Freedom That Brings Rest
Galatians 5:1 "It was for freedom that Christ set us free. Therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject to a yoke of slavery." (Especially stand firm in your ideals before God without letting someone else's yoke slip around your neck unnecessarily.)
"And the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever." Isaiah 32: 17
Nine o’clock in the evening would find me stretched out in our old, velveteen-rabbit-overstuffedchair and I would barely whisper to Clay, my husband,
“This is the hardest thing I have ever done—mothering intentionally! It’s never over!”
Motherhood is a long distance run that does not end until we see Jesus! Daily, our less than perfect children rub against our less than perfect hearts.
I have read some articles of late that suggest that moms don't really need a break from their children if they are spiritual and balanced in their commitments. Further, it suggested, that it is possible to be around them all the time without ever needing a break if, the mama is devoted and really loves her children.
Now, I love my four children and I am very committed to family, but it is statements like this that put lots of burden and law on women causing them to feel guilty unnecessarily. This marathon run at motherhood is long and hard, and all mamas need some rest and a break along the way, recreation and refueling along the way.
Legalistic statements create a false standard that produces false guilt for moms who feel like they need to break just to they can keep going. God has granted us grace to conduct our own symphony, so to speak, with our family, circumstances and children in mind.
"It is for freedom that Christ set us free, therefore, keep standing firm that you may not be subject to a yoke of slavery."
I wrote a chapter in my book, Seasons of a Mother's Heart about legalism imposed upon us by others that produces burdens God never intended us to carry. I find it interesting that God purposely left many areas in scripture very vague.
*No lists about just how to discipline a child, how long to spank, at what age, and for how long, for instance.
*No rule book about what a mom should cook if she was really bringing health to her family
*No music list establishes what is acceptable and what music would indeed lead a child astray.
*No secret list of what movies are acceptable at what ages
*No list about exactly what it really looks like to submit to a husband (they are all different and have different preferences!)
Not ever a verse that says, "Every mother should stay with her children all the time every hour or else they are not spiritual and their children will go astray."
Or, or, or.
There is so much in scripture about living by faith and trusting God. Paul and Jesus were so very clear about not having the heart of a Pharisee and putting heavy loads on people.
Seeing my children do well in life and love the Lord, and Clay and me—to continue growing, is not as a result of a list of rules that I followed. Instead, it was a result of following the Lord, praying, obeying Him and seeking His wisdom and then living by faith and watching His grace unfold, amidst, and in spite of, all of our flaws and failures.
God is in charge and will work in and through the personality and circumstances of my life uniquely, If I walk it with Him and live by faith that He will work in the hearts of my children.
There are so many wonderful teachers and speakers who have such a good heart and love the Lord and want to encourage. But the bottom line is the word of God is to be our ideal and not just "wisdom" from others that is extra-Biblical. I usually find God to be a better task master than most humans I have ever known.
So many young moms lacked good families and they want to "do it right" with their own children, and so they are willing to believe anything in print or listen to what a speaker had to say. Consequently, they put themselves under great burdens, Then, in the name of Christian ideals, women put themselves under great strain. Eventually they find themselves wanting to give up ideals because they are very depressed or overwhelmed by false standards.
I find that the longer I walk with the Lord, the more freedom I feel to be who I am. I don't have to live by anyone else's laws. Clay and I just have to answer to God and scripture, not to an arbitrary list of someone else's standards.
Living overseas and traveling a lot has helped in this area. Every culture I see has a different tradition of worshiping God and a different set of circumstances to deal with coming from a different culture in applying the word of God. When I meet people from all over the world, I realize that God is so much bigger and beyond my own box. And yet, he allows all of us, from so many different points of view, to enter into His rest and redemption and forgiveness because of His wonderful, gracious love.
Today, breathe in God’s grace, live in His ability to reach your children’s hearts. Celebrate life in a way that fills your own soul. The more you rest in His peace, the more aware you will become of His generous, endless love for you.
Sharing encouragement each day at www.sallyclarkson.com and author of the new book, The Life-giving Home
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