Full. Always full. The arms of a mother are full of sippy cups, dish rags, toys, laundry, shoes, books, mystery gunk, blankies, sports equipment, groceries, or the kids themselves. Full at any given moment and at any given time.
The rare moments when our arms are free, our minds are full. To do lists run through our heads along with questions like “How can I magically transform a pound of hamburger into a decent supper?”, “Will a few minutes in front of the TV screw up my child?” and “How long until nap time?” Oh the crazy times of mothering!
So during these years when your time (and energy) is being taken over by young ones with their demands and needs, are we allowed to take a hiatus from growing in God and being useful for his Kingdom? You know my answer of course… no! For you Moms who find yourself in this season of life, I want to give you three areas of encouragement to hold on to today.
1.) God is with you. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalms 1:2
You may feel many days that “quiet time” with God is impossible. You can’t get away from the demands of your day and those around you to spend 30 minutes in the Word like you feel you should. Good news! God is not only present in quiet times but also in the wild, noisy, and even chaotic times (see Hebrews 13:5)! He is not frightened off by crying babies, grumpy toddlers or moody teens. Praise God for that! God is never far away. When you belong to God, his Holy Spirit dwells within you and will never leave you (read John 14:1-17). Learn to appreciate his presence even when times are wild.
Need suggestions? Pray out loud, worship and praise God with singing, grab your Bible in the morning and memorize one line, think on it throughout your day, or listen to the Bible or a sermon online. Susanna Wesley (mother of John and Charles Wesley) was a mother of 10 children yet she spent two hours a day in prayer. How? By flipping her apron up over her head. She told the children that when they saw her apron up she was in prayer and not to be bothered. She could not remove herself from her duties but she could still focus on God.
2.) God is growing you. “He is like a tree planted by streams of water…” Psalms 1:3a
Trees are one of God’s amazing creations. You can’t see them growing but they are. Over time, if they get all the water and nutrients they need, they become tall, full and beautiful. That is what God does in your heart during the years of motherhood if you are his. He grows you little bits at a time over many years (“from one degree of glory to another” 2 Cor. 3:18). You won’t realize all he has done until you look back and see the changes yourself. God is amazingly gracious to us and he values us far more than trees.
Too many moms make the mistake of thinking that their purpose in motherhood is to produce godly children. That is a great goal, but only God produces anything godly. God’s purpose for you in motherhood is to produce a godly woman. He allows you to experience so much during motherhood to mature you in him. Does this mean that God allows sickness, disabilities, and defiance in our children to grow us toward him? Absolutely! Is God behind the sleepless nights, skinned knees, and picky eaters? If you believe in the sovereignty of God he is! Things we often see as “interruptions” in our days (or nights) are often God taking the time to teach us and asking us to grow our roots deeper in him (our source of living water).
3.) God is what it’s all about. “…that yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither.” Psalms 1:3b
We are creations of the Master Gardener, made to magnify his greatness. It is to this end we live, breath and raise others to do the same. Make no mistake; this life is not about you. Rejoice in that fact, if it was, we would be sorely disappointed. God has filled your arms to overflowing so that your hearts could also be filled to overflowing with all his goodness, mercies and love. He continues to prune and fashion you into the masterpiece he desires you to be and one that will reflect him beautifully. Trust God in this.
Mothers, today whether you find your arms full of sweet cuddles or a battle of wills, know that God has great purpose for each of these moments. After all…he has you in his arms.
I may seem like a very mild-mannered, gentle lady, but sit down across from me at a board game, deck of cards or anything slightly competitive and you will see a whole other side to me. Just ask my husband what I’m like to play Ping-Pong or air hockey with. I just love winning. You get to see a glimpse of this today.
Several years ago a former pastor of mine who liked using football analogies said in a sermon that there were no sidelines in life; everyone is on the field playing on one team or the other. Being someone who also loves football, the visual stuck with me.
