Faithlife Sermons

5-13-2018 - The Witness of Mothers

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A Mother's Job is showing God's love so well that their children can recognize Him themselves.

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Thesis: A Mother's Job is showing God's love so well that their children can recognize Him themselves.

A Mother's Job is showing God's love so well that their children can recognize Him themselves.

For kids:

How do you help your mom?
What does she like help with?
Is there anything we can do better than her?
Helping Mom open jars since she had no thumbs.

Sometimes, looking from the outside in, the hardest job of being a mom appears to be figuring out car seats.

They keep changing things around and you have to learn new things, new kinds of technology to keep your children safe.
I'm probably wrong though. The hardest thing is probably keeping your 6 month old who is just taking their first steps from grabbing your phone and accidentally dialing 911.
Those of us who are full-time cat and dog people really can't hold a candle to you.
Mom's motto may begin, "Come to me all you weary and heavy burdened and I will change your diaper..." but it doesn't get any easier from that point on.

There are a million things that the world tells moms they have to do.

And there is incredible pressure to do everything just right
That pressure can drive you crazy and make you OCD for life
Or sometimes it can drive you to despair and make you give up altogether.

John's letter, and much of the teaching of Jesus, tells us that mother's have only 2 main jobs.

Loving God
Loving others with the strength God gives us.
Specifically, modeling both of these and teaching them to our children.
(NIV): We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son. 10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

The power of human testimony

One moment I’m walking along the salt marsh listening to sacred choral music on headphones, convinced that the music is being piped in through my ears, into my head, down my throat, and into my torso where the baby will be able to hear it, and the next moment I’m walking along coaching the baby on how best to grow various body parts. What are you, some kind of nut? I ask myself, and I know the answer is yes, some kind of nut, and maybe one who is not well enough to be a mother. But this is not the worst fear.
No, the worst thing, worse even than sitting around crying about that inevitable day when my son will leave for college, worse than thinking about whether or not in the meantime to get him those hideous baby shots he probably should have but that some babies die from, worse than the fears I have when I lie awake at 3: 00 in the morning (that I won’t be able to make enough money and will have to live in a tenement house where the rats will bite our heads while we sleep, or that I will lose my arms in some tragic accident and will have to go to court and diaper my son using only my mouth and feet and the judge won’t think I’ve done a good enough job and will put Sam in a foster home), worse even than the fear I feel whenever a car full of teenagers drives past my house going 200 miles an hour on our sleepy little street, worse than thinking about my son being run over by one of those drunken teenagers, or of his one day becoming one of those teenagers—worse than just about anything else is the agonizing issue of how on earth anyone can bring a child into this world knowing full well that he or she is eventually going to have to go through the seventh and eighth grades.
Quote by Anne Lamott - From, "Operating Instructions: a Journal of my son's first year".
From, "Operating Instructions: a Journal of my son's first year".

My mom left us when I was in 7th grade.

I walked into that chaos, that "pit", as Anne Lamott describes it, not knowing where I was going to be living the rest of the year.
Mom had moved to a different county and some days we would wake up and have to drive extra early to get to school instead of just walking the two blocks I always had before.
Other times, me and my two younger siblings woke up in the house alone (dad had gone to work) and had to get ourselves to school on ourselves.
As much as we hated the yelling and shouting and throwing things, sometimes directed at us... the silence, the loneliness, and the uncertainty of it all was worse.

I could do a whole message on how my mom was the cause of all my falls and failures in life... but it would not be true.

She just had her moments when she was not able to help.

Other people filled in during some of those times... and not always who I expected.

Ardelle Giesenhagen
thank you for cleaning up my yard
I've been praying for you your entire life.

Human testimony, human witness, human love is a powerful thing, but it has its limits

That's not a bad thing and it doesn't mean you are broken.
It means part of your job is being able to hand your children off to others who can love and nurture them that are beyond you.

The power of God's testimony

Parenting is more than passing the torch, but that's not a bad place to start.
To pass the torch to your children well, it helps to know what you have to share.
Before going down a list of your many talents, skills, and homemade remedies,you need to recall the first and best thing about you.
You are a child of God.
God created you as a unique gift to make a difference in this world
If you can find what that is, you will know the very best thing you have to pass on to your children, and to everyone else as well.
If you try to be mom first and daughter of God second, you may excel at all that this world pushes you to do, but you will miss your most important job.

Leading from one to the other - from our love to God’s love

By being faithful to God, you end up being more faithful to your children.
Leading them to Jesus means more than mealtime and bedtime prayers (as important as those are)
Sometimes you have to let your kids here your real prayers
You know, like the ones that go "God if you don't help to me to have patience right now, I'm packing these kids up and they are going to live with grandma from now on."
Your kids need to know that God is who you turn to yourself when you need to find your way back to your true home.
That's how you teach them where their true home is.
For them to see God in you, they need to see you with God.
Concluding Affirmations
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

Doubt/Assurance of Eternal Life

Part of seeing you with God means seeing you struggle with your own doubts.
This can be really tricky
We want to give our children our best, not our worst.
But if our children never see how we struggle ourselves, they won't know that God will bring them through their own struggles.
They need to understand that Jesus is the Way, the LIfe, and the Truth
And they need to understand and experience that on their own, not just because Mom said so.
And you CAN help them do that, but it is by showing, not just telling.
Not by hiding them from the challenges of life, but by showing them how God is going through those challenges with us.
Whether you are a mother or a mother figure in someone's life,

you need to know that you are irreplaceable.

Not because of what you do
But because of who you are
God has set you in the life of someone as a special witness of His love and the life He gives to us.
And no one else can share that witness in the same way that you can.

There's hope for the mistakes you may have made also.

There are few things that probably marked me as much as mom moving out when I was in 7th grade.
But I don't know of any better example of what it means to walk humbly in God's grace than when I watched her slowly, awkwardly, and humbly move back in 3 years later.
Church, I know we often look at the missing men in our congregations
But the reality is, there is a lot of lost children in our community
And many of them are being raised by a lot of lost moms, both single and married.
We can't take their place
But we can take our place in their lives
And give them Jesus.
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