09 Jun Hope
Please enjoy this timely word from EP author Elizabeth El Mostain, author of Survival Tips for Mums:
The world as we once knew it has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have lost loved ones. Others face loneliness or financial insecurity. Parents struggle to balance working from home and teaching their children. We all wonder how long this will go on for. Everyone is looking for hope.
The Bible brings us just that. Thanks to Jesus’ death and resurrection on our behalf, this groaning world, ruined by the effects of sin, is not the end of the story. In Romans we read that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18) Christians have a lot to look forward to! But what about today’s challenges? God has promised your strength will equal your days. (Deut. 33:25) He will equip us and provide for us. He will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) He will use even very difficult circumstances for our good. (Romans 8:28)
As a mother, I find that entrusting my children to God’s love is the key to maintaining a peaceful, hopeful heart. You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.’(Isaiah 26:3) God has a plan for each of my children. It doesn’t all depend on me! Here are some extracts from Survival Tips for Mums with more thoughts on maintaining hope in our lives as mothers:
Love hopes all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). It is natural for mothers to keep hoping for the best for their children, but there will be times when you feel discouraged and a little hopeless about something related to a child. Parenting is a long-term task in which you do not always see immediate, visible results…It is easy to feel that the time we spend correcting, training, comforting, encouraging and guiding our children, is not making any difference. This is not true. We need to live in faith and hope, believing that the seeds we sow in our children’s lives will eventually bear good fruit. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9). The hugs we give sow seeds of security. The truth we sow will guide our children in their future decisions. The time we spend on a day out with them may not seem to have achieved anything tangible, but we have hopefully sown happy memories and close family bonds that are worth their weight in gold.
When a farmer plants a crop, he knows that it will not bear fruit immediately. He must wait patiently and continue watering and caring for those seeds. The harvest will come in due time. Proverbs 31 says of the wise woman, Her children rise up and call her blessed (Proverbs 31:28). They may not call her blessed while she is potty training, teaching them not to be fussy over food, or training them to respect authority. It is often only when they are older that children realise and appreciate all that their mother taught them. Children grow out of many childish habits. Prayer and godly discipline will also pay off in the end…
Another thing that can make mothers feel hopeless is seeing how quickly their practical work around the house is undone. (This has been a particularly big challenge for me during lockdown!) I don’t know about you, but I can generally cope with messes that are a by-product of a necessary or creative activity, such as eating or painting. It is the pointless messes that really get to me! I remember a time when I realised that my nearly four and nearly two-year- olds were too quiet. I went to investigate and gasped at the sight of their bedroom. They had emptied out every drawer and strewn the clothes all over the place. It took me ages to fold everything up again. I was not a happy mummy and my little ones had a stern talking to. The next day, they did exactly the same thing, except that this time my three-year-old was guiltily stuffing clothes back into drawers as I opened the door. Discipline time! The first time their actions could be excused as childish foolishness, requiring guidance and a warning. The second time it was wilful defiance, requiring correction. I felt like crying as I maneuvered my heavily-pregnant body down to the floor and folded up the clothes all over again… Every mother can think of examples like this, whether the mess is intentional or not. You hoover and dust the living room, then someone comes along with a biscuit, leaving crumbs everywhere and smearing chocolate on the sofa. You change the bedsheets then your child wets himself that very night, for the first time in months. Even when you know that performing these repetitive tasks is necessary, glorifying to God, a service for Jesus, and for your family’s health and long- term benefit, you can still feel a sense of futility and frustration.
I find it helpful, occasionally, to focus on a project that will not be destroyed by the time the next meal comes around. Doing something that does have a visible, lasting result can cheer mothers who feel drained by the endless round of the same old chores. Planting bulbs that will come up every year, clearing out and organising a cupboard that is out of the reach of little hands, or making something beautiful that will last, are all examples of this. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that your invisible work of loving and training is any less important!
David wrote that:
The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments (Psalm 103:17–18).
Remember God’s promises, hold on to them and quote them back to the God who gave them, as you pray for your children. When God fills our hearts with hope, there is no room left for fear.
Elizabeth El Mostain grew up in London and studied Fine Art and French at Aberystwyth University. She and her husband have been serving in France with United For Mission (UFM) since 2010. Her husband is the pastor of a French Baptist church. They have four daughters and two sons. Her book, Survival Tips for Mums, is available in the UK and was recently given a fantastic review by the Church Society site, which you can find here.