Friday, October 16, 2009

Handout for Myth #6


Being a Mom is a wonderful gift from God. It isn’t always easy but in the end, I know that my commitment to being a Mom has been well worth the effort. I want to treat my children like the really special blessings from God they are. However, in my quest to be a good Mom, I think that I sometimes go overboard. Sometimes, I come across as too much of a spiritual authority. At other times, I behave on the opposite end of the spectrum, being overly permissive and serving their every need or whim.

Two “Parenting” extremes are presented by Fields in her Myth Book: 1) parents who display an exaggeration of spiritual authority and omniscience, and 2) parents who show an unbiblical and imbalanced servitude. These are displayed on this continuum:

E S A / O-------------------------------------------------------------------U/ I S

GROUP DISCUSSION/REFLECTION: Where on this continuum do I place my Mothering style? Does that placement change depending upon the situation/stress/how I feel/what is going on?

I believe that one of my greatest callings in life is to pass my faith on to my children. Jesus is the foundation of our marriage and our home. I pray for my children, and I so desperately want them to learn to pray for themselves and learn how to face everyday life challenges walking hand in hand with Jesus. If I desire to pass on faith to my children, I need to stay away from the extremes that risk leaving God out of the picture. The blue and the green print are examples of extremes.

Examples of parenting on various points of the continuum:

Exaggeration of spiritual authority/omniscience:
*My children are to obey me or else: no discussion. I set the rules and they follow. When decisions need to be made, I make them because I do the best job. Children shouldn’t have a say.
*I am responsible for these children and they will learn to follow my Godly example.
*When I think about my children, I focus on whether they are doing right or wrong, and what I must do about it.
*It’s so important to be away from my children so that I have plenty of time for myself. They just have to learn to follow what I have taught them while I’m away.

Somewhere in the middle:
*I treat my children like what they are – special blessings from God.
*When I think about my children, I thank God for blessing me with them.
*When I think about my children, I smile.
*After being away from my children, I look forward to going home and spending time with them.

Unbiblical/imbalanced servitude:
*I try very hard to make sure everything is perfect for my children. I want only positive things in their lives.
*God gave me these children to show them that I can be everything to them, that they can be happy if they rely on me.
*When I think about my children, I become fearful and feel inadequate so I try harder to make their life complete.
*I won’t leave my children. It’s just too hard. I need to always be there so that nothing bad happens.

If I see myself at either extreme on the continuum, what can I do? It may be by committing to parenting as God “parents” me:
1. Love – I experience unchanging and unending love from God.
2. Precious – I know that I am precious in His sight.
3. Availability – God is always accessible to me.
4. Guidance – God gives me guidance and direction.
5. Discipline – God disciplines me out of love, not anger, and with my best interests at heart.
6. Patience – God is patient with me.
7. Integrity – God is honest, keeps His promises, and has proven Himself trustworthy.
AND, by believing these facts about my child:
1. My child was known by God intimately even when he was still in the womb.
2. My child’s personality was carefully crafted by God intentionally.
3. My child was commissioned by God with an individual mission for his life.

Key Point:
When I concentrate on presenting Jesus to my children (and not trying to be Jesus), I communicate not only that I need Jesus, but that I long for my children to see their need for Him. If I stay at either end of the continuum, I jeopardize developing my child’s ability to deal with life. If my child sees me as his omnipotent/spiritual authority, or as a Mom who solves all his problems by always serving him to the exclusion of all else, then he will look to me and not to God when things go wrong.

“It is not Jesus’ authority and omniscience that we are called to imitate but His humility, His servant hood, and His sacrifice.” (Fields, pg 136) “This is how we live out Jesus to one another. Not by stealing Jesus’ authority or assuming His omniscience, but by humbly serving.” (Fields, 142) My children need to see me serving others (and not just them), so that they can, in turn, learn to serve.

A Radical Result:
Sometimes, we will catch a glimpse of a servant’s heart in our children. Even when our children are very young, we may have the opportunity to be humbled and encouraged as they serve others.

· I have observed my two-year-old putting his arm around my one-year-old when he was crying.
· I have observed my four-year-old give my two-year-old the toy they both want.
· I have observed my 9-month-old completely stopping her play and babble when she heard me cry.
· I have observed my extremely handicapped child look at others with a pure love.
· I have observed my three-year-old moving over on the couch to make room for his one-year-old brother when we all sat down to read a book.
· I have observed my three-year-old say a prayer of thanksgiving for his family.

1. Have I had the opportunity to observe my child loving or serving others?

2. In what ways have I been able to let go and allow God to enter the picture as I raise my children?

Matt 25:40 “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”
Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; these who speak lies go astray from birth.
Matt 18:2-4 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14-15 But Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” And after laying His hands on them, He departed from there.
Matthew 20:28 “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Philippians 2:7 But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
1 Peter 2:16 Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond-slaves of God.
Ephesians 5:22-25 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
Luke 10:38-42 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord’s word, seated at His feet. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her.”
Luke 11:27-28 And it came about while He said these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice, and said to Him “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts at which You nursed.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it.”

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