There I was laying on the living room floor, apron on and feet propped up on the couch. The kids were finally in bed and I was exhausted. I thought to myself, it takes a committed faithfulness to the Truth of God’s Word to tackle the grit of motherhood; it takes a firm belief in the Scriptures to keep nurturing and teaching and correcting children day in and day out.
Motherhood is more than just logistics, and making sandwiches, and searching for bandaids and missing stuffies. God has given mothers children for His glory and given clear instructions for motherhood: to teach the commands of God that they might know and worship the Creator.
There is no other opportunity, quite like a mother’s, to teach and instruct about God throughout the day. Our children are born with rebellious hearts that are against God and we are tasked with showing them the glory of God, the goodness of God, the Truth of God by teaching His Word.
But it’s wearisome. And sometimes it seems there is little fruit from all our work.
My precious four year old daughter is in the midst of a battle; a passionate battle of her vs others. She is learning the classic virtue that even adults still struggle with: selflessness. When I saw her struggle to share her things or to let others go first, I pulled out all my lessons. I was going to dazzle her with all the goodness of laying down our lives. I talked to her about how sharing glorifies God, I shared stories of Jesus coming to serve, not be served, I prayed with her and for her daily. There was nothing short of a puppet show in my instruction about selflessness.
About two weeks in I threw in the towel. I couldn’t believe she still struggled with selfishness after all my prayers and instructions. I was frustrated and tired.
That’s when the Lord humbled me, first reminding me of how slow I am to understand and follow His commands (and, ahem, still struggle with selfishness myself – Sorry God!) and then reminding me of one word I like to skip over in Deuteronomy 6:6-7: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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.”
You shall teach them diligently.
Diligence isn’t giving up after two weeks. Diligence is a careful and persistent work to instruct our children. If God says that it takes diligence, then I should have realized right away that this wasn’t going to be a two week, check it of the list, type of thing.
Making breakfast, going to the park, grocery shopping, cleaning the bathroom—those are checklist items. But teaching our children requires a faithfulness that overcomes the irritations, and frustrations, and even physical and mental exhaustion to keep instructing.
Our diligence comes from a faithfulness to the Truth of God.
First, we need to believe that God has called us as mothers to instruct our children in His ways:
Our instruction is a gift of wisdom and protection: Proverbs 1:8-9 “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.”
Our instruction is throughout the day, always recalling the Truths of God to our children: Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, 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.”
Second, we need to believe the reasons why God wants us to instruct our children:
Our instruction is for their hope and joy: Psalm 78:6-7 “That the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God but keep His commandments.”
Our instruction is for their salvation: Romans 10:13-14 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
Our instruction is for God’s glory: Psalm 145:4-7 “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious spender of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.”
Third, we need to believe the means God gives us to instruct our children:
Our instruction to our children comes from the Word of God: 2 Timothy 3:15-17 “and how from childhood you [Timothy] have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
Our instruction includes discipline, correction, and rebuke to show sin and repentance, grace and forgiveness: Proverbs 29:15 “The rod and rebuke bestow wisdom, but an undisciplined child brings shame to his mother.”
Proverbs 29:17 “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.”
Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring the up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Believing God’s Truth gives us an anchor to hold onto when days are long and messy. We can return to our purpose as a mother, and why we instruct our children over and over again, and lean on the means in which God gives us.
My encouragement to mothers of children, no matter the age, is to hide God’s Word in your heart. Pursue knowing the God of all creation and begin to see His purposes unfold in Scriptures. Let that motivate and encourage your heart as you tackle the grit of motherhood. Be uplifted by His promises to never leave you or forsake you, that your salvation is secure in Christ, and that He will help you. It will also prepare you in your instruction of your children (and keep you focused on Him instead of the temporary frustrations you may hit).
Remember, God is the source of our faithfulness as we instruct our children in His ways. He will be with us always.
Author – Lauren Hlushak
Lauren Hlushak is a pastor’s wife and mom of two children with adorable personalities and enough energy to power a small city. She spends her time in the home preparing good things to eat, fun things to do, and loves late night chats with her husband. She produces and hosts the She Proves Faithful Podcast to help women live Gospel-centered lives through practical everyday theology. You can find Lauren on Instagram @sheprovesfaithful or at www.sheprovesfaithful.com