The Ultimate Survivor All-Star
SHOW SURVIVOR VIDEO CLIP…
HAVE – you noticed that all across America today, there is an obsession with watching reality-based TV shows. I MEAN – they are popping up all over the place. AND – we better get used to them because they are here to stay… not only because they are making big bucks, but because they are meeting a big need…
YOU SEE – people today are hungry for relationships… they are hungry to be involved in the loves of ‘real’ people… AND SO – they will even settle for pseudo ones (virtual ones) on TV. AND - tonight million of Americans will tune in to watch the final two-hour episode to find out who is going to be the Ultimate Survivor All Star…
HEY - have you heard about the next Survivor show they have planned? Six men will be dropped off on an island with 1 van and 4 kids for 6 weeks. Each kid plays two sports and takes music or dance lessons. There’s no access to fast food. Each man must take care of his 4 kids, keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, complete science projects, cook, and do laundry.
The men have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done. But there’s only one TV between them and no remote control.
They must be able to get a four year old to eat green beans. The men must shave their legs and wear makeup daily, which they must apply themselves while driving or while making lunches.
They’ll be judged on how well they can make an Indian hut model with six toothpicks, a tortilla, and one magic marker. The winner gets voted off of the island and gets his old job back!
NOW - to win in these ‘survivor’ contests (that we see on TV), you must outwit, outplay, and outlast your fellow contestants. It’s a test of the wills, a test of endurance, a fight to the finish. AND - those who participate in these contests must sacrifice sleep and convenience and face many hardships. These contests are not for the weak or the faint of heart.
OKAY – here’s a trivia question for you: What is the name of the oldest & longest running, reality-based survival contest in the world? You guessed it--motherhood. And this morning on Mother’s Day, I want to speak to the moms about surviving motherhood. IN - our time together, I want to share with you some survival strategies that will help you not only survive, BUT - thrive as a mom.
LISTEN – motherhood is not an easy thing… UNDERSTAND - to win in this contest, you must outwit, outplay, and outlast your fellow contestants. This is a test of the wills, a test of endurance, a fight to the finish. Those who participate must sacrifice sleep and convenience and face many hardships. Motherhood is not for the weak or faint of heart.
Erma Bombeck writes;
For the first 4 or 5 years after I had children, I considered motherhood a temporary condition -- not a calling. It was a time of my life set aside for exhaustion and long hours. It would pass. Then one afternoon, with 3 kids in tow, I came out of a supermarket pushing a cart (with four wheels that went in opposite directions) when my toddler son got away from me. Just outside the door, he ran toward a machine holding bubble gum in a glass dome. In a voice that shattered glass he shouted, "Gimme! Gimme!" I told him I would give him what for if he didn’t stop shouting and get in the car.
As I physically tried to pry his body from around the bubble gum machine, he pulled the entire thing over. Glass and balls of bubble gum went all over the parking lot. We had now attracted a sizable crowd. I told him he would never see a cartoon as long as he lived, and if he didn’t control his temper, he was going to be making license plates for the state.
He tried to stifle his sobs as he looked around at the staring crowd. Then he did something that I was to remember for the rest of my life. In his helpless quest for comfort, he turned to the only one he trusted his emotions with -- me. He threw his arms around my knees and held on for dear life.
I had humiliated him, chastised him, and berated him, but I was still all he had. That single incident defined my role. I was a major force in this child’s life. Sometimes we forget how important stability is to a child. I’ve always told mine, "The easiest part of being a mother is giving birth.... the hardest part is showing up for it each day..."
Mother’s day is traditionally the day when children give something back to their mothers for all the spit they produce to wash dirty faces, all the old gum they held in their hands, all the noses they wipe, and all the bloody knees they "made well" with a kiss.
This is the day mothers are rewarded for washing all those sheets in the middle of the night, driving kids to school when they missed the bus, and enduring all the football games in the rain. It’s appreciation day for making your children finish something they said they couldn’t do, not believing them when they said, "I hate you," and sharing their good times and their bad times.
Their cards probably won’t reflect it, but what they are trying to say is, "Thank you for showing up."
