When it comes to momming right now, I see two extreme themes: Hustle or survive. I hear moms openly relating with each other about how hard it is to juggle it all during this strange time that still has no end date. And some really struggling (rightfully so!) On the other hand, some moms seem made for quarantine! Honestly, I feel like I fall somewhere in the middle (depending on the day!) I’m all for seeing the positives in the season you’re in, but I also feel an underlying sense of competition. It’s so easy to see the home projects and DIY hobbies everyone else seems to have time for in their houses that look peaceful and perfectly put together… the blessing and curse of social media!
Parenting is never about how your kids turn out. It’s always and only about how you keep turning toward your kids and toward their maker.
Leading up to Mother’s Day I came across a quote on Instagram from Ann Voskamp about our role as moms. She said “parenting is never about how your kids turn out. It’s always and only about how you keep turning toward your kids and toward their maker.” Basically, if we show our kids what it looks like to fall in love with Jesus and follow Him above all else, we’ve done our job!
Something about Ann’s simple, profound statement has stuck with me since then. I don’t know about you, but the whole idea really takes the pressure off. Comparison isn’t new, but it’s sure extra hard to conquer when we can click one button and see the way all our friends (and strangers) parent. And thank goodness for google, but sometimes the ability to read what every expert says on any given topic at all moments is more overwhelming than anything.
Our most dangerous distraction from THE greatest purpose might be all the good things we unknowingly place ahead of it.
Of course you want what’s best for your kids! You’re their mom! You want to honor God with the way you steward those precious gifts. And you should! The trick is managing our perspective. My biggest battle is the high expectations I have for myself, and even for my kids. I can get so distracted by developmental goals and the pace of my children’s peers, the desire to maintain a clean home and serve healthy meals for my family, the weight I feel to give 100% to all my responsibilities as a woman and still find time for rest and fun… We mean well. These are all good things! But I think our most dangerous distraction from THE greatest purpose might be all the good things we unknowingly place ahead of it.
In the New Testament we have multiple accounts of Jesus telling his people THE greatest commandment is to love God and love people. If our job as moms is to raise up kids who follow Him, then teaching them this commandment is our most important job. And when I start to measure the value of my moments with that focus, it all seems a lot more simple. I’m not minimizing the importance of those other good things and I’m not even saying that this shift will be easy, but I am saying that when we look at life though this lens, it sure gives a whole new perspective on the purpose of these days.
The last few weeks, I’ve been reevaluating; measuring the things we do as a family that contribute to this ultimate goal of motherhood and the things I do out of motives other than pointing to my maker. There are so many things I get distracted by in my daily mom responsibilities that just don’t make the cut when it comes to heavenly relevance (room for improvement!) BUT I’m extending myself a little grace to work on those (and encouraging you to do the same!) and instead, choosing to celebrate the things we’re doing that will have an eternal impact. And recommitting to them as our priority!
Here’s a few of those things that have been huge for our family – habits we work towards in our home that I believe are making a difference for the kingdom of heaven. May they encourage you in your dedication to creating a Christ centered home!
Establish a theme verse and family mission statement
Our “mission statement” is a work in progress, but we chose our theme verse when we were just engaged! We even got tattoos to remind us of it daily from then on! The verse we chose is Romans 8:31 – “…if God is for us, who can be against us?” We wanted it to be a declaration of faith over our marriage and future family and it’s what we’ve preached to ourselves and each other countless times over the years. I can’t wait for it to be one of the first verses I teach to our sons.
If you aren’t familiar with the mission statement concept, it’s just a simple statement that sums up what you’re about! The mission statement of a company gives you a clear picture about who they are, what they believe and what their purpose is – a family mission statement is meant to do the same! Only it’s not for customers, it’s for you! Something to agree upon as a family and refer to for accountability. This is something I want to focus on, especially as our own kids get older. It’s such a helpful tool and a powerful practice to create together!
(Mom tip: Bring your bible to the hospital for the birth of your babies and have their nurse put their foot prints on the page of your theme verse!)
