Friday, October 24, 2014

not because you must, but because you are willing :: settling into mommyhood (day 19)

I'm currently reading through 1st Peter, with this She Reads Truth Bible Study.
And though chapter five is mostly addressing those in church leadership, I felt the Lord also addressing me as a mother. Moms are leaders to the tiny hearts who look to them daily for guidance. We may not have a huge "following," but we've definitely got little eyes watching. 

As I read from 1 Peter, I was absolutely struck by this:
"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be..." 1 Peter 5:2.

Not because you MUST, but because you are WILLING.

So often I see the shepherding in motherhood as a must.
I am overwhelmed by the responsibilities, and sometimes feel trapped by all that is thrusted upon me to do. Before I've gotten out of bed in the morning, someone else is dictating my schedule with their needs. Discipline, meal-making, cleaning, entertaining, and tantrum-diffusing feel like endless tasks. I don't really have a choice; I must do these things.

But God's Word says that He wants leaders to be willing. 
I think this means, then, that God wants us as moms to be willing.
I wonder what willingness would look like?
What would it mean for me to shepherd, to care for Nicholas and Rainier with willingness?

It might look like many moments of me desperately sprawled out at the feet of Jesus.
My face would probably be on the ground and my eyes would be pouring out tears, because I really like thinking about myself before I think of others. I need to learn from the King who leads His people with humility and with joy. I need Jesus to create a willing heart in me.

It would probably mean me asking God to help me to see the "musts" as opportunities.
When something is an opportunity, instead of begrudged task, willingness comes more easily. The musts would become opportunities to deepen my relationship with my boys, to develop life skills in them, have fun, to provide a peaceful home, to show them God's character, to shape the character of future adults, etc. 

It would involve me seeing this shepherding as a means to know Jesus in a deeper way.
I think Biblical leadership (and so Biblical motherhood) was designed for us to have to go deep with God, in order to do it well. Guiding people's hearts towards Jesus means that we have to know Him ourselves and rely on Him like crazy. And though it may not be glamorous at times, it's exciting that my  very waking hours of raising a little one are also hours that I can choose to know Jesus more.

And shepherding with willingness would mean that I get to model Jesus' service.
All over the Bible leaders are called to serve. Can you imagine Jesus, the one who the disciples called "Lord", washing His disciples' feet? I can picture Jesus kneeling down, His face next to their mud-caked and dusty feet. He takes off His robe, dips it into a bowl of water, and begins to scrub away the dirt and sweat. He, the one who wrote the stars into the sky and who would later rise from the dead, washing the dirt off the feet of those He led.

As a mom, I get to do that. I get to scrub the breakfast from the pudgy cheeks of the one who calls me "mama." I get to rock Rainier in the middle of the night, even when I'm so tired. I get meal plan, clean up a thousand matchbox cars, and wake up way before 6am - and in doing all these things, I get to look like Jesus. What a privilege to look like Him.

In this moment, I want to be willing. I don't think I'm fully there yet - but I'm praying that God will change my heart. I'm beginning to see the freedom and the joy of mothering out of a willing spirit, instead of falling prey to the victim-mentality of the "musts."

Thank you Lord for Nicholas and Rainier's lives; would you help me to shepherd them well. For your glory, and so that they would know you as the Good Shepherd.

(This post was updated from a post I wrote over a year ago, and it feels SO fresh and relevant to this series.)

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To read each post in this 31 Day series, Settling Down and Looking Up, click HERE or find me on my Instagram and search the hashtag, #SettlingDownLookingUp. 

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