Some of this is repeat of things I've already shared here, but hopefully it wont be too repetitive for you!
I love being a mom. And I mean L-O-V-E, love being a mom! But as a mom of pre-schoolers I find that I am one of the most pitied people on the planet. Everywhere I go I get sympathetic stares. People try and assure me that someday I will return to "the land of the living". One person once stated that raising children was like being pecked to death by a chicken. And I am not just talking about the main stream public. These attitudes are just as common among believers.
So I had to ask myself why. Why is raising children looked on with dread and disdain to those around me when I find such joy and peace and fulfillment?
When I'm talking to other moms who differ on their view of raising children, I find that we almost always think very differently on two important points. The first one is how we view children.
Society puts children in a tidy little box. They are a great accessories to our well planned lives. You get married. You finish school. You get a good job. You buy a house. You spend your "time together". And then finally, you are ready to have a baby. You are responsible enough to "handle it". But children never seem to glide into your "perfect life" like you expect. They change your lifestyle, your sleeping habits, your social calender. All of the sudden you are stuck at home, smelling like spit up, sleep deprived, lonely. Then they start growing and the messes get bigger, the noises get louder and you can't really remember why you thought this was such a good idea. But you really want your "perfect family" so you have a couple more, hoping that somehow you will survive this mayhem. Then you hear from someone like me, who actually enjoys my life with five crazy babies and you're certain that I'm either certifiably crazy, perfect or I'm lying to you.
I'm not crazy. I'm NOT ANYWHERE close to perfect. And I am not lying to you.
I happen to believe a little secret hidden deep in God's word that not many people really believe. And by not many people I truly mean, not many people.
Psalm 127:3~ Behold, children are a GIFT from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a REWARD.
"But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing!". I've heard that one lots. When you think of a gift or a reward what is your first thought? "Oh, I better put a limit on that and make sure I don't end up with too much reward!". Not me! When I think of a gift or a reward I think, "I CAN'T WAIT!!!".
When we got married, my twenty year old husband had this crazy notion that we would be better off trusting that the Lord knew what was best for us better than we did and that He was able to provide for us better than we could for ourselves. Don't worry. We were told how crazy we were. We know we look like fools. We know we look irresponsible. We also know peace. The total and complete peace of resting in the Lord's hands rather than trying to hold everything together ourselves. And we have not regretted it for an instant.
However I've met many people who felt that they "should" have as many children as the Lord "allows" who have regretted it! Whatever our beliefs on having children are, if we think of children as anything other than the most priceless treasures, treasures with eternal value, we will miss out.
If you are struggling as a parent, struggling to find joy or peace, I urge you to take a good hard look at how you really view children. Do you really believe that they are a reward and a blessing from the Lord? Or are you placing something else at higher value that your children are "inconveniencing"?
In that same chapter of Psalms, the writer refers to children as arrows. I like that word picture because arrows are made to go somewhere. Where they go depends on where the archer sends them.
The truth is, we are all aiming our children towards some sort of target, whether we realize it or not. The choices we are making now are laying the path for where our children will end up. The most common goals parents have for their children is that they end up "happy" and "successful". Why is it we can't look around us and see how the world's recipe for "success" does not end up with "happy" people? And even should that goal be attainable, is that really the goal we should be aiming for?
In Mark, one of the teachers of the law asked Jesus what the most important of all the commandments was. He wanted to know where to aim his life. When seeking an answer as to where I should aim my children, I want to ask Jesus too. So I go to Him and see what His answer was.
Mark 12:29-31~ Jesus answered, "The foremost is, 'Hear O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'. There is no commandment greater than these."
There is no commandment greater than these. When we look at where we want to aim our children, that is it.
I'll pick up here tomorrow Lord willing!