As a West Texas farm girl, life was filled with intention – intentional survival. Everything we did revolved around the farm. We worked the soil to produce a crop, and the yield of that crop would then meet the needs of our family. While we waited on the harvest, we prayed individually, but little or no scripture was ever read and we never bowed the head as a family. In the growing season of the crop, we spoke of God on all appropriate holidays. He was mentioned in prayer when we were planting, when the rains were needed, when storm clouds were brewing, and when the harvest was ready. I grew up with much unaimed intention. Though God was seen as the source of the harvest, my family’s relationship with Him was distant.
Early on, I yearned for a relationship I didn’t understand and couldn’t name until the day I met my Savior. Shortly after, I married my “preacher man,” and we began to pray about starting our family. We wanted to create a legacy of intentional living for the Lord. We didn’t want to compartmentalize our faith. We wanted our children to understand that every aspect of our lives would be marked for and by our Lord.
Twelve years later after five, failed, open adoptions, one stillbirth, and a physicians report of barrenness, we brought home our first miracle, curly-haired girl. She was tiny at only four pounds. Then, miraculously, two years later we brought home another girl – a “ginger.” This tiny girl weighed in at a feisty three pounds. God heard the cry of our hearts, and in His timing our lives were filled with intention!
In the early days of sleep deprivation I wondered how I was going to accomplish the task of raising these precious gifts. I cried out to the Lord for help. My intention was purposeful. The words disciple, discipleship, or even missional living were not a part of my vocabulary; I just desperately wanted to raise two children dedicated to our Lord –dedicated to knowing Him, loving Him, and serving Him.
This desire of my heart caused the Father to draw me into deeper relationship with Him. As I knew Him more, I began to seek ways to teach my girls to know Him in the same way. Just like my farming family, I worked the soil of their hearts to begin preparing them for the seed of salvation. While putting them in their car seats, I spoke words of truth in their ears in order to prepare the soil of their hearts. “Remember who you are and whose you are. God loves you. He knows who you are and where you are.” I intentionally began speaking to them about God and what I was learning of Him.
I also prayed with them and for them. Early in my journey of motherhood, I sought the Lord for His Word for each daughter. I believe God gave me a verse of scripture for each of them, and as I put them to bed at night, I prayed these verses. I explained to them from their earliest days these were God’s verses for them.
Toddler years were marked by evening devotions. Rides in the car were filled with “kids” praise music and worship songs. We memorized scripture together, and I spoke of my love for God, God’s love for me, and His love for them. Seeds of truth were sown in faith as I believed each one would take root and grow. We ackowledged the provision of God in our blessings, and I saw the truth take root and begin to grow. Childlike faith is innocent and resilient – resilient because the preparing of their hearts and the sowing of seeds was marked by human failure and hardships in life.
Though I was intentional, I was not perfect. I made mistakes – plenty of them! I soon discovered I could not protect my children from the storms of this world. As a plant grows, it weathers many storms. If it has good roots and has been planted in a good rich soil, it will survive and even learn to thrive. So it is with intentional, missional motherhood. When I made mistakes with my girls, I owned them. First, I owned the mistakes to the Father. Then I owned them with my girls, asking their forgiveness. When life was unfair, we spoke of God’s purpose in hardships. I stressed keeping our eyes on God and His Word for strength through all of life. I strived to model before my girls the practice of living for God in the midst of life’s hardships. I made choices and make choices today to continue to serve Him in the midst of some of life’s harshest moments.
Farm girls know hardship comes. Farm girls understand the harvest is coming. After preparation of the soil, there is the planting of the seed, then comes the growing of the plant, and finally the harvest.
I am in the midst of the harvest with one of my girls and at the end of the growing season with another. I am trusting my Father for the results of these two precious gifts. I have been intentional. I didn’t always know it, or even acknowledge it, but truth be known, I am a “missional mother.”
“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NASB
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