As we celebrate mothers and mother-figures this month, I asked myself the question, what is the single most powerful thing that a Christian mom can do? I think this is the best answer.
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A Good Christian Mom
As I was getting ready to have my first child, I determined a list of things I would and would not do as a Christian mom. Whether I discussed these things with my husband or not, I made resolves about how I would care for her, things I would teach her, and ways I would protect her. There were so many decisions to be made before she was even born. Would we let her go trick-or-treating? Would we let her listen to secular music? Would we send her to public school, Christian school, or would we homeschool her? When she was born and as she has grown up (to two years old), many things I had made up my mind about back then have changed and many have confidently stayed. My husband and I base many of our decisions on whether they will lead our daughter to faith in Jesus.
This week I spent some time reflecting on how my own mom raised me and lessons I can learn from her as a Christian mom. As I continue to seek God’s will for my family, I have been asking myself, what is the most powerful thing a Christian mom can do? I think we are all trying to figure out how to live out the vision God has given us for our families. For perfectionists like myself, it can seem like there’s so much pressure to do all of the right things, for fear that we can mess up our kids and lead them away from Jesus.
When I was a girl, my parents went to church and even served in church but they didn’t live completely according to God’s Word. I loved church and Jesus, but it took my world being shaken through my parent’s divorce, my own waywardness in high school, and brokeheartedness from failed relationships to realize that God loved me and I wanted to truly worship God with my life. At that time, my mom proved to be the amazing woman I always knew she was, but not in the way I had once thought. When it mattered most, she was worshipping God wholeheartedly, praying for me and preparing for when I would turn back to God. To this day, I’m grateful for the time that she and my father took me to a place where I could learn about Jesus, but I’m even more grateful that when my mom returned to God, He used her to help me get to know Jesus.
The Most Powerful Thing
Ms. Imani’s Bible Club came from my desire to see moms inspire their families to faith in Christ. I think there are plenty of ways to do that and on this website my family specializes in showing parents how to create habits of worship that are meaningful and teach their children the things of Christ. But there are weeks when you can’t do crafts. There are days that go by when you just have to put the kids to bed without their bedtime Bible story. Sometimes we don’t do family meals and pray together. Even family devotionals can be more of a dream than reality. I say all of that based on my very own full-time-ministry-family’s experience! Life can get so busy, and sometimes the things we aspire to do — the things that we think define “success” in discipleship — don’t fit in with our day-to-day real-life schedules. But, I think more than all of those things, the most powerful thing a Christian mom can do is have her own relationship with God.
I think raising children in Christ (whether that be as a mother, father, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, pastor, or mentor) is one of the highest callings anyone can fulfill. I think Jesus makes it clear in Scripture that children have an important place in the Kingdom of God (see Matthew 18). However, I think that to put discipling our children over having our own personal relationship with God is out of order.
We can pray for our kids, we can help them memorize Scripture, and we can take them to every children’s program at every decent church in our cities, but if that is not coming from a foundation of our own growing relationship with God, we are missing the easiest and most effective way to help our children learn how to live out their faith. If we put the ministry of motherhood over our own relationships with God, we teach our children religion. God doesn’t want our religion, he wants “righteousness.”
Righteousness is a fancy theological term that basically means being in a right relationship with God through Jesus. The Bible says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, emphasis mine). Though children may be the greatest “subjects” in the Kingdom (because of their sponge-likeness in faith), and though training them in Christ may be one of the most noble opportunities to serve Him, Jesus is our King. So we seek Jesus and His Kingdom (His will, His reign, His rule) so that we can be good stewards of our children who are His most prized subjects. When a Christian mom prioritizes her own relationship with Jesus, everything else falls into place.
God & Family – In That Order
When we seek God first, we grow spiritually and the overflow of that gets poured into our families. We’re able to know what God wants and the Holy Spirit helps us to obey him. We’re able to love our families through the ups-and-downs and the times that they drive us absolutely nuts! All of the extra aspirations we have for discipleship are not things we strive to do, they happen naturally because desiring God — desiring to know Him more and tell others (including our families) about Him — is a natural, organic thing that comes from our hearts and doesn’t have to be forced, even with our best effort. We pray for our families more and we enjoy making time to worship God together.
When we put our relationship with God first, we can also be honest about what really matters and cut off the excess so that we can show our children what it means to be people “after God’s own heart” (who love God and want to know Him deeply). We lose our pride, insecurities, and fears and we stop passing those things on to our kids! We stop being the bad examples that we sometimes are in certain areas. Plus, our kids find God in their own way and sometimes even challenge us in our own spiritual journey.
It’s Never Too Late
I can tell you, the time when I most compromised in my faith came right about when my parents experienced the consequences of compromising their own faith. It wasn’t their fault that I rebelled against God — it was my active choice — but their example didn’t make it difficult for me to turn away from God. I also think that the reason I am here and who I am today is that God drew my mom back to Him and she began to seek Him on her own. She didn’t necessarily try to modify my behavior to look like that of a Christian, she let God change her from the inside out so that when my heart was empty enough to know I needed God, she was graciously ready and able to show me, by her actions and love, who God is. When my parents divorced I had called them hypocrites. When my mom returned to God and showed me, by her life, how to do the same, she became my hero again.
I say all of that to say, it is never too late (or too early) to start living for God; to put Him first in a way that your kids notice without a word from your mouth, to resolve in your heart first, “As for ME and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15, emphasis mine). It’s a decision that we make daily, as we add on to our ministries (i.e. discipling our kids, respecting our husbands, managing our households, growing in our careers, etc.), remembering that our own relationships with God are the foundations for everything we do. Loving God is the most powerful thing we can do as Christian moms.
Your Turn: In what ways are you putting your relationship with God first? Are there any adjustments you can make to your own spiritual growth priorities? ⭐
Hey sis! I’m Imani, the Young Moms’ Advocate and Legacy Activator, who is here to help your family prosper. Also, I’m probably dancing to Michael Jackson right now.