Secular messages from the world's point of view and the values it holds invade my life and the life of my adult children, and you, every day. If we have been foundations of truth, biblical world view, faith and understanding in who God is through out the scriptures, we will much more likely be able to hold fast when the storms of life blow against us.
Yet, often, when I meet young women, they are much more concerned about the right activities to choose for their children, their academic success and the lessons they are providing for their children. The most important issue for moms to focus on is the training and mentoring of their children to love and serve God and to understand his wisdom and ways. This is more important than any other emphasis and so it does require commitment and consistency to build.
I have no greater joy than to hear of my children loving God, growing deeper in their faith and taking his messages to the world. This is what satisfies my mama heart--we have gone way past me caring what their SAT's were or their grades in college--who cares? who remembers?
There are many foundational Christian truths and values that I planned to instill in my children, such as dependence upon God's Word, living by faith, walking in the Spirit, grace and freedom, and integrity. If I could pour these into their lives for a solid, strong foundation, then I know that whatever else I—or they—built on it will stand strong.
Clay and I have lived this principle in real life. We have built two houses, both of which cost more, both in time and money, than we anticipated. We know by the hard road of experience that it pays to count the cost before you begin to build.
When you're talking about building your family, it is even more essential to count the cost. You do so to be sure you are willing to pay the price of building, to finish what you begin (see Luke 14:28). There is a price to pay for building your home and family according to God's plan.
There is the physical cost of weariness from teaching and caring for children with constant needs, from doing housework and laundry, from making countless meals, from picking up the same toys over and over again. There is the emotional cost of always being expected to give affection and attention to ever-present children, of directing their education, of training their spirits and disciplining them, of being available to them for what seems like 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is the personal cost of giving up personal expectations, of sacrificing personal "rights" for the benefit of the children, of accepting the limitations of time, of often choosing to live and make do with less as a one-income home.
Over the years, these costs have occasionally accelerated and come due all at the same time in my life. At those times, I have felt overwhelmed and defeated and I wanted to quit. But because I had counted the cost, I knew I would keep going. One step at a time I would go forward, trusting God all the way, because I knew that my house was worth building.
Sometimes, though, I have made the building process more costly than God ever intended it to be. Like other mothers who live under the fear of not doing enough, I expected more of myself than God did. Consequently, I set unrealistic goals and higher standards for my children than God required. It shouldn't be surprising then that I burned out trying to pay a cost God never required. I burned out, not because God was asking more of me than I could do, but because I was asking more of me than I could do--and was worrying about areas of busyness that, in the long run, did not matter. As a wiser woman now, I know that God's goal for me is that I build a good house, according to my own strength, wisdom and ability to follow Him. After all, if I become spiritually exhausted because I try to build more than God expects of me, then I soon won't be building at all.The key to this is releasing my faith in God to take what I can build, and by His spirit, make it enough.
When Clay and I built those houses many years ago, the work was tedious, messy, time-consuming, and frustrating. We experienced setbacks, our original plans changed, but we kept building. Eventually we enjoyed and benefited from our efforts. The final product was worth building. And even though the cost is high, your family is worth building.
As I grow older, God opens my eyes a little more each day to see the preciousness and fragility of my children's lives. And each day, I lean a little harder on the Lord. Each day, my confidence and faith for building my own home rests a little less on my abilities and strengths as a mother, and more and more on his character and grace.
One thing I am more confident about than ever, though, is God's faithfulness to godly parents. If I am ordering my life according to the Creator's design for family, I don't have to wonder if my house will stand or fall—it will stand. And I can rest assured that the same gracious God who entrusted four precious, fragile lives into my hands, will be faithful to keep those children in his hands. He will build a home through me, and a testimony through my children, that will stand here on this earth and throughout eternity.
Read more in Seasons of a Mother's Heart, here.
Be sure to get a copy of Different: The Story of an Out of the Box Kid, and the Mama who Loved Him today and join us in our podcast book study of the chapters. More on Monday!