Monday, January 26, 2009

Mother Knows Best?

Having an unmarried 24 year old non-mother in my home Friday night was a huge reality check for me. I think it is so easy to forget how chaotic and noisy our life is, because, well, it is our life. Watching my family through the lens of someone who is not accustomed to such craziness and energy entertained me a great deal (and mortified me a little.)

At one point we were driving to dinner in the Yukon with my three WIRED children each making the noisiest, silliest wild animal noise they could recreate...as loudly as possible. Meanwhile my husband and I were carrying on a fairly normal conversation in the front seat. I caught a glimpse of Amy Beth's face in the rear view mirror. She was grinning as she said, "This is a great reality check for a 24 year old!" In other words, we are powerful birth control. :-)

Later that night, after my angels were all sleeping, as AB and I were having a fireside chat, she asked me a question that has stuck with me since: "As a Mom, how do you know what to say and do? I mean, how do you know how to handle them?"

I couldn't help but laugh.

Then I explained that many times Moms don't know the exact right thing to say or do and that is why we pray, we read, we talk to one another and we pray some more. I explained that I thought the biggest lie of motherhood is that you always 'know' just what to do.

Being a Mom can often feel like being in the line of fire. You never know when you will field a major theological question, be standing on the verge of a teachable moment or be in the midst of making a lifelong memory. Waiting until you are in the moment to do your research won't cut it.

Downtime must be used as continued training for the next time you walk back into the line of fire-- so that when the moments present themselves and you are rapidly running through the multiple choices for your response in your mind, you will be deeply rooted and firmly established. When I am put through the fire, I want to be found faithful--and for the times when I am not, I pray God's grace will be made perfectly clear despite my weakness.

He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

9 comments:

MamaBear said...

The timing of this post made me smile J. You see, I went to the bookstore tonight to exchange a devotional that we got for Christmas, but didn't need after Tyndale* sent me two to review.

I was like a kid in a candy store as I looked through all the different books. Should I get a marriage book? I have a bunch of those... Should I get a devotional for myself? Technically I was returning a kid's gift so I felt guilty buying something for myself.... Should I get something for PapaBear? Again, it was a kid's gift and would he even read something I bought without being asked a bunch of times....

Then I found "A Mom after God's Own Heart" by Elizabeth George.

Here's an bit from the back:
You want to raise children who are happy and successful, and who follow after God. But how do you do that in this day of hectic schedules packed with friends, schoolwork, sports, video games, cell phones, and the internet? The first thing is to begin right now. Today. Share your love, your faith, and your values with your children. With biblical wisdom and plenty of encouragement, Elizabeth George offers time-proven ideas and valuable suggestions to help you nurture children of all ages in the Lord.

I think this book will help in my 'training' as you call it. I'll let you know how it goes...

Also, you and your readers still have time to enter the Tyndale Contest to win a children's devotional. Just go to my blog and search "Tyndale" for book reviews and the contest link.

Christine said...

Great post, and so very true. I do so much of my parenting in my own head after the fact to prepare better for next time. And by reading and lots of praying!

And I had to laugh when you said you took the kids to dinner in the Yukon. My first thought was as in Territory and that it was going to be quite some dinner. Then I realized you meant GMC. I'm a dork, what can I say. And I just admitted to it!

Amlevy said...

Thanks for sharing your heart - your blog is so encouraging. This post especially speaks to my heart as I do feel much of the time that I have no idea what I'm doing with my kids, and all I can do is pray. God is so gracious to give us what we need when we need it...

Kellie Patton said...

That is so true! Thanks for sharing that!

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

Oh, you just wait until I post about what it was really like to have one of the best experiences of my life. :)

Katie and Matt said...

As a new mother to be in just NINE short weeks, your timing on this post is impeccable. Thank you for your wisdom!!

Kelley said...

You're right when you say we don't always know what to say...like when my son asked about evolution just minutes before I was to drop him off at a church party...or the time he asked at the pool where his much younger brother could hear what being gay meant. Prayer is the main thing we as mothers can do. Then pray some more!!

Bethany said...

I am so jealous that you get to spend time with AB--- she seems like so much fun! I have an idea (it's probably wrong though!) that being a teacher is a little like being a mother. As a preschool/K teacher, I've had to say and do many things I never thought I'd say or do...questions the kids ask, a 5 year old chewing on his shoes, having to speak to parents about something their child did/said to another...it can be uncomfortable, but we get through!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

This is so true.

I was thinking today that it's too bad you just have to parent "on the fly." It's like learning to read as you work your way through "The Chronicles of Narnia." You just know you're missing so much.