Friday, February 4, 2011
Advice for Mothers in a Dangerous World
Julie Beck brought up Rebeka from the Old Testament. From Genesis 24, we get a description of Rebeka. She was pretty, hard working, probably pretty fit seeing how she carried pitchers of water from the well, compassionate (helped bring water for Abraham's servant's camels), and she was from a well off family. Life wasn't easy for Rebeka though. They dealt with infertility, ups and downs financially, famine, got in a fight with a neighbor, had a rebellious child. Do you not think that during that whole time that Rebeka didn't want to pack up her tent and go home to her parents? Surely life with her parents was easier than all this. She also had tremendous pressure on her being married to Isaac, a choice man of God, a golden child of Abraham and Sarah. There was a lot expected and required of her. How many times have we as mothers wanted to just go home to our mothers, where we would find comfort and ease from what we had experienced as a young girl?
Motherhood comes along and during pregnancy we experience all that excitement and anticipation of motherhood. Holding that sweet, new baby, putting tiny shirts on a tiny body, smelling their fuzzy hair, but then reality sets in. The sleepless nights, the feedings, the colic, the messes as they get older and suddenly, life is overwhelming. We feel like we have lost a bit of ourselves. We look at our peanut butter smeared, half naked, screaming toddler and wonder when we signed up for this job. We look at our house and wonder when and how every pretty thing we had migrated up the walls to within 12 inches of the ceiling because we learned early on how quickly those pretties get broken and goobered up. We wonder how our previously fabulous wardrobe was somehow replaced with a multitude of colorful and stained tee-shirts and jeans. This life is not glamorous. It's certainly not mimicking those lovely magazines we get in the mail full of pictures of gorgeous living rooms and perfectly dressed models. Why wouldn't we want to run away from the mess of normal life for just a bit of glamorous life? If we are measuring ourselves against Mrs. Jones down the street, or these fantastical images in magazines, or even our best friend, we are always going to get the wrong measurement. Our measurements need to be against ourselves and what Heavenly Father wants us to be as women. That is where we will find the true, or right, measurements. Look at what is good and do it better.
The world offers up a whole platter of escapisms for us. Scrapbooking, Facebooking, blogging, exercise, Girl's Night Out, hobbies, spas with haircuts, manicures, and massages. While it's ok to indulge in these occasionally, we need to be careful we don't use them to replace our time and attention needed in our homes.
Julie Beck went on to describe the kids we have now days too. "These are not wimpy kids". These are strong and willful children. This may be why we are familiar with ADHD now. Instead of looking at it as a disability, look at it as a different way of learning for them because they are going to need enhanced senses to fight the spiritual battles they will face in their life. Those of us that are mothers to young children now are the product of hard working generations before us. They had the physical labors and even inconveniences. We are a privileged generation. Our struggles are going to be spiritual in nature. Our children's struggles are going to be even more so. Fighting their peer pressures and trends of the world will be a very real battle. We need to be prepared so that we can arm them with tools and weapons they need to keep themselves safe.
Towards the end of the fireside, a woman asked how do we find our identity. We are up against so many definitions in the world today. Sexy, career, fun, fit, creative, etc. The list goes on and on. Julie Beck's advice was if you need to find your identity, look up the definition of Mother. Even if you are single, never married, a young woman, an older woman, or childless, the definition of Mother is:
a woman in authority
an ultimate example of its kind
to give rise to
The list could go on, but if you think about any and all positive terms that could describe a mother, that is what you should be aspiring to be, and what should serve as your definition of your identity. I laughed at this next part. She said children are relentless and they are going to try your patience. They definitely will not make you feel good about your self most days. We need to guard ourselves against wanting to escape from our children, from our families, and from our responsibilities. Our patience will be tried so that we can come unto God.
I hope this will give your heart some peace and your mind some exercise. Where we are weak is where we need to focus our attention so that we may become better. Re-evaluate your home, your activities, your children's needs and your needs. It will be hard work, but you will be blessed for your efforts.
With much love,