I want to say what this article is not. It is not meant to degrade any ladies in any way. It is not meant to intrude into the liberty of a husband and wife to determine how many children that they can properly raise for the Lord. It is not meant to burden women with guilt for past sins that are under the blood of Christ.
What this article is is a call for women to come home again; not just in body, but in heart.
I hope to get past the smoke to see clearly the fiery darts of Satan that he shoots at his enemy: the mother and child.
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
There is nothing like the bond of a mother and a child. No one knows the needs of that baby more than the mother. The father can hold a crying baby and the mother comes in with that special knowledge of how the child likes to be held or rocked and the baby calms immediately.
A mother has gone from having a buddy in her belly to having a daily companion with whom to share her activities. She bathes the child, applies ointment to a sore bottom, and is the first to jump when he bonks his forehead for the first time. She loses her night’s sleep wondering if her child has died the first time he sleeps through the night.
She has a special helper who stares at the toilet when his mom (expecting again) is facing morning nausea with a toddler in the mix. He rubs her belly as it grows and is excited when he gets his first new friend at the hospital. He’s a big brother now you know!
The mother watches the child grows and learns his character flaws as well as the joyful part of his personality. She gets to sing him songs about Jesus when he is still in her arms, and hear him ask when he can ask Jesus into his heart as he grows. She watches his heart develop and as he understands the sweetness of the cross that he has learned at home and church since he was a toddler.
It is the mother who teaches her children how to behave with other children as she hears the first cry, “He hit me!” from an older sibling. She molds their character and actions because she has spent quantity time with her children and knows them.
She remembers reading books to them. She remembers teaching them their first memory verses. She remembers driving them to piano lessons and hearing them practice imperfectly. She remembers sharing the leftover brownie batter with a group of excited little faces. She remembers the battles of the wills that she faced with each of them, and she remembers the hugs and the sincere, “I’m sorry” between sobs when the victory had been won. Those children are hers for better or for worse. She gave them her heart, her tears, her time and her prayers.
THE MODERN MOM
I remember seeing a television show where a new set of parents were at an interview at the “best day care in town.” They really wanted their child to be able to go there because they wanted “the best for their baby.” Six weeks of maternity leave had ended and that precious baby was shuffled off to strangers. That doesn’t sound like the “best” to me. Some kids are “lucky” and get to stay with a grandma or a friend. The mom misses the largest portion of the child’s day and gets to give them a bath and send them off to bed. This pattern continues through pre-school, kindergarten, Jr. High and High School. The mom makes it there for special games and plays, and is a chauffer on weekends. She makes sure they have the best clothes, and the best after school activities.
This mom wanted a family in a picture, but not a family at home.
I was in a store the other day and saw a book ascribing stay at home mom’s as “Mommy Martyrs.” The idea of the book was how to find your “me time” and an identity outside of a being a glorified burp cloth. They knew that their child needed someone to take care of their needs, so the “mommy” became the “martyr.” Someone had to take the grueling job of raising a baby. Yet, a woman couldn’t be satisfied having an identity that revolved around the home. This was a book of how to escape becoming just another “mommy martyr.”
This stay at home mom resented being stuck at home with her child. That poor child will someday have to read that book and see how his mom felt about him.
I remember very briefly getting involved in a “work from home” business when I first got married. I balked at the idea and said that I didn’t want to get involved in something that I couldn’t do in the day time. They assured me that this business could be run successfully during children’s naps.
After I got my first order and went to a training seminar I heard the “successful” women saying that all they ask for is “three nights a week.” She went on to say how your children will see their mom as a hard working individual and learn the value of work ethic. They will see that their mom cares about herself and therefore the children will learn self respect. She said that the money you will make will “buy opportunities” for your children that they could have otherwise not afforded. She spent twenty or so minutes trying to convince these “work from home” moms why they should abandon their husbands and children in the evenings to create a successful business.
That “successful home business” mom was actually a harried, not home, saleswoman / delivery driver with children who were taxied back and forth in the car and left alone with a single dad in the evenings. But don’t worry, they were all at church together… most of the time.
A young couple is planning on getting married and the biggest decision they need to make sure of before the honeymoon is what birth control they should use. They don’t want children for several years after they get married so that they can focus on each other. The wife has a job so that they can have extras and maybe pay off that new car they bought.
Several years have passed and they went off birth control. They have a new baby, and the mother is now at home. She struggles with guilt, because she misses the freedom she used to have and is beginning to resent how things have changed. She wonders if things will ever be the same with her husband. She made sure she got back on birth control as soon as the baby was born, because she doesn’t think she can handle another baby. The husband fully supports the idea because he isn’t too comfortable only having one income at this point. It is hard to go backwards once you have had so many extras. They spend time reminiscing about how things “used to be.”
