Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
~Deuteronomy 6: 4:9
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
~Philippians 2: 1-11
Parenting is hard.
Most of us grew up thinking we’d become a mom one day. We daydreamed about baking chocolate chip cookies in beautiful aprons with our sweet little children, smiles on their faces and picture perfect memories being made. Some of us have had images of frolicking through fields of wild flowers hand in hand with our happy little families and then we woke up because we actually became parents. It was then we realized parenting is more than picnics in the park. It’s dirty diapers and it’s sleepless nights, too. It’s the unknown and the “out of our control“ and it’s hard, so much harder than we could’ve ever imagined.
Why is parenting so hard? Maybe it was never meant to be easy. Maybe becoming a parent isn’t so much about making us happy as it is about making us holy (like so many other aspects of life on this side of Heaven).
As moms, we often find ourselves feeling over-whelmed and under-appreciated (probably more often than not). But parenting isn’t about doing for our families so they do for us. It’s about putting them first and expecting nothing in return. It’s about loving deeply and sacrificing much for the little humans living in our homes, knowing that we may not hear, “Thanks, mom” anytime in the near future. Parenting is about doing the right thing even when it’s hard, because all eyes are on your every move and you are setting the example in your home for your children.
The path we walk as Christian parents isn’t an easy one, but we have a pretty awesome example to follow when it comes to putting others before our own happiness. Jesus knew the kind of death he was going to die for us and the human side of him wasn’t sure he was ready to do it. In the Garden of Gethsemane, before he prayed he told his disciples, “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Then he went on to pray to God, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” As parents, I think we all want to do what is best for our children… our spirits are willing; however often times we are selfish (or we really want to be) and our flesh is weak. We have to make the choice every day to do His will, not our own, and unfortunately that means we have to make some difficult choices along the way… choices that are not always going to make us happy, but that are going to make us holy. Choices that are hopefully going to lead our children on their way to become holy as well. You may not be physically tortured or publicly humiliated, but you may have to deal with a 3-year-old who won’t eat cheese unless it’s yellow. You may not have a crown of thorns placed on your head, but you may have to miss a trip you’d been so looking forward to because one of your precious children gets the flu. You may not die a criminal’s death the way that Jesus did, but you may sacrifice your career to raise a family. Parenting is hard because we truly must think of another’s needs more than our own even when we really really don’t want to (insert grown-up temper tantrum here).
God sees the sacrifices you make. He sees you at the end of an exhausting day and He sees your willingness to put your children ahead of yourself. We truly do reap what we sow and I believe this is so true within our families. At the end of our lives we will see the fruit in the lives of our children through the sacrifices we’ve made along the way. The days are long but the years are short so make them count!
What greater joy could come from knowing that we did everything we could to raise Godly adults? That we trusted God when we didn’t know what to do and that in the end every moment of it was worth the joy and the pain that came with being a Godly mother?
It’s so hard, but it’s so worth it.
Exhale all of your parenting woes… Breath in God’s sacrificial love for you
God, I didn’t know how difficult being a parent would sometimes be. Give me comfort and peace when it’s hard. I pray that I would remember that the sacrifices and the hard choices I have to make are worth it. Help me realize that putting my family before myself is sometimes more about making me holy and not about making me happy. I pray that I can find joy and peace in this, even on my toughest days. Thank you for making me a mom. I pray that each day I would wake up remembering what truly matters in this life. Amen.
Today’s post was written by Amanda Sanders.
Amanda has been married to her high school sweet heart Matt for 11 years. Together they have three kids ages 8, 7 and 3. In this season of life, Amanda spends most of her time drinking coffee, teaching children, doing laundry and repeating herself. Occasionally, she has some time for working out, reading for leisure and writing. You can find her on Sunday mornings worshiping at our Real Life UCF campus.
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