Becoming a Spiritually Healthy Mom: The Practice of Being Present

“But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.” Proverbs 14:22

“The best thing to spend on your child is your time.” Louise Hart

 

  • Today, the invitation from the Holy Spirit is to come to Him and He will give you the strength to do all He has called you to do and to be. He alone is your provision.
  • Open your Bible and read Ephesians 5:15-17. How can you make the most out of every opportunity to nurture faith in your children this week?

I recently received a beautiful piece of art from a friend. Its words were so compelling to me that I saw it as my to-do list for each day—even better, a divine mission statement for life. The words simply say:

Think Deeply
Speak Gently
Love Much
Laugh a Lot
Work Hard
Give Freely
And Be Kind

A lot of people are talking about “being on mission” these days. We discuss what it means to live intentional lives full of purpose for God and others at every age. I’m amazed at how God is putting His plans on the hearts of even small children. And yet, many of us are off doing “the work of the Lord,” or just working hard to get ahead, so that we not only neglect our missions, but we are absent from them.

The mom who is not present with her kids might be that because she is working outside the home, providing for them or making a better life for them. But being emotionally absent is another way we can be not truly present as well. Sometimes it is worse to be physically with your children but not emotionally available. Let’s face it, there are no paychecks in motherhood, no promotions, or “atta girl” rewards. Moms are overworked and unappreciated, and there is rarely, if ever, true intellectual stimulation. But there is a far greater and compelling mission at hand. And our children are ready and willing to succeed in this mission with us.

I know of a little girl named Ruby, who at a young age decided to do something that would have a lasting impact. Her mom supported her and made her dream a reality. This is her story: Ruby lives in Georgetown, Texas, a small community outside of Austin. When she was just five years old, Ruby overheard a conversation about Free Wheelchair Mission, a nonprofit organization that provides wheelchairs to the disabled poor in developing nations. When Ruby heard that more than one hundred million people in these countries can’t walk and must crawl on the ground or be carried by loved ones, she decided she needed to do something.

Ruby took it upon herself to begin collecting coins she found around the house. When her mother noticed and asked why she was collecting money, Ruby answered, “I’m saving to buy a wheelchair for someone who can’t afford one.” Ruby’s mom agreed this was a worthy cause, so she set up a chore-and-reward system for Ruby to earn the $63.94 needed to buy one wheelchair. It worked so well they decided to share the news at Ruby’s school. The excitement began to grow, and Ruby’s pre-kindergarten class took on the challenge, using their spring break to raise money for wheelchairs.

Ruby’s mom spurred on the other parents to give their children ownership of the project, encouraging them to be creative about how to raise the money to give others the gift of mobility. One of the boys in the class organized a lemonade stand and called it “Lemonade for Love.”

At the end of two weeks, this class of four- and five-year-olds earned enough money to purchase four wheelchairs! Four lives around the world would be transformed because of one preschooler’s compassionate heart. And that compassion spread into the community, inspiring others to give.

I think what inspires me most about Ruby’s story is how her mom took the tender seed of Ruby’s heart to help mobilize it into something tangible. She wasn’t absent physically, spiritually, or emotionally. She was attentive to see a seed in her daughter and made the sacrifices necessary to water it into fruition. As we endeavor to become spiritually healthy families, each one of us will play a vital part in allowing our homes to be on mission in the middle of our everyday lives. And we can’t accomplish this when we are not present.

Organizations and institutions of all types and sizes create mission statements. A mission statement becomes a “north star,” so to speak, reminding the owners who they are and where they want their companies or organizations to go. What if your family was this bold? What if between you and God, you figured out how to be “on mission” with your kids each day? The answer to this makes a compelling reason to be “present.”

Blessings and Love,

Dr. Michelle Anthony

Questions to Consider in Writing a Mission Statement:

  • What kind of family life do you want your children to remember?
  • What kind of atmosphere do you want to have in your home?
  • What kind of family do you want to be known for?
  • What kind of parent do you want to be?
  • What behaviors do you want your family members to demonstrate?
  • What goals will you have for your children at various stages of their lives?
  • What are some of your fondest childhood memories?
  • What painful experiences did you have in your family that you feel would not benefit your children if replicated?
  • What kinds of biblical qualities do you believe children should exhibit?
  • What mode of discipline do you feel is best in your home?
  • What changes do you need to make in order to allow your family to have more time/fun together?
  • What perspectives should your children encounter other than the ones that they are naturally exposed to? (Think of culture, economics, politics, and so on.)
  • What are you willing to sacrifice in order to accomplish these plans?

Faith-Filled Ideas

Here are some tips to help you write your family mission statement:

  1. As you begin to think through your mission statement, write down three things that you want for your family and children as an end result. What do you hope to see when they are young adults someday? (For example, to live lives in accordance with God’s laws and grace, to reflect the character of God, to demonstrate a life of love, and so on.) These are essentially value statements. Write them down.
  2. Think about these desires and visions for your family that you just wrote down. In what ways could you be a part of that end result? Think of three words that give you a place in that—words such as: model, nurture, encourage and hold accountable, demonstrate, come alongside of, inspire, and so on.
  3. Attach these words to the prior vision words (in question 1) and then begin to add linking words (such as through, and, with, for). Write a rough draft and don’t overthink it—you can always revise later. Pray about your participation in your child’s spiritual growth and write down your thoughts on question 2.
  4. Using your answers from questions 1 and 2, begin to write your family mission statement.

Example:
We, the Jensen family, will endeavor, with God’s help, to live in accordance to God’s laws and grace, to come alongside our children to help those who are poor, both in life and spirit, and to nurture each child to reflect the character of God by choosing to demonstrate a life of love to everyone we come in contact with.

 

 

Michelle Anthony

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