Motherhood: It’s Not Just Something I Am

It’s hard for me to understand how the masses became convinced that motherhood was a “peripheral” job. In an interview I recently had, I concluded:

Being a wife and mother is not just something we ARE; it’s something we DO.

And that changes everything. Because that “doing” is magnanimous. What we do, that is, what we are supposed to be doing, has far-reaching, even eternal implications. It’s physical, it’s emotional, it’s spiritual and it’s constant. No other profession surpasses this one in import, yet we spend little to no time training for it. To the extent we prepare for and engage ourselves in the profession of managing the home, we change the culture. To the extent we dismiss our professions, we change the culture.

We cannot escape our profound influence on the next generation. God has given it to us for our stewardship. We can choose to give it to someone else, but the responsibility is still ours in the end.

A book could be written on what this managing the home entails. My mind reels even now of so many areas that wives and mothers are influencing. But it doesn’t happen on the side. It’s not extra and it’s not easy. Sometimes it’s downright messy and all-consuming.  But in God’s economy, it’s glorious.

Lately, it falls hard on my heart, the realization of how important it is to teach our children to think rightly. About everything. Deception runs rampant around us–in the church, in the media, in the schools–everywhere. As a society increasingly rejects God’s Word and His sovereignty in our lives, mayhem is the result.  And the more rampant the deception around us, the more vigilance is required to offset it.  I’m trying to say that a word here or there is not sufficient.  We’re talking Deuteronomy 6 kind of teaching.

And why are so many adults being swept away by deception and following after the god of self? Primarily because as children, they weren’t “rooted” in truth. And a plant without roots is easily blown around “by every wind of doctrine.” (I should say here, that sometimes children rooted in truth still become deceived and choose to reject it. Still, our job to be faithful remains.)

Children grow up shaped by something. Every day someone will teach them, influence their thinking, sway their opinions, and lay the groundwork for their life choices. And that someone, that something, will affect everything they do, reaching even to their children and grandchildren, affecting their lives too.

It needs to be us. It needs to be us, transmitting to the generations coming after us, the truth of the gospel, the power of God to order our lives, the freedom of living for Christ when he shows up each day to guide our thoughts and choices. He changes everything when we let Him.

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32 Responses to “Motherhood: It’s Not Just Something I Am”

  1. Kelly L says:

    This is so true! What we see in our children today will be magnified when they are adults! That means any selfishness we don’t train out. It also means the great things that God has instilled in them will not be fully developed if we don’t recognize and cultivate them. How awesome a job! What a beautiful responsibility! How could I possibly trade it for $50K a year. I couldn’t; not ever. (I am saying this about me. What anyone else does is between them and God).

  2. brandy says:

    Love the post Kelly.

    One thought…I was talking to hubby on a walk yesterday about moms (ahem…in general of course) losing their cool with the kiddies. And why this is a struggle. And one of my theories is that we see something as simple as poor handwriting and not doing their “morning routine” (chores) as not simple little problems…but as character issues. I see, “I will do what I can get away with when I don’t think anyone will check up on me.” It’s scary! 🙂 Thus, I tend to uh, over-react.

    In reference to the comment from Kelly L above me…we were talking about whether or not you can “train out” character traits, like selfishness, etc. Hubby thinks you can’t really. It’s about a relationship with God. But he maintains that nobody is perfect, or is going to be perfect. And you just have to accept that.

    I am just interested in a post from you or thoughts from others perhaps about these disjointed thoughts. Seems that maybe we can drive ourselves to major stress trying to do the impossible…and wondering why, after all this time and training they still show some selfish tendencies, or slothfulness, etc.

  3. Gayle says:

    I agree!

    One of the things that I’ve noticed the enemy has fed society at large (and as a dire consequence, our children) is that it is now so wrong to hold fast to any *opinion*. It’s rapidly becoming the standard that there is no black or white anymore… only gray.

