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Loving Our Children – Part Two


Please visit Part One of Loving Our Children here.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate

Psalm 127:3-5

When we think about our children do these words come to mind – gift, fruit, rewards, blessings, arrows. Or do we think, burden, sacrifice, work, responsibility, obligation, expense?

How we think about our children will sooner or later determine what we say and what we do. If we think of them as work and sacrifice – we will convey that in our speech and actions.

God supplies all we need for our children. Children are work and sacrifice to be sure – but if we think of them as a reward, gift, and a blessing it will make the work and sacrifice a joyful experience rather than a burden.

Jesus, our husband, and our children – there should be no one we prize more than them. It should be evident in our speech, attitude, and behavior. Do our children feel prized by us? Do I regularly communicate to my children how important and special they are to me. When I speak of them to others do I do so in a respectful and loving way? Or do they hear me at times enumerate their faults to other people when I’m speaking about them.

When they approach me do they get my full attention and interest or do they feel like an interruption. Do I make spending time with them a regular priority in my life?

Do I cherish them – cherish means – to hold dear, care for tenderly, nurture.

What makes them feel cherished?

Faithful intercession – who else can pray for them more intelligently and with more compassion? And how meaningful to our children to know they have a praying mother.

Sympathetic and understanding – to comfort them, calm their fears, understand them when they are hurting, encourage them when they are discouraged. No one can replace the tender sympathetic love of a mother. I have to watch myself here because mercy is not my strength and I don’t like to feel like I am “babying” them so I need to pray and show mercy where it is needed with my children.

Be an attentive listener – Do I give them my full attention? Do I respond graciously and maintain interest when I’d rather be doing something else or even when I know what they are going to say before they say it. I need to show true interest in their thoughts, fears, dreams etc. This is an area for me that I am continuing to work on and grow in even though my children are older.

Enthusiastic encouragement – We need to be consistently encouraging them with evidences of grace that we observe in their lives. Encouragement has such a powerful effect it motivates them to grow still more.

Physical affection and verbal expressions of love. Frequent hugs, appropriate touching and verbal communication of our love for one another should be happening all the time in our homes. We kiss each other and say I love you before we go to bed and before we leave to go anywhere. There should be a warmth and tenderness in our homes with our families that radiates to others.

How do we need to grow in cherishing our children?

We need to enjoy them. Are we thoroughly enjoying our children right now? Or are we looking forward to when they are older or will outgrow this present phase? Do we take pleasure in our children’s in their unique strengths? Do we delight in motherhood?

“We need to repent of our sin for not loving our children. Spend some time in repentance and read God’s Word and reading books about motherhood. You may be depleted and need fresh vision and perspective in regards to your role as a mom. Find a way to be alone for a few hours and study God’s Word as your role as a mother. If you are not enjoying your children if you’re lacking joy as a mother may I appeal to you to take whatever measures necessary to change. Repent and find a mature woman who enjoys her role as a mother to encourage you and hold you accountable to this period of your life.”
~Carolyn Mahaney~
Be more aware of the joys instead of the difficulties of the season.

Every stage of motherhood has its joys and its difficulties. Let’s not be so aware of the sacrifices, so concerned with all the difficulties that we miss the joys. Stop and consider all the joys that this present season holds and take full pleasure. Take the time to enjoy them right now at this season of their lives.

Children can bring heartache and grief if not properly trained in godliness.

A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
Proverbs 10:1

Our children being a joy and delight is not just a given, it requires faithfulness to train them up in the ways of the Lord

“Many a mother, alas! Is chastened with the heaviness of a foolish son. In such cases, has not indulgence, instead of wholesome restraint; pleasure, instead of godliness; the world, instead of the bible – educated the child? Want of early discipline; passing over trifles; yielding when we ought to command – how little do we think to what they may grow! God has laid down plain rules, plain duties, and plain consequences flowing from their observance or neglect. To forget a daily reference to them; to choose our own wisdom before God’s; can we wonder that the result should be heaviness?”
~Charles Bridges~
Most important moms – we need to enjoy the help of the Holy Spirit in our mothering task.
“How often have I been guilty of being the Holy Spirit in their lives? It is my job along with my husbands to impart truth but I can’t reveal truth only the Holy Spirit can. It is my job to point out sin and require obedience but I can’t bring conviction of sin – only the Holy Spirit can convict of sin. It is my job to share the gospel – but I can’t reveal the gospel to my children only the Holy Spirit can reveal the truth of the gospel.” – ~Carolyn Mahaney~

This truth brings such a peace and rest to my heart. There is no need to worry and strive to produce fruit in the lives of my children that only the Holy Spirit can produce in them.

