Friday, May 13, 2016

A Mother's Garden: The Seeds, The Growth

Spring - the time of fresh colors and fragrant blossoms ... the time to dream of beautiful gardens - the time to purchase the vegetable garden seeds and flower seeds, and the flower plants that we will pot - the time to carefully prepare the soil.

We put a lot of effort into our yards and our gardens - all for the purpose of growing beautiful, fragrant flowers, or bountiful crops of veggies ... tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans.

We do all we can possibly do to get the most vibrant growing crop. We purchase just the right seeds and plants. We prepare the soil, we plant, we water, we weed. And we water and weed over and over again. 

And I wonder ... 

do we maybe begin to think that

we are the ones who cause the garden to grow ... 

that it is our efforts that cause a seed to sprout, 

that because of our working the soil for our flower pots and our gardens, 

that we are the ones who are producing the flowers, the bountiful crop of tomatoes, cucumbers??

And I also wonder ...
Do we have this same thinking
when it comes to mothering?

That over time - maybe, sometimes - 

we even begin to start imagining that we as mothers/wives are the ones 

who have brought the growth in our children, 

in our families? 

For after all, we are the ones who are doing the work. 

On our hands and knees working the soil, watering, pulling the weeds.

Do we maybe sometimes think that it is all up to us,
that it is our own efforts and work that brings the growth?

Do we begin to think that if we are good mothers, that our kids will make the right choices in life, that they will be good, that they will always follow after God? We put all of our effort into being the best mother possible, the best wife possible, and often find ourselves believing that maybe it is up to our own efforts to accomplish what we desire.

But ... the words of I Cor. 3:7 say it so clearly ...

"So neither he who plants
nor he who waters is anything,
but only GOD
who gives the growth."

And I wonder if our thinking about 
planting and growth in relation to our families 
makes a huge difference in 
how much we really do depend on God ...
how earnestly we seek after Him,
what our first priorities are,
and even how we view prayer as wives and mothers.

For if we think that things are really up to our own efforts ... if we think that what we do brings about growth in our child (growth in character, and in relationship with God), and that how we are as wives is what brings the things that we desire for our husbands ... then that is what we focus on most of all - our own efforts. And of course, we pray, too, but we do not view prayer as really very critical or of real importance.

Of course, our own efforts are important ... all the time and love that we put into our families is crucial and is hugely important. It is our calling, our responsibility to love, develop, and nurture our families. We need to give our complete focus to mothering, learning all we can, nurturing and not neglecting, giving of ourselves, our energies, our time. But as mothers ...

 We cannot make a seed sprout and grow.
It is only GOD. He is the Creator.
He is the only one who can mold a heart.
Only GOD brings the growth.

To be continued in the next weeks/months, 
with more thoughts on mothering, 
and more thoughts on our highest calling as mothers ... 
following after God with our whole hearts,
loving, nurturing, and praying for our children,
depending on Him alone.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The Beauty of Mothering

Giving credit and thanks to Bonnie, for freely sharing her beautiful graphics!

Mother's Day ...

a day that carries so much beauty
and so many emotions. 
For how can one word - one person -
hold a place of such huge significance?

My life changed forever when I held my sweet baby daughter in my arms for the first time. It was May 11, 1973 - just two days before I had the greatest privilege of celebrating my very first Mother's Day. And since then, I have been blessed to mother five more precious ones ... four daughters, and two sons in all. It is one of life's greatest blessings to carry the name of mother.

Mothering is one of the most wonderful, glorious, beautiful, emotional, heart-breaking, all-consuming roles that you could wish for, or even imagine. And it is one of the most longed for roles for many. It is simply one of the most fulfilling roles there is, and it is clearly one of the most demanding roles that we can ever experience. It can be dreamt about and highly anticipated, can come unexpected and unplanned for, or it can be out of reach for many who long for it so deeply.

Mothering can fill our days with beauty, warmth, and more love than we can even imagine, and it can also deplete us of strength, joy, and bring us to our knees over and over again.

Mothering is complex. 
It calls for more than we have.
How can we possibly fulfill 
all that this role calls for? 

And in the complexity of this role, and in all the emotions of the good and the hard days of mothering, I have found that there is one constant. One thing that never changes. Though each day of mothering may bring new and diverse situations and responsibilities, a need for much wisdom to know how to mother in these specific circumstances, and with each day we often find ourselves with an array of emotions for as mothers our love is so deeply connected with our children - in all of this ... there is a source of solid, firm, constant, faithful support for us as we mother.

I have found over and over again, that mothering is what draws me to Jesus more than anything else in this life. Mothering is what lifts up my heart to Him in thanks - as I am filled with the deep joy of mothering, of the joy in giving of unconditional love, of joy in the receiving of the sweetest of love, of the joy of seeing life develop and thrive. 

And mothering is what draws me to need Him in ways that I never knew before, for I have found myself in places of need that I have never known before. Mothering has a way of making us feel so completely helpless. For we are completely helpless to accomplish what we desire most in the lives of our loved children. We can give of our very best efforts, but we, ourselves, do not hold the power to change hearts. It is only God who can accomplish the things of the heart.

We do not have what it takes to mother. We are in need of Him. Everyday. Whether our children are little, or are grown. I need His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) These are the character qualities that we need every day as we mother, and these come only from Him. Mothering is beyond ourselves. We are in need every day as we mother.  

As we find ourselves in need of Him, 
as we are held by Him - 
we find all that we need as mothers.

Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing you a Mother's Day
filled to overflowing
with love from children, and family,
and most of all,
with the faithful, unending
love of God for you, as you mother.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Lord, Give Me an Undivided Heart

Lord, I long for You to give me an undivided heart this new month, and each new day. 

May I live each day ...

* Focusing on You, looking to You alone for approval
* Listening to Your Words, new and alive each day
* Quieting my heart to hear Your whispers above the noise
* Believing truth above lies
* Praying instead of stressing and worrying
* Trusting Your promises, obeying Your instructions
* Thanking and praising You each day and in all circumstances
* Living my days, my moments, for Your purposes