We went to the park together in Wyoming, on a beautiful day in late October –just me, my mom, and three nieces. Standing on ground covered by autumn leaves, she told me something I had never heard from her before.
“I never really liked this part –taking you kids to the park,” she said.
I was pushing little Miss Emma on the swing, and the older girls were dangling from monkey bars.
That was when she told me she didn’t really like going outside and that she had to make herself do things like go on walks with us and take us to the park. She’s a librarian, and inside is where books and cozy chairs and fireplaces happen.
I have been a mom just like her.
I was the kind of mom who read books (librarian’s daughter, you know) while I “watched” from the window to make sure my kids were playing safely outside.
Except I felt immense guilt about not loving to be outdoors with my kids. I would see friends at church with rosy cheeks from summer sun, who showed pictures of themselves on hikes in the mountains. I knew I was a bad mom because I liked the indoors. A failing mom.
There in the park, at the age of 45 and with my two kids all grown up, I saw truth.
My mom is extraordinary. I really I cannot think of a fault in the woman, and my memories of her are all warm.
I adore my sweet mother.
And she hated taking us outside to play.
“All moms are different,” she said.
Some moms like the outdoors. Some moms don’t. The difference is not a failure.
I am a guest here on this lovely website today, and Ms. Sandra has asked me to address this question:
What influence does the Bible have in a mom’s life?
My answer: The Bible tells moms the truth.
Moms do not tell themselves the truth. Don’t you know this? We make up our own definitions of what a mom is, usually based on what our friends do or what our moms did or what a blog-somebody says. We make assumptions about mothering –like a mom is only good if she plays outside with her kids all the time.
But the Bible tells moms what Jesus says is true.
And hallelujah. There is not one verse in the whole book that commands an outdoor playtime of so many hours.
The Bible makes motherhood requirements simple:
Serve with love.
Work with gusto.
Love the Lord.
If I could go back 20 years and do motherhood all over again, I would buy a beautiful journal at Target and a fancy pen. On the front I would write: What Jesus Says Makes a Good Mom. And I would find a few minutes every day to drink coffee and read the Bible and write true things about who I am and who Jesus expects me to be.
If you could start yourself one of those journals, what is the first Bible truth you would write that defines mothering?
Christy Fitzwater is a writer, pastor’s wife, and Spanish teacher living an hour south of the border (Canadian that is), in Kalispell, Montana. She is almost an empty nester, with a daughter married and in college and a son who is about to graduate. Her greatest desire is to help people know and understand God. Find more of her writing at her blog, Off the Shelf.