Mother’s Day 2011

Mother’s Day is always bittersweet for me. It reminds me of the precious children who I anticipate reuniting with in the glories of heaven when my Father calls me home. And it makes me thankful for the son I am blessed to mother here on earth, and the child who inhabits my womb (what a tremendous mercy) even now. And it overwhelms me with gratefulness for the gift of devoted and godly mama, mom-in-law, and grandma who remain with me on the earth. It reminds me of the grandmother who I loved and who I miss.

It reminds me of the beauties of womanhood and the fruitfulness that God blesses us with, even when it is tainted with bitterness. Go to [http://naomiscircle.weebly.com/2/post/2011/05/proverbs-31-for-pregnancy-loss.html] to read my friend Kristi’s take on Proverbs 31, from the angle of a bereaved mother ~ it is beautiful.

And it reminds me that the monotony of every-day living is glorious, thanks to the glorifying work of God. In the very apt words of a dear friend of mine (if she is okay with me sharing her name, I will!),

Isn’t it amazing that God takes the daily humdrum and drama of living in a family (the never-ending service of washing loads of laundry and cleaning and drying dishes, and wiping faces and sweeping up after small feet, and reminding and re-reminding learning brains in what they need to and need not do, and so many more things that I neglect to mention), and turns it into the glory of growing His kingdom, of building healthy bodies and sound minds and Godly souls for eternity? It is one of the sad paradoxes of our world that so many people think this job is for the lazy, the incompetent or the small-minded, when it is the task that needs the most visionary and quick-minded and hard-working people to do it well!” ~R.J.D.

The Lord is good, my friends. My husband, my son, my baby, my in-laws, some particular friends… God has enabled these people to specifically bless me this weekend, even when my heart could be tempted to be overwhelmed by the bittersweetness, or by anxiety. God is good to give me rest in Him, and to remind me of His continued daily mercies which simply never end. Hallelujah!

Training a Small Saint

One thing I spend a lot of time praying about is the discipling I do with my Gabriel. Discipline is obviously important and we spend a lot of time praying about that & implementing that also. But discipling is huge. And I don’t want to limit myself to modern evangelical, super-sappy, watered-down versions of teaching my son about Scripture, about God, about his salvation, about the body of Christ, about theology… This child doesn’t need to be fed watered-down milk. This child needs steak! Obviously not an entire steak thrown in front of him, because he doesn’t necessarily know how to properly wield a steak-knife and fork yet on his own. But I will feed him steak. I will help him cut it into pieces appropriately sized for his ingestion. I will instruct him on how to chew it, what swallowing it does, and how it nourishes our bodies. And of course we might occasionally wash it down with a glass of milk, especially if the steak gets a little too chewy or chunky in the throat. I have no problem with that. (I’m using Hebrews 5:12-14 & 1 Cor 3:2 as some inspiration for the metaphor, in case you didn’t pick up on that yet. 😉 )

But my endeavor, my goal, is to bring my son up on the hearty solid food of the Word. On steak and wine. Not on watered down milky psuedo-Scripture and psuedo-theology.

How that will look over time, I can not precisely tell you at this point. It’s a fluid concept. It will grow as he grows and as I grow (and as we grow as a family).

One way that I am striving to instill good theology into my toddler (who is not yet three years old) is by catechizing him. We are using this catechism right now, and Gabriel is quickly learning the answers; and I love having little discussions with him about it, as we chew and swallow and enjoy and are nourished. On a childlike level of real steak and wine. Little bites. Little sips. But truly nourishing, delicious, and delighting.

Training

I have been busy with training lately.

Proverbs 22:6

“Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

I have the beautiful privilege of training one little boy for life in the eternal kingdom. Life now. And life eternal. What we do now has eternal effects. I am training one child for God. What a privilege! What  a responsibility! What a joy!

Hebrews 12:11

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant,
but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who have been trained by it.”

Discipline is one of the parts of training. Discipline which goes beyond “the rod.” While the training of discipline is never sweet at the moment, the sweetness that flows afterward from the disciplined soul is stunning, winning, even sparkling.

Psalm 144:1-2

“Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for war,
and my fingers for battle;
He is my steadfast love and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and He in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.”

The Lord is also training my little boy, not only through his parents, but through His Spirit directly, through His Word, through His creations. He trains this boy for war and battle in the eternal kingdom. He is the One to whom we cling for love and protection and strength.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable
for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

The Word of the Lord is actively training us. Not only our little boy, but us. And why does He train up with His Word, Scripture? So that we may be equipped for every good work. Another reminder of privilege, responsibility, and joy!

