“The home is the fountain of civilization. The value and character and appetites of a people are greatly determined by the reading, training and cultivating of moral and spiritual appetites in the home.
Mothers, you are the divinely-appointed teachers and guides of your children; and any attempt to free yourselves of this duty is in direct opposition to the will of God. If you neglect them, the consequences are swift and sure. …, Spend most of your time with your children. Sleep near them, attend and dress and wash them; let them eat with their mother and father; be their companion and friend in all things and at all times.”
From Mother, Home and Heaven from Poetic, prose and literature Of all ages and all lands. Copyright 1878-1880
Every single person in our family is in transition of life for future plans. Clay and I are considering a move into missions, our kids are all up in the air about where they will live and have jobs in the years ahead. Yet, these times of not knowing where we will be living or what, exactly we will be doing, has caused me to really focus on our decisions, our intentionality about living well for His glory and about how best to leave a legacy.
More than ever, I believe with all my heart, that the role of a mother will indeed influence the history of the next generation. If mothers do not care to sacrifice time, energy, and effort to win their children's hearts for God, to give them a moral foundation, to help them cultivate a missional life for serving kingdom purposes, then these objectives will not be accomplished.
Secular cultural values are aggressive in capturing both our imagination and that of our children with false priorities of what is important, what is of value. Unless we are intentional about passing on eternal values, honor for G0d, love for others, a servant heart, then our children will naturally fall into a self-centered, self-gratifying value system.
Your role as a mother who engages her children in truth and the foundations of righteousness is more important than ever before. Your life matters. Your work matters. Your sacrifice matters. And all of these commitments are a sacrifice of your own worship to serve Him.
Being with my wildly idealistic children, living through the noise of our exuberant home (drum set in the basement, electric piano and real piano upstairs, almost always with someone blaring away, singing, listening to music on their newly created stations; rousing, lengthy, loud discussions at the dinner table; wrestling with the dog and watching movies and playing games and feasting with our whole family at home) has reminded me again, that all the trouble was well worth the effort. It all mattered. Really.
Even through all the exhaustion, meals, dishes, late nights, attitudes, weariness--it is of utmost importance.
Januarys are usually a bit challenging, a time we can be tempted to give up our ideals. It is easy to think that we are not doing a great job being a mom, that someone else could influence our children better than we could, that they are not listening or growing. Often mamas are tempted to think their ideals do not matter.
The way I sustained my own vision which has brought me through all the years, and still in tact, was through years and years of defining and redefining ideals and seeking the Lord and then living through one day at a time, for a million days. Yet, I see life and beauty in the souls of my very individualistic children--the palpable life of the Lord--who is building them and growing them into healthy, vibrant adults. They are now the ones who tell me our training, love, time spent all mattered greatly in the shaping of their personhood and who they became.
As I have been praying about all of this and pondering the work God wants me to do, I can't wait to encourage all the precious moms who will read my blog, listen to my podcast, attend some of our leadership and international conferences, because their lives matter--their love, correction, work, is all building a legacy from their lives that will live to glorify God throughout eternity! And that is what Whole Heart Ministries is all about--keeping the ideals alive!
The words in the quotation above were written over a hundred years ago are still very powerful today. This, in a culture where the imagination of the importance of mothers to the overall well-being of soul of the next generation has been lost. How affirming it is to see that truth of past generations still applies to us today.
Often, I find that in the absence of a clear enough vision for their children and homes, mothers replace conviction and vision with lots of activities and distractions for their children. This hyper-activity and rushing around to an endless list of expensive lessons and experiences and toys, and the buying of the newest expensive curriculum and technological options make moms feel like they are accomplishing something.
However, when the home-life of children is rich with excellent, classic literature and great stories, passionate Biblical devotions, rousing dinner-table discussions around sumptuous, tasty meals, lots of love and affection given and household chores attended to— a child will become committed to all that is good and excellent and develop a moral and compassionate soul for all the divinely important values.
Is it a messy process? Of course. No home is perfect or parent perfect and it is a journey of constant flux.
From the beginning of time, God created the home to be a place sufficient to nurture genius, excellence, graciousness and grand civility. But the key factor is nothing that can be purchased or owned. The accomplishment of this grand life is found only in the soul of a mother, through the power of the Holy Spirit, personally mentoring her children.
It is a personal relationship with a real person whose soul is alive in which the deepest imprints of life are given. The secrets and deep emotions shared during the goodnight hours in which a the soul of a child is tender and open; the comfort of warm, home-made food shared in the early evening as ideas are shared and discussed and prayers and devotions given; the laughter, stories, advice given in the midst of washing dishes together or sharing of a meal; the heroic and riveting stories read aloud and shared together that establish common patterns of morality, values and dreams in the comfort of the blazing hearth, mugs of steaming hot chocolate and squishing against each other on a den couch are those heavenly things which are food to the soul and nourishment to the mind and conscience of a child fully awake to all that is important in life.
There is no computer, television, software or text book that can pass on such passion, love and motivation.
It is indeed the personal touch of a mother’s heart that creates grand civility, deep affection, care and commitment to the foundations of a family. When the invisible strings of a mother’s heart are tied to the heart of her children through loving sacrifice and nurture, the stability and foundations of a nation become secure and stable.
A mother, living well in her God-ordained role, is of great beauty and inestimable value to the future history of any generation. Her impact is irreplaceable and necessary to the spiritual formation of children who will be the future adults of the next generation. Fun, comfort, humor, graciousness, spiritual passion, compassion for the lost, hospitality, chores, meals, training, life-giving words, hours and hours of listening and playing and praying and reading—all are parts of the mosaic which go into the process of soul development.
So, though the weariness of the busyness and celebration of Christmas is still upon our hearts and felt in our bodies, the Spirit and vision of His life in ours will keep us going--the refocusing on His great call, will fuel our commitments to keep going, to keep loving and to keep believing. Taking time with Him this morning has fueled my own soul with new excitement. May He grace you all with His encouragement--right where you are, in whatever season--to know that it really matters. Grace and peace and rest be yours in the days ahead!
Join me in the weeks ahead as I do a podcast about Owning Your Life that will hopefully encourage, inspire and undergird your commitment in your ideals.