For the past week I have caught myself shedding a tear without realizing I was crying. While driving to work, trying to fall asleep, having my morning coffee I have felt a tear on my cheek after pondering on my family’s fast approaching change. I don’t think I could even explain to you or myself the emotion that is producing such tears.
A week from today my husband and I will tell everyone goodnight, lock the doors, turn out the lights, and then I will lay my head on my pillow with an overwhelming thankfulness that all my children are home in their beds safe and sound. Over the past several years, these nights have been few and far between but much anticipated and relished by this mom. I have always, like most parents, fallen asleep thinking and praying for my kids. When they were small I loved to walk down the hall and peek in as they slept. I was always blessed by the peacefulness I witnessed as they slept. My favorite part of the day is at bedtime when everyone is home and all is quiet. The quiet has always given me a sense of rest and thankfulness. My children are occupied, safe and free of harm for the moment. As this thought comes to my mind, tears fall that my oldest is now a man all grown and on his own. His room will soon be transformed to a guest room. In the future when I lay my hand on the door to gently open it to peek in, I will remember the little blonde headed boy hard to wake up for school, the teenager who assured me “Mom, I got this”, and the young man who packed up for college.
Next week my son will bring a new member into our family. The thought of her being my daughter in-law has brought tears as well. Loving her is so easy and my gratitude for her has brought tears down my cheeks for sure. She is the light of his life and brings a huge smile to his face. She is beautiful inside and out. Her compassion, thoughtfulness and love for Jesus Christ far exceeds the prayers I had prayed for his mate. They bring laughter and stability to each other and to those around them. God has joined them with a like minded passion for ministry where ever it leads. I’m thankful she will take my role as number one lady in his life. I pray I will be able to bless her in the years to come as much as she has blessed me with her love for our son.
My trail of tears is evidence of past blessings and future blessings. They are a reminder to me that parenting changes more often than we would like. Just as we find a rhythm and normalcy, they take a turn in a different direction. This perspective is not from perfection by any means but from the reality that your time is quick. Moments are fewer than our simple minds would lead us to believe. My role as a parent is the most significant task I will ever encounter. Proverbs 22:5-7 instructs us to teach our children in the way he should go.
God reminded me through my tearful thoughts of 5 approaches that I have learned as a mother that have helped me stay focused to instruct my children in the way God would have them go.
- Be Authentic Our children need to see our faith. They need to witness the imperfections of our personalities, and our stride to allow the Holy Spirit to fill these imperfections is faith building for us and our children. They most likely have some of those same weaknesses and need to witness how to overcome them to have victory over areas in their life. Our actions need to be the same whether at home or in public. Eyes are watching us closer than we think. What our children see will give them a character reference they will use the rest of their lives. Authentic always trumps perfection.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Hebs. 11:1
- Be Appreciative Often times we as parents get so caught up in the business of life we fail to see and appreciate our blessings. Not only the blessings of good health and provisions but the blessings of growth. Often times we grow more during times of heartache and trouble. Those are the times that lead us and our children to humility and heart change. It’s hard to sit back when our children encounter hurt and disappointment. We want to jump in quickly and take it away or make decisions for them. When they experience the grace of God in times of repentance or regret it depends their relationship with their heavenly Father. We must be grateful for the work in their hearts no matter the circumstances.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thess 5:18
- Be Affirming Spiritually Parents usually find it natural to affirm good grades, achievements in sports or hobbies. We have to affirm spiritual truths when we see them in our children’s lives and those around us. Affirming to the next generation the spiritual calling and purpose on our lives is of utmost importance. We sometimes lead our children with the assumption that they will grow up to have a reverence to God and His purpose in their lives. This may not be the case. Ratifying the importance and place of lordship is crucial in raising spiritually mature young adults and will help clarify their calling in life.
“Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19
- Be Active Mothers are pros at taking everyone’s schedule and combining it into one master calendar. The calendar that rules the household. Practices, appointments, activities fill up the squares with their own special colors and codes. All three of my children are as active as most average kids these days. I so enjoy the sideline view of the sports world when my children are playing. The happiness all of that activity has brought me cannot compare with the overwhelming blessing of being active alongside my kids serving God. I was able to witness firsthand the “Jesus” moments in their lives. I was blessed to witness them as God led them to the altar of repentance and pray with them countless times. I wouldn’t trade a single youth worship service or camp for anything. No matter how tired I was or how loud the music was it was well worth the tiny inconvenience. Watching your children worship the Lord brings blessing after blessing.
“Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you don’t forget the things your eyes have seen and so that they don’t slip from your mind as long as you live. Teach them to your children and your grandchildren. Deuteronomy 4:8-10
- Be Alert Mother’s intuition has a way of keeping us aware when things aren’t just right with our families. That gut feeling can lead to powerful prayers. As this world reaches to entangle our children, we have to stay alert to the enemy. Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17 “ I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth”. It’s hard to imagine that anyone could love our children more than we do. But God does just that. He offers a love that gives grace and forgiveness to them if only they surrender. We must be alert to God’s conviction in their lives and call for them. Instilling God’s word by incorporating God in every area of your family’s life is crucial to their spiritual faith. Family worship, a family prayer box, or a family memory verse to claim for a season can all be instruments used to protect your child from the evil one.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour 1 Peter 5:8
As my head hits the pillow next week this “Mother of the Groom” may continue to shed a tear or two. Each tear will be a reminder that I am blessed beyond measure. Thank you Lord for my new sweet member of my family and being there to help me as I’ve had the honor of being a Mom to my oldest fellow.