……Continuing with my daughter’s book study on The Mission of Motherhood.
“I am so glad that you have decided to join me this week as we continue our study of the book, The Mission of Motherhood: Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity. I look forward to hearing from each of you this week as you share your thoughts on Chapter 4: The Servant Mother.
Let’s get started!
We are now moving into the section of the book where we’ll begin to discuss some of the practical aspects of the mother’s mission, or purpose.
With its very title, the first of these chapters clashes starkly with the society in which we live.
Being a servant? That’s not “where it’s at”, people!
Even though slogans like the ones above are popular, and many of us feel this way from time to time, most of us also have come to realize that serving others does make us feel kind of good.
So, we generally have no problem giving a portion of our time to serving others once in a while (when it’s convenient for us, of course). We even like to let others know about our service projects – posting pictures of ourselves or off-handedly mentioning them in casual conversations.
It’s very easy for us to equate “serving others” with things like:
~ Volunteering at a local homeless shelter
~ Participating in a charity walk
~ Building a house with Habitat for Humanity
~ Donating items to the Goodwill
~ Organizing a food drive
~ Going on a missions trip
These are all wonderful ways to serve! But does a servant’s heart go even beyond these types of acts?
Do these service projects constitute the entirety of having the servant’s heart that Jesus spoke of?
“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
A person who has a true servant’s heart is ready and willing to serve even when it isn’t convenient.
Even when there are no kudos.
And that’s where we come to the main points of Chapter 4 – Learning to serve even when it’s not convenient and how we as mothers can develop the true heart of a servant.
You would think that we mothers would know all about having a true servant’s heart. After all, we do plenty of “servant’s work” that goes unseen day in and day out. We know all-too-well about those not-so-glamorous jobs in our homes that no one would even want to take a picture of. We know about sacrificing for the 10th or 15th or 50th time in a day.
But what is our attitude when we are serving our children? Do we serve grudgingly or with joy? Do the mundane, everyday acts of service hold as great of a value in our eyes as the visibly lauded ones?
In this chapter, Sally shares some encouragement for those of us who desire to develop a true servant’s heart in our mothering:
Study the model
Jesus is the perfect example of a servant, so we would be wise to study His life is we desire to go that way!
Sally reminds us:
Not only had He told them [his disciples] that whoever wanted to be first must be a servant of all, but He had also shown them personally what servant leadership was all about. They had experienced the depth of His sacrificial love firsthand and had been changed by it. (p. 65)
Reading the passages of Scripture about the life of Jesus is a great place to start to learn about being a true servant. Notice the way He talked with people, how we made time for them even at His own inconvenience, and the mercy and compassion He had on them. We can meditate on these things as we go through the day with our children.
By studying His life, we can begin to understand the scripture that says: “…Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.”
Make a choice
Being a true servant starts with a choice.
I have to choose to serve Christ by giving my time and energy to my children – not just when I feel like it but when they need me.
This means I often must sacrifice my own needs and desires for the purpose of giving my children what they need and modeling for them the depths of Christ’s love.
It means that, by faith, I have already made a decision to make myself available in the routine tasks and myriad interruptions of daily life because I believe it is God’s will for me to serve my family through them. (p. 66, 67)
Serve without resentment
Children take up our time – that’s the way God made them! Do we resist their demands on our time? If we do, we are setting ourselves up for a life of constant friction and stress.
I made a decision in my heart years ago, as I began to understand this principle, that God did not want me to resent my children for taking up my time. Neither did He want me to make them feel guilty for the sacrifices I had made on their behalf. I was called to give up my rights simply out of my love for Jesus. If I had struggles and complaints over the years for these issues in my own life, they have been between me and the Lord, not between me and my children. (p. 69)
I love this quote! It’s something I really need to remember. It’s so easy to make my children feel guilty when when I’m not getting my own way!
It’s all in the attitude
We can serve our children by our attitude as much as with our hands and our time. I can really relate to this part of the chapter, because I, too, have often struggled with keeping a good attitude when my children’s’ demands encroach on the last sliver time that I think, somehow, might possibly be my very own.
I, like Sally, have not always clearly understand that the way in which I handle their demands on my lifemakes a world of difference in their lives.
Serving with joy in the midst of messes and difficulty can only be done when we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are joyful and see each minute with our children as an opportunity to worship God through our serve of Him, our children sense our joy and feel secure and happy. (p. 72)
I really enjoyed reading Sally’s stories about her children and the small ways in which her attitude made a huge difference in their lives. Her son Joel’s comments were especially touching:
“Mom, when you are happy and content and easygoing with life, even if it’s not all perfect, we feel good. We don’t need everything to be perfect: we just want you to be happy. But when you start feeling like a failure and overwhelmed with life, it makes us feel guilty, as though it’s our fault and that we haven’t done enough. We feel like we have disappointed you!”
Sally realized that her children didn’t need a perfect mom, but what they needed was for her to be content and patient with life.
They needed me, as a mature Christian, to walk by faith that God was in control, allowing His Spirit to give me peace and joy in the midst of life’s inevitable ups and dons.
In a sense, they were looking to me as a barometer of how our lies were faring.
This is one of the best ways I can be a servant leader to my children. When I model patience in the midst of difficulty, joy in the midst of messes, contentment in the midst of lack, then I provide them a pattern for their own lives. (p. 73)
Does it also mean that we should never feel exhausted, overwhelmed or discouraged and that we must wear a cheerful mask in front of our children? Not necessarily. However, it does mean that we should realize that our attitude has a very powerful effect on our children. Sometimes laying down our lives for them can mean giving up, for their sakes, our right to wallow in our negative feelings.
By the way, does this chapter also imply that we ought to become slaves to our children and never expect them to do anything?
Of course not!
Like Sally says, “After all, Jesus asked a lot of His disciples. He ultimately asked them to be willing to die for His cause! It is important to remember, though, that they first saw Him give up His life for them. And that, I believe, is the model that He intends us mothers to follow.”
Now it’s your turn!
I would love to hear of one way that you intentionally serve your children to make them feel extra-specially loved.
Of course, as always, you are welcome to share your answer to any one of the study questions from Chapter 4, a favorite quote, or just your general thoughts on the idea of being a servant mother.
I’ll see you next Monday, November 4th, to discuss Chapter 5: The Discipling Mother – and hopefully, I’ll have my post up a bit earlier in the day!
To read all of the posts in this series, click HERE.
To read more of my daughter’s blog posts on Christian womanhood, mothering, please see Where My Treasure Is. She would love to hear your comments!