Dear Momma of Young Children,
I've been thinking about you so much lately. You don't know it, but I see your FaceBook posts and I often just stop and pray for you.
I know you're tired. I imagine you're stressed.
You may feel at odds with yourself because you have baby weight you haven't lost.
Your house may not look like Pottery Barn and Pinterest make you think it should.
You have so many things you're responsible for!
I remember those days. It truly does seem like yesterday that I was getting my kisses from brownie batter smeared lips, and changing more dirty diapers than I could count.
I wish so much that you could come sit in my cushy chair and let me prepare a hot cup of tea for you and just pour my heart out to you face to face.
Since I can't, I'm hoping you'll hear what I have to share...
I really, really, really messed up big time when my children were little and I was feeling overloaded. I did something that I so wish I could take back today. But I can't.
I found a way to have someone come into my home and spend lots of the playtime with my children so that I could do the things I thought were more important.
At times, I pursued different careers at home so that I could just get a break.
Oh, what I wouldn't give today to have a do-over!
I would never again outsource my time with my children, as I now know that people aren't kidding when they say that it goes so fast.
I have a teenager now, and one who soon will be. How that happened so quickly, I can't tell you.
I would go back to those days and I'd outsource housekeeping if I could, but not playtime.
Now, may I tell you what I did right?
I shared my passion for God's Word with my children as though I was giving them the very breath they needed for living.
Because that's how I need it, and I knew the same was true for them.
Before they were old enough to read, I taught them how to observe the text of Scripture by teaching them to ask the 5Ws and an H questions of everything I read to them from it.
The Word has always been a huge part of our lives, of our day.
I remember when my son was born, and how it took me 3 days before I could get myself settled in his nursery...him in my lap, and me reading the Word over him. At that point, I NEEDED the Word! It had been THREE days since I'd been in it, and that felt like an eternity.
Just last night one of my children was humming and I asked, "Is that a hymn?"
Their response was, "Yes. Anytime something comes into my head that I don't want to be there, I just start humming a hymn."
WOW!! Thank you, Lord!
I remember a book that shaped my heart so deeply back then. It's by Ruth Graham Bell and it's called, "Prodigals and Those Who Love Them." You can find it here.
This book made such an impact on my heart regarding my most important role as a mother because in it are the stories of John Newton and St. Francis, both who lost their mothers at a young age. One at 7 and one at 12, if memory serves me correctly.
Yet BOTH of them gave credit to their mothers and what they had poured into their hearts when they were boys, as being what God used to draw them to Himself when they were men.
So Momma, may I encourage you?
That open Bible that's on your lap...please read it to your children. Please realize that even when they're wee little ones, God will use His Word in their hearts.
And if your Bible is on your shelf, please go get it. Open it to the book of John and read to your precious babies about Jesus.
You don't have to rely on Bible stories...you can read the actual Word to them.
Let them draw pictures as you read. Let them build what they're hearing with Legos. Teach them to act out a Bible verse or lesson...either with their little bodies, or with their favorite stuffed animals.
Just give them the Word.
You'll never regret it.
My children are old enough now that they're teaching me truth from the Word, and it's AWESOME!
My son LOVES the Old Testament...Kings, Chronicles, Samuel...I think he's read them all about 10 times. He amazes me when he starts telling me about the battles he knows so well, and the precepts he's learned that lead to application for his life...and often for mine. :)
My daughter loves Esther and Ruth, the Psalms and Proverbs. She's so quick to run and get her Bible and hand it to me, page open to the Scripture she thinks would be an encouragement to me.
I don't tell you any of this to brag...for I have Christ and Christ alone in Whom I boast.
I share it with you to let you know that when the season for reaping what the Lord has had you sow into your children comes, you can't begin to imagine how AWESOME it is!!
Please, make pouring the Word into your children your absolute chief ambition as a mother. I am begging you. Truly, pleading with you.
Don't leave that as a once or twice a week job that somebody at church takes care of.
There is NOTHING you will ever do as a mother that will have a deeper, more eternal impact on your child (and their children, and their children...) than teaching the Word to them yourself.
Just think...your obedience to God in this one area has the great potential to affect GENERATIONS...some you'll likely never even meet!
I recently received my Grandmother's Bible in the mail. She's been with the Lord for many years now.
I remembered all the times that I had gone to her home and how every morning without fail she'd spend an hour in her chair reading the Bible, and as an adult now I wanted to see for myself what she'd observed from it.
It's hard to write this without just weeping, but her Bible is FULL of notes that only a true student of God's Word would have known to write.
The front cover lists the dates of all of the times that she read the entire Bible cover to cover within a year.
It's such a gift having her Bible here to read, such a gift!
Yet I can't get one question out of my mind. Of all the times that I visited her home, why didn't she ever insist that I sit with her for that hour? Why didn't she teach me what she knew and loved so dearly? Had she done that with her own children when they were little?
All questions for which I don't have answers.
There was one time with her, though. I hope I never forget it.
She was living in an Assisted Living home and her sight had gotten so bad that she couldn't read anymore. I was visiting her. It was just the two of us. I asked her what she'd like to do, and she told me she'd like for me to read the Bible to her.
"Where would you like me to go, Mom?"
"To the book of John, honey. It's my favorite."
I opened up her large print Bible and read to her, and she soaked it in like...well, like the breath of life that it is. It was such a sweet time to share.
About a year later, I was at her bedside for 6 excruciatingly painful days, as I watched her die.
By day 6 I was so MAD at God that I went into the bathroom and almost screamed at Him through my tears..."Is THIS how you treat someone who has served You their whole life?!
Is THIS how you honor Your servants in their last moments?! WHY can't You just let her die?!"
In that moment of my complete brokenness, the Lord was so gracious to me. He showed me that He had known all along how mad I was at Him, and that He hadn't forsaken her. He was still in control.
I walked out of that bathroom and said, "Let's pray over her."
My mother, aunt and I stood over my Grandmother and prayed.
Then we decided to read the Word over her. I remember one of them asking, "Where should we read?"
We went to John.
John 14..read it here.
After I read John over my beloved Grandmother for the second and last time, we then sang Amazing Grace together.
And all of a sudden, the death rattle was gone.
My sweet little Mom took one last breath...a peaceful one, and her soul was instantly in the presence of her beloved Lord.
I kissed her one last time, and left the room.
I really hadn't planned on going into that whole story. But if it causes just one mother, one grandmother to stop and evaluate how you're spending your valuable time with your children and grandchildren, then I'll consider that it was worth it.
Much love to you today,