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Girlfriends in God - May 4, 2009

May 3-4, 2009 
Being a Mom that Matters 
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth 
Proverbs 22:6 “Train children how to live right, and when they are old, they will not change” (NCV).

Friend To Friend

So much of who we are as women is rooted in the parent/child relationship. I believe that my role as a mother will greatly affect the kind of woman my daughter will become. I also believe that moms are the primary teachers in a child’s life. Here are a few familiar and humorous truths taught by mothers:

Cleanliness: "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning!"

Religion: "You had better pray that will come out of the carpet."  

Logic: "Because I said so, that's why."

Planning: "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

The circle of life: "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

Seriously, we live in a world that many times denies the importance of being a mom. I don’t come to you as an expert. I simply want to be a successful mom.  Well, actually, my credentials are impressive.  I am the mother of two beautiful, brilliant children.  We adopted our son, Jered, and our daughter, Danna, when they were only days old so I had nothing to do with their beauty or brilliance, but I do want to be the mom they need and deserve.  The good news is that God wants the same thing.  Being a parent is a holy calling from God and God never calls us to do a job without providing the power and the plan to do that job successfully.  How can we be the moms that really matter?

Be a mom who loves God.

1 John 4:19 “We love, because God first loved us” (NCV).

We are incapable of loving our children like they were meant to be loved until we first love God!  Motherhood at its best demands a thriving partnership with God!  We cannot give unconditional love until we have experienced unconditional love!  And God is the only source of that kind of love!  We can do everything else right as a parent but if we don’t begin with loving God - we will fail! 

Be a mom who prays continually.

I Thessalonians 5:17 should every mother’s commitment to her children. “Never stop praying” (ICB).  It is never too late to start praying and it is always too early to stop.  

  • Pray for God’s plan – not yours – when praying for your children.  
    • Pray that you will see your child like God sees your child.  
      • Pray specifically for your child.  For example, I often pray Proverbs 3:5-6 for our son, “Lord, I pray that Jered would trust in you with all his heart and will lean not unto his own understanding.  I pray that in all his ways Jered will acknowledge you and that you will direct his paths.”  And for our daughter, I pray 1 Peter 5:7, “Lord, I pray that Danna would cast all her care upon you, because you care for her.” 

      Prayer is an eternal gift we can give to our children, teaching them the importance of prayer and teaching them how to pray.  I recently heard the story of a mother who had invited several people to dinner.  At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?"  “I wouldn't know what to say," the girl replied. "Just say what you hear Mommy say," she answered.  The daughter bowed her head and said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?” 

      We began early to pray with our kids at bedtime. One night, out of the blue, our son, Jered, began to pray that his grandfather and his uncle would stop smoking.  Since both had smoked for many years and neither was trying to quit, I didn’t expect much.  But our son did. Within the next year, both men suddenly quit smoking.  I was totally amazed, but Jered acted like it was no big deal.  When I questioned his response, he simply said, “Mom, you told me God answers prayer.”  I am convinced that if we pray for our children and with our children, it will change their lives and ours and give us insight that we can gain no other way.

      Be a mom who gives time.

      Proverbs 22:6 “Train children how to live right, and when they are old, they will not change” (NCV).

      It takes time to be a mom, to know and to train your children.  Every child comes with a set of characteristics already established by God. Our job is to identify those characteristics and then steer the child toward them. The original root word for “train” is the term for “the palate, the roof of the mouth, the gums”. In the days of Solomon, a midwife would deliver the baby, dip her finger into the juice of crushed dates, reach into the mouth of the baby and massage the gums and palate to create a sense of taste and thirst.  She would then give the child to the mother so the baby could nurse.  Our job as mothers is to develop a thirst in our children for the right things.  And that takes time. 

      There is a popular philosophy today that it doesn’t matter the quantity of time that we spend with our kids as long as it is quality time.  It does matter!  Can a woman have it all - a home, a family, a career? I think she can.  I’m just not sure she can have them all at the same time.  There are seasons of life to which we must yield in order to be the mother God wants us to be.  Time spent with children is never wasted!  Every minute invested in your child is an eternal investment!  Give your children the best of your time – not the leftovers.

      ·         Make weekly dates with your kids.

      ·         Pull them out of school occasionally for a fun day.

      ·         Have a meal together every day.

      ·         Be involved in the things they enjoy.

      In other words, be available!  And just your physical presence is not enough. Our normal bedtime routine was to spend a few minutes with each child, talking about the day, praying together and then I would tuck them in for the night.  When our daughter, Danna, was six-years-old, Dan was out of town and I was behind in studying for an upcoming retreat.  I went in to Jered’s room, completed the bedtime routine and he was asleep in minutes.  However, when I went into Danna’s room, and tried to speed things up, Danna refused to talk.  When I asked her why, she cried out, “Mama, you’re not here!”  Confused and a little irritated, I responded, “Yes, I am! I am right here!”  Her big brown eyes filled with tears as she drove the truth home, “But you’re not really here on the inside.”  Be a mom who gives your children time. 

      Being a mom is the hardest job on earth and can bring out the best and the worst in you.  I know being a mom requires great sacrifice and limitless energy, but to invest your time and best efforts into a child, to watch that child grow and develop, is to be part of the creative majesty of life itself.  We’re half the way there!  Tomorrow, we will explore four more ways to be a mom that matters.

      Let’s Pray 
      Lord, thank You for giving me children.  Help me to be the mom they deserve.  I commit to constantly pray for each child and invest the best part of my time and life in them.  Forgive me for allowing lesser things to take the place of my role as a mother and guide me to be a mom that really matters. 

      In Jesus’ name, 

      Now It’s Your Turn 
      Are you growing in your life as a Christian?  How? 

      Evaluate your schedule in light of the truth that the best part of your time goes to being a mom. 
      What changes do you need to make in your schedule? 

      What do you need to give up so you can spend more time with your children?

      What specific needs are you praying for your children?  Make a list and pray through that list daily.

      More From The Girlfriends 
      Whoooo!  This is a tough one! When we start looking at the minutes and hours of each day to see how much time we really spend being a mom, the authenticity of our role as a mom shines through.  We are in this together.  Gwen, Sharon and I are all mothers, with children at all stages of life.  Know that we are praying with you, walking with you and here if you need us! 

      Need help in your role as a mom?  Check out Mary’s book, Sandpaper People for ways to handle your tough child or any difficult relationship in your life.  Mary also has an online Bible Study, Light for the Journey you might be interested in.  The current topic is “How to Manage Your Emotions.”  Visit Mary’s online store for MP3 downloads and E-book Bible Studies, CDs and much more.  

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