Titus 2:4-5

“…train the young women to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind,
and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

And lest you think I am concentrating more on the training of my son than the training of myself, this passage reminds me to yield myself to the training of older women as they encourage me in all godliness to honor the Lord in all these ways by my thoughts, words, and deeds.

So yes… I have been very busy with training. Administering and acquiring. Bodily and spiritual. Delivered/received in many ways and from many sources. The Lord is good. He is busy here. And we pray that He will make us daily attentive to His guidance as He teaches, admonishes, encourages, uplifts, upholds, sustains, strengthens, challenges, and trains us for life in His eternal kingdom.

Good Old Quotes

“To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, providing toys, boots, cakes and books; to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can imagine how this can exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone and narrow to be everything to someone? No, a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.”

~G.K. Chesterton~

“Oh that God would give every mother a vision of the glory and splendor of the work that is given to her when a babe is place in her bosom to be nursed and trained! Could she have but one glimpse in to the future of that life as it reaches on into eternity; could she look into its soul to see its possibilities; could she be made to understand her own personal responsibility for the training of this child, for the development of its life, and for its destiny,–she would see that in all God’s world there is no other work so noble and so worthy of her best powers, and she would commit to no others hands the sacred and holy trust given to her.”

~J.R. Miller~

“Our natural reason looks at marriage and turns up its nose and says, “Alas! Must I rock the baby? Wash its diapers? Make its bed? Smell its stench? Stay at nights with it? Take care of it when it cries? Heal its rashes and sores? And on top of that care for my spouse, provide labor at my trade, take care of this and take care of that? Do this and do that? And endure this and endure that? Why should I make such a prisoner of myself?”

What then does Christian faith say to this? It opens its eyes, looks upon all these insignificant, distasteful and despised duties in the spirit, and is aware that they are all adorned with divine approval as with the costliest gold and jewels.

It says, “O God, I confess I am not worthy to rock that little babe or wash its diapers, or to be entrusted with the care of a child and its mother. How is it that I without any merit have come to this distinction of being certain that I am serving thy creature and thy most precious will? Oh, how gladly will I do so. Though the duty should be even more insignificant and despised, neither frost nor heat, neither drudgery nor labor will distress me for I am certain that it is thus pleasing in thy sight.” “

~Martin Luther~

Love Being A Mother

I love being a mother. Maybe y’all have caught on to that before, haha, but I just like to say it sometimes.
It is one thing I rarely take for granted (although we all fail; I’m a sinner too!), because I realize (more than many) how fragile life is, how precious children are, how quickly & frequently they can be snatched away, and what a gift it is to be the steward of an eternal soul. I love the daily aspects, the long term aspects, the eternal aspects. I love the physical interaction, the emotional relationship, the spiritual guiding. I love that my refrigerator is covered in toddler-art masterpieces. I love that there are toys in my home. I love that sippy cups line one of my cupboards. I love that there is a monitor in my bedroom like an ever-present spy on my little boy. I love that we’ve got a carseat in my car. I love that I get to kiss the boo-boos and wipe the tears. I love that I get to change, rinse, wash, and fold diapers over and over. I love that I have a shadow for everything I do. I love getting kisses, giving kisses, and asking for kisses. I love reading books twelve times in a row. I love asking, explaining, commanding, and repeating. I love forgiving. I love learning humility. I love using a single chocolate chip to reinforce a job well done. I love not being my own and not being alone. I love that I get to learn how to wisely train, discipline, and disciple this small immortal.

I love reading about motherhood. Not only practical, how-to type books; but just reading others’ experiences, their joys, their activities, their accomplishments.

I love talking about mothering. Diapers and discipline, toys and tasks, schedules and soul-nurture, playing and preaching, bathtime and busy hands… I love it all.

I love sharing with bereaved mothers. Sharing my heart, my prayers, my time, my tears, my books, my gifts, my words, my ears, my silence, my shoulder, my Savior. I love talking about my six children in heaven, reminding even myself that they are truly alive, truly blessed, truly mine.

This is who I am.
This is who God made me.
This is who God has given to me.

And as a coda, here is a beautiful tribute on a mother’s work. Now please excuse me while I go joyfully put my hands, body, mouth, words, heart (my everything, really) to task at this good, worthwhile, exercising work.
This work that is worship.