Who knew?! I mean, shouldn't it come naturally to love your children? Absolutely. For most people, there is an automatic (or natural) affection toward one's offspring. But you don't have to be a mom for more than 5 minutes, before you may find yourself discouraged, overwhelmed, mentally and emotionally (or even physically) exhausted, and wrestling with the thought, "Am I a good mother?" And if you're like me, then chances are that you did not come to that tough question because you lack emotional love, but rather you may struggle with the day to day operation of motherhood. The routine... the act of love.
This act of love will look differently for every mother. You may be raising little ones... you may have a house full of teenagers... perhaps you're experiencing the challenges of a blended family... you may have a child with special needs... or this could possibly be your first baby and you're totally overwhelmed by the lack of sleep. Whatever the challenge, whatever the situation, we must always go beyond the natural love that we possess as mothers, and consider the act of love (the routine), and how we may be taught to better function in this role.
Personally, I need to be more disciplined with time. It's amazing how a little planning and daily structure has totally revitalized my home. Once a self-proclaimed "organized procrastinator", I have now come to learn that if I want our home to function well, then I cannot afford to be irresponsible with the time. Honestly, I thought I was fine in this area, since somehow I had coordinated all 5 children to nap simultaneously. But it goes beyond that!!! I cannot operate with a mindset of, "Just make it from breakfast to nap time... woooo, made it!!... Now, from nap time to bed time!" Instead, I must be committed to honoring God through the way I spend the day in which He has made.
Then equally important, if not more so important, I am learning that I must take care of me. Hair, nails, make-up, jewelry... are all a notable bonus (and oh, how I love to indulge!) But that's not what I am most concerned about. Rather, strengthening the inner man, or the spirit man, by constantly cultivating my relationship with Christ, so that I may effectively carry out this act of love. For me, this means waking up at 5:30 each morning, just to have that quiet time with Him. This means constantly "checking in" with the Lord, and living moment by moment with a full awareness of God's presence. This means constant trial and error, sin and confession, and sincerely relying on God's grace to carry me through these sometimes difficult and overwhelming daily tasks. Ultimately, I am learning that to be able to properly care for these 5 precious souls, that I must first nourish my own. Only then am I able to let the service to my family be a natural overflow of how much God has ministered to me.
I am learning. I'm learning discipline. I am learning. I'm learning dedication. I am learning. Motherhood.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
~Titus 2: 3-5