TO – the moms out there, “thanks for showing up…” Thanks for showing up to a job that is often tough, many times dirty, frequently lonely and more often then not, thankless…”
BUT – this morning I want to do more than thank you for showing up… TODAY – (Mother’s Day 2004), I want to give you or remind you of (as you know most of what I teach isn’t earth shattering or rocket science) I want to give you and remind you of some basic skills/tools/strategies – that will help you survive in the jungle of motherhood.
NOW – (with that said, let me also say) THAT – even though this message is specifically for moms… It is still not time for everyone else to checkout, FOR – at least 2 reasons;
#1; You probably have a mom (raise your hands) or you know a mom (raise your hands), or you know someone else who has a mom - who could use these survival strategies… AND LISTEN – if you know what she needs you can make sure that she gets it…
#2; A second reason you shouldn’t checkout is that many of these survival strategies will not only help moms survive… BUT – they will help you survive in the jungle of your life…(and it really is a jungle out there)
(God you want to talk to moms today… and you have something to say to each of us)
OKAY - take out a pen and write this stuff down. BECAUSE - you’re going to need them. Survival strategy number one: Moms, when you find yourself in the dark & difficult jungle of motherland…
Remember God Loves You
MOMS - you are loved by God.
NOW - Mother’s Day, for many of you, is a good day. You’re happily married. You have children. You like your children; your children like you. Your mother is living and you get along with her. Mother’s Day is a good day for you.
BUT - for a lot of others here today, Mother’s Day is a hard day.
• Maybe you want to be a mother but you can’t be for some reason
• Perhaps some of you didn’t have the best mother in the world
• Some mothers have lost a child (maybe even before they were born)
• Some of you mothers feel the pain of a wayward child this morning
• Some mother feel guilt because they feel they did a lousy job at this mom thing
• Others are flying solo and it’s getting harder all the time
• Some are step moms and it’s not been easy
AND - some of you have lost your mom, and whenever Mother’s Day rolls around it reminds you of that big loss, that big hole in your heart. For a lot of people, Mother’s Day is a hard day. Now, regardless of where you are in motherland, regardless of your life situation, every mom has hard days.
Being a mom is not easy. There are days when you feel like you’ve blown it, that you’ve just stepped over the edge and made a terrible decision (reacted in ways like Erma did when the bubble gum machine feel over). AND – you feel those waves of regret crashing over you…
Other days you feel like a total failure. There are times when you feel very lonely. And I want you to know when those times come--as they will come to every mom--I want you to remember that you are loved by God.
UNDERSTAND - when you feel unlovable, when you feel like no one else loves you (not your husband, not your kids, not anyone), remember, that God (that your Father in heaven) never stops loving you.
AND – do you know what else, not only does God never stop loving you, BUT – he never stops telling you that he loves you. From Genesis to Revelation we read about God’s love for us…
CHECKOUT – these words in Jeremiah 31… God’s people were going through some hard times… AND – in the midst of their difficulties if they were to survive they – they needed to be reminded of God’s love…
"They found grace out in the desert, these people who survived… Israel, out looking for a place to rest 3met God out looking for them!" GOD told them, "I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! Jer 31:2.3 (Msg)
CIRCLE - "I’ve never quit loving you and never will; Expect love
LISTEN – you too, WILL find grace in the desert and survive the heat… When you remember that God loves you…. “God loves ME!”
AND CHECKOUT - what God says in Isaiah 54: “For though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken.” (Is 54:10)
LISTEN - there’s nothing you can do that will shake his love off of you. WHEN - you feel unforgivable, when you done something (that you are not proud of) and you wonder how could anyone forgive? WHEN - you have a hard time forgiving yourself, remember God’s mercy never ceases.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
AND IN - Deuteronomy chapter 4 we read: “The LORD your God will have mercy--he won’t destroy you or desert you. The LORD will remember his promise, and he will keep the agreement he made with your ancestors…” Dt 4:31 (CEV)
UNDERSTAND - even when your own tribe turns against you and votes you off the island, remember nothing can come between you and God’s love. NOTHING! “nothing”
NOW - the Apostle Paul said it about as good as it could be said in Romans 8;. He said, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rm 8:38,39
LISTEN - If you don’t get anything else out of my message today, get this: You are loved by God. It’s what will get you through those hard days in motherland. God is nuts, he’s crazy about you… He loves you big time! If he had a wallet your picture would be in it – if he had a refrigerator you’d all over it…
WHO – will survive…the jungle of motherhood? Moms who remember that they are loved by God. (hey I told you this stuff wasn’t rocket science.. BUT – it is so awesome! AND – we all need constant reminders of God’s love for us… HERE’S – one more
“Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, and settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love.”
