My mama and I have a great relationship. She homeschooled me from preschool until I graduated high school, and she continues to teach me things to this day. We sat and talked about motherhood from our two generations. Here is an overview of some lessons from my mama.
When I was a little girl, I think I would have said I was a daddy’s girl. Now that I am an adult, my mama might be my best friend. That being said, as I was growing up, she didn’t try to be my friend. Listening to others has taught me how important it is to be a parent, not a friend. That seems especially in the formative years of your children’s lives.
When I think about who my mom is, I think about a woman who wakes up early in the morning to spend time with God. A wife who loves her husband even when marriage is not easy. I interviewed her, and asked her many questions. Finding out how she sees herself as a mama, and not just how I see her, mattered to me
Who My Mama Is
One of the first questions for the interview was what she felt most criticized for, and she said she felt most criticized for not being consistent and not being ordered. She’s not the neatest person, and we always had clutter around when I lived in my parent’s house. I wonder if that is why my house looks the way it does now, but she was consistent in the most important ways.
I remember going through normal puberty issues and feeling overwhelmed with emotions. She told me we would make it through it and pointed me to Jesus. In the mornings, she would read the Bible out loud to us (her children) as we ate breakfast and then have us pray out loud individually. I didn’t always love it, but she didn’t force long prayers. As my relationship with Jesus grew, that became a beautiful time each day and my prayers got longer. There is nothing more beautiful than communing with Jesus with your family. Maybe she is a little scattered, but she was consistent where it counted in my life and the lives of my siblings. The lesson of loving Jesus is one Mama really reiterated.
Teaching Her Children
She also used to read books out loud to us. She learned to really love reading through homeschooling and passed on that love to her children, though I would say the love of reading is learned through practice as well. Her reading out loud helped that practice. She once read a book called Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. A snippet was read at a baby shower for my mama when she was pregnant with my younger sister. It talked about the beauty of children even when others only see difficulties. It became one of her favorite books. When she read it out loud to us, I found that the main character’s life had difficulties and she had to surrender her children’s lives to the Lord because she couldn’t keep them breathing.
That thought is something that my mama used to tell me often, especially when I became pregnant for the first time. There is nothing quite as incredible as having a child, and every second of your day is spent trying to make sure they survive and thrive, but at some point you have to trust that God is in control. He loves your children more than you do. During the interview with my mama she said the most impactful lesson in her life from being a mama was the act of continuously giving her children back to God.
Surrendering Our Children
Giving your children back to God extends so much farther than just their breathing. Mama would definitely say that knowing her children walk in truth is her greatest joy, but that is also up to God. You can teach your children in the way they should go, and then you trust the Lord that they will hear His call and follow Him.
He is good while mamas are fallible. That is why we lean on Him. He loves us fervently, and that Love extends to our children as well. We cannot make them accept It, but we can teach them about It and trust that the Lord loves them enough to do better than we ever could in their lives. That is usually easier said than done, and that is why my mama had to continually give us back to the Lord. I am so thankful for the lessons my mama taught us about Jesus but indebted to Him for instilling them in my heart.
Trusting God in Parenting
So much my mama has told me has left a forever imprint on my life, and other than having to give our children back to God, the thing that plays in my mind frequently (especially recently during potty training) is that everything is a season. There is good in every season and bad in every season. You have to just cherish the good, and remember that it will be over soon. When it is over, the bad part of this season will be over too.
My mama is still in the trenches of parenting as while I was in college she and my dad brought in two more young children. She is dealing with things she never had to deal with in her biological children, but she is learning all over again about the seasons and the good and the bad. She is teaching them the same things she taught us, and that is to love Jesus. They had a different start, but they have great parents now who are praying over them and teaching them.
During the course of the interview I asked her what the best advice that she had received in regards to parenting. She told me, “For my grown children, they know the Lord. They’ve been taught. Allow them to make their own mistakes. For all my children: everything has a season. There is good and bad about every season, so enjoy the good, and know the bad will pass soon.”, As we continued to talk, as she and I do, she added, “One of the best things I learned is that I can teach you and change you, but I cannot change your heart. Obedience is the goal not the end result. I am not responsible for the outcome. I can do my part to train and teach, but ultimately the choice is the child’s. Which is freeing in some ways, but also very fearful. People say “You’re really blessed with your children,” and I say, “I really am.” They say that I trained them, but it’s God. You’re not totally responsible for the outcome.”
Every day, God is continually reminding me that life is all about putting it in His hands. I don’t know why I don’t get it. Obviously, my mama was trying to teach me that from the very beginning. She may think she is blessed with her children. We are the ones blessed to have her as our mother. There is nothing greater that she could have done for us than to lead us to Jesus every day.
She is not perfect. There have definitely been days of frustration and even anger between us, but ultimately, I’ve always known she loved me. I could confide in her knowing she would take it to Jesus. She was and is a mama who wanted to nurture me in the faith of Jesus.
She has been my teacher, and now a friend. Not everyone has a mama like mine, and not everyone is going to have the blessing of a mother teaching them about Jesus. Ultimately, we look to Christ as the greatest example for motherhood, just like my mama did. We eventually let our children leave our homes and pray and trust that God will take care of them. There is nothing more important she could have done for me. She still trusts that God has my heart, and He will take care of it.