There have been a lot of posts lately about Mom’s and Dad’s and what they mean to us. I have enjoyed reading each one of them, and thinking about how my own mother and father impacted my life. I know that I am the person I am today because of their influence in my life. What a privilege we have as mothers to impact the lives of our children!!
I recently had the privilege of writing a devotional for my daughter’s baby shower. It was held in North Dakota, and at the time, we were in Missouri so I could not attend. But I was asked to write a letter to Rachel to be shared at her shower. I offer this here as a challenge to all Mothers.
Here you are at another big milestone in your life!! About three and a half years ago, you became a wife and your life drastically changed. Now it is about to change again with the birth of your baby and you take on the title of Mother.
It is a blessed title and one that you will cherish for the rest of your life. It will also drastically change your life. Believe me when I say that it will never be the same again!!
As I am writing this letter, Mother’s Day has just passed and the internet was just flooded with all the cutesy sayings about Moms. Things like:
Things My Mother Taught Me (author Unknown)
1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
“If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”
2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
“You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”
3. My mother taught me LOGIC.
“Because I said so, that’s why.”
4. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
“Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”
5. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
“Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”
6. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
“If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way.”
7. My mother taught me HUMOR.
“When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”
8. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”
9. My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
“One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”
And my favorite one: I’ve carried a child within my body and slept with them on my chest. I have kissed little toes and wiped away tears. I have been vomited on, peed on, and spent sleepless nights cradling my child. But I would not have it any other way. My body isn’t magazine perfect, but when I look in the mirror, I see a MOM, and there is no greater honor, love or blessing.
You can read all the books and listen to all the advice and think you are ready to be a Mother. But nothing can compare to that first look at your little one. After all the pain and discomfort of labor and delivery, you may think you will never ever want to keep him! But just one look at his little face and your heartstrings will be forever tied. From then on, he will never be far from your thoughts.
This morning I woke up here in Africa, as I do every morning, thinking of my children and where they are and what they are doing. That leads to my prayer time and as I sit and pray, the pictures of my children and grandchildren are within sight. As I bring them to remembrance and pray for each of them, my heart is overwhelmed with gratitude to the Lord for all the blessings He has given to me.
There are many things I could say to you today. But most of it would not be necessary. God has prepared you for this moment in your life, and you have prepared yourself by reading and learning and researching and praying. So I just want to say a few very important things (which are probably also not necessary, but I will say them anyway).
1. There are NO perfect mothers.
Along with that thought goes these: there are no perfect children, and there are no perfect parents. The only perfect parents are those who have never had a child! Remember that at our best we are just sinners saved by grace. And at our worst we are reprobates. We are all flawed and can never achieve perfection. It is only by God’s grace that we ever have any successes in our life. We owe it all to Him!
There will be days when you feel like an absolute failure. There will be times when you feel like God made a horrible mistake to ever send you a child. Even though you couldn’t imagine it now, there will even be times that you will want to send him back or exchange him for another model! And there will be moments when you will believe that you have ruined your child’s life forever.
At those times when you feel like a failure, remind yourself of God’s grace. He knew who you were before you were born, and he knew just what kind of mother you would be. Yes, you will make mistakes, just like every mother has since the beginning of time. Learn from those mistakes, put it in the past, and go on. Seek Godly advice when you have questions. You have many mentors and examples that God has placed in your life for such a time as this.
You will learn that children are very resilient. They have to be, or none would ever survive their childhood years with imperfect parents. Keep your eyes on the Lord and in His Word because He has the best advice for raising children. Be sure your little one has a healthy balance of both love and discipline in his life, and spend a lot of time in prayer.
2. Remember that you are raising your child for the glory of the Lord—not for your glory.
Children are to be arrows that we raise in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and then shoot out into the world to affect this world for Jesus Christ. You only have a few short years to form that arrow so spend them wisely. Keeping your own walk with the Lord fresh and vibrant is a necessity. Keeping God’s Word at the forefront in your teaching and training is also a necessity. Teach him to love the Word of God and pray for God to plant the truths of His Word deep in his heart.
3. Never make your child an idol in your life.
This goes along with the first two thoughts. If your goal is to be a perfect mother or to have a perfect child, then your focus will be on the child and not on the Lord. This comes from pride and wanting to make yourself and your child look good to others. You will be concerned about what others think and will put pressure on your child to “perform” in a right way. Your goal in life, instead of raising an arrow for the honor and glory of the Lord, will be to raise a child and have a family for your honor and glory, one that everyone can applaud and uphold. You will have made an idol in your life.
Remember the order: God first, husband second, then come the children. When that order gets out of balance, it will cause problems in your life. If you let your relationship with God suffer, you will not have the wisdom to be a good wife and a good mother. If you put your child before your husband, your marriage relationship will suffer. There will be times, especially when your little one is young, that it will be a challenge to spend time with the Lord and to spend time with your husband. SO you have to be creative and figure out ways to balance everything.
4. Rejoice in each milestone along the way.
His first smile, his first tooth, his first word, when he learns to crawl and then walk, each birthday, his first day of school—these are all milestones along the way that give you a chance to stop and re-evaluate and reset your course if necessary. Some parents, especially with their first child, can’t wait until he grows up. They are always pushing their children to do more, to achieve more. Sadly, they get so caught up in the day to day grind that they forget to enjoy their children.
If there is one thing I regret about my years when you children were young, it would be that I didn’t spend more time enjoying you and spending time just being with you. The demands of being a wife and a mother are very real. But take time to slow down and enjoy your baby.
Motherhood—there is nothing like it in all the world! I am thankful that the Lord allowed me to be a Mother to four wonderful children. I am excited to see how the Lord is using each of them and my prayer is that they will continue to honor and glorify Him with their lives.
Most of all, I am super excited for this time in your life, and I can’t wait to see and to hold that little guy!
Love you to the stars and beyond,
Beverly is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She and Doug Hammett have been married for over 35 years. Since her father was a pastor and her husband was already a pastor when she married him, she is well acquainted with the blessings as well as the problems of the ministry! Bev’s favorite things to do are read and spend time with her family.
In Autumn of 2010, Doug stepped aside from his position as senior pastor at LVBC to reach and train men in Botswana and South Africa. Beverly continues to write for our ladies publication, giving her unique perspective of life in the ministry, and now life on the mission field. You can read more about their ministry here.