To my own shame, there has been numerous times where I have downplayed the importance of what my wife does with our children at home when I am away. Sure, there are days where she has not been faithful and has put on the television for hours at a time so she can get a break – but I ask in all seriousness, has no other mother, or even for that matter, father, done this? I am by no means endorsing laziness with raising children; I can be the first one to admit to you though, there have been times I have been lazy.
I could tell you that there are some days where this is acceptable; yet in the end, you don’t get a day off from parenting. You may desperately want one, or even feel you need one, but it just doesn’t come – and it shouldn’t. This isn’t a bad thing. If we believe that children from the Lord are a blessing, they are a blessing when they are sweet and obedient, as well as when they are rebellious and in need of correction. They are a blessing even when you are so tired from a night of fevers, tears, and crying that you can’t wait to put them to bed again. They are a blessing, even as little sinners needing redemption through Christ Jesus.
We only have a short span of time with our children before they become adults and we ought to be raising them to serve Christ faithfully from the day they are born in being under the authority of mom and dad, singleness, leaving and cleaving, and following their God-given, respective biblical roles. In complete honesty, we aren’t even guaranteed all of that time with them. In even more complete honesty, they are not really our own. They belong to the Lord and we have been charged with raising them in fear and admonition of the Lord.
There have been days where I simply don’t feel like being a dad. It involves regular correction from my brothers and sisters who are faithful in bringing me back to the Word to see where I am sinning against my children – or simply not living up to the biblical standards of parenting; it involves continual change in my own heart and having to re-learn patience, grace, and properly rooted anger. It involves re-ordering everything in my life to make sure that I am leading my household as I should be and living in sacrifice, yet also not giving way to the stubbornness and sin my children can display. And here’s the kicker, I work 40-50 hours a week regularly, and then put in another 20+ hours of school work in, and then serve at the church. So for all that time I am gone, my wife is at home with the children.
I have begun to realize that to the degree I cause her to flourish, so too will my household. If I neglect my role in headship over her; if I fail to wash her by the Word each and every day; if I fail to uplift her and cherish her; if I fail to protect her; if I fail to live with her in an understanding manner; if I fail to correct her in love; if I fail to overlook certain sins in love – I fail to model Christ to her and my children. And then lets compound that to the ways that I have failed my children in my sinfulness.
Surely, God’s grace is sufficient in rescuing a damnable man as myself only because of Christ – yet this does not dismiss the need for continual growth and repentance. This is not a process that will ever be complete for me, save the day I die.
What I am trying to say to all the mothers who are faithfully living in a manner consistent to scripture and seeking with all their hearts to cultivate the gospel into their children’s lives, is thank you. What you do is incredibly important, even if you feel that some days it isn’t. Remember young Timothy, whose mother and grandmother Paul commends. Their faithfulness is recorded in the annals of history for generations to see. Surely, God breathed this out as not only a powerful reminder to young Timothy from Paul to remain steadfast and faithful in Christ, but to all would ever read this pastoral epistle.
Yet if I tell my wife that what I do is more important; if I don’t spend the time to listen to her and to instruct her; if I don’t take the time to instruct my children in this same manner, I am not living biblically. I’m certainly not living in an understanding manner with my wife, and I am certainly not modeling to my son how to cherish a woman. The truth is, what I do is not more important; it is different. It is a different level of authority and responsibility, but we both live in our roles for the sole purpose of bringing God the glory He is due.
She is my helpmate. She is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She is my beloved bride, whom I am in charge of presenting before Christ without spot and blemish. And she is vitally important within my life and especially within the lives of my children. She is not a perfect mother; she is not a supermom; she is not blameless – but she is learning to shepherd our children just as I am, and she needs my continual encouragement. Sometimes this may come in a firm rebuke or reproof, yet it should also come with heavy praise for her continual sacrifice and desire to be a godly wife and mother.
Thank you to all you mothers who are striving to instill faithfulness to Christ in your children so that they might grow in the knowledge of the faith – do not grow weary of this incredibly good task.