It was a moment to seize.
The waterfall was stunning, the mist refreshing, the sun hot. The crashing water begged us to dive in.
As we had taken down our tent and camping gear that morning to head home, we had packed up our swimsuits too...by lack of my own foresight. How did I not see this moment coming?
Fully clothed, my kids pleaded:
"MOOOOMMMM....we have to get in!"
They didn't have to plead much...I'm all for jumping right in.
"Yep. You're right. We have to get in!"
We got in, and laughing, tried to stand against the cold current.
"Mom let's go put our heads under the falls!"
Grabbing hands to hold each other up against the current, we laughed, banged our knees on rocks, laughed some more, slipped on slippery stones, and swam to the waterfalls. We put our heads under and squealed with delight. It was exhilarating.
The powerful rush of water on our heads was pure joy. Just like God's grace.
It rushes upon us - never stopping. Never even slowing. Just pouring down, every day.
Grace upon grace.
Nothing has caused me to realize the grace of God pouring down on my life in the way that motherhood does. Everyday, as I do my best but still continually bang my knees on the rocks of mothering, I'm so grateful for the gushing grace of God.
When I think about what I want most for my kids, what immediately comes to mind is the Apostle Paul and his letter to the Philippians. Paul wrote about the things of perceived value in his life - his education, his knowledge, his former position of respect among the Pharisees and the tribe of Benjamin...things socially regarded has highly valuable and meaningful. Yet he said that in comparison to his desire to know Christ, everything else was rubbish. Everything else in his life paled in comparison to knowing Christ Jesus his Lord, and becoming like him. (Philippians 3)
Oh how I want that same passion. I want knowing Jesus to be my aim every single day.
And, I want it for my kids. That my kids would know Jesus is the utmost desire and cry of my heart. As the Apostle John writes to his friend Gaius (and the church that likely met in Gaius' house), "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." (3 John 4). Yes and amen, this is my goal and aim in motherhood.
Sure, I want other things for my kids too. I want my kids to be strong, healthy, and protected physically. I want my kids to have friends and be kind and loving to other kids. I want my kids to excel academically and obey their teachers. I want my kids to be happy. I want my kids to read all the great books and hear all the great music. I want my kids to see the mountains and the ocean and the Grand Canyon and the Redwood Forest.But more than anything else, I want my kids to know Jesus. I don't just want my kids to know about Jesus. I want them to know Jesus.
So, Amidst all the things I do in motherhood, I want to intentionally and whole-heartedly mother my kids toward Him.
Whether we do it intentionally or not, we all mother our kids in specific directions - toward things we desire for them and away from things we don't want for them. For example, maybe we mother our kids more toward music than sports, or vice versa. Maybe we mother than more toward academics and less toward extra-curriculars, or vice versa. We mother our kids in lots of directions, but on the top of my list, higher than any other goal, I want to shepherd my kids toward the love of God: His truth, His grace, His forgiveness, His Word, His life. My prayer in motherhood is that all other possible focal points to pale in comparison to this one focus.
This endeavor is one with a strong current pushing against us. Not only do we face the strong current of a very 'me-centered' culture to, but also my own selfish sin nature pushes against me as I strive to model to my kids the sacrificial love of Jesus. Also, my kids' own sin natures will cause more than a few stumbles in our trek. (The only good and healthy thing about our own sin nature is that it provides constant opportunities to point our kids to our need of a Savior and His gift of forgiveness.)
I am absolutely going to slip and fall and bang my knees on rocks. A lot. (It's only 8am and I already hit at least a few rocks during the one hour I saw my kids this morning before they were off to school.) Thank the good Lord for a husband who's always got my back. I'm also going to need some girlfriends to jump in and hold hands with me, friends who are willing to hold me up when I bang my knees; friends who hold me strong and have my back when I'm ready to turn and just go with the current. This won't come easy. But oh, the joy in front of us on this journey...the joy of seeing our kids walking in the exhilarating truth of Jesus' love...it's so worth it.
May we swim together in this grace as we mother our kids toward Jesus, my friend.
Nothing matters more in motherhood than leading our kids to the heart of Jesus...
the Strong Tower who guards them, the Creator who calls them by name,
and the Good Shepherd who even knows the number of hairs on their heads.
Amidst all the other ways we strive to train and influence our kids, let's mother our kids toward Jesus.
And, in the middle of real life, as we bang our knees on rocks and slip and fall now and then,
let's swim in grace together.