Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Mother of Sinners

It is a somber and sad day when Mother realizes her children are sinners. There is something called "The Depravity of Man" - and a "sin nature." These are things our children will fight against, each day, for the rest of their lives. It causes them great pain and suffering.  But it hurts Mom the most. . .

The sad realization is when you have young adults and teenagers who try so hard to walk the road of righteousness, but keep getting distracted by the world. They come home full of adventurous experiences - some thrilling, some heartbreaking - but there is sadness in their eyes and marks from the thorns.  There is no pure holiness in them, like you once thought there would be, when they were baby-cherubs in your eyes.  There is dirt and filth because. . frankly. . . your children have been dangerously playing in the world. And it will tear your heart out. . .

Others will see and mock. They are like closet-pharisees who think they are above depravity. This is the saddest thing of all - when your fellow Christian man gives up on your family and walks away - as if YOU, as the mother, did something wrong.

But I know a secret. . .

It is to never give up. I learned this in profound ways from some very precious Mothers - Emma, Erma and Edith:

Emma * (1950's)

Emma was Old Order Amish and became a widow at a young age. She was left with six children to raise, alone at home, and with the help of her Amish community.  She watched as young people experimented with the rules and "English" world around them. She was terrified as they did things that were dangerous to their souls. She prayed in secret and received constant comfort and reassurance from The Master.  But most of her children left the church to join more progressive churches.  The culture was rapidly changing and it was seeping into the Amish world.  One of the important things I learned from Emma was this:

She did not try to convince her children of the old ways - she lived it.  When her teenagers and young adults were living questionable lives, she let it all play out and let them learn their lessons. Why did she do this? She knew the Holy Spirit was working in their lives and God was in control. While she certainly advised them and got help and support from the elders, her daily practice as a mother was to let them learn to make decisions for themselves so they could grow.  The hardest lesson I learned from Emma was that, since we live in a rapidly decaying culture, our children are not always going to follow our old paths. They are facing new challenges in each generation - new temptations - and living in a culture that we never would have imagined.  Through it all, and despite the pain, she knew how to remain Amish. The lesson: stand fast in your faith, mother, regardless of the path your children take.

 Erma *  (1960's)

In Erma's time, there was free love. Teenagers were spitting on the ground their parents walked on, and forsaking traditional family. They were shacking up and doing all manner of drugs. They hated our country and hated decency. They brought a downfall of horror to our society. When they did this, they only said, "peace," but they were deluded.

Erma had an amazing sense of humor, as a mother. She was a beloved columnist who shared her life with millions of readers. She encouraged them and made them laugh, even when they wanted to cry. Through all the pain and frustration of raising her children to be decent, God fearing citizens, she did the most important thing of all - she did not give up.

 Edith *  (1970's)

As the war on our culture raged, feminism (or as some call, it - nazi-feminism) was raging strong. Edith, the traditional housewife, who was dedicated to her family, putting them first above all things - had a feminist daughter and a liberal son-in-law. The amazing thing about Edith is that she stayed who she was. She did not bend to the will of society - she did not become like her daughter - she remained a steadfast example of home, family and motherhood - and she did it all without pushing her views on anyone. She did it in silence. Her example meant more to a nation, on that television screen, even though the show was meant to belittle her. Even Erma loved her and said the world needed more Ediths.

No matter what we see in our children, on the surface, we have no idea what kind of work God is doing behind the scenes. He is laying the groundwork for their future. He is allowing them to wallow in things in order to gain experience in life, and to know and understand heartache. He is teaching them things we could never teach them. So, dear Mother of sinners, no matter what is going on in the lives of your children, remember this - a virtuous godly mother who is unflinching in her faith, while full of flaws herself, is the greatest testimony to her children than any words you could utter. Mother, ignore the pharisees, and stay strong and brave. In the very end, your children will rise up and call you blessed. 

"Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is." Jeremiah 17:7


( This post can also be found in my book, "Mother's Faith.")

From the Archives -

A Mission of Mercy - The Sum of Godly Motherhood.