This family isn’t sure if a child really “fit” into their plan.
A young mother has had her “two and a half” children and has done her duty of raising them. The youngest has just gone off to kindergarten and off mom heads to her first job interview in seven years. She’s looking for a part time job so that she can drop her children off at school and make sure that she’s able to pick them up from school.
She finds herself exhausted after having gotten up with the children at 6:00am and gotten everyone home at 4:30pm after lessons. She hasn’t figured out what to eat for dinner. The laundry is piling up. The kids need help with their homework. Then dad comes home and wraps his arms around her in the kitchen only to get the evil eye, because she’s too exhausted to play games with him.
This mom could have stayed home, got her housework completed, taken a nap, helped a neighbor, had dinner ready and been rested for her family when their time of need arrived.
The young wife just finished college and has finished the first two years of her career. She is making decent money and has earned a little bit of respect in the work place. With her job they were able to get approved for a nice house and bought some furniture. The only problem is is that she is reaching that point of life where she wanted to have children.
She talks it over with her husband and they realize that with her student loan and her leaving the workforce that they can’t afford insurance, let alone the cost of a birth. Feeling trapped the young wife becomes discontented with her job and convinces her husband that “everything will be okay. God will work it all out. Children ARE a blessing, you know.”
They proceed in their grand life plan and start a family only to find that the husband is never home because he had to pick up an extra job to pay for both their student loans, the insurance, the medical bills and the cost of formula. The husband starts resenting the baby because he has lost all his freedom and his wife. The wife’s bliss has worn off as she realizes that she is now a married, single mom.
This mom is living the trap of getting a career and then having a family. What she really ends up with is no career, and half a family.
QUANTITY TIME CREATES QUALITY TIME
I remember reading Dr. Laura’s book In Praise of Stay at Home Moms and there was a letter from a mother who said she remembers when her daughter was little and had first discovered her hands. The child stared at her hands and moved them back and forth with delight. The mother stooped next to her child and shared in the new adventure.
That little girl ended up with a disability that caused her to struggle to move her hands well: to write, play sports or instruments. As she grew her mother encouraged her by reminding her of that day when they both sat together seeing the miracle of the hands God had given her. The mother said that if she had not been there with her child and taken the time to BE with her child while she was at home that she would have missed that moment. She could not have been able to be the cheerleader she was to her daughter as she overcame her handicap because she would have missed the moment.
We moms tend to get overly occupied with our responsibilities. We spend time with our children like we spend time watching a football game with our husband. We are there, but we aren’t REALLY paying attention. Children become distractions that interfere with our interests.
A news anchor did an interview with children about the effect of cell phones and Facebook on families. In the middle of the interview the lady received a text and had to return a call. She turned to the children and said something like, “Hold on just a minute. I really need to get this. I’ll be right back.”
The children all rolled their eyes and started talking to each other and doing whatever they wanted because they knew what this meant. They had been pushed aside again until the lady was done. They knew the scenario all too well. Those children had become orphans of technology. Their moms had all the time in the world, but spent it in front of a windshield or screen. Their quality time opportunities had passed them by.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE MOTHERS GONE?
Mother’s hearts have largely left their homes. I don’t think it is a purposeful decision on the part of most ladies. I believe it is part of an agenda that our mothers were raised to believe and have taught us. It has gone past women’s lib. It has become an “anti-life” movement; an anti-children movement.
WHY ATTACK CHILDREN?
The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. From the beginning of time Satan has tried to turn the natural affection of a mother away from her child. You can see from Leviticus and throughout the Old Testament how as a nation turned away from God they “passed their children through the fire to Molech” and God heard the cries of “innocent blood.” Satan has practiced his art and has been successful in every nation in history.
Children are our future. How we raised our children reflects everything we hold as valuable in life. We try to give them the opportunities and lessons that we never had. We try to break the cycle of bad parenting when a child enters our home. We choose to be less selfish when we choose parenting. We finally understand what growing up means when we sacrifice more than we ever knew we could for someone so small. We realize the importance of salvation when we think of our children or grandchildren ending up in hell.
Children are a picture of innocence and Satan hates innocence. God loves children and Satan hates God.
A wise older pastor once told a younger pastor that he needn’t worry unless there were no longer babies in the nursery. A church with no babies was in the process of becoming a monument to things of the past. Growing families are a bedrock of a growing church and a growing outreach of the gospel.
There are so many reasons that Satan focuses on promoting an anti-children home. (By this I mean lessening a family’s desire for the children they DO have, creating a desire for NO children, and overcoming their desire for more children.)