Eph. 1:4 (Msg)
Survival Strategy number two;
Remember That God Sees
QUESTION - when you are in the trenches of being a mom. ESPECIALLY – those times when it is dark, tough and ugly… DO - you ever feel like you are all alone? LIKE – it’s just you against the world? Do you ever feel; outgunned and outnumbered?
THIS MORNING – I want to give you a quick snap shot of a mom, who felt that way. WHO – felt all alone in this thing called motherhood. IN FACT – she is literally out in the desert alone with her son… Her name is Hagar and she is the first single mom on record, and she felt it was all up to her… BUT – she was wrong…
HER STORY – is in Genesis 16… Let me give you a little background. Abraham & his wife Sarah have been promised a child by God. BUT – the years kept clicking away, and they kept getting older and still no child appears.
SO – one day Sarah feeling that she will never be able to have a child tells Abraham to sleep with her maid servant Hagar. NOW - in that culture this was a common practice. To build ones family through a servant. (BUT – even though it was a common practice and culturally acceptable, even though everyone else was doing it…even though it was a major re-occurring theme on the D.B.S. [desert broadcasting station and the camel network] – it was wrong in God’s eyes, but Abraham (like so many today) gives into worldly wisdom – he messes up… he failed to trust God. AND SO - he sleeps with Hagar and she bears him a child, named Ishmael.
WELL – needless to say… this arrangement (2 woman – one man) turns out to be a source of major conflict. Sarah & Hagar do not get along at all. Everyday there are a constant barrage of verbal missiles and insults being launched…
UNTIL – one day when Sarah (who basically having a higher rank) – treats Hagar so bad that she eventually takes her son and flees into the desert.
SO – there she is, a single mom, alone in a hostile world, with no hope for the future, with no hope for the future of her son… (OR – so she thought). YOU SEE - God shows up as this single mom sits in that desert and He comforts her, He tells her that; she’ll be okay, that her son will be fine, that he will have a good future…
AND – then we read these words in Gen 16:13;
She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me." Gen 16:13 (El-Roi)
CIRCLE - the God who sees
MOMS – if you are going to survive in the outback of motherhood; you need to remember that you are not alone in this task. This mission is not up just to you… AND – when times are tough, when you feel like fleeing out into the desert to get away from it all… JUST REMEMBER – that God sees, God cares… AND – that God has your back.
YES – there are many times moms, when you are going to ‘feel’ (because everything in your life and home seems to heading south) that God has forgotten you… QUESTION – have you ever looked at the circumstances of your life and thought (where is God? He either doesn’t care or he has forgotten me)…
UNDERSTAND – He hasn’t… I love these words found in Isaiah chapter 49. God’s people were going through some really tough times… and they felt alone…. SO – God reminds them (and us); that He sees, that He always knows what they are going through… AND – that it is impossible for him to forget…
QUESTION – how is your life right know? Do you feel alone? Do you feel that God has checked out? CHECKOUT – these words….
Sing for joy, O heavens! Rejoice, O earth! Burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their sorrow.
Yet Jerusalem says, "The LORD has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us."
"Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on my hand. Ever before me is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins. - Isaiah 49:13-16 (NLT)
Just one more verse here… about God seeing your pain.
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. - Ps 56:8 (NLT)
WHO – will survive? Those who remember that God sees!
Survival strategy #3;
Seek God First
NOW – there are a lot of reason for this BUT – I just want to talk about one reason for seeking God today…
QUESTION – do you think that moms have a lot of things to worry and be anxious about?
This week I asked some moms at Central what kind of things do they worry about…
• Be safe
• Make right choices
• Marry the right person
• Not get in a car wreck
• Not be influenced by the world
LISTEN IF – you are going to survive & thrive as a mom, you need to overcome worry BECAUSE worry will mess you up.
