REPLACING MY MYTHS WITH TRUTHS
Do I suffer from a flawed belief system? Do I believe that:
· I must be a perfect Christian.
· Everyone should love me and demonstrate their approval of me.
· If I am a good Christian, life will be fair.
· It’s sinful to feel depressed because, if I have God within me, I’ll always be a happy person.
· If I am living in fellowship with God, I will not feel anger towards Him or towards other people.
· It’s my job to meet everyone’ needs.
· If I feel worried, I’m not being a good Christian.
· If God loved me, bad things would simply not happen to me.
· God will bless me with health and happiness if I believe in Him and work hard to serve Him.
· When there is so much real tragedy in the world, it’s wrong for me to feel such grief over all these relatively small things.
(Carol Kent, Secret Longings of the Heart, page 75)
· If I’m a successful parent, I’ll produce Godly children (Fields, Chapter 8)
The apostle Peter said, “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job.” (1 Peter 4:12) “It is not a sin to be overwhelmed; it is simply recognition of the responsibility God has given us.” (Fields, page 180) “Who can I trust more than God? Before Him, I can release my powerless clutch on my children and myself and return what has belonged to Him all along. I can rest—we can all rest—secure in His hands. These are the hands of the One who has fearfully and wonderfully made every one of us.”(Fields, page 183)
So, as I attempt to replace myths with truth, I can develop a Godly desire to mother without fear and guilt, and have peace knowing that I am not in control of whether my children are Godly or not. The following quotes from Leslie Field’s book support this point:
1. “We know, then, that there is serious error in our assumptions. We have made far too much of ourselves and far too little of God. We have adopted our culture’s belief that we are the primary shapers of our children and that we have control over who they are and who they will become.” (page 174) “We are so focused on ourselves—our own need for success and the success of our children—that we have come to view parenting as a performance or a test.” (page 181)
2. “ Parents with unbelieving children, friends with children in jail, and the faith heroes in Hebrews 11 are all powerful reminders of this truth: our children will make their choices, God will be sovereign, and God will advance His kingdom.” (page 182)
3. “God will use every aspect of my human parenting, even my sins and failures, to shape my children into who He desires them to be, for the sake of His kingdom.” (page 172)
4. “We needn’t try to take the Holy Spirit’s place. Our job is not to judge and convict, but to love and encourage children—and their parents—all along the way, wherever they are in their faith journey.” (page 178)
Consider these key statements, and their implications:
Good mothering is foundational for my children.
My children are hungry for my love.
I may be one of the best teachers my children will ever have.
There is no more important time in my children’s lives than now (first 5—7 years of life). There will NEVER be a better time to impact their lives.
The previous four statements are true; but it does not mean that Mothers are responsible for their children’s choices. So, since I cannot control my children’s choices, what can I do?
I can make time for, and strive to become a Godly Mother and leave the rest up to God.
Do I make time to be a Godly Mother?
Consider the following truths:
· How I live each day demonstrates what I really value: choices, TV programs, the way I treat others, obeying the law, and the words I use in my conversations.
IS THERE CONSISTENCY BETWEEN MY WALK AND MY TALK?
If not, is there something I can do to enhance or improve my consistency?
· I know that I must base my home’s foundation upon the Lord.
HOW SOLID IS MY FAMILY’S SPIRITUAL FOUNDATION, AND WHAT CAN I DO TO IMPROVE IT?
Pray for my children and read them Bible stories. Pursue my own spiritual growth through daily prayer and Bible study.
· I realize that the best approach is to be firm but fair.
AM I AVOIDING MOTHERING EXTREMES LIKE EXAGGERATED SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY OR UNBIBLICAL SERVITUDE? (myth #6)
Offer my children the freedom to think, and ask questions. Allow my children to express their feelings (e.g. anger, frustration, sadness, and fear) in appropriate ways.
· Ask and give respect. Respect is a two-way street.
AM I DEMANDING RESPECT WITHOUT OFFERING IT?
Make a conscious effort to treat my children as I would want to be treated.
· Learn from mistakes; practice active forgiveness (forgive seventy times 7).
DO I HOLD MY CHILDREN ACCOUNTABLE AND RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR ACTIONS? (older children)
Be available to help children learn from their mistakes while offering forgiveness and love.
· What you see is what you get.
AM I ABLE TO BE TRANSPARENT AND ADMIT THAT I AM NOT PERFECT?
Apologize to my children when necessary and attempt clear and open communication
· Real love includes limits.
DO I INVOKE LIMITS WITHOUT MAKING MY CHILDREN FEEL UNLOVED?
Communicate love for my children by being kind and compassionate, but firm and fair.
(Adapted from Leman, Becoming the Parent God Wants You to Be)
Why is it so difficult to trust God with the outcome?
· The outcome may not match my expectations of what I think God should do
· I may have to deal with disappointment and/or confusion
· I may need to deal with the issues that are really at the heart of my discouragement
· I will need to surrender to God’s Will, and surrender doesn’t come naturally for me
· I want life to make sense, and God’s way sometimes doesn’t
· I want life to be on my own terms and timetables (I want what I want, and I want it now)
· I must truly believe that God loves me fully and has my best interests at heart, and I sometimes have trouble believing that
What might be the results of trusting God with the outcome?
· Allows me to put my relationships above my fears
· Frees me to love my children no matter what, and to value their unique design
· Decreases the pressures my children may feel to perform well
· Avoids the tendency to frantically pack every single “Godly” activity into my family’s life
· Permits me increased freedom to enjoy my children
· Discourages me from making comparisons between my children
· I don’t have to force situations just because I feel pressure to make myself look good
· I can focus on God, rather than what I want Him to do, and find comfort from God Himself rather than from an outcome that I desire
· My love for God and trust in Him is strengthened
· Realization that God will not fail me “He will not fail you or forsake you . . . (1 Chronicles 28:20)
There are questions that you may want to discuss in your small groups included in this handout (and in capital letters) under the heading “Do I make time to be a Godly Mother.”
1. Have I ever fought against a certain outcome, feeling as if God just can’t be in favor of what seems to be happening?
2. My children are very young, and I really don’t know if I am “producing” Godly children. What can I do now to resist the temptation to try to take control of the outcome?
Bible verses from this chapter:
Hebrews 11:32-38 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mocking and scourging, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
2 Kings 21:20 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, as Manasseh his father had done.
2 Kings 23:25 And before him there was no king like him who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.
Exodus 4:22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says the Lord, Israel is My son, My first-born.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
Ezekiel 2:3-8 Then He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. And I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate children; and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ As for them, whether they listen or not—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house. But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious. Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.
Ezekiel 3:7 Yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.