We live in a day and age that is positively saturated with parenting books, parenting manuals, parenting blogs, parenting podcasts, and more. As if that weren’t enough, new studies are coming out daily, telling you what you should and should not do with your babies, toddlers, and children as you go about the work of raising them. Here’s the real kicker, though: these voices we’re hearing all contradict one another!
One parenting “expert” will tell you it is in your baby’s best interests to be sleep trained and that if you do not sleep-train your little one, then you are being negligent and are a bad parent. The next parenting “expert” that comes along will tell you it is borderline child abuse to insist on your little one being sleep trained and that if you go so far as to attempt such a barbaric practice, you should be ashamed of yourself. With this kind of rhetoric coming at us every day, it’s no wonder the mommy wars are raging!
I come to you today to implore you, sweet mama, to remember that there is another way. There is a better option available to us besides all the noise, the voices, the differences of opinion, and the varied advice all clamoring for our attention. There is a way which perfectly suits each one of your unique children, a way that will bring you peace, rest, and joy as you mother, a way that is tailor-made for your family. What is that way?
It is mothering by faith.
Walking in the Old Paths
The Lord proclaimed to Israel in Jeremiah 6:16,
“Stand in the ways and see,
And ask for the old paths, where the good way is,
And walk in it;
Then you will find rest for your souls.”
Isn’t rest what we all crave as moms? Many of us are in need of physical rest, especially if we are in those particularly sleep-depriving seasons of motherhood. But I would say that pretty much all of us are in desperate need of a different kind of rest, as well – mental, emotional, and spiritual rest.
As moms, we want to do what is best for our children. We don’t want to make mistakes. We want to always parent the very best way we can. And that is applaudable! But this good-intentioned desire too often leads to our jumping to buy the latest parenting book, or clamoring after the words of the popular bloggers, or relying on every last thing the pediatrician may tell us. When faced with a parenting challenge or question, we try to search out the perfect method or fix or answer, and only end up overwhelming ourselves with the opinions of man which all differ from one another. We are left feeling even more confused and at a loss for what to do than when we started!
This is what happens when we exchange the wisdom of God for the opinions of man. We get frustrated trying to find the answer to all our parenting problems online or in a parenting book when what we truly needed was at our finger tips all along – the truth of God’s Word.
It’s time we return to the old paths, ladies, walk therein, and find the rest for our souls that we all seek. It’s time we remember that God is the One who formed and fashioned each one of our children according to a particular design.It's time we remember that God is the One who formed and fashioned each one of our children… Click To Tweet
We need to acknowledge the fact that the Lord infused into each one of our children a unique personality and unique needs and therefore He alone is the One who knows how they would best be parented. He alone knows which method will work the best for which child and which method won’t work for any of them at all. He knows what discipline should look like for each unique personality and bent, and He is more than willing to share that wisdom with us! But we have to ask for it.
We read in James 1:5 (a passage which I think we as moms should have stamped on our foreheads! 😉 ), “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” If you need wisdom and you seek it from the only true source of lasting, applicable, life-changing wisdom, it will be given to you! We are not told it “may be given”. We are not told it “will be given as long as you ask on a day God feels like being generous and bestowing it”. No, sweet mama. It will be given!
The problem is not that we do not have 24/7 access to all the wisdom and direction we could ever need for this good work of parenting (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Ephesians 2:10). The problem is that we are seeking wisdom from the wrong sources. We are essentially seeking wisdom for how to run our car by reading the owner’s manual for our TV. We are trying to figure out how to get the blender to work by reading the owner’s manual that came with the coffee pot. These seem like ridiculous things to do, and yet we do the equivalent of this every single day when we run first to parenting books or recommendations from friends before we run to the God who created our children, entrusted them to us, and desires to help and guide us in our work of parenting.
Mothering by Faith
In what has become known as the great Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11, we find accounts of men and women of God who accomplished great things for His Kingdom precisely because they walked not according to human wisdom, but by faith. Included in this passage are folks who made choices which other people viewed as being crazy:
- Noah built an ark at a time when people didn’t know what rain was.
- Abraham uprooted his family and all his possessions, left everything that was familiar behind, and went on a journey to move to a new land, without even knowing where he was going.
- Moses refused the benefits associated with growing up in Pharoah’s house, instead choosing to suffer hardship with the people of God.
- David fought a giant warrior while he was still a young boy.
- Rahab willingly housed and protected spies she didn’t even know at risk to her own life.
If we seek first the wisdom of God when it comes to our choices as moms, sometimes our parenting methods and the paths we take will appear crazy to the people around us. But, that’s ok! The Lord – not the neighbor down the road, not the parenting “expert”, not the sister-in-law, not the mommy blogger, not even our best friend at church – knows what is best for our children. Being able to parent our children in the way they individually need to be parented (because there truly is no one-size-fits-all method – that’s why the books or ideas from the “experts” don’t always work!) will only come about from our diligently seeking God’s face as we walk through our journey of mothering.
Sweet mama, as we conclude this 31-day series of motherhood encouragement, I hope you remember to go to the Lord the next time you are facing a challenge in your mothering.
The next time your baby refuses to sleep and you are at a loss for what to do, I hope you cry out to God first, believing that He actually cares so much for you that He will willingly listen and answer even the prayers pertaining to sleep issues! The next time you are struggling with a defiant toddler and are wondering how you ought to address the situation, I hope you seek the Lord’s wisdom first. The next time your teenager makes it clear he doesn’t want to open up to you about what is going on in his life, I hope you ask the Lord for wisdom as to how to proceed.
Because, the fact of the matter is this – a blog series like this one is awesome and can provide us with much encouragement as we sit and read through the articles. But that encouragement won’t last if we don’t allow it to point us to Christ. Any encouragement I offer you from myself will only benefit you momentarily. The encouragement, help, and hope that is found in God’s Word and in prayer, however, does last. It is perfectly suited to your own unique mothering needs, is applicable to precisely what you are going through right at this moment (and what you will go through tomorrow!), and will leave you with a joy, hope, purpose, and help that will last.
So, dear mama, don’t look to us. Don’t look to the parenting “experts”. Look to Christ. And mother your children by faith.
Don’t miss the rest of the posts in this series, click here or on the image below, to get to the landing page.
Rebekah Hargraves is a wife, mama of two littles, home business owner, podcaster, and blogger residing in TN. Her passion is to bless fellow Christian women through her writings on her website, Hargraves Home and Hearth, which exists to “edify, equip, and encourage women in their journey of Biblical womanhood”. Rebekah’s first book, “Lies Moms Believe (And How the Gospel Refutes Them)”, releases in November.