Full Hands

Dear Beautiful Daughters,

I remember going places in our small town when our children were little. We had four children in four and one-half years and it seemed that a consistant comment I heard over and over was-  “you sure have your hands full!”  Our three daughters each have three children of their own now and whenever I go places with any one of them people make the same comment – ” Are all those yours? You sure have your hands full!”  Sometimes it is said with a positive tone of voice and a smile, sometimes a person says it in a voice filled with horror. I smiled and tried to respond in a positive way, even when I am felt like my hands were so full that I was about to drop something, and I don’t mean one of the children. 

Is is better to have full hands or empty ones? I will never forget the evening I went to visit my dear lifelong  friend Carol who had just lost her precious little boy in a tragic accident. We sat on a bed crying together and Carol said, “I just want to hold him again. My arms feel so empty.”  Only God’s love can fill that empty place that a mother feels over the loss of a child whether through miscarriage, death, or separation. Our Heavenly Father who created these children may take them away.

Having our ” hands full”  with children and mothering is a privilege that God entrusts us with for how ever long He chooses. That may mean our hands are full with one child, two children, three, etc.  Even when we know that our children are  gifts from God,  there are those times when we feel overwhelmed and at the end of our resources. I find that when I feel that sense of despair it is usually caused by unrealistic expectations or a sense of resentment because MY plans have been interrupted.

Colossians 3:23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”  Our culture devalues the simple yet necessary tasks that mothers use their hands for each and every day. Tasks like changing diapers, fixing healthy meals, reading stories, coloring together, building with blocks or going on walks together can seem like intrusions.

If we can understand that using our hands as God’s instruments of service to our children is really an act of serving our Father, then our full hands will be a blessing, not a burden.

What are some positive, yet gentle responses a mother can make to those who comment “Wow, your hands are sure full!” ?  Please share ideas you any have.

with love and thankfulness for the blessings you are in my life,
Gayle Woody

An Act of Worship

As pregnant women, we get a true picture of what it means for our bodies to not be our own. We feel that little life (or lives) moving inside and we realize it is no longer about us.

We may feel sick from certain smells that never bothered us before pregnancy, we also may crave certain foods for no apparent reason. We are no longer in charge and often don’t even understand the changes taking place in our own bodies. This is just the beginning.

Romans 12:1 says “Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”

As mothers of young children your body is a living sacrifice.

You are no longer your own. You get up in the morning, change diapers, breastfeed, have meals, tend to chores (when able) and meet others’ needs all day long according to their schedule, not your own.

A loving mother sacrifices her own wants and needs for her family. I can remember thinking when our four children were small that I would never feel rested again. I couldn’t imagine getting enough rest.

Yet, God convicted me with the truth of the above scripture one day at our home group. The home group leader, Phil, asked us to think about what in our lives were hindrances to worship. The immediate response that came to my mind was “my children”!

Then I felt shame.

These were gifts from God!  Why did I see them as a hindrance? Because I did not see my service to them as significant in God’s eyes. I thought a “ministry” was more important. Yet, the Lord showed me those children were my ministry at that time. NOTHING was more important. Offering my body as a living sacrifice WAS an act of worship – one very pleasing to our Lord.

As we have contemplated this Easter weekend the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, let us embrace the sacrifices we make as mothers moment by moment, day by day.

Jesus is our example – He laid down His life. As His follower, I must do likewise and recognize it as an act of worship.

A High Calling

Dear Beautiful Daughters,
We often hear young women who stay at home with their children say things like, “I’m just a mom.” “I just stay home with my kids .”
Using the word “just” seems to minimize the value of the most important responsibility you will ever have. As women of God we are to serve Him first and foremost. Once He blesses us with children, God has entrusted us with those He loves with an everlasting love and He wants us to be faithful in our service as mothers.
If we ever doubt the absolute importance of our ministry as mothers we must read Matthew 19:14.  Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” If our Lord thought that children were so important, shouldn’t we?
In Matthew 18:2-4 we read “He called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
I love this next part – it blessed me so much when my children were little – verse 5 ” And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” Amazing! Everytime I welcome my child into my arms, snotty nose and all, I am welcoming Jesus!
Being a mother to your children is the GREATEST job you can have at this time in your life. It is more important then working on Capitol Hill, as an RN, teaching special needs children, or any other career. Be thankful if your husband supports you in staying home with your children while you are able. Tell your husband how much it blesses you and do that often. Men feel great pressure to provide for their families and your appreciation will mean so much.
with love and thankfulness for the blessings you are in my life,
Gayle Woody
“Do not conform  any longer to the pattern of this world,  but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God”s will is, His good , pleasing, and perfect will.” Romans 12:2