Before I got here, I had started reading the book by Sally Clarkson, The Mission of Motherhood. I picked it up at a time when I realized that I needed to be more intentional about my parenting and wanted to think through how I will impact my children and the future generations of our family. I often struggle with living up to where I want to be as a mom and I think that in the past that has held me back from being the mom I could be. Sally really encouraged me with these words,
I do not, however, consider myself to be a perfect mother. My aspirations and what I can idealize oftentimes far exceed my ability to live up to them in reality. Yet it is in being able to visualize the dreams of my heart and beauty of God's design that I have found a standard of maturity to move toward.This was just what I needed to hear in the endless days of good intentions and failed attempts. I didn't need to throw out my goals with my failures, I can use them as place to move toward.
Sally also writes about having a servant's heart for our children. That might seem like an obvious point but I find that it is easy for me to forget in the every day grind of life with fellow sinners (me being the worst!). I am realizing more and more that the times I am most frustrated with my kids are the times when I am being inconvenienced by them or when they are messing up my plans. Sally challenged me in this area when she writes,
Choosing to be a servant-mother means willingly giving up myself, my expectations, and my time to the task of mothering-and choosing to believe that doing so is the best use of my time at that moment. Making this choice ahead of time means that I will expect problems and needs to arise and be ready to deal with them in peace instead of impatience and resentment.The last thing I want is for my kids to think that I resent them for taking up my time or messing up my plans. And yet, I know I do that more times than not.
Being here with my sister as she bravely faces the challenges of motherhood at the start of her journey, reminds me that my job is never over. It may have started with the early moments of physical sacrifice but it will continue through the adult years of my children's lives as well. I want to be a faithful servant, a repenting, God believing, faithful servant to my children.
I often think about what my kids will say about me at my funeral, will they rise up and call me blessed? Will they remember the time I spent with them and the gentle way I responded to their needs? Or will they remember the guilt I made them feel when they didn't do what I wanted them to do? Will they remember feeling like they were inconvenient or a "difficult" child or a blessing and a joy?
These questions have made me think of the legacy I want to carry on and leave for my kids some day.
Here aresome of the dreams of my heart:
- I want my kids to know that they are more important than a clean and organized house.
- I want my kids to know that they can come to me with anything and I will not make them feel like it is trivial.
- I want my kids to see me reading the Word, loving the Word, sharing the Word with them.
- I want them to see me pray, with and for them, for struggles and repentance.
- I want to repent to my kids when I am wrong, even when they are adults.
- I don't want my pride to get in the way of admitting when I was wrong and that that isn't a sign of failure but of faith.
- I want to walk into a child's room in the middle of the night and not ask impatiently what is wrong but gently address their needs.
- I want to prioritize my time so that I am not giving them what is leftover.
- I want them to see that I love my husband by putting him before myself.
- I want my kids to see me serving others, even if it is inconvenient for me.
- I want my kids to see me engaging in relationships that challenge and encourage me.
- I don't want to react with impatience when my kids spill something or get dirty.
- I want to remember that they are kids.
- When my kids are adults, I want them to expect that I will support them in their decisions, even if I don't agree with them.
- I want to remember that weddings and grandchildren are not about me and what I want but about my kids leaving my home to start their own.
- I want to always be able to be honest with my kids about where I screwed up and how God has changed me through it.
- I don't ever want to be done working on how I can grow and change and love others more, even if it means going to counseling until I die!
- I want to remember that God is working on changing the hearts of my children just as he changing mine.
As I open myself up to the change God is doing in my heart, I am beginning to have a greater understanding of what my mission of motherhood is.
I pray that God will give me the humility and the grace to live it out.