Recently I was asked to share with other moms about one time that God used faithfulness (one of the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23) in my life as a wife and mother.
But as I thought about it, I had a hard time pinpointing “one time.”
Because faithfulness by its very definition is not a one-time thing.
It is constantly, consistently doing whatever God has given us to do, and doing it the best we can, through Him, and trusting in Him (being full of faith in Him) to do what we can’t.
Of course, faithfulness in motherhood is almost cliché, you know, “a mother’s work is never done.” But it’s a cliché because it’s true.
You can’t be a mom – or a dad – just occasionally. Somebody has to be there to get up with our 1-year-old at 4 a.m….again. Or help the 7-year-old with homework. Or get another BandAid for our daredevil of a 5-year-old. There are stories to be read at nap time and bedtime, dinner to be made, and laundry to be done. Always laundry to be done.
But being a mom is more than just keeping them alive, fed, and clothed. Motherhood has an eternal impact.
I have three boys, my three little “talents” (Matthew 25) that God has given me to invest in, to train, to teach, and to pour into. I have to be faithful with how I use the time I have with them because someday I’ll have to say, “God, here’s what I’ve done with these gifts – these children- You’ve given me.”
Did I push them off to the side in the busyness of life? Or did I faithfully plant seeds, live an example, and show them how to follow God?
Did I show up when it was hard and when it was fun, when I was tired and that one time I was well-rested, when they were cranky and when they were adorable?
Faithfulness can be hard not only because it requires us to keep at whatever we’ve put our hand to, even and especially when it is difficult, but also because the results are not usually instantaneous. This is why we are reminded to not grow “weary in well-doing: for in due season we will reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)
And yet God is gracious, and sometimes we get glimpses of the fruit of our faithfulness. And it is sweet, indeed.
For example, in our home, one thing my husband and I have made a priority to be faithful in is nightly Bible and prayer time as a family. With three young boys, these aren’t long, drawn out, deep discussions on theological ponderings or extensive intercessory prayer meetings. We read from one of our boys’ “children’s” Bibles, talk a little bit about it, and then each of our older two boys pray for things like their family, a friend’s dog, and no bad dreams. 😉
Even still, there are nights when they have trouble sitting still or focusing, even for a few minutes. Nights when their silliness and goofing off are maxing out. There are nights when I really just want them to GO TO SLEEP because it’s been one of THOSE days. Or nights that are later than we’d like, and we’re all tired.
However, by making that time important, we’re already seeing the rewards of that simple faithfulness. We have boys who love God, who are excited about reading the Bible, who love going to church, and who want to pray with us. (Josiah even gets upset sometimes if someone prays before him!)
And most importantly, Elijah and Josiah have both already made decisions to follow Jesus.
It’s not because we’re perfect parents…not by a long shot.
My faithfulness in loving my boys, training and teaching them, leading them to Jesus – it only comes from my faithfulness in being in God’s presence, in prayer, in the Word. In letting His faithfulness inspire me to be more faithful.
Even there, I fail. There have been days when I haven’t prayed or read the Bible – more likely days where I’ve fallen asleep trying to. 🙂
But I keep trying…faithfully as possible.
And I’m trusting Him with the fruits. Because while I can make my boys behave sometimes with a look or a correction, and I can read a Bible story with enthusiasm and flair, I can’t make them want to be good or godly or choose right over wrong, especially when it’s hard. I definitely can’t change their hearts.
That’s God’s arena.
However, He will use my faithfulness in prayer and in pursuing Him and loving my boys well as one of the doors through which the Holy Spirit can flood and fill my children’s hearts and lives.
And I’ll trust God to faithfully do the rest.
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