    We are taught that we have to be so wishy-washy in the way we approach absolutely everything, and if we don’t, well, we are intolerant pigs who are, ourselves, deceived. I’ve even seen this thought process permeate the Church: “We must do whatever it takes…. but make sure it’s not offensive!”. Well, the WORD comes to divide as with a sword (Matthew 10: 34-35) and there are definitive black and white areas there! It will, by it’s very nature, be offensive and contrary to the world’s viewpoint.

    Anyway…

    I am just freshly aware that I must swim against the current (the very strong current) to teach real solid Truth to my own children.

  4. Liz says:

    “To the extent we prepare for and engage ourselves in the profession of managing the home, we change the culture. To the extent we dismiss our professions, we change the culture.”

    You know, I see this in even a very practical sense. How much money is spent and how many industries depend upon people either not knowing how to manage a home, or not having time to manage a home.

    But what do you do if you yourself were not brought up in a Deut. 6 manner and you have little support from your husband in this regard? If anything he works against you? I feel I am the only voice my children hear in this regard. And I sure hope I am even doing it right in the first place. :)) How do you make sure that your voice (God’s Voice, really) drowns out all the other voices around your children? I keep praying.

  5. Word Warrior says:

    Brandy,

    I’ve had the same thoughts a lot. And my “dis-jointed” response goes like this…

    Sin will always reign in our mortal bodies (both our children’s and ours), and takes our constant attention. I think of Paul’s “warring against the flesh” and doing that which he doesn’t want to do. He dealt with the same things as we do.

    I think of a garden–of daily weeding and tending….and I think our lives and motherhood are much the same. The work of regeneration in our hearts causes us to hate our own sin (or it should). This hatred of our sin is the very evidence of “God in us”. This is a GOOD thing (despite what the modern church teaches).

    We stand completely righteous before God due to Christ’s work on our behalf, and yet that standing makes us desire sanctification even though we strive for it in a sin-prone vessel.

    I tend to think that the very reason it is so hard for a “weak flesh” to embody a “willing spirit” is because God wants us to be ever aware that we can do nothing without Him.

    So whether it’s us losing our cool, or the selfishness displayed in our children, it’s all a reminder that we need a Savior and we need to remain humble before Him and seeking His power in our lives to overcome sin.

    But I think, Brandy, that your realization is an important one that many miss…the very fact that we are so prone to sin (and our children too) is the reason the Scripture “screams” at us to saturate ourselves in the Word, to take every thought captive, to “meditate day and night”, to think on the things that are good, true, etc. He knows our frame; and He has given us practical instruction for helping us to deal with our sin nature.

    The minute we step away from this immersion of His love and precepts, we’re doomed to be ruled by sin.

    Wow…I need to go ponder that a while 😉

  6. Hi Kelly!
    I found your blog awhile ago and this is my first comment. I would first like to say that I love your daily encouragement! I am a stay at home mom to my three children and this post has been a breath of fresh air to me. keep up the good work 🙂

  7. Word Warrior says:

    Sarah,

    Thanks for de-lurking and for the encouragement!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I completely agree that a person’s childhood has an enormous effect on how he or she copes with life and adulthood –which in turn can affect that person’s children and grandchildren. I can absolutely see how the positive and negative things my grandparents did in raising my parents in the 1940s had an impact on how my parents raised me, which in turn, has an impact on the person I am today. I am sure these things go back even further down the generations.

    After years of being childless-by-choice, my husband and I have recently decided to explore the possibility of having a child. In considering our lifestyle in terms of its impact on a child, I think that one of the crucial and challenging aspects of parenting is modeling your values for your kids.

    Paradoxically, I think that feminist atheists like me might have just as much of a problem inculcating their values to their children as you do. Mainstream culture is not especially friendly to social conservatives and Biblical literalists — but it is not friendly to feminists or atheists either. The mainstream is in the squishy middle. Teaching our children why our values are important when the mainstream says it is not can be tough.

