by Sarah Downs.
Sarah is a Covenant Partner at RCC. Sarah and her husband lead a Community Group in the Whittier Neighborhood. She blogs regularly at Dancing Through Life with the Downs.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 pretty much sums up the mantra that replays in my head all day long as I mother my littles.
All my life I have wanted to be a mama and while I consider it a huge blessing and a dream come true - it is also a heavy responsibility. It means I am a teacher, every moment of every day.
If you are a mom, or if you are going to be a mom, God is trusting you to steward human souls. Souls that He made (Genesis 1:26-27; Jeremiah 1:5) and loves and has a purpose for, the purpose is for His glory.
He doesn’t give them to complete us. He doesn’t give them to make us happy. He doesn’t give them just to sanctify us. He doesn’t give them to us to idolize them. Sure those things feel like they happen but human beings are His and not ours. He made them and loves them more than we do.
We are stewards of their souls for a certain amount of time, and it is a responsibility and privilege I take so seriously. If I believe scripture, then I believe when it says in Romans, that by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all men, for all have sinned (Romans 5).
He gave us Christ, whom by His obedience we are considered righteous (Romans 5). I am considered righteous because of Christ, and that is a truth I will never fully grasp, and so I learn alongside my children when we read God’s word and let it soak in.
This reality, this good news now affects everything about the way I parent. It keeps my eyes focused on the treasure of who Christ is and what He has done. As a mama with a messy past, I know this truth so well. What He did for me and the fact that I get to be with Him... It is the breath that fills my lungs. It heals my deepest hurts and shame. It pushes me forward in love. It leaves me longing for eternity. I’m not a mom that walks around calling my kids sinners all day. I do, however, teach them what sin is and what virtue is. I help them recognize the conscience that God created in them.
They don’t understand sin yet; they are four and two, but I hope they never remember a day that if their sin was revealed or confronted, it wasn’t met with immediate grace, forgiveness, and love. I lavish them in that because that’s what He does for me. I want to give them a taste of that. But, I get distracted easily. I’m prone to wander. (Lord, do I feel that on a daily basis.) Prone to leave the God I love… for unimportant worldly mindsets and things, even with regards to parenting.
Because I am cursed with being a Type A perfectionist (just kidding about the cursed part… I am fearfully and wonderfully made) the way I try and care for my children often is tiring to me, and it’s my fault. I want them to keep sleep schedules, eat the healthiest food, and have toys and books to develop their brains and bodies correctly according to all the recommendations. I want their birthday parties to be themed and their outfits to match. I want their rooms to look like they could be featured in a Pottery Barn magazine. The list goes on.
It’s hard to remember the greatest purpose of child rearing when you are trying to tackle the mundane day-to-day living. However, I am thankful that He has given me the wisdom to see how fleeting time is.
I only have a certain amount of time with these little souls, and I have no idea how long that time will be. The reality is that it could be five more hours, five more days, 5 more weeks, 5 more months, five more years or God-willing, my children will outlive me. For however long I get to mother these people I want to be able to say I gave it my all. That I tried to be like Him, show Him, teach Him - in every moment of every day that I was with them.
Because someday He is coming back and they will hear Him because they know His voice. His word has been there since they were babies. The Spirit of Christ has used me to write it there. When I rose, when I sat, when I walked by the way, when we laid down. I don’t believe motherhood is the highest calling on earth and I don’t like to hear Christians say it. It’s just not true. It IS an incredible responsibility, though, and I desire for both faithfulness and fruitfulness as I run this race of motherhood that Christ has laid in front of me. Do I think that if I do it “perfectly” they will be saved? You know my mind wanders there sometimes! But I know it isn’t true. I’ll be diligent to do my part of proclaiming the gospel, and teaching them faithfully and trust God to faithfully do what He does, the redeeming and the renewing.
So if we are teachers, every moment of every day, what is it that we are teaching? His word MUST be in our hearts if we are to impress it on theirs. Saturate your mind with it – whatever that looks like for you. You will grow weary in many ways as a parent and let things go at the time; that’s fine. Don’t grow wearing in teaching the word, mamas. Don't grow weary in proclaiming the good news of the gospel to these little souls. Because in teaching them the story of scripture, whether Genesis, Ruth, Psalms or John, we are teaching them Christ (Luke 24:27).
I do want my children to rise and call me blessed someday, but more than that though I want to worship our Creator together for eternity and that can only happen through what Paul calls the "power of God to save" in Romans 1, the gospel. I want to see Haddon and Verity, beautiful creations of His, surrounded by His glory, and overcome with His Majesty. Eternity. That is what keeps my eyes focused on Christ as a mama.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.