F – Follow Jesus…
Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus told His disciples, ‘If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.’”
Do you ever feel like your cross as a mommy is covered with peanut butter and jelly, rice crispies, play dough and a few other unmentionables? We give so much of our time and energy to this missional task of mothering, that it is essential that we maintain our focus on the perfect example of truly sacrificial living, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sometimes I think about how Jesus dealt with the disciples and how it is not much different than the situations we face with our children. The disciples would bicker about who was better and more deserving of honor, and I don’t know about your house, but my children want to sit in their favorite seat in the car despite the tears and pleading of a sibling, not to mention that last or largest piece of cake!
Jesus would also have to remind the disciples repeatedly of things He had already told them, which is exactly what we do with our children when we have “the talk” before we get out of the car to go into the grocery store and remembering that one time we didn’t have “the talk” and how we regretted it because the children acted like they had never been in public before.
In the garden, Jesus asked his friends to do one thing for Him, stay awake and pray, but they did the opposite, just like our children as they “but I just (insert excuse here)” instead of doing whatever was requested of them. And yet, each time as Jesus corrected the disciples, exhorted them, or redirected them, Jesus did so with love and mercy, with a genuine concern for their souls.
I must admit that this is where I find myself falling short. Every time I forget that James tells me to “count it all joy”, when I stop “giving thanks in all circumstances” and when I take my eyes off of Jesus and lay down my cross, my concern shifts to that of my desires – for order, to be appreciated, or simply to go potty all by myself – my concern is no longer for the heart condition of those around me, but simply my own ease. But when I put my eyes back on Jesus, when I take up the cross He has chosen for me, and I reorient my thoughts to His will, the joy of my salvation returns.
One thing that has blessed me significantly as I have been mommying these last 10+ years is also our next little sip…
F – Fellowship with the Church…
Hebrews 10:24-25 reminds us, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
What I love about the Church is that God’s people come together to share life and hold each other accountable to the Word of God and righteous living. I am always so thankful when a friend is willing to lovingly come beside me and say, “Hey, friend, I noticed the tone you used with your child earlier, it seemed like you could have been more kind” or when I get that call with what seems like devastating news, I have sisters who will cry with me, but also who will remind me of the truth of God, and of His plans for me. Being together with our church family also provides opportunities for others to pour into the lives of our children and family.
Of course, there are seasons when we are kept from the assembling together in person. The weeks and weeks with children passing a cold, or fever or tummy bug. The exciting time ahead, as your new baby arrives and you spend some time recovering from the delivery. Those are times when you can remember the fellowship in your prayers and look eagerly towards future fellowship.