The Mission of Motherhood ~ Chapter 10: The Creative Mother

Winter Ice Beauty
Continuing with my daughter’s book study on “The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkston” from Where My Treasure Is at WordPress…..

Yesterday morning, we awoke to a ice-laden wonderland. As I shuffled into the warmly lit living room and gazed out upon the perfect stillness of the crystalline world, the first word that escaped my lips was  ”Woooooow!”

Each of my children, in turn, gasped as they descended the stairs for breakfast and saw the branches bending down heavy on the deck.

Winter Ice Beauty

We spent a long while enjoying our breakfast and discussing the amazing view. Abigail begged for a delay in the morning chores so that she and Iliana could rush outside and capture it before it all melted away.

A bit later, bundled up tight, the two of them slipped off and away through the crunchy land of wonder, breathing little clouds and breathing in the beauty…

Winter Ice Beauty

“Beauty is not just something frivolous;
it is essential to the foundation of our lives.”

In this week’s chapter, Sally shares that one of the best ways that we can appeal to the yearnings for beauty and wonder that God has already placed in our children’s hearts is to expose them to the many facets of God’s artistry as expressed in what He made.

Our children are not just brains that need to be developed academically or trained to think right thoughts. Our children were designed by God to receive pleasure through their senses, their hearts, and their minds, because of all the wonderful things He made for us to enjoy – and also to come to know their Creator through the works of His hands. (p. 182)

To me, introducing our children to God by way of His creation is one of the most joyful parts of mothering!

It is also one of the greatest gifts we can give them.

Winter Ice Beauty

However, helping my children to enjoy and appreciate God’s handiwork in its many varieties requires a choice.

In the modern world that we live in, it is so easy to substitute virtual reality for actual reality – so very easy. We convince ourselves that a quality nature show is as just as good as going outside. That a sensory table filled with a gooey (and sanitary) substances is equivalent to actually playing in the rain and mud. That a virtual pet is just as fun as touching a real, live animal. But by making these “easier” choices, we often don’t realize all that we are choosing to give up. The farther we move from nature the more out of touch we can get with God’s power and reality.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?

~ Psalm 8: 3-4 ~

Many children are rarely exposed to the natural elements that were meant to daily confront our soul with the greatness of God. What can be done for these children? Well, there are many great ideas in this chapter of ways to incorporate God’s creation into everyday life. I don’t want to repeat all of her ideas here, but I will share a few of mine that I’ve incorporated into my children’s lives…

1. Experiencing God’s creation through our senses

Eating in Season 
A Simple Summer Supper
Tea with jam and bread
Adding Warmth and Light

2. Experiencing God’s creation through words and ideas

Education is a Life

3. Experiencing God’s creation through the natural world

Our family’s nature studies on:
Winter
Birds
Reptiles
Amphibians
Trees
Human Body

Education in Our Home Series: Science

A New View (a spring walk)
Winter Walk
Winter Morning
The wonder of it

Three Things To Give Kids Every Day This Summer

 Any encounter with God’s outdoors can make a difference. Over the long haul, the more time our children spend in natural settings, both wild and tame, the more deeply they will realize the magnificent message of Jeremiah 32:17:

“Ah Lord GOD! Behold, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by Thy great power and by Thine outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for Thee!” (p. 188)

Winter Ice Beauty

Filling our homes

Another way that we can help to keep our children’s minds focused on God’s creativity is the way in which we arrange our home environment.

Sally says:

From the time they were very small, I have filled our home with items that appealed to their senses and fed their understanding of God’s beauty and their appreciation of human creativity. (p. 188)

Every woman’s ideas will be different (that’s the beauty of the creative mother!) ~ but each of us can find ways to fill our homes with beauty and inspiration no matter the size of our budget.

In my home, I always try to have fresh flowers on the table throughout the growing season. When the flowers are gone, I decorate with ivy , pinecones and other things we can find around the property. I seek out oversized art books of beautiful paintings for my children to browse through. I intentionally fill our home library with books about God’s creation so that my children can study deeper into the things they find outside.

As a completely NON arts and crafts-type person, it’s been encouraging for me to realize over the past few years that being creative in God’s image encompasses a wide range of activities – from storytelling to house construction to baking to music to crafts to problem solving!

