Scripture tells us in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 (NIV):
“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
If someone would have told me 20 years ago that I would now be a mother to six (YES 6!) children, I would have broken out into laughter! Not because I didn’t want to be a mother, but because I never would have envisioned myself as a mother duck with a whole lot of little baby ducklings following closely behind.
Over the years, I’ve learned that God is so faithful in writing our stories, blessing each one of us with different and equally important gifts. Every woman has great value in God’s eyes. Those who have not had children as well as those who are mothers. And every mother who is blessed with the gift of a child, whether it be one or twenty, I believe has special favor in God’s eyes.
My biggest joy as a mother of six living children (and 3 in Heaven with God) is seeing God’s love poured out into the lives of my kids.
I’ve lived a lot as a mom to many. And I’ve learned even more. I’d like to share some of what I’ve learned along the way. Not because I have all the answers (I certainly DO NOT!), but because God does!
FOCUS ON WHAT’S IMPORTANT
I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, I used to read all the parenting books I could get my hands on. I read about every kick and every milestone to come. I listened to the debates on breast vs. bottle-feeding, disposable diapers vs. cloth, co-sleeping vs. baby in his crib.
I dug my heels in and assumed my position on each topic. And I watched as other mothers did the same, mom-shaming those who chose to parent differently than they did. But as my kids have grown up, I’ve realized that there are things that are important in raising children and other things that, at the end of the day when your child is an adult, really don’t matter as much.
As a mother, you do what works for you… for your family and your children. It doesn’t matter what the latest parenting trend is. What matters is that you are present and intentional in the lives of your children. What is critical is that you, as a mother, raise up children after God’s heart. Raise up children who are honest and kind, respectful and loving. After all, isn’t that what God would want from us?
From a practical standpoint, people always ask me how I do it. How do I make sure the homework is all done, tote kids around from activity to activity, keep up on never ending laundry and dishes? And the answer is, I don’t do it all. God gives me the grace to do what He has called me to do each day. Some days things go really well and everything get done. Other days, it all seems to go wrong, and my to-do list has nothing crossed off. On those days, I gently remind myself that it is ok if things are left undone, if those things carry over into tomorrow. Because tomorrow is a new day. We see this promise from God in Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV):
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
GRACE NOT PERFECTION
Which leads me into my next thought. Grace. I’m a strong believer that our kids need moms who make mistakes so that they know how to get back up and try again. They need moms who know how to say, “I’m sorry,” so that they learn the importance of forgiveness. Moms who can say with humility, “That didn’t go as planned, let’s try again and do it differently.” Grace. And they need moms who are able to love Jesus and give them a strong foundation in their faith, so that they know that He alone paid the price for that gift of grace and it should never be taken lightly.
Just as we as mothers are not perfect, neither are our children. They will fall, but we need to be there… not to catch them, but to help lift them up and point them back to Jesus.
I think grace, humility and a sense of humor go a long way in parenting our children to love and serve God.
EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT
Now, this is an understatement. My first three kids were boys and then I had three girls. Each one of my children are as different as night and day.
So, I’ve learned that what works with one child may not necessarily work with another. Rewards and incentives that motivate one child may be completely different for the next one. This can also be said for discipline and consequences as well.
My oldest son is growing into a wonderful young man. Engaged to be married and going into the military to serve and protect our country. I’m so proud of him for who he is becoming.
But he is as strong-willed and spontaneous as they come, while my third son is as easy-going as a night breeze. He can handle anything you throw at him and keeps on going.
So, I’ve learned that it’s important to parent to their individual strengths and weaknesses. Praise them for when they get things right, and gently correct them when they really blow it.
Each child has gifts and talents that are God-given and those should be praised and encouraged. As mothers, it is our job to find the best way to do so while celebrating their differences.
PRAYER COVERS EVERYTHING
When my kids were little, I remember how tired and worn out I was. Feeding, changing diapers, cleaning up messes, teaching… those were difficult days. But as my children have gotten older, I’ve learned that teenagers are much more difficult than babies are. My worries are much different. I find myself thinking about the choices they are making, the friends they are hanging out with, their grades, their relationship with God, etc. And with these worries, I’ve learned that I can only do so much. After that, I must give these things over to God.
He is in control of all things, including my children. I do my very best and then trust that He will take care of all the details of their lives. I pray for my children and their needs daily. I let God know my concerns and then ask Him to hold these kids close to His heart and work behind-the-scenes on their behalf.
Scripture tells us that is what God does for those He loves. We hear this in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV):
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
These are His children to begin with and He knows what is best for them!
As a mother to 6 children, I’m like any other mother. I lose my temper, I yell and I say things I shouldn’t say. But at the end of the day, I love my kids just like any mother does. I want what’s best for them and I pray for the choices they make. I think if we remember to focus on what’s important, strive for grace over perfection and cover our children in prayer, we will build a beautiful legacy in our children for God’s kingdom!
A Little More about Pamela
You can find Pamela nestled in a tiny Colorado town close to the mountains, with an iced caramel coffee in one hand and a good book in the other. She proudly proclaims herself as a Jesus follower, blessed wife of 21+ years, and a momma to 6 wonderful kids! With a passion for inspiring and encouraging women to seek Jesus in their daily lives, she radiates the love and grace of God in both her writing and speaking ventures. An encourager of women, ministry leader, and advocate for the poor, her writing will bring nourishment to your soul and joy to your heart.
She can be found writing at:
On Instagram @inspiredgraceforwomen