A Fire in my soul–a challenge, a call to Motherhood

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My heritage–my precious daughters, whose legacy of righteousness will live beyond me!

“What does it profit a mama to gain the whole world and lose the soul of her children?”

Paraphrase by me

From Desperate to Hope!

At 31 years old, I prepared to hold my first baby in my arms. Having been a working-woman for 10 years, I was used to speaking to large groups, traveling all over the world, having my own life validated by my work,

Yet, when I held little Sarah close to my cheek, her infant smiles especially for me, the tiny hand patting my chest those first few months, God began to do a deep work in my heart.

His Spirit moved me to start studying and pondering scripture to see what God’s opinion was about children, to understand this mysterious design and connection between mother and child.

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My men, the ones who will lead in righteousness–who are changing their worlds because of their sense of heritage.

Now, after 29 years of mothering, I am sure that is was God who was whispering the secrets of His will into my ears and impressing me deeply in my heart of eternal spiritual truths. And His desire and His plan was excellent, I have experienced it profoundly, and know that Biblical motherhood is a most profound and meaningful role when lived by God’s design.

The first blessing out of God’s mouth to Adam and Eve in Genesis was, “Be fruitful and multiply.”—that before the fall. Children  are a blessing from God’s heart and from his perfect design. Their souls will last for all of eternity. The fruit of the womb is a reward. Jesus took them into His arms and blessed them and said, “Of such is the kingdom of God.” He also said, “Woe to the one who causes the least of these to stumble.”

God fashioned the  family as the place through which righteousness was to be passed down from generation to generation. Of course the Proverbs 8, and 9 passage, and 14:1—

Proverbs 31, a classic view of the immeasurable value of a woman being the glue to family, to influence in government through her marriage, to the shaping of children who grow up to call her blessed—the one who had noble words on her tongue.

“Mother of all the living” was the first woman’s name that defined a great part of her purpose. Solomon, the wisest man on earth declared that the wise woman builds her house, the foolish one tears is down with her own hands. (The house here being her heritage, family, family name–generations of her home.)

Paul gives ageless wisdom in Titus 2 that the older women, those who had lived through births, illnesses, journeys of children from cradle to adulthood, hormones, training, difficulty, challenges, calls to faithful, loyal love in marriage through dark seasons and light–wiser, more experienced women, were honored by the call to prepare, to help inspire and to  to train the younger women to love their children, love their husbands and to be workers at home.

All of these verses supporting the incredible, purposeful, eternally meaningful role for women to fulfill so that the next generation of adults would have the hope of becoming righteous, brave, morally strong, sure in righteousness, passing on truth, purpose and love—to preserve life for future generations to be strong and viable.

I didn’t have a vendetta or something to prove. I was not anti-feminism, but pro-God’s ways–just a simple desire to try to follow what scripture said. To please God with all of my heart, to seek first His kingdom, by including a Biblical design of family as central to His heart. In seeking Him and His word, I found these great truths, this value to a mother’s design.

But as a young mom making this choice, I faced so much loneliness and isolation. I made it through so many dark and devastatingly difficult seasons of motherhood because I saw the heart of Christ, and I knew He cared.

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My fellow idealist!

When He looked out on the multitudes, he felt compassion—because they were like sheep without a shepherd.

When I look out a young moms today, I feel compassion, and I also feel that they are like sheep without a shepherd. Many long for direction and input and wisdom, help and support, a night of sleep, a couple of hours away—a small break from all the pressures, yet the mamas don’t know where to go to find this small bit of help.

Most public ministry messages and leaders don’t really touch the subject of mothering very much as it creates so much friction in the Christian arena with so many having made different decisions, and yet with such sad results. The Barna polls show–the constant descending morality, spirituality and faith of teens and 20 somethings plummeting every decade to an all time low. Young adults losing their faith, in some estimates up to 90% in college. Falling literacy amongst young adults, less marriage because of co-habitation, homosexuality growing, addiction to pornography by young women and young men because of the ease with which to find it on the internet, and so many more statistics about the decline of the young adult culture in many areas.

Should we not ask the question, “Could the decline of the moral fiber and faith of young adults have any correlation to the lowering of the vision for motherhood and its significant impact on children in the last 40 years?”