All of the beautiful things that we can fill our homes with to look at, touch, smell and taste were created by God for us to experience so that we could enjoy life more fully. However, He did not intend for these things to bring us fulfillment in and of themselves, but to point beyond the things to the Artist Himself –  to affirm His magnificence, His power and His kindness and generosity in making our lives so full.

He gave us a richly created world to help us know Him better!

Encouraging a creative response

We must remember that being made in God’s image means we are like Him – each of us – including our children! If He is creative, then we also have that potential – all of us!

We can encourage our children’s responses to God’s creation by filling our home with tools and materials for their own creative endeavors. Boxes of art supplies – stickers, paints, crayons, colored pencils, stencils and lots of scrap paper, dress-up clothes from the thrift store, how-to books on drawing, crafts and other hobbies, garden tools and seeds – the list is almost endless! If we are on a budget, a little creativity on our part will make it possible to acquire tools for our children – books from the library, art supplies from garage sales, buying secondhand tools.

An important part of fostering creativity in our children is to model it ourselves in everyday life. We can make small choices everyday to involve our children in what it is that we enjoy doing, whether it’s baking, gardening, photography, web design or any other creative endeavor. One of the things I’ve enjoyed teaching my children to do is to create handmade cards.

When our children practice creating, they begin understanding the Creator God, who is the original Artist!

Winter Ice Beauty

Does it all sound too simple?

Go outside

Bring it inside

Practice creativity

After reading this chapter, did you feel like saying…

OK, Sally, that’s all well and good for you and your {perfect} family, but we live in the REAL WORLD here, not out in Grizzly Adams-Little House on the Prairie-Treehugger Land! My kids are more interested in Minecraft than monarch butterflies, Angry Birds than awesome sunsets, Instagram than an interesting walk in the woods and Big Time Rush than rushing outside to play!

The kind of life you’re talking about is just not reality anymore.

Winter Ice Beauty

Regardless of our family’s lifestyle choices, we all need to ask ourselves this question…

Has God’s magnificence changed over time?

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

~ Psalm 19:1 ~

Does His creation give Him any less glory in our modern, technological age? Has the creativity of the top developers at Apple® finally surpassed His old, worn-out wonders? Have Hollywood’s CGI technicians found a way to outshine the breathtaking view of the heavens at night?

In the book of Job, God takes to answering Job’s questions with questions of His own – questions all about the things He has created.

Who is this that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding.
Who set its measurements, since you know?…

Or who enclosed the sea with doors,
When, bursting forth, it went out from the womb;
when I made a cloud its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band?

Have you entered the treasury of snow,
or have you seen the treasury of hail?

Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
Can you set their dominion oer the earth?

Job 38: 2-5, 8-9, 22, 33

We and our children need Job’s message, today as much as ever before. There is something about the direct experience of God’s natural world that tends to put our human doubts and questions into perspective. (p. 186)

When we invite our children to explore and marvel in God’s creation alongside us,
we learn that His perspective and wisdom and purposes
are vastly different from our human, limited viewpoint.

 Winter Ice Beauty

A lifelong habit

One of my main goals of mothering is to touch my children’s hearts with the overwhelming wonder of God’s presence.

But it will not happen overnight.

Cultivating an appreciation of God’s creation and the “in his image” creativity of our families is a lifelong habit. It takes years to develop and it is built by the ways we choose to live each day. (p. 195)

As mothers, we have an awesome opportunity to draw our children closer to God. We can make small choices in how our young children spend their days. We can invite our teens to take a walk with us or plan a family trip to an exciting new place, full of God’s creation. Any small thing that we can do to get out into God’s creation or bring it into our homes will be worthwhile and have a lasting impact in the lives of our children!

A big thank you to Abigail (my granddaughter) who braved the cold and took all of the photographs in this post!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mission of Motherhood

Now it’s your turn!

Let’s discuss some different ways we can bring our children into contact with God’s magnificent creation! What does your family enjoy doing that involves nature?

As always, you are also welcome to share a favorite quote or your answer to one of the study questions from this week’s chapter, too!

Our next discussion will be in two weeks, on January 6, 2014, when we will be discussion Chapter 11: The Ministering Mother.

To view all posts in this book study, click HERE.

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