A superficial reading of the title may cause some to think I have become anti-motherhood. That is the furthest thing from the truth. I am the mother of five living children and one dead child whom I believe is with Jesus, by the grace of God. I am NOT anti-motherhood, I am for Christ-centered motherhood! It is because I have lived at the two extremes of neglecting family, and making family my idol, that I can say some of the hard things I’m going to say. God willing with a gracious spirit speaking the truth in love.
First, let’s see what the Scripture says about who we belong to:
“But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, YOU ARE MINE…
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, YOUR SAVIOR…
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I LOVE YOU…
I, I am the Lord,
and beside me THERE IS NO SAVIOR.
–Isaiah 43: 1,3,4,11
If you are a Christian, you belong to Jesus Christ and no one else.
A friend and I were talking some weeks back and we both mentioned that we were a bit tired of these little aphorisms that seem to make the rounds in conservative Christian circles, whether on Facebook, blogs, books or in the local church. The latest goes something like this: “don’t worry so much about cleaning your home, make sure you are playing with your children.” There are others of course, most of them have to do with telling a mom to accept or forgive herself for not doing something else so THAT she can put more time in with the kids. It’s a good thing to try to remedy imbalances, but these sayings ALWAYS seem to tilt toward children. So for all the warnings NOT to become child-centered, or to have child-centered homes, we end up advising parents in ways that in actuality produce a certain child-centeredness.
Let’s be realistic for a minute: Motherhood is a big job. Our American attitudes toward “working smarter instead of working harder,” “play with your kids and don’t worry about the laundry,” will not help mothers understand their calling and tackle it with gospel eyes. For all the abortions in our culture, American secular families are very child-centered. Whether it’s buying their kids the newest learning game, extra-curricular activities, or even secular homeschooling (yes, it definitely exists), many many secular parents have their lives wrapped up in their children. I believe a little bit of this child-worship has crept into the Christian culture and we think it’s more palatable because we have baptized it with certain Christian activities, or we’ve labeled it with “family-integration,” or given it some other Christian bent.
I have never read or heard anyone say:
“Read your Bible and spend time in prayer with the Lord; don’t worry if you send the kids to play in their room,” or
“Let the kids play outside by themselves; meditate on God’s mercy and pray in a quiet house for a while,” or even
“Clean your bathrooms; don’t worry about putting on a movie for your children.” or…. you get the point.
Why am I saying all this? It is not because I don’t think mothers should play with their children. In all honesty, it is because I have not seen a proper Christ-centered focus in the Christian community when it comes to motherhood. We’re so wrapped up with encouraging mothers to love their children and delight in them (which we should do appropriately) that we neglect THE WOMAN’S SOUL. Ladies you have eternal souls, you belong to Jesus, not to your children. Make your lives revolve around Christ, not your children. I believe you will find that when we focus on Christ, our parenting will harmonize around him. You will be able to love and serve your children better.
To repeat what I recently said on a friend’s blog: To the young mom, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of pursuing your relationship with Christ Jesus with passion and rigor. Out of this will flow all things. It’s okay to read blogs, articles and books that give schooling and parenting advice, but if that is your diet, you are headed for disaster. Feed on Christ, let that be your main food. It’s okay to read those other things, but in small quantities or they will become your rule of law and your eyes will be taken off of Christ. I can write pages on this, but I won’t.