Raising Children, Raising Disciples
Can you imagine a life without moms? ─ Pastor Jong asked the congregation during last Sunday’s Mother’s Day service. A mom is someone who gives life. No mom = no life. Moms, the givers of life, physical and spiritual were given a special tribute. We often forget to acknowledge our birth giver on our birthdays, so this year, the WIMO moms were given a special celebration. It pretty much looked like a birthday party, the kids gave balloons, cards, and cupcakes to the moms and Pastor Jong lifted all the moms to the Lord in prayer. But before that, just like a real birthday party, we had to blow the candles on our cake. In lieu of tokens for the moms, WIMO generously blessed Pregnancy Care Center, an organization offering personalized support for women preparing to parent or place a child for adoption.
Afterward, Pastor Jong shared the story of the women who were behind Timothy’s faith. Timothy’s grandmother and mother were faithful to their calling of motherhood that it was evident in Timothy’s life and he grew up knowing Scripture.
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. (2 Timothy 1:5)
Pastor Jong mentioned that faith is one of the most important characteristics of Timothy’s grandmother and mother that prepared him to be a disciple. Inside their core was their faith, it was living, personal, genuine and it was the source of their strength. It was lived out in their daily lives. It was passed on from one generation to another. Their faithful lives were their greatest legacy.
Motherhood is a calling, and it’s a tough one. As Pastor Jong said, it’s a calling from God that is important, influential and it’s more than planting a seed that will last. It’s a God-given task toward an eternal cost. He said that life is difficult and motherhood is extra difficult. He reminded us moms that God doesn’t want us to go through this on our own and grow weary and stress ourselves out as we lay down the foundation and balance so many spinning plates, so to speak. We were reminded to draw strength from the Source of all strength, to nurture the spiritual hunger of our children and to pray for them often. Prayers are very important because we can’t be with our kids 24/7. It’s important because our kids and even parents are being pulled in different directions, away from our families, away from God in this age of distraction. It’s important because we want that reverence and love for God planted in their hearts. It’s not easy to parent the way God intended, and we only have a few years to do that. In my case, I only have a few years to raise men, men who will live their lives for God and men who will give up things to advance the kingdom of God.
What’s your dream for your children? The moms in the congregation were asked.
To fulfill your dream? To live their dream? To give them the freedom to live their dream and support them?
Pastor Jong said that the highest level is to live the dream that God has for them, if you want to make a difference, that is. When my first son was a toddler, I would ask myself the same question. I made a mental list of my dreams for him and it was overwhelming that I ended up asking God to just give him what’s best for him and to lead me in the way that he wants him to go. I believe the Lord led me to a path less traveled. This was also the time that I encountered this verse:
Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 11:18-19
As a mother, I guess I took this verse literally and also realized that parenting and discipleship go hand in hand. I knew it was from the Lord because I prayed about it and His grace answered me. At first, I thought the idea of home educating your own kids was absurd and I ended up embracing it. I knew the Lord was calling me to do something that was beyond me. I just had to heed that call and this meant dealing with criticism, indifference, and ignorance. There’s also more work to do, with fewer finances to back it up. I could have picked an easier life, homeschooling is not for the faint of heart. When the Lord leads you to something, He will bring you through it with unspeakable joy, if you remain faithful and loyal. There were bad and exhausting days but when I look back, I won’t have it any other way because this is what worked for our family. Apparently, it’s more than just academics. I taught with the end in mind. I’m just thankful for the days that my kids and I learned about God and his incredible creation and the times that they ate their meals while I read prayers and verses. I thought they were so privileged to experience that. My hands are full, but so is my heart. I am a mother and I have been called by God to make disciples.
By Janine Ventura