  9. Linda says:

    The book, “teach them diligently– How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training” by Lou Piolo is an excellent resource. We as parents are powerless to change our children’s bad habits and personality flaws, but the Holy Spirit CAN by the power of Scipture develop within our children a love and fear of God as well as an understanding of what God requires and wants from them and for them. We cannot “train out” the fleshly tendencies, but the Holy Spirit can bring about true repentance and complete change in their hearts and lives. I count it such a privilege to be a part of this process when I witness my children “get it” and suddenly the flippant automatic response of “I’m sorry (and now can I go?)” suddenly becomes the true cry of a repentant heart that is grieved to have wronged their Holy Father! That is when the change takes place. 🙂

  10. Word Warrior says:

    Linda,

    That is good stuff. May I emphasize what you touched on regarding the power of Scripture…in thinking of the putting on the armor of God, we notice that the only “weapon” is the sword/Word of God.

    If we can remember, as we are instruments in the lives of our children, to equip them by giving them the sword of the spirit, we do well. I’ve told my children that every time Jesus was tempted and tried, he always fought back by quoting Scripture. That should be our tactic as well. Speaking Scripture out loud is an effective means of fighting sin.

  11. Word Warrior says:

    Elizabeth,

    I don’t really want to go on a rabbit trail, but I’m wondering, where do atheists get their values?

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Kelly, It will be tough to make this a short rabbit trail but I will try.

    My secular humanism derives from many sources, especially western literature, western philosophy, the Bible, and Buddhism. Ultimately, though, my values derive from the Golden Rule — do unto others as you would have done to you. From this flow the key virtues of kindness, respect, fairness, equality, freedom, hard work, and the importance of service.

    Why do I believe in the Golden Rule without a God telling me to? Because it is common sense. The Golden Rule leads to greater happiness for the individual and for society at large.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    By the way, I should stress that it wouldn’t necessarily kill me if child grew up to be religious. If my child is religious, I might think he is mistaken but that’s okay unless his religious beliefs cause him to engage in behaviors that are unkind or unjust.

  14. Word Warrior says:

    Elizabeth,

    Thank you. So what in the human psyche draws us to “The Golden Rule”? (And I would argue that humans disagree wildly on “what is kind or unkind” without an absolute moral law, and that anarchy does, in fact, reign in the absence of such laws, held at bay currently by the civil laws in place.)

    And what of the evolution of mankind as it relates to this moral restraint?

  15. Elizabeth says:

    I think most human beings understand the golden rule because we know we are vulnerable. When we see someone who is hungry or sick or treated badly, we remember that we ourselves are vulnerable to being hungry or sick or maltreated. It makes sense to believe in helping others because we identify with the suffering of others. We want to live in a kindly society where we ourselves can get help when we need it.

    I am not sure what you mean when you ask about the evolution of mankind. I assume you are asking why, under a Darwinian theory of natural selection, humanity would have developed the golden rule. I would guess that altruism helps us to survive as a species. Or perhaps it is just a by-product of our intelligence.

    I agree with you completely that the devil is in the details. My view of a kind and just society will probably not match yours. I think human beings have to talk and reason about what kind of world we want and come to some sort of consensus as a society. The problem I have with an absolute moral code said to be mandated by God is that it requires us to leave our hearts and minds at the door. If God is believed to have commanded it, then there is no room to question things that seem unfair or heartbreaking, like the subordination of women or the stigmatizing of gays.

    Yes, I agree that I cannot provide an absolute moral code, but I am okay with the lack of 100% moral certainty. I think moral ambiguity is inevitable. It is the way of the world and we have little choice but to simply do our best.

  16. Mrs W says:

    What Brandy said about what her husband believes has really gotten me thinking. Her husband might be on to something there.

