Now that I have six adult children and my last child soon to turn that corner (unless I can figure out a way to keep him from getting any older!) I’ve been thinking about my role as a mom these past 25 years. I started out knowing so very little about what makes a good mom. I was a bit scared. I had no confidence. I certainly hadn’t formed any lofty long-range plans; I still had to learn how to hold a newborn and change a diaper!
Armed with a few good books and surrounded by some experienced godly mothers I became a student mother. From learning how to care for a baby, to diagnosing health symptoms and gathering healthy recipes, to compiling excellent read aloud books, I wanted to give my children the best my mind could afford. I’m so thankful for the resources and friends who invested in my life those early years of motherhood and homeschooling.
Though I had so much to learn, the one thing I did have was an overwhelming love for my children. Long before my first child was born, they had captured my heart! My life with seven children 10 and under was crazy, but I am even more crazy about each one of my children – how could I ever imagine life without one of them?
This love, a gift of God’s grace for sure, has shaped my priorities, has motivated me in the most challenging moments of motherhood and homeschooling, and has inspired me to have a big vision for my kids. God is our confidence and His gift of faith helps us moms to love loudly, pray boldly, and dream grandly for our children.
In thinking back about my journey as a mom these past 25 years, I started making a short list of what a mother’s love enables us to be and do.
A godly mom’s love–
• Gives you the determination to tackle labor and delivery like a mud runner (remembering some pretty intense back labors, an emergency C section, and two 9+ lb. boys!)
• Turns nursing an infant or caring for a sick child in the middle of the night a moment to treasure as you realize you are giving life to that child (how many nights was I up all night as the stomach flu made the rounds through seven children? I sure am thankful for a washer and dryer for all the sheets we could quickly recycle during those sick times!)
• Fills you with a longing to see God’s hand of blessing on your children; this keeps you on your knees praying God would work in their minds and hearts to seek after Him and His Word, even after they become adults (You never stop praying for your children, no matter how old they become).
• Motivates you to go over the same math concept with your kid 20 times if that’s what it takes for her to finally get it (What homeschooling mom hasn’t done this!)
• Swells your heart with pride when you see your child persevere against great odds to accomplish a good goal (like getting up and finishing that relay race after he tripped and fell coming around the last bend, or continuing to sing that solo with a smile after forgetting a line, or rewriting that essay after losing it when a storm knocked out the computer)
• Makes it easier to stay up late at night even when you’re exhausted, just so you can listen to your son or daughter pour out their heart (Some of my most meaningful moments with my teens have been us sitting on my bed talking in the wee hours of the morning).
• Helps you stand by your child when they make bad choices, showing them grace, giving them truth and never deserting them, even if they have to experience some negative consequences for their choices (I’m thinking back to some speeding tickets right now…)
• Wakes you up at night to intercede for a child who’s really going through a personal struggle (maybe it’s an ongoing health problem, a relationship issue, a battle with a besetting sin, or a need to hear God’s direction)
• Strengthens you to spend hours, often late at night helping your son write that high school English essay before his deadline (Time to put the coffee pot on!)
• Empowers you to say “yes” to your kids’ creative ideas, just because they want to be with you, and you know that’s not something to take for granted (camping out in the backyard, turning your family room into a theater for a day, running around the yard in the rain, baking 1000 cookies to give away to neighbors, having countless tea parties with your girls, or taking a hunter safety course and going shooting with your son!)
Plus a thousand other things, like–
• Giving God’s Word, day in and day out, and praying it takes root and grows in their hearts
• Changing countless diapers (my rough estimate is in the tens of thousands)
• Preparing meals that totaled, would feed a MLB-size stadium of people
• Washing enough loads of laundry to completely cover the state of Texas!
• Reading hundreds of books out loud
• Giving an unending supply of hugs, kisses, and back rubs
Even though we do all these things, and for the most part, they come naturally to us, being a mom isn’t easy; it’s never easy. Every day is a reminder that I am still learning. I still find myself scratching my head and asking God, “Okay, now what do I do, Lord?” I still worry about my kids’ choices; I still feel at times I could have parented better in a certain situation, and I regularly cry out to God for His help, “God, I just can’t do this without Your hand at work!
However, I know that if I were to turn around and look back, I would have a pretty good glimpse of at least some of the things that, with God’s help and by His grace I have given my kids. It’s just that we regularly forget, don’t we? May He help us remember and press on to the finish line!
Moms, if you’re feeling like you don’t do enough for your kids, think about all you have done and continue to do each day. The love God has given you for your children is powerful, life-changing, kingdom-building work. You are doing an amazing thing by His grace, and He is so pleased. See His smile, celebrate the milestones, and know you are much loved by your heavenly Father!