This is the Real Work of a Christian Mother

Being a Christian mother was all I wanted, but now, sometimes, I find myself chasing my own agenda or earthly rewards, missing the real work God has for me.

Being a Christian mother was all I ever wanted, but now that I’m here, sometimes, I fashion myself a writer. I sit on my couch, mug of coffee brewing inspiration inside my head, believing that sharing my tiny words are worth the tedious hours buried behind my computer.

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I sometimes even believe that my writing is the noble work I’m doing with my present days.

I sweat ink and bleed commas and stumble my way through learning all this techno blogging rot to share my faith with the world. And feel accomplished when someone I don’t know reads and shares my post. I can get pretty puffed up about it.


Mother & Daughter – Willow Tree Figurine – $35.00

from: DaySpring Cards Inc

But over the past few months, I see God taking me through an obstacle course towards real humility, a complete laying down of self. And I realize, I may be doing the most noble work of my life as a Christian mother, not writer.

My writing isn’t so incredibly exceptional the world cannot do without it. The only thing that makes this blog worth reading is when God supersedes my ego and grabs hold of my keyboard, letting me write in desperate humility about my challenges and faith as a Christian mother.

Am I missing the REAL WORK of being a Christian mother focusing too much on my own agenda? Click To Tweet

Today was a day full of tiny chores: scrubbing the grimy counters again, dusting the creepy cobwebs, washing dishes, cooking meals then washing those dishes, teaching homeschool, and patient parenting when she wanted attention the second I started something else.

And I felt myself grumbling. Why do I have to do all of this busywork when I could be doing something more important? And I felt God nudge me rather harshly.

Being a Christian mother was all I wanted, but now, sometimes, I find myself chasing my own agenda or earthly rewards, missing the real work God has for me.

But this IS the real work of Christian motherhood!

Don’t you know that learning to serve, to clean, to do the hard work that no one notices is the REAL work, the real work on your heart.

You know how hard life has been lately? And you see the way I’m growing strength and perseverance in you through the hard and disappointing? You see how I’m building your faith and softening your spirit.

Don’t you realize how much motherhood builds Godly character?

So I climbed the ladder to make my stepsons’ bunk beds instead of asking my husband to do it. I searched the house for a missing wallet. Then did the laundry they left and a few more loads to boot. I cleaned the kitchen, started dinner, organized the Tupperware that would be a mess again in five minutes. I ate lunch with my daughter instead of rushing to do something “more important.”

God is teaching me what joyful, humble service looks like through being a Christian mother.

Jesus didn’t wash the disciples’ feet because they were dirty. He did it because humble service is important.

Jesus didn't wash the disciples' feet because they were dirty. Humble service is important. Click To Tweet

I’ve learned more about the heart of Christ cleaning toilets, picking up dirty underwear, and vacuuming floors than anything else I’ve done. Because real service serves not to be seen, but point, point to Jesus.

Except by God, He sees it all. And just when I needed reminding, this video came across my newsfeed. Makes me cry every time.

I will keep writing and planning for future seasons of life, but God has given me this brief season to be a Christian mother, learning and teaching faith, humility, and grace.

When God tests my life’s work as 1 Corinthians 3:10-14 teaches, I don’t want to have missed the REAL WORK God asked of me, building character and deep faith in myself and family.

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3 Ways to be a Happier Mom

Do you want to be a happier mom? Be a Mom without complaining. Did you just laugh? Because momming is soul sucking. But . . .

Do you want to be a happier mom?

Be a Mom without complaining.

Did you just laugh?

Because momming is soul sucking.

You have an MBA but just spent ten minutes arguing with a two-year-old that the strawberry jam in the squeeze bottle is exactly the same as the jar.

Cleaning house is pointless. You want a healthy, clean house for a tiny person who leaves messes in his wake like Godzilla in Tokyo.

Life is a never-ending cycle of feeding people, cleaning up after people and doing chores over and over and over. And sometimes there is poop – okay, lots of times, there is poop.

So how do we stop complaining while recognizing this is a hard season of our lives?

