Recently, while perusing my many unread messages in my inbox, I ran across one that was promoting half price getaways. I found myself day dreaming and even coveting a vacation.
I fantasized about a child free vacation with just the man of my prayers. I even began to resent the diaper that I was procrastinating to change, which means I was resenting my sweet boy’s very presence. This moment revealed the truth brewing in my heart; I was not viewing Samuel as a reward, but as a burden … an inconvenience.
John Piper reminds us in his book, This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence (my emphasis added):
We are not here merely to fill the earth with bodies. One great meaning of marriage is to bear and raise children for the glory of God and to fill the earth with worshipers of God.
One of the ways we can raise our children up in the way of the Lord is for them to know and understand that they are a gift from God to us. To do this, we must recognize three things.
3 Ways to Show Our Children They are a Gift from God
1. We must love our children sacrificially.
Being a mother means constant, never-ending sacrifice. There are no nights, weekends, or vacations off. I once told Mark that he could mess up at work, and, at worse, would lose his job. I, on the other, if I mess up on the job, someone might actually die. Dramatic? Yes, probably. But also somewhat true, right?
Because of this constant sacrifice, it opens the door to temptations such as selfishness, resentment, bitterness, and complaining. It’s hard to sacrifice our bodies, time, and efforts for those who don’t seem to appreciate what we are doing.
When we give in to these temptations, our sin inevitably spills over onto our children. Laying down our lives cheerfully and with joy, as Jesus did, goes off our radar, and we are left serving the great kingdom of self. As a result, our children feel anything but treasured and loved.
My friend, when you find it hard to iron another shirt, or wipe another snotty nose remember that Jesus served and cared for the disciples day-in and day-out in full knowledge that they would depart from Him in the last hour.
2. We must love our children with tender, affectionate, passionate love.
The command to serve sacrificially pales in comparison to the command to love and enjoy our children. It is easy to serve. It’s harder to stop what we are doing and just simply enjoy our children. The to-do list is forever long, and completing one item on the list only means you must add ten more items on.
However, this tender love is a tool the Lord values and uses to win our children to Him. As women, we represent the nurturing character of God. It is in these moments when we stop our tasks and simply hold our babies, read a book, or play Go Fish for the hundredth time that builds their trust, and communicates to them the value you place on their lives and your relationship with them.
3. We must give life to our children.
In her book, Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role, Erin Davis reminds us that our children are a ministry! She explains:
[Your children] are an unreached people group. They don’t come into the world with a knowledge and heart for God. It’s your job to teach them, and it’s a big job.
As mothers, we have a unique role in our children’s lives because we are descendants of Eve, which essentially means giver of life. We must take seriously the role of being on the front force of winning our children to God. We must be faithful to share the Gospel, read them stories of the Bible, pray with and for them, and communicate God’s love while showing and putting on display Christ’s love for them. Mothers are one of the most tangible examples of Christ’s unconditional love and grace.
Being a mom and loving our children well is a tall order. However, God did not leave us to fend for ourselves. When we are weak – we lose our patience, yell in anger, or count our to-do list more important than giving our children a hug – Christ is strong. When we lack faith to persevere in love, Christ is faithful. Whatever our needs, whatever our shortcomings, Christ is there to fill the void.
There is hardly a role more sanctifying than motherhood. A peek into my everyday life with Samuel will reveal what a selfish, impatient, self worshiping kind of woman I am. But in that same look you might also see a woman striving to glorify God when she kisses the boo-boo, welcomes the interruption, and dances like a crazy woman just to get a smile.
We have an important job moms to ensure that our children know that they are a blessing from God!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. – Hebrews 12:1-3