7. Narrative of A Mother

The Training Part...

"Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it."
Proverbs 22:6 

Does that verse strike fear in your heart? Do you dismiss it as unimportant, maybe even impossible? It is obviously placing the responsibility for child-training squaring on the shoulders of the parents. Mother and father are instructed to set the course. Do I take the directive seriously or shrug it off, expecting someone else to fill the gaps left in my absence?

There is drudgery involved in this job of motherhood. It requires life-long commitment. Much as we'd like to throw our hands in the air when the going gets rough, we are not given the option to abandon our vocation. The realization that I have brought these children into the world and am charged with training them can feel like iron bars around my future or it can provide the motivation to faithfully perform my duty.

When I believe the Word of God and understand that I have no right to withdraw from this position of motherhood in which I am engaged, my sole alternative is moving forward. In today's society, that concept seems archaic. We've become incredibly self-centered, deciding it is lawful to make our decisions moment by moment based on how we feel in the present, irregardless of previous choices. 

This have-it-my-way mentality has led to wide-spread murder in the form of abortion, to giving birth then handing the baby over to another caretaker, to validating extreme abuses of authority. Why? Because we are living under the delusion that my agenda and comfort and dream is more important than God's plan, than taking responsibility for the choices I've made.

Then we wonder why homes are broken and crime runs rampant across this land. We have all but eradicated ancient rule of law, a godly order handed down by a kind and loving Father, only to find our world has become a chaotic battlefield where wrong is called right and right is called wrong. Man is never going to have better methods than God. When we have the audacity to set ourselves up as God we bring about the complete degeneration of mankind.

"Let no one deceive you in any way,
for it [the day of the Lord] will not come until the rebellion occurs
and the man of lawlessness (the son of destruction) is revealed.
He will oppose and exalt himself above every so-called god or object of worship.
So he will seat himself in the temple of God,
proclaiming himself to be God."
2 Thessalonians 2:3,4

You may wonder what this has to do with being a mother. I'm not proposing to be a specialist on evils of the world, but I do believe the break-down of the home, and of the fundamental principles God has spelled out for home and parenting, has played a key role in the moral decay evident all around us. I have an intense desire for young mothers to understand the value of their position, for it is indispensable to a properly functioning home, church, community, and world.

I know there are exceptions, such as death, in which a home is without a mother. Those homes can still bring honor to Christ when He is given room to be Lord. There is everlasting mercy and grace through our Heavenly Father for all who call on His Name.

I chose to believe that one person, one mother, can be a beacon of light for the Kingdom of Heaven by diligently fulfilling her obligation to her family. I am not asked to go out and change the world in a broader sense, but from the tiny spot I call home, I have given my life to following the rules according to God's Word. In that decision of obedience to the standard of the Father, there is peace that passes understanding, despite a world gone mad.

* * * * *

Babies are mostly occupied with eating and sleeping, but their simple occupation often complicates life for mothers. While they need our help to stay alive, we suddenly lose our easy access to sleep and freedom. We learn pretty quickly just how selfish we are!

It has amazed me how swiftly twenty years faded away behind me. When in the midst of babies and toddlers and all that stage of life entails, hours can drag on slowly and painfully. The complexities of training your child to eat what he ought to eat, go to sleep when it's bedtime, or play kindly with his siblings, are looming obstacles that can (and do) block our peace of mind and sense of purpose. Here again, it seems such a plodding pace of humble service. But this routine of motherhood is essential to the well-being and structure of the human race.

How well I remember the frustrations of bedtime with our first child. There were so many opinions on how to make the elusive falling-asleep-at-the-proper-time actually happen. He cried many a night. We had no experience but learned through our mistakes and successes, for that is the nature of parenting. Then one day, not so many weeks later, that hurdle was crossed off the list and we had moved on.

Eating and drinking were major issues for our son. Still to this day, he gags over the textures of certain foods. After a long battle of wills, there are some foods he does not have to eat. I wanted my children to eat a wide variety of foods without turning up their noses. With our daughter, it was pretty easy, but our son had atypical reactions due to autism and could not be forced into the mold. We had to learn to bend and break, relinquishing our firm hold on our ideals. But it's alright. It is just food, after all, and we can change our aims in order to point our children and our own lives in the direction that is most important. For us, that was backing off our stern you-will-eat-this platform and realizing if it makes him gag and vomit he can skip that and eat other foods.

Over the years, I have struggled with knowing what is right for our family and found it highly confusing to figure out the correct route on some of the basics of child training. There are plenty of how-to books to tackle any subject, advice from friends and family, and the accepted formula within your own particular country or community or church. Which methods are best for us?

I do not do well with those "ten-step" books on any given topic. They will invariably drag my spirits into the ground and cause rather more discouragement than inspiration. I have come to believe I am a little odd in that respect, but each mother needs to find the tools that work in her situation and use them accordingly.

Through much prayer, many discussions with my husband, and bouncing ideas off other mothers, I have come to the conclusion that there is no set answer to apply to every single child, parent, or situation. But there is a Father in heaven who loves me and cares about the tiniest details of everyday life. I take my burdens to Him and trust Him to guide me into the right course for His glory and my good. In a relationship with Jesus I find my Set Answer! He has a perfect plan for my little family and I intend to seek and ask and knock so I can walk in it faithfully until the end.

"Live clean, innocent lives as children of God,
shining like bright lights in a world full of 
crooked and perverse people.
Hold firmly to the word of life;
then, on the day of Christ's return, I will be proud
that I did not run the race in vain
 and that my work was not useless."
Philippians 2:15,16

Simplicity and beauty are found in everyday living. I am not so much talking about the profound and grand accomplishments that the world applauds. This narrative of motherhood is, instead, about the daily duty of training our children through the ups and downs of ordinary life. Each day brings opportunities to teach them obedience, service, and integrity, those principles that will prepare them to live as shining lights in this dark world.

...to be continued