_Mothering like Esther.
I feel like a kid on Christmas morning.
I feel like a Mom on Christmas morning before she watches her child open the present she didn't know she wanted.
For those of you who have met our daughter, you know that she has a deep love for stories. What's interesting is that yes, she loves to read...or be read to at this point:) But she will more often ask to be told a story. She will say, Daddy "can you tell me a story about Jesus dying on the cross?", "Momma, can you tell me the story about Samuel?", "Daddy can you tell me a story about Mr. Tumnus and Lucy?", and my personal favorite "Mama can you tell me a story about Esther?".
She loves hearing stories and reenacting them. Her heart seems to crave this type of creativity and imagination. In all honesty, some days I would just rather read a book. Telling a story is actually more difficult than you think! But I will say, with all of the practice we have...it does get easier!
Just when I don't think I can come up with 1 more version of David and Goliath she asks for it again.
I want her soul to not just have the knowledge of these stories, but I want them to be rooted deep within her. I want her to know how just like David, she can stand up for her faith and know that her God is with her no matter who is laughing. I want her to be like Hannah and have a faithful prayer life amidst the pain and sorrows she faces. I want her to have unwavering faith and perseverance like Noah who built that ark for over 100 years. I want her to hear and respond to God's voice in the night like Samuel. I want her to befriend and love her mother in law just like Ruth. I want her to thrive and not just survive in this world like Daniel and Esther. Oh but what I desire most is that she learns that the author of her own story is the God of the universe who loves her deeply and has established the plans for her life before she was born.
Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do".
Hadleigh is God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for her to do.
Insert your name in that sentence.
Read it back to yourself.
Read it back once more.
One of the amazing lessons (if not the most prominent) from the book of Esther is that God has already orchestrated our deliverance even before man began to plan our destruction.
Knowing that we have been created by God and for God makes all the difference friends. We do not have to wonder what purpose we have. Instead, we can just sit at his feet and ask him to show us. And in the meantime, we can tell our children stories. We can encourage them to be bold and courageous while still having a heart of love and compassion.
The last point I will leave with is a challenge.
Since we noticed this love for stories in Hadleigh, we found Bible stories on audio for her. Now these stories are age appropriate and go through the most common from the Old and New Testaments.
As she listens to them, I am listening to them. I found myself hearing the stories differently. Most times, as an adult, we typically hear the word read to us from the Bible or in a sermon. We constantly try to interpret and apply it to our lives. Now, I am not saying there is anything wrong with this. But I would like to challenge you to find a series of Bible stories. Listen to them with your children. I think you will find what I did.
I found myself pondering much more. I found myself hanging on to phrases much more. I connected people and stories to one long story of love and redemption. There is the danger to only see these stories as separate circumstances. A book titled "Spiritual Parenting" by Michelle Anthony is a wonderful way to learn how to connect the entire Bible together for your kids to see God's plan throughout history and into today. We must not separate the Bible from the relevance of today.
But just try it.
I found myself thinking about Noah...and how he just kept on building that ark...for over 100 years. Can you imagine!? The entire time, people are laughing at him, perhaps his family had their doubts after year 50? 70? 90?
Or how about Jacob. Up until recently, I always thought of his stories as fragments. They don't really connect together. It was almost as if Jacob was 5 different people. But if you tell the stories of Jacob all together, you can grasp so much more from his life.
I pray that this exercise brings you closer to God in a child-like way.
Matthew 18:2-4 , "He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Praying for you friends, thanks for reading.
The photo at the top is of a wonderful storybook from She Reads Truth. The characters, cutouts, clothes and script are all prepared for you. I highly recommend this and all of their products!
_Mothering like Esther.
Now I don't really have the facts if Queen Esther had children. I can't find a mention of it in her book. But what I do know is that she was a Queen. And based on the beautiful book written by Jill Briscoe, titled "Queen of Hearts", I am going to write about Mothering like a Queen of my child's heart.
Proverbs 31:28 says "Her children arise up, and call her blessed..." Oh how I want Hadleigh to feel this way about her Momma. I want to be recognized when I parent well. I want her to see when I am making a slam dunk in parenting. I want her to somehow not be a 3 year old and see how much patient I have when she thinks I have none. But the truth is... I mess up ALL THE TIME. She knows it...I know it...and others have seen my mistakes.
The other night, Jerry came home after being at work all day and both Hadleigh AND I were crying. I went into the bedroom...not even catching him up to speed (let's be honest...we were far beyond whatever started this whole episode- you Momma's know what I'm talking about!). I closed the door and sat on the floor in front of the door crying some more as Hadleigh tried to come in.
I hate moments and memories like this friends. They mostly remind me of my brokenness and failure. But when I sit back and reflect- it reminds me so much more of how Jesus never shuts the door on us. He doesn't sit on the other side hoping that he gets 5 minutes of quiet. He doesn't block out our tantrums and emotions. He is on the other side, welcoming us into his arms.
I am OK with minor parenting mishaps because those happen. The minor ones are so much easier to forget and move on. But while this episode was painful, it really made me actually rely most on the Holy Spirit to do a work in BOTH of us.
So often I want a child that will listen the first time, not the eleventh time with bribes linked to a new set of princess jammies. So often I just want the "easy to parent" child (if that even exists?). But God knows that my Momma heart needs a Hadleigh, and her Hadleigh heart needs me as her Momma. If I had an easy kiddo, my prayers would be so much less frequent. I need Jesus each and every moment to help.
Jesus take the wheel is my new mantra. Instead of being embarrassed by it, I am embracing it. He should have had it in the first place.
_Mothering like Esther.