Each January, the New Year brings a renewed awareness of the promise of new beginnings.
People make New Year’s resolutions for self-improvement or choose a word for the year to summarize their goals. With social media, there are new pressures to share these resolutions publicly to an ever-widening audience.
This can be an especially challenging time for moms.
A quick internet search shows that getting in shape, getting organized, and getting more sleep are some of this year’s most popular resolutions. Every mom has a season when the likelihood of keeping just one these three resolutions is about the same as the likelihood that her family’s laundry will stay caught up 365 days in a row.
Every mom has her best intentions hit the wall of reality. Fitness resolutions like going to the gym or park so many times a week can be stymied when a stomach bug or other illness boomerangs from one family member to another for days on end.
And every mom has a season when one honest word to express her goals for the year (or the day) would be “survive” or “help!”
Some seasons of parenting are just more demanding than others.
So, what’s a mom to do?
Focus on timeless resolutions that fit every season.
These timeless resolutions come from the words of Jesus.
When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus said that two commands summed up the teaching of the Law and the Prophets: Love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).
After the resurrection, Jesus gave His disciples a clear command to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).
Every season of the mom life offers opportunities to love God, love people, and make disciples. Recognize the limits and challenges of the season you are in, and ask God to show you how to grow in love and on mission wherever you are.
LOVE GOD: How can I love God with all my heart, soul, and mind this year?
Jesus explains that love for God is expressed through obedience.
“If you love me, you will keep my commands.” John 14:15 CSB
“The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.” John 14:21 CSB
So, how can I grow in obedience to God this year?
Spend time in God’s Word.
To obey God’s commands, we have to spend time in His Word. Check the Recommended Resources page for great resources to help establish or revitalize your personal quiet time. In some seasons, making time for a quiet time can be a tremendous challenge. I know when my two were under two I couldn’t read through the directions on the mac and cheese box without being interrupted, much less complete a One Year Bible reading in one sitting!
In challenging seasons, find creative ways to allow God’s truth to change your heart moment by moment. One of my friends posts verses on frequently opened cabinet doors and appliances around the house to help her rehearse God’s truth throughout her busy day with young kids.
Look for God in everyday moments.
Even everyday chores can become opportunities to love God more. The truth of 1 John 1:9 transformed how I feel about laundry. Resentment at the relentless monotony of washing the same clothes over and over was replaced by gratitude when I saw this task in light of my own need for forgiveness. God is faithful to forgive my sins and cleanse me of my unrighteousness day after day after day. Laundry may not stop until heaven, but neither will God’s forgiveness! Now, doing the laundry reminds me to thank God for His unfailing love.
One of the first ways our kids learn to love and obey God, whom they cannot see, is by practicing obedience to the parents they can see. It’s ok to let our kids know obedience is hard sometimes, even for moms. Admit when you are wrong. Your kids already know it. Ask for forgiveness. Show your kids what to do when sin happens….because it will.
LOVE PEOPLE: How can I love people this year?
Lay down your life.
Jesus said: “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 CSB
Jesus literally laid down his life when He died for our sins on the cross. We may not be called upon to physically die for our friends, but we can lay down the plans of our everyday lives to show up and help when they are suffering or are in need.
Serve those in need.
Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Invite the poor and homeless to your house. Take care of your extended family. Care for the sick. Visit the prisoner. These are some of the ways love takes action (Isaiah 58:6-7; Matthew 25:31-46).
Pray for your enemies.
Jesus calls us to go beyond loving our friends and neighbors. When someone wrongs us, Jesus empowers us to love our enemies and to demonstrate that love by praying for them. (Matthew 5:43-44)
MAKE DISCIPLES: How can I be a part of making disciples of all nations this year?
Disciple your kids.
Your kids are your disciples. They are with you every day, watching you and learning how to respond to our changing world. Be intentional. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 shows us how. We start by loving God with everything we have and by storing His Word in our hearts. We then repeat His Word to our kids, and relate it to everyday occurrences as we sit at home, as we go on the road, as we get up in the morning, and as we lie down at night.
Pray for the nations.
Pray for people around the world who have not yet heard the gospel. Pray for God to prepare a path for believers to reach these people with the good news. Pray for missionaries who are serving around the globe. (Need help? Check out joshuaproject.net for resources to help you and your kids pray specifically for unreached people groups.)
Go where you can.
In every season, you can obey God’s command to go and make disciples.
- Go to your kitchen table where your kids are waiting. Invite their friends to join you.
- Go to other moms and share what you have learned from God’s Word. Share your life. Help train younger moms to study God’s Word and think biblically.
- Go to others in your community or in your workplace and share the gospel. Follow up with them and help them find a Bible believing church.
- Go to international students or recent immigrants in your community and invite them to your home to see what love looks like, to witness the hope you have. Share a meal. Learn about their culture. Build relationships and ask God to show you the right time to share the gospel in a way they can understand.
- And one day, go to another nation to share the gospel, to equip believers, and to experience the joy of worshipping God with brothers and sisters around the world.
The new year is here, but the pressure is off!
You don’t have to search for new resolutions each year. Focus on the timeless resolutions.
In every season, you can grow in these three areas. Then think about how all of your other goals – fitness, sleep, organization, etc. – can be seen as ways to better prepare you to do the big three.
And if you need one word to sum it all up, choose love, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 NIV
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