Maybe worry is messing you up right now. Are you a worrier? Are you concerned about something right now? IS – there something that you can’t get it out of your mind? I MEAN – even though it is out of your control you still can’t get it out of your mind…
NOW – the bible offers some pretty powerful survival strategies in regards to worry & anxiety…
The first one I want to look at is from Jesus… (picture the scene, all kinds of people, with all kinds of concerns)
"So don’t worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. "So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:31-33 (NLT)
Jesus says make what? the Kingdom of God your primary concern
AND – then what will happen? he will give you all you need from day to day
THEREFORE – there is no need for you to what? To worry…
OKAY – let me show you an example of how this works… How seeking God First made a difference in a mom’s life.
Her name was Hannah – she wasn’t a mom yet, BUT - she wanted to be a mom. She was the wife of a man named Elkanah. NOW – Elkanah had another wife besides Hannah Peninnah, and Peninnah had several children… AND AGAIN – this 2 wife one man thing was a mess. YOU SEE – Elkanah loved Hannah more… and that ticked off Peninnah who used the fact that she had children to abuse Hannah… Let’s pick up the reading at 1 Samuel verse 7;
This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD , her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, "Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?"
9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s temple. 10 In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD . 11 And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head." 12 As she kept on praying to the LORD , Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."
15 "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD . 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief." 17 Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him." 18 She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
QUESTION – did you notice any difference in Hannah after she sought the Lord?
BEFORE – Hannah was weeping and downhearted, she was so down she didn’t even want to eat… AFTER – she sought the Lord pouring out her heart to Him, scripture says; she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
That’s awesome! After spending time in prayer, her face was no longer sad. AFTER – being in the presence of the one bigger than her problems – everything changed. YOU SEE - she had left her concerns with the Lord and now she’s experiencing the “peace that passes all understanding.” That Paul talks about in Phil 4;
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6,7 (NLT)
LISATEN - an essential survival skill for thriving as a mom – is to seek God, is to give Him your worries.. AND moms UNDERSTAND - unless you seek God, unless you make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. YOU CAN’T – give Him your worries…
NOW – I know I said that I was only going to give you one reason for seeking God first (the getting rid of worry thing)… BUT – I felt the need to mention one more reason for seeking God first… R U ready….. BECAUSE – God is what you really need…
Angela Thomas Guffey wrote in the Focus on the Family magazine in 2001; "Mothering requires everything. But eventually, everything given plus little replenished equals desperately empty. I held the empty cup of my soul out to my husband and begged him to fill it. I held out my cup to a bigger house and a minivan. But only Jesus could fill my soul. I tried my children and my girlfriends, but again, they could not fill the place designed by God for Himself… the goal of mothering is to be a woman of God to your children. A woman of God intimately connected to her Savior. And a woman of God can love and give from the overflowing cup God has filled.
NOW - the 4th survival strategy I want to share with you isn’t just for moms. It’s for the whole tribe--for both husbands and the kids—for the whole family. LISTEN - if you want your mom (or the mother of your children) to survive motherhood and thrive, you need to;
Show Her Appreciation
Appreciation--we all want it. AND - we all need it. IN FACT - we all have to have it to survive emotionally. It’s the way we’re wired up. God made us that way. In Proverbs 12:25 it says, “Anxious hearts are very heavy, but a word of encouragement does wonders.”
A word of encouragement does what? does wonders… That’s true.
Mark Twain said it this way: “I can live off one good compliment for a week.”
George Adam: “Encouragement is oxygen to the soul”
Japanese proverb: One kind word can warm up 3 winter months”
Scudder Parker; People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be – not what you nag them to be.
‘A word of encouragement during a failure worth more than a whole book of praise after success.
YES - a word of encouragement does wonders, - It’s just the way we’re made…. YET - many moms wonder every day, “Does my family appreciate me?”
Husbands, kids, - LISTEN….. One of the greatest gifts you can give your mom (or the mother of your children, your wife) is a gift of sincere, genuine, personal, continual appreciation.
UNDERSTAND – encouragement is the gas in the tank in the journey of motherhood. AND – if you want your mother to survive, make sure you are pumping high octane encouragement into her tank on a regular basis… AND IF – you do that not only will your mom survive - she will thrive!
