TGC hosted a panel discussion during the 2021 Women’s Conference titled “Motherhood and the Hope of the Gospel” with Christine Hoover, Trillia Newbell, Irene Sun, and Laura Wifler.
Against the backdrop of such a difficult year for mothers everywhere dealing with the reality of pandemic-driven changes, the panel offered words of hope for those who are tired and weary.
Mental health, emotional health, relational strain, and all sorts of suffering and struggle common to motherhood were addressed as each participant offered biblical and experiential wisdom to encourage mothers and point them to Christ and his Word.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Well, I am so glad that you are with us with mothering with the gospel hope. And so my name is Trillia Newbell. I’m a writer, speaker, and mom, and whatever, who knows.So what I’m gonna do now is let my panelists and friends introduce themselves. So we’re just gonna do a brief intro. Tell them your name and maybe what you do.
Yeah, I am Irene Sun, and I am a pastor’s wife. homeschool mom. And Hans, my husband and I belong to Pittsburgh, Chinese church.
My name is Laura Winkler. It’s my mic on. Okay. There you sounded kind of, oh, there we go. My name is Laura Wifler. And I’m the executive director of risen motherhood. And I’ve got three kiddos at home. And that’s about what fills my time. Yeah.
Hey, y’all. I’m Christine Hoover. And I live in Charlottesville, Virginia, my husband is a pastor of a church we planted. And we have three boys that are 17, 15 and 13. So I am smack dab in the teenage world. And I look forward to sharing about that today.
Yes, yes, I should have mentioned my age, my kids ages, I have a 14, almost 15 year old. And I always get emotional thinking about it. And then an 11 year old girl. And so it is a delight to talk and we would we don’t waste any time we’re gonna get right into it.
We can all probably look at each other. And I’m you listening in the live stream, and all of you here could probably just all agree, it’s been a tough year and for mothering, and trying to adjust and trying to I don’t know, it’s just been a lot. So I want us to actually start with where this panel is titled, we need some gospel.
So if each of you would just give us a word about gospel hope for the mother, who maybe is weary and tired, who’s coming in with a limp, like most of us? I would just love to hear it. So whoever wants to start, Chris?
I’ll jump in. Well, I think probably every mother in the room can relate to this. But the past year for me, I’ve realized that a lot of my concern has not been about myself, but it’s been about my children, and taking on some of the concerns that I have regarding their mental health or emotional health, their friendships, because they’ve been you know, separated from from relationships. And I realized at some point that I was taking that on, as my own worry or anxiety.
And I remembered something that a mentor of mine told me a long time ago, she said, Christine, you do not want to protect your children from adversity, because adversity is how they grow. And that is the verse that goes along with that, that God has reminded me of over and over this year is Romans five, three through four, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And I love how those verses kind of showed the domino effect that it begins with adversity with suffering, that’s not our preferred place to start for ourselves, or for our children, that God uses suffering to produce in us in our children character, and endurance and hope.
And that’s what I want for my kids, I want them to have a lifetime full of endurance and character and hope. And so that’s a verse that I’ve gone back to a lot this year that this, this adversity that we’re all facing, it’s not a surprise to the Lord. And he, in fact, can use that for the good of my children, so don’t have to worry and carry that anxiety for them. I can be with them in it. But God is gonna use that to produce in them something good. And he has I’ve seen that and my kids lives this year. Yeah.
I think this year, a verse that has really stuck out for me is John 13:35, where Jesus says, By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples that you love one another. And this has been a year where I didn’t share my kids ages earlier. But I have a three year old, a six year old and an eight year old and my youngest has special needs. And we’ve all been home together most of the time.
And I think that I keep just reminding myself that I’m to be known by my love. And as a mom. I think that that what what love looks like is typically pretty easy to figure out. I think we all experienced situations where being known by our love might be harder, right? We might need to draw boundaries, or we might need to change things but with our kiddos, what love can look like is often just putting down our phones or, for me making my husband’s lunch for the next day. Or it’s just really simple things. It’s biting my tongue. It’s offering a word of encouragement.
And so I’ve just really been thinking a lot this year about how am I being known by my love to my kids, because I want them to know that I love Jesus. And how I do that is by obeying what God commands. And it’s just a really simple phrase, but it’s something that for me gives clear direction in the heat of a moment, or, or when I’m just not sure what to do. I’m feeling kind of lazy and I don’t want to obey, I just remind myself of like, Okay, what does it look like to be no, by my love in this situation. And I think there’s a usually a clear path forward.
And for me, in order to understand our pandemic life, I have to backtrack two years. So my husband hunts, we’ve been looking for a church to call home for the past two years before the pandemic. And right before the pandemic, we were able to canidate at the current church that we’re at in Pittsburgh, Chinese church, and the congregation was able to vote. And they called us to be their pastor’s family, or hands to be their pastor, right in the beginning of the pandemic.
