I decided today I'm going to be on my soapbox. Because I think that it's time and because I think it is needed. I see too many mamas out there who don't do very much, if any, of what I'm going to write about, and it saddens and angers me all at the same time. BUT I stand on my soapbox today with gentleness and good-nature. My soapbox is not really a means to be annoyingly overbearing on what I think, but just a step up because I'm kinda short and want to make sure you can see me!
Today from my soapbox I am giving you all a challenge. This challenge is directed at mothers, whether Christians or not, though the very nature of a mother was planted in us by the Hand of the loving God Who made us.
My challenge to you is this:
Love your children. Really love them. Seek every opportunity to look into their faces, searching their eyes for that connection which resides between every mother and child, and strengthen it. Search their hearts and seek out new and deeper ways to speak to those radiant hearts in Love. Teach them to be kind, to be gentle, to be patient by being these things yourself. Show them what true Love really is.
Discipline your children. In love, not anger. Don't be afraid to correct them when they are out of line. Teach them self-control, honor, and respect. Don't give in just because they cry a lot. Start early with this. It's never too soon but it can be too late before you know it.
Spend time with your children. Play with them. Don't make them feel like they are a burden just because they want your attention at the most inconvenient time. Mothering isn't about convenience. It's about sacrifice. It's one of the vocations in life which require you to go completely outside yourself for the good of someone else.
Hold on to your children. Hold their hands. Hold their hearts. Hold their whole bodies and snuggle on the couch. Don't be too quick to wish they'd just grow up. Relish every second you have with them. Not only because they grow up way too fast anyway, but because any single moment with them could very well be your last.
Finally, let your children change you. God gave each child a very specific personality and set of traits designed especially to teach us lessons and mold us into His image. How amazing is that?! Let your children change you, grow you, help you become the person God intended you to be. Don't write them off just because they are children; even though they might not be aware of it, He is using them as tools to chisel and shape you. Let them. Let Him.
Please don't think I'm giving you all this challenge without taking it to heart myself. I will be first to admit that I am sometimes a failure in some- if not all- of these areas. But more and more I am convicted of the fact that we are not promised another day, hour or even second on this earth (thank you to my sister Mary for reminding me yet again of this very important fact), and I need to use my time wisely. God gave me these children for a specific purpose; a mission was given to me the moment I was aware of their presence within my womb. I have to own that role, take on that mission and raise my children for His purposes. It's a scary and crazy and often bumpy ride but I would be a complete failure all the time if I didn't give the reigns to God, follow His lead and be the mother He calls me to be.
"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much." ~Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
(Image: "Motherhood" by Mary Cassatt)