumbs off my feet!” True Story!