So the pandemic, on the week, when millions of Americans were losing their jobs, we were so humbled to receive a job after two years of rejection and waiting. And so the pandemic was actually a very joyful time for us because it was the end of a very long labor of waiting and being rejected and, and pain. And so when as we’re moving to Pittsburgh, we had to look for a house in the pandemic when their real estate was shut down. And I really relied on Psalm 84. How lovely is your dwelling place of a Lord of Hosts?
My soul longs, yes, things for the courts of the Lord, my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God, even the sparrow finds a home and a swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young at your altars, oh Lord of hosts, my king, and my god bless it are those who dwell in your house ever singing your praise. And as I was looking for a home for my young, like this smell like the sparrow and the swallow, does swallow and the sparrows choose a very strange place to build her nest, which is the altar, which is a place of death, and sacrifice. And this is where the swallow finds her resting place to be a living sacrifice.
We know that the swallow and despair is living because it says Blessed are those who dwell in your house ever singing your phrase. So the birds are still singing? Not dead birds.
I could just listen to you read the scriptures all day long. Well, I’m gonna actually answer this question too, because I’m a mom. And it’s interesting. I, my kids adjusted fairly quickly. So my kids were not affected much at all. They just seemed they were but they just go with the flow they were I on the other hand, was a bit of a hot mess. I
I was like, what’s happening? What is tomorrow going to be? And I didn’t realize how much I had trusted in my own plan. And my own, I just trusted myself. But the Lord was so kind to remind me that everything works out together for the good of those who love Him, I can rest in him, he draws near to the brokenhearted. All of the promises of Scripture, really, were helping be a balm to my soul when I really needed to remind myself of the gospel, and that, that nothing is going to separate us. And so that to me, was the hope that I needed to hear you I read you you were talking to me, I guess a couple of weeks ago about how much prayer and Bible reading has just served you and had been a sustaining grace.
So would you share why both are so important in in relation to mothering? Yes. I think that for me, when we are talking about prayer and Bible reading, so often we think of them as duties. I These are things we must do in order to be good Christian moms and right away that that just doesn’t sound very attractive. It feels like another burden, another responsibility that we have to fulfill. And I actually love Tim and Kathy Keller’s, analogy. They said if there was a pill that you have to take and that pill will sustain you will keep you alive. So you will take it every single day you will bring it on vacation with you will not forget you will make time to take that pill but I want you to
Bring the analogy one step further, because because prayer and Bible reading is, I don’t want to think of them as two bottles of pills. Yeah, because God is a person. He’s a person with whom we can talk speak to. And he’s a person with whom we can listen from. So as you’re getting to know, our new congregation in Pittsburgh, one of the things that we do is we invite people over to our house.
And at the breakfast table every morning, in a sense, I invite my children into God’s presence. So as they’re eating breakfast, I read the Bible to them. And we just make that a daily routine. And if we did not get anything else done, if geography is not done, math is not done, at least I feel like I have fed them the Word of God that morning. And I can be a little mean about it. Like I would sometimes make bacon. And then I don’t do this very often. I would set it in front of them. And I say, You can’t eat the bacon until I read. And I would say, you won’t die if you don’t eat the bacon, but you will die if we don’t have God’s word.
Okay, as someone who eats bacon every single morning, that’s cool.
I would be like, Okay, well, my friend, Hannah, she said that, when she was little, she would practice the piano. And she would set a timer for how long she practice. And she would start with the skills and then she would go to the bathroom because the timer was going until this day, she needs to pee whenever she hears the scale.
What I’m hoping is that when my children is breakfast in their future, they will think, Oh, I need to read the Word of God. Awesome.
I love that. I love that. And I really do like that you brought that analogy and took it a step forward. It’s about a relationship. Yeah, about knowing the living God, which we get to know it’s amazing to me, it’s such a it’s so amazing. So um, yeah, thank you for sharing. And Christine, we’re gonna go to you because you have. Well, you have not grown kids, but teenage kids. And I call when I think about my family, I call us a repenting family.
Like, we sinned loudly, we send in front and we’re always repenting. So how important is it for your kids? Because we’re not just mothers, we’re disciples. So to see you walk out your faith? Yeah. So how important is it? And how do you do that? Practically? What are some things you do?
Yeah, I mean, we in the most essential ingredient in motherhood for us is that we ourselves are disciples, we cannot give away what we ourselves don’t have. Yep. And john 15, five, Jesus makes it very clear. He says, I’m the vine, you are the branches, whoever abides in Me and I am him. He is it He it is that bears much fruit for apart from me, you can do nothing. So if we think that we can raise our children to love the Lord, and we ourselves are not cultivating a dependent relationship upon God, then we’re really misguided in thinking that that can be possible. So our goal as moms is we’re Disciples of Christ.
