God can be pretty obvious sometimes when He wants you to get something. It is much easier that way, but it isn’t always preferred because then I am faced with, “OK, I get it God. I need to work on this.”
These are the times that my Bible studies, the church sermon, my personal books and Daily Bread all say the same thing during the same time.
Recently, God basically said I need to be a better mother. At first I justified that I was a perfect mother: I stay at home (a big one that I use); I play with her once or twice during the day; I bring her out to the park or play dates; I feed her, change her, bathe her, etc…
But God wasn’t saying I was a bad mom, just that a good mom can always get better.
“Good, better, best,
never let it rest,
until your good is better,
and your better is best.”
As Elizabeth George talks about in A Woman After God’s Own Heart, our good can always be better, and our better can move up to best.
Am I doing the BEST I can?
I was confronted with this mainly when reading George’s chapter 9, “A Heart That Values Being a Mother.” I became overwhelmed at the list of things I was to do.
Start now doing devotions with them, teach them scripture, read them the Bible, etc…
I want my daughter to love and follow God more than anything else – and I pray for that everyday, but the mechanical, daily aspects of teaching her these things everyday on top of the alphabet, potty training (ugh!), manners, eating vegetables and sharing just completely overwhelmed me.
I know my husband and I, and our relationship with God will just shine through us to our children – and that it is about this relationship that is the most important element to grasp in contrast to just having all the books of the Bible memorized, but at the same time, He is the reason we live…so shouldn’t I go ALL OUT? Go from good to better? Better to best?
It became clear to me although I was home, there were a lot of times I was “checked out.” I was at home, busy helping with church, Bible studies, writing or reading – therefore, I justified it as being OK. God needed me in those roles.
But the most important role He put me in was as a wife and mother. That comes first.
These opportunities started to appear. When I go on my daily run – during the quiet areas, I will take off my iPod (a time where I really like to listen to my music) and talk to her about what we see of God’s creation around us. I started doing morning devotions with her before cartoons. While praying was just a dinner and bedtime thing, we pray more.
Our minds are containers and we have the choice what to fill them with and what to fill our children’s with. Life is short. Fill our minds with what is BEST because it will shine through us and our children will see that – and fill our children’s minds with what is BEST.
It is amazing all the places where I could easily (for the most part) give a BETTER or BEST from something that was just good. I am incredibly grateful that I get to be a mother. That God let ME have the opportunity to raise a child so I will not take it for granted and will sacrifice to move from good to better to best. They grow up WAY too fast.
Sarah Mae wrote this great post I would like to share:
I love moms.
I have a profound respect for the fact that motherhood is one of the hardest gigs in the world, when we choose to invest in it. The day in and day out of taking care of little ones can be especially intense, exhausting, lonely, confusing, stressful, and mind-numbing. There are days when mothers just need a bed to curl up in and hide under the covers to regain some semblance of composure. Or to just get a break.
To engage in motherhood, one must constantly be putting her own needs aside in order to take care of her children. It is very, very difficult to put the needs of your children above your own. I’m not talking theory here. Of course we moms want to put our children’s needs above our own, and we mostly do, but the reality is, it’s dang hard. You mamas know what I’m talking about.
And many of us struggle with the fear that we’re not doing enough. We worry that other moms are doing “it” better, and we think of all the times we are impatient, or could teach scripture more, or could…
The fact that most of us think this way tells me that we are good mothers. We do care for our babies, and we want the best for them. We give them over to God and we pray that He fills the gaps where we mess up. We keep on going; we persevere because we love our children.
But the truth is, some of us are failing.
Some of us don’t know we are, some of us have an inkling that we are, and some of us have just given ourselves over to the failing.
We are failing in the area of investing, intentionally, in our children.
I’m talking the mamas who are spending too much time online or in other ventures.
It all started out so innocent. Just a little bit here and a little bit there. And time moved a little faster, and the days weren’t so long…weren’t so hard. We found community and acknowledgement, and maybe some money or fame. And it felt good…it still does.
Part escape, part investing in our own need to do something other than what filled our mundane days.
But eventually we felt it, somewhere in our soul. We felt that maybe were spending a little too time online or in outside projects. Maybe we started filling our plates with more than what was good for us. A different kind of gluttony.
It seemed so good, and maybe God was opening doors and giving gifts. Maybe He was. But there was that small ache in our bellies. Something was off.
Something is off.
Do you feel it? Do you feel the ache? Are you really living the life you want? Are you really living intentionally and investing in your children intentionally, or are your days passing in a blur?
Are you living fully alive?
Do you even know what it means to live fully?
There are areas in my life that I’ve been failing in, failing my children in.
I haven’t been as intentional with them as is best for their souls, their minds, their persons. I’ve been too busy. Too burdened, too excited about opportunities. How easy to get sidetracked, to say “yes”.
But these little chicks in my care, I’m their only mama, and I’ve only got one shot at motherhood.
I have one shot at instilling in them the things I think are good and important and worthwhile. I have to be intentional. I have to be here, with them.
Day in and day out.
This isn’t about working moms or stay-at-home moms, this is about being faithful to investing in the souls in our care. Really investing.
Doing the hard work.
Doing the fun work.
And letting other things go for a season.
The season of the little years, the season of the tween years, the season of the teen years.
Yes, the season of our children being in our home. It’s a long one, for sure, but it’s also a short one.
We must be very careful with what we give our time to. Don’t believe the lie that the woman who looks like she is doing it “all” actually is. I promise you, something somewhere is failing.
God is good and kind and patient, and His grace is given so lavishly. So often He covers. But the truth remains that we reap what we sow. This is a wisdom principle. It it what it is.
What’s distracting you from giving yourself fully to intentionally, faithfully, daily investing in your children?
Is it worth it? Will it be worth it in 15 years when you look back? What is worth sacrificing this time with your children?
What are you going to do with it?