The Mission of Motherhood – Book Review

In the first two and a half years of parenting that I have journeyed so far, I find that it is extremely helpful to me to read some type of biblically driven parenting book every three to four months.  Despite my best efforts, it is so easy for me to lose focus in my parenting and forget the grand purposes God has designed for me as a mother and shepherd of little souls.  Reading Sally Clarkson’s The Mission of Motherhood this January was a great help to me as I thought once again about the vision I have for our family and what I need to be doing on a regular basis to help us get there.  It’s not often that I encounter people who seriously question what I have chosen to do with my life and what I believe God has called me to do…to devote myself, my time and my energies entirely to serving my husband and raising children.  Just this week, however, someone close to me made a comment that implied my choice to be a full-time mother was somehow less worthy to God’s kingdom work than my life would have been say I had become a Christian writer or traveled the country speaking at conferences or become a great biblical counselor.  While it was hard to hear, I am so thankful that God has grounded me in His Word, which makes clear as Clarkson also writes, that the role of a Christian mother is to “influence eternity by building a spiritual legacy in the lives of our children” (p. 13).  And yes, this is mighty kingdom work…it often requires more time, more energy, more self-sacrifice and more dependence on God’s grace than any other type of work in the world.  Clarkson spends the first couple of chapters in her book describing God’s plan and role for mothers while the latter part of the book is devoted to the every-day practical ways in which we work out this plan.  I don’t know that this book is necessarily a “must-read” for every mother.  But, if you find yourself struggling in God’s calling for your life as a mom or if you often feel that you devote too much time to other endeavors at the expense of time with your children, this is the book for you.  Here are  few of my favorite quotes:

I needed to accept days like this — my children’s neediness, the myriad mindless tasks, and even my own occasional discomfort — as part of my partnering with my husband toward our mutual goal of building a godly heritage for Christ.  I needed to nurture my children with my songs, my words, and my physical labor, treating each day as sacred in their development toward becoming healthy, mature adults.  I needed to face the reality that all of the “important stuff” I was longing to do had far less eternal significance than what I was involved in doing.  If I didn’t commit myself wholeheartedly to the demands of motherhood, I would never be able to do my best, because my heart would always be somewhere else. p. 45

But it’s the way I respond to my children in everyday moments that gives me the best chance of winning their hearts.  If I have integrity and patience in the small moments of life that are so important to my children, and if I approach them with a servant’s heart, then I have a far better chance of influencing them in the larger and more critical issues of life. p. 63

Choosing to be a servant-mother means willingly giving up myself, my expectations, and my time to the task of mothering — and choosing to believe that doing so is the best use of my time at that moment.  It means that, by faith, I have already made a decision to make myself available in the routine tasks and myriad interruptions of daily life because I believe it is God’s will for me to serve my family through them.  Making this choice ahead of time means I will expect problems and needs to arise and be ready to deal with them in peace instead of impatience and resentment. pp. 66-67

It is this basic acceptance that provides children with the opportunity to mature.  A child who can go to her mother or father and reveal her inner heart and still feel accepted will feel secure enough to take risks and grow.  If that child senses she might be rejected because of her performance — or worse, because of her thoughts and feelings — then she will wonder if she can ever live up to her parents’ standards.  She will look for acceptance elsewhere or give up entirely on the idea that she is lovable.  When children feel that pleasing their parents is impossible, they often reject the values and beliefs of their parents. p. 129

This is one of the most important foundations of all that draws us near to the reality of the existence of a God, the Master Designer who created this world to be a reflection of his glory.  As I mirror his image in my life through the creative ways we live in our home and the ways I expose my children to what he has made, he will be more personal and real to them. p. 182

We have tickets!

Booked our flights today…God continues to provide mightily for us and we continue to be amazed and excited!  I know these next four weeks are going to fly by and every day I’m trying to check as much as I can off my “to-do” list.  Of course, every time I check one thing off, I think of another thing to add!

I have to share today’s best moment…I went in to get Molly Kate up from her afternoon nap and the first thing she said to me was “Mommy, I ate my booger.  It made me cough.”  I had nothing but laughter to offer in response…not the first thing I was expecting, but how can you not laugh?!

