Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Confessions of a Selfish Mom

love their children jpg

Last week and already this week have been very challenging for me in my mothering journey. I knew that having four kids ages 3 and under wouldn’t be a party everyday. But the twins have been so easy and good that I think I deceived myself again into saying “I can do this.” Nolan has lived to prove me wrong, and Elaine is helping him. I’m trying to remember that God is pressing me into a place where I can’t do this, in order that I might lean on Him completely.

Today, as my kids sit in yet another time out, I sat on the couch and cried. Cried because all I wanted was a few moments of quiet time with my Bible. Cried because I am weary of fighting this battle. Cried because I feel like we can never go on deputation with children like these. Cried because Ben wasn’t able to talk to me on the phone right now. And then I opened my Facebook account, and there was this post on Beyond Bath Time

Confessions of a selfish mom:

Some days I'm keenly aware of my self-centeredness. I like to wake up and have my home revolve around my needs. My need for sleep. My need for my coffee. My need for my space. My need for my children to behave like I want them to. My need for my husband to respond to me the way that makes me comfortable.

But God's truth confronts these "needs" and brings them to proper perspective. These are self-centered wants, demands, expectations. I create an idol out of my comfort. This pushes God to the side. It shows my tiny view of the cross.

Jesus came to serve others. He came to lay down His life for others. As daughters of the Most High King, this is our role. To lay aside wants and demands and to serve. To realize what we really deserve is hell, eternity separated from God. What He's given us is grace and He imparted His righteousness to us.

I must preach the gospel to myself daily. To view myself through the cross. To seek to live the gospel to my family. To purge selfishness from my heart through the power given to us through the Holy Spirit.

All for His glory!
A Selfish Mom clinging to the cross!

I really needed that just now. You would think it is second nature for a mother to love her children.  But sometimes it is such a struggle to express that love the way God wants me to.  I love myself, and my Flesh Woman doesn’t like to be set aside so that I can love someone else.  I now understand why Paul commanded Titus that the older women should teach the younger women to love their husbands and their children.

Titus 2:3-5  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

When I love my children like God wants me to love them, when I set aside my own desires and wants, when I let the love of Christ to overflow through my life, then the Word of God is not dishonored.  Only Christ can unselfishly love my little people, and sometimes He chooses to do it through me.  That is amazing.  I want them to see Christ’s love in me today.

Friday, August 16, 2013

I shall not want

The Lord is my Shepherd jpg

I thought I had learned this lesson.  Many times.  But it keeps coming back.  “I shall not want.”  The Lord is teaching me this in new dimensions.  When I teach this verse to my kids, I ask them a series of questions.

“Who takes care of the sheep?”  Little voices answer with, “The Shepherd.”

“Who is the Shepherd?”  “Jesus.”

“Who is a sheep?”  “Me!”

The Shepherd takes care of the sheep.  His tenderness is pictured well in Isaiah 40:11 -  “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”  He is so tender and loving; patient and kind.  Lifting those who need help.  Walking slowly with the little ones.  Even when it takes me a long time to learn what is He trying to teach me, He is still patient and loving and continues to walk with me.  He continues to prove Himself trustworthy.  He continues to meet my needs, so that I shall not want.

It took me a long time to learn that He provides financially.  Through seasons of no work, or underpaying work.  Through college bills and times of unexpected expenses.  Through bad economy and the needs of four children.  God has always provided what we need, just when we need it.

I used to be pretty stingy.  I can’t print those things for church because I will run out of ink.  Or, I can’t afford the gas to travel there/help that person.  Or, I can’t sign up to bring food for the church fellowship because I don’t enough.  Why did it take me so long to learn that God would supply what I unselfishly gave to others?  And yet many times I still have to remind myself that everything I have isn’t really mine – it came from God.  He provided our van.  He gave us our computer and printer.  He fills our refrigerator.  He gave me clothes for my children.  If I share it with someone else, He will replenish it (and He always gives more in return than I gave away to begin with).

Recently I felt like I had a breakthrough.  When there was no work (and thus no paycheck), I didn’t immediately cry or stress out, panicking about financial obligations.  There was peace that God would supply in the right timing.  And He did.  He has already made up what was lacking.  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

Now He is teaching me that He is my Shepherd in other areas.  Not just financially, but emotionally, and spiritually too.  I have felt a little dry lately.  Probably because I have four kids and my “quiet” times with the Lord are not really very quiet, and they are nearly always very short.  But somehow…providentially…He provides just what I need.  Just a thought or a verse for the day.  A text that someone is praying for me.  An article online that speaks to what I am struggling with.  A compliment or funny moment from my kiddos.

I haven’t sat through an entire church service for a while.  There are two babies who never seem to want to nurse at “the right time.”  But the portions of the service that I do get have been filling me up.  A phrase from a song.  The Scripture reading.  Or just the third point of the sermon.  A teenager’s testimony.  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

When things are hard in Mommy Land and I feel like I just can’t handle it, He is gently reminding me that He is there with me.  His grace is sufficient.  I can handle it.  When I feel like crying, or yelling, or having a nervous breakdown, He reminds me that this is His Will for me.  He tells me He is holding my hand.  He shows me that my kids are “catching” things from my life – is what I am “throwing” worth catching?  I don’t have to lean on another person.  It’s not what my husband can say, or the hug from a friend that gets me through.  It’s my Shepherd.  Gently leading me.  Sometimes carrying me.  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

It’s one of those verses that we learn as a child.  One that many people probably know.  But it’s so profound – so hard to live out.  But so wonderful to experience.

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.