    The Bible says to “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it”. So training for something is important. But I also know, through my own experience, that a person is not really going to change much unless they have a relationship with the Lord. So now I’m wondering if “training up our children in the way they should go” is simply making sure that our children are trained to have a relationship with God. Because it is GOD who does the changing on any individual.

    I have devotions with my toddlers every morning and every night. Right now they are young enough to LOVE it. My two year old son lights up and shouts “Bible”! whenever I bring the Bible in to do devotions. And he gets all excited and folds his tiny hands when we pray. And I teach them a Bible verse. While I know that they cannot say the Bible verses I am teaching them yet, I know with a certainty that they KNOW them. When I recite them to them they get excited, and try to say them, and clap. I find that our days do go a little better when we do this than if something happens and we don’t have devotions.

    Anyway just some food for thought regarding training and a child’s relationship with God.

  17. Word Warrior says:

    Mrs. W.,

    Those are good thoughts to chew on. And I do think it is so important to have devotions–reading God’s Word, I tell my children, is the most important part of our day.

    BUT, the *training* part comes in, I think, in the little moments of the day. And it takes two forms: 1. How do I respond to circumstances? They are learning from me “what way they should go” by watching and hearing my life. 2. Do I train them by showing them why or why not a particular behavior is “the way they should go”? If they are causing strife, and I just yell “stop it–y’all are driving me crazy!” I’m training them to make Momma happy. But if I can remember to use God’s Word to explain why strife is not acceptable (“Blessed are the peacemakers…” or “live peaceable with all men…”) then I’m forming their habits and will to look to God for “the way they should go”. And that training will be beneficial even if it’s later before their relationship with God is there. Their training will “meet” that relationship.

    Hope I didn’t ramble.

  18. “stop it–y’all are driving me crazy”…sadly the default cry here, of late….

    It’s so true that taking the time to put the lesson with the logic (I’m not demeaning God’s word here – I view it as transcending human logic, but it is reasonable none the less) is the longer route, but so worth it. Like when a little one learns to tie shoes, wash her own hair, help make pancakes…the result is more than a sum of the parts. When that little synapse fires, making the connection between wisdom and God’s instruction and correct action – God is glorified, and how many people beyond the child are positively affected? It’s
    critical that our children know with confidence that their actions aren’t their own, what they do affects others, even people they don’t know. Mine, too.

  19. authenticallyME says:

    I think it is relatively easy to see how the masses forgot what motherhood is. People are born into a culture where it gets difficult to see straight. many havent ‘forgotten’, but are just confused. We are blessed in that we know God and He makes it possible for us to understand, becasue we have His Spirit.

  20. Christie says:

    Training creates habits. How many of our troubles are due to bad habits? (procrastinating or getting side-tracked, not prioritizing our things to do, responding curtly instead of kindly) It’s so much a part of crucifying the flesh and taking every thought captive and being disciplined (and a disciple!)

    True – you can be trained from childhood with all the good habits possible but not have a regenerated heart. However, right training will always point you to Jesus. How can we show a child their need of Jesus if we tell him, “If someone hits you first, make sure you knock their block off?” That doesn’t require Christ’s work in a heart to respond eye-for-eye. But if we hold the standard high, “Pray for those who persecute you.” Even the training will show where God’s standards really are – and then we pray God will open their eyes to see their need of Him – because loving and praying for a persecutor is nto something we can do without Him.

  21. authenticallyME says:

    I do agree that it is imperative to realize that our upbringing plays a part in our current-day child-rearing. I know myself not being parented in a effective manner has casued me many problems in my adult life. So much harder to change habits later in life. I really try to keep this in mind as i parent-that as I pave a better way for my kids, this will inadvertently multiply down through the generations. I have made many mistakes, even daily. Sometimes I just dont possess the wisdom to know the answers, even though I know I am confused. AS I place my faith and trust in God everyday, it does get easier, and clearer. I would not wish the battles in life on my children. It really amazes me at the abuses some people have overcome, and healed from, and are able to pass new life down to their children 🙂

  22. Hi Ladies-
    I have a quick question. How do you go about teaching young children about God if you are a first generation christian? I do not know how to even begin explaining God to my kids when I am so new.

