This third post in our Feminology series comes from guest author Sharon Ahrendt. The Feminology series focuses on understanding Biblical womanhood; it is featured on this blog the first Tuesday of each month in 2022. We are continuing to look at how men and women are made in the image of God, with an emphasis this month on what the culture tells us about our image vs. what God tells us. Regardless of any firm beliefs we’ve held, if they are contrary to God’s word we need to re-evaluate. May we not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (From Romans 12:2)
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”Philippians 2:3
Our culture undervalues children in many ways. As a result, I have found myself not embracing my role as a mom, or as a life-giver to others. The culture and God, though, have opposing views, and when I am self-focused, I am opposing God’s word as He has called me to care for the children in my life.
My desire for a clean house, for order, for control of everything, for quiet time, for “me” time, causes me to be selfish and unloving toward my family. How many times have I half-heartedly listened to questions from my toddlers because I was focused on something “more important”? How many times have I not given my full attention to my middle schoolers when they were struggling with an issue? How often have I elevated non-eternal things like laundry, dishes, or meal prep, over the very important aspect of my job which is to be a life-giver, a nurturer.
If I could go back to me as a younger mom, what would I tell her?
I would say…
- stop what you’re doing, stoop down, and look into your child’s eyes
- listen intently
- hear what they’re saying
- kiss and hug your kids more often than you think they need
- tuck them in bed
- be present in the moment
- smile at your kids
You get the idea. I can become overwhelmed by the thought of nurturing each and every one of my children well. Instead of wallowing in the overwhelm, how can I practically respond? I can reach out to my adult kids and their families and ask them how I can pray for them. I can send them a quick text or take them to lunch.
Including my children still living at home can be easier if I’m purposeful. I could take a child to the store with me or have them help me in the kitchen. These are a few ways to invest in my kids one on one. I can pull in my little kids to help me match socks. Little kids can peel bouillon cubes-yes, it’s easier to buy the big jar, yet, there’s a sense of accomplishment in the work and they sit still long enough to engage in conversation. Yes, sometimes those cubes are licked, but that is why we cook with high heat, right?
There will be many moments when we fail to be life-givers to our children, but I encourage us to ask for forgiveness and start afresh.
Called To Be Life-Givers
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2Ephesians 5:1-2
God calls us, in His word, to be life-givers. In addition to dying on the cross for us, Jesus showed love to His followers when He walked on this earth, leaving us an example to follow. Over and over in the gospels, Jesus grows weary and tired from healing and teaching the multitudes day after day.
“And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things.”Mark 6:31-34
Jesus was trying to get some rest and down time with his disciples, yet when they arrived on shore, multitudes were waiting. Jesus did not shut down or send them away. He had compassion on them. What an example to us as life-givers! In imitating Jesus, I need to have compassion on my children or anyone else who interrupts my day, needing my guidance or help. Jesus took the time to teach them many things:
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”Ephesians 5:15-16
I need to be making the best use of my time by teaching and nurturing those in my care. This looks different with each season, and yet the same principle will always apply. It will require me to stop what I’m doing and look at my kids as they talk to me. I need to set aside what I am doing. I need to have compassion on them.
Those unending questions from toddlers are no longer lingering in my home. I now have grandkids that ask those same questions. My 4-year old grandson recently asked me, “Mimi, Why do you have so many kids?!” “Hmmm…That’s a great question, Buddy. Mimi is blessed abundantly by God and the Bible says that children are a blessing.”
Jesus elevates the humility of children when He tells His disciples that they must become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven. We all have children in our lives, even if we are not biological mothers. The next time you have an opportunity to interact with a little one consider this: stop what you are doing, look at the child, and be amazed by how God created them to be so curious. Make every effort to answer their questions in an unhurried way. What a privilege to share answers that are sprinkled with the truth of God’s word and His promises.
Be mindful to not allow self-centeredness to rob you of the joy that comes from mothering and a life-giver within your home. Make the best use of your time, remaining eternally focused, and be amazed as you see God at work in you and in the generations to come.