The second we become mothers, we are bombarded with opinions and ideas of what is right. Cry it out versus attachment parenting. Baby-led versus spoon-fed. Organic versus non-organic. Toy gifts versus experiences. Co-sleeping versus crib. Breastfeeding versus bottle. Electronics versus active play. Junk food in moderation versus none at all. Helicopter parenting versus more free-rein. Cloth diapers versus disposable. A surplus of toys versus minimal. Handmade versus store-bought. New versus used. Time spent cleaning versus time spent playing with our children, and the list goes on and on. There is so much information out there on how to be the best mothers we can possibly be, so we try our utmost because our children deserve good mothers.
As mothers, it is not acceptable to yell at our children. What about yelling at our husbands? As mothers, it is not acceptable to speak negatively about our children. What about publicly shaming our husbands? As mothers, we say our children need our undivided attention. Why, then, can we ignore our husbands? We may argue against being a helicopter parent- hovering constantly over our children. But do we attempt to be controlling over our husbands? We praise ourselves for not being harsh with our children. Do we, when our husbands return home, then call them lazy and stupid and useless? All in front of little eyes of little ones who are learning how to live; who are modelling behaviors and who are, faster than we’d care to imagine, becoming adults themselves.
A few days ago Jeff and I celebrated ten years of marriage. When Jeff proposed to me, he knelt down on the floor and had a basin to wash my feet. I was just a little embarrassed! 😉 Jeff said he was showing how he would serve me, and compared it to Jesus washing the feet of his disciples in John chapter 13. In all our ten years of marriage, my dear husband has done just that. He is the most kind and gentle man I know, and I thank God every day that I can call him my husband and my children can call him their Daddy. Jeff has sought to be a servant in our marriage, as the Scriptures say: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful” (Colossians 3: 12-15).
Toys, experiences, co-sleeping, cribs… these really don’t matter. Not in the big picture of parenting. I realize there are benefits and wisdom in some of these choices, but I also believe parents can make their own choices for their own families on the matters listed above. What really is of importance when raising a child- of eternal importance? Breastfeeding instead of formula feeding? Giving our children the best education at the best school? Eternally, these do not matter. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). We need to stop spending so much of our time and energy on trivial things that will pass away.
So, when raising a child, what is of eternal importance? What about sharing the gospel with our children? Can we paint a picture of the gospel within our marriages? There is so much emphasis made on the choices we as parents make, and hardly any, if any at all, on our marriages. The Bible tells us to “submit to (our) own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands” (Ephesians 5:22:24).
Sin has crept so deeply in marriages it is destroying husbands, wives, and their sweet, precious children. Let us not lose sight of God’s design for marriage and how it is to paint a picture of Christ’s love for His bride—the church. And let us not lose sight of how important it is for us, as Christian moms, to uphold the gospel in our marriages. From this Mother’s Day on forward, let us love the Lord with all our might. Let us love our husbands sacrificially. Let us model Christ’s love to our children and let us hold true to the promises of God. And let us shift the focus from what we do, as mothers, to what Christ has done for us. These things, dear mothers, are of eternal importance.