Thursday, May 7, 2015

Building a Strong Mothering Legacy Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

Last time we discussed that a mother's legacy mainly consists of love. Mothers building an exceptional legacy display other characteristics as well. All of us might come up with a different list of what these exceptional characteristics might be, but I chose to concentrate on just two.

1. Exceptional mothers love and accept children where they're at now, rather than pressuring them to perform above their developmental level. Children are very much a work in progress and we need to be cheerleaders, not disgruntled employees complaining about every outfit thrown on the floor, or every mess left behind. They'll get to these details and mature with time, and in the meantime we can gently push them with age-appropriate expectations, even working alongside them to clean up messes.

This kind of acceptance and scaffolding gives children room to grow in peace, with confidence. We need to remember that growing up and maturing steadily, while doing hours of academic work each day, is just plain hard. We easily discount the hard work our children do, thinking we're the overworked ones.

This leads me to my next point...

2. Exceptional mothers have godly attitudes about the hard work they do.

It happens to all of us: the creeping in at times of a sinful, woe-is-me attitude about the cleaning, the cooking, the organizing, the running around, the shopping, the myriad of things we do each day, while putting aside what we really want to do. This is particularly true for those of us who don't have family support around, or any domestic help. 

I've never spent the night without my children, nor been on a day retreat--even three hours away is very uncommon, happening only when there's money for a thrift-store run. It's not that I want to be without them, just that I know time away would renew energy, strength, commitment. 

If you're in this same, under-supported boat, you're not alone and it's not too big for God.

Being a mother is a privilege and each time we complain about all the work, we essentially slap the infertile mother-hopeful in the face, for one thing. Their pain is incredibly deep and our blessing is incredibly deep. Our gratitude needs to be complete, not just active when we watch our precious children sleep or when we receive their flowers and loving hugs.

And a good attitude goes beyond just avoiding sin. Our children are profoundly affected by our complaining--especially when we don't repent and apologize quickly. A sin quickly realized and corrected only teaches our children about their own need for a Savior, but ongoing sin in this area makes our children feel less than. They need to know we love caring for them. They need to know they add blessing to our lives, not burden. Otherwise, they feel guilty about having needs. They feel unworthy of our time and commitment, and they're more likely to stay out of our way,  rather than forge the strong emotional bond with us that provides a firm foundation for their future.

A confident, happy, well-rounded child experiences a mother's love, her generous time, her heartfelt physical labor. Sometimes strength is lacking due to illness or disorder, but what is given can be given joyfully.

An exceptional mother does not provide any of this out of sheer will, but out of an active relationship with the Lord Jesus. 

~ I love because I have been loved. 
~ I give because I have been provided for. 
~ I work because I have received strength. 
~ I counsel because I have been healed. 
~ I support because I have been upheld. 
~ I rejoice over others because He has rejoiced over me.

I have enough of all that is needed because of my Lord Jesus Christ...but only when I sit at his feet and receive from him. Only when I value my time with Him as a pleasure unto itself.

An exceptional mother loves (and receives from) an exceptional God

What qualities would you add? 

Happy Mother's Day to you all!

Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.


Anonymous said...

Amen! I sometimes am not the mother I would wish to be, but by grace I am changed and my children know they are loved and cherished and encouraged and... I just praise Jesus for His provision. You, Christine, are a wonderful mother. Have a lovely Mother's Day xxx

Tesha Papik said...

Wow I am so convicted and impressed with these last two post! What a great way to get us thinking this Mothers Day. I am often guilt of making my kids feel guilt about all the work I do, I can see I really need to work on that. I totally agree about apologizing to them, it models the behavior we want them to have but it can be very hard to say a sincere sorry to a teen that KNOWS you were wrong...Gosh parenting is just about the best discipleship program out there and WE are the one getting discipled. I hope you have a blessed Mothers Day my friend! These posts should go viral!!!

Christine said...

Thank you for your input, Tesha and Sandy. I sure appreciate your love and feedback! Happy Mother's Day to two dear ladies!