Sunday, February 24, 2013

Seasons of a Mothers Heart

I recently finished reading "Seasons of a Mother's Heart" by Sally Clarkson. This book was read at a perfect time in my life when I've been going through the season of adjusting to life with 4 children.  I can't tell you how encouraging this book has been for me so I recommend you to read it for yourself. :) It's easy to feel isolated, discouraged, and like no one understands you when you are a homeschool mother... or maybe it's just me. ;)  The season that I've been in for awhile has been that of winter. This is not the season that I prefer, but it's the season that I can see God most at work in my heart.  This post is more of a rambling rather than about a particular subject and an encouragement for those who are going through a winter season in their life. 

I want to share a few of the quotes in the book "Seasons of a Mother's Heart" that really encouraged me.

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" Ephesians 2:10

"God has already dedicated my life in eternity past to do good works. His workmanship created me as a mother, and that is the work he has prepared me to do, especially at this time in life when my children are young. I may not change the world, but perhaps one of my children will." Sally Clarkson

God reminded me that HE is the One that has given me each one of my children. They are GIFTS from the Lord, NOT hindrances from ministry.  Raising children with the help of the Holy Spirit IS ministry.  One day I will have to give an account for each one of the precious souls God has given me. Being faithful in this area is not an option.  For this season of my life God wants me to minister to my family and minister to others as a family.

Following Christ is a life of sacrifice.

"The biggest sacrifice for me has been in the areas of relationships and harmony.  Once I dedicated my life to biblical motherhood, I very quickly found myself crashing into relational barriers where before there had been none. All of a sudden I was labeled as being "too committed" to my home and family and not involved enough in outside activities that would provide my children a "balanced life." A number of warm relationships either cooled or died altogether simply because of my convictions about motherhood." Sally Clarkson

I have definately experienced what Sally is talking about.  I have been labeled as too committed, sheltering my children, living in fear, and accussed of thinking  homeschooling is the only christian way (sooo not true) if you didn't know that already. ;)

"My dedication to life at home as a mother is a seed of sacrifice. I give up my own desires and sacrifice my gifts and talents so that new life may come from me. I am buried in the rich soil of housework, homeschooling, character training, disciplining, and the myrid responsibilies of making a home. To many in my generation, my decision to stay at home is a fruitless sacrifice, a waste of intelligence and abilities.  Fruitless? Only by the world's standards. By God's it is a worthy sacrifice that will yield a harvest of righteosness." Sally Clarkson

On disciplining our children:

"God never insists on our obedience; human authority does. Our Lord does not give us rules and regulations, He makes very clear what the standard is, and if the relation of my spirit to Him is that of love, I will do all He wants me to do without the slightest hesitation. If I begin to object, it is because I love someone else in competition with Him, namely, myself." Oswald Chambers

"Freedom comes not from depending upon someone else's wisdom, but from following the Spirit's leading into my own convictions that guide the decisions and allegiances of my heart. I walk by faith. I cannot let someone else walk by faith for me." Sally Clarkson

This quote was written about disciplining our children, but it really related me me on a personal level.  How often do we let the opinions of man dictate our behavior instead of the Holy Spirit. I believe that is why there is so many depressed, miserable, people who walk around feeling condemned all the time. We let MAN tell us what is right and wrong (law) instead of God's SPIRIT leading us into all truth.  We need to be careful not to do this to others as well.  If it's not in the Bible, we cannot pass something off as a command! Just because we go to church 3 times a week, choose to dress a certain way, wear our hair a certain way, does not make us more spiritual or holy. Just because I choose to homeschool my children and stay home with them each day does not make me right and everyone else wrong.  Each one of us has to pray and seek God's will for their own life.  If you don't feel peace, freedom, and a sound mind, perhaps you're trying to live under law. You're allowing other's to set your standard instead of Christ.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

"The life of Jesus is a wonderful picture of the priority of personal relationship in the process of discipleship. Jesus chose his disciples to be with him at all times. They literally "followed" him everywhere he would go. The word disciple in Greek means "follower" or "learner". Sally Clarkson

"Discipleship is a life, not a lesson." Sally Clarkson

Right now I only have four "disciples".  How I live my life will either help lead them to the Savior or pull them away.  Will I choose to do what I know God has called me to do or will I live to please man?  The more you choose to follow the Lord, the more opposition you will face- from your friends, family, but most of all satan.  Instead of letting the opposition make you second guess yourself, let it reassure you that you are doing exactly what God has called you to do.  Don't let opposition discourage you.

"Everything can seem like it is dead in winter, that nothing is happening, but that is never true. Under the surface of the winter snows ther is always the continuation of life- roots are growing deeper, sap is being stored, energy is being conserved. Winter is not an end, but a transition. The abundant and unstoppable life of spring is due to break forth; a new beginning is coming.  In the same way, my roots are growing deeper in the winter seasons of motherhood, the Holy Spirit is witnhin me, and my energy is being conserved, all with one goal in view- that I will bear new life and new fruit. Winter is a time to diligently and faithfully store up  his word in my spirit, drink deeply of His goodness and mercy, and keep the fires of hope alive in my heart. It is a time to stop and reflect on how my life is different because I am God's child...." Sally Clarkson

"It's so easy to fall into the trap of trusting methods rather than trusting God. At the end of the day the fate of my children will not be determined by whether I used the right materials, read the best books, taken enough field trips, or done more of whatever I didn't do enough of. God is in control of their lives, not I. How they turn out will depend more on how much I prayed for them, how much I depended on God, rather than on how much I did for them." Sally Clarkson

No matter how much you try to control your home, your children, the future, - GOD IS IN CONTROL! Never, ever forget this! God isn't asking you to be perfect, but to trust Him, to be led by Him every second of every day.  We have to keep our eyes on Jesus and constantly be in prayer.  "Lord, help me have patience because I don't feel like responding to my child the way I should"
"Lord, help me to live to please you, not man".
"Lord, give me grace to love others and to remember when I'm serving others, I'm really serving You."
"Lord, give me eyes to see the eternal, and not the temporary."
These are short prayers I cry out each and every day! Every day I realize more and more how much I need Jesus. And when I start to be just a tad bit self-sufficient, God is always faithful to humble me. :)

"If doing God's will were easy, we would have no need of faith and no need of God." Sally Clarkson

Thank God for the easy seasons, thank God for the rough.  Every season, remember God is with you and He is leading you by your right hand.

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

For this God is our God for ever and ever;
he will be our guide even to the end. Psalm 48:14

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