LET ME – give you an example of the power of high octane encouragement. In Proverbs 31 we read about a mom that is thriving as a wife and mother… She is know as ‘the Proverbs 31 Lady’ - she is a wife, homemaker, a business woman, she gets up early, stays up late, she buys and sells land, she helps the poor and the needy, she speaks wise words, makes clothes for the family…
AND MANY TIMES – she is presented as the model of being a wife and motherhood… AND – most of the time all she does is make women feel guilty… IN FACT – I have a book on my shelf written by Marsha Drake called, ‘the proverbs 31 lady and Other impossible Dreams.’
BUT – this week as I was working on my message, I started wondering what it was that keep this lady going… AND – I found it in two verse towards the end of the chapter… AND - in my humble opinion IF these 2 verses weren’t there neither would the other 19 verses;
OKAY – here’s the key to the Prov 31 lady; here’s the wind beneathe her wings…
Her children speak well of her. Her husband also praises her saying, “There are many fine women BUT you are better than all of them.” Pr 31:28,29 (NCV)
Her children speak well of her. Her husband also praises her saying, “There are many fine women BUT you are better than all of them.” Pr 31:28,29 (NCV)
Talk about putting fuel in someone’s tank….
HER CHILDREN – speak well of her…
AND HER HUSBAND - ‘you go girl, I don’t know how you do it, but you’re the best…’ Husbands, kids – are fueling up your moms (your wives tank) with high octane appreciation.
IMAGINE – what are homes and world would be like if we did – Hebrews 10:24; “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. “ (NLT)
Robert Welch wrote an article in Focus on the Family several years ago entitled, "Holding Down the Fort." He told about the time his wife took a short-term mission trip to Haiti, and he learned to appreciate her in a whole new way.
YOU SEE - he had his own survivor experience.
Following the experience, he wrote, "Let’s humble ourselves, dads, by admitting we’re spoiled rotten. We get the glory, our wives get the grit. It starts early, with the birth of the child. The woman has just spent nine months throwing up, gaining weight, & trying to get out of the car without accidentally honking the horn. Meanwhile, the man’s challenge has been trying to sneak a pillow into the childbirth classes to take a nap. But when the child is born, guess who’s on the phone soaking up the congratulations. ’Piece of cake,’ he tells his friends. The gap widens as Jr. grows. We fathers sit in our offices sneaking a peak at baby pictures. Meanwhile, mom is home, cutting Silly Putty out of the little tyke’s hair while simultaneously lifting the refrigerator to retrieve an overdue library book."
After that two weeks as Mr. Mom, Welch wrote, "I pressed three shirts before realizing that the iron was not plugged in. I let so much toothpaste build up in the kids sink that I could’ve chipped it off and had a week’s supply of breath mints!"
After a host of other similar calamities, he offered this advice: "Sometimes we men need to walk a mile in our wives’ Reeboks to appreciate everything they do, discover everything we don’t do, and realize how we can be better husbands and fathers." He concluded, "If we fathers stand proudly at the helm, it’s our wives who keep the ship afloat.
OKAY - I want to just wrap up this point about showing appreciation with a tribute to moms that I came across this week in my research it’s from a book by Angela Guffy called “A Tender Mercy for a Mother’s Soul.” It’s an awesome description of all the things that moms, do for their families.
“This is for all the mothers who froze their bottoms off on metal bleachers at soccer games Friday night instead of watching them from cars, so that when their kids asked them, ‘Did you see my goal?’ they could say, ‘Of course, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,’ and really mean it.
“This is for all the mothers who sat up all night with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up chunks of wieners and cherry soda that suddenly reappeared, saying, ‘It’s OK, honey, Mommy’s here.’ This is for all the mothers of Kosovo who fled the night and can’t find their children. This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies they will never see, and the mothers who took those babies and made homes for them.
“This is for the mothers of victims of school shootings, and the mothers of the murderers, for the mothers of the survivors and for the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school safely. This is for the mothers who run carpools and make cookies and sew Halloween costumes, and for all the mothers who don’t. This is for reading ‘Good Night, Moon,’ twice a night for a year and then reading it again, ‘Just one more time, Mom!’” I enjoyed that one, too, by the way.
