Friday, 24 March 2017

Encouragement for Mums

Dear Friends,


Next month my son, Josh, turns nineteen and a few months after that my daughter, Jess, turns sixteen. Where does the time go? 

Being a Mum can be one of the most rewarding things in life, but it's also one of the hardest too. So I'd like today to offer you mums some encouragement. The kind of encouragement I know I'm also in need of.

God has called you to be a mother to the child/children he has placed in your care. He knew exactly who they would need and he chose you. We are told in Psalm 127:3 that "Children are a gift from the Lord;" (NLT).

Remember that God never calls us to something without equipping us for it. The writer to the Hebrews says "may he [God] equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen." Hebrews 13:21 (NLT). When I ask God for his help in raising my children he will enable me to be the best mum I can be. I don't need to struggle alone.

Stop comparing yourself with other mums. I often find myself doing this. I look at what great mums my sister and my sister-in-law are and I wish I could be more like them. I know it's not healthy to compare myself with others. Instead I need to remind myself that God made me to be me, not to be like anyone else and he made me to be the mother of my children. I really like the Message paraphrase of Galatians 6:4-5 "Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life."

The only one we should be comparing ourselves with is Jesus Christ. Our aim should be to become more like Christ. He is the perfect role model and God the Father is our perfect role model for how to be a great parent. "Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God." Ephesians 5:1-2 (NLT)

Accept that there will be times when you make mistakes. You and I are not perfect, so there will be times when we get it wrong. Don't hold on to the guilt you feel regarding your past failures. I've been down that path many times and it's taken me to dark places and has paralysed me so that I have felt unable to parent in the present. Seek God's forgiveness (and the forgiveness of your children when necessary) and learn to forgive yourself. Remind yourself of the truth in God's Word. Truths such as "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." Romans 8:1 (NLT)

There have been times when I've worried that a mistake I've made as a mum will leave lasting damage on my children. I've worried I may have done something so terrible it will affect them for the rest of their lives. That it will be something they never get over. That they will be permanently scarred by it.

However, the Bible says: "Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]." Philippians 4:6-7 (AMP)

These verses teach us that rather than worrying we should bring everything - our concerns, our fears, our anxieties, - to God in prayer. As soon as I realise my worry has returned I can immediately take it to God in prayer. When I do this, in place of my worries, I receive his peace for the situation.

I believe God is sovereign and greater than my mistakes. Because I love God, I believe he can take any experience I have had, any that my children have had as a result of my parenting (whether for good or bad) and use if for good. We read in Romans 8:28 "And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose." (AMP) 

Finally mums, I just want to say to you, keep doing what you are doing. No one can love your children the way you do. Be the mother God has called you to be. Rely on him and his enabling power, not on yourself and your own limited strengths, abilities and energy. And surround yourself with other mums so you can support and encourage one another.

To Think About:
Regularly ask God to help you to be the Mum he has called you to be.

Who do you compare yourself with? How does it affect your own parenting? How does God give us the perfect role model as a parent?

What do you find yourself worrying about? Does worrying about it make it any better? What can you do instead?

Do you have a support group of mums around you? How do you/can you support and encourage each other?

If you have found this devotional helpful, please consider sharing it with other mums you know.

Vicki

If  what you read was of interest to you, then you may like to know that my book "Dear Friend...52 Weekly Devotions to Encourage, Challenge and Inspire" is available to buy from Amazon. (It's content is material adapted from previous blog posts.) To learn more, click on the link below:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1517787955/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487243591&sr=1-1&keywords=Vicki+Cottingham

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