Like many women I have met, I was brought up unprepared for the challenges of motherhood...
I did not seek after it with much enthusiasm. I was afraid of what might happen if I were to bring children into the world because I was consumed with anger and bitterness from my own upbringing. Every child longs for a parent’s love, attention, affection, acceptance, comfort, and approval and I was no different. When these needs go unmet, a child or young adult will seek to have them met in things such as drugs, sex, control, money, success, or unhealthy relationships. Thankfully, I encountered the only person who could truly meet my needs, and that was Jesus Christ. He’s the only person I’ve ever met that gives freely and without any strings attached. His redemptive love rescued me on February 25, 1987 when my husband, Jon, and I accepted Christ.
I received exactly what I needed to begin the journey of motherhood as I was given the Holy Spirit to teach and guide me (John 14:26; 16:13).
I was forgiven of all my sins (Mark 3:28) and in time, I forgave my family as I learned that it did me no good to harbor bitterness or resentment toward them. Dr. Kevin Leman says, “Forgiving is not saying what happened was okay and it’s not excusing it, but it is allowing something new to grow.” I celebrate new beginnings. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.
My past will not limit my ability, or yours, to be a godly mother. That’s the beauty of the Christian life. You may not be able to change your past, but you can choose the legacy you leave.
Recently my mother said, “Cherie, I’ve turned you away from me; just like my mother did to me. I wish I could have broken the cycle before it affected you and your sister. I’m grateful that you have not continued the same cycle with your daughters; this makes me really proud. Maybe it will end with you?"
I grieved as I realized that her choices limited our relationship just as my choices have propelled my relationships with my daughters. I celebrate that my choices have been to build healthy relationships. There is no way I could take credit for the changes that have occurred in my life. In my weaknesses, God is strong. Instead of facing inadequacies alone, I have learned that “My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:2). Where we may feel ill equipped, God is there to be our strength. After all, like the old adage goes, "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called."
God’s word is a critical tool in preparing us for our calling as mothers. I had to be in God’s word to study it, meditate on it, and live it out. I celebrate that God’s word gives direction, and as we are faithful to follow Him, we hold hope that our children too, will follow in our footsteps and that God will break the bondage of generational sins. (Psalm 119:105)
I purposed and worked hard to be a mother grounded on biblical principles instead of social norms or past experiences and that choice lead me on a journey that was completely different than I ever experienced or envisioned. I am so thankful that God placed spiritual parents in my life to help strengthen and teach me about motherhood. They gently admonished my wrong thinking and challenged me to grow. I was encouraged to stop complaining about what I didn’t have and instead shape my legacy with what I did have using a mission statement, and asking myself, “What do I wish to pass on to my children?“ I celebrate that leaving a Godly legacy is possible through Jesus. In Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Being a mother has been one of my greatest joys and like the apostle John, I find no greater joy than knowing my daughters are walking in the truth and following Jesus with their whole hearts. Our two eldest daughters who are grown now, enjoy bringing the love and hope of Jesus to a hurting and broken world. Their obedience, tenacity, and love for God increases my faith, and now I’m learning from them as I watch them running hard after Jesus. Our youngest daughter continues to provide many opportunities for growth as I seek to lay a solid biblical foundation for her by making sure she knows and loves the Lord.
Wow! I have so much to celebrate as I was given the opportunity to be a mother and, together with Jon, sought to raise a Godly heritage. I see some of the fruit of our labor and celebrate that with God all things are possible even for a reluctant mother like I was. My hope is to encourage those who are on the journey of motherhood and are feeling ill equipped, as I did, to know and trust in our Lord and Savior as He alone can mold and change us into mothers this world so desperately needs.