No sidelines, no benchwarmers, no plank riders. Everyone in the world is on the field playing for one side or the other at this very moment.
People like to think that they are “on the fence” and undecided about this Jesus person. When they are ready, they will make the choice to take him or leave him. The truth is found in John 3:18, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
If not currently playing on God’s team, you stand condemned just as you are (on the other side of the ball). By not making the decision to follow Christ, you have decided against him. You are wearing Satan’s jersey and fighting side by side with demons. This puts you in a very dangerous position; you are fighting against God as his enemy (James 4:4). The wrath of God remains on those who do not obey him (John 3:36).
For those who have been drafted and have decided to accept and follow Jesus, are you an active player or more of an obstacle to work around? Are you following the playbook (the Bible) God gave you to equip you and sustain you? Are you talking to the only one who can help you through the struggles of offense and defense?
C’mon, Ladies, this ain’t no powder puff game! Put the eye black on and get in on the action. Fight for your God and the teammates around you. Put all you have on the line for the one who gave his life so you could be his and have eternal life with him in glory.
The awesome part of all this is knowing Jesus has already won the victory for us. He accomplished this long ago on the cross. He allows us to share in this victory if we accept what he has done for us. I plan to be a part of God’s team and do all I can to increase our team numbers for the glory of God. Hey, I told you I love winning.
This game does not last forever, there is an end coming. The losers get an all-expenses paid team bus trip to Hell. The winners get to go to Paradise to live with Jesus. This seems like quite the easy decision to me.
As the football hype peaks this weekend, let it be a reminder to you to check your jersey. Make sure you are playing for the winning side and being an active participant. I may talk like this is a game, but it is a matter of eternal joy or eternal torture. Don’t allow Satan’s heavy, stinky jersey to stay on you another second, the Hell bus is warming up. Rip it off and choose Jesus. He will make you into a new creation and give you the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell within you. Yes, it is a very nice recruiting package indeed.
This was the simple text a friend sent me several weeks ago. I had been sitting reading my Bible and was struggling deeply with an issue concerning one of my children. My heart was aching and the tears were flowing freely down my face. When the text came my first reaction was, “How did she know? Could she hear me crying from across town?” Silly, I know and totally illogical, but the perfect timing of her simple question was supernatural. I burst into uncontrollable sobs. This time because of the amazing ability of my Father God to comfort me using one of his other children.
This little message spoke volumes of love, concern and encouragement to my heart. Does that seem strange? It shouldn’t. I knew the sender well and I knew the care behind these words. She was and is a sister in Christ; therefore we share something very strong. In 1 Corinthians 12:4, 5 it says, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord.”
The same Spirit resides in each of us who belong to Christ, so this shouldn’t be surprising at all. This is the Holy Spirit given to us as a gift from Jesus Christ as our helper to be with us forever. The world cannot receive him because it does not know him, only those redeemed by Jesus have the Holy Spirit. “You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:17.
The Holy Spirit is God (part of the trinity) and dwells in us. Mind blowing? Absolutely. Allow the Spirit to nudge you toward good works and loving others, “especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10. We do these works for the glory of God and they result in thanksgiving toward God in us.
If you are a believer, when someone crosses your mind, know that there is a reason for it. Pray for that person then reach out to them if you feel led to. It could be a simple text, email, written note or phone call. Maybe you need to go further and invite them out for coffee or lunch. Any of these seemingly small acts could mean so much to them. Be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit; it is truly obedience to God.
I have a friend who often takes pictures of the beautiful scenery around her. Whenever I see something I know she would capture, I pray for her. On my drive into Dubuque for work I turn off the radio and pray for those God places on my heart that day. It may be for a known prayer request or a general prayer for God’s will to be done in their life. If someone stays on my mind, I connect with them in some way through messages or meeting for a simple talk and prayer.
This is what family does for one another. We pray, we encourage, and we spur one another on toward Christ always. How can you do this for someone today?
But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. – Hebrews 3:13
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. – 1 Thess. 5:11