INTRODUCTION – It would be foolish of me to pretend this morning that I am anything near an expert on mothering. First of all I have never been a mother. Second I have never truly given myself to diligently research the subject – – except for the week before Mother’s Day every year for the last 10 or so. But because I have tried to read up on it at least during those weeks, I have begun to notice some trends. And one of those trends is the tendency Americans have to measure a mom or define motherhood by her actions or activities. If I were to ask the average American what a good mom looks like they would probably come up with a list similar to this one that I found in a book on the family:
A Good Mom: – never bakes biscuits from little cardboard tubes that go POP!!!
– appears instantly whenever any family member yells, “Mom!”
– knows exactly what garment each child wants to wear to school each day and has it washed, mended and hung in the closet.
– Is always home when you call.
– Uses coupons to save a minimum of $15.00 on each visit to the grocery store.
– Never raises her voice
– Never dreads teacher conferences
– Attends every T-ball, soccer, basketball game or choir concert in hose and heels (fresh from the office of course, or some other world-expanding venture).
– never leaves kids with runny noses in the church nursery.
– never says no to the pta
– keeps a regimented family schedule of daily tooth flossing, and bible memorization.
I would like to suggest this morning that while ultimately a good or effective mother will be measured by her deeds, it is her beliefs and understanding of truth that will determine what deeds she is able to perform, and how she performs them. Put another way, if you are a mother and want to be a better mother, the place to start is not with a list of do’s and don’ts, but rather a list of things you need to know and understand. For you see – everything you do as a mom comes from what you believe and understand. That’s why Jesus says, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” – in your case Moms – the truth – if you know it and respond appropriately to it – will set you free to be the kind of Mom your children need you to be.
So this morning I would like to share with you three truths that are absolutely crucial for mothers to understand if they want to be effective and fruitful mothers.
I. Mothering has been difficult from day one because of sin. Had Adam and Eve not introduced sin to the human race, motherhood would be a breeze. But because sin did enter the picture, motherhood will be a battle to the day you die. Because sin deceives, discourages, and ultimately destroys both moms and their children if left unchecked.
A. Moms – Gen. 3:16 Primary import is birthing babies will be more difficult, but what we know from history is mothering in general became much more difficult than it was meant to be.
It is impossible to be the mother God meant for you to be to your children if you are not learning to recognize and overcome sin in your life. The greatest battle your children will ever face is their own personal battle with sin. For you to be of any real substantive help, you must be able to speak from experience.
The joke in our home about math
The problem with many homes and mothers – is their obsession is with helping their children be victorious over math, while they are being conquered by sin.
“Many of us are like housewives seeking to destroy the spider’s web, without destroying the spider.”
B. Children – 4:1-8 Children are born in sin and if they do not learn to get freed from the effects of sin, they could be marred by it for life.
1st account of parenting in the scriptures – why?
Report of the Minnesota Crime Comission studying humanity: frightening and factual conclusion: “Every baby starts life as a little savage. He is completely selfish and self-centered. He wants what he wants when he wants it – – his bottle, his mother’s attention, his playmate’s toy, his uncle’s watch. Deny him these wants, and he seethes with rage and aggressiveness, which would be murderous were he not so helpless. He is dirty. He has no morals, no knowledge, no skills. This means that all children, not just certain children, are born delinquent. If permitted to continue in the self-centered world of his infancy, given free reign to his impulsive actions to satisfy his wants, every child would grow up a criminal, a thief, a killer, or a rapist.”
“If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” I John 1:8
Five facts about sin: 1. we are all sinners – Rom. 3:23; 5:12
2. sin deceives our minds, deadens our spirits, dulls our souls, hardens our hearts, and as we are learning in our healing room ministry – it even pollutes our bodies to where sickness and disease can enter in more easily. SAARS is nothing compared to sin.
3. sin can be defined as: “any want of conformity to the character of God, whether it be an act, disposition, or state.” Sin is that thing in us that does not want to love or know or follow or obey God – that causes us to be self obsessed. St. Augustine: “Sin is believing the lie that you are self-created, self-dependent, and self-sustained.”
4. sin is not as much an act or deed as it is a condition. Must see that our very nature is sinful. Eph. 2:1-3
Until we learn to walk by the Spirit, everything we do is out of that sin nature.
5. in Christ we have the power and authority to overcome sin. – Rom. 7:5,6 Rom. 7:24,25 “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
It is not all on your shoulders – God will speak to your children – Gen. 4:6, 7,9,10,11, 12, 15
Psalm 112 – Great promise Importance of fear of God rather than just fear of man
II. Your Children were not born to you by accident or chance. God was involved from the beginning; He made it happen; He knew what He was doing. The Children God has given you are a sign of His mercy and grace toward you. Gen. 3:23,24; 4:1,2, 25
Psalm 113: “He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children.”
The scriptures are clear God opens and closes wombs. If you had a child it is because God enabled you to have that child.
In God’s kingdom there is no such thing as a mistake.
The Comfort & stability that comes from a confidence and awareness of God’s sovereignty, providence, and initiative with you and your children is absolutely crucial for you to be able to fulfill your role with them.
You are the perfect mom for that child. God would not have given you the children He did, if He did not fully expect you to be an effective mother to him or her.
