In the midst of pushing to get your homeschooling accomplished, wiping runny noses, making meals, and changing diapers, do you ever get discouraged? What thoughts go through your mind? Do you think that you could be doing something else where you might be more appreciated and applauded?
Did you know that studies of highly successful people in the business world show that they are motivated and thus successful because they have a goal in front of them? They set short-term and long-term goals, and those goals keep them doing tasks they might consider mundane and even boring, but tasks that lead to their eventual success. Their goals give them vision for the future that makes what they do today feel worthwhile. They aren’t focused on the task at hand so much as they are on the end product. They delay present self-gratification for tomorrow’s achievement.
This is how God says it, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18). I think that is essential to moms as well. Do you think about your vision? Do you consider why you are doing what you are doing? Do you have that goal sitting on your heart, pulling you through your day?
“… bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Is that your goal? When the milk is spilled at breakfast as you are hurrying to get everyone moved on to school, do you remind yourself of the high calling you have from the Lord to raise your children in the nurture of Him? Would that reminder help you calmly and patiently clean up the mess?
I know I failed miserably in my thinking for several of my early homeschooling years, and I suffered the consequences of impatience, anger, and even depression (see Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit). When milk was spilled, I thought, “Oh, no. Another mess to clean up. They are always making messes. I am too tired to deal with one more mess, and I have way too much to do.”
How different it would have been had this gone through my mind instead. “Thank You, Jesus, for these children and for each mess that they make. They are strong. They are healthy. They are energetic. Those are blessings. You are giving me the opportunity to show my children Your love. You are allowing me the privilege to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of You. I look forward to the day when my children no longer make messes, but are servants in Your army. That’s my goal, Lord Jesus, to raise my children for You, for Your kingdom, and for Your glory. Help me, Lord Jesus, to model meekness and gentleness to my children in the midst of something that can be as frustrating as spilled milk.”
Those thoughts lead to a joyful heart, a smile on your face, and an enthusiasm for your day—even when you are wiping up spilled milk, correcting a disobedient child, or refereeing a sibling squabble. I didn’t get it or understand it then, but I sure do now, and I know the joy and the power of thinking God’s thoughts rather than thoughts focused on me. I would like to see you free from the emotional trauma I dealt with in my heart.
Moms, your children are worth the investment you are making in their lives, and you are making a huge investment. Don’t let yourself be robbed of the pleasure your role as a mom can bring you by giving in to thoughts of self pity.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). God wants us to think right thoughts.
Could I encourage you to write down your long-term biblical goals for your children (no more than three), and then use them to help your thinking today and to motivate you in your thoughts, words, and actions? If that sounds intimidating, start with one (you can add to them bit by bit)—perhaps a goal like this one: that your children “… might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:10-11).
Try it today, right now. The next thing that you don’t feel like doing, but you know you should, think about its value to your children’s long-term spiritual growth. Talk to yourself about it. Take your procrastinating, “I don’t feel like it” thoughts captive. Replace them with the “this is worth it” thoughts. The next time the children are doing things they shouldn’t do, consider your privilege to help them toward their future as a servant of Christ who is fruitful in every good work, and get busy teaching them the Lord’s ways rather than feeling frustrated with them.
Long-term goals—that vision the Lord gives you for your children—they are a key part of helping you be a happy, productive, fulfilled mommy today—and they will help you, with the Lord’s strength, mercy, and grace, to see those goals met.
Trusting in Jesus,