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How Being a Mom Grows Love

iStock_000016162298/DebiBishopWe always appreciate the authentic reflections of our Mom Mentors. They challenge and inspire us. This month the Moms consider how their experiences with their children help them fulfill the Greatest Commandment in daily life.

In your experience as a mother of young children, how has God grown your love for him and your love for others?

Chere_Williams_PictureChere Williams: When I became a mom my heart was forever changed. It was as though a secret part of it was unlocked that allowed me to love on a whole new level of love, one that was full of compassion, grace, and forgiveness. I always say Anya is the catalyst that drew me closer to God. I looked at this little human being and had such a desire to be whole for her and for myself, but I knew that couldn’t happen without God. I switched from being self-reliant to being God reliant. My love for God deepens everyday as motherhood humbles me and exposes all my cracks, reminding me that I have to rely on His grace to get me through. Because of God’s undeserved favor towards me I’m more mindful to extend that grace to others daily, especially my daughter as she goes through the obstacles of childhood. One of the challenges I face as a single mom is having a healthy relationship with my daughter’s dad. Learning how to give grace to our situation has been a blessing in our relationship and a positive impact on our family unit.

JulieKierasJulie Kieras: Since becoming a mom of little ones, I’ve been blessed these past six years getting to see exactly how a tiny baby develops. From babyhood, through toddler years, and now into school years, God has shown me in small and large ways all that goes into the shaping of a person. Seeing my own children develop physically and spiritually, I feel convicted to love others with more compassion. I know exactly how my children developed and why they each have their own quirks and shortcomings, and that helps me have grace with them. Now, when the flaws of other people become apparent, I remind myself that I don’t know their whole story and what shaped their lives. But I DO know the God who loves them, and Who has commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to welcome the stranger within our gates. When I see other people now, I strive to welcome them the way I hope other people will one day welcome my own beloved children! Through learning to love my children even with their faults and failings, I’m learning so much about how to love others the way God loves us – without condemnation, and with compassion.

KonaBrownKona Brown: There is no time to sit down, not for long anyway. First they roll, then crawl, then walk and then bound out of your sight faster than you can stir that much needed spoon of sugar into your coffee. Always moving, that is something that struck me about becoming a mom as I follow (and now schlepp!) my kids around daily. It makes me consider Psalm 23, “Your unfailing love, I know will follow me all of my days…” God’s Fatherly Love, a Love that doesn’t take a break, or sit down, or give up. A Love that is persistent, relentless, moving forward. As He loves me, so I wish to love, and I am so aware of how He loves me like that as I try to love my children in the sitting and the standing and the moving of mommy-hood…and coming to understand more about the Cross and it’s significant sacrifice in the thousand small sacrifices in my life as a mom.

SusanHeimSusan Heim: My love for God has grown through my gratitude for being gifted with my children. God has entrusted me with their care and blessed me with their presence, and while there are certainly challenges in being a parent, they are offset by the great joy and value they bring to my life. On a larger scale, I see God’s handiwork in all children, who delight us with their smiles and antics. They are our hope for the future, and raising these little miracles adds meaning to our lives.

Being a mother has also increased my love for others because, for the first time, I really understand the concept of unconditional love. We’re always told that God loves us unconditionally, no matter how much we stray, but this never really hit home until I had kids and knew that I would love them forever. Our love for our children is pure, just like God’s love for us, and by having a greater understanding of love, I can more readily love others in my life, even those who may be difficult to love. By embracing the uniqueness of each individual and knowing that God has created them, my ability to love expands exponentially.

JillWilliamsJill Williams: Birthing a child is breathtakingly beyond my comprehension. Experiencing the privilege of parenting exposes God’s purpose and love for me as His child in ways previously less understood. God’s grace covers a formerly incomprehensible depth of my own sin, as it no longer fits so neatly packaged away when I lack sleep, control, and order. I also can no longer deny or ignore being needy and overwhelmed. As a result, my understanding, knowledge, and view of God and His grace specifically to me is profoundly expanded and experienced, and my love for Him grows! My love for Him also grows as I experience His provision in physical and emotional ways I’d unwisely have preferred to avoid but no longer can; truth be told, I need to receive help. Receiving help has at times left me feeling more vulnerable to and deeply loved by others than I’ve felt before; this has beautifully grown my willingness to offer myself to and love others—not always well—through my weakness and honesty rather than through controlled proficiency. In all this, my love for my children, my husband, and others is framed by and hopefully continues to grow out of God’s love for me—seeing and knowing the depths of me, he loves me.

“We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us.  As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also” (2 Cor. 6:11-13, NIV).

Audra HaneyAudra Haney: As the mom of a toddler, I find that my spiritual life is both challenged and encouraged on a daily basis. I’ve learned so much about the Lord in the past two years in my new role as a mom. I’ve learned more about finding rest in Jesus instead of circumstances. I’m daily learning to relinquish perceived control for the peace of prayer. And, I’m pressing in more and more for the wisdom I need to be the best mom for Norah—wisdom to nurture her spirit, soul, and body.

But, nothing compares to the lesson of parental love. From the moment I held Norah, I had the realization that God loves us with an infinitely greater intensity, and my heart seemed to drown in His Father heart. For someone who has constantly struggled with perfectionism and performance, I could finally see how much He loved me despite my activity, my accomplishments, or failures. Norah was completely helpless and dependent the first moment I held her, and yet, she was perfect in every way–simply because she was my daughter. I now find it so fitting that my daughter’s middle name is “Grace,”because she has taught me so much about it.

CharissaCharissa Kolar: Babies bring so much joy.  Many times I have kissed my sweetly sleeping sons and thanked God for being allowed to be their mom.  But babies and growing young children come with unique challenges! Unexpected things happen routinely: messes, falls, and emotional outbursts (sometimes mine).  I often have to determine what actually happened and what is the proper solution.

Parenting showed me my limited patience, grace, and empathy.  I knew I needed God to grow these areas in me.  Praying connected me to God, and I discovered he cared about the big and the little concerns I brought to him. His faithful answers to my prayers and his comforting words in Scripture showed me his love.  Seeking God is a daily journey, just like raising children.

Now I tell friends about the humor in the chaos of today or something I learned. But, the most loving thing I can do for another mom is to encourage her to seek God who loves her most, and has all the answers she needs.  “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11, NIV).

Thank you, Mom Mentors! Learn more about them here and connect with their blogs. We would love to hear about your experiences, too! Do you have a question for them? Please post it below. And share your answer with us. See children’s books for growing up in God at grahamblanchard.com.

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