I am the proud momma of six children, five boys and one girl, ranging in age from 8 to 21. If we could, I'd love to sit down with you and a cup of tea and tell you all about my kids and hear all about yours! We could share pictures and talk about our children's dreams and accomplishments, tell their funny stories, and otherwise just glory in our red letter days of mothering.
But if you were willing to listen, I would share with you some of my darker days as a mom as well. The days I didn't take any pictures, but their memory nevertheless is etched on my heart. Painful days. Days when things I never thought would touch my life came sneaking in the back door or even barreling in the front. I'd share with you these days because, as much as I see God's grace in my mothering successes, it has been in these dark days that I have seen the redemption and glory of our loving Father shine more brightly and powerfully than any other.
The Bible tells us we are in a spiritual battle. And in a battle sometimes we get wounded. I believe our enemy uses the fear of what may be and condemnation over what has been to enslave mothers and blind us to the reality of the battle we are in everyday.
It has been through failure and pain that I have learned the true task of mothering. You see before I just wanted to keep out the bad. My every energy was directed toward protecting and providing for my precious children, sometimes unwittingly harming them in the process. But through the dark days, God has taught me that while mothering my children does involve protecting them from harm, it doesn't end there. I protect them so I can equip them to engage the enemy and rescue the lost.
Our oldest son, Josh, is in the military. When he decided to join, I remember questioning whether or not I, as his mother, should be supporting and facilitating his decision. Late one night I was up alone and it hit me, "Our country is at war, and I'm helping my son become a soldier?!" Everything in me as a mom had always protected my first born son from danger. But as quick as I thought it, God spoke to my heart, "Before there was even one of them all the days of Josh's life were written in my book. I created him with a purpose and my plans won't be thwarted." At that moment I knew that there is an appointed time and place for each one of us, and if my son's was on the battlefield, then nothing I did or didn't do would change that. It was a sobering realization, but it was also a freeing one.
In the same way, as I acknowledge the reality of the spiritual battle raging around us and the calling on my life as well as my children's to fight in that battle, I am both humbled and freed to stand courageously and in God's might before the enemy.
Fear and condemnation are strong task masters. But through heartache and pain and crying out in desperation, God has broken their grasp on my heart and my mothering. As I have seen how God could take the things I most feared, the fiery darts of the enemy, and turn what Satan means for evil to good, something has begun to happen. I'm finding myself less motivated by fear and more motivated by love. And I'm going from being on the defense in the spiritual battle to taking the offense. I'm venturing into territory that before I never would have considered. As I acknowledge the gifts God has given my children and the warriors He ordained them to be, I walk in courage and conviction and with a power that is not my own.
I wish our children weren't in a war. I wish we weren't. We are. But our certain hope is that God works all things together for our good and His glory and one day we will celebrate the final victory in Heaven with Christ. Until then, may we as Godly mothers battle courageously and equip our children to do the same.
"The hardness of our task lies here; that we have to strive against the grievous things of life, while hope remains, as if they were evil; and then, when the stroke has fallen, to accept them from the hand of God, and doubt not they are good. But to the loving, trusting heart all things are possible." ~Daily Strength For Daily Living, J. Martineau