Character is developed through an intimate walk with God. As moms we need to learn to walk with God in a new way. Like little children, we need to keep our hands in God’s hand as He leads us. He has given us His character through the fruit of His Spirit.
When you are walking in Christ’s character, you will have gentleness with your children, you won’t jerk them around while buckling their car seat. If you have patience, you won’t scream at them in irritation or glare at them in anger. If you have kindness, you won’t shake or slap your child. If you walk as a life-giving mom, you will discipline your children in love.
Before you had children you could get up and workout, or take a walk whenever you wanted to. You could reflect and get your mind together before anyone demanded something from you. You had time to pray and read your Bible. You had the freedom to spend time with your husband or friends.
If you are a mom with young children, you no longer have the same freedom. You are on call 24/7. What is the new normal for you? What is the new way for you to live a balanced life? Is it possible to have balance and have children?
As God called us to have six children, I began to build strategies into my daily routine so that I would not end up pushed to the edge. If I could build times of health and Godly meditation and reflection into my life, I could do more than survive. I could thrive.
Reading the Bible became my lifeline. Gone were the moments of having uninterrupted time whenever I wanted to spend time with God. Now I had to strategize, fight for this time, and improvise.
I kept my Bible handy with a bookmark in it, ready to read when I nursed the baby. I would even put the Bible on the floor in my bathroom and flip my head over to blow dry my hair and read the Word. I began to take prayer walks with the double-wide stroller. I would pray out loud with a prayer list in my hands.
I began to turn the worship music up high in the house and take dance breaks with kids in my arms. This was my dance of survival on days that were rough.
With daughters ages 6, 4, 2, and newborn, I would be hanging by my fingernails until my husband got home each night. With a lack of sleep, I was at my worst and easily irritated. I could become uptight by anything that inconvenienced me. I began to find that when I didn’t make time for God at the beginning of the day, I struggled.
Building daily structures into our lives and homes become pleasant boundaries of health. Taking the children to the YMCA with me so that I could get exercise was important for my mental health.
The most important boundary for me was setting aside a time that I was alone with God. One morning Angela woke up and was pulling on my arm.
“Mommy, I want breakfast,” she said.
“Mommy has to eat first. Then I will get you breakfast,” I answered.
Angela looked puzzled and began to look around for the hidden food that I might be eating. all she could see was my Bible on my lap.
“Do you eat the Bible for breakfast, momma?”
I laughed and kissed her. “That’s right, sweetie. Mommy has to eat the Bible first. Then I can make you breakfast.”
This event happened over 20 years ago. My daughter Angela Grace is a young married woman who has been to six nations. Her missionary zeal is fostered every morning as she gets up to read her Bible, journal, and pray.
I don’t have to wonder how my daughter spent her first moments today. Her life pattern of connecting herself to Jesus first helps her to remain in His presence all through the day. I can take no credit for her choice. It is God who called Angela as a young child to draw near to Him.
To raise children of character, we need to point them to Christ. His mercy covers your imperfections and flaws. His grace empowers you to stay connected to Him all through the day. His fruit strengthens you to be a mom marked by His character.