Do you ever wonder about Mary? Sometimes, I wonder if she ever had days like I do. You know, when she had just finished sweeping the floor and Jesus and his brothers and sisters came running through the house with muddy feet. Or weeks when her kids passed the same horrid virus back and forth to each other. I am guessing she probably did.
I wonder though if she ever got so tired or frustrated that she forgot for even a minute God had entrusted her and Joseph to raise his son to adulthood. We really have no way of knowing how Mary felt about the important responsibility God gave her (other than very limited references in scripture). I don’t know about Mary, but sometimes, I get just distracted enough by the craziness of family life or my exhaustion to forget God has entrusted me with a part of the future of His Church.
Have you ever seen one of these extreme close-up photos? They usually look really bizarre, but are often an extreme close-up of something mundane. Once you pull back and see what it really is, you often find you have a new appreciation for the entire object.
The Bible makes it clear children are a special blessing from God. Yet, we often get so caught up in their future, we forget to enjoy the present with them. Instead, we find ourselves stressed, frustrated and exhausted. We suddenly realize not only is our joy gone, but we are not even thanking God anymore for the blessing of our children.
How can we remind ourselves of the joyful blessing our children are instead of constantly stressing about their future? Perhaps, we need to find a way to take a look at the extreme close-ups of parenting our kids. Maybe then, we can marvel at our children and find our joy for parenting refreshed.
I have to give Satan his props. He is tricky and bold. Look back at the story of Adam and Eve. As far as we can tell, the only rule they had was that they were not to eat or even touch the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (apples aren’t mentioned anywhere!). God wanted to make sure they understood, so He added a warning, “Or you will die.”
Now I don’t know about you, but when my mother taught me not to drink drain cleaner and added, “Because you could die”, I took her very seriously. In fact to this day, I am not even tempted to drink drain cleaner. Yet, for Adam and Eve something didn’t click.
I think there is something we can’t pick up on easily in the story. I am not sure what the serpent looked like or what he sounded like, but there was something in the way he said his temptation that convinced them they wouldn’t really die and would even get benefits from disobeying God.
I am officially declaring the end of the war between working moms and stay-at-home moms. Not because I don’t have an opinion, but because I think this trumped up, media fueled war is distracting all mothers from the real enemy. Our enemy is not other moms. Our enemy is Satan. I know even many Christians question the existence of Satan, but I assure you he is real and active in our world. Reading the headlines can validate that very quickly.
So how does Satan attack mothers? Surely, he is too busy with other things to worry about than how mothers parent their children? Actually, I think parents may be Satan’s number one target. You see, children are the most vulnerable individuals in any society. Anyone in education will tell you, how a child is parented and educated in the early years will effect everything the child does for the rest of his life. If Satan can convince us to parent poorly, he has made winning the next generation away from God much easier for himself.
One of my teachers is the only person on the earth who believes I have any potential.” “I wish someone had taken the time to sit down with me and explain what would happen if I got pregnant as a teen.” “I wish I had a Mom and Dad who cared about me.” “I wish my parents had helped me figure out what I was meant to do instead of how I could help them financially.” “I wish my mom would help me figure this stuff out.””I wish adults really understood the truth about what we need.”
I heard these comments from young people in their teens and twenty’s over the last week. My daughter and I had the privilege to drop in on a conference that broke my heart. As I talked with university researchers, business leaders, community activists and educators, I became more and more depressed. (I promise you their insights will scare you to death.) When you boiled down the conference to its essence it was this, “Only a very small handful of people in this country are parenting their children. And many of those who aren’t parenting their children, honestly believe they are wonderful parents.”