Dear Weary Mom,
We want to do this thing well…excellent…perfect (motherhood). We don’t want to mess up, stumble, or fail. We’ve only got one shot at these children and we want to make ever moment count. But where’s the manual? When we buy any electronical device–microwave, ipod, or television–there’s a manual. However, when we left the hospital they somehow forgot to slip that into our over-packed diaper bag.
When I was a young mother and a young Christian, I heard a speaker at a mom’s group say that the only manual I needed was the Bible. I thought to myself that sounds great, but where does it tell me what to do when the baby won’t sleep. when the two and four year olds decide to fill the bathtub up and get in it fully clothed right before thanksgiving dinner while I’m baking pies with the six year old, and when my two year old decides to hit some stranger’s child over the head with his mini-golf putter. I was at a complete loss. It sounded wonderful and if someone would have asked me how to parent children, I probably would have said, “The Bible is the only manual you need for raising your children.”
So what did I do? Well, I did a few things…I winged it, I drew from examples I’d learned from my parents, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I started studying my Bible with intention (I meet with a couple other mothers and began studying the Bible and later I moved on to BSF, Bible Study Fellowship–which is a group located all over US and many countries).
There was one other thing that I did, which I’m going to recommend you don’t do and that was listen and look around at what others were doing. Let me clarify before I go any further. It is never wrong to seek Godly advice, pray and discern if this is God’s will for you and your children. But what I am saying is, that when we begin to look around and see what other parents are doing and think their way is the best way. Billy’s mother throws a first birthday party to put pinterest to shame, Sally’s mother has her enrolled in ballet lessons on Monday, soccer on Tuesday and Thursdays, piano lessons of Friday, and swimming every other day, and Andy’s mother has bought him so many designer clothes and electronical gadgets that you’d think she own’s stock in Walmart…doesn’t mean you have too. I’m not saying these things are bad, what I am saying is that good things aren’t always the best things. Scripture warns us about the dangers of comparison. Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. Galatians 6:4-5 2 Corinthians 10:12. Now that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
We have the Holy Spirit residing within us, therefore, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to be our guide. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in Him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is form God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he now them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 1 Corinthians 2:11-15
When our children do things like change their own diaper, bite another child, or speak unkindly to another child we can go to the Lord in prayer and ask for His wisdom. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 This verse brings me comfort, I don’t have to have all the answers but I know who does.
Do not be conformed to this world (we are not to do as the world does, but as God wills), but be trans formed by the renewing of your mind (praying and seeking God’s plans), that by testing (trails) you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:12
We are not to seek the approval of the world, but God. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 Often times that means we will have to go against what the culture is doing. Even if it seems like you are all alone in your decision, remember God is always with you.
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness examining the Scripture daily to see these things were so. Acts 17:11 Here’s the key examining the Scripture daily.
And if you have been guided more by what others are doing, rather than sinking your teeth into God’s word, to glean His wisdom for your family, give yourself some grace. I love the saying, “You do what you know and when you know better, you do better.”
Count blessings, Kasey