(in honor of my mother)
Sadly, this post might be a little controversial, but it doesn’t matter. Truth is truth. And the truth is my mom deserves to be honored. So, why is this post called “tornado watch”? Keep reading to the end; it’ll make sense.
This might be an unpopular opinion, but I really believe that simply existing as a mom doesn’t automatically make women into awesome mothers. Yes, they’ve participated in the miracle of bringing new life into the world, but from now on, that new life will forever represent the fruit of their continued labors (or lack thereof).
There is such a thing as a truly good mom, even in the midst of her inevitable bad days. I see so many women handling this sacred duty very well, and I’m inspired by their example.
However, the angry, confused voices of our postmodern culture are growing louder all the time—and the more I see the unhealthy trends they're drawing women into, the more I recognize and appreciate things my mom never had and never did. In many cases, the lack of those things contributed greatly to her success as a mother.
Slight disclaimer: none of these things are completely wrong. They can be fun and even appropriate in the right contexts, and some of them represent progress that wasn’t around when I was growing up.
However, many of these things are being taken to unhealthy extremes, ruling the lives (and therefore, the homes) of women everywhere to potentially devastating effect. I want this post to honor my mom and to encourage women that being a victorious mother is gloriously possible in Christ. And desperately needed!
So, if any of these shoes fit a little too tightly, please don’t kick them off. Conviction is a good thing if it promotes godly growth. And what woman doesn’t like shoes?
Child-free at last. Don't get me wrong. My mom let us know when we were pressing her buttons, creating chaos, or deliberately disobeying. She expressed her emotions, and they weren't always positive. But one thing I never heard her do was complain about us in front of us, verbally anticipating the moment when she could be without us. Her commitment to verbal thanksgiving over motherhood taught us that it was a noble profession--and probably helped her have a better day. Words are powerful!
Neglecting the wet cement. My dramatic, animated family has always loved music and movies and comedy. Entertainment taught us imagination, critical thinking, and empathy. (But only on purpose.) My mom understood the importance of those early years where we were essentially wet cement, absorbing concepts and realities that would become superimposed onto our identities as adults. The TV (and later, other screens) were doorways to our minds, and my mom didn't let just anything in.
Currently holding it together...with alcohol. I know not everyone reading this drinks. I'm not endorsing it or hating on it. But I am concerned by the trend that seems to hint that young moms can't get through a given day without a "hit" of some kind. My mom's main source of daily support was Jesus, and I'm just bold enough to believe He's really enough for every woman.
Domestic Martyrdom Even though I grew up watching my mom cook three meals a day every day, I never pictured myself enjoying cooking in my adult life. And yet, I have come to truly revel in it...and it's mostly due to the pride and joy my mom and grandma displayed through it. I understand that not everyone likes chores, but the negative attitudes being encouraged today at the slightest hint of a woman's "domestic" role do not represent the Proverbs 31 woman who takes delight in caring for her home and family.
It takes a village...but who's responsible? Community is essential, especially for a homeschool family, but while my mom kept us joyfully engaged in church and other activities, she didn't use these as an opportunity to abandon her responsibility. She was engaged in everything we were doing, friends with all the adults in our lives, and didn't let the pressure of anyone else sway her on matters of personal conviction about the culture of our home.
Overexposed. I'm about to age myself. My brother and I never saw ourselves in photos until they were developed at Wolf Camera and set up in an album. These physical records were sacred, and since they were physically at our house, you had to be intimately connected to our family to view them. I love the novelty of being able to record our lives faster and with better quality, but the rate at which kids are being plastered all over the internet is neither healthy nor safe. I can't overemphasize the beauty of fully experiencing a moment and keeping it sacred, fostering memories through storytelling, and guarding kids' privacy, (plus giving them a shot at humility).
"I don't want to force it." For this one, I’m going to preach a little bit because meeting and surrendering to Christ Jesus is the single most important thing that will ever happen to anyone! My heart breaks a little bit every time I hear the noncommittal note of the world in a mother’s decision to “not force my faith on my child. He’ll decide what he wants to believe.” This is not a biblical perspective. Does a child have to choose ultimately? Yes. Can you force your child to have an experience with God? No.
But if the Presence and Person of Jesus Christ was the tornado that reshaped my life, Mom was the “tornado watch” that created the appropriate conditions for the act of God to form.
God will pursue your kids, but home atmosphere is more valuable than you think, and you’ll be accountable to God for what you did to affect it. Don’t be deceived. Make the most of your role as an ambassador for Christ.
According to Bill Johnson, the author of Raising Giant-Killers: “The spoils of life go to those who believe that God has the answers for every issue. If you teach and apply His answers in your own life and parenting, you will shape the world for good.”
Mothers need to be encouraged to rest and rejuvenate and not do everything at once. But not at the expense of being told that they can do all things through Christ who strengthens them (Philippians 4:13)! We already have plenty of voices in our culture encouraging us to prioritize ourselves, and that’s good to a degree. But we also need godly cheerleaders to remind us what’s possible and what’s at stake!
To my mother...thanks for doing this well!
To every other mom out there…don’t give up or sell out. You really can do this! Christ’s strength is within you, and His rewards are unfolding!
Happy Mother’s Day!
I've added the link to Johnson’s amazing parenting book (which is so epic, you shouldn’t wait till you have children to read it):