the weight and reality of parenthood.

Some time ago, almost 2 years ago now, I was in a place that I was just so lost as to what God wanted me to do with my life. I knew all of these people who felt like Jesus wanted them to stay at a church through a difficult situation, or another to uproot themselves and follow Him to move 2 hours from home to work at another church in the inner-city, and this that and the other thing.

And there I was. God had literally halted my life, it felt like. I wasn’t in school; I had a boyfriend, but marriage wasn’t on the horizon; I had very little independence despite the fact that I was a mother (I was waiting tables and living with my dad – a huge blessing); I wanted a new job, but couldn’t find one; and the more I asked God, ‘Where can I go from here?’ the less I heard. It was almost as if I was supposed to be standing still; and reluctantly I tried to find rest there. I had my days, I’ll say that much.

One morning though, sometime later, it was like God broke it down to basics for me, like the obvious things He’d already called me to that I hadn’t noticed enough yet.

My daughter was two at the time, and in the mornings she liked to creep into my room and cuddle with me. We’d usually fall back asleep, but this particular morning, I woke up a little bit earlier than her. I just sat in bed, thankful for her little big love and just being blessed, despite my actions, with such a wonderful child. “Thank You for choosing me to be her mother,” I thought.

1

Boom.

Like the crash of a wave, it hit me.

I was chosen two years prior and every day since… to be this little girl’s mother. God chose me, in the middle of my mess, to bring forth life. I wasn’t ready by any means and my circumstances weren’t ideal, but He. Chose. Me.
He knew every hair on her head, He knew her every step, He knew her heart and soul, and He breathed her little heart to life inside of me. He picked me to not just care for her, but to lead her, raise her, and show her how to do life.

To this day, it blows my mind that I was ever allowed to do this job. That any of us are chosen to do this job. And its why, too, I have a much harder time trying to understand abortion anymore, but that’s beside the point right now.

2My daughter, now four (almost four and a half) years old, is no less a humbling and overwhelming realization each day. I’m not perfect, and I haven’t given her the perfect four years by any means. We’ve seen some hard times and I’m flawed; I spent many of her very first two to three years a very broken woman. I’ve done what I could, and I’m incredibly thankful to have the Lord to walk me through this now.

And you might be kind of thinking, “Okay that’s touching, Sam, why are you writing this though? This is old news from a few years ago. What’s with the delay?”
Well, honestly, I’ve spent a lot of time being convicted about not handling it right and learning to walk a different way in how I invest in my child. Just because I realized it two years ago doesn’t mean I knew how to do it two years ago. God has used my daughter and a few others, along with some good ol’ fashioned conviction to help me see what is necessary and where I was wrong; and I’m still learning those ways.
But there are two reasons I’m writing this. One being that, if you’ve read the past three posts, it’s to clear up that I know that I do know and realize that there isn’t any girl or woman God could deliver me to that could ever take precedent to the one He brought to me through my very body. My first ministry to women is the relationship I have with my daughter (I just more often find myself feeling as if I am having to defend being led to any other women’s ministry). And second (and more importantly) for any mom out there feeling the same thing I do now, or did two years ago.

If you don’t know where you are, try looking at home first. If you have a child that you gave birth to, that you assisted in the process of creating – God chose you to parent that child. That’s your purpose right now: them. It might not be your only purpose in this life, but second only to your maybe being a wife, it is the most important.
We are responsible for molding these little ones and raising them to be men and women after God, and if you fear at all that end times are upon us, preparing them to deal with that. Look around us; times are ugly, end of the world or not. Our children need Jesus, madly and deeply, and we were chosen by God to lead them to Him.

And leading out kids to Jesus isn’t done by passively praying at night and telling them God loves them or enrolling them in Christian schools. Those are good things, but that isn’t the only way. Something God has been working in me as a parent is to BE Christ-like to my child.
Show grace and mercy, as well as loving discipline and correction.
Show patience and understanding, as well as offering instruction and guidance.
Pay attention to them like they are the only one in the world, and also teach self-control and independence.
Teach them forgiveness alongside teaching them that there are consequences for their actions.
Assist but don’t enable.
Spoil with love rather than gifts.
Pray with them for more than good dreams and a safe night; be real with God in front of them about your needs so they will be real with God about theirs.

And more indirectly, just be a woman of God in front of your kids.

I’ll touch on this in greater detail later, but I noticed my daughter started to put herself down physically and got frustrated in her clothing because she watches me get frustrated with getting dressed each morning. Rather than hiding my insecurities from her and kicking her out of the room, I’ve pursued God for grace to have with myself and allowed her to see that.
When praying with her, like I mentioned before, I’ve asked God for what I needed in my relationship with her. Now, I don’t get into the nitty gritty, there are things your kids don’t need to know. But for example; if we have a difficult evening, before bed when we pray, I will ask God to help me have more patience. I want her to know that her mother isn’t a super mom. She’s a mom who has a super God. Even at four. And it has changed us – drastically.
All of this has improved more than just my mothering. It has improved her behavior, her prayer life, our communication with one another, our play time, and in general, our home.

If I can encourage anyone in anything it’s this: if you are a parent, are about to be a parent, or are pursuing parenthood – be ready to invest in your children with all you have,3 THEY ARE WORTH IT AND THEY ARE THE BEST, MOST FUN, MORE REWARDING CALLING YOU WILL EVER HAVE. Let them see you passionately pursuing God whatever it is God has for you to do, but show them that they are just as worthy of the same time investment and passion because they, too are from God.
You might have a great job where you’re a huge success, or a ministry that reaches tens or reaches thousands; none of those mean much if you don’t pour into the ministry God built for you (or for moms, IN you) at home first. Start there. It is our irrefutable purpose. We can’t deny it.

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One thought on “the weight and reality of parenthood.

  1. Pingback: Jesus calls, but it’s not what you think it is. | sam finds faith.

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