Maybe some of you mamas love to live on the edge and a spontaneous road trip with 6 kids sounds like a dream but when my hubby asked if we could pack the RV for a 4 day getaway in less than 24 hours I know my face showed my lack of enthusiasm. I may have even cringed as my head reeled with packing checklists, on the road meal plans, and all the logistics that came with packing our RV for our family of 8.
Times like this is what tests my submission to my husband. I know some ladies just winced when they read the "s" word but God created us humans as submissive creatures. Jesus submits to the loving, merciful authority of God the Father. Man submits to the loving, merciful authority of Jesus. Woman submits to the loving, merciful authority of man. And child submits to the loving, merciful authority of their parents. There is a mutual submission, all parties are submitting to authority and ultimately to God.
(Picture Commentary: Mirabel, Risa and I arrived at camp Fort Rock in Arkansas)When I say the word submission I am not talking about the abusive "woman, get in the kitchen" definition the world teaches us, but God’s loving, serving, self-sacrificing leadership that mutual submission willingly and happily bends to. Submission does not remove a woman’s voice but gives her a safe, protected place to share that voice. Submission chooses gentleness. Do not confuse gentleness with cowardice, timidness or fearfulness. Submission doesn’t say, "I am second class" but says, "I am a mutual heir of Christ, equal to man, but I choose to be a picture of God’s love by laying aside my own will or wants for the benefit of others.
True leadership that we are called to submit to is servant-hood. True leadership willingly takes the burden of making a decision that honors God and puts other’s best interests ahead of their own. Leadership washes feet. Leadership protects, comforts, encourages, builds up and loves so deeply that they would sacrifice all even their own life for the other.
When a man lives out true leadership and a woman chooses to willingly submit to that loving leadership we become a picture of Christ and the church. Together we point to the Maker of true love.
(Picture Commentary: We are having fun exploring this rustic, western looking camp)Okay, rabbit trail, back to the RV packing and last minute road trip. Times like this test my submission to my husband. This man that loves God and wants to serve his family with their best will at heart wanted to surprise us and visit friends. He was able to get the time off, contact several friends that were available, and find local friends to care for our farm. This man wasn’t asking me to do anything sinful, illegal or wrong, just something out of my comfort zone. Although I have flat out put my foot down in the past my hubby graciously gives me more chances to leave my bubble of comfort and stretch my type A planner wings.
(Picture Commentary: We played in dress-up and jail and Risa got to do her favorite thing!)This is what submission looked like in our home this time: "Do you think we can pack the RV quickly and take a 4 day getaway to visit friends?" my sweet hubby asked. I calmed the mini panic attack in my mind, "I love you so much Babe. You know I struggle with anything I don’t have time to plan for. I trust you and see how it could be fun. I will try my best to pack in so little time but can you give me a minute to digest and plan?"
(Picture Commentary: This horse ride was the real deal, through the woods and up a mountain!)Well, let me be the first to tell you that trusting my hubby was SO rewarding! He had, in fact, called some friends in Springdale, AR and Guthrie, OK who gladly invited us over to visit and stay with them. He also surprised us and sent our two oldest girls and I on an amazing mother/daughter retreat at Camp Fort Rock, AR. We had so much fun horseback riding, range shooting, archery, zip-lining and being reminded of the hugely important, yet often taken for granted, job we hold as a mother. On top of all the fun we had enjoying activities and each other’s time together we also were privileged to hear some words of wisdom from a speaker, Nancy Newport, about our relationship with our children. I will try to digest and spit back out some of what was shared with us.
"There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end." Ecc. 3:1-11
(Picture Commentary: We got to do new things like rifle shooting and zip lining!)In every aspect of parenting there is a season. Ever changing seasons in our lives as mama. We must remember that these little ones, given to us through birth or adoption, are not our own. They are on loan from the Lord. The Lord requires that we teach our children about their Father’s ways:
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons 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 up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." Deut. 6:5-9
(Picture Commentary: Isn't my skirt just awesome! It is a Jeanology brand skirt I found brand new at a local thrift store for just $5.99. It is so comfy and easy to maneuver in. I am in love!)
As the Ecc. 3 verse above continues it tells us the different seasons we may see in our lives and this is also true for us mamas. There will be a time for us to die to ourselves, just as Jesus died to self (His will) to always do the Father’s will. There will be a time for us to plant the Word and a time for us to just pray, pray, pray. There will be a time for us as mamas to kill old habits and use healing words, comfort and touch to begin a fresh start.
(Picture Commentary: First time ever picking up a bow and I did pretty well!)There will be a time to train, train, train our children! Train to listen, to come, to stop, to share, to sit quietly. Teach them "no", respect, authority, chores, accountability. There will come a time that God asks them to do something that doesn’t make sense (like building a large ark and filling it with animals) and we pray they were trained early to listen and obey. Use every moment to teach them the Word. Read, read, read God's Word as you walk in the way. We must be always filling up their hearts with Jesus and teaching in the good times not just as a tool for correction.
(Picture Commentary: The camp was a blast and the time with my girls was priceless!)Praise them…LOTS. Be a living example of the gratefulness you want to see in your children. Believe that the weeds they pick for you are more valuable that any amount of money spent on roses! Build memories. Create a family fun night, let your kids plan what you will do on this special night. Work together, if you work hard together then play hard together. Laugh LOTS, don’t let the enemy discourage you. Let your hair down. Be a fun mom.
(Picture Commentary: While we were gone the boys got to attend a Razorbacks football game.)There will be a time as our kids grow that we allow them to struggle. They are learning to listen to the Holy Spirit and we don’t want to get in the way. Your kids will hear and see things that you want to guard them against. We live in a lost world and will be around lost people. Help them see people around them from God’s perspective. There is never a time to yell at your kids, yelling says, "I am out of control" and counteracts all we have strived for to teach our children about self-control.
(Picture Commentary: After a double date we said our goodbyes and left these sweet friends.)We must take care to not treat our aging children as little ones. They must grow into their own convictions, as mamas we must loosen our grip so they can find who they are. We must cast away our own inconsistencies in our lives. We should pray Scripture over their growing, changing lives. Let your children see your struggles, doubt and lack of faith and let them see you choose to trust the Lord in the mess you are in. When all is done and their wings are grown we will enter a time to just PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.
(Picture Commentary: More fellowship on Sunday, visit this awesome family at Grace Family Farm!)
If you are anything like me, once you read this list you will think, "Although this is the desire of my heart, this is not where I am or feel I will ever be. How will I ever live up to this standard and do all that I should as a mom?" I have come to a place that I know I do not have what it takes to raise children after God’s own heart. It is here that I realize I must cry out to Jesus for His perfect power, strength and love to make it through day by day, sometimes minute by minute. He is always faithful to show up and fill me with that same grace and mercy that washed me clean and gave me a new heart over 5 years ago. My prayer is that my mistakes will not hinder my children and I may be an empty vessel used to fiercely love my children and point them to Christ!
Posted by Shannon
Soli Deo gloria - Glory to God alone