Thursday, December 20, 2018

To Be or Not to Be--a Super Momma

My last post was a warning to Super Mommas. One woman wrote, "So where's the balance? What's the difference between a godly momma and a super momma?"

If it was a matter of appearance, it might be hard to tell the difference. Many of us have the mistaken idea that doing is being. If I go to church, do this, do that, give my best, try harder, and keep it up, the Lord will bless me. All will be well.

However, if the basis of our relationship with God is doing what's right and giving my best, I've missed the point. Doing what I can to reach God is not Christianity; it's religion.

In many Christian circles it has morphed into a more subtle, God will bless me for obedience and chastise me for disobedience, Old Testament model. Parents quote the verse, "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). Although those are windows into the character of God and biblical principles, they become the mantra of Christian parenting. It's simple and straight-forward: I do my job, God does His. It's predictable, clean, difficult, but guaranteed.

That's what a Super Momma does: more, bigger, better. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward! Onward and upward! Tally-ho! with encouragement, modeling, and prayer from other Mommas.

Problem: that's not actually what God said. Rewind. Reframe. And ask, where does Jesus come in to the picture? If all I have is the obedience=blessing, disobedience=chastisement, it could become another you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours relationship. This may sound harsh, but in our hearts and minds it may be: Jesus, if you save me from sin, I'll obey you the rest of my life. Therein lies the problem. We can't. We won't. We don't.

The Old Testament points to Jesus and the New Testament is all about Jesus. That means God knows I can't, won't, don't. In His economy, life is not about my obedience; it's about Jesus. If He is who He says He is, there ought to be so much more!

God 101 reminds us that God is God. He will not give His glory to another. He cannot be manipulated, understood, or subverted. He rules in justice and righteousness--at all times, in all ways.

People 101 tells us that we are sinners. Our children and husbands are sinners. We are fallen, selfish creatures who remain in depravity and darkness when left to ourselves. We have no power to determine our outcome or the outcome of anyone else--husband, children, disciples, loved ones.

Jesus 101 says that He is the Light, Bread, Water, and Sustainer of all. The Father chooses. The Son lived, died and rose again, paying the price for the sin's penalty, freeing us from sin's power. Jesus saves. Jesus intercedes. Jesus will judge.

Holy Spirit 101 teaches us that only the Holy Spirit gives life. We do not know how He moves, we can only see evidence of His work. 

The problem comes when any of us--Super Momma, Super Christian, Super Pastor, Super Worker--take on the role of God, Jesus and/or the Holy Spirit. We jump out of People 101 assuming the role, responsibilities and privileges of God Himself. Somehow we have the sense that, with responsibility, comes sovereignty. Yes, God gave mankind a command to multiply His goodness and character, rule and subdue in justice and righteousness. But we have no control over the outcome. We make choices, but we don't choose the consequences. With sin comes brokenness.You are broken. Your children see it. They know it. They're actually watching to see what you do with it.

Your children are broken. You cannot "make" them do anything. You can provide consequences and an environment of loving care. You can educate, provide for and protect. But each one will make his or her own choices. Each one will submit to God or choose his own way. People 101 does not give parents, or mothers, a seat on God's executive committee or pre-approval for sovereignty.

As a mom, we must prepare each child to live a broken life in a broken world. Even when I desire to protect and prepare them in the safety of our home, they must ultimately learn to live in a cesspool of sin. It permeates our homes, churches, and every encounter. The world outside has few barriers against the depravity of sin. Children see ours. They practice theirs--in our presence and out of it. (See People 101). People will use, damage, and otherwise seek to destroy our children due to their own brokenness and sin (again, see People 101). Coming to terms with the reality of our world is where many of us have failed our children. We want a better world, a better experience, a better outcome than what we, ourselves have had. 

That's where Jesus comes in. Every moment. Every day. Every relationship. Every situation. We. are. broken. But we have Jesus...

Because of Jesus we can
  • Acknowledge and confess our own sin--even if it's as subtle as wanting a sin-free environment, comfort, relief, peace over and above what God has provided. 
  • Allow our children to experience failure, frustration, anger, and sin-induced pain. 
  • Impose and apply real consequences--the world certainly will. God does. 
  • Expose our children to age-appropriate depravity and 
  • Teach them to address sin against themselves as well as the sinful responses of their own heart. With Jesus' help, we can train and build our children's spiritual muscle for spiritual battles using the Word of God. Jesus helps, forgives, goes before, loves, and disciplines every moment of every day.
When we put children under a grow-light in the basement, they show early growth, tall and green, but fail to form deep, sturdy roots.The result is a quickly withering, dying plant that cannot stand against unpredictable wind and fluctuating sunlight. Instead, when we expose them to wind, storms, and a contaminated environment, providing support, shelter and guidance as needed, they develop a heart and mind that is prepared for growth, even in times of drought.

Perhaps you, like me, find yourself wanting to live a victorious life...without Jesus. As He shows me the pride, wickedness, and deceit of my heart, I must run to Him, admitting my need and falling on His mercy. We must do the same with our children, teaching them that the only life worth living is one that is fully satisfied with and dependent on Jesus Christ--through the storms. the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” 11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:7-14)

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