Lately, God has been impressing on my heart the importance of being a mom.
I was a stay-at-home mom for 23 years, and I loved it! It was a privilege and blessing to be home with our kids and to homeschool them (well, most of the time)!
But there were many times throughout those years of raising our kids and teaching them at home that I wondered if I was stifling my impact in the world because I was home. Shouldn’t I be doing something bigger out in the world? Impacting poverty, or helping people somehow. I felt like I needed to do something “big and important”! I remember even wondering if I should put the kids in school and get a job again, or maybe volunteer in some important ministry.
In fact, I did end up trying to do some of those things while homeschooling. During much of our homeschool years, I tried to do as much volunteer work for our church and homeschool co-op as I could. I thought I needed to be serving God more, so I volunteered in children’s ministries, in worship ministry, in youth ministry, in women’s ministry, and I was teaching a co-op class, etc. (not necessarily all at the same time, but I usually was helping in several ministries in the same season). Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying you can’t do volunteer work while you’re in the homeschooling years, but I was doing too much volunteer work, and my health and family suffered for it.
You see, I didn’t completely recognize the huge ministry I already had right in my own home, with our four kids.
This last weekend, I attended the 2017 IF Gathering Online Women’s Conference with friends from church. There were some amazing speakers and some great challenges!
One of the biggest takeaways from the weekend for me was the reminder that relational discipleship was how Jesus did ministry, and it’s one of the most effective ways for us to do ministry as well. We don’t need to do “big things” to please Jesus, like solve the problem of world hunger or sex-trafficking, we just need to serve Him right where He has us, with those He has put in our lives.
And for mothers, those He’s put in our lives to disciple and minister to first and foremost are our children.
“Motherhood is a calling and a gift, there is no greater calling.” Susan Seay
As mothers, we have a huge influence on our children. The example and guidance we give our children will impact their lives more than we can ever understand. We need to guard against overlooking the amazing discipleship opportunities we have right in our own home! We need to take seriously our role in discipling our children, helping them to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul and mind.
As I ponder the last couple decades of my life, I see how God used me in my children’s lives in spite of my crazy notion that I had to do bigger things for Him than I was already doing in my own home. (Thank you, Lord!) God is working through each of our children in different ways now as adults, and my discipleship efforts in their growing years have effectively multiplied as they serve Jesus in their lives now. That’s how discipleship works, it expands and reaches more and more people as the person who was discipled begins to disciple others.
I write this post to encourage mothers everywhere, and especially homeschool moms who might be feeling a little weary.
The sacrifice and pouring out of yourself for your children is making a difference in the world!
If you’re a mom, the “BIGGEST THING” God has called you to is discipling your own children, helping them know the Lord their God better and better.
How can we most effectively disciple our children?
Lead by example:
Our children will learn more from our example than by what we say! Jesus also led by example.
How is your walk with the Lord? Is He first in your life?
“To love you as I should, I must worship God as Creator. When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.” C.S. Lewis, “Letters of C.S. Lewis”
Do you spend time with Jesus every day, reading His Word and praying for guidance and strength? Do your children see you spending time with Jesus? Do you pray with them and for them often? If you want your children to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind, then you need to love Him that way first! (Matthew 22:37)
We need to have our mind transformed by God’s Word in order to help transform our children’s lives and lead them towards God. We ought to love Jesus so much that His love pours out of us to our children.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2
Teach them using God’s Word:
There are so many great resources today for teaching our children about God and His character and love. A daily time of Bible reading is a great way to start your day.
When our children were between the ages of 4-11, one of our favorite Children’s Bible’s to read aloud together was written by Catherine Vos, “The Child’s Story Bible” There are just enough pictures to help the younger children stay tuned, plus it’s written in a way children can understand, yet it remains Biblically sound.
When they are old enough to read on their own, it’s important that they have their own Bible and that they learn Biblical history and how the Bible is organized.
Memorize scriptures together that will help them navigate life better; memorize verses on trusting God, living godly lives, etc.
Teach them to pray:
Seeking God and His help, praising Him and praying for others ought to be weaved into every day.
As struggles arise, pray with your child, showing them that God is the One who can help them. Remember to watch for His answers, and praise Him for how He responded.
When needs arise, pray together, and watch as God provides.
I remember we wanted a piano so our children could learn to play, and so my husband told the kids we ought to ask God to provide us with one, and in his prayer, he asked God for a “free piano”! I was surprised and wondered how we’d explain to the kids why God didn’t answer that prayer. But the amazing thing was God did answer his prayer! Within less than a month, we were offered a wonderful, FREE, piano! A lesson was learned by all of us! All of our children have served in worship ministry at some point in their adult lives partly because of that piano, and the opportunity to learn music!!
Keep in mind, we need to be careful we’re praying for the things that God would truly want us to have.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” I John 5:14
Teach your children to pray by your example of bringing everything to God in prayer.
Serve the Lord together:
God may have places for you to serve outside of your home as well. What a great example to your children if you have them help you in your service. Can you find ways to serve together as a family? That will have a huge impact on your children.
We were part of a church plant that met in a school, and our children often served alongside us unloading the church trailer and repacking it after the service.
They helped babysit for our small group meetings.
They helped me make and deliver meals to new mothers or others in need of help.
We helped pack meals at “Feed My Starving Children” together
Jesus taught His disciples about serving as He ministered to others with them right alongside Him, helping.
Praise God for this great gift of being a mother! Don’t let anyone make you think being home with your children isn’t important because it’s your BIGGEST CALLING!
God will use you mightily in your children’s lives as you seek Him and ask for His guidance.
I’d love to hear from you!
Please take a moment to share a resource or idea that has helped you as you’ve been discipling your children!