Mom, You are Priceless (seeing yourself through the eyes of your child)

{I shared these words back in 2011, when speaking at an event for a gathering of mothers. I hope these words encourage you today. We had a break in the cold weather recently and Katelyn took these pictures of the girls in the pine needles and sunlight. Neither of these girls were yet born when I first shared these words.}

All of us here today have at least one thing in common, and that is that we are mothers.  We have been privileged to bring at least one life in to the world, and the well-being of that little person has been completely committed to our care.  It’s a miracle and an awesome privilege.

I am expecting my fifth child in just a few months.  It’s a boy, which makes four boys with one girl right in the middle.  I am thankful to God for blessing me with these children, and for ALL that He has taught me through it.  I do not stand here today as a mother who “has it all together.”  I am not a super-mom. I do not have all the answers.  In fact, with each day that goes by, I realize more and more how inadequate I am for the task before me of raising these children and getting them launched out into the world.  It is an overwhelming job.  Most days I struggle just to keep my head above water.  I tell you that to say that I am probably just like you.  Many of you would agree with me that being a Mom is the most difficult and demanding job you have faced.  Of course, it does have many blessings along the way.  Praise the Lord for the rewarding moments that sometimes come so unexpectedly!

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Sunshine is so good for the soul!

As I thought about the opportunity to speak to you today, many thoughts flooded my mind.  What should I share with you?  I really wanted to use these few minutes to benefit and help you in your job as mothers.  Trying to get my scattered thoughts to come into some kind of order has been a challenge,  especially being interrupted every 30 seconds!  I’ve been working on potty training my 2-year-old so my preparation for this message has been broken up by ump-teen trips to the bathroom.  I’m sure you know what I mean.

IMG_6254Did you know that the job you have as a mother is one of the most important jobs in the nation?  In fact, did you know that mothers are nation-changers?  I know it sure doesn’t seem like it when we are rushing that 2-year-old to the bathroom AGAIN, and sitting there with them.

“Mom, shut the door.  Mom, lock the door.  Mom, count to ten.  Okay, I don’t have to go, Mom!”

During those moments we don’t feel like we are doing anything important.  Nobody notices, nobody sees.  But if we can mentally step back, and see the big picture for a minute– we are shaping the life and destiny of a little person who is going to grow up and take his or her place in the world.

There is nobody like Mom to understand the jibberish of a toddler, or to kiss a hurt knee, or to give a hug to calm their fears, or to tell them, “Keep trying!  You can do it!” when they are discouraged. There is nobody like Mom to bake cookies with, to read that favorite book again, to explain things they don’t understand, to understand how they feel inside, or to exclaim over the dandelion bouquet.  In your child’s eyes you are irreplaceable.   You ARE irreplaceable– you are the one and only mother that child will ever have.  I know you are not going to hear it on the news or read it in Woman’s Day magazine, but as a mother you are valuable and vital not only to your child’s future, but also to our country’s future.

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Children love to bring their mom little treasures. This little bouquet was brought to me, piece by piece, last summer. Hands behind the little one’s back and “Surprise!” as a piece of clover is presented with such love and shining eyes.

 

IMG_6236We are often concerned about giving our children so many things that we think they need, but in reality, your child is content with just having YOU.  I often think of this when I am preparing for  a new baby, like I am right now.  We start gathering up all kinds of things– a bassinet, a stroller, a carseat, baby toys, clothes, outfits, blankets, a rocking chair, painting and decorating the nursery. . .  But, when that baby comes into the world, all he or she really wants is his mommy.  Her loving arms, her warm breast, her gentle voice, her tender touch…  Those things can meet more of that baby’s needs than any material things ever could.  Your baby’s whole world is wrapped up with you.  In many ways this does not change even as your child gets older.  Your time, your praise, your training, your encouragement, your unconditional love, are worth more to that child than all the material possessions in the world.

Often we think that as children grow and especially as they become teenagers, they don’t need much of our time anymore.  They may act like they don’t, but deep down, they do.  They need mom and dad’s direction and influence more than ever.  And the best way to give them direction and influence is to spend time together.  Lots and lots of it.

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The photographer took a moment to capture her own boots.

I want to encourage you to take this mothering job seriously and give it your very best.  It is a job that deserves your utmost devotion.  I know it is not easy.  At least once a day I usually end up thinking, “How did I get myself into this?  Where do I go to resign?  I think I’d like to do something else now!”  But, motherhood is a high calling.  It is a job given to you by God Himself, and it takes dedication and faithfulness, day after day, year after year. IMG_6253We can take much comfort in knowing that we are not alone in this job.  As I said earlier, we often feel that nobody sees or notices all the sacrifices we make as mothers.  But, the truth is, Someone does see.  Someone does notice.  I’m not talking about our friends on Facebook who can read our posts and find out what we’ve been doing that particular day.  I’m talking about God Himself.  He notices.  He has given this job to us, and He has not left us alone.  As we seek His help and guidance, He promises to give it to us.  He has promised strength for the weary and wisdom to those who ask.  God uniquely equipped you to do this job and He will help you if you ask.

It is wonderful to know that God is not only the God of the huge, the vast, the incredible– such as the glorious mountain ranges or the mighty ocean– but He is also the God of the very small, the miniscule, the tiny– such as a single dogwood blossom or a water droplet on a blade of grass.  Not only is He concerned about the nations, the world, the universe, but He is also concerned about each individual home and family.  After all, it is individual homes and families that make up the nations.  God is indeed the God of the very small, and that includes the myriad of “very small” things we do as mothers each day.  He is concerned.  He sees.