“This is for all the mothers who mess up and who yell at their kids in the grocery store and stomp their feet like a tired two-year-old who wants ice ream before dinner. This is for all the mothers who taught their daughters to tie their shoelaces before they started school and for all the mothers who opted for Velcro instead. And this is for all the mothers who show up at work with spit-up in their hair, mouth stains on their blouses, and diapers in their purse.” Moms, we appreciate you.
In just a moment I want to ask all the moms here to stand--young moms and grandmoms, stepmoms and single moms, expectant moms, adoptive moms. And if there is any other mom I have left out, I want you to just stand in just a moment.
And dads, husbands, kids, I want us to cheer them and to affirm them and to express our appreciation to them like your favorite team just won the Super bowl. So moms, would you stand with me, please? Moms, we love you; we appreciate you! We don’t say it enough. We don’t say it well enough, but we love you. Thank you, moms.
WHO – will survive…moms who are shown Appreciation… Survival strategy number five: Moms;
Let Go Of The Supermom Myth
QUESTION - what is a supermom? A supermom is a woman who has a full-time job, attends all her kids activities, is a fabulous cook, good housekeeper, always looks good, never misses a church service and….
NOW – another name for these supermoms is nonexistent.
This reminds me of the mother who came to the counselor, and she was exhausted, stressed out, worn out. AND - she said, “I don’t know what’s so wrong with me. I’m tired. I’m depressed. I’m angry. I’m irritable. What’s wrong with me?” And after an hour of listening to her, the counselor said, “Let me see. You give 50 percent of your time and your energy to your children, 50 percent of your energy to your husband, 50 percent of your energy to your job. I think I see the problem.”
You know, there is a tug-of-war going on across the country in the hearts and minds of moms over this very issue of trying to figure out what is the right role for a mom to play? What should I do? What’s right? What’s wrong? AND - at the heart of this tug-of-war is the question of should I be a stay-at-home mom, or should I be a working outside the home kind of mom?
Now let me be perfectly clear. If you are a stay-at-home mom, you are a working mom. I love the Mother’s Day card that gave the definition of motherhood as a noun: “Motherhood - an activity that offers all the delights of running a hotel, a restaurant, a school and a taxi service, with none of the worry or bother of having to collect or spend a salary or income.”
LISTEN - motherhood is a full-time job. As one mom said, “If motherhood was going to be easy, it would never started with something called labor.” And yet, there have never been more moms working outside the home in the marketplace than there are today. Nearly three-fourths of women with children are drawing a paycheck of some kind or other for some kind of work outside the home.
AND UNDERSTAND - with that comes a huge struggle. Most moms struggle with the balance of time and priorities. They struggle with guilt. They have guilt for leaving their children to go to work. They feel guilty if they leave their work to be home with their children. There’s some moms who wish they didn’t have to work, and there are other moms that wish they could go to work sometimes.
It’s a very complicated thing. One female family therapist said, “Show me a woman who doesn’t feel guilt, and I’ll show you a man.”
NOW – I am no expert. I am not a Dr Phil or a Dr Dobson, but I’ve learned a couple of things as a pastor for 13 years. I can tell you this: The Bible does not prescribe a “one size fits all” for moms. There’s no one ideal model for mothers that’s given to us in the Bible. IN FACT - there are all kinds of moms in the Bible. (old-young, rich-poor, jew-gentile, one child-many children)
UNDESTAND - the Bible does not condemn stay-at-home moms or condemn those who work outside the home, (and neither should we). But I’ve also learned another secret. Moms, all those so-called supermoms that you meet at the P.T.A. or at the grocery store or at the office or who live next door, here’s the secret: They’re not! They don’t exist. You see, the problem with trying to be a supermom is that it’s not realistic. It’s not healthy. It’s not possible.
BOTTOMLINE – moms what’s important is NOT to try to figure how to be some ‘mytcial’ super mom – BUT INSTEAD - to figure out God’s call for your life. QUIT - trying to fit into someone else’s expectations, AND - to listen to what God wants you to do/ BE - the person that God made them to be. BE - the mom that he created you up to be.”
I THINK - the words of Solomon, the wisest person that ever lived, fit well here…. He said, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, moms. Do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all that you do, and he will guide your paths.”
