Over a year ago, I read a book that challenged the choices I was making as a wife and mother. Inspired by the author, I pulled out a notecard, wrote down a little "mother's creed" to myself, and taped it over my kitchen sink. We don't have a dishwasher, so I spend alot of my time at that sink, and I often glance at that creed. I can't miss it, really. And I am challenged, each day, to decide if I'm going to abide by it - or ignore its wisdom. I don't remember exactly what I was thinking when I wrote each of the little phrases by those pretty hearts, but here is how I attempt to live some of them out.
PRAYS. The apostle Paul told the church to "rejoice always, pray without ceasing, [and] give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." This could be the only advice I heed as a parent and life would go well!
My prayer life has always been my daily life. I set aside regular time to journal, but most of my prayers happen as my day happens, which means that my daughter hears alot of talking to Jesus. She understands that when we're upset, afraid, or worried, or someone is sick or in trouble, we go to God about it.
The other day, we caught a caterpillar, and she told me that she didn't want it to turn into a butterfly. I explained that this was how God made caterpillars, so there was no other option. She responded, with that precious childlike faith, that she would ask God not to do that. "Dear Jesus, can you please not let my caterpillar turn into a butterfly? Amen." I love that she saw God, not just as the creator of that insect, but also as the one who could change the way it was made!
PROVIDES. My role as a mother is to provide the opportunity and the freedom for my child to learn about life and her role in it. I provide daily necessities so that she is physically cared for, but I also provide emotional support, godly wisdom, new adventures, and a safe space for her to be herself. I model a life of thanksgiving to God for ultimately providing all that we need.
Maren and I talk alot about sharing what we have because it doesn't belong to us. She knows that God shares everything with us, so, out of thanks for his gifts, we don't withhold anything from others.
has FUN! I am really not a fun person, as adults go. But my kid wakes up each morning full of delight and expectation for what awaits her that day, and it is my privilege to share her joy. Many things in this life are NOT fun but she doesn't have to know that yet. Even better, she may learn (or teach me?) how to find amusement in the things we'd rather avoid. Every day, I let Maren choose at least one thing that she wants to do that day and I make sure that I am fully committed to having FUN while we do it. I don't have a biblical justification for this, but I do want my daughter to look back on her childhood and remember our silly moments. I think it draws us together.
has PEACE. As long as we live in this world, we will have trouble. We will be disappointed, discouraged, rejected, and possibly worse. We will suffer and we will fail. But if we have peace with God, through Jesus Christ, then our lives don't need to be ruled by our emotions, our relationships, or our circumstances. Instead, we can let the peace of Christ rule in [our] hearts.
A parent who possesses this kind of peace is not easily bothered when plans go awry or when children disobey. The peace of Christ gives parents the strength to respond to whining kids calmly, rather than enter into a screaming match. Christ's peace gives parents the ability to move through the day with hope and power and love. And ultimately, it points our children to the security of knowing and following Jesus - our Prince of Peace.
Of course, I am not perfect in this, but that's why prayer is at the top of my mother's creed! What about you? When you see my creed, what parts of it do you find difficult? Or how are you living out your own creed?