The One Way to become a better Mom.

10:52 PM

I don't know about you, but I can get overwhelmed fairly quickly.

   Sometimes it just feels too hard to be good.  A good wife, a good mom, a good daughter, a good sister, a good in-law, a good aunt, a good friend, a good neighbor, a good Christian....we fill SO many roles and we want to be good at ALL of them!  We want to be GREAT.

    But we're human and so of course we fail, and fall, and stumble all over ourselves and make a mess of things more often than we don't.  We try to do it on our strength and so we pull up our bootstraps and we read more inspiring articles, and we feel like we maybe are getting this whole "excellence" thing down...and then we fail again.  And it can just get so overwhelming.

   It doesn't help that every which way you turn, there are a multitude of "solutions" for you, and they're all a little bit different.   Some are simple, some are complex, some are short, some are long, but they all start to stack up on top of each other and pile around me until I begin to feel as if I'll NEVER get it all right.

Those little numbered, bulleted lists just make me want to scratch my eyes out. Lists like:

10 Steps Toward Raising a faith-sharing Child
12 Ways to Pray for your Child's Future Mate
15 Ways to Make Prayer a natural part of your everyday Family Life
15 Ways to Please Your Husband
33 Ways to Spark True Womanhood
50 Promises to Live By

   In full disclosure, those are titles of actual articles on the Revive our Hearts website, and I am actually really interested in checking some of them out.  Ha.  And I'm sure they have great content! It's just with my personality, those numbers start to pile up in my brain and I feel completely overwhelmed after a while.   I get lost in the fog of, "What are the 7 things I should be doing every day, again?  What are those 18 steps to an obedient child?  How do I improve my marriage in 33 days or less?  What are the 4 keys to living a live of peace and joy???"  And I just want to throw up my hands in despair.

   And so when I heard that there is ONE THING to do to be the best parent you can be, my ears perked RIGHT up.  In an earlier post I referenced a podcast I've been listening to lately but I don't think I mentioned what one it can find it over here at the Revive our Hearts website but I just downloaded the app on my phone and listen to it that way.

   Anyway, a few episodes are from an interview by Nancy Leigh DeMoss with Bill & Holly Elliff, and man oh man do I wish I could meet that couple.  He is pastor of the Summit Church in Arkansas, and together they are parents to eight children, and you could just soak in their experience and wisdom all day.  I could listen to them talk about parenting for hours.  At times he was choked up with emotion just talking about his wife and children and the joy in their home.  I hadn't listened to them much longer than a few minutes before it was quite clear to me how much they loved their family, and valued each other.

   But even with their treasure trove of practical tips and parenting advice, for Bill it all came down to one thing, and one thing only, and I cannot tell you how refreshing that was to me to hear.  And here it is, the ONE THING YOU NEED TO DO, TO BE A GREAT MOM:

   "Do everything that is necessary to maintain intimacy with Christ, because everything flows from His presence.  You have Him? You have everything you need." 

   I don't know about you, but hearing that just lifted the heaviest burden off of my shoulders.  It's not about some magical 3-step formula, or the Top Ten list of whatever, it's as simple as intimacy with Christ.  Now do I feel like I've arrived? Like I've achieved that as much as I'd like?  Certainly not.  But recently I have felt my focus shifting from all of the ways I can improve my marriage or my mothering or my whatever, to how I can become more intimate with Christ.  And it's such a stop focusing on bettering myself and always feeling like a failure, to turning my eyes upon Jesus.

   And I do not have all the answers!  But I realize now that good parenting is not something that I can accomplish by getting all of my ducks in a row.  It isn't a formula, or a recipe.  It is something that flows from the presence of Christ.  What sweet relief. And Bill wasn't the only one with good things to say, his wife Holly had so many, many good points as well.
   "Be purposeful in prayer.  Sometimes we not only don't have the answer, we can't even identify the problem.  Sometimes, we just need to be grateful that God has given us access to His endless wisdom. Don't stop short of praying for your children.  How tragic it would be if they have the right kind of tennis shoes, but not a praying mom! Treat your children as though you won't have them next year.  Train your children as though they won't have you next year."  

   I'll leave you with that.  And now I'd love to hear from you!  What are some ways that you maintain intimacy in your relationship with Christ?

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