Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Message Every Mom Needs to Hear

Recently I had the privilege of sharing a few words at a good friend's baby shower. I've adjusted them a little bit for the blog... Hope they are a blessing to you. 



"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward." Psalm 127:3

Most Christians today know and believe that children are a blessing. To be handed that precious bundle, a perfect blend of you and your husband's features... to stare at tiny fingers and toes...is truly a miraculous event. Becoming a parent opens your eyes to depths of joy and love you've never before known.

And yet, when the blur of the first few days is over, and you settle in at home with your little one, new parents often feel a strange fear and dread.

"Is this baby really ours to keep? They let us leave the hospital with it? Are we really in charge here? How are we going to survive the coming days {and nights!} ahead?"

Suddenly there is an overwhelming sense of both responsibility and inadequacy for the monumental task ahead.

Because your child is such a blessing, and because you love them so very much, you really don't want to mess up this parenting gig. We fear scarring our children for life by the things we do or don't do, the words we say or don't say.

What if our kids turn out really badly? What if the relationship is never as closely tight knit as we long for it to be? Will my children ever be able to forgive my mistakes?

This is a lot of pressure, and it keeps a lot of parents lying awake at night. Fortunately as Christians, its a pressure that God never intended for us to bear.

The reality is that every one of us is a sinner. Every single parent is a sinful parent, and every single child is a sinful child. Sinners don't make perfect parents, and sinners don't make perfectly well behaved and obedient children.

In their excellent book Give Them Grace: Dazzling our Kids with the Love of Jesus, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Jessica Thompson share, "Raising good kids is utterly impossible unless they are drawn by the Holy Spirit to put their faith in the goodness of another (Jesus!). You cannot raise good kids, because you are not a good parent. There is only one good Parent, and he had one good Son."*

So what's a sinful mom who really wants to give parenting her best supposed to do?

Remember it is God who controls the outcome. Throughout Scripture and all of Church history, we've seen it time and again:ungodly parents producing godly offspring, and godly parents producing ungodly offspring. To quote Fitzpatrick and Thompson again, "Although we long to be faithful parents, we also rest in the truth that our faithfulness is not what will save our children." While we want to believe we have some control over the salvation of our children, or could somehow guarantee it, "salvation is of the Lord" (Ps. 37:39).

Remember it is God who will equip you for the task. God has chosen you very specifically to be the mother of your specific children. When He calls, He also enables. Remember, " 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weakness, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9. Our weakness as moms is nothing to be ashamed of or dismayed by. Our weakness is the perfect opportunity for Christ's sanctifying power to be displayed in us.

Remember that God forgives when we mess up. When we sin against our children- maybe we yell at them, or discipline out of anger, or speak unkind words- the Gospel alone is what frees us to repent and experience God's grace and forgiveness. The Gospel tells me that all my sins have been paid for on Christ's cross, and that I bring nothing to the table here- I am merely a recipient of Christ's righteousness and God's compassion.

This understanding also frees us to humble ourselves before our children and ask for their forgiveness. As the Gospel is preached in our homes, our children will already know that mommy is a sinner. They will be blessed by our willingness to admit when we're wrong and ask for forgiveness. They will know that they are not alone in their struggles with sin, because we will have been open with them about our own sin. There is so much freedom and hope for parents and children in the Gospel!

Remember your standing is completely secured by Christ (and Him alone!). On the days when we feel like abominable failures, there is still more encouragement to be found in the Gospel of Grace. Remember that because of Christ's sacrifice, you are already perfect. Yes, perfect! How can I use such a strong word when we all know we are sinners and that Christ alone is perfect? Hebrews 10:14 says "For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified."

If you have been set apart as Christ's own, if you have placed all your trust in Him, He has already declared you perfect. Not because of who you are or what you've done, but because of who He is and what He has done. No matter how many our failing as moms, wives, or simply believing women, in God's eyes we are completely covered by the righteousness of His Son.

In Short, we need to remember that it is God who controls the outcome, God equips us for the task of parenthood, we can run to God for forgiveness when we sin, and that our righteous standing is completely secure because of Christ alone.

You may notice that the only action this list requires of you is to remember. This can seem kind of passive or like not enough when we compare it to all of the "10 Ways to be a Great Mom," or "5 Ways to Raise Godly Kids," lists we see scattered around the internet. But truly understanding and embracing the grace of God accomplishes more good in our lives than any list or rules or helpful hints ever could.

According to Tullian Tchividjian, "any engine that you're depending on for power to obey that is smaller than the gospel will conk out in due time" (Give Them Grace, foreward).

God doesn't want moms to think they've got it all together. God desires moms who are desperately aware of their own insufficiency, who are constantly looking to Him for His all-sufficiency.

Affiliate links included in this post. That means if you click over to the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Thank you for your support of The Purposeful Wife!

*Parenthesis in italics added by me.  

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