Let me reiterate that I believe that God leads each Christian husband and wife in the area of their family size. He has a different plan for each family’s life, and God is a PRESENT God and leads us daily as our lives and situations change. His focus is consistently on Christ and the gospel. Children are a natural bi-product of a marriage and a blessing of the Lord; they are not the point of a marriage. (That is a whole study all in itself. This is just my conclusion of the Scriptures.)
Having said that, I do believe that if something is a blessing of the Lord than it is NOT something that we need to fear or resent. My pastor said it best, “Have as many children as you can take care of.”
This is where I think we have erred. CHILDREN … ARE … A … BLESSING. A family is a blessing. A home is a blessing.
Psa 127:3 - 4 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. V4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Psa 128:3 -4 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. V4. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
Pro 17:6 Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
Mat 18:5 - 6 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. V6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Isn’t it horrible that these verses have been placed in front of us so many times that Christians almost roll their eyes in disgust.
I bet you that that is probably how the Israelites felt whenever a godly king came to the throne and he destroyed their idols, cast out the sodomites, tour down the high places and rebuilt the temple; all the while reminding them that God has a blessing for His people if only they would trust and obey.
They had heard about God’s blessing enough and had decided that what they wanted was the way of the world. God’s blessing was overrated.
If Christians become more entangled in the affairs of this world and what society deems as important and further away from the home and what God deems as important Satan can eventually have them as his servants and not as God’s. No man can serve two masters.
FOR WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS, THERE WILL YOUR HEART BE ALSO
I am a mother. I understand the mental battles we have. I understand the exhaustion, the lack of focus, the lack of silence, the fear of failure, and having to claim the verse “sufficient unto the day” for ALL of my needs. Children have limitless needs and to them, you are their supplier. Yet, you wonder if you have what it takes to raise these individuals for the Lord.
Raising children is a grave responsibility. Yet, if God has led your family to have them, than God will supply you everything you need to fulfill your responsibility.
I would venture to say that God WOULD like to bless Christian families with more children, but WE limit God’s blessings. God sees great parents and would love for more children to be raised by them, but the parents have every excuse in the world NOT to have any more. I’m not being extreme. I am being realistic.
I was talking to a group of teenage girls the other day and they were making fun of a family with a lot of children saying that they only wanted two or maybe three children. I asked them, “Well, what if God wanted you to have four or five … or eight?”
We are so used to what “WE want” that we just assume that God is okay with that. What if it is not HIS plan? I want to challenge husbands and wives to look at what THEY want INSTEAD of the blessing that GOD may have for them.
There are real legitimate reasons to limit your family size. Even if your reasons are not all that spiritual, it is still with in your biblical liberty. What I want to point out is that the mother (and even the father’s) hearts have turned AWAY from what God says is important TOWARD treasures on which God places little value.
- Children are the only thing that God gives us with eternal value.
- Children are the only thing that we can take with us to heaven.
- Children are the only people who will share our legacy after we are gone.
- Children are the one’s who will check up on you and take care of you when you are old.
- Childhood moments are what parents reminisce about when the home is quiet.
- Children are what cause adults to grow into mature, selfless adults.
- Children are the life and fullness of a home.
- Children bring purpose to the lives of a husband a wife.
- How many older people do you know who say that it went by in the blink of an eye and how their greatest, most productive years were the years of raising their family?
- No one will overlook your mistakes and love you like your child.
EACH NEW CHILD BRINGS A SPECIAL NEW SOMETHING TO A HOME. Once that special something is in your home, you could never imagine your home without it.
- Do you remember your favorite outfit from three years ago?
- Do you remember that night you went out to dinner with your husband one year ago?
- Will you sit down with your husband in twenty years and talk about how great it was to have acrylic fingernails or the greatest hairstylist and perfect highlights?
- Do you remember what you bought two months ago for which your credit card company is now delivering a statement?
- How great was that “girl’s day out?” Boy, that feeling just lasted and lasted didn’t it? Probably not, but what about the crazy thing your toddler just did yesterday, and the day before. You can’t help but smile.
- Do you remember your honeymoon, or that cruise you went on? Wasn’t it just life changing? It took you a year or more to save up for it and two week for it to be completed. Your child probably took the same amount of time to pay for but he will be a part of you even past death.
TREASURES OF THE WORLD
THE TREASURES THAT TURN OUR HEARTS FROM OUR HOMES ARE USUALLY SELFISH IN NATURE.
Eph 6:14 - 17 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; V15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; V16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. V17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Pro 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
We want more …
Let me say that again. WE WANT MORE …
Of what do we want more? Anything! We just want MORE, but the biggest things I see are STUFF, and ME-TIME.
