Missional Motherhood

"As our children's first and primary spiritual leaders,
our job is to help them understand the difference between
succeeding in the world's eyes and living lives worthy of God's calling."
-Helen Lee

This afternoon over lunch, I was talking to our kids about God giving them each very special gifts.  I talked to each child about a few of their special qualities and then asked them what they'd like to do (professionally) when they grow up.  Our oldest, Josiah (7), said, "I want to be President of the United States!".  I responded with, "That's great.  Our country could use a good man like you to help us all out!"  I looked over at Lydia who responded with, "a pretty doctor."  I was taken back by her 'pretty' comment, so I explained how she is so pretty on the inside and how God can use her kindness to comfort others and help them when they are sick.  And then, I looked over at Eliah.  He looked back at me, paused, and then shouted in a raspy, could-be-a-two-year-old-smoker voice, "A BAD GUY!".  
Um, well, that's not what I expected.  I didn't have any wise words to give him at the time.  My first thought was, "I better start praying, training, and calling his 'Tio' who is a police officer out in Missouri.  Surely, he can convince Eliah that it is not cool to be bad....all while wearing his uniform, handcuffs, & gun."  

No, but seriously, I have been thinking since our lunch discussion as to what prompted Eliah to want to be 'a bad guy.'  Is it their sense of independence?  Their free-spirit?  Or maybe how TV shows portray them as cool, driving fast cars, & being crazy?  Well, if so, then I understand his response.  Eliah is a one-of-a-kind, extremely smart, do-what-he-wants-and-not-look-back kind of kid.  And we love every bit of him!  Am I worried about his response?  No, I'm not.  I know without a doubt that he is going to do great things for the kingdom.  Bad guy or not, God's glory & power can be displayed through everyone's story.  

Now, let me take this post up a notch.  What about the responses of Josiah & Lydia?  They have both stated really great professions of making a difference in helping those in need.  And in the eyes of the world, these are two jobs that are viewed as highly successful. 

I had to take a step back and reflect on my parenting style.  Am I pushing my kids to "be successful" as the world sees success?  To do great things and to be 'somebody' that will receive lots of praise and glory for their own achievements?  I would like to hope this is not true of me.  But, what am I pushing them to be?  Am I teaching them excellence for their own sake or for the sake of Christ? 

Here's what I do know...I no longer want to raise my children up to just "be successful".  No, my vocabulary & actions are changing.  I am not just changing for my kids' sake, but for my own grow and maturity as well.  Instead of walking the road of "being successful", let's walk the road of "remaining in Christ".  

John 15: 1-4 states, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me."

To remain in Christ is to be inseparably connected to Christ in every aspect of your life.  We depend on Him for grace and power to obey.   In our obedience to Him, we look to His Word for instructions on how to live our daily lives.  We praise Him, adore Him, and submit ourselves wholeheartedly to Him as authority over our lives.

Let me break it down further by using synonyms for "remain" paired with Scripture found in John 15: 
  • We "cling" to Him!  In our hardships, victories, and mundaneness of life, we run to Him.  We remain in Him to hold us, celebrate with us, and to get us through the day.  We share this genuinely with those whom may not know Christ so that they, too, can experience His love.  "Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15:4
  • We "live" in Him!  Where He goes, we go.  Where He moves, we move.  For the things that break His heart, may they break ours as well.  May we make a difference.  We share hope to the hopeless, love to the lonely, and healing to the broken.  We do this through the power of His name.   “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
  • We "wait" in Him!  For those who seek wisdom, He will give it generously.  Wisdom waits for it's time to speak and to act appropriately.  "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." John 15:7
  • We "rest" in Him!  In a chaotic world, He provides perfect peace.  In a darken world, He gives both light & life.  He sustains our needs and provides us with unconditional, everlasting love.  “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love."  John 15:9
  • We "stick around" Him!  We do what He would do and therefore what He has called us to do.  We reach out our hands to those in need because that's what He wants.  We do not neglect the poor.  We do not turn our head away and ignore injustice.  We do not forget the widow or the orphans.  We love as Christ loves us.  We share joy, grace, mercy, and forgiveness as He has shown to us.  "If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."  John 15:9
Isn't it amazing how a simple conversation with your children can turn into an amazing life lesson?!

Do you have any good stories to share?   I'd love to hear them!

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