Yesterday marked my sixth Mother's Day. My first one was when I was newly-pregnant with my daughter, Angelina. I look back on the person that I was then, and I feel as though I've grown in so many ways, slowly but surely becoming the mother God wants me to be for my children. But I also see that I had no clue what motherhood would mean, what it looks like, how I could grasp in a tangible way what God's intention for it truly is. I had little knowledge that motherhood would mean more than just feeding, clothing, and sheltering these little babes. But as the years passed, I became more and more convicted of the depths I am to extend to, the difficult paths I am to travel, and the ways I am to spread and stretch in order to bring them up as not my children, but His.
As my children grow with each passing year, I am more aware of the fact that their time with me is short. It seems like only yesterday that I was chasing my oldest through our tiny condo in Maryland as she toddled away from me squealing with glee. Now she's almost 6 and I can't believe how time has flown. I look at these past 6 years and I wonder how many times I've thought about the person that Angelina will be, how I can lead her into God's hands, what I can do or say to help her grow up with a heart for the Lord and a passion for serving Him and others. While I feel like it is a lot, it probably isn't enough. In the busyness of life and the chaos that sometimes consumes my mind, I often forget that I am to be in constant prayer for her, and for all of my children, and that I am supposed to not just sit and watch them grow up, but help them grow up to be the type of person God wants them to be, the type at which today's world looks down and scoffs.
My job as their mother does go beyond making sure their basic needs are met. I am to teach my daughters how to respect themselves, how to be strong but not head-strong, to respect other girls and women, to be patient and kind, to be sensitive and loving. I am to also teach them how to relate to males the way God intended females to in each different stage of their life. I am to teach my son about all of these things and relating to females the way God intended males to, respecting them and cherishing their identities as daughters of a King.
If I had known how difficult the path of a mother truly is, I might have given up before I even became one. I don't think very many people actually contemplate what it means to be a mother, or father, until they're in the throes of parenting. Even if we have an inkling of our path, there is no complete understanding until we get there. And then some even choose a different path, the path that seems a lot easier, the path that still gets their children through to the other side but with not nearly enough understanding or training for life the way God intended it to be. With the world teaching all the things I know are wrong with bull-horns in the various forms of the media, it is horribly difficult to be heard. But starting now, when they are young, speaking quietly to their hearts, is where I lay the foundation for them to hear me, to hear God, above all that is shoved and spewed and screamed at them, drawing their attention in the opposite direction.
Life isn't about 'whatever happens, happens..' It is making our own futures, and the futures of our children, into what we want them to be, according to God's perfect will. I want to start out my seventh year of motherhood immersed in finding ways to rear my children how the Lord wants me to. That means taking them by the hand and leading them down that difficult path until the day comes when He's the one holding them.