Let's get into chapter three. For me, this was the game-changer. This chapter gave me freedom in my motherhood.
Like Sarah Mae, I am a follower - give me a formula or direction and I will follow it. I will add my own creativity to it after a while, but I need a blue-print. So, for many years when I was a young mom, I loved "how-to" books...how to get your baby to sleep through the night, how to get your child to obey you on the first command, how to speak your loved one's love language, how not to lose your temper. Over time, I began to realize that the best how-to book, the best blue-print, is the Bible. I can live by its principles in all aspects of my life, so I tend to stay away from those "how to do everything" books.
However, I began to get my "how-to" lessons from those around me. I look to other women around me and compare myself and my kids to them. Their kids are so talented and well behaved. Why can't I be so creative, motivated, calm, etc., etc.? Maybe if I were more diligent in this area or smarter, my kids would turn out better. How do they do it?
I highlighted several passages in chapter three, but one of my favorites has to be: "Every family's puzzle will be different...Each of us has a different personality, different strengths and limitations, and different passions and stewardships. God gives us great freedom to exercise wisdom and authority in order to rule over our lives and make them productive for our own families."
You know what? I cannot be like those other moms because God made me ME. Instead of feeling inferior because of my personality and who I am, I need to acknowledge, accept, and be happy with who God made me to be and learn to use the personality with which He created me. He gave me my outgoing, intense personality for a reason and He wanted my children to have a mom with my personality. Yes, my personality brings about weaknesses...as all personalities do...but apparently, it has its strengths. Strengths that my children need in their lives.
"Live well within the limitations of your personality and theirs and you will find more joy." Realize that God made you who you are and He did that for a reason...to bless your family and to prepare your children for life. If you keep trying to do things like others do them, you will consistently feel disappointed and frustrated. If I am quiet for too long, people begin to wonder what is wrong with me. I'm not kidding. If I just sit and am not going from person to person in conversation, people think I must be ill. Trying to become a consistently quiet, serious person will only depress me. Why? Because that is not who God made me to be. For a shy person to try to be loud and talkative may only stress them out. It's like trying to wear clothes that are 5 sizes too small or too big....it doesn't fit and it's obvious to everyone around.
There are families that I know where all the children are orderly, musical, and intelligent. That's the direction their parents are leading them. There are families that I know where the children seem so quiet and obedient and kind towards one another. You don't have to look much further than their mother to find out why. Then, there's my family. My children may not be up in front of church playing music or singing often, but they are usually found around church with smiles and talking to various groups of friends. We often have to tell them to settle down and relax. My husband and I have to round them up from all corners of the building whenever we want to go home. We'll go to the library or museum and almost invariably, at least one of my children will be talking to a stranger and making friends. They like to debate and stand
I need to stop trying to be someone else and trying to turn my children into other children. It's not fair to them. It's not glorifying to God. By trying to fit someone else's mold, I am telling God that I don't like His handiwork and I know better than He.
Sally said that she "see[s] women who are afraid to be themselves." This ought not be me. Why should I be afraid of who God made me to be? I have been afraid as I have wondered if I will fit into someone else's idea of who I need to be. I cannot fear men. I need to fear, honor, and please God. I need to go back to The Blue-print, The How-To Book, and ask God to lead me in my mothering according to His Spirit. I can ask Him to create in me a new heart...make it clean...but I can not ask Him to change me and who I am.
At the end of the chapter, we were to read through several verses of Hebrews 11. The main idea was to see how very different each person listed was from the others. Their trials were different. Their strengths were different. Their personalities were different. God used each and every one of them for the purpose He had in that time and place. God will use me and He will use you, if we allow Him to, to fulfill the exact purpose He has for us and for our families.
Be grateful. Be yourself. Be used.
1. Take a look at yourself. What is the personality God gave you?
2. Do you see your personality in your children?
3. How can you and your family use your God-given personality to honor and glorify Him?
4. Maybe you're not comparing yourself to others, but judging others because they don't do things the right way...like you! Take some time this week to pray for God to soften your heart and appreciate that mom's personality, the one God gave to her and is being revealed in her family.