the greatest gift

inheritanceI’ve waited a long time for this December, my baby’s first Christmas.  I think all mommies dream about that a little bit.  As Christmas approaches, I find myself pondering which gifts Jacob would most enjoy this year.  I get so excited thinking about what I’m going to give him.  Motherhood in general has certainly caused me to realize all of the hopes and dreams I have for my sweet boy.  I think of his future, the ways his dad and I are planning to provide for his needs, the ways we want to show love to him, the gifts we want to give him for birthdays and holidays.  But out of all these things and in the midst of the gifting craziness, his salvation is what has been heavy on our hearts.  Knowledge of Christ Jesus is the single, most important, and everlasting gift we can give him.  This season of our Savior’s birth is a daily reminder of that. Every day since the Sunday morning when we welcomed Jacob into the world, Daryl and I have prayed together for The Lord’s intervention in his life.  Our daily prayer for Jacob is simple.  We pray that he will come to know The Lord at an early age.  I began praying for his salvation when he was still in my belly, before we even knew his gender.  But after his birth, we began  praying more specifically, asking God to capture his heart while he is young.  I desperately want him to get to spend as much of his life on earth in a relationship with Christ as possible.  I want him to know the love of a perfect and holy God. No, this gift can’t be found on the shelves at Target and Toys R Us, but it is indeed the gift he will enjoy the most.messiahOne afternoon a few months ago, I was holding him as he fell asleep.  Standing in his room, with his body snuggled against my chest, I could feel his heart beating against mine and I was overwhelmed with love for him.  My first instinct was to pray over him.  It was a short, basic little offering to God.  I whispered, “Lord, please reveal Yourself to Jacob while he is young, so that he may know You.”  And that was it.   But as I laid him in his crib, peacefully asleep, my God spoke back to me.  I felt Him speak into my soul with such clarity.  I am revealing Myself to Jacob.  I am revealing Myself through you.  Through the afternoons you spend folding his clothes while he naps.  Through the seemingly sleepless nights as you comfort him when he wakes.  Through the hours you spend on the floor with him, teaching him to roll and sit up and crawl.  Through the way you honor and encourage his dad, and the way you spend time in My Word every morning.  He will know me through your life.  In that moment, I felt tremendous responsibility. I am a very imperfect mommy and always will be. How can I, with my mess-ups and failures, be the image of my Savior?  But The Lord encouraged me.  Out of all the people in this world I have made, I gave Jacob to you.  This is because I want to use YOU to teach him about Me.  What a calling, what a purpose!  If being a mommy has left you breathless and without an ounce of energy left (especially during the holiday season), take heart.  Your children are yours for a wonderfully divine purpose, formed and fashioned by a forever faithful God. He knew you would struggle and make mistakes.  In this world, godly mothering is no small thing.  I know I am far from perfect.  I know I will fail sometimes and succeed sometimes.  And I know that I’ll weather some challenges of motherhood better than others.  But I also know that my life (including the many imperfections) is a tool The Lord is refining to teach my son about Himself.  His reminder echoes in my heart. He will know me through your life.  He has told me this before.  He has told all of us this.  As followers of Christ, the world sees our actions, hears our words, tests our hearts.  It is our responsibility as daughters of the King to live in a way that draws people to Him, not away from Him.  Because the most important gift we can offer is the knowledge of God and His saving grace.  In no place is this more important than in our homes, where our children are.best sermonKnowing that my words, my reactions, and my deeds will play a role in Jacob’s desire for The Lord can be a little daunting.  I can never be perfect, but I can be firmly committed to living my life in a way gives Jacob a hunger for Christ. I want to fill my mind and heart with only the things of Him so that I can pour Him back into my son.  May my focus not be on the worthless things of this world but on Him alone.  As mothers, we have this once in a lifetime, God-given opportunity to be the shining lights of Jesus Christ to  perfectly innocent, untarnished, moldable hearts.  While all saving grace belongs to God alone, it will be difficult for our children to be drawn to Him or desire a relationship with Him if we don’t model that first.  We have been called to reflect the image of our Father to the sweet babies entrusted to us, the precious little ones who look to us for everything.  As moms, this is our great commission.  To be the gracious, merciful, forgiving hands and feet of our Savior.  No one is looking to us for these things more than our children are.  Godly mothering is the work of a lifetime, a costly yet eternal investment into the kingdom of God.  It isn’t something we can wrap with pretty paper and bows from Hobby Lobby, yet it is truly the most meaningful gift we can give. And it means purposefully setting ourselves apart.  It means acknowledging the calling we have received and committing to walk in it. Daily.  Moment by moment. It means turning our eyes from worthless things and choosing to ignore the things that are so quick to distract us from our true purpose.  It doesn’t matter if your journey of motherhood is tarnished.  We all are.  We all have dents and dings, things we regret and wounds that still hurt.  That’s okay, because all our heavenly Father requires is a humble and gracious mommy, whose heart is redeemed and faithfully committed to Him. He alone is the glue that holds all of our broken pieces together to create a masterpiece that will reflect Christ to our children.Christ in usEven on the days that I am exhausted, the times I am hurt, the moments I am anxious, I remind myself that this is my calling.  The Lord commands me to consider Him in everything and to imitate Him, because a little pair of hazel-colored eyes are watching me, looking for the hope and encouragement and unconditional love that can only come from a mommy fearlessly and faithfully rooted in her heavenly Father.  This is the season of Christ’s birth, the coming of our King!  Refuse to become entangled in the distractions this season – the impossible Pinterest projects, the newest electronics, the debates over Starbucks cups.  There is no more perfect time than now to focus on pointing our families to Jesus.  This world is dark, yet we can light the way for our children so that they can clearly see the path to Jesus.  I’ve been entrusted with this silly, curious, smiley-faced little boy, and my job is to teach him about his God, who loves him and died for him.  Committing to live this life as a godly mom is not easy, and it’s definitely not always popular or pretty.  But it is gloriously fulfilling, richly rewarding, and always worth it.  imitatorsSince that sweet moment with The Lord on that afternoon a few months ago, I’ve added to my prayer.  In addition to asking God to make Himself known to Jacob at an early age, I also ask Him to help me live a life worthy of the calling I have received.  Because I know that He alone can equip me with the tools I need to reflect Him back to my son.  Jacob’s testimony might begin with what he learns and sees and hears at home.  I want all of those things to point him to the saving grace of Christ.  May the salvation of our children and their knowledge of The Lord be the gift on the top of our lists this Christmas.  Pray daily that their hearts will long to know the Messiah, because He is the greatest gift they’ll ever receive.glorious

 

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