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LIFE-LONG LABOR


Motherhood has always appealed to me. Because of growing up with a sacrificial, nurturing Mom & interacting with involved grandmothers, it seemed natural to love children & to view the home as a top priority. I always wanted to be married & have a family. Contrary to present cultural attitudes, after 40 years of marriage, 38 years of answering to “Mom”, & 15 years of being “Oma”, I can still attest to the TRUTH that raising a family is/has been the most stretching, challenging, spiritually needy, practical experience of my life.

It doesn’t take a new mom very long to conclude that there’s a huge gap between what she knows in her head & what she feels capable of in her heart. You prepare in all external matters for the birth of your child, but NO ONE prepares you, spiritually, for what will be required of you, except an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. I remember the first time I heard God directing me in my parenting. One of my toddlers was crying & I couldn’t get her to stop. I felt inept & frustrated! That’s when I heard a whisper/unction in my mind, “Sing her Jesus Loves me.” You’re kidding me, right Lord? Can it be this simple? Those expert parenting books never suggested this. 😊 I don’t recall what started the tears in the first place. But when you’re emotionally backed into a corner, as a mom, the place to fall is on your knees & the only place to look is UP. So, I started singing &, as the Lord would have it, she was sound asleep before the song was over.

Later in my mothering journey, I had another milestone mothering moment. We lived in Arizona &, at the request of my 3 daughters, had started home schooling. Family was now 28 hours away, I had no friends, no church to speak of, & Steve’s new job kept him away from home most of his waking hours. I felt like a “greenhorn” at formally educating my girls. In a moment of fear & weakness, God lead me to 2 verses of scripture. I’ve shared this lesson many times through the years, encouraging moms never to give up on raising another generation—especially when the responsibility seems overwhelming. I read, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you…”( Galatians 5:19) The Greek word for formed {Morphoo} is only used in this verse, describing the Christian as a little child who needs to mature. God reminded me that, yes, I had labored physically to birth my girls & I daily worked to see that their needs were met. But, more importantly, my primary responsibility as a mother was to labor spiritually to see Christ formed in them. This labor is life-long, passing along the Truth as God sanctifies me. You can’t expect more from children than you do from yourself. To do so is hypocrisy & will likely create anger in their sensitive hearts. In Biblical terms, they’ll be exasperated. We women love to share labor & delivery stories. How much more important to share our spiritual labors & victories, to encourage each other. This is true no matter how old your children are.

The second verse God lead me to, that day, was I Timothy 1:9. “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart & a good conscience & a sincere faith.” If our children, at any age, have that kind of fruit, what else could we possibly want for them? THIS IS WHAT GOD WANTS FOR US! From my early days of parenting, to the present as an Oma, God faithfully leads me back to the same question: “What are you showing me, Lord, about me?” My life, laid bare before Him, is always the starting point. I want to model, the best I know how, honest dependency on the Lord. It’s the only “eternal weight of glory” gift I can give, this side of heaven. In the end—money, possessions & achievements mean nothing. Death shows no partiality. For me, this transparency requires the life-long awareness of seeking/extending forgiveness with my family. There’s simply too much at stake, for eternity, to risk being too proud to admit, “I was wrong for______. Will you forgive me?”

There’s a saying that goes something like, “Mothers hold their child’s hand for a little while, but they hold their child’s heart forever.” Little hands require a lot of physical energy. Big hands require a lot of prayer. 😊 NEVER EVER stop praying! God is at work in ways we can’t see. And mother is a mother to the end! Whether you are a natural, adoptive, foster, or spiritual mom, I pray these verses inspire you in your labors with your “kids.” God’s unique design for women can’t be replaced or erased by changing cultural norms. What a privilege! Trust Him, alone, to fulfill this special purpose in you!


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