Recently, a sweet mother emailed me and told me that she is ready to change her life. She said she wants to raise her children to become godly adults, but she feels overwhelmed by the prospect of revamping the focus of their family. It is so tough, isn’t it? To let the convictions of the Holy Spirit really matter in our lives? It’s hard to explain to others. It’s hard to change habits. So, here is a little encouragement for you moms (and dads) who don’t know where to start.
1. Prayer lends power. You feel weak. You feel lost in all of the details as you look at your life and see what is missing and what needs to go. You feel like you don’t have the strength to get it all done.
And, the truth is that you’re right. You can’t do this on your own. Only God can turn lives around. But, you will have lots of choices to make along the way. Through prayer you can depend on God’s strength to help you choose well, and when He does His good work in your life, when people begin to see you and your children change, He gets glory. You get more abundant life. Your children begin to see the joy of following Christ. And, suddenly your prayers and the way you heed the Holy Spirit’s promptings can eternally impact generations of your family. You can’t do it alone. But, God can do all kinds of things in you.
2. Change is messy. Think about all the things you’ve changed during your life as a mom. From diapers to wall colors, change is rarely neat and tidy. Usually it’s sweaty, messy work. Spiritual change is no different. It is complicated and takes time. You will make mistakes. You will have moments of reverting back to ways you don’t want to be. Some days you will feel like you’re failing. But, keep praying. Keep running to God’s word. Keep working at it.
Becoming more like Christ is a long road, and it’s a life-long pursuit. Not every day is going to be packaged up neatly. Some days will spill out all over the place in the stickiest of ways. But, the Bible says that His mercies are new every single morning. So, when the messy days come, stay calm, mop up the mess, and pray for grace and peace. Each day, each hour, even each minute, is another chance to grow and to see things through spiritual eyes.
3. You need the church, and the church needs you. When you don’t know where to start, start with the body of Christ. This is where you find understanding, commitment, encouragement, and love. If you want to change your life, surround yourself with people who want to change their lives, too. The church is filled with other travelers walking the same road that you’re on.
Does the church have its problems? Of course. Do people in the church hurt each other? Yes. Maybe you have been hurt by someone in a church someplace. Don’t let that keep you away. Don’t let it hold you back. You will not reach your full potential as a disciple of Christ apart from the church. Find the one that is home for you, and dig in there, serving, growing, and teaching your children that each of us has an essential role in the Body of Christ.
4. The Bible has the answers. Everything that human beings can know about God is in His word. Don’t let bloggers become your authority. Don’t let Facebook memes shape your theology. There is only one infallible source of knowledge of our Savior. Build a legacy of faith for your children that is centered on the Bible. Learn who God really is, and your love for Him will overflow into the lives of the people around you.
You don’t need a complicated plan of action. Just read His word and trust it and teach it to your children. And, where it’s difficult to understand, well, you have the church. Pastors and trusted mentors will teach you how to live by scripture, and your children will see it, and they will grow in faith.
Change is slow. But, if you depend on Him, on His word, and on His church, you and your family will find all of the goodness, all of the grace, the mercy, the power, the patience, and the strength of the God of the Universe. He never changes. He never sleeps. He never gives up on you. He is the most faithful friend that ever existed. And, He is intimately acquainted with your exact circumstance. Who else would you want to live for?
The messy, sometimes painful process of growing and changing and being molded into someone who looks like Christ is so worth it. Do this, dear mom, and not only will you find the greatest possible joy in your relationship with Christ, but your children will rise up and call you blessed. Do all you can to show them that God is worth it. Blessings on your journey. I’ll see you on the road.