Mother’s Day. So many emotions come from so many different places and experiences on this day. Mother’s Day is a hard day for me. Maybe it is for you, too.
There are a lot of different reasons to dislike this Hallmark holiday. Maybe you have a difficult or estranged relationship with your mother. Maybe your mother is no longer living. Maybe you are not a mother despite the years of trying and praying and negative pregnancy tests. Maybe you are a mother and it is really hard. No matter your mother-situation, this holiday can be a blaring, in-your-face reminder of pain and suffering.
I have been a mother for a whole 14 months, now, which means I have it all figured out (sarcasm). In all honesty, I’m making it up as I go with a mountain of prayer and a lot of strange questions in my Google search history. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned in my first year as a mother.
Your family cannot be your idol. And your lack of family can’t be, either.
Many of you know of our struggle with infertility. It took us four years to get pregnant. Four years is a lot of time to think, dream, be disappointed and to get angry at God. During those four years, there were a lot of unknowns but one truth that I held onto a little too tightly for longer than I like to admit. I wanted to be a mom. I was going to do anything I could to make it happen. I became obsessed with it. I put all my hope in becoming a mom.
But God, being rich in mercy, slowed my roll. He told me “No.” many, many times. I was angry. I was distant from God. I felt betrayed, like Jesus didn’t love me because He wasn’t giving me what I wanted.
A pastor-friend once told me, after adopting two kids, that he and his wife didn’t adopt their kids so that the kids could do whatever they wanted. There were still rules and things they were not allowed to do. “If my daughter wants to run across the street in heavy traffic,” he said, “I’m going to tell her ‘no,’ because that’s what’s best for her.”
God used those four years of infertility to refine me. The countless “no’s” He gave me tore me down to my core. And then, He built me back up with a new truth.
Instead of “I want to be a mom,” my truth was now, “Jesus is enough.” I would wake up every morning and recite the phrase, “Jesus is enough. Even if I am not a mom, Jesus is enough.” There were days that I believed it deeply. And there were days that I didn’t believe it at all. But I kept at it. Every day I would wake up and say those words.
And I said them for two years.
Just like the kids who my friends adopted, there were still things God was not going to allow me to do. Just because I believed the words that “Jesus is enough” didn’t mean that God was going
to just give me what I wanted. He knew what was best for me. I needed to sit in that grace for a while longer.
Those years of “no” taught me that Christ is the only thing worth clinging to. I could not cling to the hope of one day being a mom because it wasn’t happening.
And now that I am a mom, I know that I can’t put my hope in my family, either. That’s a lot of pressure for a one-year-old. She is going to let me down. And I’m going to let her down. And I’m going to let my husband down. And him, me. People are not enough.
So, I put my hope in Christ. And am trying to teach my daughter to do the same. Because Jesus is enough.
What are you putting your hope in? Is it your kids? Your spouse? Is it the idea of one day being married or becoming a parent? Is it your career, your bank account, your home? Where do you need replace your worldly hope with “Jesus is enough”?
You are not responsible for your child’s salvation.
I am not the Savior of the World (sigh of relief). And neither are you. Jesus is the one who defeated Satan and death and He is the only one who can save us from the penalty of our sin. Your child’s salvation is ultimately not on you.
That doesn’t mean that you don’t have a responsibility, though. Each day is a new opportunity to glorify God with your parenting. There are so many places we can set the example for our kids. Our examples are never going to be perfect, and that is okay. But, let’s be intentional about the examples we set. Our kids learn from our actions and our in actions, even when we don’t intend them to. They are always watching. Parenting is sanctifying.
We can teach our kids to read so that they can daily be in God’s Word, like they see us doing. We can teach our kids to talk so that they can spread the good news of the gospel, like they hear us doing. We can teach them to forgive others when they are wronged so they can get a glimpse of the forgiveness available to us through Christ. We can teach them to pray by praying over them each day.
Everything we do has the opportunity to glorify Christ. We can set the example of what a Christ-centered life looks like. It’s never too early or too late to start. Even if your kids are grown and out of the house, you can set an example.
So, set the foundation of faith for them and then let Christ do a mighty work in their hearts. Because, Jesus is enough.
Looking for resources? Here are some recommendations to help you on the road to Christ-centered parenting:
Shepherding Your Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
Gospel-Powered Parenting by William T. Farley
Parenting by Paul David Tripp
Rooted Ministry – Parents