    -Sarah

  23. Kim M says:

    I want to link to this on my blog. Such a profound, important post.

  24. Lori says:

    Dear Sarah, That’s a good question. I would just start by reading them the Bible, stories you think they’d enjoy, and after reading to them, you can explain it a bit. The Catherine Vos Bible story book is a classic, and is beautifully illustrated as well. There are tons of sources for Bible story coloring sheets to help them picture the story as well – even Dollar Tree!

    I would highly recommend teaching the children their catechisms. I recommend this one (mine is old-fashioned paper-and-ink form though):

    http://reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://reformed.org/documents/cat_for_young_children.html

    If your children are young, they will accept doctrine on faith, and their minds are perfect for rote memorization. The catechisms will also give your children a language of theology as a side benefit, so they will better be able to articulate questions later in life.

  25. Christie says:

    Listening to Pilgrim’s Progress’s Audio drama by Jim Pappas allows for LOTS of discussion of things that would normally be over their heads. My 4YO DD almost has the thing memorized! Also, we are catechizing her – her memory is astounding. After being caught up in false doctrine for many years, I believe it is important to have a solid doctrinal foundation. I feel behind the curve because I don’t have one myself! True, she doesn’t understand all the ins and outs of the answers she’s memorizing but we’ll cover that later as her logic processes grow. It’ll be a springboard for looking for verses that support each answer, trying to find verses that appear to contradict (good luck with that – but it’ll teach them and me to think) and I’m even planning on diagramming our catechism answers when we get to that part of english!

    We use “A Catechism with Proofs” by Spurgeon and it will teach you a ton as you memorize with the children! (available from http://www.johnbuyan.org) You can also ask them for direction on sources for training children. They have tons and are very helpful. Many are downloadable here: http://www.mountzion.org/listbytitle.html Look for Duties of Children and Parents and Family Worship.

  26. Meggan says:

    Amen Sister! If you wrote a book on it, I would purchase it. 🙂 I was totally unprepared for this eternal enterprise of motherhood and hit the ground running with a honeymoon baby and two more pregnancies since then (and we’ve only been married three years in March). Growing up an only child, being pushed down the career path, stay at home motherhood was never given an option for preparation. Thanks so much for this encouraging post.

  27. Linda says:

    If you are home schooling, you can also use science curriculum that helps teach apologetics (defense of the faith) from a scientific point of view. Also, history curriculum that integrates recorded history with biblical accounts and shows the continuity. And so on! answersingenesis.org and drdino.com are two faith based organizations that specialize in tools for this, from toddler age materials all the way up to the college grad, with many family focused materials too. Some of these are available from visionforum. Generation Cedar has an affiliate link on this site that you can use to investigate resources.

  28. Thank You for the ideas ladies! I will have to order things online as I am in Italy on military assignment for my husband 🙂

  29. Linda says:

    I know it is sort of a random thought, but after a time of thinking on this: it stands out to me how God is the ultimate parent and how He has used motherhood to bring me to a greater understanding of His love and to “train out” a lot of the “undesirable” and sinful character traits in my own life. When I recognize my own state of incompletion, it helps me to be more loving and understanding as I continue, with God’s help, to train the children He has placed in my care.

  30. Allie says:

    Brandy – poor handwriting as example of character flaw? Wow!

    Then again, I was drilled pretty hard in penmanship at school and I still have gorgeous script. I still practice the cursive alphabet sometimes to keep myself sharp – I’m very proud of my script, haha!

  31. […] Motherhood:  It’s Not Just Something I Am […]

  32. Laurie says:

    Comment #9, Linda…where do you find the book, “How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training” by Lou Piolo? I would be curious to read it.

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