Perhaps you didn’t get off to the best start. …
III. Great mothers are produced by great trials I Peter 1:6,7
Have you ever thought about all the trials Sarah went through from the time God first told Abraham she would bear him a son until the time Isaac – the son of promise – became a young man?
First of all, (ch. 12) -Soon after God first spoke to Abraham and told him to leave his home and his kinfolk, he entered the land of Canaan and discovered there was a famine in the land. Does that sound like Abraham really heard from God? So he took his entourage to Egypt and asked Sarah to pretend like she was his sister so the Egyptians wouldn’t kill Abraham to be able to enjoy her. Pharoah’s officals took Sarah into Pharoah’s house and Sarah had to wonder what in the world was going to happen to her and to Abraham. If you are familiar with the story you know God struck Pharoah and his family with great plagues to make sure they didn’t harm either Sarah or Abraham. But the tension and stress before that happened must have been a heart stopper ….
(ch. 13) – Abraham and Lot and their men had a conflict and had to separate to solve it. Which meant yet another move or transition for Sarah.
(ch. 14) – Four kings decided to make war against the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah where Lot – Abe’s nephew chose to live – – they overtook Sodom and Gomorrah and some of the prisoners they took included Lot. A fugitive came and told Abe about it, and Abe decided to gather his men and go try to rescue Lot. Sarah got to wait in her home – wondering if Abe would make it back or not. She probably also had to really work through her resentment of Lot and all the trouble and disruption he had caused them.
(ch. 15) – God speaks to Abraham again and reassures him that he will indeed have a son.
(ch. 16) – Sarah we learn – has been barren all this time – unable to have children – eventhough God keeps promising Abe that she will indeed bear a son to him. So Sarah decides she needs to help God out and have Abraham have sex with her maid – Hagar – so she can have a son by proxy. Well as soon as Hagar conceived, she evidently began to despise Sarah, Sarah picked that up, and began to treat her very harshly. Hagar thus fled from her. So Sarah’s impulsive and impatient solution didn’t pan out after all. Now she is still barren and has to live with the reality that her maid was immediately able to have her husband’s baby.
(ch. 17) – God speaks to Abe again – assuring him over and over that he will be a father of nations and that his descendants will spring forth from Sarah. Abe laughed inside wondering how in the world a man who is 100 yrs. Old could impregnate his 90 yr. old washed up wife. He tried to talk God into fulfilling His plans through Ishamel, but God again assured him that it would happen through Sarah.
(ch. 18) – three men – two of whom are angels and one the Lord Himself – all manifested as human men – all of a sudden appear to Abraham at his tent. Abraham rushes into his tent and commands Sarah to put on the dog ( as we say in Tennessee) for these important guests. Their primary purpose in coming appears to be to announce to Abe and Sarah that in a year’s time Sarah will bear a son. Sarah laughed to herself at such a thought, not realizing these men were not mortal men; the Lord heard it, and rebuked them both for their unbelief.
So here you have Sarah having to bail out her impulsive and stressed out husband by putting together an impromptu feast; and also having to deal with a stern rebuke from someone she knew had the authority to hand out such a rebuke – eventhough she did not have a clue who he really was. Then as if this visit wasn’t disruptive enough, these three men decide to inform Abraham that they are getting ready to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (the place where his nephew Lot and his family live).
(ch. 19) – the story of the angels rescuing Lot and his daughters so they can level Sodom and Gomorrah.
(ch. 20) – Abraham and clan are on the move again being the nomads that they were, and they settled in a city called Gerar. Abraham lied to them about Sarah being his wife. Abimilech the King took Sarah, but was warned by God in a dream, so he released her. So twice now Sarah was taken by foreign unbelieving authorities as far as she knew to be raped or at least added to the harem of these kings.
(ch. 21) – Sarah conceives and bears her promised son Isaac. They have a great feast of celebration when he is weaned – only to discover that Ishmael – Abraham & Hagar’s son was mocking him. Sarah sensing the threat this could be to her son of promise has Abraham kick Hagar and Ishmael out of their village. This of course is a great grief to Abraham, but he realizes he has no choice.
(ch. 22) – God tells Abraham to take Isaac – this son that he and Sarah had waited on for so long – up to a mountain and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Whether Abe told Sarah about his we do not know. We do know God told Abe to do this while he was at home.
Sarah’s impact on Isaac – 24:67
God’s will & intention for each of your children is that they would come to know Him personally and intimately, and then that they would learn to rule and reign with Him and become men and women who impact their world for Christ. People that He can fulfill His promises and plans through.
To do that He needs moms who have learned to walk by faith, not by sight. Who aren’t thrown by circumstances. Who don’t give up and who will fight for their child’s destiny in Christ. Whose character has been refined by the fiery trials of life. And who have learned that when God says something – you can bank on it – no matter how crazy or impossible it might seem.
I wonder what your attitude is towards trials moms? Is it James 1:2-4 “consider it all joy?” Romans 5:3 “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
You see only pressure produces. The fiery pressure of the furnace produces the hardened steel. Tremendous pressure in the earth’s elements creates the costly diamond. The crushed flower produces perfume.
A.B. Simpson put it like this: Out of the presses of pain Cometh the soul’s best wine The eyes that have shed no rain Can shed but little shine.”