Christian Freedom & Parenting, Part 4: From a Mother's Perspective by Karen Cheong

UncategorizedAdministrator3 Comments

It is interesting how becoming a mother really brings out “the mother bear” posture.

I have been a mother for almost 26 years and during these years, the Lord has taught me so much about myself and about Him!  I remember hearing for the first time, “You are pregnant Mrs. Cheong!”   Robert and I were so excited that we were going to be parents and at the same time, we were scared to death for many reasons.  The emotions can go from

(1) “Yes!  We are going to be great parents, we know what we are doing, we are ready!” to (2) “Pregnant?  I am scared to death!”  Regardless of your response, the fact is, Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord. (Psalm 127:3)  And yes, during those parenting years, our gracious God is at work in each one of us in many ways.  He is exposing our sinful hearts and showing us our great need for Him!

It is interesting how becoming a mother really brings out “the mother bear” posture.  We become very protective of our children.  We love them and want to take care of them in the very best way.  We want them to grow and prosper and if we were completely honest here, we would say we want others to see our children as “precious, adorable, and perfect.”  In our quest to raise our children in the very best way, we read lots of books, ask our pediatrician, ask other mothers, ask our own mother, consult the internet, etc.  Our hearts’ truly desire what is best for our children.  We agonize whether we will deliver naturally, or with a doula, or to breastfeed, to use cloth diapers (you fill in the blank), but instead of deciding what is best based on the opinions of others, we need to decide what is best for our own family.

I am afraid that in our zeal, we sometimes hurt those in our path.  The women who were not able to deliver naturally, or couldn’t breast feed, or don’t home school or whatever it is, aren’t “doing this parenting thing right.”  We have indeed allowed our pride to overtake us.  We have allowed our self-righteousness to cloud our vision.  We have allowed our decision to define us.  “I am doing this in a right way” and because you aren’t doing the same thing I am doing, you are wrong.  Okay!  So we don’t come right out and say that, but if we looked deeply in to our sinful heart, we just might see that attitude or posture.  Is this truly living a life that adorns the gospel?  Is this loving others as Christ loves us?   All that we do should be done out of love; love from the Father through us, to others.  Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:14.

In Philippians 2:3-5, God tells us, Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.

As mothers, we must remember that the decisions we made about natural childbirth, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, etc. were decisions made for OUR FAMILY and our family alone.  Just because this is “how we do it” doesn’t mean that is THE WAY for everyone to “do it.”

I pray that you might take the time to see if there are any ways in which you may have hurt a sister in Christ.  Have you spoken to or inferred in your speech that the ways in which someone else “is caring for her baby” isn’t the “right way?”

Are there any opportunities that you need to take by going to a sister in Christ and confessing your sin of self-righteousness or pride and ask for her forgiveness?  The Lord is growing and teaching us more and more about ourselves in our lives as mothers.  I pray that we will all be found faithful to honoring the Lord in our attitudes and actions toward others.

Simple Grace for Busy Moms

UncategorizedJared KennedyComment

Image for Article A few weeks back, Sojourn Community Groups Director, Mike Crowe, placed a copy of a Modern Reformation article in my box.  The article, Simple Grace, Simple Growth by Kate Treick (March/April 2009, vol. 18.2), contains some faithful encouragement for busy mothers.  Here are some best excerpts:

I'm not a monk, I'm a mother!  In fact, I am a mother of two children under the age of two. My days are filled with sippy cups, bottles, diapers, Elmo, crayons, chores, church activities, and occasional moments of coveted nap-time solitude.  My individual spiritual practices? Let's just say they don't involve hours spent alone under trees with my Bible imagining myself as Mary Magdalene.  A few moments reading Scripture, and prayer for friends and family as they pass through my mind.

Sanctification is not a work we undertake through various methods and disciplines, but an amazing act of God's grace.  We simply turn to him in our brokenness and receive from his this treasure of grace as he makes us more like Christ.  This is fundamentally different from believing that it is up to you to cultivate spiritual growth through the faithful practice of spiritual disciplines.

As the Old Princeton theologian Archibald Alexander affirmed, our spiritual growth is no found in our own attempts at devotion.  Instead, "To be emptied of self-dependence, and to know that we need aid for every duty, and even for every good thought, is an important step in our progress in piety."  I don't know about you, but I find comfort in this fact, even as it sobers and humbles me.

If I see retreats or even time for personal Bible study as the fundamental component of my spiritual growth, it is easy to become self-absorbed in my spirituality.  But if my spiritual life is shaped by meeting with God in the presence of his people and hearing the Word preached by someone set apart to preach it, then the chance of me focusing only on what I want to hear is somewhat lessened.  There I am reminded that it was not something I did that made me part of God's people, any more than any other Christian person; rather he chose me to be part of his people (1 Peter 2:9-10).  I am part of his Bride.  The gathering of his people is to his glory, and to spend time with his people is to my great benefit.

I experienced this last Sunday.  I had rushed to get to evening church, setting up my toddler with a few bites of supper while I fed our three-month old baby.  After a drive bombarded with the sounds of Elmo and his Sesame Street friends, I deposited my daughter in the nursery, and, finding my usual side-door entrance locked, hurried up the long hill to the front of our church.  I careened into the foyer, my beeper from the nursery falling out of the diaper bag and sailing across the floor...  And then I encountered God.  Not with flashes of light and angels singing, but in the sweet voices of the men and women around me as they began to sing his praise...  [Our pastor] reminded us that we often seek that which only gives temporary satisfaction, and Jesus would draw us to be satisfied in him.  We turned to the Lord in prayer, asking him to help us find our satisfaction in him.  Then I came forward to receive the Lord's Supper...  I knew that my satisfaction is in Christ alone, and that I need this time with his people to remember that.  I can count on the Lord to use these means of grace to bring his spiritual work in me to completion and to glorify himself in the midst of it all.

Be encouraged.  Christ is our sufficiency and satisfaction.