IMG_6241Does God have some “enormous” task for us to do? He may, but more than likely He has all kinds of “little” things — a baby to be comforted, dishes to be washed, a kind word to be spoken, encouragement to be given, meals to be cooked, clothes to be washed, a child to be hugged…

Do these things matter to God? Yes, they do. The Bible tells us in Luke 12:6-7: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”  If God even sees the sparrows, I know He sees me as I work in my home.

Sometimes at our house, when our day gets just too hectic, I stop the children right in the middle of the chaos and say, “We need to pray right now and ask God to help us have peace in this household and be loving to each other.”  Your children won’t forget you doing that kind of thing.  They certainly would rather hear mom pray than hear her “lose it” and yell at them instead!IMG_6235The journey of motherhood can cause us to know God in a deeper way as we have to learn to depend on Him to a greater extent than we ever have before.  I’m so thankful that we can know God.  Although we are separated from Him and condemned because we have broken His holy law, He has made a way for us to come unto Him, through His son Jesus Christ.  We will never be able to fully be the mother we should be until we know God in a personal relationship, through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Hebrews 7:25 says about Jesus, “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him.”  He is able to save us from God’s judgment and to cover us with His righteousness.  That is the best news I have ever heard!

Let me encourage you to get to know the True God.  There are a lot of ideas out there today about who God is and what He is like.  But, what is He really like?  All the ideas in the world don’t change the truth of Who He really is.  As we search the pages of God’s Holy Word, we can begin to see God for Who He really is.  Then, as we know God ourselves, we can give our children the most important thing we could ever give them– an Anchor for their souls.  Our highest privilege as mothers is helping our children know God through His son Jesus.  Their view of God is shaped by us as their mother even from their earliest days.  As they go through life, our children are one day going to face situations and trials that we will not be able to shield or protect them from.  Where are they going to turn?  Will they know the true God– their Redeemer, their Hope, their Strength, their Burden-Bearer?  Point them to the Savior from their earliest days, and you will have given your child the best foundation possible for them to build their lives upon. IMG_6242I also want to encourage you to treasure the moments you have with your children.  I’m sure you have heard the same thing I have, when you are out and about with your little ones, and an older person will pass by and say, “They grow up so quickly.  It goes by so fast.”  I don’t know how many times I have heard that.  I’m starting to see the truth of it.  My oldest is now 11 years old.  I have a Polaroid picture of him on the window-ledge above my kitchen sink.  It’s a little craft he made for Mother’s day when he was about 2.  He is so little and cute, with curly blonde hair, squinting into the camera.  I have kept it there for 9 years now.  It serves as a reminder of the quickly passing years.  We need to cherish the moments.  Treasure the time you have together.

“Embrace your God-given responsibilities and purpose to enjoy each season of family living.  Children are a blessing from God.  The fruit of the womb is His reward.  Diapers and pacifiers will sooner-than-you-think give way to school clothes and snaggle teeth to gym clothes and braces to graduation gowns and goodbye kisses.”  — Tim Cruse

IMG_6205I have never forgotten the example of a lady whom I knew over twenty years ago now.  I was privileged to be a friend of her daughter’s in my early teen years.  The lady’s name was Barbara.  She was not glamorous or wealthy in worldly things. She just loved people and made her home available to many– her own four children, one adopted daughter, and many others whom she cared for.  Barbara had an unusual wall in her kitchen.  It was one little section of wall that was scribbled all over by markers.  I’m not sure how it got to be like that.  I guess various little people had contributed their artwork.  Anyhow, I asked Barbara one day if it bothered her that her wall had scribbling all over it.  Her reply to me was, “Well, I guess I’ll paint over it one day.  But right now I’m just going to leave it, because I’ll never have another wall like that again.”  What a statement that was about her priorities!  God help us to be that kind of mother!  The kind of mother who knows that people are more important than things.  Undoubtedly we will then leave a lasting impact on people’s lives, including the lives of our own precious children.IMG_6239As we do this job, there are no guarantees what the outcome will be.  We do not know where our children will ultimately end up.  We do not know if they will ever realize all that we sacrificed for them.  We do not know if they will make us proud as mothers.  We certainly hope and pray that they will.  But, if we give our very best to this job, we won’t look back with regret, knowing that we could have given more for our children.  We will know that we stepped up to the task with God’s help and we can leave the outcome in His hands.IMG_6248

I took a piece of plastic clay
And idly fashioned it one day,
And as my fingers pressed it still,
It moved and yielded to my will.
I came again when days were passed;
The bit of clay was hard at last,
The form I gave it still it bore,
But I could change that form no more!

I took a piece of living clay
And touched it gently day by day,
And molded with my power and art
A young child’s soft and yielding heart.
I came again when years were gone;
It was a man I looked upon;
That early impress still he wore,
And I could change that form no more!

-(Anon.)

So again, remember, you are a nation-changer!  Your job as a mother is so very important.  God has given it to you and He will help you if you ask.  Treasure the time you have with your precious children.  And pay attention to the little things in life, because one day we may look back and realize that they were the big things, after all.

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A phone pic from our family outing to get our Christmas tree. Just LOOK at those big boys! The blonde-haired squinting little boy (mentioned above) is now the young man wearing the red coat… about to turn 18 next month. The years do fly. Invest in the little ones while you can, dear momma!

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