Sometimes, it’s hard to get the ache and groan into print. So please, give me grace as this revelation comes into the light of day. I am stepping into the scary topic of Motherhood which always seems to circle back to Womanhood. It started like this.
During one of my sessions at a retreat, I remarked that “we need Kingdom Moms more than we need Super Moms.” My spirit “gonged” as this comment rolled off my tongue. I noted the reaction and I continued my teaching. A couple of days later, one my friends asked me to give her some more words around what a Kingdom Mom looked like. Ahhh. Yes. That loaded comment…someone else heard it too. Dang it.
First, before we break this down, I want to affirm, recognize and challenge us as women.
I affirm us as we attempt the ever-demanding role of being mothers. We are all in process and God loves us in and through this beautiful, sometimes painful, process. I have always said, “mothers are made, not born.” Every child, every season makes deposits in us as women, as mothers and these deposits change us over time. We are made into mothers. Hats off to us for trying, for learning, for showing up. (Even when we would rather lock ourselves in the bathroom.)
I recognize the pressure cooker we live in. Do you ever listen to moms talk? We are Exhausted. Anxious. And Insecure. I get it completely because there is a lot of pressure to perform today. To be frank, some of the pressure may be self-created, but some of the pressure is socially driven. So my observations are two fold. Some are based on my own personal healing from such distorted pressures and some are based on my sadness as I watch other women try to be something other than Kingdom Moms.
I challenge the status quo —the just the way it is — the everybody does it — mentality that keeps us stuck. You know this already, but let me put it in black and white. We take on and give out too many labels, false notions, and unreal expectations as moms, or, make that as women.
Here is an incomplete list of the Counterfeit Mom persona that we either wear or give to each other and the possible Kingdom alternatives:
Counterfeit: The beautiful and fit, “I deserve to wear yoga pants” mom.
Truth: Health is beautiful and needed. However physical obsession and constant comparison is not so good for our hearts or especially our kids. God’s idea of beauty is very different from ours. Relax already.
Counterfeit: The overweight “all I can fit into is sweatpants” mom.
Truth: Self-pity is not a God identity. Personal neglect hurts us because we pass on self-loathing to our kids. Shame is not a spiritual gift.
Counterfeit: The super mom. The homeroom mom. The perfectly organized lunchbox mom.
Truth: Our willingness and high capacity are gifts. Not merit badges. And there comes a time when “No” is the most holy answer you can give.
Counterfeit: The “stuff falling out of my car as my child gets in at carpool line” mom.
Truth: Our ability to “chill” is only cool if it doesn’t cross over to laziness. Be faithful in your duties.
Counterfeit: The fun mom. The boring mom.
Truth: God knew what your children would need before he gave them to you. Be attentive. Be authentic.
Counterfeit: The helicopter mom. The checked-out on social media mom.
Truth: Our role as mother is to be an active advocate for personal responsibility. Not Homeland Security or MIA.
Counterfeit: The working mom. The stay at home mom.
Truth: We shouldn’t assume that either way is the only way or the best way.
Counterfeit: The homeschool, public school, private school mom.
Truth: God loves and uses people from all walks of life and education. We are to be obedient to the path He wants for our children specifically, not just go along with the crowd we are in.
Counterfeit: The fast food, the health food, the just-feed-them mom.
Truth: Oh this one is tricksy. But Jesus says he has food that is better than bread…Kingdom living is rightly focused on the bread that is truly life.
Counterfeit: The sick mom. The tired mom. The sick and tired of kids mom.
Truth: There is a yoke that is easy. So it’s possible we need a trade-in if our burden seems unbearable.
Get the picture? Did you find your own mix and match? I sure did. I guess to all of these counterfeits labels I would ask, Who cares? Do any of these counterfeits actually reflect the Kingdom of God? Jesus came to set us free. Really free.
Seems like we are often so busy being busy that we forget to just be. We are so consumed with doing every craft, every devotional, every sporting activity with our kids, plus possess the perfect body, orchestrate a thrilling sex life with our husbands, shop for the perfectly stocked organic frig, display a magazine-ready house and yard, that we forget to just Be the Kingdom in our homes.
I am suggesting that many of our activities are fear based. We run our kids to 500 activities so they will be “above average.” (Fear of not being successful.) We work to put them in brand names clothes so they will fit in. (Fear of rejection) We put them in Bible classes, Sunday School and youth groups so they won’t follow the world. (Fear of corruption.)
The Bible says perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18) so when does the perfect love come in?
A Kingdom mom is someone who does more than read the Bible to their kids. She has tapped into the Author of the Bible and understands His peace because she carries it. She is free from comparison, and helps her kids to be free, because she is clear that God’s idea of success is different from the world’s idea of success. She lets go of lesser activities, just to have emotional bandwidth to be with her kids. She can enjoy them rather than tolerate them. Likewise, she has a bigger worldview than her kids. Many women are literally sidetracked from Kingdom living because the kids are the center of her universe rather than God. Even as a mom, “seek first the Kingdom of God.” (Matthew 6:33)
A Kingdom Mom has a higher goal than popularity for her kids. She plants seeds of the goodness of God in her kids so they will produce a harvest in due time. She plants faith, expectation, perseverance, and hope. Her kids are raised in the soil of her trust in God even when that trust is counter to the culture.
There is a reason the scripture says “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 3 John 1:4 Someone has to teach the children how to walk in the truth. Enter the Kingdom Mom.
This is a lot, I know. But God is really stretching me to cast off the “cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things [that] enter in and choke the word, [so that] it proves unfruitful.” Mark 4:19 No mom in the world wants to be unfruitful.
One woman asked me how to be a good wife and mother. I said, “Stop trying to be either one. Work instead on being the woman God created and those other roles will happen in time.”
Kingdom Moms. Let’s do this.
Photo found on timesunion.com