To have the kind of family life I dream of, I'm going to have to mother on purpose.
I remember the first time that thought occurred to me . . . I was about seven months pregnant with boy number two, and leading a study of Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Tedd Tripp at my local church. I had finished up my homework for the night and the house was quiet—though my heart was beating with anxiety and fear.
The moment was raw with emotion, a little mom guilt, and the realization that if I truly wanted to raise my boys to love the Lord, it was going to require more time and effort than I was currently giving it. Speaking truth and love—being a shepherd over the hearts of my boys—would require planning, prayer, and a deeper dependence on God than I had previously known.
Mothering on Purpose
My poor, pregnant self sat almost paralyzed as the truth dawned on me: my current level of mothering commitment wasn't enough. I wasn't mothering on purpose. On the contrary, I was mothering by the seat of my pants—just surviving—and only barely surviving at that.
Unfortunately, our best intentions can get worn out over time. As my family prepared to move into 2013 I realized that it had happened again. Maybe not as bad as it was before, but there was certainly a lot more "winging it", and a lost less "on purpose" than I'm happy with.
So how does a mom mother on purpose? Here are four purposeful motherhood goals I'm working toward as I take the first few steps into 2013:
1. Model the servant life.
If I want to teach my boys to care about something other than themselves, I have to give them opportunities to serve. Admittedly (and shamefully) this hasn't been high on my priority list for the last year. All of my spare time has been spent writing—a worthy way to serve others. But as I wrap up the last of several big commitments I sense the Lord telling me that serving the people in my community, and looking for ways my boys can be involved as I do, needs to be a higher priority for 2013.
2. Lead them in prayer.
In November, I felt led to lead my boys in 30 days of prayer for the people of the DRC. We've been done with that for a few months now, and this morning my youngest asked me why we stopped. I'm admittedly pretty great at praying for them, but I often forget to pray with them as we go throughout our daily lives. I want to do a better job of helping them see what amazing access to God they have at all times, and help them experience His love for them on an even deeper level. Which leads me to goal number three . . .
3. Show them the beauty of Christ.
I don't think I do a good job of showing my boys how beautiful our Jesus is. And honestly, as a mother of two boys who love all things rowdy, fast, and wild—I'm not sure how sure how to convey the concept of beauty to them without feminizing it to the point that their male hearts and minds don't even get it—or worse—dismiss it entirely.
4. Create a family purpose statement.
I can't take full credit for this idea. Although it's been in the back of my mind for years, it wasn't until I heard our own Tricia Goyer talk about creating a family purpose statement at the Allume Social Media Conference that it really clicked. I want to come up with three simple purpose statements—sentences that describe who our family is and what's important to us—and lead my boys in living up to them, using them as a guide for every decision we make, every action we take, and for many deep conversations about what's truly important in this life.
My goals for 2013 aren't earth-shattering, but they might just be life-changing for two little boys I know. I'm starting small with things that have been on my heart for years, but have been relegated to the back burner for unimportant reasons, and I suggest you approach it the same way. Are there family goals you've been laying aside for too long that could be picked up and incorporated into your every day life? Just pick one to start with, and focus on it as long as it takes to be successful. Then, as you can, add in another goal, and another, asking the Lord to cover your shortcomings, and grow your children into the men and women He wants them to be . . . in spite of you.
What about you? How do you sense the Lord leading you to mother on purpose?
Brooke McGlothlin is the Co-founder of the MOB Society (FOR moms of boys, BY moms of boys) and Co-author of Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess.