March Madness is just around the corner. It’s one of the only times I watch basketball and I love it. The basketball is not only fast-paced and exciting, but the upsets are crazy! There is a reason it’s called “madness” and, in this case, the madness makes it fun! 🙂
I couldn’t help but think that many of us might have another type of “madness” going on…something that started long before March and just may continue into the foreseeable future. I call it “mothering madness”. Madness, by definition, is a “state of frenzied and chaotic activity” and, in the Pichura home, that madness often plays out in crazy “upsets”, boisterous cheering and a lot of fun as we live with each other day in and day out. My personal definition would also include “bouts of anger, moments of yelling, intervals of impatience, and rounds of selfishness”. My spirit and flesh often collide and sometimes it’s not pretty. By God’s grace, sin never has to have the final word…but a spirit of repentance and honest words of sorrow are certainly required. I have to live each day humbly, which can only be done when I live it in light of God’s holiness so I am properly able to see myself for who I am, a sinner saved by grace. This keeps my mama’s heart in check and keeps me honest before God and my family.
Yet, we are not called to simply play defense and only give responses. We are called, by God, to play parenting offense well…to engage our children with actions that point them toward Christ, the pearl of greatest price!
Bryan said this little phrase years ago, but I think it’s worth it’s weight in gold and a great starting point in our parenting, as it addresses the heart:
“I can’t take my kids where I have not first gone myself.”
How can we instill a passionate love for Christ in our kids when we, first, are not pursuing loving Him passionately? How can we encourage our kids to love God with all their hearts, when we are clinging to idols in our own hearts? How can we instruct them to do all things without complaining and arguing when our countenances and demeanors displays a constant displeasure in what God is doing in our lives?
The answer is pretty simple…we can’t.
Deuteronomy 6:7 is a beautiful verse that instructs parents to teach God’s truths to their kids ALL the time…but it is key that we not miss the two verses before it: “YOU (the parent) shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall BE ON YOUR HEART!” (emphasis added) If God’s Word is first not IN us, it will certainly not come OUT of us. For, “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks”. (Matt. 12:34)
So, as we seek to glorify God in our parenting, we must start with some self-examination. Am I “full” spiritually at the end of the day from feeding on God’s Word or am I starving? Am I meditating on the truths I am reading and studying? Or, in other words, are the truths I am taking in overflowing into my speech with my kids and those around me? Do I desire to “gain Christ and be found in Him not having a righteousness of my own from the law but one that is through faith in Christ – the righteousness from God based on faith. ” (Phil. 3:9)
In this “March Madness” month of blog posts, my prayer is that we would all be encouraged to live out this mothering madness in a way that glorifies our Savior, as our lives seek to shine the beauty of knowing Christ and being one of His kids. It’s impossible to have this kind of life day in and day out in our own strength, simply clinging to a legalistic set of do’s and dont’s. That will only make us like the Pharisees…white-washed tombs and filthy cups. This type of life is only found when we are hid in Christ, clothed in His righteousness. It’s found when we understand that, through the power of the Holy Spirit and with a steadfast, immovable spirit, we can run the race with our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith, and of the faith we pray springs up in our kids’ hearts, through God’s sovereign work! We have a GREAT hope because we serve a GREAT God!
We cannot take our kids where we have not first gone ourselves. So, the first question we need to ask ourselves as we start this new month is: “Where are we going?”