26 March 2012

2) The Blessing of Loving My Children

To me, one of the weirdest things in the world is that I'm a mom. CRAZY! I have been a mom for almost 5 months - i guess for much longer if I count my pregnancy! This has definitely been the most difficult and amazingly awesome and very sanctifying time of my life! I'm tired and busy and ridiculously happy; I'm in love with my little family - big time! Robert and I are always saying to each other, "Can you believe we're parents? We have a baby!"

This was a great chapter! So again, looking to God's Word and Titus 2, women are instructed to love their children. Just like with our husbands, this is phileo: it is not just my job as a mother to fulfill my responsibilities, but to take great pleasure in my children. I so want to be one of those super fun moms, not who talk incessantly about their kids as if the earth was lucky to have them, but who thoroughly LOVES mommyhood and little laughs and crafts and carpools and game night and forts and feels the immense blessing of children every day! Thankfully, that is all part of my role as a godly mom, and I am excited to try and fulfill it with God's help and to His glory.

There is nothing in my life that has required greater sacrifice than being Maggie's mom. I say that with the utmost humility and the great realization that I fail so often. And she is just a baby; I just have one baby! I hear the actual hard stuff is yet to come, plus adding future kids into the mix (exciting and terrifying!). Carolyn Mahaney writes, "Because mothering requires constant sacrifice, the temptations to resentment, complaining, and self-pity are always close at hand. But such selfishness will quickly sap the strength of our love for our children." I've seen this be true in my life multiple times throughout these last few months. When Maggie doesn't nap all day and I have no idea what I'm doing; is she eating enough, did I do the right thing by going in to her or letting her cry it out, and I haven't slept...and it gets really easy to fall into sin. These are the times that I need to remember that fighting my own sin is the key to loving my children and serving my family! Remember, "Our speech and actions are shaped by our thoughts." On hard days, the motivation behind loving Maggie needs to be the promotion of the gospel. Which is why it is so awesome that "we can draw from God's grace and receive His help to cheerfully lay down our lives for our children," because I am definitely inept on my own.

As I read this chapter I was overwhelmed and convicted. I suddenly knew Maggie was going to grow up - soon - before I was ready for her to... and the next few nights of waking up to feed her in the wee morning hours were a joy. Then I got over it and fell back into my sin. No, I'm just kidding, but seriously - sin, selfishness, self-pity, these things will be a constant temptation that I must be fleeing and actively fighting against as a mommy/as a human being. My life is Christ's, and He has called me to be a wife and a mother - so now, more than ever, my body is not my own, my time, my talents, my everything is about serving this amazing family with which the Lord has blessed me. And I'm so excited to do so!

Knowing that Maggie's exposure to the gospel and most everything else in life starts with me, during the in and outs of daily life is a huge responsibility! I am grateful and humbled by this, God's calling for my life. J.C. Ryle urges mothers to ask this question before everything they do, "How will this affect their souls?" No one will have a greater influence in Maggie's life, most likely. Carolyn Mahaney shares some thoughts from another mother:
"I seldom feel like much of an adventurere - standing in this kitchen, pouring cereal into bowls, refilling them, handing out paper towels when the inevitable cry comes: 'Uh oh, I spilled.' But sometimes at night the thought will strike me: There are three small people here, breathing sweetly in their beds, whose lives are for the moment in our hands. I might as well be at the controls of a moon shot, the mission is so grave and vast." (emphasis mine)

So, as I get a little emotional and close out this rather lengthy post...Carolyn Mahaney writes, "What greater privilege could we possibly have in all the world than to lead our children to the Lord? ... Though the mission is grave and vast, God's grace is greater (2 Cor 12:9)." Can I get an Amen?! I love you, Maggie Grace, and cannot wait to love you for the rest of your precious life!

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