Friday, March 7, 2014

Titus 2: The Older and the Younger Woman

Yesterday, I was saddened while reading an article that came through my newsfeed on Facebook. You may have read it as well. It was about a pregnant mother driving her SUV into the ocean with her three other children inside. Since I can't see your face, I'm not sure what your response was. Deep down inside though, I'm sure you felt sad just as I did.

Many questions flood our minds upon hearing news of this matter.

Did she not have anyone to turn too for help?
How could a mother do such a thing?
Why, oh why, would she have another child?
Did she love her children?
Was she a single mom?

We can sit for hours on end conversing about this mother. Yes, within minutes, we have her whole life figured out as to why she committed this act against herself and the children she was suppose to protect. We are good at that aren't we. However, are we good at reaching out and lending a hand to a mother such as this?

Older woman, if we opened our eyes wide enough and look around, we know this woman. This woman sits in the pew in front of us each Sunday morning. We recognized her in the grocery store as she juggles a cart full of groceries while keeping a toddler from wandering. This same woman walks down our street taking her children to the park hoping to get a minute to just take a deep breath. Since we know her, what have we done to assist her?

Older woman, you and I have a mandate from Scripture that we have repeatedly ignored. I shiver thinking about blaspheming Holy Spirit. That same fear resides in me at the thought of blaspheming the word of God. I implore you, to open your heart and read this passage of Scripture:

"The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, 
not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things, 
that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, 
to love their children, to be obedient to their own husbands, 
that the word of God may not be blasphemed."
~Titus 2:3-5

The reason why I ask that you open your heart as I write this is because I want you to see how we are blaspheming the word of God...

Blaspheme = to speak impiously or irreverently of (God or sacred things); to speak evil of; slander; abuse; irreverent behavior toward anything held sacred.

Older woman, that definition of blaspheme causes me to search the deepest core of my heart. I, for one, don't want to speak evil of those things that God calls sacred. Motherhood is sacred to Him. This passage encourages us to encourage the younger women to love their children. It does not tell us to roll our eyes upon hearing a mother expecting another child. Nor does it tell us to talk to her about the latest birth control method. It tells us to admonish the young women. To remind them to love their children. Whether that is two, four or ten children. Even if she decides to have one, we are to encourage her to love that child.

So older woman, let us rise up and be Titus 2 women. Let us lend a hand to the young mother and not gossip about her behind her back. Let us compliment that mother when we see her doing something positive in the area of motherhood. Let us smile at the mother in the grocery store. That young woman you see in church, hug her. Tell her that she is doing a great job with her children. Every now and then offer to watch the children while she goes to the grocery store alone. For some mothers, that is like a day at Disneyland. 

I don't know how I would have made it, had it not been for the older women in church encouraging me when my children were little. I hope to be an encouragement to younger women. Especially, my own daughters.
Mothers with younger children, reach out for help. Find an older woman to help you along the way. There are some of us who would love to come along side you and just be there. No strings attached, but just to love on you. Remember that whatever you, as a mother are facing today, it will get better tomorrow. Your children will grow up. They grow up fast. The day will come when they will be able to wipe their own noses and bottoms. They will not always spill milk or smear peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They will become teenagers. Do not dread the teen years. You will make it. You will come out alive and so will your children. Then they become young adults and they will rise up and call you blessed.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

...To Love Their Children

Who doesn't love their children? I personally don't know any mother who does not love their children. However, I do know, we as mothers have different ways of showing our children that we love them.

"That they admonish the young women to love their husbands, 
to love their children." ~Titus 2:4

I sat there pondering why would a verse such as this would even appear in the pages of Scriptures. So, of course, I had to search within my own heart to see if there were any areas I needed to work on as a mother. God knows how much I love my children. I really like them as people. They are fun to be around. My days are often willed with laughter when they send me funny text messages. They are not perfect, but as their mother, neither am I. Perhaps that's the problem? I don't know...

I've met mothers who just can not forgive themselves for mistakes they have made training children during their younger years. Most of my children are adults now with the exception of one. I have mom friends who have children around the same age as mine. As mothers we talk about things that are happening with our children. Here's where I think the problem(s) occur when talking about our children. Especially our adult children.

We have the tendency to share too much of our children's personal business.

Hold up! Before you say, "I'm just sharing with my friends." 

Ask yourself this question, "Would my child(ren) want Jane Doe to know that this is going on in their lives?"

I'm not saying we can't share with our friends. I have a few friends that I have heart to heart talks with about some deep personal things that I would not want the world to know. Most of those things are about me. I also share things about my husband and my children. Those things are shared when I'm asking for help while exposing my own flaws as a wife and a mother. Those things are also shared privately.

When we as mothers share things publicly and in a large group settings about our children, is that loving them the way that they would interpret love? We all interpret love differently. To our children, especially our adult children, telling others about their privately struggles and weaknesses could result in hurt feelings and a sense of betrayal. Our intentions are to never hurt our children. That's why we need to take an honest look inward and ask ourselves why are we sharing this or that.

Moms give yourself a break. Don't be too hard on yourself. Don't be too hard on your children either. No I'm not saying to look the other way and nod "yes" to sin. What I am saying, be careful how much we share about our children with others. If you need help processing something that your children are going through, get with one, maybe two people and ask them to pray for you. After they are done praying for you, then ask them to pray with you as you pray for your children. Those are your children. You should be the one bombarding heaven on behalf of your children.

I want to encourage you to love your children like never before. With loving kindness, God drew us to Himself. Let's show our children that kind of love.