As I’ve been re-reading my old journals from when our children were young and observing daughter Kristy and her husband raising their own preschoolers, I felt compelled to write a note of encouragement to young moms. (The guidelines at the end are applicable to anyone.)
I think we can all agree that our children bring us many moments of pure joy in the things they do and say. And when were snuggling a resting or sleeping child, there aren’t adequate words to describe the love that floods our souls!
But if you’re at all like me, there are also moments where motherhood feels like a boring, thankless, unappreciated job. I remember how I longed for adult conversation and something a little more intellectually stimulating than conversations with preschoolers. I looked forward to my weekly women’s Bible study when I got a couple of child free hours and intellectual discussions!
In those days, I had this Bible verse posted above our kitchen sink:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men (Colossians 3:23). When I felt like no one saw, appreciated, or understood all that I was going through, I reminded myself that Jesus did, and He was there for me. I was doing this for Him, ultimately.
But there were times when I wondered if He’d ever use my strengths, and if He’d ever give me more than sleepless nights, changing diapers, washing clothes and dishes, etc. Id listen to older women tell me to enjoy each moment, and they’d talk about how swiftly these years pass by. I believed them, but that felt like light years away!
There are some temptations we need to be aware of in those days. Its the temptation to take on more than God has called us to. There are several factors that can cause us to make wrong choices (and stay at home moms are especially vulnerable). I will address a few of those.
- No matter how delightful our preschoolers are, constantly tending to their needs is not very intellectually stimulating. Its physically exhausting, but our brain gets a bit too lethargic. My vocabulary dropped considerably during those years. My daily journals were another life-line for me. So, when were bored, ministry outside of the home looks very appealing.
- Whether its self-imposed or inflicted upon us by others, we can find ourselves feeling guilty when we say no to people who present us with service opportunities. The Lord had to teach me that the need is not always the call. In other words, I’m not called to meet every need that is presented to me!
- A desire to contribute something substantial to society. Ladies, raising godly children who will love, respect and humbly serve others is a very substantial contribution to society! When our children are young, its hard to see that, but now that I have three adult children who are all involved in serving others, I see the value of all the seeds that were planted in their hearts when they were young. Learn what Gods teaching you now, and He will use it eventually.
I would like to close with some tips that Ive found helpful in determining whether or not to take on a new commitment.
- Ask God to guide you, and then give Him time to make things clear.
- Check your motives: why do you want to take on this commitment? (Ask God to reveal your true motives. Sometimes we aren’t able to see our hidden motives, like pride, or a need to feel important, or a desire to do something more interesting than raising kids, or a feeling of guilt that we aren’t doing enough.)
- If you’re married, ask your husband how he feels. If he isn’t supportive of you taking on the commitment, then don’t! (If you truly feel Gods calling you to it, then ask God to change your husbands heart, or yours, according to Gods plan.) As a side note, I want to mention that sometimes God gives us a vision years in advance of the fulfillment! Yes, He may be calling you to something, just not
- Analyze the impact of this commitment on your family. Will you still have the time and energy to meet their needs if you take this on? And if you work, how will it impact your ability to do a good job there?
- Will this commitment draw you closer to God or pull you away from Him? (Will you still have the time and energy to read the Bible, pray, fellowship with other Christians?)
It takes prayerful discernment to know which activities to be involved in. Every persons path is different, but God is faithful to guide us when we ask Him to.