When a woman becomes a mother, life changes, but you know what? She still has the same heart that she was born with; it’s that sinful one that needed redemption! It’s for that reason that God gives instruction that the older women are to teach the young women to love their children! It’s not always easy to love that child who asks a million questions (and that’s just before lunch!), the one who destroys her well-kept home, or the one who speaks disrespectfully and acts unappreciative of her sacrifices.
Love is tested, therefore, love needs to be taught.
Elizabeth George tells us in her book that the passage in Titus 2 is telling us that we are to be children-lovers. This kind of love is not the agape love that we received from God. This is phileo love which is a friendship kind of love. That doesn’t mean we become a buddy to our child, but it’s that friendship love that helps us not just to love them, but also to like them! There’s a difference, isn’t there? When a parent really likes their child, the whole atmosphere in the home is different than a home that has resentment toward a child and sees them as interruptions in their life.
When we love them with this kind of love, they are not a duty or an obligation to us, but our joy and delight. They are to be our next priority… The Lord being first and then our husbands and then come our children. What would look like in the home?
- A heart that prays. A poem in Elizabeth’s book reads,
Oh yes… I have a mother who prays for me and pleads with the Lord everyday for me. Oh What A Difference it makes for me… I have a mother who prays.
Don’t just pray for your child, also pray with them – in the morning, throughout the day and at night before they go to bed.
- A heart that provides. When we love our children with the kind of love that God asks of us, we will be providing the necessities for their daily living like nourishing food, a safe environment, schedules that help them to be rested and prepared, clean clothes and activities that will help train them. We must also be providing times in church and Sunday school and youth group. This is so much a part of the provision that we give to them.
- A heart that is happy. Can your family bank on the fact that when they see you you are going to be cheerful? A moody mom is not welcoming to her family. They should know that when they come home they will find us cheerful or predictably happy!
Psalm 113:9 says, He makes the barren woman to keep house and to be a joyful mother of children. Does that describe you? Perhaps you need to ask the Lord to help you to have a spirit that is overflowing with His joy. When we walk in the Spirit, joy is one of the fruits that will permeate our lives.
This chapter is also a reminder that we should be thinking about the countenance of our face when our child comes into our presence. Does our facial expression show that we are glad they are there? Because we have such a strong influence in our children’s lives, we should let them know by our attitude and our countenance that we love being with them!
- A heart that gives. This heart reflects the heart of our Heavenly Father. For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son. John 3:16 Christ came not to be served , but he gave His life a ransom for us.
Give because it is your role. Because of our adoption into God’s family, giving is what we do. Give the smile, the praise, the encouragement, the hug, the words, the listening ear, the treat, the special meal. It never ends.
Edith Schaeffer wrote a book called What is a Family? It’s an old book, but it is full of great, practical truths! In it she writes,
Someone has to create family memories and undertake the wondrous task of having the family become a work of art. Someone has to be the nest maker and interior decorator. Someone has to take time to pray and plan surprises. Someone must see the family as worth fighting for, worth calling a career, worth the hard work of training a child in godliness, worth the relentless tasks involved in running a home.
We may get weary and wonder why it is our responsibility, but we need to lay all that aside and ask God to give us strength to do those things because if we don’t do them, who will? Are you willing to be that person? Is your family worth righting for? Give because it is your role and also your privilege!
Give generously. The sowing and reaping principle applies here. We always reap more than we sow. We reap in a different season than we sow and we also reap what we sow. Will you sow seeds of patience or impatience? Faith or worry? Kindness or selfishness? Keep in mind that you will reap what you sow.
Give expecting nothing in return. As moms we give not expecting praise, good behavior as a result, or any other selfish motive. We serve our children simply because we are being obedient to our Father.
- A heart of fun. Is your home a place that is full of laughter and joy? Each family (each mom!) needs to learn to have a sense of humor. Learn to laugh at yourself.
Lay across the bed in your children’s rooms and talk to them and laugh with them.
Go out in the yard and play with them.
Make special occasions of ordinary days.
Celebrate little victories and accomplishments.
You will be making memories in the hearts of your children that are so precious not only to them, but even for yourself as you age. The memories of my girls growing up bring back hilarious moments of laughing so hard at the table we were crying, reading chapter books after supper, game nights around the table, gathering around a bonfire in the backyard with marshmallow-laden twigs roasting over the fire. What treasures these are in my heart as an older mom.
No, motherhood doesn’t “come natural” every day, but we have this good instruction from God’s Word and then His grace to obey. God can help you to love your child as you lean into His love for you. Love your child, and make some good memories today.
You can go here for more in this review of the book, A Woman After God’s Own Heart. Go here and here for some ideas for summer fun!