Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reflections on Motherhood: A Letter to My Pre-Mom Self

Reflections on Motherhood:  A Letter to My Pre-Mom Self

22 years ago, I became a mom.  It was one of the happiest days of my life.  It was a day I had dreamed about since I was a little girl.  All I ever wanted in life was to be a wife and a mom.  I became a wife in June of 1991 and on February 21, 1993, all my dreams came true.  I was both a wife and a mom.

The next 22 years were filled with joy, sorrow, excitement, heartache, laughter, tears, three more babies, and all the ups and downs that come with being a mom. I have watched my children play, fall, and get back up again.  I have listened as they told me stories through laughter and I have cried with them as they told me stories through tears.  I have rejoiced with them in their triumphs and I have cried with them through their deepest hurts.  To my husband and I, they are our greatest, most treasured gifts.  Two boys.  Two girls.  Three of them have grown up beautifully here on earth and one of them awaits our reunion with him in Heaven.

With 22 years filled with all the experiences mentioned above, you might think I have a little advice to share and I do.  I wish I could have glanced into my future to see all the things I would do right, but also to change all the things I could have done better. Obviously, I can’t do that, but I was recently challenged, along with a few other bloggers, to look look back with reflections on motherhood and write a letter to my pre-mom self in honor of Mother's Day.  Of course, it won’t change my past parenting experiences, but it might help someone who is reading this right now to experience a deeper, more meaningful future with her most treasured gifts.  Here is my letter to my pre-mom self.  My points are in no particular order of importance.  If you are a young mother or someone who is about to become a young mother and you are reading this right now, pretend this letter is written to you.  You are chosen especially for your children.
 Dear Tina [Insert your name here],

You don’t know it yet, but you are about to embark on an amazing journey.  You are about to experience first-hand the earthly example of the relationship God has with you.  He loves you so much and He wants you to experience in the most personal way, the love He has for His children.  As you travel this bumpy, wavy, and sometimes very difficult path, He will be with you.

1.  Know that your children are not your own.  God is about to create new life.  He is about to create four precious human beings.  They are His.  He has created them to glorify Himself.  They are His precious possessions.  He loves them so much that He sent His own Son to suffer so that these precious lives might receive His gift of eternal life and someday return to Him forever.  Whoever raises them on earth will have great responsibility.  Motherhood is a high calling.  God has chosen YOU.

2.  God chose YOU for a reason.  God chose you to be the mother of four of His precious possessions because He knows you and only you are best suited for them.  He knows you can handle the events in their lives better than anyone else.  Whether you birth them or adopt them, He has chosen you to raise them.  He has entrusted their lives to you.  And by the way, you will only hold one of them for a short time.  You won’t understand it on earth and your heart will long to hold him until you are reunited with him, but you must know that his short life will not be without purpose.  Neither will your suffering.  Trust Him with that.

3.  Don’t compare yourself to other mothers.  There will come a time when you will feel inadequate.  You will look at other mothers and think they are perfect.  You will think other mothers are doing it better than you.  You will think other mothers have it all together while you are falling apart.  You will be overwhelmed.  You will think there is not enough of you to go around.  There isn’t enough of you, but there is enough of Him.  Take time away from the busyness and just listen.  Listen to Him.  He will tell you what is important.  He will tell you what needs to be done now and what can wait.  You must know that no mother is perfect.  No mother has it all together.  You might not realize it, but most likely, other mothers are looking at you and feeling inadequate too.

4.  Seek out the advice of older Godly mothers.  The Bible teaches us that older women are to be a help to younger women.  It is Biblical to seek the advice of seasoned Godly women.  Find one.  Find two.  Find several and go to them when you need advice.  Be careful though.  Seek out the wise.
“These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children.” – Titus 2:4
5.  Accept help.  You are an independent woman.  You always were.  You always wanted to do things on your own.  When it comes to being a mom, you can’t.  You can’t do it alone.  Let your husband be “daddy.”  Let him handle his fatherly responsibilities and don’t be afraid to let your mother or your close friends help you too.  God gave them to you too.   Help one another.

6.  Trust that God loves your children more than you do.  There will be times when you won’t know what to do.  The advice of others will make no sense.  Others will not understand and you will find it difficult to discern the voice of God.  You will feel alone.  When you don’t know what to say or do, He does.  Trust that God will speak to the hearts of your children when you can’t.

7.  Savor every moment.  In the beginning, others will tell you how fast the time will fly and you will know in your heart that they are right.  Then, one day, you will awake to teenagers and wonder how in the world you got there so fast.  Then, you will blink and your beloved children will be all grown up.  This will be difficult for you.  You will grieve for your children’s childhoods, but you will look back on your savored moments and they will continue to bring you joy.

8.  God’s plan for your children might be very different from your plans.  Later on, you will go through an especially difficult time.  You will cry out to God in agony.  This time in your life will be your most challenging time as a mother.  Rebellion takes on many forms.  The enemy is cunning and the battle for your children’s hearts will be intense.  Again, you will feel alone in your fight against the enemy’s subtle evil influences.  You will experience a time in your life you never thought you would face.  After all, Christian parents are not supposed to go through these things – or so you thought.  You will look up into the Heavens and cry out to God that your circumstances are not the way you imagined.  You will scream, “This is not the way it was supposed to be!”  You  must know that your suffering is not only about you.  Your children will sometimes need to go through circumstances you thought were unimaginable within your own family, but God intends this for good.  You will suffer for a time.  It will seem like forever but keep trusting Him with your children.  Remember, they really belong to Him.  After a time, God will pick up the shattered pieces of your heart and gently and lovingly mend them back together again.  He will give you a glimpse into His purpose for your suffering, His purpose for your children’s lives.  His plan for them is great.  Trust Him with them.

 9.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Don’t try to be a “supermom.”  Just be their mom.

10.  Last, but most importantly, don’t neglect church attendance and home Bible studies.  You and your husband will do a great job teaching your children the value of church attendance, home Bible studies, and choosing Godly friends, but it won’t be easy.  You will sometimes be so tired but always remember to prioritize Bible study as the number one weapon against the enemy.  He wants the hearts of your children.  Give your children their greatest weapons – Biblical knowledge and wisdom.
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6
Well, that is all I have to share with you right now, but there will be more to come.  Your children are only at the beginning of their journeys into adulthood.  It will be an amazing adventure and you have a front row seat.

Happy Mother’s Day! 

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. – Psalm 127:3-5

I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations. – Jeremiah 1:5

I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

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