~By: Jenny Racoma~
“And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up." Deuteronomy 6:5-7 NLT
Being a parent is by no means easy, but it surely is one of the greatest gifts given from God. As a mother, God has appointed you to do His work by discipling your children and raising and training them to love and serve the Lord. This is a high calling that should never be taken lightly or for granted. It may be the most challenging job anyone can ever have, but it is worth everything and so rewarding. There is no such thing as a manual to raise a child in the perfect way, but raising a child in the way Jesus would want us to is as close to perfect as one can get.
God’s Word and promises must be shared from the very beginning of a child’s life. As a parent, I strive to show my children how to develop their relationship with Christ by my example. One way I help lead them to Jesus is by talking to them about the great works He has done for all and for myself. I made sure I talked to my children about why I wanted to be baptized, and that was a proud moment for them to see me being baptized. I pray aloud over them so they can really know how much they are loved by Jesus and by me. I also work to guard myself against becoming so angry about something related to my children’s behavior. When we allow ourselves to get so upset or angry towards our children, we say and sometimes do what we often regret. We regret such things that were said or done, because we know how hurtful and possibly emotionally or physically scarring it could be. When we do make mistakes, we need to allow our children to see us correct our mistakes and pray over our errors. Ephesians 6:4 NLT tells us, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” After all, our children are ours on Earth, but in reality they are our Lord’s children that He bestowed upon us as a gift with purpose. So, be a disciple to them. Show and teach them so that one day they too can use their spiritual gifts to disciple others just as Jesus wants them to.
Along with the responsibility of discipling our children, we as mothers are challenged with continually adapting to the needs of a growing child. Just when everything seems to be sort of running smoothly, our child enters a different stage of development, and the usual household routine needs to be changed again. And, with a jam packed schedule of keeping the household together, school, activities, sports, making meals, running errands, etc., what may happen is that parents put their time with God last or may not have that time carved out in their day at all. I know, because I was guilty of that! If you allow that to happen, your role as a mother begins to overshadow your role in God’s Kingdom, and you start to lose sight of your Kingdom perspective. Your identity slips into becoming solely ‘mom,’ rather than a Christ-follower who is also a mother. Your identity in Christ is first and foremost. The order of routine should be and must be: God first, spouse second, children third, career fourth, and so on. Making your relationship with Christ your number one priority and showing your children how to develop their relationship with Christ by your example creates a positive home environment and provides peace that will carry over into your children and family’s everyday lives. One way I lead by example in my home is that I take my son and his best friend to youth Bible study throughout the school year. After their Bible study, I ask them what they learned about. I encourage their friendship because I want my son to be around other Christians. I also encourage my son to invite other friends to our church and to his youth group Bible study. As for my daughter, she and I are currently part of a mother and daughter Bible study group. I also have been bringing her to my accountability group to spend time and study the Bible with the daughters of the accountability group members. Now that she will be going into middle school, I can also take her to youth group Bible study at our church. I will do the same for her as I do for my son and his friend, and I will help bring one of her friends along when I am able.
Along with being a mother, God has also called me to do other work for his Kingdom. It is easy to put motherhood before all other things, but it is imperative to know that God's will comes first. My identity is in Christ, and I need to be obedient to all He calls me to do. For me, my occupation as a nurse is not just a job, but a platform to show others love, kindness, and healing, both physically and emotionally. When the opportunity presents itself for me to speak about God and His will for us, I do just that. Sometimes, people believe but have not surrendered, or they feel like speaking about God is personal and should be kept to themselves. By me speaking about God and His promises, it helps others to release emotional stressors and pain in order to begin their journeys to spiritual freedom.
There are so many ways God wants to use us to help others, and we must recognize why He has placed us and others where He has. We can disciple to, pray with, pray for, and lead by example to so many people - our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and our children's teachers just to name a few. God has a great purpose, and it is up to us to obey and do His will. It is not for us to decide who we speak to about His Kingdom; our mission is for all of God’s people - all of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Lastly, always give yourself, your children, and others grace just as our Lord God does. Forgive yourself as Jesus has. You've got this, because God already has you.
"Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6 NIV