Knowing My Greatest Purpose as a Mother
Anyone who knows me can readily testify how much I love the life and lessons of David in the Old Testament. I have two favorite descriptions of David though that are found in the New Testament. Finding myself in Acts 13 as I continue reading through my chronological Bible, I come across these two verses today and I am struck by how much two descriptions about a king, who was formerly a shepherd, apply to me thousands of years later as a mother.
After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22
“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. Acts 13:36
Right off the bat, that establishes the foundation of motherhood. What does God want me to do regarding my children and what is His purpose for me as their mother?
Are these even questions being asked of us today as mothers?!?
Sadly, tragically, not by as many of us as would identify ourselves as Christian mothers BUT it didn’t begin in this current time. I remember the slow fade of my generation with the pressure to be what society deemed as “the best mother”.
The reason this is churning up in me lately is from an article I came across in a desk drawer. I had saved it from years ago because it was just what I needed to hear to help me fight against the cultural pressure to conform to the popular notions of mothering. It is by my favorite parenting author, John Rosemond.
As you can see from the article above, the shift began to happen for what was indicative of best mothering practices. This continues even today. The question that begs to be answered is this.
Where are we leading our children?
This shift in parenting has grave consequences because from what I can see, as we let go of God’s purpose for us as mothers and replace it with society’s, we are leading our children AWAY FROM GOD. Society may say that the best mother is the busiest mother or the most attentive one or the one who signs them up for the most activities but that is NOT what the Bible says.Am I leading my children to Jesus or away from Him? Not only will time tell, but my calendar and our family schedule will give a clear indication of that answer before then. Click To Tweet
When I begin to listen to what the world has to say about my role as a mother, it will affect the direction of my children. Inevitably, the priorities I have will have lasting consequences and I think this is exactly what the devil has in mind.
Is it any wonder that fewer and fewer children are keeping the faith? Not at all when you consider the habits of so many families.
As I consider the way God described David in the above Scripture, no matter my marital status or my offspring, the description of being a woman after God’s own heart should be the basis for my priorities after I become a Christian. That mindset takes care of a lot of the confusion swirling in our society over the goals for parents.
Why? Because it establishes that the primary importance is placed upon God and not me or other relationships I have. My relationship with the Lord is more important than ANY OTHER RELATIONSHIP. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t.
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Matt. 10:37-38
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matt. 22:36-39
As I understand it, I am to love God before ALL others. So am I loving God when I allow my children to commandeer my schedule and calendar that leads ME away from God? If I am so busy with my children and their activities that I cannot “find” the time to attend church regularly, read my Bible and pray, serve in the church, connect with my community of Believers through Bible study or discipleship/fellowship group, then who is at fault AND is God ok with said excuses?
No, He is most certainly NOT ok with having idols replace Him and that is exactly what is happening!
I cannot be a woman after God’s own heart if my heart is being pulled in a myriad of other directions away from Him. Don’t we think that this is the devil’s plan all along? And we mothers are falling for it!!I cannot be a woman after God's own heart if my commitments have me pulled in a hundred different directions. That also applies to my children. If I want them to learn that Christ is our priority, then I have to set that example. Click To Tweet
So not only do I need to position myself to make Christ my first priority in life but I also need to do this for the sake of my children! The more we allow “life” to take a position ahead of our faith, the more we are teaching and showing our children that Jesus really isn’t that important. Do you hear that?
How is this helping our children to revolve life around them rather than our amazing God? Do we serve them well by making much of them at the expense of our Savior? We cannot say one thing and yet expect them to believe it, much less live by it in their adulthood, when we actually live by another reality. In essence, we cannot lead our children to what we ourselves are not rightly following.
We say we are Christians that love God yet the lifestyle and direction of our life says otherwise. And our children are soaking every bit of that deep down inside.
If we value our faith, then we will make sure our children grow up in a faith community that is a regular, consistent activity. They will see us value our relationship with God more than our sleep on Sundays or our time at the ballpark. Our children will see us serving others with meals, babysitting, hanging a light fixture, going on mission trips, teaching their Sunday school class, and more. What we are actually teaching them is to invest in the lives of others by serving them. That is how we love God and love our neighbors.
When our children are not raised in an environment where they see their parents help others in and outside the church, it makes them believe that their time is to be spent on their own interests and desires. God’s purpose teaches us AND our children that we are not the most important consideration. Selfishness, entitlement, and narcissism are fought against as we consider the needs of others more than ourselves. If we spend 95% of our time only taking care of us and ours, then that teaches our children to be self-absorbed.
Christlikeness is anything but self-absorbed!
Leading our children to a life lived for Christ, rather than for themselves, will be costly and inconvenient. Let’s just get that out of the way. A committed faith requires sacrifice but it is oh so much better than a childhood trophy that will one day be tossed in the trash. The earlier they learn what following Christ truly means the better!
In the words of Rick Warren from his book “Purpose Driven Life”, and I am paraphrasing, “It ain’t about you!”
The Better Legacy
What I want for my children is a thriving faith that sustains them until Christ comes or calls them home. Money in the bank, trophies on a shelf, diplomas on the wall, friends or follows on social media, none of that is going to satisfy them in the end as Jesus will. He is the best thing that could EVER happen to them and my life needs to show that. He is worth following wholeheartedly!Jesus is the best thing that could EVER happen to my children and my life needs to reflect that! Click To Tweet
I don’t need to say to them “read your Bible” as much as they need to see me reading mine! I don’t need to say to them “love Jesus” as much as they need to see Him be the passion of my life! I don’t need to say to them to “be kind” as much as they need to see me sacrificially give acts of kindness to others on a regular basis!
I was blessed to have a legacy from my grandparents and parents that showed me these truths. I saw them regularly live out these principles. My parents went on countless mission trips and served others selflessly in their churches and communities. I once took my then 10-year-old daughter to sit in on her 88-year-old great-grandmother teaching a ladies Sunday school class. My 85-year-old mother in law is still going to visit shut-ins, teaches Bible studies, and sends notes of encouragement to others.
That is what shares the love of Christ with a world, not a lifestyle of self-serving nonstop activities. That is what led me and I hope and pray it will lead my children’s children. The travesty would be that the legacy of loving God above all ends with the next generation. My children have not had children yet so I don’t know if they will continue their rich legacy. But I will say they will never hear the end of it from me if they choose to follow the patterns of their generation! I’ll be exhorting them from my deathbed!
Again I ask, “Where are we leading our children?” Now is the time to ask this of ourselves whether we are mothers of younger children, adult children or grandmothers. May our motherhood lead our children to Jesus rather than a self-serving lifestyle that pushes God aside.
May David’s legacy be our own!!