By Carla Clemens
“Motherhood is a partnership with God.” ~Harold Lundstrom
Sometimes being a mama is just plain hard. I don’t mean middle-of-the-night feedings, sleep deprivation, or terrible twos hard. I’m talking about the “hard on a mama’s heart” kind of hard.
Author Elizabeth Stone said, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” As my kids have grown, this quote has become more and more true for me. With every joyous occasion they celebrate, my heart leaps. In every sorrowful moment they experience, I cry with them. When they make regretful decisions, I cringe with them as they walk through the consequences.
A partnership with God happens each time my heart is affected by what my kids are going through, which is really anytime I am watching or interacting with them. I suppose it began when they were born and I realized my indescribable love for them. Then the partnership grew during their young years when what they experienced was about growing and working through the stages of toddlerhood. But as the situations they face become more challenging or I am the one doling out consequences, I realize how much more I need Jesus.
I need Jesus to calm my heart and give me the strength not to swoop in and be the helicopter mama. It’s important for my kids to experience many facets of life. I want to give them opportunities to relate to people and conquer hard things. I even hope they are uncomfortable sometimes, both so they can learn which situations make them feel yucky (I know, what a mom word) and so they can allow the Holy Spirit to guide them through difficult experiences.
George Eliot said, “It is not true that love makes all things easy. It makes us choose what is difficult.” Jesus is the perfect example of choosing what is difficult. He loves us so much that he made the most incomprehensible decision—he died for us. He chose the cross for us. He chose to take our punishment, as I imagine I might for any one of my kids if they needed me to so they could really live. Not only did Jesus choose to take our punishment, but he did so knowing we still might not choose him.
Sometimes we mamas need God to partner with us so we can love our kids enough to let them experience all of life, both the easy and the arduous. We also need the partnership of God in motherhood so we have the wisdom to know when to intercede and when to step back. We need the Lord to help us give our kids roots so they know we are a safe place to return when life is overwhelming or they need help. As mamas, we must discover the balance of keeping our kids close and still giving them room to fly. Writing these words puts me on my knees, knowing that only God can provide all my kids need. He might be using me as the instrument, but if I want the music to be beautiful, I have to following the right conductor from the beginning.
Lord, partner with us. Lead us in mothering our children. Help us to be discerning of their needs and opportunities to let them grow as people with their own special gifts and talents. Help us show them a life led by you and a joy in our hearts both in you and because we get to be their mama. Let our kids see us choosing the difficult things because of love. Amen.
Scripture for Reflection
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 NIV)
“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance [patience], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22–23 NIV)
Reach for More
For a while now I’ve been asking God to reveal a specific Scripture verse or verses to pray over each of my boys. I believe speaking God’s Word over our children will bring blessing into their lives. Maybe you would like to ask the Lord to reveal some Scripture for you to speal over your kids too. When he does, paint the verse or verses on a plaque for their rooms, order them on Etsy, or get some wall letters to put them up somewhere. Or put them on a sticky note somewhere you will see them every day and remember to pray. (I am talking to myself on that last note.) Scripture is life-giving; let’s speak words of life into our kids’ hearts and lives and make it a habit that sticks!
Carla Clemens enjoys a crazy, beautiful life with her military husband and four sons. A baby and toddler interrupt her homeschool days in the best ways, and she is always attempting to live with mindfulness of each moment. She hopes to look at the world and each person in it in light of our amazing Creator and therefore, to see each moment presented as an opportunity to love and serve him more. Carla relishes time to ponder God’s Word and have quiet moments with him and her coffee. She loves doing life with other mamas and encouraging them to simply be who God has made them to be.
Photograph © Bethany Beams, used with permission