When I found out I was carrying a precious little baby, one of my first thoughts was, “will I be a good mom?” It’s overwhelming finding out that you are responsible for shaping a tiny human’s life! And so, I spent the first few weeks and months going back and forth between being first (and second!) trimester nauseated and how can I do this nauseated. People don’t say it enough: finding out you’re having a baby is completely overwhelming!
However, the longer I wait on our little girl to make her debut, the less I want to be a good mom. Actually, I don’t want to be a good mom. I don’t want to waste my time with that kind of thinking. Instead, I want to make sure that I am a Christian mom. That’s where I want my mind to be. Because ultimately, you can be a good mom without being a Christian mom, but that seems like a waste for someone who is a disciple of Jesus. Living up to worldly standards is never our end-all, so why would we make it so when it comes to parenting?
And so, I am not going to concern myself with mommy wars or opinions on feeding, wearing, milestones, etc. Frankly, I would ask you not concern me with those things either – the world gives enough pressure! Instead, I want to spend my days focusing on what God wants from me in this role and how I can best please Him through the new role of motherhood.
So what does God want from moms who are patterning themselves after Christ? The list seems pretty simple:
1: Teach your children about God
When you look in the book of Deuteronomy, you see that it’s imperative that we teach our children about God (and to love & see God) all throughout our days together (Deut. 6:6-9). It isn’t up to a Bible class teacher to teach my child about God. It isn’t up to the preacher to teach my child about God (except in our case, because her preacher is her dad, and it’s definitely his job!). It is up to us – the parents – to teach her to love and fear God, and to do that, I have to be doing that. I have to be loving God with my whole being and I have to be constantly striving to serve Him in order to teach my daughter to do that. It’s not about teaching her to be trendy or making sure that she’s the smartest person in her class. It’s about making sure she is holy; that she grows up to understand the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice and decides to rid her life of the sins that put Him on the cross. Ultimately, nothing else matters. She doesn’t have to have the highest GPA. She doesn’t have to be the best athlete. She just has to love God. That’s where my focus in teaching has to be.
2: Discipline your children
Our society is trying to get away from discipling children, but Christians cannot neglect what God has called us to do. Proverbs 22:15 still says, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.” We cannot allow our children to grow up as fools. We cannot allow them to go their own way, decide their own path, and choose their own whims over the will of God. Folly like that is what needs to be driven from them. “Because I said so…” will likely be a real deciding factor in our house, because our daughter has to learn that when authority tells you to do something, you do it. I want her to live her entire life doing things because God said so. If I don’t instill in her early enough that you do what (true) authority tells you to, she may never learn to respect God. So we must discipline. Even when it’s hard. Even when others disagree. But to do so, we must, again, be living our lives in a way that is disciplined — living life that is guided by the will of God and not our own will.
3: Don’t make your children your first priority
This one is the toughest one for me because I’m not at the stage where I can hold my sweet little girl. I’m sure when that happens, this battle is going to get increasingly difficult. But for now, I keep trying to tell myself over and over and over again that she cannot be the priority. My life cannot revolve around her. She cannot be the one I love the most. She cannot be the one who decides how I act. She doesn’t get to be dictator in our house. Instead, she must learn from an early age that God is my priority, not her. Then, she must see that her father is the person on this earth whom I love the most, not her. Our covenant started well before she was even imagined and our bond must last well after she is out of the house. Yes, she will take up the majority of our time for quite a while, but she still has to know that her father and I are one. We are the same team and unable to be divided so that she gets what she wants. The best thing I can do for my daughter is show her how much I love being a wife. I cannot let motherhood rob me of my joy of being a wife. It must simply add to my joy. And she must see that. She must see how much I adore her father, and how much we, together, adore our Father in heaven.
While this list seems simple, I know it is going to be one of the most difficult jobs of my life. And so, I would ask that you pray for me and the role I am embarking on. I ask that you help me to fulfill these commands without imposing your own commands on me. I ask that you bear with me as I navigate this new time in my life (with less sleep and likely less patience). I ask that you live a Christian life so that I can easily teach my daughter to follow the example of those around her, instead of having to constantly point out the inconsistencies and why she isn’t allowed to behave in such a way. I ask that you help me and teach me, but do so from a Biblical perspective and not a self-help book. Show me passages that can encourage my soul or rebuke me for not behaving a certain way. I haven’t done this before, and I know I will make mistakes, so please gently correct me in those moments and live a life I can imitate in the hard days and weeks and years ahead.
There are so many books and articles to read and videos to watch. There are so many people who want to tell me how to be a good mom. But I don’t want that. I want to be a Christian mom. I want to be a mom who is striving, first and foremost, to model my own life after Christ. Please help me on my journey toward Christian motherhood. And help the young moms around you who are overwhelmed with outside advice!