There is a house on College Street, a two-story white colonial. As a child, when we drove by I would admire, with my little girl eyes, the wood detail that looked like gingerbread men bordering the balcony. I’d dream of living in that house, which to me looked large enough to shelter my whole extended family. At the time that was one of my top wishes, to have Mom, Dad, my sister, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmothers and grandfathers living all under the same roof. Nothing sounded more fun!
“Love will hold us together, make us a shelter to weather the storm.” Matt Maher
I could picture myself on that balcony, my Grandmama sewing in the next room, laughing with Nana everyday and of course, always having a cousin to play with to me was a pretty great plan. Everyday would feel like Christmas with all of us at home together under the same roof.
There are some things that money can’t buy and no formula can create. When I think back on why this was one of my strongest desires as a child, the answer is simple: Christ-like love. The love I experienced from time spent with my people made me want more of that and although we never physically all lived together, there is that love that still binds us to this day.
When I look at scripture, this whole memory reminds me of the love Peter must have felt from Jesus to express it the way he does on the mountain in Matthew 17:4-5 (ESV) “And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
Much like my desire to be with my family, Peter longed for a place on the mountain with Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, a bit of heaven on earth. I believe God gives us glimpses like this through life as He draws us nearer to Himself. The mountain was safe, predictable, joyful, and peaceful. Everything he longed for was there. But staying huddled up together wasn’t the will of God. There was redemptive work for Jesus to do and Peter was to be sent out to reach many for Christ. Eternity with Christ would come, but for now would have to wait.
How does this apply to the life of a mother? How can we practically love our families this year like Christ loves us?
Forgive. There are no perfect mothers. In many ways, I’m learning as I go, using what I learned from my own parents, and most importantly looking to Jesus for guidance. But it seems the more I strive, the more I fail or am disappointed. But when I walk humbly with Jesus, I keep the door of forgiveness swinging both ways. Forgiving my children when they fail, myself when I fail, and of utmost importance asking forgiveness of God and those who I’ve offended. Modeling walking in forgiveness shows the love of Jesus to our families.
Be present. Jesus knew His days were numbered so He used the time He had with His disciples wisely. He loved them, forgave them, taught them, fed them, prayed with them, modeled rest, and ultimately sacrificed for them. All of this took time, intention, and an eternal perspective. Our kids need us to be present. None of us are promised another day, so we don’t need to put off until tomorrow what is most important today. Ask the Lord what that is for you. How can you rearrange priorities to be more present and intentional with family in 2018?
Give your burdens to God and trust Him with the future. I often stress over so many things in the lives of my children that simply should be turned over to God in prayer. Fear is a thief of joy. As we surrender to Christ everyday, He loves others through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. That’s as good as it gets! The energy we expend on worrying instead could be used to practice patience, joy, love and peace in our homes. This Christ- like love in the life of a child is a foundation that no one can take away, even when we are away from them. Romans 8:38 says, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Emily and her husband, Zach, met in the First Grade, began dating in High School, and married after College. With their three children, ages 7, 4, and 2, they are extending their roots in their hometown of Covington, TN. Emily and Zach are members of Bellevue Baptist Church and they are grateful for the ministry of the Word of God that has been poured into them there. They lead a ministry of Bellevue called “Jesus Loves Tipton County” as an outlet to practically serve their community and share the love of Jesus in the process. They are passionate about biblical literacy, prayer, discipleship and evangelism. Emily is a professional photographer, faith columnist, and most importantly a wife and mom who desires more than anything for her children to know the LORD and follow Him all the days of their lives. In seven years of mothering if there is one thing she’s figured out it’s that she doesn’t have it all figured out. What she has discovered is that the most important thing is to walk faithfully in purity of heart with The LORD and He will direct your steps. She prayerfully hopes her writing points to her desperate and daily need for Jesus and her passion to know Him and make Him known..
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