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
1 Corinthians 3:7

We can plant and water in the lives of our children but we cannot make them grow only the Holy Spirit can do that.
“Truth is we must plant and we must water if we are to make progress with our children in holiness but only the only spirit can change our children more and more into the likeness of Jesus. Our problem is we tend to depend upon our planting and watering rather than the Lord.”
~Jerry Bridges~

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.Psalm 127:1

“I cannot accomplish anything of a spiritual and eternal value in the lives of my children apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives – knowing that doesn’t minimize my role – it just alleviates a whole lot of pressure that God didn’t mean for me to carry. I still need to build my house with Him as it states in Proverbs 14:1. I must do all I can to advocate Godly character. I need to create an environment that encourages a passion for God. Hem then in with righteousness if you will. But ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who will reveal truth and ignite the passion. I simply need to enjoy His work in their lives. To enjoy them we must – that is part of loving them with a tender affectionate love.”
~Carolyn Mahaney~
We don’t have them that long to enjoy them. We only have them for a brief time.
How many times have we heard older moms tell us, “Enjoy them while you can, they grow up so quickly.”
I understand all too well how true that is. When they were infants I felt like that would never end. From the vantage point I have now – it was all for a very brief period in my life and how quickly it all passed. You will only be doing what you are doing at present for a very short while.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.Psalm 90:12

Moses challenges us to learn to count our days to number how many days we have left. Moses wrote Psalm 90 at the end of his life. When we count our days, we are brought to the reality of the brevity of life which in turn motivates us to live as wise women.
“We are wise mothers if we live with the brevity of life and purposeful to be faithful to cultivate that tender affectionate love for our children. Now for this season of our lives because we only have them for a very short while and then they’ll be gone. And when they’re gone we want to have minimal regrets. We only get one go at this moms – we only get one chance to do it right. We don’t get an undo and redo button with our children. We are only given one opportunity to do this right. That can be pretty scary if it wasn’t for the grace of God in our lives. It’s an awesome responsibility to be a mother.”
~Carolyn Mahaney~
Not one of us is equal to the task apart from the grace of God in our lives. Not one of us is able to cultivate this tender affectionate love for our children apart from the grace of God in our lives. The Lord delights to give us grace.
The Lord will give us all the grace we need and more to be able to love our children with this tender affectionate love.
Let us not underestimate for a moment the effect that this love can have on our children.

“What is the ultimate purpose of a “phileo” kind of love? It is nothing less than the salvation of our children’s souls. This is the chief end of mothering. Our goal is not that our children be happy, fulfilled, and successful. Granted we may desire these things for them. But our highest objective should be that our children would repent from their sins, put their trust in Jesus Christ, and reflect the gospel to the world around them.” – ~Carolyn Mahaney~

“This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind in all you do for your children. In every step you take about them, in every plan, and scheme, and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty question, “How will this affect their souls?”
~J. C. Ryle~
This is worth quoting again and a frequent quote my husband and I are brought back to when determining choices for our family
“How will this affect their souls?”
What greater influence could we possible have in the entire world then to be able to lead our children to the Lord and many times God will use this tender affectionate warm love to do that for our children.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 Corinthians 12:9

God’s grace is sufficient moms. If we missed opportunities to show this tender affectionate love to our children today or if we are feeling like we have failed as a mother – know that His grace is sufficient and His mercies are new every day. Look to the cross where there is forgiveness for your sins and His strength is there to help you grow in godliness. Rely on His Spirit to love your children with a tender affectionate love daily. Where we are weak – He is strong.
Moms, Titus 2 requires us to cultivate this tender affectionate love. What a profound impact it can have on the lives of our children.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
Titus 2:3-5
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One Comment

  1. yes, only the Holy Spirit can change anyone. Not just our children.
    Thank you.

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