Moms go through evolving seasons of expectation, exhilaration, exhaustion, empty-nest. Today is for encouragement.
You may be one of the lucky ones with unconditionally-loving-and-forgiving, always-grateful-of-your-sacrifices children. Wow praise God!! But in case not, please read on.
You may not get formal notice of promotion from CEO to Consultant (on an “as needed” basis) but if that happens, be encouraged. God knows the plans He has for you, to give you a hope and future for every season of your life. His plans for you are not limited to just being a mother but to be a person of God-given abilities with the capacity to be upgraded and equipped further for the other roles He has for you as His child, an earthly parent’s child, a spouse, sister, employer, partner, friend, someone who can make a difference or be a source of encouragement. For those without biological children, you may be a mentor to younger women than yourself and encounter the same. He has a purpose for you from the beginning to the rest of your life.
Here are words of encouragement from Nancy Koe.
“When we do not get our identity from God, we start getting it from wrong [temporary] places… Mothers, if you are known only as the mom of [your child’s name], if your significance, self-worth, and identity are tied to being a mother only, then it’s not healthy because one day… there will be the empty nest…You’re going to feel…empty.
We are more than what we do… ‘I’m a precious daughter of God, a princess of God’… we need to go back to what God designed us to be”. We need to relate to God in that role/ identity. Anything else [aside from being God’s child] becomes an idol… once you remove that, you [may] feel empty.
Be careful…the need to feel wanted… to be needed is very actualizing for women because God made us with a natural nurturing tendency. Make sure your security is not tied to what you do at home [but anchored on God].”
Over afternoon tea at the Landing Point, Nancy and I got to talking about Meryl Streep’s singing ABBA in Mamma Mia. I told Nancy I saw an interview of the stellar actress— THE best actress in her generation— saying that she believes children are there to keep you humble. When she was preparing for her singing roles and would sing at home, her daughter would tell her to shush.
That grew into an interview as it dawned on me that parenting would be a nice encouraging post for moms who struggle with seasons of motherhood.
On passing on faith to children
As a pastor’s wife to Ptr. John Koe of Petra Church, Nancy said that she does not want to pressure her kids to behave in a religious, legalistic way to be told “do this, do that, or that you have to put up an act that you are so holy, pious. That’s a big turnoff for many kids specially when there is discrepancy between what is being taught with what is being done.
Statistics show that many children go to church from young or they attend youth services but by the time they go to high school, a high percentage will have dropped out of the faith. Some will profess they no longer believe in Jesus.”
What is the remedy for that?
Make sure there’s authentic faith in the family. Get your DNA right [as the family of God] for children to see that their parents .. walk the talk.
- Devotion to God [Relationship with God through inquiring, reading His Word, obeying, living it out]
- Nurturing Relationships (Community family other believers)
- Apostolate (outward looking making difference in other people’s lives, wanting to be a blessing to other people, wanting to tell other people about Jesus)
Children will grow up knowing that being God’s family is real and not playing church on Sundays. We really pray, read His Word, have personal relationship with Him, fellowship over His goodness. Children themselves will come to an encounter with God. Otherwise, it’s just religion [a list to check].
For parents who have not been able to do this?
Pray. God can restore, reconcile relationhips. With Him, nothing is impossible. It’s never too late. It may take a while. There may be damage in relationship. But if we continue to pray fervently, faithfully, in His time, God will orchestrate something and the children themselves will realize “I have to get back to God.”
God is so merciful. He will take back any prodigal son or daughter and knows how to woo them back. As parent, God gives you special anointing and grace to be able to pray for your children and see your prayers answered.
Sacrificial, all-out parenting may not always yield the result you think it will. God Himself was a perfect parent to His two children in the garden, yet they were disobedient. What more by us imperfect parents?
Looking at how Adam and Eve failed God even if He is a perfect father, that should give us hope and encouragement that even with a perfect Father, we as children can still blow it and turn our back on God. There is no perfect human parent. Many times we will make mistakes. We will wish we didn’t say some words in a fit of anger or we were more patient or encouraging or whatever.
We should not beat ourselves up over mistakes we have made but to recognize where we have gone wrong. We need to repent or say sorry to our kids if needed and then get right in the relationship, most importantly, go to God and ask for wisdom and anointing to parent our children well.
How to help children own their faith?
That requires wisdom and discernment from God. Parenting is a journey that makes us run to God for help. Bible says clearly that we are supposed to share our faith with our children all the time.
Deuteronomy 6:4 onwards says Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
God started off with telling Israel— His children— that you must love the Lord with all your heart soul strength. After that He says, Impress them on your children… which means : Authentic Faith begins with the parents first. We can not be teaching something that we ourselves do not believe in or something we are not doing. It starts with our own faith, our own walk with God. Parents have to be first in coming to a place where we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength. Then, impress them on your children. How? God says, when you sit, walk, lie down, get up, tie them as symbol on your hands…everywhere… as a lifestyle.
The idea is this: Live out your Christian life; don’t just talk about it; don’t just practice it as a legalistic religion [without heart or relationship]. That means morning until night, day in and day out, in your life, God is such a big feature. He is not just someone we pray to when we want to eat our food or when we need something and other times we ignore Him. There is such a consciousness that God is in the middle of the whole picture and that He is part of all we do. What does God think about this? What does God say about this? For wisdom, help, anointing, in decision-making, for everything like choosing a school. My son is choosing school soon, so the next thing I will be doing is to go before God with a few schools in mind and pray with my son and ask him to hear God for himself. (We have to believe that when we pray we can hear God.) I will ask him “Which school do you think God is telling you to choose?” His father will pray, I will pray, my son will pray and later, we will discuss together and confirm. What if we get it wrong? No one is a hundred per cent accurate all the time. We will pray and then pray again. But even if we get it wrong, I so believe that God is delighted that we go to Him and honor Him instead of immediately making decisions based on what looks good or popular. And there is no mistake too big for God to be able to work through. I believe in His promise that even in our mistakes, He will still make us the head and not the tail.
Deut 28:13 The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.
I rest assured about that so I don’t live my life in fear that in trying to discern the best pathway God is showing, I make a mistake. In everything, I’ve committed it to God and if I get it wrong, our God is the God of the Universe. He is able to change the whole situation around, reverse any problem.
I want my son to know that God is near. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He is not just with us when we are good but even when we are bad; He is with us all the time. With such a consciousness, no matter where they are and what they do, our children will always be in God’s hand, He is holding on to them and I believe they will never go too far. That’s my faith.
On today’s growing culture of disrespect for parents, husbands, or authority…
If the parent still has influence to put the children in their place, they can express themselves respectfully without picking a fight that the remark or action was hurtful or disrespectful at least so that it will register with the kids. Leave it to them to reflect. Parent has to pray again. Do what you can and leave the rest to God.
But if the parents are not in a zone of influence, and the parents still correct the children, you might get into a big fight. I would choose my battles and probably decide not to confront. Pray, maybe say ‘God, I can’t get through to them anymore. If I say anything more, we will quarrel so I can only leave this in Your hands.’ And God has a way of really humbling the person; He has a way of teaching a lesson to the child.