As Mums we can become quite legalistic about how we do things. I know I can. Some of the conversations we have at the park about the only way to potty train, limit ‘screen-time’, ‘sleep-train’ or feed kids are mental. I mean look at us. Nothing about us is the same. Not our kids, not our husbands not our experience of life, not us. Why do we expect to do anything the same way?
But we can’t help it the rules thing invades everything.
The human-ness of us wants rules, some of us more than others, and some seasons of life are rules seasons. We clutch onto rules more when we feel completely out of control. And ‘out of control’ pretty much sums up being a parent. The deeper I go into this-out-of-control-world-that-is-parenting the more I know that the sooner I get in sync, with the one person who does control things, the happier I am to float with my own lack of control.
Galatians 5: 4-6 says,
You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Sprit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
The more babies my husband and I have, the less advice on how to do things we give out. We honestly don’t know anymore. We’ve done nothing the same twice. Our kids are all so different and our situation is constantly changing. So we’ve gone to God’s word and ‘Faith Expressed Through Love’ is what God says really matters.
In every situation as a parent and a wife I pretty much don’t know what is going to happen next. I need faith to believe it will turn out as God wants it to turn out and I need love to express that faith to my kids and my husband.
And what is love?
1 Corinthians 13 says,
If I speak in the tongues of men or angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully; even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
It’s a choice isn’t it?
A choice that is so much easier to make with God and in the Holy Spirit.
I cannot count the number of people who have said to me, “I stopped at two kids, I don’t have the patience for more, I don’t know how you do it!”
Of course you don’t because you haven’t had to do it yet. Just like I haven’t had to do whatever it is you do. But I’ll tell you something, before I had done it, I didn’t know either. Nobody knows. When I had one child I could never have imagined having two, when I had two I couldn’t imagine three, when I had three I couldn’t imagine four, when I had four I couldn’t imagine five. All I knew was that it wasn’t going to be the same so I would have to be prepared to change along with it.
Here’s the thing; Whatever it is; staying single, getting married, getting pregnant, adopting, gaining or losing a child or a job or a spouse, going into ministry, looking after elderly parents or a sick child or husband or wife, getting sick yourself, starting a business, sending a husband or child off to war, or even just to another suburb, going bankrupt or becoming ridiculously successful, whatever it is, nobody can say beforehand that they know what they are going to need to get through it.
It’s unknown, you just have to step out in faith, believe God has got what you need. As far as you know you don’t have it yet. You’ve never seen yourself in that situation. There is only one way to grow through anything unknown, and bear fruit on the other side, and that is to plant yourself in Faith.
God is the only one who can see all of time and that gives me hope.
I wasn’t born patient. I hate wait. Just ask my husband. But patience is a fruit of the Spirit, not a personality trait. For a while now I’ve lived in the Spirit and I can tell you I am being refined in the fire. But I am comforted that while I’m here in the five-kid-fire that a refiner keeps gold in the fire, with his eyes fixed on it until he can see his own face reflected back, then he pulls it out.
I just have to have faith that one day Jesus will see his face reflected in me.
Faith expressed through love.
Faith has replaced a lot of the rules in our house. This doesn’t mean I’m a push over all of a sudden. Just ask my kids.
What it means is “Faith expressed through love” is what we do. It has replaced all the “methods” that people swear by until some new method comes along and they swear by that one instead.
I had to laugh this time round when the early-discharge-program-midwife arrived at my house to help me with breastfeeding my 3 day old 5th child. The very same woman who, 10 years ago, would not hear of me feeding my 1st son other than 3-hourly-on-the-dot whether he was asleep or awake, hungry or not, stood there in my lounge room and said, “Now he’ll have a few 3 or 4 hourly feeds, then he’ll probably cluster-feed a bit in the afternoon. And don’t worry if he sleeps through a feed it just means he needs to sleep and he’s not hungry.”
I had been around long enough with babies to see the knowledge pass away, but Christ remains.
Don’t get me wrong. I like knowledge. I’m just not chained to it. Education is very worthwhile but it is not freedom. Christ is freedom.
I can read everything there is to know about patience and never in my whole life be patient. But spend a few minutes telling Jesus how much I love him, waiting on God, and inviting the Holy Spirit into my situation and I find I’ve got patience before I even get up to the bit of the prayer when I was going to ask for it.
Before we need patience we need faith, we need love, Christ’s love because Christ will in turn give us hope in every situation, the opposite of despair. He will give us hope for our future and the future of those we love, so we can step out in faith and into the fruit of the Spirit.
Be blessed, be encouraged to love in faith with the love we are given. If you’re a mum, going through the ever-blind process of parenting, your faith may also be encouraged by these posts, Mummy Ministry , Train Them In The Way They Will Go, How Do You Do It?, or if you want to encourage your kids to walk in faith they might be encouraged by the poem I wrote for my son, called Luca the Light Ranger.
Lots of love,
© Lauren Macdonald. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lauren Macdonald @ http://godhelpmei.com