Tonight I watched the movie Courageous.
The heart of the movie was to encourage fathers to be intentional with their children: to give them their time and train them up to be responsible, to have integrity, and to love the Lord. But the movie encouraged my mama-heart as well.
I want to be an intentional mother. I don’t want to look back on my life in fifteen years and have a grieving spirit because I wasn’t intentional. I want to be a mother who is resolved in teaching and training my children, cultivating the garden of their souls (as Sally says), and investing my time in the things they enjoy. I want to love them well, and love is an action, not a feeling. I feel great depths of love for my children, but if I don’t show it in actionable ways, it will prove to be only a shadow of real love.
When I was younger and living with mom (my parents are divorced) I used to beg her to quit drinking. I would say, “Aren’t I more important than your alcohol?” No matter how many times she told me she loved me, it was all just hollow for me because I saw her day in and day out choose the drink over me. And when she drank, she was mean, and didn’t act like a mother should. She didn’t act like a mother on the day I cut myself by accident while washing the dishes. The knife sliced into my thumb, straight through to the nerves. It wouldn’t stop bleeding and I asked my mom to take me to the hospitable for stitches, but she wouldn’t. I wrapped my thumb with bandaids, and when those didn’t stop the bleeding I wrapped it in paper towels thick and put tape around it, but in the morning it was still bleeding. I never got stitches, and now every time I hit my thumb on something I’m reminded of that day because of the sharp pain that goes through my thumb when I hit it the wrong way. The scar on my thumb is a reminder of the scars on my heart. I believe she loved me, but her love was not evident to me because it wasn’t actionable.
I wonder what my love looks like to my children? I wonder if my love is evident through my daily actions. I wonder what their memories will be of me in fifteen years. I wonder what will stand in the forefront of their minds when they think of me. I wonder what legacy I will leave them with one day.
“One day” is all governed by the every days.
And the every days are often boring days, long days, hard days, tired days. It’s easier to try and escape by going on the computer or cleaning or doing something other than taking part in the mundane and making it beautiful and alive for myself and my children.
I need resolve to keep going; I need resolve to be diligent in being a life-giver, in teaching, training, and loving my babies well.
Therefore I’ve decided to write myself up a resolution.
“Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 (ESV)
I resolve, before God and by His grace, to intentionally bring up my children in the training and instruction of the Lord.
I will give my children my time and attention during the day.
I will read to them out of God’s Word and do my best to teach them how to love God with all their heart, mind, and soul.
I will be kind and compassionate, and sensitive to their needs and their age (knowing I will make mistakes and have God’s grace to keep on).
I will help them to face their sin, go to God, and accept forgiveness and grace. I will remind them that they can never lose my love, and if they know God, they can never lose His love.
I will do my best to respect to my husband, especially in front of my children.
I will play dollies, dragons, ponies, games, or do projects with my children.
I will take them on adventures and show them the wonder of God through nature and art.
I will teach my son to be a gentlemen, to be brave, to serve, to protect the weak, to care for others sacrificially, and to do whatever God leads him to do, by faith. I will trust my husband to teach my son to be a man.
I will teach my daughters to be strong and dignified, to be brave, to serve, to protect the weak, to care for others sacrificially, and to do whatever God leads them to do, by faith.
I will pay attention to my children’s bents so I can nurture them in developing their giftings.
I will pray for my children every day.
I will tuck my children in with songs, blessing, and prayers every night. I will try to remember just how fast these years go.
“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.” 1 Corinthians 9:19 (ESV)
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (ESV)
Will you join me in being resolved? Sure, some of your resolutions might look different from mine, but would you commit to being intentional with your children?
Let’s commit ourselves to giving the first fruits of our time to building into the eternal souls in our care.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Deuteronomy 6:5-7