Motherly Struggles: A Devotional

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I wanted to share this because I've referenced it a lot in conversation lately. You may remember, I wrote this devo for a friend's baby shower.  I removed some of the personal information, but not what I felt like God led me to say...

I prayed hard about what God wanted me to say to you today.  Four things came to mind: (1) what makes a good mother, (2) nurturing a mother, (3) being a working mom, and (4) evil mommy guilt.

1) WHAT IS A GOOD MOTHER?  

Based on what I’ve been able to find in the bible, a good mother is a wise, god fearing, loving, disciplinarian!  A wise mother teaches her children to grow into strong, godly minded individuals.
Proverbs 31:26 says wise mothers “speak with a gentle wisdom.”  Proverbs 1:8-9 clearly states a wise mother’s teaching “will improve your character as a handsome turban or a necklace improves your appearance.”

God-fearing women become the wisest Mothers. Homes are made by the wisdom of women, but are destroyed by foolishness - Proverbs 14:1  James 1:5 says But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.

A Mother should be loving and encouraging to her children, even in discipline. Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, raise them with Christian discipline and instruction. Ephesians 6:4  You won’t always succeed, but do your best to be loving and encouraging even when  you want to simply strangle your children.

Good mothers are Disciplinarians, even though sometimes it hurts you more than it hurts them!  Discipline your children while they are young enough to learn. If you don't, you are helping them destroy themselves. Proverbs 19:18  Teach children how they should live, and they will remember it all their life. Proverbs 22:6  When we are punished, it seems to us at the time something to make us sad, not glad. Later, however, those who have been disciplined by such punishment reap the peaceful reward of a righteous life. Hebrews 12:11

As you’ve probably noticed, our children are always watching the way we live our lives.  Our choices, words and actions, sacrifices, and even areas of lack create the yard stick our children will measure their own lives with.  If you want them to have lives marked by faith, you have to live your own life as one marked by faith.

A Mother Leaves A Legacy For Her Family To Inherit!

The bible says Mothers can leave two kinds of legacies...

The first is illustrated in Ezekiel 16:44-45 which says The Lord said, “People will use this proverb about you, Jerusalem: ‘Like mother, like daughter. You really are your mother's daughter. She detested her husband and her children. You are like your sisters, who hated their husbands and their children.  No thanks, I think I’ll pass!

The other legacy is like 2 Timothy 1:5-7 I remember the sincere faith you have, the kind of faith that your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice also had. I am sure that you have it also. For this reason I remind you to keep alive the gift that God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.

It’s not enough to simply know what a good mother is.  

Being a good mother means you 2) FOCUS ON YOUR SPIRITUAL GROWTH

Mothers so easily get bogged down in our duties – there is always a dish to wash, mountains of dirty laundry, a butt to clean, face to feed... the list goes on!  Jesus made it very clear that we MUST make our Spiritual growth a priority.   In Luke 10 Jesus and his disciples had been welcomed into the home of a woman named Martha. She was upset over all the work she had to do while her sister sat down at the feet of the Lord and listened to his teaching.  [You mean she didn’t have any help with all the work to be done!?  Boy I’m glad that doesn’t happen anymore!  *eye roll*]

Martha came to Jesus and said, “Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!” This is where Jesus answered her, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and troubled over so many things, but just one is needed. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Jesus makes it clear that even though there is always work to be done, you can’t allow it to hinder your own spiritual growth.

Nurture yourself by staying connected to other God-fearing women! We are at a prime age where we can glean so much knowledge from the women who have blazed this trail ahead of us, but we are still in a position to share our own experiences with the women who are starting these journeys of their own.

Hebrews 10:25 says Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer.  That brought to mind Titus 2 which reminds us why this is important.  Those verses challenge us to “teach what is good, in order to train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, and to be good housewives who submit themselves to their husbands, so that no one will speak evil of the message that comes from God.”  This is the older, more experienced wives teaching the younger, inexperienced ones – they are nurturing each other.

We know what good moms are, how to nurture them, but what about working moms?  

All moms have a hard time nurturing themselves, but I feel like 3) WORKING MOTHERS find it especially challenging!

I have been both a working Mom and stay-at-home Mom so let me share this bit of my own knowledge and experience with you:

You are doing what God has led you to do or you wouldn't still be doing it!

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.
God has led you to work.  He has given you with a steady job that provides for your family.  Working outside the home also provides you with ways to live out the gospel to countless others... THAT is kingdom work, no matter your title, or earthly employer.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.... For Christ is the real Master you serve” Colossians 3:23
As I prepared to speak about working moms, I saw Proverbs 31 in a whole new light.  I won’t read the whole shebang, so bear with me if I seem to jump around a bit.
14 She brings home food from out-of-the-way places, as merchant ships do.
15 She gets up before daylight to prepare food for her family and to tell her servant women what to do.
16 She looks at land and buys it, and with money she has earned she plants a vineyard.
17 She is a hard worker, strong and industrious.
24 She makes clothes and belts, and sells them to merchants.
This “ideal woman” is purchasing land; working in the fields, selling at the gates of the city... it seems to me that this “ideal woman” spends plenty of time working outside the home.

What does she do with her children while she’s working so hard? She may have taken them with her, but who’s to say she didn’t have one of the servants in verse 15 caring for her children! God led this “ideal woman” to work hard and be industrious.  No matter how she accomplished it, sister-girl got it done!  She’s become OUR measuring stick....

Proverbs 31 also says “the ideal” woman’s children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her.  Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised. Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.

Outside or inside of the home – all Mothers are working, ALL THE TIME!  So hard in fact that the bible says we should be appreciated, praised, given credit, and respected; even though it doesn’t always come from the mouths of our husbands or babies.

This makes it especially important to have a village of sisters to remind us that we are not alone and all the effort we put into our families pays off in a big way!

What about the #4) EVIL MOMMY GUILT

Don’t be caught up in the worldly perspective on home, marriage, raising our kids, or self-worth!  It’s when we are at our most vulnerable (OK, hormonal) the enemy will attack.  Life is not a Pinterest board. We won’t always get it right, encourage our friends, make our husbands proud, or do right by our kids.  We are human.  We are going to fail.  That’s when the devil is going to twist the truth, remind us of our failures, and weave lies no human can resist.  Our enemy will try forcing us to measure our worth as a mother against the “world’s” standards... DON’T FALL FOR IT!

These situations always bring me back to James 4.  Verse 4 tells us if you are the world's friend, you make yourself God's enemy.   Thank goodness we have verses 7 & 8: So then, submit yourselves to God. Resist the Devil, and he will run away from you. 8 Come near to God, and he will come near to you.

Always keep in mind that we can do nothing without Jesus.  Cling to the Savior and you’ll endure anything the enemy and the world sling at you.

CONCLUSION

All of that to say... extend yourself some grace.  In the end we only want the best for our patience-testing, rarely listening, crying, pooping, mess making tiny humans.  During the hardest days, on the sleepless nights, when your children test you the most... remember GOD HAS REBELLIOUS CHILDREN TOO!

We are His patience-testing, rarely listening, crying, pooping, mess making humans!  Seek the comfort that can only come from a Father who’s an endlessly wise, loving, disciplinarian; constantly extending us grace and forgiveness because He only wants the very best for us too.

Jodi @ God Still Speaks

Head Writer

Boy mom of three. Married to the same man since 2002. Former working mom turned stay-at-home mom. I love my faith, family, and coffee.

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Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests to made known to God. — Philippians 4:6