NO - you don’t have to be a supermom. Just be the mom that God made you to be. Trust him. Seek his will for your life, and he promises to guide you into the right path.
WHO – will survive?
Well, let me give you one final survival strategy. Moms, if you want to thrive as a mother,
Focus On The Ultimate Reward Of Motherhood.
NOW – there are all kind of rewards of motherhood; hugs, kisses, home made cards, letters phone calls… BUT UNDERSTAND – tough awesome, they are not the ultimate reward…
QUESTION – what’s the ultimate reward for a reality-based TV show? It’s a million dollars. It’s fame and fortune. But the ultimate reward for a surviving, thriving mom is to make a difference in the life of your children. That’s the ultimate reward.
YOU SEE - moms, a hundred years from now it won’t matter to you what kind of house you lived in, the size of your bank account, the value of your possessions. That’s not what’s going to be important to you a hundred years from now. What will matter to you then is that you made a difference in the life of a child--in your child. That’s what will matter more than anything else.
Moms, you matter. You make a difference. And moms that make a difference invest themselves every day in the lives of their children. THEY - know that mothering matters, because today makes a difference tomorrow.
Moms, God has uniquely positioned you to be the most influential person in the life of your child. You will mark them and set them on the trajectory for the rest of their life by what you do. LISTEN -
Those long conversations in the car between all those activities--they make a difference. Mom, those bedside chats about boys and girls--they make a difference. When you pack their lunches and put a little note in there for them to take to school--it makes a difference.
When you drop them off at school or pcik them up after school you make a difference.
When you help them with their math problems even though you don’t have a clue yourself, you’re making a difference. When you allow them to exepreince the consequences of their worng choices you make a difference….
When you bring your kids to church week after week after week, you’re making a difference.
When they see you put God & His church first – you make a difffenece.
UNDERSTAND - you make a difference with the countless things you do every day for your children. You’re making an investment in their lives that will reap huge dividends for generations to come. Why? Because when God wants to do something great in the world he doesn’t send in an earthquake. He doesn’t stir up a tornado. He doesn’t erupt a volcano. He sends in a child.
But before he sends in a child, he finds a woman to be a mom to that child. When God needed a Moses, he found a Hebrew slave girl living by the banks of the Nile by the name of Jochebed to be his mother. When God needed an Abraham Lincoln, he found a poor, illiterate Virginia farm girl by the name of Nancy Hanks to be his mother.
When God needed a Martin Luther King, Jr., he reached down and found the daughter of a poor, black preacher in Atlanta, Georgia by the name of Alberta Williams. When God needed a Mother Theresa, he found an impoverished, Albanian young woman by the name of Nicole to be her mother.
When God needed a Savior for the world, he found a young, Jewish girl living on the backside of an empire to be the mother of the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
God chooses women just like you--ordinary, average kinds of folks just like you--to do something very extraordinary in you and through you. TO - touch and TO make a difference in the world through you the live sof your kids…..
Moms, of all the women in the world, God chose you to be the mother of the children that you have. You are the one. You’re the mom, that your children need. The all knowing God - chose you to be the mother to that child, to those children that you have, to those step children God placed into your hands…
Moms, you make a difference. Focus on that ultimate reward – Making a difference in your child’s life…
"During a Vacation Bible School closing program, the children were lined up in front ready to show their parents what they had learned throughout the week. The smaller children sang their songs. All went pretty well until they came to one little girl. She was to recite a Scripture that she had memorized for the occasion. When she got in front of the crowd however, the sight of hundreds of eyes caused her to have a bout of stage fright. She completely forgot her verse, and was unable to utter a single word. She looked to her mom for help. And from the front row she leaned forward and whispered the opening phrase of the verse that she was to recite, "I am the Light of the World." Immediately The little girl’s face lit up and she smiled with confidence, as she announced boldly, "My mother is the light of the world." Her words brought a smile to the face of each audience member of course. And yet upon reflection most had to admit that she had declared an eloquent truth. A mother is the LIGHT of her child’s world.
Moms, you don’t have to just survive. You can thrive. You can thrive if;
You’ll always remember that you are loved by God, and that he sees
If you seek God first
If you are appreciated by your family.
And you don’t have to be a supermom. Just be the mom that God made you to be, and know that you are making a difference in the lives of your children.