NUMBER ONE: WE WANT MORE STUFF
We have a continual stream of media in magazines, internet, television, radio and movies surrounding us telling us:
- how large a home we need,
- how many garages we should have
- what color we should paint our home,
- what type of furniture we should have
- how large a TV will make us happy
- what video game console is the best for our family
- with what kind of accessories we should decorate
- what clothes we should wear, what car we should drive,
- what a family vacation should be like,
- what our children want for their birthday and how large of party we should have
- what every one else is getting for Christmas
- what type of food we should eat
- what a successful woman is
- that college is a must for every human being
- that children won’t be happy without brand name clothing
Our hearts, left unguarded amongst the seemingly innocent media have subconsciously become selfish, covetous, and discontented. If I can say the one word that REPEATEDLY comes to mind that Satan has used to lessen our desire for our children it is “STUFF.” We Want More Stuff.
Mar 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
1Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. V7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. V8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. V9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. V10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
God warned us of this trick of the Devil. We have been blessed with so much for so long that the pursuit of “bigger and better” has drawn our desire away from our children and toward the things of the world that will not last for eternity.
1Jn 2:15 - 16 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. V16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
He spoke that it was an issue of the heart. He specifically commanded us NOT to make our treasures things of this earth, because when we focus on material, earthly things we lose focus on what GOD DEEMS VALUABLE.
Mat 6:19 - 21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: V20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: V21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
It is not that having “stuff” is wrong but God says throughout His word that riches cast a snare into our life due to their deceitful lure. Rather than being satisfied with our husband and the children with whom God has blessed us, we become discontented.
1Ti 6:17 -19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; V18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; V19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Riches are not an end of themselves. We are a conduit of God’s and He entrusts us with the finances we need for our basic needs of food and raiment. He does not place a stipulation on family size. Money is for the needs of our family (which has eternal value), good works (which has eternal value) and for enjoyment (which has no eternal value.) Yet, we as a whole CONSISTENTLY CHOOSE LESS of what GOD deems as important to CHOOSE MORE of what God burns up in the fire.
NUMBER TWO: WE WANT MORE ME-TIME
Let’s face it. When the children are at the grandparent’s or at school (if you don’t homeschool) six hours can pass without you realizing it, but the time between naps and your husband coming home for dinner seems endless.
I laughed every year at an office supply commercial that rang “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” at back to school season. It was funny. It really was. Parent’s need some alone time to rejuvenate and appreciate their hard work.
Ecc 3:13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.
But as we tend to do with most things that are given to us, we like it so much that we want more. We woman could do more with our children. We could spend less time on our “at home businesses.” We could dramatically scale down on ours and our children’s screen time. We probably have the energy and time to take care of a new-born if that was the direction in which God led our family. WE JUST LIKE OUR FREE TIME.
Pregnancies are hard on our bodies, emotions and routine. Babies cannot do anything for themselves. Toddlers need potty trained. Little kids constantly want you to “look at me.” Children talk our ear off. Teenagers overreact and argue … regardless if they are right or wrong.
- Yet, our clients aren’t going to drop by on Thanksgiving and say they are thankful for the time we spent on them.
- Our Facebook friends are going to post new statuses tomorrow, and what you miss today won’t even matter. They won’t remember that you didn’t “look at me” when they learned how to climb up the wall between the furniture, but your child will.
- You will probably regret many a message texted, but will never regret the time you spend holding your newborn.
- You will smile with joy when your child sits quietly at a restaurant knowing you took the time and practiced “quiet time” with them. Yet, that same time in the evenings spent watching movies or your favorite sitcoms will seem wasted when it is YOUR child that has no attention span to sit and obey without a TV in front of him.
I’m not trying to be judgmental. I am being realistic about our priorities, habits, and oft-times the results it has on our children who deserve more from us.
You will hear me say this over and over, but ME-TIME is not all that biblical. ME-TIME is selfish, and although we justify or shrug off selfishness, it is rooted in sin and pride. Just as Satan thought about what he wanted rather than the role for which God had created him, we do the same thing.
The truth is; we are servants! We are not our own. We are bought with a price, and we are to pray for God’s will in our life and then do it with all our might for the glory of God. We shouldn’t skate by balancing our children with our wants. We should serve our family. YOU SEE! Did your pride just kick at you? Did you feel like a slave? That is the way the world has deceived us.
There is a profound truth with which all mothers should become acquainted. This is our identity: SERVANT. It’s a humble identity, but we rub shoulders with the very best.
Heb 3:5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.
2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
Jud 1:1 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:
Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
AND CHRIST HIMSELF
Php 2:7 -8 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: V8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Christ was an OBEDIENT servant and took up his cross. Yet, our cross is nothing in comparison. We get kisses, snuggles, toddler language, baby giggles, tales from pre-teens, long talks with teenagers and an occasional nap. What a blessing.
Yet, many of our hearts have LEFT OUR HOME and we don’t see our home and children as a blessing; but as bondage; something to survive, not something to enjoy. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your children and husband and home be your treasure.