{thoughts on mothering}

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I remember a time when I used to be much godlier. It was sometime in junior high and my room was clean. It must have been beautiful weather outside because the lighting was very nice in the room where I was reading my Bible every day and feeling really good. It was quite clear to me that my sanctification was progressing very well…

I laughed out loud when I came to the paragraphs above. Because, yes, I can so relate!

And I was both challenged and encouraged as I continued to read…

“The truth is my Christian life then was like a rock being refined by a slow river in a quiet place…

“But God took me out of that life and threw me into the rock tumbler. Here, it is not so easy to feel godly, because we spend our lives crashing into each other and actually getting our problems addressed. Here there is very little time for quiet reflection. I do a lot of on-the-job failure and correction. Repenting and forgiving. Laughing. Lots and lots of laughing. Because if there is anything that life in the rock tumbler will teach you, it is that there is no room to take yourself seriously. Like trying to strike “cool” poses on a rug that someone is continually pulling out from under you, self-seriousness in mothering is totally pointless and probably painful!

“It is no abstract thing – the state of your heart is the state of your home. You cannot harbor resentment secretly toward your children and expect their hearts to be submissive and obedient. You cannot be greedy with your time and expect them to share their toys. And perhaps most importantly, you cannot resist your opportunities to be corrected by God and expect them to receive correction from you.

“God has given us the job of teaching His law and demonstrating His grace. We are to be guides to our children as they learn to walk with God…”

[excerpts from Loving the Little Years, chapter two]

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I’ve been doing some reading from the author Rachel Jankovic, a mother of several small children, and a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. She blogs here, and here.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t read a lot of books about parenting. For one, time is a precious thing, and while I love to read, it has to rank pretty high on the “World’s Best Books” list.

But when I read some of Rachel’s writings, someone not writing in retrospect about the good ol’ days, but someone right there in the trenches, writing from being a mommy NOW, wanting to raise little children not in despair and not in my kids drive me crazy!! mode but in victory and with purpose – I listen. I want to learn more, because those mothers are rare.

And though I nearly forgot it’s Mother’s Day this weekend [don’t worry Mom, I remembered in time to send a card in the mail! :)], I’ve been thinking a lot about mothering the past few weeks.

It may have been triggered by reading some things, like Rachel’s writings, and it was also triggered one morning when I was still laying in bed…

It was early in the morning, none of the children were awake yet, and I was laying quietly, praying before the day began.

The days had been busy, maybe a little too busy, and I was being stretched pretty thin. I realized my own weakness so much, and was praying that God would help me be a good mother that day, patient and kind, a mother that glorifies the Lord.

And I suddenly heard, “It’s about relationship, Clarita. This day is made for relationship with Me. Even more than being patient and kind and fun and a “good mom”, this day is made for relationship with Me, to be with Me.”

I was startled. I’m sure there are many people who have thought of that, who live that way, but it never occurred to me that way before. My day was lived so differently, as I lived with the realization that everything that happened that day – the good, the funny, the happy, the  challenging- was only to enter into deeper relationship with Jesus.  And my days have been lived so differently since then, and I realize that mothering is only an overflow of the relationship I have with Jesus.

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So I was living with that for several days, when a similar thought occurred to me: that these days with my children are all about relationship too. In the good, the hard, the funny, the laughing, the discipline – it’s all about relationship. Relationship with me as a parent now, but pointing them to relationship with Jesus.

Mothering is not about running an organizational institution. It’s not about having perfect kids. It’s not about channeling my inner self to find who I really am. It’s about me being in relationship with Jesus, and then offering that relationship to my children.

Mothering is not just teaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ; we are LIVING Gospels.

Does God freak out when there is disobedience? Does God lash out when there is a flour all over the floor? God does become angry, but about what, and how? Is God long-faced and somber all the time about all the responsibilities He has, or is He full of joy too? In all these ways that I live, a lot of times without even realizing it, I am showing our children a gospel. The question is, am I showing the True Gospel of Jesus?

I’ve been a mother for nearly six years, and I’m realizing more and more that this thing of parenting is just as much – if not more – for me than for my children.  It grows me up, it refines me, it reveals the idolatry in my heart, it presses me to  Jesus as never before.

This Mother’s Day, instead of my kids thanking me, I am thanking them! And thanking the Lord, most of all, for this gift of motherhood. This is the tool the Lord is using to sanctify me, not just during daylight hours, but sometimes at 2am! :) This is the way Christ is revealing Himself to me, and drawing me to His heart.

I am so grateful.

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[i hesitated to write this because i have many friends who are unmarried, or who are married with no children, and in no way do i want to insinuate that mothering is a place of greater holiness, or that they are missing out on God’s purposes because of not being given children. this is a way that God has chosen to refine me, and bring sanctification, but His ways are perfect; there is no “better” way, whether by being a mother or not.  it is the walking in relationship, in faithfulness and obedience, in whatever we are given and called. my love to each of you. xo]

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28 thoughts on “A Gospel of Relationship

  1. Andrea

    Clarita, this is so precious!! Thank you so much for putting your thoughts into written words!! May God bless you, and may we continually enter into that relationship that He desires us to have with Him. Praise the Lord!

