A letter to myself (Part 4)

(...and other Moms like me)  ~

I am writing today, because I know that you have struggled long and hard with all it means to be a Godly mother to the children God has entrusted to you. (continue reading Part 1...)

When all is said and done and you pack up your child’s belongings to fly from your nest, it won’t matter much what you’ve taught them, how you’ve made them feel or the sweet relationship you’ve shared, if they do not leave with the tools they need to be passionate, devoted followers of Christ.  Period.  End of story. (continue reading Part 2...)

This letter would not be complete to you, especially as an adoptive mom, if I didn't have a heart to heart with you about your emotions.  It saddens me to think that you have struggled with your emotions, or lack there of, for so many years, without discovering the real truth.  It is time to settle the matter once and for all.  (continue reading Part 3...)

I can't close this letter before mentioning a very important tool you have at your disposal that will help you out of many a jam!  Most moms aren’t even aware of it, but it may well be the most valuable tool in your mothering chest!  The best part is that this is available for every area of your life- your friendships, your marriage, but most importantly, your calling as a mother to each and every one of your children- no matter their age! 

This miraculous tool is what we will call the “RESET” button.  If and when you feel a deep conviction from the Spirit of God that a situation is going in the wrong direction, you have absolute authority to employ a “RESET” with your children.   It will take honesty and humility to admit that your habits from the past have been hurtful or detrimental, but with a single decision and act of your will, you may “reset” and begin again.  Humble yourself…. Go to your child…  Tell them that the Lord has convicted you about the way you have handled a situation in your home… Tell them that you have made a decision to begin again and act differently…  Tell them what the new expectations will be as you begin again…  Then boldly hit that beautiful “RESET” button and “you’re off”!!!!  A new beginning!!! 

Don’t ever buy into the lie of the enemy when he whispers in your ear that it is too late for “resetting” your situation.  Your God is a God of new beginnings and nothing thrills Him more than watching His child (that would be YOU!) pick themselves up from a fall, dust themselves off, and ask for a chance to try again.  Jesus died for new beginnings!  Why not take Him up on His beautiful offer of forgiveness and new life?

In the same way- nothing will tenderize your children like a humble mom who is willing to admit fault and wrongdoing and then model what “new life” really means.  What child can protest when a tender mother comes and says “The Lord has shown me something that I have been doing as your mother that doesn’t please Him.  I want to change that, because I want to please Him more than I want my next breath.  From this moment on we are going to start over in this area.  This is what I am going to do and this is what I expect from you.”

Hold your ground against protests and dissent while the kids figure out that you mean business.  Parenting is not a democracy with your child.  Nor is it a dictatorship with you as lord over them.  Jesus is the King in your home. You are His humble servant and your goal is to raise humble servants in your footsteps!  If they know that you are not ultimately the one calling the shots, but that God is, they will be more inclined to follow.  If not, then God will see to it, with a little help from you, that the natural consequences of going astray are not in their best interest after all!

Do not fear the pain of consequences that come into your child’s life for rebellion or disobedience.  They will learn the lessons this pain is designed to teach now, under your watchful care, or they will be forced to learn them later, when you are no longer around to support them.  Which is more loving in the end?

This leads perfectly to a most important point you must consider in order to be the godly mother you long to be.  You absolutely must parent your child- no matter his/her age- in view of the LONG TERM.  Not doing so will prove most painful in the long run and there is an endless line of broken parents that will sadly attest to this truth.  One of the easiest things to do as a mother- especially one that spends 24/7 with your child- is to parent for the SHORT TERM.  You’ve done it, Lori, so you know exactly what I’m talking about... Anything to get them to be quiet; anything to keep the peace; anything to win their affection; or make them think you’re as cool as their best friend!  Short-term decision-making is rarely profitable for you, or for your child.  Giving in and giving up because you’re simply too tired to deal with an issue, will guarantee that you will deal with it again.  The issue (whatever it is!) will grow and grow and grow until you refuse to give in or give up!  You are the parent---  designed by God to be the leader.  Your children were never intended to lead your home and you will do them a great disservice if you allow them to do so!  Let them usurp your God-given role and your parenting years will not be the joy you had hoped for. 