We recognize the struggle without unpacking and living in it!

Recognize the struggle without unpacking and living in it. #BeaHappierMom Click To Tweet

1. Shift perspective

Ask God for His perspective. He always helps me look past my initial emotions to see the forest of blessings I’m missing when I complain about all the trees in my way.

Just today, I was planning our meals wondering how much fiber I should give my kid (’cause that’s what moms worry about), and I realized I have no idea. When was the last time she yelled at me – “I’m done pooping!” and expected me to race to her side? I can’t remember.

Today’s frustration or ewww factor, might just be tomorrow’s regret. She already needs me less than she did just months ago.

If I have an unfavorite task, I teach my way through it, instructing my daughter why it is important to do with a happy heart, even when we don’t feel like it, how that makes our family a team.

I’ve learned more about what kind of person I should be by focusing on what kind of person I want to raise. Also – #3 here. Do you want to be a happier mom? Be a Mom without complaining. Did you just laugh? Because momming is soul sucking. But . . .

I've learned more about who I want to be by focusing on the kind of person I want to raise.… Click To Tweet

2. Always look for the bright side.

Last month, I had a leaky back tire. Instead of just $20 to fix it, the shop noticed my two front tires were cracked and ready to burst any second, $400 instead. Right before Christmas, for the second time this month . . .

BUT, I had just taken a 4 hour road trip. I was so grateful that we didn’t have a blow-out on the twisty windy Georgia back roads that could have caused a serious accident.

3. Get your worship on!

When I start to slip into an awful place, nothing shifts that attitude to happier mom faster than worshipping God. Sometimes, I have to fight myself to turn on praise music or open the Bible because my flesh would rather than sit in that pain, feeling overwhelmed and irritable.

Just do it – open the Bible and read one verse, play one random worship song. I dare you to stay crabby. It may not erase the painful circumstances, but it reminds me where my hope lies.

The last two Novembers, I’ve taken a step past daily gratitude to trying to change my entire attitude by going without complaining.

This year I felt like counting the hours until the challenge was over. November was the hardest month we’d had in a long time. Everything that could go wrong did, well almost. But December 1st came, and I didn’t want to unload all my harbored complaints.

Because I learned so much:

  • I learned my faith needs testing to grow. Job, I am not.
  • I learned my marriage is a million times stronger than it was before this very hard year.
  • I learned I’m a happier mom when I don’t complain because what I give energy and voice to becomes my reality.

Being a happier mom means I spend less time upset, less time stressed out, less time wishing it were bedtime and more time just enjoying the moments, even the ones with poop.

Mother’s Day 2014

Mother's Day is full of perfect images, but we're imperfect and that's how God's plan works best.

As a blogger, it can be hard to write about holidays or events on demand. I’ve spent all week trying to approach writing about Mother’s Day.

My entire blog is about being a Christian mother, and I covered a lot about becoming a mother in an earlier post, Seriously Harvard? that dealt with Samuel 1, Hannah’s story.

Plus, many of my friends are struggling this year with having lost a mother or a child, or never having been a mother in the traditional sense. I understand that pain.

Being barren myself, Mother’s Day has been hard for me for a long time. I’ve never even gotten to experience the tiniest hope of life growing inside of me. Part of my heart will always grieve that loss.

Happily, God’s plan was for me to be an adoptive mother to this wonderful little girl. My first mother’s day was the day after I met our precious baby girl in the NICU.

Mother's Day is full of perfect images, but we're imperfect and that's how God's plan works best.
Love at first sight

It wasn’t the way we imagined, but God’s plan was, as always, perfect. We got to spend a few hours with her in the NICU every day for a week, which prepared us to care for her enough that we felt a little less insane when they let us drive away with this tiny human.

I took responsibility for her. Every memory she will ever have, I will be her mother. The weight of that is heavy. I promised God that if He saw fit to make me a mother, I would raise this child for Him. I’m doing the best job I know how to do each day. Some days are better than others.

Proverbs 22:6 (ESV)

Train up a child in the way he should go;
    even when he is old he will not depart from it.

