Last Monday, my oldest daughter, Lily came to me with a little paper plate dove in her hand. She said "Mama, do you know what this is?"I said "Is it a dove?" "Yes!" "Well, what is this dove for?" "Well, when this homeless man baptized Jesus, God came down on Him like a dove. We learned about it in Sunday school." "Oh yeah? Well you know, that dove was the presence of the Holy Spirit, Lily." "Oh, uh huh, and God spoke and said He was happy and the Holy Spirit came." "That's right. Lily, did you know that the same thing happened to me and daddy when we got saved?" "What?! Really?" "Yes, that is what happens to everyone when they get saved, they get filled with the Holy Spirit. Then we get baptized to let everyone know about the change that happened in our life." "Yeah I know... Hey mom, I want that." "I know you want that, babe, but remember, we can't get baptized until we get saved." "No mom, I mean, I want to be filled with the Holy Spirit."
And just then, the thing I've prayed about for the last six years was right in front of me.
Let me back up a few days before this.
I was at a women's retreat with my church, begging God to show me in what ways I need to surrender myself, my home, and my business in order to give Him full authority. Y'all, that is a big ol' hard thing, and this side of heaven, I don't know that I'll ever get to a place of total submission, but it is a deep desire of my heart. And with my pride and need for control, it takes me being brought to my knees in order to follow God's will sometimes. When the Lord showed me how I was saying "No, God, this "mom thing" is too easy for me" (HA!) "I need a bigger ministry. A better ministry." He showed me how I put his face on my business as a cover up. How I was saying "OH LOOK AT ME, oh yeah and then there's this God thing that is a part of my life too over here..." Instead of truly letting Him guide and inspire my business. He showed me how "Wanting more" was actually neglecting what I have. How my "ambition" was a lack of trust and an act of self preservation. He showed me that there was growth to be had in my own home that far surpasses any "success" that I can cultivate on my own.
I came home wrecked, refocused, and ready to cherish my role as a mother as much as I say I do.
The thing is, most of us who come to Christ do so under certain circumstances. We've messed up. We've done the "big bad sins." We've faced the bottom of addictions, the entanglement of sexual devastation, the cold sting of sin that is of this world. We come to Jesus broken and bare. My own testimony had me coming to Jesus in a state of deep depression, addictive self mutilation, and suicidal behavior. It is easy for us to think this is the way that our children will come to Christ. That they'll "get it" after their party days. That they'll "know what it really means" after failed relationships. We think that our duty is to just raise "good kids" so that when they mess up, it is easier for them to find their way home, thinking that they are completely incapable of coming to Christ before they ever get lost.
But mama, listen to me closely, this does not have to be the case.
When our whole hearts take on the mission to bring our children to Christ, He is faithful.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
If you came from a home that was Christ centered, you have a beautiful heritage to draw from, but if you come from a home that did not know and seek Jesus, this is a foreign, daunting task. One that can seem out of your league, or like me, leave you wanting something else. Something you can fully control.
My husband put it like this - raising a child to know Christ is like having a baby via water birth. Many of us our born via traumatic circumstances - like a C- Section. We need someone to come in rightthisverysecond, lest we die. But being with Christ from a young age is like being born at home, under the watchful eyes of a midwife. Instead of the panic that comes from an operation, the baby is able to be born gently into the world. There is beauty in the fact that in both instances (coming to Christ in our darkest hour of desperation, and coming to Christ as an innocent young child) NEW LIFE IS BORN! The redeeming grace that God so richly blesses us with is the same for the 40 year old drug addict as it is for the five year old My Little Pony obsessed little girl.
When I came home from my retreat, I knew Lily knew all the answers. Many of us do. But what she lacked was true repentance. One can't be saved without realizing their need for a Savior. And it was only a few hours after I talked with my husband about what happened that weekend that I saw my Lily come downstairs with a little paper plate dove in her hand.
I took her upstairs to be with her daddy and we talked and talked about who Jesus is for her and what He's done for her (and all of us). And right in front of our eyes, we saw repentance wash over her. We saw her fight it, not knowing how to process it, and we saw her understanding her need for a King. As she sat in my lap, her daddy helped her pray for Jesus to come into her heart.
Romans 10:9-10 "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Yes, it was beautiful and meaningful that Lily was baptized in the same baptismal as her father and I were ten years ago. Yes it was beautiful that the same man that walked through our salvation and baptism walked through our daughter's as well. But the most beautiful thing is the same spirit that dwells within me - that brings conviction and comfort - dwells within my daughter, and her eternal salvation is secure.
I am sharing this very precious piece of my heart with you today because this is what is nearest and dearest to me. My call as a mother, YOUR CALL AS A MOTHER, is a large task. This lie that we are "just moms" is poison! It keeps us from great things. It leaves us wanting something that satisfies that which is not of God. It leaves us neglecting the people we love most. It leaves us full of doubt when our husbands approach us, making us act out of hurt. It leaves us exhausted before the day even begins. You are not just a mom. You are responsible for a little soul that is going out into the world, and God has fully equipped you to guide them with patience, peace, love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, peace, self control and joy.