With each and every situation as a mother, ask yourself this simple question… “Will this matter 20 years from now?”  If the answer is yes… then you must step up to the plate and lead in a way that molds them into the men and women God intends them to be.  Do not allow yourself to brush aside disrespect or laziness because you are too tired or overwhelmed to deal with it right now.  How will you feel when they are teenagers and don’t know how to properly show respect to a law enforcement officer, their school teachers, or a potential employer?  If a behavior would be unacceptable for your 16 year old, 21 year old, or 40 year old child, you’d best deal with it while they are young and impressionable.   

If a respectful attitude, good work ethic and honesty are to be taught… you are God’s chosen vessel to teach it!  You can stand at the kitchen sink alone, while the kids relax and play, if you choose.  You can resent it and feel used, but decide that the short-term hassles are just not worth it.  But for the long term, you are producing lazy, and selfish individuals who are happy to let another carry the loads of life.  Suddenly the nightly dishes, viewed through a long-term lens, become an incredibly important parenting tool to teach your children the value of hard work and a God honoring work ethic….

You can berate yourself that you’ve blown it and decide that it’s too late to make a change, or you can take my advice and hit the “RESET” button and try again!!!   Your teenager is rolling her eyes at you and boiling over with attitude!  Life would be so much easier to let her hide behind her bedroom door and allow the moment to pass.  Yes, easier for the short term, but never so for the long term!  “Pick your battles”- is what they say!  And they are right!  You would do well to pick the battles that will reap long-term benefits, and realize that the short-term ones will most often take care of themselves!  Remembering the key word “short” will help you carry on… 

You weren’t called to be a mother to create a peaceful home or to cultivate a beautiful friendship with your child.  God called you, instead, to love the children He placed in your care, nurture them, and model for them what it means to be a passionate, fully devoted follower of Christ.  If you do that, with His help, the long term looks bright indeed!  You will discover immense joy in this most holy calling of motherhood! 

Maybe right now would be the perfect time to hit that “RESET” button I was telling you about!  God loves new beginnings, don’t you?

I know that this letter has been difficult to read.  You’ve blown it more times than you can count and you struggle thinking that you might not ever get this mothering thing right.  But if you can step back from yourself every now and then and take an honest look, you’ll find that you ARE growing…. Your ARE changing…  You ARE becoming more like Jesus… and there is hope for even Mom’s like you!!! 
But now that you have heard these things (and hopefully they are grounded in the Word of God!) and have decided that they are indeed areas you need to address between you and the Lord…  GO DO IT!  What are you waiting for?  Because if you blink more than once before taking your first step…. Those treasures of yours (and His!) will be gone! 

Before I send you off on your way, though…  I need to tell you one last thing!  You won’t be able to do it!  Not one suggestion I have written to you within this letter is a change you will be able to achieve in your lifetime.  You could give it everything you’ve got until your dying breath and it will never happen!  None of it!!!

Unless, that is, you do it with the strength and empowerment of Christ.  Then, and only then, will you be able to lead your children in the godly way you desire.  Remember the words of Christ with each and every step… “Without Me you can do NOTHING!”  And as you go proclaim boldly with the apostle Paul…  “I CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”

So what are you waiting for, Servant of God?  He’s left some treasures for you to tend to and I think I can hear them calling you now… 

In His Great JOY,

1 comment:

  1. I love your heart and your dreams and faith. I am inspired and have more faith after reading your letters; but have a heavy heart for all those left behind that none of us can help. I have 4 girls from China...2 are healthy..2 face an uncertain future from a virus. I know they were meant to be in my hands and by God's love we will give them a full life. Thank you for sharing your journey. We also knew that God might place a heart child in our home and may still...There is a LWB child Talia waiting for papers...please pray for her heart and for a forever family for her. Thank you so much, Beth


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