Like the season (which lasted more than three years) that my oldest decided she would only wear dresses or skirts. She was not yet two. Being the ever-comfortable, jean-loving woman that I am, my understanding of myself as a mom was somehow called into question. Do I force her to wear the adorable BabyGap jeans that make her diaper butt look so stinkin' cute, or do I save my battles for something more important?
She did not wear pants for three years.
And here I am at the brink of summer vacation with my five- and
So I've been thinking a lot lately about the kind of mom my children need. For a very, very long time as a mother, I didn't realize the truth that God chose me for my very children. Often wracked with guilt, I struggle with how do this thing called motherhood. Because I'm not qualified. Because I only rarely have any kind of a clue as to what I'm doing. And because I am so much better at dealing with the urgent in the moment than I am with setting my mind on what it truly important. Like staying inside with the washing machine all day while they are outside dirtying it up.
I would love to be the mom whose home it is that all the kids flock to at summer break. The fun mom who is always thinking up creative ways to experience and learn life. I would love for my kids to remember their childhood as one in which I was at the center of all the fun memories. What a fun mom I would be.
But the truth is that while it is important to help create fun memories for my children, who I am as a mom is not to be defined by that alone. I mean, I'm fun. But in a different way than that ideal mom is in my head. The truth is that God knew exactly what kind of mom these two little girls need. And as it turns out, I match the description perfectly.
That's why I am so loving this blog that is dedicated to helping moms like me be better at our specific callings as moms. A few weeks ago, several other women and I drafted personal mission statements in order to help us be more purposeful and intentional in our roles as moms. My life mission statement, I believe, is to live so securely in the love of Jesus Christ and love Him so wholly that everything I do points to Him. It follows, then, that my mission as a mom is to point my kids to Jesus by how I (1) follow Him and seek Him; (2) love them; and (3) train them in His ways. In other words, if what I do as a mom does not somehow ultimately point my children to Almighty God Himself, then I am not fulfilling my purpose. No matter how fun I am.
Remembering this focus helped me so much yesterday. I was watching my eight-year-old bury my five-year-old in heaps of freshly cut grass. (Can you say "itchy"?) And as I sat on the porch, I called out the ever-so-familiar guilty feelings for the lies that they were. Instead of beating myself up for not being out there with them, I decided to let them enjoy their friendship with each other. The one that I prayed would develop even before my second one was born. And I realized that sometimes getting the laundry clean is just as important as letting them dirty it up on their own.
Because I can point them to Jesus as I do their laundry just as I can point them to Jesus while I play tag with them. I can point them to Jesus in my prayers for their friendship with each other and with others. I can point them to Jesus.
And I will filter our summer plans through this very purpose.
This week's task is to come up with some kind of a summer schedule. One that involves making fun memories and finding Jesus together. It won't be rigid. Because that just wouldn't be summer here at our home. Rigid does not equal our family. It will, however, be well thought-out. Because the last thing I want is to waste three months worth of carefree summer days with my kids while they are kids.
How about you? How will your plans for this summer serve your specific purpose as a mom to your children? Maybe your purpose is to teach your children true rest (in Love Himself). Or maybe it's something different. I would love to hear some ideas...