|photo credit found at http://www.creative-preschool-activities.com/|
I few days ago I posted about winning our daughters hearts. I am very passionate about it. So much so that I wish I had opportunities to take young mothers aside and talk with them about it. I am a frustrated Titus 2 woman in that way. I am quite a shy person. In some ways, I probably fight a bit of self-centeredness in that I don't break out of my shell. Often I am worried about how people will think about me and other such nonsense. To be truthful, I have begun to realize that these are the very things that I want to help my daughters work through as young girls. I desperately want them to not struggle with being people pleasers. I must fight my own tendency to people please so that I can model it for them.
When I was a young mom I joined a mother group at church centered specifically around preschoolers. It's a national group that has the goal of encouraging moms through the trenches of raising preschoolers. The basic premise of the group is that mom need to take care of herself so she can take care of her children. The idea still makes me cringe. At first I liked the group. I even sat on the steering committee for a while.
At the same time I was heavily involved in this mom's group, I was receiving message about mothering through some of the homeschool websites I was searching through. These message were quite different. It was basically about dying to my needs and living to meet the needs of my children. The fact is, however, these messages about dying to self for the sake of your children were coming directly from scripture. I couldn't honestly find much in God's Word to support the "take care of yourself first" model. In fact, I began to realize that the more I sought to take care of myself, the more discontent I became with being a mother. I didn't want to be with my kids as much. They were a bother to me. Goodness, I was taking care of myself so I could take care of them. They were in the way. I also began to notice that I wasn't the only one.
By God's Sovereign hand, I ended up in a position where I had to pull my children out of the mother's day out I have put them in so I could take care of myself. Oh the joy of bringing them home. It was awkward at first. But I soon began to find that I really did like having them around. It's taken years for me to truly learn how to die to self in taking care of them all. Truth be told, I am not very good at it. But I pray alot and seek the Father's grace in helping me do the rest that I fail so miserably at when attempted on my own.
So why the title "It Starts Young" and revisiting the idea of winning our daughters hearts. Because it starts early. If moms in this world are receiving messages that they need to look after number one so they can look after number two, that is exactly what they will do. They won't believe in Christ's words that we must die to self. Here are His own words to us.
And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:38-39)How can we justify seeking to take care of ourselves first when we're asked to lose our lives for His sake? Many would ask, "How is possible to do that? I get so tired by the end of my day." The answer:
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)This is my favorite verse. If you ever send an email you will see it in the reply. If you look to the side bar of my blog, you will see it there. It is the very center of my blog. . .Living By Daily Grace.
The point I originally wanted to make is simply that winning the hearts of our daughters (or children for that matter) doesn't start when they reach the tween or ever teen stages. It starts from the womb. It start with the attitude in the heart of the mother toward her baby (or children in general.) Generation Cedar has a wonderful thought provoking post on this idea. It's rather sobering to read it. What we believe about children will effect how we raise them.
Being in the trenches shouldn't be about survival. How many times have we met moms just simply trying to survive their little "monsters" until they are ready for kindergarten when they can begin to live again? Oh those conversation break my heart. So many people send the message of survival. I think I probably have in the past but I am rethinking it. Being in the trenches is the hardest work any mom and dad will ever do BUT if they use that time to pursue the hearts of their children and build that relationship they will definitely reap what they have sown. It will be a beautiful relationship. But if a mom is encouraged to pursue her own needs first, she will miss it. It's my passion to help young moms avoid that and run after their children by lovingly embracing the call to lose their lives in order to find it.