I know most of us here are Christian moms but we want the same things as every other mom right? Every mom wants to keep her kids safe, help them grow up healthy and strong, protect them from monsters and let them believe they’re super heroes, agreed?
All mothers can pretty much agree on these points but as moms following God, we have different standards and we see a bigger picture. We see beyond keeping our children safe to making them holy vessels fit for the Master’s use. We see far past our children’s temporal lives and gaze into their eternal futures.
If you’ve ever seen the first Hobbit movie, you might remember this line:
Galadriel the beautiful elf asks Gandalf, “Why the Halfling?”
Gandalf answers: “I do not know. Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay... small acts of kindness and love...”
“The small everyday deeds of ordinary folk...” We're just 'ordinary moms' so how do we hold onto the light as the days grow dark? How do we live a life that tells? How do we exhibit the small acts of kindness and love, faithfulness and humility? What can we do as we raise our children to ‘keep the darkness at bay’ in a world growing darker by the day?
The biggest thing I learned raising my daughter is this:
What you model they will follow.
Here are ten things I believe it’s imperative for us to model to our children to keep the darkness at bay:
- We will become what we think about. The word teaches us, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” Guard your heart for out of it flows the issues of life. Be discerning in what you allow into your heart and home via the media, books, internet, music, video games etc.
- Listen to your children, especially the older ones, with grace, not judgement and as you listen, pray for discernment.
- Believe in your children’s dreams. This is the one thing I lacked growing up. There were expectations for my life but no encouragement and no direction for how to achieve them. As a result, I floundered after high school going to four colleges in two years and not graduating from any of them! I eventually figured out what I wanted to do but I would’ve been saved years of heartache had someone believed in me early on.
- Be generous and develop a generous spirit. Live the giving life because we can only keep what we give away. Be generous with your time and your treasure.
- Practice His presence in the cooking and the scrubbing and the teaching. Raising children takes time and the daily drudgery will either wear us out or form our character. As moms we serve day in and day out with little rest and less acknowledgement. But drudgery can be turned into the divine with the right focus. Can you change a diaper the way He took a towel...?
- Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Everything flows from this. Everything. Your loving will drive your living and doing.
- Invest in your child’s future. Make what’s important to him be important to you. Value their choices by investing in their dreams. When our daughter was turning 18 but working hard in her fledgling music career, I worked a part time job so I could buy her a really good guitar for her 18th birthday. I sacrificed many hours on my feet to provide her with a professional level guitar she still uses today. My husband and I believed deeply in her future and did what we could to support her in it.
- The culture is not your friend. Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s good for you or your family. Pray for discernment and wisdom before jumping into what the culture says is acceptable behavior. 1 Corinthians 10:23 says it like this:“All things are permitted, but not all things are profitable. All things are permitted, but not all things build up.” Something that may be just fine for me may not be God’s best for you and the only way to know is through prayer and the witness of the Holy Spirit. There are no shades of gray.
- Use your words wisely and well. Words build up or tear down, they bless or they curse. They also can determine someone’s future success or failure. Death and life resides in our tongue so use words with caution and great care.
- Believe your children are here to change the world. Because they are! Each of us has a divine purpose and a unique calling. Our job as parents is to dig deep with God and figure out what our children's purposes are. As we press in, He will show us.
Our children are little mirrors, reflecting in their lives what they see in ours. What are your children seeing?