I have rarely met a mom who did not love and cherish their children. Yet, so many felt lost in a sea of contemporary philosophies. And I do see so many moms living in the pain of their own broken memories of their childhood sadness. I see so many moms with pressures, especially in this current economy. Many have to work just to feed their families. Many sweet moms are single and bear so much pressure alone. Many young moms have just never heard of the Biblical call to motherhood. Many come from broken families and don’t know how to love their children. Many moms have not been given the permission from their culture to stay home with their children. Many moms have just never considered or been taught the truth about their role in children’s lives.

And yet, we know both from statistics and from Biblical wisdom, that no family becomes righteous without the devoted teaching and intentional training of their parents. We also know that when the next generation of adults, the children in our homes, are neglected, then the future adults will have no godly character, no purpose or direction and will cultivate the demise of culture.

I think that scripture teaches us to live by faith. There can be many ways of working out a family life in which righteousness is passed on to children. We must trust the Holy Spirit to direct and accomplish His will in each family according to His direction. I do see God doing miracles in so many families and that in all sorts of situations, righteousness can abound when parents or a mom is focused on this as a central goal for her life. And none of our families will look exactly alike.

Yet, high Biblical standards must be embraced when Satan is at war with the souls, minds and consciences of this generation of youth.

But no matter your educational choice, or if you must work, building a godly legacy will require hard work, giving up of your self, sacrificing your time–as all great tasks require great sacrifice. What we sow we will reap.

So when I see a group of young moms, who don’t seem to have anyone building into their lives, or giving them encouragement, wisdom or help, my heart breaks.  Cultural voices are available to give moms all sorts of input that will in many cases lead their children astray, and to this, I react deeply in my heart.

I feel a bigger stewardship to do whatever I can to get the messages out, training in more places, the sweet grace of the influence of a godly woman, into as many minds and hearts of moms as I can. And of course, I especially I long for churches, and Christian leaders,  to step up to the bat to be brave and forthright in holding forth the truth of scripture in these areas.

Malachi says of the priests who followed after God’s heart, “True instruction was in his mouth, and unrighteousness was not found on his lips; he walked with me in peace and uprightness and he turned many back from iniquity. For the lips of the priest should preserve knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth; for He is a messenger of the Lord of Hosts.” (2: 6-7)

Our leaders, our older women, should be holding up God’s standards–their lips should preserve knowledge, including in this area of the Biblical call of family.

The church at large and Christian leaders should be the biggest champions of the Biblical, historical role of mothers and of the design of the family to be responsible for the values of their family.

I just long for more–more help, more support, more input, more inspiring conviction, more wisdom to be valiantly, passionately taught about the role of “mothers” in the lives of their children.

As we would never expect to throw seeds out into the wind and expect it to become a beautiful garden, so we cannot throw our children out into the winds of culture and expect them to become people of great character and faith. Especially when media, values, television, movies, magazines, cultural values at large, take marriage, purity, godly character  lightly–and in the opposite direction, promote adulation of actors, athletes, musicians whose lifestyles are immoral and vain.

And yet, when God places a child into our arms, it is one of the most significant treasures we will ever be given–because what we do to invest in our children’s lives will influence the course of history and the history of our children’s lives and future generations. God will hold us responsible, us as parents–not church, school, society–but us, responsible to pass on God’s truth and design, and righteousness
into the next generation.

And so, my heart is to help all moms, whatever their puzzle, to encourage them to do the hard thing–to take the time, whatever is costs to be that person in their children’s lives, who gives them an appetite for God and the things of God, to do the work of making their home a place of real life and beauty and truth and celebrated relationships, so that when they enter the gates of heaven, they can say to Jesus, “I did all that I could to whisper into the ears of my children the truths and secrets of the kingdom of heaven and to pass on a love for you.” (what does it profit a mom to gain the whole world and lose the soul of her child.)

And so I long for the Christian arena, not to be a place of conflict in supporting this calling, but a place where the significance of this calling is being upheld and taught. And of course there are many places where this is happening. But I would love to know what you feel about this and what you have experienced. I want to encourage moms to take up their place in this battle for the souls.

CALLING ALL MENTORS

Calling all mentors to step up and take notice and help a generation of mamas who need our help to raise a godly generation. I am in—how about you?

This ends our book study of Desperate. I hope you have been encouraged. Now, may God equip each of you to fulfill his great call for you as moms–to build a godly generation right in your home. And may He bless you abundantly and fulfill your deep longings in the process. All my heart out to you!

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Comments

  1. Stephanie says

    Thank you for your messages of encouragement and hope. I have been reading your blog almost daily for about 2 months and God is constantly speaking to me/encouraging me through your messages. Please keep on speaking and encouraging us young mothers!!!!

