“I do not even believe in God. There is no such thing as Heaven and Hell!” I was 14 years old, screaming down to my mother during one of our routine mother-daughter disagreements. I am not even sure what we were arguing about that particular day; however, I am sure it had something to do with my Mom playing the “God card” and me not getting my way.
Now, I did not really believe the above statement. However, I knew that it would hurt my mother, and, well, that was all I was aiming for at the time. My mother and I were no strangers to arguments, but upon entering high school earlier that year, it seemed our weekly sparring matches moved into daily – sometimes hourly – full blown fights.
Simply put, I wanted to do what I wanted to do. More precisely, I wanted to be like all the other girls at school, whose parents let them wear short skirts, make up, and have no curfews. Their parents allowed, what appeared to me, ultimate freedom. My parents – more often than not, my mother, as my father dealt mostly with my brother – were constantly “holding me back” from any fun or enjoyment. Every time I would beg to wear a dress that barely covered by toosh, to go to a friend’s house whose parents were out of town, or to simply stay home from church, she would say, “Let’s see what the Bible has to say about this topic.” To which I would roll my eyes and say, “Why do we have to bring God into EVERYTHING?!?!” “Because God IS everything, Laura,” she would firmly respond.
In high school, my mother was not my best friend. Goodness, most days I would barely speak to her. While other girls proudly boasted their mother was their best friend and that they were sharing secrets of kissing boys, parties they had attended, or the latest gossip, I was stewing in my room, angry at my mother for keeping me from yet another fun night.
At the time, I could have not harbored more ill feelings towards my mom. Every time she would ask to pray for me or quote scriptures, I wanted to throw a book at her. If I am really honest, most of the time it was the Bible I wanted to chunk right between her eyes. I did not care about her lectures that “God created me, special, and he had a plan for me”. “I was set apart, not to live for today but tomorrow.” I was young and immature, I was not thinking about how some of the choices I made at that age could and would affect the rest of my life.
I am so thankful though, that my mother was not at that time concerned with being my friend; she knew she needed to be my parent. More importantly, she knew that God hand picked her to be my mother to reveal His love and plan for my life. This is not to say that it was an easy task. She spent many nights with tears in her eyes because of the hurtful words I had shouted. My mother realized that she was not fighting Laura, she was battling the flesh.
“For our struggle is not against the flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of good and evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
I asked my mother not too long ago if she remembered the story above. Holding back what I can only assume were tears, she nodded yes. I broke down myself, and said, “How did you get through the years of me basically hating you?” She told me how she would go to the Lord in prayer, daily turning over my life to him. She enlisted many other women of strong faith to pray for my heart to soften, and to give her strength and comfort that only HE could give.
She reminded me how I had to learn that my three year old is not angry at me when I tell her no, but simply angry that she cannot do what she wants. This was the same lesson she learned in dealing with her rebellious 14 year old. We cannot be emotional when we parent, as our children learn very quickly how to pull at our heart strings. It is amazing that we do not teach children the skill of manipulation, but somehow they grasp it at a very young age. “Mom says no, let me ask Dad.” Sound familiar?
My mother’s hope was that through a constant outpouring of scripture in our home, our family “living in church,” and prayers with and for me that these short years of strife would one day turn into seasons of true joy and friendship. She looked at her role as a parent through eternity, not by the temporary relief she would have received if she would have simply “given in” to my every wish.
Raising children is not for the faint of heart. Raising GODLY children is an even greater degree of difficulty. Mothers must often go against the grain of the worldly view; instead, choosing to disciple their children according to Biblical principles. Christian mommas often feel lonely and isolated, and we can become downright depressed as our children rebel and flee from our guidance instead of running into our loving embrace.
Let me tell ya somethin’. If my mother had been more concerned with me liking her than my spiritual welfare, I would not be writing this today. My mother, even when it was tough, even when I am sure other Christian mothers were saying she was being “too tough,” did not waver. She showed me love, but more important, she showed me the power of leaning on our Heavenly Father when things are beyond our control. She surrendered her own fleeting happiness, so that I would I would one day surrender my heart. Out of all the things I am thankful for, I am most thankful for a mother who did not give up, give in, or check out.
Do not give up. Whatever stage of parenting you currently find yourself, you will be met with a unique set of battles. The enemy wants our children early, but God has a plan for them. We must prioritize our role as spiritual leaders first and foremost in our homes. Even when it is not popular, even when our hearts are breaking, we need to be in the word and on our knees. Our children are not ours; they are His. We are just entrusted with them while we are here on Earth.
“…The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it..” Psalm 24:1
I wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day, it is a day that well deserves recognition. To my mother, I thank you from the bottom of my sinner’s heart, the heart that you helped shepherd towards redemption. Thank you for loving me when it was tough and for being the much-needed Godly influence in my life. I am the woman today because of your example, your prayers, and God’s grace.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31: 25-31