I met motherhood at twenty-eight, and I brought everything and nothing to the cradle. I toted battered suitcases full to brim with emotional baggage and set them at the foot of the cradle. My initiation into motherhood included the delicate and complex task of step-parenting. Feelings of inadequacy hijacked my confidence in my best mothering intentions. I wasn’t confident I could find my way through this motherhood journey without getting lost. It felt a bit like standing at the foot of Mount Everest knowing that I must trek to the snow-capped peak— ill-prepared or so I thought.
I hazily rambled my way through the first few years of motherhood desperately wanting to get it right.
I pondered what it would take to not only get through the journey but get through joyfully. Once I unpacked my trunk of the emotional mess, I set out to repack with the tools that would equip me for the long-haul of mothering.
Because I’ve got decades of mothering filed in my heart, quite often, I meet young moms for coffee, and we sip our lattes slowly so that we can prolong our conversations on mothering. Before we swallow our final sip, moms want to know how to squelch the fear, anxiety, doubt, bitterness, and anger that so often plagues our mothering. My advice is to exuberantly accept, treasure, hear, apply, call out for insight, seek, and search for wisdom in scripture. These are the active “ifs” of Proverbs 2:1-4.
Receive, Treasure, Hear, Apply, Call Out, Lift Up, Seek, and Search God’s Word
The only way for me to mother well and avoid misguided and foolish decisions is to follow the lush path of the word of God.
I accepted God’s word, but I treated my devotional time as a hobby. I collected meaty devotionals and studies but kept them neatly stored on my shelves until motivated to peruse the pages. Just like a hobby, I gathered the necessary supplies and essential equipment and carved out microwave moments to use them. If I faced a crisis moment or experienced a momentary whim, my hobby-like devotional attitude then transformed into a yearning.
Years of this spiritual vacillating brought despair, discouragement, and drought. The once carefully stowed away emotional baggage toppled out like the overstuffed laundry baskets strewn throughout my house. Overwhelmed and confused, I recalled Paul Tripp’s words (from one of those resources resting on my shelf):
“How significant is the calling upon mothers and fathers to be the primary instruments in the shaping of a human soul? It’s a calling that we should accept with humility and holy fear, but also with excitement and courage because Christ is with us and for us.”
The hope that I needed to get me to the snow-capped peak of this mothering journey is not found in small groups, or Bible studies, or Christian coffee klatches, or podcasts, or blogs. I treated the Bible with fickleness sat like an unopened treasure chest waiting for me to dig for its abundant riches freely.
Mothering With the Fear of the Lord
I realized that until I get rich with the wealth of God’s glory, his wisdom, and his power, I can’t be the mom my kids so desperately need. The more I unearth about God through scripture, the more I see the reality of who He is and who I am in relationship to him.
My only hope in gaining wisdom as a mom is found in grasping the awe and wonder fo God. Once I clench that truth in the palm of my hand and the crevices of my heart, then I can parent with confidence, clarity, and humility. Without wisdom, my words will be like harsh verbal thrashings that crush and destroy. Wisdom-less parenting lacks self-control.
Paul Tripp reminds parents that “When your kids break God’s law, treat them as God treats us. Mirror the tone of his voice; mirror the look on his face; mirror the nature of his character.” I can’t mirror God’s character if I haven’t received his words, treasured up his commands, attended to wisdom, applied my heart to understanding, called out for insight, lifted my voice for understanding, sought and searched God’s word for wisdom.
Apply Awe and Wonder to Bible Study, Small Groups, and Coffee Klatches
A redeemed mother’s heart is a heart that runs fast and furiously toward wisdom. I am no longer encumbered by my weighty emotional baggage because I learned the value and necessity of devoting time digging for gospel treasures.
My mothering isn’t finished, but the journey no longer feels like a daunting hike to a snow-capped peak.