    Reply

  2. Hilda

    Oh those were lovely words. Don’t you just love when you get those revelations straight from God at just the right moment? Thanks for writing them down to remind me. I’m so looking forward to the next 6+ years with my kid/kids if the Lord wills. Bless you!

    Reply

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      i DO just love it when God does that! God is just so faithful to meet us as mothers… i’ve often thought of the words from isaiah, that “He gently leads those with young [children].” i need that every day! blessings to you!

      Reply

  3. amber~.

    oh, girl! your comment on my blog was right – we DO need to get together and talk. obviously we’re in the same classroom and i’m glad to know i’m in good company!

    your post is full of so much truth, and wisdom! it reminds me of something shayne said to me years ago when i was having a mommy meltdown of feeling all my kids were going to pot and i was pretty sure we were turning out nothing short of crack heads and criminals – he said, “you can’t give what you don’t have!” and i go back to that moment so often. if i want my kids to know the difference of Jesus i have to show them the difference He’s made in my life~ the gospel alive and breathing. yes!

    love your heart for your family, clarita. of not settling but always digging deeper. wanting more of HIM. wanting more to give. it’s like the quote you have on your facebook – sit at His feet then go tell the world what you’ve seen! exactly.

    also, so sweet to mention the women who don’t have children of their own. going through infertility myself many years i have a special place in my heart for those who long for little ones..

    happy mother’s day dear!
    much love to you and those blessed to have you as their mama. xo

    Reply

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      i love your comments, amber!! :) they make me laugh and i nearly cry too. “turning out crack-heads and criminals” – that is funny. as if you ever could!! but i know – being a mother makes me realize my own weaknesses and faults as never before, and if my kids see Jesus in the middle of it all, then it really is only HIM! and yes, we’re in the same school for sure. :) i’m so happy to be in the classroom with you. xoxo

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  5. LaDonna

    So much truth…I’ve often thought if my children see me loving Jesus and His loving me they will be drawn to that kind of love…You have challenged me in so many ways Clarita, via your blog. It’s so easy to get caught up in my frustrations of the day and forget the joys the relationship, and yes, even Jesus… Thank you for these reminders and for blessing our lives with your words…and may you have a very lovely Mother’s day.

    Reply

    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      thank you, ladonna! your words bless me. this gift of mothering is not for the faint of heart! :) and i daily must cast myself upon the Savior – because He must daily continue to redeem me, before i can give Jesus to my children! blessings to you! ♥

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  6. Twylene

    Oh my goodness, you stepped on my toes! :) With three children three and under, I’ve felt like I’ve been in survival mode the last while. I so needed this reminder to focus on relationships, with Jesus and the precious blessings He’s gifted us with!

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  7. Rachel

    Clarita, thanks so much for testifying what God has been doing in your heart and how it plays out in day to day real life. He has blessed me by this challenging, inspiring and encouraging post! Blessings as your relating with Jesus pours out to your precious kiddo’s!

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  8. Aimee Weaver

    These are such beautiful thoughts, Clarita! May we always remember while we are in the trenches that motherhood is all about HIM and not about how perfect we need to be. Thank you for sharing!

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  9. Michelle

    These are beautiful, beautiful words! I have been learning so much about this the last few years …. these most important parts of motherhood that I wish so MUCH I had known when Adam was born already. Being a mom is such a beautiful (painful, messy, hard, yes, but also beautiful) way God chooses to sanctify us. It’s just so amazing that He also chooses something that is so full of love and reward.

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  10. Ervina

    “The state of your heart is the state of your home” — already I see this in my house, and kiddos have yet to be added. Wow. Love your heart for the gospel and mothering.

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  11. Allison

    you are so dear. thanks for sharing. I love my mother so much; she is the best mother on the face of the earth, I firmly believe. Amazing how one woman can be so incredible!

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    1. The Cottage at 341 South Post author

      Hi Allison! What a treat to hear from you! :) I too think your mother is pretty amazing, but hearing that from her daughter, from one who knows her best? It only confirms what I think about her. :)

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  12. Elizabeth

    This was a beautiful post. We have a mom’s meeting for our homeschool group tonight, and I am going to share a little bit of your post if you don’t mind. ;) I love how you said that you are going to thank your kids this Mother’s Day…that is the same thing I told my kids on Mother’s Day. On a day where I see so many moms becoming selfish and thinking about what they deserve, (not saying that it is bad to ask for a nap or whatever..) it’s refreshing to hear how thankful someone is to be a mom. You are such a sweet mommy…your children are blessed to have you. :)

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  13. Sherri Y.

    This is beautiful, and such an encouragement! I’m always looking for ways to “improve” my mothering, and this is such a good reminder. Thank-you!

    Reply

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