This is Part 1 of a mini series to help mom's do a little bit of self reflective parenting. There is no doubt that we, as moms, love our children. There is no doubt that we will do anything for our children. As Christ following mom's we truly understand, embrace, and grasp the fact that our children are wonderful beautiful blessings from God. We would do just about anything to protect, guard and unconditionally love the gifts from our Father that are our children.
I understand that "family" and all it encompasses, has been under attack in our culture. As Christ followers, we understand the special provision that God has bestowed on family and we are quick to pick up "arms" to protect the sanctity of life, family and children.
I just want to clarify upfront that I am not against family or against children. As Christ centered mom's to our children I know that it's an important job that we should not take lightly. I do not take my job as a mom lightly and I would never advocate for other Christ following mom's to do so either.
However, I have seen a phenomenon and tendency for mom's to use the gifts that God has blessed us with, which are our children and turn them into mini idols that we use to validate who we are as women.
We end up loving the creation more than the Creator.
We end up loving the gifts more than the Giver of gifts.
We need to be aware of this. We need to enter mommyhood with caution...but lots and lots of love.
We need to check our hearts and our parenting.
To kick off this series, I have a guest blogger. Her name is Nana Dolce and you can read her blog over at gomommies.blogspot.com
I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I did.
Warning to Self: Don’t Make your “Godly Offspring” your Idol
I heard my daughter’s heartbeat at 10 weeks gestation. The midwife told us that 10 weeks was still quite early and she prepared us for the possibility of not hearing that little thump on that visit. But the sound was loud, crisp and perfectly clear as soon as the Doppler device was applied. My daughter’s heartbeat was music to me ears on at day. I loved it then, as much as I love her four teeth grin today; not to mention her contemplative, determined, yet easily pacified ways. She is an all together adorable, sweet little sinner (a post to come later on that) who makes her mother’s heart beat.
I love my child easily and naturally and of course there is nothing wrong with that. But I also have a heart that is desperately idolatrous and prone to leave the God I love. Whenever I place my full satisfaction in something created, whenever I wholly delight my mind in something made, whenever I wrap my value and success in anything apart from Christ, I have molded an idol. And regrettably, these self-made gods are readily produced. For my heart – while regenerated, justified and being sanctified– is inherently corrupt and when unguarded easily wanders (Romans 1-3).
I can’t be naive then to think that my natural love for my daughter cannot morph into worship. And beyond that, my desire to raise her into a godly offspring can itself be idolized. This latter point is more covert but just as real. Perhaps it hides well under the Biblical mandate to train and admonish our children in godliness (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4). We agree of course that this commandment to Christian parents is good and true but in our weak attempt to follow suit, we can make the “godliness of our children” our ambition, pride, joy, and achievement – all this as oppose to obeying God purely for His pleasure, glory and the honor of His name. Leslie Leyland Fields provides a quote in her 2006 Christianity Today article that epitomizes this idea. She writes:
In Reclaiming the Body: Christians and the Faithful Use of Modern Medicine, authors Brian Volck and Joel Shuman confront the question in a chapter entitled, “What Are Children For?” After tracing the effect of an increasingly intrusive medical technology that reduces conception and the building of a family to a consumer choice, they warn, too, against a nearly opposite trend—the temptation to worship children and life as uniquely sacred. “Only God, who gives each of us life, is sacred. Christians must therefore respect life, but not worship it.”
This post then will serve as my personal warning to self. Mother, do not make your child your idol. Love her deeply as a parent ought to love her child; love her but do not worship her. Train her up in the way she should go; instruct her in the fear and admonition of the Lord; impress upon her the commandments of the LORD; pray fervently for her salvation, but do not make the hope of a godly offspring your idol.
And pray. Caution your heart and pray. Ask for God’s grace to tear down the intruding idols. I end here with that prayer – one inspired by Pastor Tim Keller’s sermon on the Gospel and Idolatry: Lord, please help me to love Jesus more than my child. I know that this will only happen as I worship, pray and think deeply about the gospel. Give me grace to remember that Jesus Christ is my Great Lover, Savior and King. Help me to understand, know and cherish the gospel that it may pull my heart to Christ and make Him the chief joy of my affections. I don’t want to love my child less, I want to love her more – with an unwavering love that displays and glorifies your own enduring passion for those that are your own. Amen.