Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “Mom, since you and dad are getting divorced, does that mean when we grow up and get married we will get divorced too?” My ten year old rarely asks questions about the fact that his father and I are separated. However, his innocent, and slightly fearful question, shows much going on beneath the surface. “No. It does not necessarily mean that. Your Gran and Papa and your Maw Maw and Paw Paw have all been married more than 30 years. Every couple is different. But you know what? Even if you do grow up and get divorced, you will be okay. If you are a child of God you will always be okay.” Mothers are we teaching our children that they will be okay? Are you teaching them that within the hand of a Holy, all powerful God “all things work together for good?” Or are we instilling in them a sense of dread and fear in hopes that if they are careful enough they will walk a straight line that will not bring us shame? Our children need to know that life is messy, even for Christians. There is no magic wand or secret formula that is going to give them “happily ever after.” They will be happy, joyful and content when they trust their life to their Father, circumstances have nothing to do with. The peace of God has nothing to do with our circumstances. Children who grow up in fear become adults which base their choices on fear and outward appearance. Do I want my children to find wonderful spouses with whom they can spend a lifetime? Absolutely. They have many great examples of couples who stay together and thrive. But I want them to know that if that does not happen they will be just fine. If they never marry, then can be joyful Christians. If their spouse dies, they can be joyful Christians, if they get divorced they can be joyful Christians. If they have a houseful of babies they can be joyful Christians, if they have no children they can be joyful Christians. If God gives them a sick and crippled baby they can be joyful Christians. If they are rich they can be joyful Christians, if they are poor they can be joyful Christians. “Live today in such a way that your children know we will all be okay”
My six year old son sat on my bed, his shirt pulled up staring at his belly button, deep in thought.
“Mommy, why do I have a belly button?”
“It’s where you and I were hooked up to each other when you were in my belly,” I explain.
“Why were we hooked up?”
“It’s where you got your blood and your oxygen from me. It’s how I fed you.”
He smiled, “Now you feed me in the kitchen.”
The cord may have been cut between me and my boy six years ago, but like he pointed out, not much has changed. I’m still the one feeding him, washing him, holding him, talking to him, helping him, healing him (even if it’s just a kiss on a hurt.) I am still irrevocably tethered to this comical, blonde haired boy. The same is true for my other two sons, and my little daughter.
Invisible cords of connection stretch out from me to them nourishing them, feeling them, probing them to detect problems. I thought when I was pregnant that I would be so relieved to have them out here in the world free of the threat of miscarriage or of harming them somehow with what I was eating or what I was doing. I was terrified of falling and somehow harming the little child inside of me. Once they were born, though, the weight of responsibility intensified. Because now, not only are these children at the mercy of my possible clumsiness, they are at the mercy of every word I speak to them, every choice I make for them. Their spiritual survival now depends on these invisible cords tethering them to me as they watch my life, listen to my words and (help me God) follow my footsteps.
“Present your bodies a living sacrifice.” We mothers are a living, breathing source of energy that our children are feeding off of every day. Yes we cook for them, and wash them, and care for them when they are sick, and do everything in our power to keep them safe and alive. But remember today that our words, our compassion and our empathy is what will keep them alive emotionally and spiritually. You will forever be tethered to each of your children. Nourish them well.
Today I want to share a book with you that had a huge impact on me as a new mother. “Susanna Mother of The Wesleys” by Rebecca Lamar Harmon. I can’t remember exactly where I got this book, I believe my dad ordered it for me when he owned a Christian book business. Many Christians are familiar with John and Charles Wesley, but few are as familiar with their amazing mother Susanna. This book explores Susanna’s life and the tremendous impact she had on her HUGE brood of children, most significantly on John and Charles who were so instrumental in the great revivals of England and colonial America. Harmon has used a lot of personal letters between Susanna and her famous sons to illustrate how influential she was in their walk with Christ. I was especially touched with how strong Susanna was in the face of tremendous tragedy throughout her life. A great lesson in being a “joyful mother of children.”