Over the past several years of parenting, no one has had a greater influence on my parenting heart than Sally Clarkson. Though I’ve never met her, I feel a kinship with her. Though she is a generation older than me, her past struggles are the ones I work through every day. I know, so mushy! But it’s totally true. I can’t tell you how many times her writing has brought me to tears because it’s like she’s reading my innermost thoughts- those ones I’d never voice on my own.
So as the new year kicks off, I’m rereading my favorite book by Sally, “The Mission Of Motherhood.” And since it blesses me so much every time I read it, I want to share a little bit of it with you. If this blesses you, please, please go get her book. It won’t let you down!
Chapter 4 – The Servant Mother | Mothering With The Heart Of Jesus
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
When I first opened this chapter, I realized that I’d never thought about this verse in the context of mothering before. But if it applies to friends, how much more should it apply to our children?! We are to disciple our children, right? Yeshua served His disciples. He gave of His life in a literal way. We will most likely not have to do this, but were can give our lives in service every day. Every time you have to set aside that cup of coffee you just poured, or trade a moms night out for a child-date, you are sacrificing of your own life. You are demonstrating the greatest kind of love.
A few powerful thoughts from Sally:
“Choosing to be a servant mother means willingly giving up myself, my expectations, and my time to the task of mothering – and choosing to believe that doing so is the best use of time at that moment.” (page 66)
“I made a decision in my heart years ago, as I began to understand this principle, that God did not want me to resent my children for taking up my time. Neither did he want me to make them feel guilty for the sacrifices on had made on their behalf. I was called to give up my rights simply out of my love for Jesus. If I had struggles and complaints over the years for these issues in my own life, they have been between me and the Lord, not between me and my children.” (page 69)
“My children didn’t need me to be on top of all my chores or even to be perfect in taking care of all their need. What they need was for me to be content and patient with life. They needed me, as a mature Christian, to walk by faith that God was in control, allowing His Spirit to give me peace and joy in the midst of life’s inevitable ups and downs.” (page 72)
This is one of those areas that I’m constantly trying to find balance on. I have a habit of not taking time for myself to be refreshed- giving until I crack. So I’ve been working on finding time for myself again- daily quiet time, reading encouraging blogs while I put Avigail to bed, cups of tea throughout the day, etc. I’m working on going for quality over quantity in those set aside times. And it’s working pretty well. Most days. But what about those days when I feel like I’m losing my mind? Those days that I melt down to a teary, depressed mess?
I think this chapter comes at a perfect time for me. It gives balance on the other side of the equation. Yes, time for refreshing is critical. But when that time is found interrupted by the myriad needs of my little ones, the messes, dirty diapers, and arguments, what happens then? I don’t have the right to throw a pity party or become resentful of my responsibilities. I just don’t. Because, ultimately, I’m serving my Lord.
So, this week I’m trying to remember this elemental fact: I am serving the Lord by serving my children. My attitude to them is ultimately to God. And I want to be the kind of mother who really does demonstrate the servant heart of our Master to my children.
I’m working on compiling a list of practical ideas for serving my kids! Will you take a moment and comment with something you do for your children to serve them?