“For a couple of days I stomped around my home, explaining to God that “happy mother of children” (Psalm 113:9) was an oxymoron in my culture. Mothers were never portrayed as “happy”, unless of course the media was trying to sell you something. And happiness coming from the word “child” in the plural?! Not a chance.
Nearly all the articles on Christian mothering I could find in mainstream Christian magazines could have been entitled The 10 Best Ways to Get Away from Your Children and Not Feel Guilty. This is not what I wanted or needed! And I didn’t want to get through it, I wanted to be a godly mother, even when they were toddlers and infants!
God placed a prayer in my heart, after all the ranting. , “My culture is not truth. Your Word is truth. Please bring people and influences into my life to transform my heart and mind to be conformed to what You say.” And He still is!……
Many years ago a friend’s young adult son died in a single car accident. As I listened to my friend’s grief, I was convicted that I was not in the position to say that I “liked” my children. They weren’t repulsive. But I just wasn’t a “little people person.”. I liked teens who could talk in multisyllable words and discuss things that seemed more consequential. I didn’t like my to-do list being interrupted (yep, I was still learning that one). In order for me to teach my toddlers how to put together a puzzle-a skill I knew was important but distasteful to me- I literally had to grit my teeth, set a timer, and do it!
Knowing I needed to learn to like my children, I began to think about how I began to like my husband when we were newly acquainted. After pondering and praying a bit, I remembered I “watched” him. a lot. Even when he didn’t’ know I was watching.
So we took six weeks off. Not off to organize the house or accomplish a project. Off. I did the basics, and I watched them. I took them to the park or the beach, and I left my book and letters behind. I really didn’t interact with them more than usual. In watching my children, I learned to know them as people. I learned to like them as people. After that, I woke up in the morning glad that I got to spend my life with these creative, interesting people. More often than not, I was exasperated with some behavior before breakfast.
But I liked them.”
Excerpted from “The Learning Series….Loving Children by Monique Stam