My Christian walk is blossoming, but the race is long, and I have much to learn about knowing which way to go myself. Motherhood itself is fraught with a million decisions a day, balancing needs and wants, instant solutions with long-term consequences.

Motherhood is a million decisions, balancing needs & wants, with forever consequences. Click To Tweet

Today, we were on our first mother-daughter bike ride. She got a big girl bike for her 4th birthday and is still learning to use coaster brakes.

After a tricycle, she is having a rough time adjusting to this new bike. Five minutes into our ride, she dissolved into screaming tears.

I will climb mountains, slay dragons, fight bears to soothe away her tears.

I tried talking her down, but she was using her tears to refuse to learn. On this undeveloped cul-de-sac, I decided to do what was best for her in the long run – let her get independent. I told her what to do, told her to catch up, and rode toward the circle at the end of the block.

Stomach in knots, I listened for her tears, but heard nothing. I started to turn to check on her, and she pedaled past grinning and laughing. “This is so much fun, Mom!” she shouted whizzing by, sparkle streamers waving in the breeze.

She hadn’t needed me to physically push her at all. She needed me to push her to leap into independence. We ended up riding 2 1/2 miles together up and down the empty roads, learning a lot and having a hot, sweaty, sunshiney, wonderful day.

But I had to think about who she needs to be tomorrow, her first days of school, the first time a bully pushes her around or a friend hurts her feelings, high school peer pressure, college.

Letting her cry for five excruciating minutes today, helped her find her strength and courage inside. I still feel horrible that she had to cry at all. I struggle with not feeling like all her tears are some sort of parenting fail on my part, but the reality is, she has to learn control over her own emotions and persevere when she faces challenges.

What I can do is teach her who God is, who He wants us to be, and who she is to Him. So we pray, we talk about making choices, we talk about God being with us all the time.

Sometimes, all I know how to do is to talk out loud walking through my learning how to be a Godly mother.

At the end of the day, and this one had parenting wins and failures, I have to do my best to be a mom, a wife, a woman of God, and a human being. My strengths and failures will be part of her story, part of what she brings to the Lord as her gifts and wounds. The bible is full of miraculous stories of broken people God made whole and used to create miracles.

The Bible is full of miraculous stories of broken people God made whole & used in His plan. Click To Tweet

Moses murdered someone and hid in the desert for 40 years, stuttered terribly and didn’t respond enthusiastically to God’s command to free the Israelites from Egypt.

King David had a man murdered so he could marry the pretty neighbor lady he impregnated.

But God perfectly used these imperfect men, and so many more. We don’t come perfect, we just need to surrender all. His glory is made more obvious in our weakness.

1 Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

So how do I train her up in the way she should go? Imperfectly, and demonstrate through my faults how I lean on Christ, so she knows how to do that someday as well.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, whether you’re celebrating with your mother or missing her, an adoptive or foster-mother, have 1 child or ten, or are a mother in different ways as part of the body of Christ. I hope your day was blessed with joy, peace, comfort and laughter, even if peppered with tears. May God hold you and all you call family in His hands tonight.

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Imagine your tiny tyrant – a Godly wife

This tiny tyrant rules my heart, but I need to raise her to be the woman and Godly wife she is meant to be.

How do I raise a Godly wife if I’m still learning how to be one?

I originally wrote this post two years ago, I’m both encouraged by how far I’ve come and humbled by how far I still have to go.

This morning I was reviewing the book I’m reading (The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace). The author discusses how she was a spoiled-rotten only child when she first got married. Her selfishness and lack of self-control were destroying her marriage.

I read this and for the first time really realized that my daughter is not only going to grow up to become an adult, woman, mother, but also probably someone’s wife.

I spent a couple of moments in imaginary terror, picturing my almost-four-year-old as a wife, crying over every slight, demanding her way, and throwing temper tantrums. Humorous, but not a pretty picture.

My daughter is a perfectly normal almost 4 year old. She plays nicely in her room, would watch PBS all day if I let her. She reads books, asks a million questions, loves life and her energy is boundless.