February 25th!

I just spoke with our agency director and he said we can definitely make the February 25th embassy date.  That means in just four weeks from today, we’ll board a plane headed to Ethiopia and just four weeks from this Monday, we’ll finally meet our boys!  I can’t believe it will be here so soon and yet most of the time, it still doesn’t feel soon enough!  Every night as I try to fall asleep, I keep imagining what it will be like to finally hold them in my arms after a year of watching them through pictures and videos.  I also know I need to spend a lot of time praying for all the good-byes this trip will bring…having to leave Molly Kate for nine days is going to be so difficult and then having to leave W in Ethiopia for an indefinite period of time is going to break my heart.  May the Lord begin preparing me now to be able to endure these things and still enjoy all of the sweetness that meeting Mikias and making him an official part of our family will bring.  Okay, I’m off to book plane tickets!!!

Grab Your Tissue

So, I posted a few weeks ago of a bit of mercy from the Lord that a traveling mom from our agency was going to take a photo of us to Mikias simply to assure him that we still exist and we are coming to get him.  Well, not only did she capture our sweet boy holding our picture, but she also relayed this story:

One of my favorite moments was showing a little boy a picture of his family in the US. They are coming to get him in February. He had seen a picture of them before, and he was so excited. He was showing all his friends, and then just sat down and stared at the picture for the rest of the time. (From Andrea’s blog)

Aaahh….just melts my heart!  I cannot wait to assure him in person that we are his parents and we love him to pieces.  Oh to have a million dollars…I would be on a plane right now 🙂

Sweet boy
Gazing at his new family!
Showing off our picture!

Full Speed Ahead!

Oh my, there is so much to do and so much to think about and I’m still so ecstatic I can’t stand it!  This morning at about 3:00, I finally had to pull out my “to-do” list and just write some things down so I could actually fall asleep again.  And of course, all I really want to do is hop on a plane and go see our son…to let him know he’s coming home and he has a family that adores him!  Kevin and I keep walking around the house saying “I can’t believe he’ll be eating at our table in just a few weeks” or “I can’t believe we are going to be tucking him into his bed so soon!”  We cannot wait!!

So…pray, pray, pray that we hear our official embassy date soon!  We are actually praying we might know by the end of the week and hoping so much that the day is February 25th!!

For You

What a day of celebrating!  And the beauty of it all is that we have shared our rejoicing with all of you! God has so graciously sustained us this last year and brought countless friends alongside us as we’ve journeyed to bring this little boy home.  You have prayed for us, you have shown love for our son and you have helped us to keep the faith when the light seemed so dim.  You are as Christ to us and we have certainly felt the outpouring of your love today as you have joined with us in praising our loving Father.  The following video is a small way to say thank-you for walking beside us, and at times, holding us up.  Make sure you turn up your volume…I love this Andrew Peterson song and am quite sure it will be Mikias’ song.

Click HERE for “Mikias Ryan Cuthbertson: A Year’s Journey”

(I have no idea how to upload the video to WordPress…these are moments when I wish I would have gone with Blogger!!)

All Praise and Glory to God!

 

We humbly and joyfully introduce to you the newest member of our family…

Mikias Ryan Cuthbertson

We are simply delighted in the Lord’s goodness to us throughout this journey.  We would have never imagined adding a five-year old to our family and to see how much we adore and love this little boy is amazing.  As soon as we received the news an hour ago, Molly Kate began dancing around the room and shouting “Kai passed court! Kai passed court!”  She fully understands that this means her brother is coming home and she’s already naming off all that he’s going to do with us.  God is so good…He redeemed us, continues to sanctify us and has wrought this unbelievable love and devotion in our hearts for a special boy named Mikias who we can now officially say is our son.   What a precious day and just three days before the one-year mark of his referral!  And of course, as we celebrate, we are also patiently waiting to see how and when the Lord will bring sweet W home.  We know He will do it according to His perfect will.

The picture that God used to open our hearts!
With our friend Rocky when he picked up his son!
When Mikias received pictures of us for the first time!
What a smile!

The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.  Psalm 145:9