Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth (Psalm 127:3).
Over this summer break, my church decided to host a weekly Bible study for mothers with young children.
Over the past several weeks, it has been a blessing to be a part of this intimate group of Christian mothers as we look at Scripture and discuss practical applications in our daily lives as mothers.
It has been a humbling and eye-opening time and fellowshipping with these women both encourages and challenges me to glorify Christ in this beautiful God-given role as a mother.
Our first gathering dealt with gleaning from the current area of corporate Bible study preceding Sunday service, which was Saul’s lack of patience and his disobedience in waiting on Samuel to offer a sacrifice (1 Samuel 15).
As we talked about how we can cultivate patience in our relationships with our children, I began to hear other mothers share their insight, wisdom, and struggle with their toddlers. It was honestly refreshing.
As a stay-at-home mother to two children, the oldest being six years old and the youngest just turning two years old, there have been plenty of pleasant times and fun times. There have also been some very challenging times, especially when dealing with a toddler and the ever-dreaded temper tantrums.
There are moments I wish the fruit of patience would have been more evident in my life before my children, and it is in the quiet times of the morning and the evening when I pray to the Lord, reminding myself of 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
I want to glorify the Lord in word and deed, and yet I fall short daily. It is a daily reminder to be thankful for my Lord and Savior and my absolute dependency upon Him.
During this time, I heard other mothers with toddlers expressing similar struggles, and I realized I was not the only one.
It seems there is a tendency to think you are the only one struggling at times in raising children and providing proper instruction and discipline while modeling the fruit of the Spirit. To hear others admit their struggles did not excuse the lack of patience and frustration.
Instead, it helped to share and to be accountable with other Christian women and to learn from mothers with older children.
There have been other areas touched on since then I want to share in hopes that maybe this will bless another mother who may be struggling and remind you that your hope is in Christ.
He is faithful to help us by His Spirit and to instruct us by His Word, conforming us into the image of Christ.
I Wish I Had Been More Joyful
One of the things shared during our Bible study that stood out to me was a piece of advice from a mother with older children. She said she wished she had been more joyful during their childhood and that it was important for our children to see us joyful as believers in Christ.
That statement really impacted me, and it caused me to be more aware of displaying joy to my children, as well as taking time to do things with them when they ask. Life can get busy and chaotic for many of us.
We get in a hurry, easily treating our relationship with our children as a business transaction, so to speak. I am guilty of that at times. As a Christian, there is always a reason to be joyful before the Lord, and this precious time with my children is a time I will never get again.
There are numerous passages in Scripture, particularly in the Psalms, telling of clapping hands and shouting with cries of joy to God. Taking time to praise and worship the Lord in our home has resulted in precious times I will cherish with my children.
Taking time to play with them and enjoy life with them while showering them with love and affection is invaluable in their lives. This is part of our care for them as God has placed them into our stewardship.
This mother was correct. Our children need to see us genuinely joyful. We are not like the world that is without hope.
Paul told those in Rome in Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
We can glean from Paul’s encouragement to them. We, too, are to be filled with joy and peace because of our hope and trust in God, and our children benefit from seeing that.
We are also to shine the light of Christ. Our children need to hear us in our readiness to share with others the reason for the hope we have in Christ (1 Peter 3:15).
The Things God Teaches Us through Our Children
I would much rather focus on joy than on the areas bringing personal introspection and conviction. However, God knows what we need and what is best for us.
In the process of us mothers sharing our struggles and our victories, I began thinking about how parenting has revealed so much both personally and concerning our children, helping me to be more aware of the need for the gospel in my six-year-old daughter and my toddler son.
Sin is evident in our children at a young age by their actions in those temper tantrums we dread, in the selfishness with toys and treats, and in other ways, we can surely recognize.
Yes, our children are sinners. They are not perfect. We do not like to think of our children in such a way, but it is true. Therefore, they need to hear the gospel.
At the same time, I continue to need the Gospel of Jesus Christ daily and to be reminded of my need for repentance in sanctification.
I do not need my children to show my need to be conformed into the image of Christ, and yet they help me to see my own selfishness and pride at times.
There are moments throughout the day that I want quiet time, but for right now, those times are few and far between. My son is an early riser. The days of sleeping and privacy in the bathroom are nowhere to be found.
Frustration comes easily when the house has been cleaned and put in order, only to have it minutes later appear as if a tornado of toys, crumbs and spilled drinks blew through the rooms.
There is contentment in being a parent and seeing a glimpse of the Lord's great care for us in our most unlovable times. I certainly do not deserve His mercy, His kindness, or His love.
But I am thankful, and I find myself asking Him daily to help me be a wife and mother who glorifies Him and testifies of Christ to my family.
I ask Him to forgive me for my sinful ways and to forgive my selfish desires while thanking Him for His loving correction. I ask Him to renew my mind with His Word and to empower me in my weakness by His Spirit.
What Does This Mean?
Life is precious, and it is a gift. Cherish the good and the bad, the convenient and the inconvenient. Enjoy the moments with your children. Praise God for allowing you to steward these little lives, and do not forget their great need for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
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Dawn Hill is a Christian blogger known as The Lovesick Scribe and the host of The Lovesick Scribe Podcast. She is passionate about sharing the truth and pointing others back to Jesus Christ through the written Word as the standard of authority for Christian living and instruction while being led by the Holy Spirit into maturity. She is the author of NonProphet Woke: The Reformation of a Modern-Day Disciple. She is a wife to Nicholas and a mother to Anabel and Ephraim. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
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