In the coolness of the evening hours, I thrive in the simple, quiet beauty of the outdoors. Oftentimes, I'll savor a few minutes alone, tending to plants in my developing landscape. Though I'm not an experienced gardener, I'm learning as I go and enjoying the process. As for now, cultivating growth seems rather simple and formulated. I water, plants grow. I weed, prune, and fertilize, and they thrive. Blossoming flowers and luscious leaves applaud my time and effort.
Unlike gardening though, cultivating growth in my children, especially spiritual growth, is challenging. It's not a simple process, and part of the reason is because it's complicated by my own shortcomings. Can you relate? In Genesis 1:28, God commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply”, and in Matthew 28:19, Jesus told his disciples to “make disciples of all nations”. One of our purposes as moms—our mission—is to advance God's kingdom by multiplying followers of Christ.
How often do we think of fulfilling our mission at home though? Why do we struggle to live intentionally?
We are distracted.
We live in a highly distractible society. What's stealing your attention away from your kids? For me, my unrealistic “to do” list distracts me. (Not that a list is wrong because the Lord knows my family needs clean clothes and dishes!) The more my list consumes me though, (or any other distraction) the less time I spend connecting with my children.
We are surviving.
As moms, we're not thinking of ministry because we're living in survival mode. We're hoping the next stage of years will bring us to an oasis. We hide in our laundry rooms with our precious escapes, anticipating bedtime, when we can have a moment to ourselves. We settle for “good enough” in our weariness.
We want praise.
There's little praise in this high calling of motherhood, and yet, we long for affirmation. Sowing seeds of eternal value sometimes go unnoticed by others—both in the sowing and waiting, but God sees them. And the One who sees everything is the One who can lovingly affirm us.
We lack focus.
There's so much brokenness in the world! Can't we help everyone? As a recovering “Martha”, (Luke 10:38-42) I can assure you, it's not possible. Doing too much, even with good intentions, can scatter us and threaten the focus of our mission. We may even end up neglecting our families.
How, then, can we live more intentionally as a God-honoring mom?
Abide in Christ.
Jesus said in John 15:5, “'I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.'” (ESV)
Did you get that? Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing. No plan, no striving, and no amount of chocolate or coffee will help us to be a better, more intentional mom. Only Jesus is our hope. As we abide in him, he will reveal our distractions, give us rest in our weariness, give us affirmation of his love, and guide our focus. He will lead us to repentance and produce the patience, gentleness, and self control we need, (Galatians 5:22-23).
Though cultivating spiritual growth in our children is challenging, God's grace abounds in our shortcomings. We have One who faithfully tends to us as we remain in him. And those gospel-driven seeds we sow? Only the Master Gardener can germinate and cultivate the growth.
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”
Isaiah 40:11, ESV
Today is a special day because it's officially the beginning of my summer-long sabbatical from He Gently Leads You. (Although I'll be guest posting on at least one other website this summer.) Regular posts on this website will resume Monday, August 6th.
Until then, download a new resource I created for you: