Do you consider motherhood a ministry? I am learning more and more that not only is motherhood a ministry to my children, it is a ministry from the Lord into my own life!! God has shown me more of His grace as a mother than probably any other role in my life. I am so thankful for the 3 blessings God has given me that keep me humble, on my knees, and daily dependent on His grace in my life.
Sally Clarkson’s blog has been a source of encouragement for me for a long while now. I have also read many of her books that have encouraged me in my role as mother greatly. Most recently, Sally’s posts like this one, First Time Obedience, Really? have come to give me freedom from guilt as a mother. Right now, I am enjoying the beginning of the book, The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ’s Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children.
For some reason, as a first time and young mom, I relied heavily on strict, authoritarian parenting methods that were very lacking in grace. I got caught up in Babywise, letting my babies cry it out, just the phrase “first time obedience” made me feel like a terrible mother – because I wasn’t seeming to prove consistent enough to ever demand first time obedience from my 3 children in 3 years. I was tired. I was worn out. I was depressed. And, on top of that…every time I heard the mention of “first time obedience” I cringed and cried and felt tremendous guilt.
**As a side note: I do not judge anyone who does use these methods!! For me, they caused a lot of regrets that I still have trouble letting go of even today…but that is not to say that parenting is a “one size fits all” because I know it is not. Praise the Lord that God’s grace and love covers a multitude of sins and a multitude of parenting styles!! I do not share these details to bash any certain parenting method, but to share my own parenting journey.
In just the past few years, though, God has done such a work in my heart in regards to His grace. I just know that the way He loves me is how I want to love my kids…for me, at this stage, that is what is most important to me. When I think of God, that is how I want to parent…and His ways are vastly different from my own fleshly parenting tendencies!! That is why I need His grace so very desperately each and every minute of every day.
In the first chapter of the Ministry of Motherhood, Sally tells the story of Peter.
“Peter was a strong, active man. He was used to making decisions, being dependable. It was natural for him to assume that by his great effort he would ‘help’ the Lord get his message to the world. Yet Jesus, knowing the need of Peter’s heart, allowed him to find out differently. He allowed Peter to fail spectacularly so he would finally understand that grace was the key to serving God and his kingdom. Not by his own strength and courage, but only by God’s constant grace and mercy would Peter be able to deliver Jesus’ message to the world – a message that would then be wrapped in the grace and mercy he had come to know so well.” — The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ’s Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children, p. 27.
Ahhh…isn’t that just the most freeing thing you’ve ever read?? Now I understand why God gave me 3 babies in 3 years. Now I understand why He allowed me down the path of depression. Now I understand why friendships have ended. Now I understand my own major failures…
He allows me to fall so that I will see my great need for Him and His grace. He has allowed me this personality – which I often don’t like very much – to show me how very dependent I am upon Him. He has allowed me to walk this journey called life, full of ups and downs, to show me that I really am completely incapable of doing this on my own.
This grace that is big enough to cover my parenting mistakes is also big enough to capture the hearts of my children — regardless of their inadequate mother!!
This grace that is big enough to help me find moments of joy in the difficult months of depression is also big enough to draw my children to Himself — regardless of my weaknesses.
This grace that is big enough to pull me from the muck and mire is also big enough to lead my children on their own journeys – through their own ups and downs — regardless of my lack of consistency.
God’s grace is bigger than any mistake I could ever make as a mom.
Isn’t that a beautiful thing??
Oh, the freedom that Christ brings…
**Today I am linking up with Laura at Beholding Glory for her Brag on God Friday’s…I am bragging on the grace of God that is being poured over my life each and every day.
There is a fabulous summer book club going on right now with this book, but when I first saw it being announced I felt like I was not supposed to sign up for it…it involves a message board, blog posts, a schedule. ha! No, usually I love online book clubs like this…but I just didn’t feel I needed another commitment at this time. So…I picked up the book to read on my own. And I am definitely enjoying the videos that Sally Clarkson is doing for the book club even though I’m not posting on the message board or involved in a group. (You can find these videos and the study guide for this book club on the Good Morning Girls blog.)