July 23, 2009

The Mission of Motherhood

So I've been doing a Bible study on a book called "The Mission of Motherhood" by Sally Clarkson. My friend, Jenn, gave me the book when Brooks was born and it has been the most convicting, wonderfully eye-opening (man-written) book I've read in years! It's mainly about how being a mother IS the greatest mission you can have! She explains how to be a missionary to your children - how to grow them up with a deep love for Christ - in doing so, we'll reach their hearts in a way that will secure them in the roots of God's love and purpose for their lives! Here are just a few of the "take-away" points from the 1st 6 chapters:
  1. The mother who reaches the heartfelt needs of her children by helping them feel loved and secure, by believing in their dreams, by noticing when they stray and gently steering them back in the right direction, and by teaching them what they need to know to live full and meaningful lives accomplishes a great work for the Lord.
  2. God started families when the world was perfect and no sin had taken place. The role of "mother" was a part of God's core design of a perfect life.
  3. Motherhood, according to God's design, is more than a full-time job. It's an absorbing task that demands all the resources God has given us - our physical energy, intellectual abilities, creative gifts.
  4. Doesn't it make sense that a wise God, who ordered the rest of creation in an intricate and systematic way, would also have provided a person (MOM) to care for children - to take responsibility for their nurture, protection, nourishment, intellectual development, manners, recreation, personal needs, and spiritual development? Someone needs to commit time and energy into staying close to them as they grow, encouraging and correcting and teaching. (That's what we're here to do!)
  5. God intended the above (#4) to be a fully committed job, not something we do on the side.
  6. We need to nurture our children with our songs, words, and physical labor, treating each day as sacred in their development.
  7. Loving my children, protecting them, and building them into a godly heritage is a life's work worth far more than any money or status I might find in a career.
  8. It's the way I respond to my children in the everyday moments that gives me the best chance of winning their hearts. If I have integrity and patience in the small moments of like that are so important to my kids, and if I approach them with a servant's heart, then I have a far better chance of influencing them in the larger and more critical issues of life.
  9. We are required to do what Jesus did for his disciples...lead our children not only be telling them what to do, but by showing them!
  10. When we choose to graciously overlook our children's messes and accidents, we are teaching them to be patient and forgiving with the mistakes of others. As they benefit from our unconditional love, they learn to extend it to others. As they observe us searching scripture, spending time with the Lord, and making faith-based decisions, they learn these things as well.
  11. Our children must see that our joy is not circumstantial but real because we have an endless source of strength through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. They look to us as a barometer of how our lives are faring.
  12. We shouldn't want our kids to just be moral. We shouldn't want them to just make it through our home with good grades and no drug addiction. We should want them to leave our home with a hunger to know God and to be used by Him to accomplish great things for His kingdom.
  13. All that God requires from any of us is a desire to serve Him and trust that He can make up the difference for the things we lack. He will use our willingness and our effort, then fill in the gaps to prepare our children's' hearts for what He has in mind.
  14. We should have the goal to love and train our children so they will be equipped to reach the world and their families and friends with the message of Christ after we are gone.
  15. We will ultimately be held responsible for our children - not the daycare workers, not the VBS teachers, not the soccer coach. The real work of digging deep wells in our children's hearts with scripture, a biblical world-view, issues of prayer and faith, and Christian conviction is a job for which God will hold the parents responsible.
  16. Teaching the word to our children requires that we be students of the word so that we will have something personal to share.
  17. "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is older he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 - Training is the practical application of a learned truth. It's not enough to teach our children biblical truths - they have to see them lived out in our daily lives and see the fruit of relationship with Christ. It is not enough to KNOW the truth, we must also learn to WALK in truth.
  18. "He who walks with wise me will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." Proverbs 13:20 - While our kids are young, we need to monitor carefully the people and ideas to which they are exposed.
  19. Our children need time to grow their roots in love, innocence, kindness, truth, morality, and trust. When they are strong and tall, then they will be able to withstand the difficult seasons of life. (an illustration about young aspen trees the author planted preceded this comment)
  20. One of the best gifts we can give our children as they go from our homes into young adulthood is a pure conscience and, if possible, a mind with no scars or regrets.
  21. Exposing our kids to positive influences is just as important as avoiding negative ones.