Thursday, April 2, 2015

The More Kids, The More Sanctification: 10 flaw indicators in motherhood that point me to Christ

The more children I have, the more I realize my need for Christ-likeness.  I don't necessarily mean "I'm so desperate for some of God's peace because my kids are driving me crazy" type of need, but an understanding of my sinful human nature and how the only way I can improve my character is by striving to be more like my Savior.  With every child we add to our family I discover more about myself that needs to change.  Each one has a different trigger that stretches me and makes me want to implode with anger, react with spite, and show my ugly sinful self in all its nastiness.  It's as if God has so many rough edges He's trying to smooth out of my heart that He keeps giving me more kids and pushing me in more ways to change my character to be more like His.
Many of you can relate with similar scenarios of days that drive us to our knees, either physically or figuratively, to a greater realization of our need to be more like Jesus.  If you don't understand because you either never had children or are still single, let me enlighten you on common moments in my home.

-Screaming, wailing and gnashing of teeth over having to do a sheet of 25 arithmetic problems, 5 days a week
Girl drama.  
-Shoving, hair pulling and teasing/jeering from the back of the minivan as we go down the road.  If that's not occurring, then fighting over an electronic device, complaining about the volume of the electronic device, complaining about the temperature in the vehicle, or whining about a tummy hurting.
-Seeing my favorite flowers out of my flower bed butchered and in the hand of a proud child who wants me to have them.
-discovering muddy footprints on the floor, cabinet doors, and countertop just after cleaning the entire kitchen from top to bottom
-vomit on a Sunday morning.  Don't need to go into detail on that one.
-finding fecal matter on the carpet.  Better yet, in the tub!
-hearing a child scream they can't find their shoes when we are running late.  Or discovering two of the boys didn't comb their hair as we get into the van.  Or noticing someone is wearing a pair of pants two sizes too small and never even realized it until we got to church.
-constant fighting over whose turn it is to pray, recite this week's Bible verse, or lead in the pledges to the flags.
The chaos.  And the nakedness.  Sigh....
-sneaking of candy, then the candy found on the bedroom floor covered in ants.  And it has melted.  Into the carpet.
-arguing and whining over chores.  Every day.
-screaming at the top of their lungs while I am writhing in a headache.

These are just a few of the moments I've had when I can either choose to blow it and react like a heathen or choose sanctification.
I have made a list of 10 ways that my beautiful, gifted little blessings are pointing me to achieve holiness.  With every day I spend with them comes a moment at least one of these reminders comes to light.

At her very special, unforgettable big (happy?) birthday party.  
1: I am impatient.  I find it ironic that many people have told me in public "You are such a patient mom", or "You homeschool?  You must have a lot of patience!".  The answer is No, No, No!  I am constantly aware of my impatience, and though I've come a long way in 9 years since our firstborn came into our lives (bringing with him colic and sleepless nights for the first month), I still need to become more long suffering like our Lord.
"The Lord is slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression." Numbers 14:18a

2: I am selfish.  I want "me" time.  I shush my kids away when reading a great article I see on Facebook.  I never can pull myself out of bed before at least a couple boys have awoken, because I want a few more peaceful moments of rest before facing another day.  Being a mother can tempt me to feel like a martyr (remember the house-arrest post I wrote a few months ago?)  or remind me of a Savior who laid down His life for mine. "God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood- to be received by faith." Romans 3:25a 

3: I am in need of help.  Remember the song "I am a rock.  I am an island?"  That's all me, folks.  I refuse help unless I am in absolute desperation.  Got kids like mine?  You'll find yourself in absolute desperation fairly often.  Jesus came to save those who realize their need of Him, knowing they can't do it on their own.  If I am to strive to be holy, I must realize I need Him, every hour.  "The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one." Psalm 28:8

4: I am weak.  I crave sleep, chocolate, and coffee, not necessarily in that order.  I can't tote my 3 1/2 year old around on my hip, cook dinner, and talk on the phone at the same time (though I've attempted it for short periods of time).  I get headaches and have days when I am literally dragging me feet from either emotional or physical exhaustion.  I have limitations and can't carry the world on my shoulders.  Realizing my weaknesses makes His strength more apparent in my life.  "In the day I cried out you answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul." Psalm 138:3

I can't stand dirt, boogers, and other substances on the french doors.
They get nasty
5: I am never going to be perfect.  No matter how many times I try to implement the latest Christian parenting technique, how many new teaching pointers I get from endless sources, and how many sermons inspire me to godliness, I will never have it all together.  That's the curse of a sin tainted world.  We can try all we want, but we still will mess up.  This points me to grace.  A life lived in constant realization of the grace of God is a life growing in sanctification. "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me". 2 Corinthians 12:9

She may look cute, but she was sitting in a puddle of urine when I took this.
6: I need forgiveness.  I hurt my kids, a lot.  They always manage to forgive me, even when I'm too proud to ask for it.  Since I'm around my kids more than any other group of people and show the real me and not a glazed over, well-composed woman who can put on a smile in most any circumstance, they see my ugliest side on a regular basis.  It reminds me of my sinful nature, and points me once again to the one who forgives me every time I fail Him.  "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." Ephesians 1:7

7: I don't have all the answers.  No matter how educated I become, how many books I read or degrees I earn, I can't answer every question my children throw at me.  It's humbling, since I've accomplished so much educationally in my past.  This pushes me to the one who is omniscient. "Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit." Psalm 147:5

Mud.  I HATE mud.
8: I am a control freak.  Drop a wrapper on my floor or yard, I'll smack you upside the head.  Well, only if you're my kid, and it's more like a smacking with a tongue lashing.  If a child wakes up sick on a day I have plans, I fume.  If their behavior warrants a punishment that changes our plans, I want to explode.  I know in my heart when these events happen, I must let go.  The Lord wants control of my days, and I must submit my plans (and even the orderliness of my life) to Him.  "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes His steps." Proverbs 16:9

9: I am proud.  I expect my children to make me look good when we're in public.  When they disgrace me and Kris by yelling out in church, biting another kid in the nursery, or throwing a tantrum in the hallway, it enrages me to no end.  God desires brokenness in my life, not an attitude of wanting to be praised and admired for my wonderful parenting success.  "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.  A broken and contrite heart, Oh God, you will not despise." Psalms 51:17

Yes.  Micah said he hated the cave trip.
Only because he had to take a picture with his little brother.
10: I am unecessary.  The mentality of "my kids can't make it a day without me" isn't true.  They don't need me to survive.  Yes, they need a caregiver, and yes, they need someone to point them to Christ, but if I was gone, God would still fulfill his purpose for their lives.   The only person my children can't live without is Christ.  They need Him, and I must remind my children - and myself- that my parenting, educating, shepherding, and discipline aren't what sustains and makes my children thrive.  It is the grace of God, poured through my life, impressing them to also live for Him that molds them and points them to godliness. "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God." 2 Corinthians 3:5  

The bottom line is we all need more sanctification.  We can't stay satisfied with our present heart condition and spiritual maturity, but we must constantly push toward holiness.  For me, four kids going on five is the toughest and most effective method God is using in my life to remind me of that.
Maybe for you it is a difficult job situation, a rocky marriage, or a relationship with your family that is constantly pushing you to become more like Jesus.  For me, it's my kids.  I can either be grateful or I can push these reminders away and sit in complacency.

Fellow moms, I hope this encourages you.  I hope you can see through the aggravations, exhaustion, and errors, and notice what God is trying to use to make you more like Jesus.  There is a high purpose in all the madness of mommy hood!

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