With 3 kids ages 3 1/2, 2, and 14 weeks. I constantly get funny looks, sad smiles, and even some nasty comments from people when we go out in public. Unfortunately, I missed the memo that went out sometime in the past few years that said, "You should have no more than 2 1/2 children, and they should be spaced at least five years apart." Well, poo, I guess that would make my life just so much easier if I would have done it that way *insert massive amounts of sarcasm here*. Here's the deal, I absolutely adore my family which includes everything about us. I adore how close my children are in age, I adore how we got pregnant within 2 months of getting married, and I adore the thought of the even crazier looks I know we will get when we have even more children. But people just can't understand that. The problem is, people today (especially other mothers) are stuck in a rut. They are stuck in this "motherhood is soooo hard, it would be so much easier if, I can't wait until we're past this phase" rut and cannot see the beautiful blessing that is in front of them. I thank television for trying to "glamorize" the blown way out of proportion hard times that parents have to face when they have children. Basically, I blame the world for being the world, and Christian mothers for giving into the same mindset as the world.
Am I saying parenting is easy? Absolutely not, but let's be completely honest here...Parenting does not have to be so hard that you wish you were doing something, anything else with your life.
If you find yourself in a constant state of being overwhelmed, wanting to scream at anyone who even looks at you (including that precious little newborn who has done nothing but need nourishment and love), and wishing you were anything but a mother, it is probably time for a wake up call. If you think making it through this "phase" and into the next will make you a good mom you will never be happy with your job as a mother. f you think you would enjoy being a mother if God had granted you "easier" kids (or let's face it, any kids but the ones he actually gave you) you are missing the mark on what being a mother actually means. If you think sitting around with other mothers talking about how being a parent has been the worst thing that could have happened is going to encourage you to be a better mother, well you are very, very mistaken. We have convinced ourselves that being a mother is so hard that only the select few "super moms" can actually enjoy being a mother. But we miss the fact that as a Christian we are more than equipped to be a "super mom".
Let's take a quick peek at some of the comments we as moms say on a very frequent basis. "Being a mom is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me." "If I had had her first I probably wouldn't have had any more kids." "I can't wait until we are out of this phase and they are older." "So-and-so is so lucky. Her kids are just so easy. It would be so much better if my kids were that well-behaved." Do you see what all of these comments have in common? All of these comments are based on the idea that your happiness as a parent is dependant on the circumstances that happen to you throughout the day and that you are not focusing on the call God has placed on your life as a mother. And guess what this train of thought is wrong. As a Christian I am called to follow God's will for my life. If God's will included children, then it is His plan that I raise them in a godly way. Guess what, being a selfish mom is not being a godly mom, being an enviouis mom is not being a godly mom, being a mom who is filled with anger is not being a godly mom. This mind-set, although "understandable" is evidence that you are not living your life as a mom the way that God has purposed for you.
God has provided every Christian with His powers. Do you understand that? Do you truly understand the fact that as a Christian you have the POWER OF THE CREATOR AND KEEPER OF THE UNIVERSE INSIDE OF YOU FOR YOU TO USE? Do you understand that God has not only given you these children, but he has given you everything you need to raise them and raise them the right way? Not if you are constantly on the edge throughout the day just waiting for it to be over. If you feel under-equipped then you need to claim the promises that God has given us. You need to remember what it truly means to be a Christian. You need a serious dose of who you are not through yourself but through Christ. You need to remember that you are filled with the fruits of the Spirit and you need to act out of those fruits. You need to approach every single situation with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
When you have access to those powers you do not have the excuse to feel overwhelmed, to feel guilty, or to feel like a failure. You don't have the excuse because you have the tools. Will you get overwhelmed? Yes. Will you feel guilty? Yes. Will you feel like a failure? Yes. But only in those times that you choose to act outside of the Spirit and continue to walk in your own flesh. When you parent with your flesh, you parent out of selfishness, anger, fear, and helplessness. You will be exhausted with no relief because you will be depending on your own powers rather than allowing God's powers to be used through you.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you parent through the Spirit, you will be acting out of the powers God has equipped you with. You won't feel like locking a screaming child in their room and throwing away the key, but will instead want to grab that mean-spirited child into the biggest bear hug you can manage and not let go until their heart is softened. Your heart will be filled with joy at the most surprising moments. I've found the most surprising time I feel this fruit is at the end of the day gazing across my filthy floors, at an entire counter overflowing with dirty dishes, and the crayon marks and playdough stuck to the wall. I find myself being so full of JOY with my children that I have honestly been moved to tears of happiness looking at this complete mess of a house.You will be acting out of peace rather than insecurity. You will not be fearful of the bills on the table, the sometimes negative bank account, or how your children are ever going to get the things they need let alone want. If you live out of peace, you will have faith in God's direction and God's provision.
If you live out of the Spirit you will have patience. Not just patience with your circumstances, the fruit of the Spirit refers to your patience with people. Imagine the power of that one little fruit as a mother. That can literally change your entire outlook on life! To have such mercy with your children that you don't see the 50million questions a day as an obstacle but as an opportunity, to have such patience that reading that book 5 times instead of one doesn't feel like absolute torture, to have such forgiveness that all of those things your children do throughout the day that feel like a personal attack are completely forgotten. Are you beginning to see why I said parenting just doesn't have to be that hard? And we are not even halfway through the powers that God has provided you!
Imagine if you were living your life out of Kindness and Goodness? Having a tender heart towards your children and acting out of that tender-heartedness. If you were living out of faithfulness? You will never doubt God's purpose for your job as a mother. Can you see the power in being called to be a mother rather than just being a woman who has children?
The last one is like the icing on the cake. This is the one that ties all the other Spirits together and will leave you feeling like you actually are super woman. Self-control. Enough said. Imagine mothering out of a spirit of self-control rather than out of the first reaction that comes into your mind.
Momma, you have the power to be everything you have every wanted to be as a mother, you have the power to do everything you envy in other mothers. You have to embrace it, you have to claim it, but most importantly you have to walk in it! Yes, some days it will be difficult to walk in the Spirit and your children will still act the same tomorrow as they did today (and yesterday, and the day before, and the day before). But if you begin mothering through the Spirit you will no longer feel like it is one of the hardest things in your life, instead you will be able to handle every situation that is thrown at you without feeling completely overwhelmed and defeated. If you walk in the Spirit, you will not feel guilty about how you treated your children, how you "felt" about them when they threw their truck at your face, or about how you may have done something that screwed them up so badly they will need many years of therapy to get past it.
You will not think of parenting as "hard", in fact, you will not even think of it as "work". You will begin to think of being a mother for what it truly is, a calling to be extraordinary. And then, one day, you will begin to find that others have started looking at your like you are "super woman" and you will be filled with such purpose that you will share with her how she, just like you did, can grab hold of her very own super powers.
Imagine a world filled with "super mothers"! Imagine a world filled with women who no longer feel overwhelmed be motherhood, but who feel like motherhood is the absolute best thing that has ever happened to them. That's the kind of women I want to surround myself with, that's the kind of world I want my children to grow up in, and that is the kind of world God has purposed for us as mothers. Let's start parenting through God-colored glasses!