November 24, 2011

Do Our Children Have Our Hearts?~Guest Post

I am blessed to be a stay-at-home-mama.

No one would ever accuse me of neglecting my children.

I am at home with them all the time, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Yet, I have collapsed into bed at the end of many a busy day with a guilt complex.

I didn't even stop and take the time to play with my kids today.

How long HAS it been since I had a tea party with my girls?? Or made homemade playdough? Or spent the afternoon playing outside with my little people?

Our children are generally sweet and pleasant (barring the usual "human" moments).

On fussy days, I've realized (after the lights are out) that maybe my sons' whining or my girls' sour attitudes had something to do with needing some more mommy time.

Don't get me wrong; my children are in the middle of most everything I do. From cooking meals to cleaning house and pulling weeds in the flower bed. They are always right beside me.

But there is just something extra special about Mama taking time to get down on the floor and color. Or play dolls. Or set up the Little People farm.  Or look my child in the eyes and smile with enthusiasm while he or she relates a story.

Debi Pearl says it this way, in her book Created to Be His Help Meet:

"Some mothers treat their children as I treat my cows. I make sure they have good things to eat, clean water, and a place to exercise. If they show any signs of sickness, I attend to them immediately... Unlike your care of the cows, the training of your children is the deepest expression of your love for them. To love children is to devote ourselves fully to their training... There are no neutral moments in a child's life. Every moment is a time of continuous need and development."

As Debi Pearl so candidaly put it, being “at home” with our children is not the same as giving our hearts to our family. Our children need more than healthy meals, clean clothes, and exercise.

They need us.

Our attention.  Our smiles.  Our laughter. Our empathy.  Our creativity. Our hearts.

 Do our children know that their mama is interested in their play, their needs, their fears?

 Do our husband know that our hearts are in our home?

That we are not pining away and withering inside by perceived "unmet needs"?

 Now, I am not talking about raising children who think their mama owes them every waking moment. A child-centered home is a recipe for disaster.

 A Christ-centered home, in which a mother devotes herself unselfishly to nurturing and training her children, creates a secure haven for growth and training.

 I want to  leave you with a challenge from Loving the Little Years, by Rachel Jankovic:

"It is no abstract thing- the state of your heart is the state of your home.  You cannot harbor resentment secretly toward your children and expect their hearts to be submissive and tender.  You cannot be greedy with your time and expect them to share their toys... God has given us the job of teaching His law and demonstrating His grace.  We are to be guides to our children as they learn to walk with God."

 Ladies, I encourage you to ask yourself: Where is my heart?

 If your honest answer is that you are in need of a new focus, set some time aside this week (beginning today!) to seek God's heart for your family. Nothing in this world compares to time spent in God's presence for renewing and rekindling a mother's heart.

Kristy Howard is a believer in Jesus Christ, a pastor's wife, and homeschooling mother of four.  She is passionate about living simply, naturally, and Bibically for the glory of God. Kristy is the owner of LittleNaturalCottage, where she furiously writes about her loves during nap time. She and her husband, Jeremy, make their home in North Texas, where they enjoy their growing family, their church, and their pursuit of a debt free life.

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