  2. Penny says

    I found your book, Educating The Whole Hearted Child, last year when I felt God calling me to homeschool our 4 children. I found your blog a few months ago. Your words are life-giving and I am so thankful for the encouragement and challenge to be a better mom and “build my home”. I am desperate for God’s grace in this area. I feel so inadequate. Some days I think I should just put my kids back in the private Christian school they were attending because the task ahead of me is so daunting. But you are a constant encouragement to me. I keep plodding along, hopeful that God really will make me into a mom who is patient, encouraging, and imparts wisdom. I am feeling a new freedom to embrace motherhood in new ways. Thank you!!
    (Looking forward to hearing you speak at the Teach Them Diligently conference in Nashville!)

  3. Christine says

    Love this encouragement! As my children grow older, we have picked out a couple of moms to bless each week by preparing a meal or taking their toddlers for a few hours. Not only is this a blessing to these precious moms, but it is a GREAT opportunity to teach my girls, ages 11, 10, and 8, the home skills and servant hearts that will make them Godly mothers in the future.

  4. Heather says

    What a beautifully written conclusion. Like Christine, I have been inspired to take action and reach out in service to several moms with littles with my boys helping too sometimes. Also started a mom’s group with our pastors wife, on week 3. Such blessed times of prayer and lifting one another up, excited to see miracles, God’s hand at work in the constancy that is home and family. Thank you for continuing to stand and be real. Real love.

  5. says

    This was so so so awesome. It is so refreshing to have someone who stands behind mothers that but their families first. this is an area that has caused me much anxiety over the years, but God has helped me. Knowing that there is a HIGH HIGH calling in mothering has made every sacrifice absolutely worth it.

  6. Sally says

    I love hearing from you sweet, wonderful mamas! My heroes! May He bless each of you with peace and satisfaction in a heart place in your homes.

  7. JoAnne says

    Thank you so much for that encouragement. I am an older Mom with a 30 year old daughter and a 13 year old son and I love them both so much! However it is a struggle to parent and to be a good, christian mom these days. And without God nothing is possible. So in the struggle to keep your children on the right path, you have to deal with so many more things today than ever before–especially electronic devices. It is sometimes a love/hate relationship with them–it’s good to have them and it is not at times good to have them. But I have learned one thing in my years of parenting and that is to pray over your children and to continue to pray over them even when they are gone and have children of their own. With God ALL things are possible and I am so glad I know and have a relationship with him! Thank you Sally for the words of encouragement–I needed them this morning!

  8. Wendy says

    At the California PossibiliTEA you challenged us to find iron sharpening iron peers, those coming up behind us to pour into, and at least one wise woman ahead of us to emulate.

    I’ve always looked for and been intentional about this pursuit, having pieces here and there. But since my time with you I have reaches out and God has blessed all three of these areas of relationship for me. Thank you!

  9. Jo says

    I am a mother of a two and four year old. I encourage my peers to be careful who they listen to when looking for a mentor. When my four year old was born, I was part of a church community that seemed to be serious about mentoring younger women. What I was taught to do with my daughter, though, was harsh and controlling. I found your blog, Sally, when my daughter was two and I cannot thank you enough for being that godly mentor who replaced all those ugly voices.

    When one does have the right message to share, I think it’s a hard thing to know how to mentor well. I think a lot of older women don’t because they don’t know how; because no one has shown them how to.

  10. says

    Beautifully worded by a beautiful lady. Your post resonated with me, particularly right now as our youngest child and only daughter perches on the edge of 18 and the rounding out of our family’s 25 years of homeschooling. Within me beats the heart of a mentor. I can’t not be one, and I pray every day for the wisdom and grace to be one who points others to Him most of all, who takes them gently by the hand and leads them toward Him because knowing Him means knowing His purpose for each of us. And more than anything else, we all need to know that.

    Love and grace to you, sweet friend.

  11. Elizabeth W. says

    I have noticed a sad thing over the years in moms older than me as they stop having babies. There is a gradual selfishness that creeps in as they no doubt enjoy a bit more freedom and control over their lives. Watching this has made me extra grateful for the continual purifying and sweetening that my little ones were doing for me just by being needy and keeping me dependent on God. I also purposed in that time to use my freedom to bless younger moms just as soon as I could fit it in without neglecting my own babes. This dream has been happening lately as I find endless opportunities to do for moms that are in the intense season of babies the things I longed for when I was there. This is encouraging them, keeping me from getting selfish, keeping me in touch with the real challenges they face, teaching my kids the joy of serving, and as a bonus keeping my youngest from becoming a spoiled youngest child. What a win,win situation!

