I like to keep my finger on the pulse of young moms. I love reading their blogs about how they're keeping their homes, raising their children and serving Christ on a day by day journey through life. Right off the top, I want to say...You're doing a beautiful job girls! You may not have a clue who I am and you may not even care what I think, but I just want you to know that someone up in the north is watching and praising God for you. You have been entrusted with the next generation of Christ-followers and you are molding and shaping them with excellence.
I wish I could go back to the days when my children were young. I didn't become a serious Christian until about ten years after having my first child. So that was ten years of not raising them in the fear and admonition of the Lord, like the Bible tells me to. I spent the rest of their years trying to play catch-up, if you will. As I grew in my faith walk, it was often a struggle to keep them on a godly path because they had already been so exposed to the world, other family members beliefs, or unbelief in many cases, peer pressure and the like. You are so blessed to have those babies in your care as a godly woman and mother now, while they are young.
I prayed so much during those years. I prayed that God would do a work in my children in spite of me. I planted seed wherever I could and prayed that the Holy Spirit would bring the harvest. God was and is always faithful. My children have grown into some pretty amazing adults. Somehow, supernaturally I'm sure, they have no recollection of many things that I feared would cause them harm in later years. They grew and matured and my oldest daughters are now raising precious baby girls of their own.
I sit on the other side of 50 years old now. I can look back through my eyes, but look forward through the eyes of my children and grandchildren. What would I say to you today, young moms, as you have the precious privilege to mother as a Christ follower from the very beginning? I would say these things not because I did them perfectly. I did not. I would say them because I learned them over 30 years of parenting, both the right way and the wrong way. I've seen the results, good and bad. I won't tell you which ones I failed at. Hopefully my kids won't rat me out on these either.
First, I would say, love your husband. You are so busy with the kids, the schedules, and the housework. Your man wants you to listen to him at the end of his day. He wants to know that he is appreciated, loved and respected. He's put in a long day at work for you and your children and he deserves some of your time to tell you about his day. He wants to know that he matters to you. Deliberately carve out time for one another. One day your children will leave the nest and he will be the only face staring at you across the kitchen table. Stay connected now and you will flourish in those coming days when it's just the two of you.
Second, love those babies. Love those toddlers. Love those children. Love for them begins with teaching them about Jesus and His love for them. They are never too young to hear His Name. "Talk about [Him] when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." That is primary.
Right on the heels of that comes the most important way to love your kids....give them the most important gift you can....you! They will never remember how clean your floors were or how there weren't any dust bunnies under their beds. They WILL remember the times you sat on the floor and played Barbies. They WILL remember taking walks and picking dandelion bouquets and jumping in puddles. They WILL remember baking cookies and making mud pies and snuggling. You are the center of their universe right now. Take it from me. There will come a day when they will think that you know nothing. They will think they know better. They will want to explore the world...without you. It goes so fast, mom. It goes so fast.
I wish I would have learned this earlier on. I wish I would've been the kind of mom that I am as a "Gigi" now. My furniture has irremovable fingerprints on it from my granddaughters. So what? Windex on the mirrors can come out when they go home, or, God forbid, can be used the next morning. When I was a young mom, I wanted everything to be perfect and didn't take enough time to have fun with my kids. Give them the gift of you. That's all they really want. You may have to step away from all those hours on the keyboard. I believe that Satan is using the Internet as the 21st century means of distraction. Your presence in your house isn't enough. You need to be PRESENT for your children.
Model for your children a true faith in and love for God. Love their father and model that love in front of them. Small PDA's are completely appropriate. It lets your children know that all is right with their world when mom and dad are in love. Love them with your time, your wisdom, your humor and your whole heart. One day it won't matter to them whether or not they lived in a mansion or a bungalow. It won't matter what kind of car you drove. It won't matter if they took fancy vacations or had designer shoes. What they will always remember is you. You were always there for them. You loved them with all your heart. You were willing to sacrifice anything for them. You were Mom and you were the best.
I am so thankful for what God has done with my children. I'm still waiting for some seed to harvest, but I'm confident that He who began a good work in them will carry it through to completion. I am so anxiously awaiting the joy of watching my grandchildren grow in God's purpose for their lives. And I want to be a part of that. I sit on the floor now and play Barbies. I make silly faces and sing and dance to the Fresh Beat Band. Dora has even taught me some Spanish. We bake cookies and go for walks. Oh, young mom, don't wait to be a Gigi before you do these things. Do them now!
You will never do it perfectly, but I can share with you from experience that it's amazing how God can redeem all of our mistakes. His grace and His grace alone is so much more immense than it ever has to be.