Today was the first of a six-week Bible study that I'm doing with young moms from my church. I went this morning with excitement and anticipation of having time to be around women in my season of life and sharing our struggles and joys with one another. What I got out of it this morning was so much more than what I expected...
Deuteronomy 5:5 - "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."
Well known verse, huh? I have heard it a million times, and often thought, "Gosh, that is hard to do." Now, it hits a whole new chord with me. As a Christian, this is my first calling. I have many roles - Adam's wife, Cale's mother, friend, daughter, painter, women's retreat planner, etc... To do any of my roles well, I must fulfil my first calling. And on top of that, my role as a wife and mother does NOT trump my calling as a Believer.
I so desperately strive to live out Deut. 5:5, but these days, I feel lucky if I'm able to sit for five minutes to read a paragraph in a devotional book. It's easy to put that reading aside because when Cale goes down for a nap (which, may I remind you only lasts 45 minutes, max), I have a shower to take, laundry to do, a house to pick up, dishes to clean, bottles to make, dinner to prepare, and errands to strategically plan for the 90 minutes that Cale is awake between naps. How in the world am I supposed to find time to read the Bible?
After doing some inner searching, I think I have realized that it is much easier for me to do things on my checklist of things in the above paragraph, because they are tangible to me and I see the fruit of my labor within minutes. Although reading the Bible and meditating on the truths of the Gospel produce fruit that is far richer than any of my chores, it is not as tangible to me and, therefore, much less motivating to schedule into my day.
This morning, the question was asked, "When my children are grown, what will they say I loved?". Would it be my cell phone, my clean house, my schedule, my car, my husband, the Lord, etc...
BAM! There it was -it hit me like a freight train. I know that right now, if Cale could talk, he would tell people that his mommy loves her schedule. So much so, that it has caused me anxiety in the past three months of Cale's life. Partly, because I had false expectations, and partly because a scheduled life equals a controlled life to me. And I. Hate. To. Be. Out. Of. Control. Period. So, is the Lord trying to break me of this need for control? I think so. Is he using my son to help achieve His goal? I know so. And, I can say now, for the first time, that I am thankful.
Why? Because this is part of sanctification. Painful? Yes. Good? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely. Maybe, through the breaking down of my need for control, I will begin to see that it is okay for our house to stay messy on some days or that it's okay if Cale doesn't take the naps I think he should take on most days. It's okay that dinner is not on the table at the same time each night. Really, I have a husband that doesn't care if it's on the table at all, especially if it means that I was able to spend time reading the Bible and learning about how to love the LORD with my heart, soul, and mind.
My goal as a mom is to live as an authentic example and give Biblical instruction, so that my children will be pointed to Christ. I can only do that if I am striving to love the Lord first.
So, does this overwhelm me? Definitely. Parenting is a daunting task and I often wonder if I am up for it. Why did the Lord choose me to fill this role for Cale? I feel far from being an authentic example and don't feel like I know much about how to instruct him using Biblical principles...but I want to point him to Christ. Here is the good news...
"But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, and in difficulties. For when I am weak, then He is strong." - 2 Corinthians 12
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