Growing up I had a great mother. That was wonderful when I was growing up
but it raised the bar pretty high for me to try to reach when I became a mother myself…
It didn’t take me long to realize that I would probably never win an award for “Mother of the Year.” When my husband and I found out we were going to be parents, I was acutely aware of, and terrified by, my lack of experience and my abundance of inadequacies. I found that my fears were justified on the day I brought my newborn daughter home from the hospital. I was attempting to push a baby wipe cloth through the hole in the top of the plastic canister, but I accidentally pushed my finger through the hole instead. The opening latched onto my tender flesh like a vice grip and refused to release my finger back through the hole. The harder I pulled, the deeper the plastic prongs dug into my skin. We finally had to cut it off with a knife. I immediately knew I was in for a long life.
My little girl soon verified my inadequacies after church one Sunday. She had spent the morning with her favorite Sunday School teacher, my friend Sue. Later that afternoon I was playing with her and asked her, “Who’s the best mommy in the whole wide world?” She replied, “Miss Sue!”
But since she reached age 4 without me losing her or harming her irreparably, we decided to try it again and had a son. I want to say that he is the best son a mother could ever have now that he’s grown, but as a little boy he was enough to make me realize that if he had been my first child, he would have been an only child.
Like most mothers I suppose, there were days that I really wanted to resign my position. As my children grew older and the stakes became higher in caring for them, old fears about my inadequacies as a mom returned with a vengeance. But God did the most wonderful thing for me. When my kids were in their early teens I had to take about 6 weeks off from my job to recuperate from surgery. During that time God led me into a Bible study in the Book of Joshua. I knew that in such a study in Joshua I would learn about faith, God’s power, and the consequences of not following God’s will. But I had no idea that the Book of Joshua would also give me the confidence I needed to be assured that God had not made a mistake in giving me children!!
In the second chapter of Joshua I learned about a character named Rahab. She was a prostitute in the city of Jericho. In fact, she hid the spies that Joshua sent in ahead of the Israelite army. Rahab stated that the reason she hid the spies was that she knew they were part of the army of the one true God, Jehovah.
Fast forwarding in the Bible to the first chapter of Matthew, we find a genealogy listed. In that list, the name Boaz appears. The story of Boaz is recorded in the Old Testament Book of Ruth which is the story of a kinsman redeemer (Boaz) who rescues Ruth and her family from poverty and hardship, returning the inheritance they had lost. In that role, God used Boaz as a picture of Jesus, Who would come into our world, rescue us, redeem us, and restore the inheritance we lost because of our sin. Jesus became our kinsman redeemer.
Now, what does Rahab have to do with Boaz? Well, in the genealogy of Matthew 1, we discover that Rahab was the mother of Boaz. WOW!!! God CHOSE Rahab, the former prostitute of Jericho to raise the man He planned to use as a foreshadowing picture of His own Son, Jesus. With all her inexperience as a mother and all the seeming inadequacies she must have felt, God still CHOSE her. And since God is all-wise, we must assume that He chose correctly.
Suddenly I realized that God chose me, with all my inadequacies and inexperience, to raise my children. In the years that have followed that great realization, God has confirmed His wise choice to me over and over. I am constantly reminded by their senses of humor, the family traits they exhibit, and the subtle likenesses in their mannerisms and appearances, that my two children do belong with me. I think maybe they’d agree!!!
Here’s what God showed me about raising kids in the years I’ve spent as a mother: Just like in every other area of my life – motherhood is not up to me – I had to entrust my kids to God and trust that He would empower me to raise them successfully. He showed me that it was never my responsibility to give my kids everything they wanted and needed so that they would be happy and successful. Instead, it’s my role to live a life before them that leads them to a relationship with Christ, through which HE will make them happy and successful.
I’m so glad I didn’t resign my position because I’m just now getting to the best part of motherhood – GRANDKIDS!!!
Through the years, my fears and feelings of inadequacies as a mom would return every now and then. But I could always go back to one Sunday morning when God gave me a verse from a song that I claimed over and over in such times of insecurity.
”How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he (she) gives,
But greater still the calm assurance,
That child can face uncertain days because He lives.”
Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and all you Moms!!!
From Debbie’s blog, May 11, 2008. Debbie and her husband Tim serve in pastoral ministry in Alabama. Their devotional site is:
The verse above is from the song “Because He Lives,” by Bill and Gloris Gaither
Some photos of the luncheon and recent events are at the GFI Kodak Gallery site: