This week as we gather at the well, we are discussing the traits of being "motherly". I think that as women, there are many opportunities for us to show this trait. To me, being motherly carries the traits of showing love, care, and concern. It is also the acts of teaching and training and guiding. We have many relationships in our lives where we can do any or all of these things.
We teach, train and guide our children as they grow. We teach them good behavior, how to live strong moral lives. We teach them about the Bible and its teachings. We guide them towards the Lord. As we grow older we have a responsiblity to young mothers and wives to love them, to care for them and to be willing to give of our time to provide guidance as they seek and grow.
However, as we are human we all have an area of our life that holds us back in some area of being "motherly". For some, it is a difficult marriage or a troubled childhood. For others, it is struggles that are difficult to overcome.... sometimes financial, sometimes emotional... sometimes both at the same time.
As I look at how I teach my children, in particular, I immediately see one area in which I struggle. This area encompasses several different feelings and reactions for me depending on what exactly is happening at the time. But, from the perspective of my children, it usually comes out in hearing Mom talk about someone in a way that is not always loving.
This person has a close relationship to our family and a most definite relationship with my children. I have always struggled with my relationship with this person as I have many times found this person to be sometimes critical, sometimes judgemental, and even at times, unkind. At the same time, I know this person loves me, loves my husband, loves my children. However, I don't focus on the postives... I focus on the negatives. And, unfortunately, sometimes I am not discerning with when and where I discuss these negative feelings that surface. My children have heard me complain. Not very motherly, huh?
This is an area in which God has been convicting me for some time and, honestly, I keep trying to run away. Why? Probably for many reasons. It certainly is easier to focus on the negative. Much easier to overlook the good and focus on the bad (why is that, by the way? Oh, how I wish it was the reverse!). I think, too, that by doing what I know I should that I then have to take action myself. I have to admit that I can't change how this person chooses to act and, then, I must overlook the behavior. And, honestly, the human part of me rebels at that! Why should I have to overlook unkind comments or criticism directed towards my children just because I know deep down inside that this person does love us and just doesn't always know how to show it appropriately?
Ultimately, though, for the sake of my family I MUST do just that. I must learn to focus on the good. I must overlook the bad. I must continue to do what I know is best for my husband and my children even if it means words of criticism from someone else. I must continue to remind myself that this person does love us and there are other circumstances (many of which I will never know or understand) that causes the reactions we see at times. And, I have to accept the fact that, while I will probably have to discuss these things with my children as they get older, that I MUST do so in a way that brings love and respect to the person in question. And, ultimately, I must turn it ALL over to God and allow Him to work in the situation. It is only thru Him that I can truly move forward and make this better. It is only thru Him that I can "transform to Motherly".... in this situation and in others.
How do we, though, overcome these types of situations that keep us from living out our motherly traits? Those gifts that God has given us as women? I think it boils down to all I said in the previous paragraph... turning it over to God, accepting that we can't change the situation but instead we must change how we react to the situation. But, that's not always so easy, is it? For me, it's going to start like this. I am going to pray about it. And, not just every now and then as I do now. I will pray about it regularly. Each time we go to see this particular person, I will pray before we leave. I will pray while we are there. I will pray as we leave. I'm going to attack the situation with prayer. I am going to ask God's guidance in how I react both before and after each visit. I am going to ask God's guidance to my direct responses and behaviors towards the person. I am going to pray for God to help me with discernment in the way that I would keep my mouth shut about this situation in front of my children.
Will you join me today in trying to overcome a situation in your life that affects how you carry out loving and caring and teaching your family?