Attend church together regularly
There are so many reasons why this is SO good for you, your kids, and your family as a unit. Their brains are little sponges and this is the perfect time to be getting them in those Sunday classes where they can start to learn Gods word, develop godly friendships, and grow up in the church as it was intended: as an extended family of believers.
Even before having kids, we really tried to be disciplined to attend church regularly because we felt the impact of what’s called corporate worship and learning in our personal lives and in our marriage. And we felt the absence of it if we weren’t disciplined. We also agreed that we wanted our kids to grow up in church and if we didn’t form the habit of involvement now, it would only be harder when they arrived!
To this day, songs will get stuck in my head that played on my family’s 5 CD Home Stereo.. Late 90’s/early 2000’s worship – good stuff! It’s the reason I can recite countless verses, but can’t help sing them! There have been studies done that show music to be one of the BEST ways to memorize and I think we can all attest to that with personal experience. The music we expose ourselves to subtly infiltrates our heart and mind with more influence than we might realize. It can effect our mood (for worse or for better!) and even the first words that pop into our mind when reacting. So let the music you fill your home with be filled with Gods word. And let your family see your worship with it!
Pray with one another
I’m not just talking meals, even though that’s a great place to start practicing! I’m talking about making talking to God a common and seamless occurrence in your home. A normal response to a tough conversation or moment of celebration… I cannot emphasize enough how powerful it is to pray together as a couple. When your spouse is having a hard day or opening up to you about a struggle, offer to pray over them. You might be surprised by what it means to them!
Developing this kind of environment in your home teaches your kids what a life infused with prayer looks like. One natural way for us to begin doing this with our kids while they’re still so young is bed time! They don’t even know what we’re saying yet, but they will someday. Let them see you offer to pray for others and encourage them to do the same as they grow… Someday they might be prayer warriors interceding for you!
Talk about what God’s teaching you
As Christians, our most important relationship is with Jesus. It’s the only one above our families. So why wouldn’t we talk about it the same way we can’t help talking about the man were falling in love with or the kids we’re so proud of?! It’s a sort of intimacy to share about your relationship with God that lets your spouse in and encourages a deeper level of connection that God intended when He created marriage!
The way you approach your relationships with God is THE number one model for your kids right now. It will hugely influence their openness as they grow and what they might be willing to share with you someday. Not to mention the way they learn to approach God as you allow them greater insight into your own. In the same way that openness forges intimacy between spouses, being vulnerable with your kids about what you’re learning can bring a new level of trust and closeness to your family as a whole.
Live with who you want to be like
Raise your kids around families, kids, that you’d be proud to call your own. We’re all impressionable and they’re the most! This takes intention and might mean making tough choices about how you spend your time. One of my favorite quotes is from leadership coach Randy Gravitt. He says, “Show me your five closest friends and I’ll show you your future.” We take this concept to heart and really make an effort to surround ourselves with people we look up to and desire to learn from. Being influenced shouldn’t be passive. We have the ability to monitor who we allow that privilege in our own lives and the responsibility to monitor it for our kids!
“Show me your five closest friends and I’ll show you your future.”
Learn & Grow
Lastly, in this era more than ever, there’s no excuse for winging it! You can’t just expect to be an exceptional wife because you signed the papers and said your vows! There’s resources everywhere and it doesn’t get better than God’s word. Get in it regularly and your family will notice! Read marriage devotionals and godly parenting books, attend classes at your church, be a learner!
The Bible talks about this concept in Titus and encourages us, as women, to learn from one another. So seek out the wisdom of wives you look up to. Spend time around mothers you respect and pay attention to their practices. Ultimately, we’re all part of the same family. We’re all in this together!
Whether you’re a wife, a mom, or dreaming of those roles… this work is kingdom work! It matters. Even in the monotony of cleaning the same kitchen 3 times a day and changing more diapers than you can count. Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord.” So keep it up mama! The joy of the Lord is your strength and those efforts are worship that He is SO pleased with. ❤