I've been thinking about motherhood this week, and I have decided to post an article I wrote for my local homeschool newsletter a few years ago. Although I really don't like to give unsolicited advice, I thought that someone might benefit from the things that I have learned the hard, slow way.
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I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember. Yes, as many little girls, I considered being a teacher. I also thought about being a writer. But in my mind, these were only things to do until I was able to be a mother. That’s what I really wanted. Well, in this case, God granted my desire, because two years after marrying my high school sweetheart (Ron, who is now my grown-up sweetheart), we were blessed with our firstborn, a darling little red-haired girl, Kristin.
As delighted as I was with my little treasure, I’ll never forget my feelings the night that we brought her home from the hospital. First of all, I felt completely overwhelming love. But a thought that kept coming to the surface was something like, “Now what?!” I had babysat occasionally and tended the church nursery now and then, but this baby was mine! She was my responsibility. There was no one there to supervise and make sure that I did everything right. There was not going to be a parent who would come to retrieve her in a few hours. HELP!
Yes, He did help. My heavenly Father helped me get through that first night. And the next. And the next. And through the toddler years. And through the addition of another treasure, Kristin’s brother Ryan. And eventually, through the addition of two more precious baby girls and the loss of another. And through the teen years. There were some financially lean years, and some years of heart wrenching decisions. There were times of illness and change. And, no (absolutely no!), I did not do everything right...but oh how great I have found His grace to be!
If I were to name some principles that have guided me as a mother, I would have to include these:
I suppose that sounds simplistic (although it is not)...but it really is KEY to raising children for the Lord.
I learned this from my own Godly mom. Her own family situation was less than ideal and they were not Christians, so her parenting skills were learned “from scratch”, so to speak. So at each decision, big and small, she went to the Lord for His guidance.
I have tried to make the same habit of praying about everything that concerns my children...from praying for their life mates to praying about specific curriculum choices...from seeking guidance on how to deal with a specific attitude to praying for general wisdom for my husband and myself. After all, doesn’t it make sense to trust the Lord of the universe, the One who created these children, for the wisdom we need in guiding them into His Kingdom?
- VALUE GOD'S PLAN FOR YOU AS A WOMAN
As much as I had longed to be a mother, I was not prepared for the possibility that other people would not see the value of that role. Most disappointing was that that attitude was also felt keenly in the church. And so I felt a type of peer pressure to fulfill “duties” that conflicted with my primary duty as my children’s mother. But the Lord brought several “older women” (as in Titus 2) into my life to teach me God’s value of Biblical womanhood...although I have never personally met either of them. They are authors of books and newsletters.
The first book that I read that opened my eyes to the grand scope of my role was The Way Home by Mary Pride. What a release I felt from “others’” opinions when I read the ideas in this book! I got a new vision for my role of wife and mother. Many myths of feminism (and many that the church has accepted) were diffused in my mind.
Another author who has “provoked [me] unto love and to good works’ (Hebrews 10:24) is Elisabeth Elliot. Although she is best known for her book Through Gates of Splendor (the biography of her husband, missionary Jim Elliot, who was martyred), she has written so many encouraging words for women. The Shaping of a Christian Family, Let Me Be a Woman, and Keep a Quiet Heart have all inspired me.
I “met” Helen Aardsma through her newsletter. The Mother's Companion was published six times each year, running from January 1995 through December 2003. I subscribed to it for several years, and even purchased some of the back issues, because these were packed full of wisdom that Helen, mother of 10, had gleaned over her years of serving the Lord. (You can visit her website, www.themotherscompanion.org, to read some sample issues, as well as to purchase back issues.)
Through God’s leading, and the teaching of these “Titus 2” women, I learned total contentment and fulfillment in His plan for me in my role as wife and mother.
- KEEP ON
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (KJV) I believe that those words are absolutely true...for the Christian in general, including the Christian mother. We cannot grow weary and let down our guard; we cannot faint. There is too much at stake. But how thrilling to know that He has promised that, if we do not grow weary, and if we do not faint, we shall reap! Keep praying and teaching and serving, Christian mother. The rewards are eternal.