Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Being a mom that matters

by Mary Southerland

It takes time to be a mom, to know and train your children."

So much of who we are as men and women is rooted in the parent/child relationship. I believe that my role as a mother will greatly affect the kind of woman my daughter will become. I also believe that moms are the primary teachers in a child's life. Here are a few familiar truths taught by mothers:

Cleanliness: "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside - I just finished cleaning!"
Religion: "You had better pray that will come out of the carpet."
Logic: "Because I said so, that's why."
Planning: "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."
The circle of life: "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

We live in a world that many times denies the importance of being a mom. I do not come to you as an expert. I simply want to be a successful mom! Well, actually, my credentials are impressive! I am the mother of two beautiful, brilliant children! I want to be the mom they need and deserve. The good news is that more than I want to be a successful mom, God wants me to be a successful mom. Being a parent is a holy calling from God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:24, we find a great promise, "The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it." (NIV) God never calls us to do a job without providing the power and the plan to do that job successfully. How can we be the moms that really matter?

1. Be a mom who loves God!

"We love, because God first loved us." (1 John 4:19 NCV)

We are incapable of loving our children like they were meant to be loved until we first love God! Motherhood at its best demands a thriving partnership with God! We cannot give unconditional love until we have experienced unconditional love! And God is the only source of that kind of love! We can do everything else right as a parent, but if we don't begin with loving God - we will fail!

2. Be a mom who prays continually.

First Thessalonians 5:17 should every mother's commitment to her children: "Never stop praying." (ICB)

It is never too late to start praying, and it is always too early to stop!• Pray for God's plan – not yours – when praying for your children.
• Pray that you will see your child like God sees your child.
• Pray specifically for your child:
"Lord, I pray that Jered would trust in you with all his heart and will lean not unto his own understanding. I pray that in all his ways Jered will acknowledge you and that you will direct his paths." (Prov. 3:5-6)
"Lord, I pray that Danna would cast all her care upon you, because you care for her." (1 Pet. 5:7)

Prayer is an eternal gift we can give to our children, teaching them the importance of prayer and teaching them how to pray. I recently heard the story of a mother who had invited several people to dinner. At the table, she turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?" "I wouldn't know what to say," the girl replied. "Just say what you hear Mommy say," she answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"

We began early to pray with our kids at bedtime. One night, out of the blue, our son, Jered, began to pray that his grandfather and his uncle would stop smoking. Since both had smoked for many years and neither was trying to quit, I didn't expect much. But our son did. Within the next year, both men suddenly quit smoking. I was totally amazed, but Jered acted like it was no big deal. When I questioned his response, he simply said, "Mom, you told me God answers prayer." I am convinced that if we pray for our children and with our children, it will change their lives and ours and give us insight that we can gain no other way.

3. Be a mom who gives time!

"Train children how to live right, and when they are old, they will not change." (Prov. 22:6 NCV)

It takes time to be a mom, to know and train your children. Every child God gives us comes with a set of characteristics already established by God. Our job is to identify those characteristics and then steer the child toward them. The original root word for "train" is the term for "the palate, the roof of the mouth, the gums." In the days of Solomon, a midwife would deliver the baby, dip her finger into the juice of crushed dates, reach into the mouth of the baby and massage the gums and palate to create a sense of taste and thirst. She would then give the child to the mother so the baby could nurse. Our job as mothers is to develop a thirst in our children for the right things. And that takes time.

Being a mom is the hardest job on earth. It brings out the best and the worst in you."


There is a popular philosophy today that it doesn't matter the quantity of time that we spend with our kids as long as it is quality time. It does matter! Can a woman have it all – a home, a family, and a career? I think she can. I'm just not sure she can have them all at the same time. There are seasons of life to which we must yield in order to be the mother God wants us to be. Time spent with children is never wasted! Every minute invested in your child is an eternal investment! Give your children the best of your time – not the leftovers.

• Make weekly dates with your kids.
• Pull them out of school occasionally for a fun day.
• Have a meal together every day.
• Be involved in the things they enjoy.

In other words, be available! And just your physical presence is not enough! Our normal bedtime routine was to spend a few minutes with each child, talking about the day, praying together, and then I would tuck them in. When our daughter, Danna, was six-years-old, Dan was out of town and I was behind in studying for an upcoming retreat. I went in to Jered's room, completed the routine and he was asleep in minutes. But when I went into Danna's room, trying to speed things up, Danna refused to talk. When I asked her why, she cried out, "Mama, you're not here!" Confused and a little irritated, I responded, "Yes, I am! I am right here!" Her big brown eyes filled with tears as she drove the truth home, "But you're not really here on the inside." Be a mom who gives your children time.

Being a mom is the hardest job on earth. It brings out the best and the worst in you. I know that it requires great sacrifice and limitless energy. But to invest your time and best efforts into a child, to watch that child grow and develop, is to be part of the creative majesty of life itself.

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