The Importance of Being Christlike In Motherhood
One of the big questions of parenting is, Who will my child be when he grows up? And, How do I guide him each day, and teach him the ways of God? How can I teach them to be Christlike?
It starts with being purposeful in how we live and learn with our children each day. We can honor God and guide our children towards Him, while understanding that ultimately, we aren’t responsible for their walk with Christ. Every person has a choice. What we can teach him what it looks like to be a person of faith and walk in the grace given to us by Jesus Christ each day.
Looking to Christ to Become Christlike
We don’t need to read all the parenting books to accomplish this. In fact, don’t – stick with your Bible. And in every interaction with your child, ask yourself, what would Jesus do? Seriously – how does He parent us each day? Another good one is this: Would we like to be treated like this, or would Jesus ever treat me this way?
If the answer is no, we choose again.
We search the Scriptures, we pray, we journal, we seek God in our decisions with our children and families each day. Not what the world says, but what God says.
In an article for Desiring God, the author states: “When we respond harshly to our children’s sins, especially to sins they may have learned from us, we have taken the place of God, believing their sin is primarily against us, instead of him. We forget our own sinful nature and treat them in a way we would never wish to be treated when we are caught in sin and in need of help,”
That doesn’t sound like it teaches our kids rightly of Jesus, does it?
Testing What We Believe
Let’s approach it this way: Do you truly believe Christ’s love is longer, wider, higher, and deeper than anything you can possibly do or imagine? Why not believe the same for your child, and use that as a starting point when teaching him? Being a parent tests what we believe, especially what we believe about God.
And one way to honor God and bring our children closer to Him is to mirror His relationship with us, in our relationship with our kids. To take it further, Dr. David Erickson of Flourishing Homes & Families, puts it this way: Because God sympathizes with us in our weakness, we must be willing to sympathize with our children in their weakness.
If we can see the world through a child’s eyes, we would learn that what may seem minuscule to us, is a big deal to them. And that means it’s a big deal to God. Just because we don’t see our child’s developmental struggles and misunderstandings the same way, because of our age and maturity, doesn’t mean that it isn’t real. All behavior is communication, after all. There is an underlying need and reason for it. God cares, and we should care, too.
Developing Christlike Language and Interactions
In order to learn how to speak kindly with our children with this framework in mind, we must first learn to speak kindly to ourselves. And ultimately, we must learn how God speaks kindly to us, and continually pursues us. The popular song says it well: “Oh the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God. How it chases me down, fights till I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine…” (Reckless Love by Cory Asbury
This is how we can mirror how Christ teaches us in our parenting: Connection. Compassion. Meeting our children where they are, and seeing him as Christ sees us. We are mirroring how God treats us as his children, and teaching our children the ways of God.
Let’s further examine this parallel: how God treats us as His children. He longs for a relationship with us, and wants us to come to Him, even in the muck. Remember the Israelites in the wilderness? He continually pursued His people, despite the complaints and fights and sin. So we do this with our children.
The Benefit Of Mirroring Christ In Our Parenting
The fruit of this is for our children to continually see how we yield to Christ in our decisions and interactions with them, showing them what a faithful life and servants heart bent toward God looks like. This looks like putting down the phone and being with your children. Literally, getting on the floor and playing with them, in their world, looking them in the eye, and answering them kindly and directly; to truly see your child as who God created him to be.
And once we do this, we can learn how to better help them in their troubles – your kids will even let you know what they need. Is it food, sleep, activity, one-on-one time? There is an underlying need behind every behavior.
Remember this: Your kids don’t want a perfect mom, they just want you -their mom. So choose to be purposeful in how you interact with them, connecting in the everyday, and building a relationship founded on trust, truth, grace, and God.
When we become purposeful in how we treat our kids and play with them and live with them and parent them, we are mirroring how Christ pursues us, as He parents us each day. As we mirror the ways of Jesus Christ and become more and more Christlike, we meet our kids where they are, and the relationship flourishes. We teach them how to live as “little Christs” by simply doing our best to love them like Christ.