  12. Michelle Shilakes says

    I read your blog and books alongside Scripture and love your heart for God and families. I have never met you, but you are like a spiritual mother to me, especially knowing you have kids my age (I’m 26.). Thank you for giving me a vision for parenting my 1 and 3 year old children!
    As to my experiences, I feel like people I know in real life may support staying home, but not the vision of homemaking and Biblical child rearing. I mainly get my support in that through books and other blogs.

  13. Alena says

    I’ve been searching for a homeschooling mentor for 2 years, I’ve asked and asked. Yet there is a common theme of “I’m too busy”. Its so frustrating, because I’m at a loss with homeschooling, I want to do it, I like to do it..but its just not working/flowing well for my family and I.
    Any suggestions?

    • Jessica says

      Alena,
      I feel for you! I have asked for several women to come along side and be my mentor and also hear the all too familiar, “I am too busy.” It is heart breaking! Where are the older women???? They are all too busy. I am crying right now just thinking about how we are like sheep without a shepherd. I will pray for you. Please email me if you ever need someone to talk to. I am only in my first year of homeschooling so I don’t think I could be much help, but I can always pray for you!
      mariposa5280@yahoo.com
      God bless you!
      Jessica

  14. says

    I haven’t yet read your book yet, though it is next on my reading list. Your impassioned cry so resonates with my own heart. I desperately want learn and be mentored, but there seem to be no one. I prayed about this for months and it was like the Lord hit me and said, “Of course you have mentors. Open your eyes!” Even though I may not have one older woman to stand by me and guide me with her wise words and sage advice. I do have a mentor, many actually. She/they do not look like the ideal image I had in my head but they are there. They are the women at my church who smile at me when I’m about to blow my top because my two year old will not sit still. They remind me in their smile that he is only two and to love him through his wiggles. They are the women who bend down to speak to my child like he is the most important person in the world. Through their actions I am reminded to listen better. My mentor is the person who raves and praises God that my husband has a job, and it reminds me that he works so hard, and I need to encourage him and pray for him more. She is the blogger, the author, who helps me to remember to be still and see God.
    It is a beautiful thing to have a real life mentor with the title. But, my fear in all this searching, and all this hunger we may miss the many wonderful mentors in already speaking wisdom and love into our lives.

  15. Grace S. says

    How I have longed for a mentor —someone to help me —since I had my first child! I was not taught by my mother, nor anyone else. Many prayers and tears were shed over the years, and now my children are mostly grown and unfortunately, I never had that mentor. Now I am getting to be that “older women” and wish to help those like me, but I don’t know how to start, or if I could even be of help since I had to “muddle through” on my own.

  16. Carlyn says

    Sally,
    I just wanted to say Thank You (to you and Sarah Mae both) for your willingness to share your hearts and all that the Lord is working in you in “Desperate.” Honestly, when I read about the book before ordering it, I wasn’t thinking it really fit where I am at. I am a homeschool momma of 5 (ages 1 to 11), and have had plenty of desperate days and seasons, but didn’t necessarily feel the need for this particular resource right now. Well, the Lord had other plans – and I felt lead to order the book anyway. From the first chapter, I began to realize why the Lord placed this book in my hands. I was quite a few chapters in even before the first blog posting of the book study. I just wanted to tell you that it spoke to my heart in so many ways. There were so many things addressed that I never could put into words myself, but have struggled with even on a daily basis. My copy of the book is underlined like crazy, written in, starred, and still sitting with my Bible because I just don’t feel ready to shelve it with my other resources even though I’ve been done with it for a few weeks. It helped me to understand that I’m not alone and it was very much like having an encouraging friend who could see into my heart and (without judgement) came along side of me. The Lord did something in my heart though this book. Somehow, even after years of walking with the Lord, praying, reading . . . . he lifted something from me. I have found greater delight in my days – even though I thought I was already doing “okay” most of the time. My four year old son (who very closely resembles Sarah Mae’s daughter) has become a delight to me – as the book addressed some heart issues (most of them being mine). Something was lifted which has allowed me to see him love him in ways I struggled to before. There is so much more I could say.

    Thank you. Thank you! Thank you for being diligent to serve and listen to the Lord. Thank you and Sarah Mae both. May the Lord bless you.

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