Contributed by: Sandy Evans, mother of four grown children
Like many of you young mothers, I was once a young mother a number of years ago. Today, I am “Mimi” to my grandchildren, all 13 of them. When I was growing up as a young girl I knew that one day I wanted to be married and have children. In 1972, when my two little girls were 3 and 1, I was introduced to a personal relationship with Jesus and my life was never the same again. Up until that time I was a good mother with high expectations for this journey in my life, but I can admit that my relationship with Christ opened my eyes to His plan for my life as a mother and as a woman.
As I began this new journey, prayer and the application of Biblical principles became my goal. Was I a perfect mother? Of course not, but it got a little easier as expectations of myself and of my children began to change. My journey of motherhood began with great joy as I held each of my four children in my arms upon birth. Each of my children were a joy beyond words. As you know, each day is different whether you have one or more children and each child is different from the other. It still amazes me at their differences. Children have different personalities, different behaviors, different God-given gifts and talents and frequently we find ourselves as mothers wondering how we’re ever going to master this challenge of raising these little creatures. Well, I don’t know if I ever mastered it, but I tried very hard to do my best at whatever I was faced with. I learned that being a mother requires all the characteristics of Christ to face each day, particularly patience, when you’re a mother.
There were times when, in utter exhaustion, I had to care for these little people meeting their every need each day, seven days a week being pulled in different directions at once, calming little “boo boos,” separating feuding children, fussing when necessary, preparing meals, doing laundry, keeping the house tidy, and running them to this or that, which went on for many years. “Time outs” were not something I was familiar with when I was raising my children so they got spankings whenever necessary and I will honestly say that my boys got a lot more than the girls! There were days when I was ready to pull my hair out, run away and often wondered how was I going to survive this and wondered as well if I was really a good mother. I was always reminded that I was not alone in this journey. He was there with me through it all, holding me up when I was exhausted, pushing me along when I needed it, encouraging me through His word every day. I have never, ever regretted being a mother and I’ve often told my children as they are raising their own that one day they would look back on those challenging, exhausting, fretful, tiring days and realize that they were the best years of their lives. I can honestly say that my two older daughters have both said, “Mom you were right. They were the best years!”
When our children are little, their needs and demands can sometimes bring a mother to tears. As they grow older they will test the waters, and may stray from the tight grip you had on their lives when they were little. But one thing is for sure and that is that God’s Book of Truths for life (the Bible) and His promises will be kept. When you feel you’re at your weakest or maybe you might feel like you’ve failed in some way, never stray from the promises of God. He will be there through it all giving you the faith and strength to persevere. He knows that we are human, not yet perfect, in His sight, for that will not come until we reach Heaven’s gates. So when you feel as if you’ve really messed up in some way with your children, don’t fret, He’s not finished with you yet. In our humanness we will fail, but that’s His way of showing us that we need Him every moment of every day. For young mothers I would encourage you not to set your expectations for yourself or those of your children too high. You will stumble and you will respond to their ever-demanding needs in ways that you wish you hadn’t. Remember, the Lord doesn’t expect you to be perfect, He expects you to trust Him and let Him continue molding you into His image and believe me that takes a lifetime. Tell your children you’re sorry, ask for forgiveness and let them know that you love them even when they’re naughty. Don’t get caught up in keeping a perfect house—kids don’t care about that. They want you, they want your attention and they will forget the “time outs” or spankings and will continue on that journey with you. Your role as a mother is to train them in the ways of the Lord and your children will most assuredly will rise up and call you blessed! The Proverbs are filled with words of guidance and encouragement for mothers of young children and it has been hard for me to pick one verse that would encompass what I’m feeling as a write this. So I encourage you to take time to read through Proverbs to help instruct you and mold you into the mother that the Lord wants you to be. You are blessed because you are loved by the King of Kings. He cares for you and so do those little ones that He’s placed in your care!