Being a mom is the hardest job on earth! It brings out the best and the worst in you! I know that it requires great sacrifice and limitless energy, but to invest your time and best efforts into a child, to watch that child grow and develop, is to be part of the creative majesty of life itself!
So much of who we are as women is rooted in the parent/child relationship. I believe that my role as a mother will greatly affect the kind of woman my daughter will become. I also believe that moms are the primary teachers in a child's life.
We live in a world that many times denies the importance of being a mom. I don't come to you as an expert. I simply want to be a successful mom! Well, actually, my credentials are impressive! I am the mother of two beautiful, brilliant children! I want to be the mom they need and deserve and the good news is that God wants the same thing. Being a parent is a holy calling from God and God never calls us to do a job without providing the power and the plan to do that job successfully.
How can we be the moms that really matter?
1. Be a mom who loves God!
"We love, because God first loved us." - 1 John 4:19 (NCV)
We are incapable of loving our children like they were meant to be loved until we first love God! Motherhood at its best demands a thriving partnership with God! We cannot give unconditional love until we have experienced unconditional love! And God is the only source of that kind of love! We can do everything else right as a parent but if we don't begin with loving God - we will fail!
2. Be a mom who prays continually
"Never stop praying." – I Thessalonians 5:17 (ICB) should every mother's commitment to her children.
Prayer is an eternal gift we can give to our children, teaching them the importance of prayer and teaching them how to pray. We began early to pray with our kids at bedtime. I am convinced that if we pray for our children and with our children, it will change their lives and ours and give us insight that we can gain no other way.
3. Be a mom who gives time!
Proverbs 22:6 - “Train children how to live right, and when they are old, they will not change.” (NCV)
It takes time to be a mom, to know and to train your children. Every child comes with a set of characteristics already established by God. Our job is to identify those characteristics and then steer the child toward them.
The original root word for "train" is the term for "the palate, the roof of the mouth, the gums". In the days of Solomon, a midwife would deliver the baby, dip her finger into the juice of crushed dates, reach into the mouth of the baby and massage the gums and palate to create a sense of taste and thirst. She would then give the child to the mother so the baby could nurse.
Our job as mothers is to develop a thirst in our children for the right things. And that takes time.
There is a popular philosophy today that it doesn't matter the quantity of time that we spend with our kids as long as it is quality time. It does matter! Can a woman have it all - a home, a family, a career? I think she can. I'm just not sure she can have them all at the same time. There are seasons of life to which we must yield in order to be the mother God wants us to be. Time spent with children is never wasted! Every minute invested in your child is an eternal investment!
Give your children the best of your time -- not the leftovers.
- Make weekly dates with your kids.
- Pull them out of school occasionally for a fun day.
- Have a meal together every day.
- Be involved in the things they enjoy.
In other words, be available! And just your physical presence is not enough! Our normal bedtime routine was to spend a few minutes with each child, talking about the day, praying together and then I would tuck them in.
4. Be a mom who encourages!
"So encourage each other and give each other strength." – 1 Thess 5:11 (NCV)
When we encourage our children, we deposit strength in them and need to be careful to keep their emotional deposits in balance. Many kids are in emotional bankruptcy because constant withdrawals of criticism are made with few deposits of encouragement. Our job is to study our kids and discover their strengths and weaknesses. We need to understand that many times, their greatest weakness may very well become their greatest strengths.
As a child, I was very stubborn! That stubbornness often got me into trouble, but it also made me the survivor of some very hard times! We need to look for the good things in our children and draw them into the spotlight. In other words, become their "encourager" and their "cheerleader". Everyone needs a cheerleader.
5. Be a mom who laughs!
“A happy heart is like good medicine, but a broken spirit drains your strength.” - Proverbs 17:22
Moms, we need to lighten up, or my daughter says, "Chill, mom!" Kids are fun! Find ways to bring joy and laughter into your home. Jered is a big hunk of a football player, a husband and father, but occasionally, I have to remind him of the fact that I can still take him. He will make some irritating comment, tease me or poke me in the ribs. I warn him and then I see the gleam in his eye as he takes one more shot. I then begin chasing him around the house. Jered inevitably starts laughing so hard that, when I catch him, he is totally helpless. It is quite a sight to see!
Moms are the thermostats of the home and need to keep the emotional setting on joy! Children get most of their first impressions of God from their parents. I want my kids to know that God is a God of joy and laughter! Kids need a mom who laughs!
6. Be a mom who hugs!
"One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch them and bless them." - Luke 18:15 (NLT)
Our children need moms who touch them and demonstrate to them healthy physical affection! Children need and crave physical affection. It is a God-given need that is meant to be met in God-given ways! There is healing in a mother's touch! Start early and never stop! It is a terrible shock for kids to have the hugging stop just at the age when they need it the most!
7. Be a mom who disciplines!
"The correction of discipline is the way to life." - Proverbs 6:23 (NLT)
Kids want and need discipline! Discipline is a hedge of protection in the life of a child and part of our job as a parent is to tend that hedge, to keep it strong and in place! If we are not careful, every day can dissolve into a never-ending battle for control. As parents, we need to let go of what we can and hold our ground on what we can't.
This last point is major! We are the adults who should be able to control emotions. If we don't, neither will our children.
“Foolish people lose their tempers, but wise people control theirs.” - Proverbs 29:11 (NCV)
Pick your battles of discipline and wage them with emotions under control. Whatever you do, don't put the light out in their eyes. Kids need a mom who disciplines!
8. Be a mom who forgives!
“Get along with each other, and forgive each other. If someone does wrong to you, forgive that person because the Lord forgave you.” - Colossians 3:13 (NCV)
We teach children how to forgive others by how we forgive them. Forgiveness is part of every healthy relationship so when we practice forgiveness, we are modeling healthy relationships for them. We also teach our children about God's forgiveness by how we forgive. Be quick to forgive your child but be quicker to ask your child's forgiveness.
My children are very used to hearing me say, "I am so sorry! I blew it. Please forgive me."
Lord, thank You for giving me children. Help me be the mom they deserve. I commit to constantly pray for each child and invest the best part of my time and life in them. Forgive me for allowing lesser things to take the place of my role as a mother and guide me to be a mom that really matters. Amen.
Father, more than ever before, I want to be a great mom, but I often find myself doing just the opposite of what I know is right when it comes to my kids. Please forgive me. Help me to apply the truths and principles of Your Word as I walk in this high calling of motherhood. Bless my children, Lord, and help them to follow You all the days of their lives. Amen.
(Originally written by Mary Southerland)