“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:13-14
Before he entrusted our kids to us, he consecrated them in our wombs. Before they came into this world, the Lord chose a mother to bear them, to carry them and care for them, and lead them into the world.
And if we didn’t specifically carry them in our wombs, he sent them to us for the time they are in our homes to be raised by specifically us. Mothers were chosen by God in so many ways, but one of the most important ways was to raise the children he placed in our care.
The ways in which they are difficult, or sweet, or angry, or tired, or loving were made especially for you. You were equipped by God to take care of these specific beings, even if you don’t feel qualified.
When they throw an epic tantrum and you have no idea how to make it better. Or they’re failing in school, and nothing you are trying is working; He made them for you.
When they are hurt by their friends, or bullied by some punk kids, the Lord chose you for that moment: to comfort, to care, to teach.
If they are sick, or injured, or in the hospital, you, my friend, were chosen for this great work. You were chosen to be their comfort, their safe place, their counsel, their everything for a time.
When they hate you because they’re teenagers, and you can’t seem to say or do the right thing, just wait it out. The Lord loves His children—you and your child—and He sees you, and He chose you to weather the storm of puberty with this kid: your kid.
And even after being teenagers, they need unconditional love as adults. They need to know that when they don’t get that job, when someone breaks their heart, when they screw up, that you love them regardless. The Lord sent you for that important work. And His “works are wonderful, we know that full well.”
Just as he chose you to raise your kids, he also gave you a mission for them. He has given you the flock that lives in your home. When someone trusts you with something, there is an expectation of care, of love. He entrusted these little lambs to us to feed, house, clothe, and also love. And we are asked to do it willingly, not grudgingly. I so often do it so, so grudgingly.
My eldest daughter, all of eight years old, spots my grudging a mile away. “Mom you’re rolling your eyes again,” she says after I’ve been asked to get the hundredth random dinner necessity while my food sits cold on the table. If I want to show my children love, I need to actually act like I love them. The Lord knew we’d have testy toddlers, sassy elementary kids, angsty junior highers, and know-it-all high school kids, but he called us to love them: not grudgingly.
God chose us to parent these children, in our homes because we are eager to serve God. We are not parenting our kids because we want them to go to college and get good jobs. We are not parenting them just to “be good people,” we are serving our Lord. God wants us to serve Him in our homes daily. We can do this by parenting our kids in a way that points them toward the Lord. I want my kids to succeed in school, but why do I want that? I want my kids to be nice to their siblings and friends, but why?
We need to reexamine this “why” in all situations. Instead of saying, so you can go to college, maybe say: so that you can get a job and use it to serve the Lord. Instead of just being nice to their siblings, remind them that their actions toward their siblings are a reflection of who Jesus is in their heart. And when asking them to be kind to their peers, let’s remind them that what they do for the least of these, they do for the Lord.
And He knows we’re human, and He knows we’re going to screw it up. He knows I’ll roll my eyes, lose my temper, or forget that He even exists in the moment. He knows it all before we even do it, but in these moments we can choose to rely on the Holy Spirit and show grace to ourselves. We can lead them by our example. Do we want our daughters and sons to grow up knowing that if they do wrong they need to beat themselves up for it, or pretend it never happened? Do we want them to be raised with no knowledge of the fact that adults make mistakes, too? No, we want them to know where our help comes from, and how to ask for it. We all need grace, and our kids need to see us asking for it.
So let’s live our motherhood missions knowing that we were given these specific people in our homes for a purpose. And that when we live out that heavenly purpose our reward will be a “neverending share in His glory and honor.”