|3 more months to grow with Samuel! Judah wanted to be the photographer :)|
|Excuse the blurriness....Judah was a bit shaky, but I love that he tried to capture them hugging Samuel like they do!|
|Big guy, photographer Judah.|
Below is something I wrote almost exactly 2 years ago (8 days shy!) regarding this passage. I needed it again today. This is for all the mommas out there.
As I prepare to welcome our third child into our home, I've been reflecting on my role and purpose as a mother. I've been reading some of Paul's letters to the churches in the New Testament and have been really propelled by his example of fatherly love. It has been challenging me as a mother, and fueling me to remember what an important role I have as a mom. I share these things to encourage other moms out there....
Although Paul was not a natural father, he in many essences was a beautiful example of the heart a father should have towards his children. His letter to the church in Corinth contains an exhortation that I have constantly returned to as I've mothered Judah and Levi (I'll get to this in a minute). The hardest lesson for me as a mother has been again and again: I must die. Not in a real bodily sense (although I know this is true too), but in a more selfless sense when considering my wants and desires. Some examples that come to mind: I must die to my desire to sleep 8 hours a night, uninterrupted; I must die to the hope I have to eat right when my stomach starts to growl; I must die to the desire of having my shower and bathroom times just when I want them; I often must lay aside my projects because the persistent need of disciplining and teaching beckons....the list goes on and on. Can anyone relate? This is a very practical, daily lesson that drives deep into my heart. Bottom line, I'm reminded again and again, this life is not my own. I'm not declaring that it is my childrens (although they do receive much of my energies!), but that ultimately, this life is not my own because it is Gods. My children are the life example God has so graciously given me to remind me and help me learn to walk this truth out. So this great passage from 2 Corinthians fuels me with faith to recognize raising children is one Godly pursuit and so worth the investment!
"For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; stuck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you." (2 Cor. 4: 5-12)
I have written in my Bible, next to verse 12, "death in me, life in our kids." What a great understanding Paul had! Paul did so many things for the churches in his time of ministry! He prayed faithfully for them, he continually pointed out their strengths and sought to encourage them, he disciplined them when needed, he taught them when they were putting themselves in harm, he longed to be apart of their lives as much as possible, he consistently reminded them of the faithfulness of God and the glory of Jesus, and (the one that challenges me the most) he joyfully suffered on their behalf. Joyful suffering....now that is a concept! Now I realize that Paul was up against a lot more at times when it came to serving these churches (his list includes things like being beaten, imprisoned and going without food) however, this is not to belittle the fact that we as mothers are truly in a battle to embrace joyfully serving and giving of ourselves consistently for our little ones. This is a big deal! This is hard! But in this hardship we can know, that by God's grace, we may feel perplexed, struck down, or even persecuted while raising our children, but we are not driven to despair or destroyed....we are able to be greater lights for Jesus because we must die to a life simply about us....daily! What a beautiful work God can do in us as we enjoy cleaning up vomit, being sleep deprived, and having those sweet little faces look up at us and say "Love ye, Mommy" (at least that's how Judah says it!) :)