Sometimes her coping skills are overwhelmed by being hungry or tired, like any preschooler. Obviously, she will mature, but will she have the strength and peace to be a woman of God as an adult?

My tiny tyrant a wife someday? How do I prepare her to be a mature woman of God? Click To Tweet
Am I preparing her to be a Godly wife? How do I prepare her for that?

My daughter is almost 4, and hyper emotional. Every bumped knee or disappointment is the end of the world.

She is used to being the center of attention, and I’ve been wondering how to parent her appropriately to guide her into self-control, patience, self-reliance, gentleness, perseverance, and faith.

I’ve been quiet recently because we’ve been struggling with spring colds and her willfulness, and I’ve been seeking some of God’s answers.

My daughter has been a tiny tyrant for the past couple of weeks. Not everyday, all the time, but it’s been a daily struggle to deal appropriately with her deliberate disobedience.

But I think the answer to her current disobedient streak and to how to prepare her to be a wife or Godly woman are the same.

It begins with me. What kind of wife and mother am I? If I am angry, selfish, loud, short-tempered, she will internalize those attitudes just the way I internalized my mom’s cleanliness and organization.

I need to live the wife, mother, woman that I want her to see and grow to be. I want her to be joyful, loving, patient, kind, funny, strange, prone to dance parties and silly songs, devouring books and learning, and knowing she is loved by her earthly parents and Heavenly Father.

I need to live the wife, mother, woman of God I want her to be. I am the example she will… Click To Tweet

Just last night, I made dinner, had all the prep dishes washed, cornbread in the oven, coffee pots ready for the next day, salads waiting to be dressed, laundry washed and folded, even had time just to play mommy, and felt like a real grown up. I know – I’m 42.

I even managed be patient all day. It was just the daily life of a wife, but I felt really good about the day.  Why? Because the house felt not just tidy, but calm and peaceful, because I had been. For too long, my focus was how clean my house was instead of the condition of my heart.

Proverbs 19:14 House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

Would my husband say that I’m a gift from God? Whoa, I had to pray about that. And if not yet, how do I get there from here?

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

Fearing the Lord is truly understanding God’s holiness, mightiness, omnipotence, righteousness and accepting our need for redemption. I immediately stopped and prayed with David from Psalm 86.

“Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name” (Psalm 86:11).

Faith starts by understanding who we are in God and starting to live in humility. But faith has to be seen out loud, as well.

James 2:17-18 (ESV) 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 

I want my daughter to see my faith, my fear of the Lord, BY my works, by my life. We’re human. We nap, we play, we laugh, and we love each other. And we serve each other and God.

I want her to see that service to God in my heart as a joyful blessing and want to serve Him, too.

This tiny tyrant rules my heart, but I need to raise her to be the woman and Godly wife she is meant to be.

This verse is very convicting for my bold, aggressive spirit.

Proverbs 9:13  The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing.

The biggest change I could make would be to become soft, quiet, and gentle. What a beautiful witness that would be to my family!

1 Peter 3:4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 

Recently, I’ve been feeling the Holy Spirit start to gentle me. My sinful nature is resisting, making me realize just how selfish I still am, but I see the beauty of a gentle spirit when I get it right.

When I get quiet, her unruly 4 year old nature doesn’t have a grip on my emotions like it used to. I can see her struggling with her sinful nature and guide her, instead of forcing her to deal with mine.

As a Godly wife, when I get quiet, he reaches for me and feels my love for him.

Titus 2:3-5 “3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Doesn’t that passage say so much? I need to be reverent, hard-working, self-controlled, pure, kind, submissive.

My answer for how do I teach her to be a Godly wife someday is right there. By example.

Proverbs 31:10 lists so many attributes of a Godly wife just in different translations of this one verse: noble, virtuous, capable, excellent, diligent, of strong character, valiant, and worthy. This wife’s price is above rubies.

How I long to exhibit this verse.

She will learn by my example. Even the world proves over and over we learn by imitation first and foremost, so I have to let the Holy Spirit work in me all day, every day so someday her husband can live in the home of my precious girl’s heart for God.

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