Chapter 3 of this book was rather difficult for me because it was titled, “The Blessings of Loving My Children.”
Well, I don’t have any children. No one in our group has any children, (except for Heather, who just had her baby boy about a week ago! and Carly, who is due next Spring!) so I really felt completely inadequate trying to teach this material. The only experience I have with children is nannying, and even that doesn’t seem to suffice because they are not my own kids. Either way, I prayed the Lord would direct our conversation to what He would be pleased with, and I actually feel like it was one of the best discussions we have had so far!
Considering none of us had children, we looked at this chapter as more of a challenge to prepare for the children we may one day have, if it be the Lord’s will. A challenge to change our viewpoint on children, a challenge to prepare ourselves to be mothers, and a challenge to start praying, even now, for the salvation of any children God may choose to give us.
Just like in chapter 2, “The Delight of Loving our Husbands,” we learned that the greek word used for ‘love’ in this passage is phileo. The tender, affectionate, enjoyment kind of love. It is my understanding that being a mother requires every kind of energy, patience, self-sacrificing, kind of love there is. And a lot of times, moms can lose the joy of actually raising their children. Just like everything else in life, it’s easy to become selfish in our motives for why we do or do not do things. We feel we are entitled to a certain lifestyle, a certain amount of praise, etc. and that leaves us feeling nothing short of mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted when that “standard” isn’t met. But God does not want mothers to live in this exhausted state. He wants moms refreshed and enjoying their children, for His glory.
But what is the highest objective of motherhood? It is not to create happy, fulfilled, successful human beings. But it IS “to be sure our children repent from their sins, put their faith in Jesus Christ,and reflect the gospel to the world around them.” (pg. 60-61) This mandate is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. What a HUGE responsibility! What an honor.
We asked the question, “When thinking about the possibility of having children, what words come to your mind?” And oh! and the responses! Words like, “exhausting, expensive, terrifying, and overwhelming” came to mind. And that doesn’t include the facial expressions! But God’s Word has a very different description of children and how we are to view them: (Psalm 127:3-5)
“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.”
Wow! What a difference in how we are supposed to view them. If God allows us to have children, they are an inheritance from Him. A gift from him, a reward. Like arrows to be shot out to proclaim the gospel among the nations, parents are blessed with children. The more we think of children as a reward, a gift, and a blessing, the more joy we will have in raising them.
So, knowing that our lives don’t always (or ever!) go according to our own personal plans, but rather the Lord’s, how can we prepare ourselves now for the wonderful task of motherhood so that we will be ready whenever God sees fit to give us His precious gift?
- Above all, create a habit NOW of spending daily, quality, time in the Word with the Lord. If it is already a practice, it will be easier to keep it a habit when children do come. The only way we can receive true refreshment for our souls is through the living water of God’s precious Word. If we think it’s hard to get alone with God now, there is no way it will become easier when you’re taking care of children. It is vital that we develop habits now that we want to have in place if/when we do become moms.
- Start praying for your future children (or the children you already have, if you are a mom!). Pray for their salvation. Pray for their character. Pray for their obedience to God’s will and His calling on their lives. No prayers are wasted, even when praying over children that are yet to exist!
- And lastly, think of any children you have in your life right now. What kind of influence do you have over them? Practice sharing the gospel with them in way that their little minds can understand. Learn from their moms, ask questions. Think of your own mom and how you grew up. Did she model behavior and habits that you want to cultivate as a mom? Spend some time thanking her for her investment in your life, and open up the doors of communication for learning from her as you transition into that season. If you didn’t have a mom that you’d want to emulate, pray that God would place some people in your life that would show you what godly motherhood looks like. Learn by their example.
The task of motherhood may seem daunting (I know it does to me!) but if God allows you the privilege of parenting any children, He will most definitely equip for it. If you are apprehensive about becoming a mother, take the time to write down any fears and concerns and spend some time this week finding Scripture that relates to those. The Lord is GOOD, and He will not leave you without hope in this season, or in any other season of your life.