On a whim, and an invitation from a wonderful mom whose son goes to school with Jaden, I decided to join a book study with some moms in the area. I declined at first – I’m leading a bible study for my own church mom’s group and just didn’t think I would have the time. But after some thought – I started thinking it might be a good idea to get to know some other Christian moms in the area. Afterall these are the mothers of Jaden’s schoolmates. So I emailed the mom and asked her if it was too late for me to join them.
That’s how I found myself reading “The Power of a Positive Mom” by Karol Ladd. The reflection of chapter 1 asked you to read Psalm 34 – so I did just that. I read it with the thought that God was the only one I had to answer to. God is the only opinion of my mothering skills that matter. My husband’s comments, my mother’s comments and especially society’s comments on what a “good” mother should be don’t matter. At all.
I each verse and reflected. What does this tell me about being a mother? How does this help define my job description? Here is what I came up with:
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be in my mouth.
2 It praise the LORD—
let the suffering listen and rejoice.
3 Magnify the LORD with me!
Together let us lift his name up high!
No matter how horrible or crazy the day gets, I should praise God and all that he has given me – and the things that come out of my mouth should reflect my trust in Him. The word “together” implies that I can’t do this alone – I need to praise Him with my family and my children. It’s a group effort.
4 I sought the LORD
and he answered me.
He delivered me from all my fears.
I find myself afraid a lot as a mom – I was scared the first time I put Jaden on a bus to school. I was afraid when the babies were in the NICU. I was nervous when the pediatrician meanted speach therapy for the triplets at their last check up. When I’m afraid, the Lord will answer me – He is the comfort to my fears.
5 Those who look to God will shine;
their faces are never ashamed.
I immediately thought of the song that we sang after each sermon in the church I grew up in. “Turn your eyes upon Jesus .. look full in His wonderful face. For the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace … Amen” How many times have I blamed myself? How many times have I been embarrassed by the way I lost my temper, or how I scolded my children? Or even been embarrassed when my kids don’t play nice on the playground. But if I look up for guidance, I have nothing to be ashamed of. He will use those situations to help me shine – to show God’s love. The things of earth will grow dim …
6 This suffering person cried out:
the LORD listened and saved him
from every trouble.
When I am frustrated, God will listen to me – when I am the only adult in the house, clearly outnumbered by little people – He is always there. He is with me as I sit in the triplet’s room waiting for them to fall asleep. He is with me as I make dinner for three screaming kids. He is there when I am freaking out and losing my grip on reality. He will listen and He will see me through the trouble. God is my “forever” friend.
7 On every side, the LORD’s messenger protects those who honor God;
and he delivers them.
I am protected. Even when I make a choice less traveled – if I am following Christ – He will protect me.
8 Taste and see
how good the LORD is!
The one who takes refuge in him
is truly happy!
Let’s be honest – being a mom isn’t all glamorous. It’s waking up with poop being smeared on your face by your 22 month old child, who climbed out of his crib early one morning(true story). It’s homework and bag lunches, poopy diapers and snotty noses. But when we rest in the Lord – we are truly happy. When we go to Christ for our “mommy time” we will be rested and content.
9 You who are the LORD’s holy ones,
because those who honor him
don’t lack a thing.
We are good enough. Period. So many times I think how un-equipped I am as a mother. I wish I did [insert anything here] like the mom’s a church do. I wish I had the patience like that woman in aisle 12 of Wal-Mart does. But when we are aiming to please God – we are good enough. We are everything our children need – we don’t lack ANYTHING! Seriously? I could honestly be enough? But I have so many flaws …
10 Even strong young lions
go without and get hungry,
but those who seek the LORD
lack no good thing.
Even the strongest of moms get worn down and tired. Yet those who pursue the Lord will be blessed. They will never go hungry.
11 Come, children, listen to me.
Let me teach you
how to honor the LORD:
I first thought how we are still children ourselves. We, as mothers, are still learning. We don’t know everything – but if we are willing, we can be taught all that we need to know. Then I thought of how children need to hear the word – teach your little ones the stories of the bible. Teach them how to obey and please God. Speak the Lord’s name in your home.
12 Do you love life;
do you relish the chance
to enjoy good things?
13 Then you must keep your tongue
and keep your lips
from speaking lies!
The stories of God that you are teaching your children also apply to you. Don’t let the phrase “do as I say not as I do” apply to you. Practice what you preach.
14 Turn away from evil! Do good!
Seek peace and go after it!
15 The LORD’s eyes
watch the righteous,
his ears listen to their cries for help.
God is listening to you – He’s ear is listening for when you call for help. All you need to do is mutter the word, and you’ll have someone by your side. This relationship is different from the relationship you have with your husband because it doesn’t matter what time of day – doesn’t matter when you need Him – He’ll be there. So it’s ok if your husband has to travel for work or your mom can’t help you on an afternoon – because you are NOT alone. You are NEVER really a single mom – God is helping you raise your children – always.
16 But the LORD’s face is set against
those who do evil,
to eliminate even the memory of them from the earth.
This made me think of the very reason why I wanted to be a mom. I wanted to make a difference in this world. I wanted my life to matter for something. My memory will always live on – through my children. I am helping to mold the future. When you think of motherhood as molding the future of the world, how can anyone say that I’m “just” a mom? I could say the same as teachers. It also warns me … what I say and how I mold my children will be around for a long time … I have an important job and not one to take lightly. If I raise my child to be easy to anger – that means that anger will be in the future … it will be the memory of the earth. Not only do I matter (which is a compliment) but it means that I will be remembered (which is a huge responsibility).
17 When the righteous cry out,
the LORD listens;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The LORD is close
to the brokenhearted;
he saves those whose spirits
When you feel defeated – those days when your kids JUST WON’T NAP – God is closest. Rely on him to find patience … when you are tired, rest in Him.
19 The righteous have many problems,
but the LORD delivers them
from every one.
Even those would seek God have obstacles to overcome. We all have flaws we need to work on or a situation in their life that seems impossible. But we are saved from each and every one of our troubles. The Lord is even with us when we are struggling with teach our children the discipline of cleaning up their toys.
20 He protects all their bones;
not even one will be broken.
21 But just one problem
will kill the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous
will be held responsible.
Those moms who don’t seek the Lord – who do not renounce the devil will struggle. All tasks – no matter how difficult or mundane can be overcome.
22 The LORD saves his servants’ lives;
all those who take refuge in him
won’t be held responsible for anything.
It’s ok (and encouraged) to ask for help from God. He is there to help – it’s sort of His job. And He likes what He does
I feel refreshed and actually comforted in my relationship with God as a mom. I feel like I’ve got someone on my side in the game mom vs. kids. I also feel a different sort of responsibility of being on top of my game. I fee confident that I have someone I can ask for help from without any shame. I have a responsibility, not only to my kids, to be a “good” mom but also to God. He is my ultimate boss – this isn’t a job that I should take lightly.
I hope this wasn’t preachy — it’s truly just my own thoughts and reflections on this Psalm. What are your thoughts and reactions? Am I off my boat or do you agree with what I’m getting out of this reading? I’d love to hear from you!