Any mom with a conscience is asking this question often, and frequently wrestling over how to answer it. I talk to myself about priorities a lot and I keep returning to the words Jesus prayed to his Father. The context is Christ alone, preparing to die, and preparing by praying:
“I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” John 17.4
There’s so much power in this statement. Which one of us doesn’t want to say this at the end of our lives? At the end of every day? How can we get there?
Christ’s prayer offers guidance. Several times he references a particular group of people that God had given to him to serve.
- “For you granted me authority over all people that I might give eternal life to all those you have given me.” Verse 2
- “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours and you gave them to me. Verse 6
- “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.” Verse 9
- “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory…” Verse 34
Commentator, Matthew Henry, refers to Christ’s words as a family prayer, for the disciples were like family to him. And while Christ’s prayer extends to all of us, the idea that he cared specifically and uniquely for this 12 disciples is something worth considering as we think of our children similarly. They belong to God and he has entrusted them to us. Are we revealing God to our children?
That’s the best starting point when it comes to priorities. And no matter how old our children are, we can continue to pour spiritual truth and Christian values into their lives. This is especially comforting to moms of adult children. We can all think of gaps in our children’s spiritual education. But it’s not too late to:
- Give them a good study Bible, a devotional book, or Christian music CDs
- Share scriptures and encouragement via email and text
- Let them know we’re praying for them; or pray with them in times of crisis
- Affirm their spiritual gifts and growth
- Lovingly admonish them when they are going astray
- Extend forgiveness and unconditional love no matter the choices they make
Younger children are just like sponges. You can reveal God to them by:
- Playing Christian music
- Memorizing scripture together
- Taking them to church and fellowshipping with other believers
- Pray over your meals and at bedtime
- Pointing out God’s goodness in creation
- Watch Christian movies together
- Invite friends over for clean fun
- Take them to youth group
- Send them to Christian camps and retreats
Opportunities to put our families first present themselves every day. Unfortunately, no two days are ever alike! Our lives are full, but our hearts are fuller. Even when you can’t seem to put your family first, God knows how much you want to and he will show you how.