A couple of months ago my parents gifted us a Wonderfold Wagon. Amazingly, I can fit all of my children in it at once, and since receiving it I have been able to get out of the house with my kids more effectively. Mind you, I have four little daughters ages three and under. In the past few months, I cannot recount how many times I have been told, “woah, you have your hands full” or “are they all yours? You just wait until they become teenagers”. I get it, I have many small children and I do have a lot of children in the eyes of the world.
Recently I was at a thrift store and an older woman came up to me saying, “you have your hands full!” and I responded with, “yes, full of blessings!”. She proceeded to say what everyone else says: “oh, but just wait until they are teenagers” all while the next sentence was, “I only had boys”. I found it quite ironic that she never had any daughters, but yet somehow knew they were awful and seemingly dreadful teenagers. It got me thinking about how easily our society and culture can impact our views, thinking, feelings, and actions. Her comments also got me thinking about motherhood in general: Do girls really become awful once they hit a certain age?
Are they always emotionally uncontrolled, aggressive, and/or defiant?
In the majority of cases in the world, that is likely true. But I fully believe we have great hope for the future of our children. I have first hand seen some pretty amazing young teenage women who have a love and desire for God. Not to say they are sinless and that the parenting is easy or easier, but that I fully believe the teenage years don’t have to be what the world considers them to be.
Why am I writing on this topic?
For many reasons!
First, to point out the hope that can come from fruitful obedience.
Second, to encourage the mothers who have infants, toddlers, adolescents, or teenagers. Third, to challenge or encourage the younger generation on motherhood and their ideas of motherhood.
And, lastly, to challenge the mothers on how they present or model motherhood.
The Hope of Fruitful Obedience
The other night I was sharing with a mother about some of the comments I get from strangers when the kids and I are out and about. She is a mother with teenage daughters, and she mentioned a few times throughout our conversation that a lot of what is hard in the teenage years is seeing the hard work or lack there of coming to fruition. What did she mean by that? Well, the teaching and training of our children starts at a very young age. It starts with the first anger scream from an infant or the first act of disobedience when going for an outlet after previously being told no. We cannot expect our children to magically turn out to love God if we are not diligent and proactive in teaching them what is right:
“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline will remove it far from him”
“He who withholds his rod hates his son,
but he who loves him disciplines him diligently”.
“Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it”.
As Christian mothers, we must be active in the discipline of our children. We must not spare the rod. We must expect great things from our children and obedience must be absolute. Not only do we need to be active in discipline, but we need to be active in encouraging, loving, and praying for our children. We must understand that our children need discipline, but that ultimately it is only God who can change their hearts. So, we need to be diligent in praying for them. Encourage them in their victories. See their growth and build them up in the good things we see! For example:
“We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly,
encourage the fainthearted, help the weak,
be patient with everyone”
1 Thessalonians 5:14
“Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another,
just as you also are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Encouragement For Mothers of All Stages
Christians mothers, what promises are there for our children?
Are they doomed to be awful teenagers?
Do we serve a small God?
Our God has blessed us with our children, they are a gift. Far be it to think God would give us such a gift and then leave them out to dry. Scripture gives us promises for our children:
“But the lovingkindness of the LORD
is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
and His righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them”.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this right.
Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise),
so that it may be well with you,
and that you may live long on the earth.”
“Being confident of this,
that He who began a good work in you will carry it on
to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness.
Instead, He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish,
but everyone to come to repentance”.
2 Peter 3:9
We can ask and trust that God will save our children. We can look to God as the Savior, and not ourselves. God is faithful not only in the infant and toddler years, but in all the years. God’s will, will be done.
Younger women (myself included!), how are we letting the world dictate our thoughts and feelings on motherhood? Does the world actually know what it’s talking about when it comes to anything godly? Most likely not. So, we need to believe that children are a blessing from God. We should desire to have children and to raise them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. What else is more fruitful, sanctifying, and glorious for a woman to be than a wife or mother? Now, I am not saying that you cannot be fruitful, sanctified, or bring glory to God outside of that, but it should be something we desire. We should desire to lay down our lives and serve our household. Younger women, do you desire to have children? Do you look at your mother and desire to be like her? Do you see how much glory she is bringing to God through you (and by the grace of God Himself)? Or do you desire to be anything but a mom? Lay down your life for your king, I promise it is nothing short of glorious and joyous!
Mothers, how are we modeling motherhood? Is it something we wake up and dread? “Oh, another poopy diaper, screaming child, or load of laundry to do”… but what a glorious poopy diaper, screaming child, and laundry. They are not glorious in of themselves, but rather when it is done for the King of kings and Lord of lords, it becomes glorious. Do our children see motherhood as something miserable, a waste of time? Meaning, do they only see our anger, complaining, or laziness? Mothers, are we showing our children the joys of motherhood? Are we being good stewards of what God has given us? Do we consider trials of many kinds a time to rejoice? Do we work as unto the Lord? Are we calling our children to holiness and fruitfulness? Are we helping our sons and daughters to control their thoughts, feelings, and actions? So that when they become teenagers they are a joy to be around and that they love God?
Being a mother is joyous. Being a mother is hard-work. Being a mother is nothing shy of glorious. Take joy that God has seen fit to bless you with children. Do not let the world dictate what is true. Follow what God says is true.