Homeschooling - How My Children Learned Social Skills.

1. "Emma" - from the book, "Emma: A Widow Among the Amish."

2. "Erma"  - Erma Bombeck

3. "Edith" - A Character in the television program, "All in the Family."

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Pebblekeeper ~ Angie said...

I post a hug and a squeeze. As a child who was raised on a simple homesteading farm by a wonderful grandmother, who was then adopted by an amazing June Cleaver of a Christian Home Maker mother, who was raised in the church, memorized most of the bible, and went to private Christian Schools. I still had to taste and see what the World had to offer. It was a long time - from when I entered the military until the Spirit finally had enough of my running around days when I was nearly 26 and had been married for a while. He never left me. He never was silent. Choose to love those precious children of yours, listen to their adventures, smile knowingly at the glares from outside judgement givers, Your children will cleave to the Lord that you introduced them to. Warm Cookies on the counter always helps too. ;) Love to you.

Marianne said...

Your post gives me much encouragement as I am having a bit of a rough patch seeing some of the things my adult daughter is doing right now. I can only hope and pray the Holy Spirit guides her down a better path. Thanks for writing the encouragement I needed to hear.

Laura in AZ said...

Mrs. White, you have once again written a post that speaks to my heart , and this is why I keep coming back to your blog. Like you, I have five children--my kids range in age from 12-24, and from what I gather, you and I have a lot in common and go through similar experiences at similar times.

When my kids were young, all living under my roof, and all home-schooled, things were so much simpler. I was aware of their daily experiences and though I tried not to be overbearing, I could always be there to guide them.

Now my 3 oldest kids are "adults" and I still want to guide them, but I also have to give them some freedom. My oldest is a college graduate, with 2 BA degrees under her belt, so you'd think I could relax now and just be proud of her, but I know for a fact that she is engaging in some "questionable" practices and has repeated some of the same mistakes I made as a young adult--things I prayed she would never do.
She's a kind person, but her morals are a little out of whack. She has stopped practicing her faith and I want so much for her to come back into the fold. Right now she is not living the kind of lifestyle I had hoped she'd be living at age 24. I keep thinking that the time for sowing wild oats was supposed to be over a long time ago! But I love her with all my heart and will never ever give up on her.
I have patience because I also turned my back on God when I was young, and in my own experience, it took a crisis for me to wake up, grow up, and get my act together. I hope it won't take a crisis in my daughter's case....but God works in mysterious ways, and His time is not our time, so there's no such thing as "too late".
This is probably one of the longest comments you've ever had (sorry for rambling!), but I wanted to thank you for reminding me that I'm not unique in my struggles with my kids. It's a comfort to know that there have been other moms who have persevered and lived to see their wild and crazy kids turn into respectable, righteous grown ups.
When you feel sad about some of the choices your kids make, please know that there's a soul out west who understands!

Take care,

Cathytress said...

Hugs to you Mrs. White, I have an idea what you must be feeling. My children are younger than yours, but I do not see the older ones striving after the Lord at all. It breaks my heart. Yet I know God is the author and perfecter of our faith; He alone raises the dead and He alone makes the blind see. It is a great consolation to know my children are in His capable hands.. and so are yours :) If you are lifting them up in prayer daily, it is the best thing you can do.

Taryn said...

I recently watched a video on you tube-Trouble in Amish Paradise. It's about how the Amish until recently were only allowed to have German Bibles in their homes and the young people couldn't read them. Now that they are reading the Bible for themselves(I read the KJ Bible) things are changing. I have 3 married sons and it does bother me that my grandchildren celebrate Helloween. Our children didn't celebrate it but their wives did.

Unknown said...

Blessings to you, from one mother of sinners to another--my prayer life has grown along with my children--6 of them out making all of their own mistakes! My oldest daughter is my "co-mama"--28 now and with children of her own, she and I are of one heart and mind--this is such a comfort!

Jesus is the Author and the Finisher--trusting Him until the end!


Far Above Rubies said...

A big hug, sister. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I needed to read this this morning. Thank you. --Jennifer