And as we follow Him, we are shepherding these children behind us and we want to make them disciples, we want to lead them to become disciples of Christ. And so if you’re anything like me, the first thing I think of when I think of how can I pass my fate to my kids is to think about action points, you know, what Family Devotional do we need to do? What scripture do they need to memorize? How do I catechize, my children, and those are all really good things.
And they’re things that I have done. But I think the most important thing that we want to think about is the culture of our family. And drill, you just described her the culture of their family, their repentant family, that’s a great culture. And if you think about how you’ve grown spiritually in your life, it’s probably two main things. And one of them is adversity. And I just talked about that about not protecting our children from adversity, but walking with them in it.
But the second is that you probably have had someone in your life who you had a relationship with, Who taught you what was true, and then lived what was true. And both of those things together are vital for us to internalize Jesus, that’s what he did with his disciples. He lived with them, they traveled with him. He they heard him speak and teach what was true. And then they saw him model that and show compassion and grace to the people he interacted with. And so that’s our goal to it has to be in relationship that we’re speaking what’s true.
So that comes down to those resources that we talked about, but it’s also that we are we are Modeling what we’re speaking. And so that’s what I try to think about with my kids is how am I talking about Jesus. And that doesn’t mean just that we’re doing the Family Devotional, but it is that I’m sharing with my kids. This is what I’m reading in Scripture. This is what God is teaching me. This is something I’m thinking about. This is something I’ve been convicted about. Yeah.
But then also modeling for them. And one way that, that I try to do this, especially with I mean, this can start young at young ages, but taking my kids everywhere I can possibly take them. And so like serving, bringing them with me as I serve, let them see how I’m interacting with people with neighbors, when I’m sharing the gospel with someone that that they can overhear that if I’m opening my home that they’re involved in the hospitality of, we’re talking through how do you engage people? How do you love someone as Christ tells us to love? How do you show interest in people? How do you honor people that are coming into our home?
And you know, I think us when we’re using our spiritual gifts, like for me, when I get to teach the Bible to the women in my church and talking to my kids and saying, I’m going to be doing this today, will you pray for me that I will do this in the in the power of the Spirit and not in my own strength. And so trying to incorporate them into my life, how I’m trying to live out scripture, and it all happens within relationships. So if you’re a mom of a young child, young children in this room, I always tell the young moms in our church, what you are doing right now is so important, because you’re setting the stage.
For later you are building a culture in your family and relationship with your children. That where they know your word is your word, when you say know that you’re going to discipline them if they disobey, but also that that is a safe and warm environment where they are loved and where you as Julia mentioned you when you sin against him that you repent and you ask for forgiveness. And those kinds of things are building a culture is where when you get to where I am with teenagers, you built the relationship to where they trust you and they come to you with their concerns and thoughts. And so you can counsel them and and help it help incorporate that their faith to become real to them.
Now that’s so good. One of the things that you were talking about that I think we often kind of forget as moms is we forget that our closest neighbors are right there in our home. Yeah, we when we hear the command to go and love to love your neighbor as yourself, we often think outside, right?
And so to apply that text, I think, is one also way that we can with gospel hope and help disciple because we’re to go and make disciples of all nations. Well, we’ve got some disciple making right there to do and so anyways, I just I really love that advice, Laura. So one of the things we haven’t done yet, is talk about how tos or anything like that, because we want to grounded in gospel hope, when we’re thinking about our mothering. But we also know that people like to give advice. I’d like to give some advice. So what do we do your young mom? And I imagine you’ve inundated with advice. You were in prison motherhood? So I imagine there’s lots of people who share different tips and thoughts. How do we make decisions and discern what is what is good? what is true and what what to do? In the midst of all the advice? Yeah,
I was recently looking for a gift for a new mom, friend, and assemble the crop across pacifiers on Amazon. And I’m out of the baby stage, but I was just looking for a new gift. And you guys, there were over 1000 different kinds of pacifiers over 1000. I mean, I remember, especially when I was a first time mom, just feeling so incredibly overwhelmed with all of the decisions and a pacifier felt like a pretty big deal at the time. And, you know, it doesn’t really change necessarily, like perhaps what we’re thinking and worrying about does and what we’re making decisions on. But there are so many decisions in motherhood.
And I do think it’s so important that we have a foundation or a scaffolding to the way that we make our decisions. And this is where I think it’s really important to understand just the Gospel story, what is God’s plan for his people? What is God’s plan for you as a mom? And this is really done only through the hard work of, of knowing the word and understanding the meta narrative of Scripture of what are commands that God has for his people? And then what are those areas that are areas of personal conscience that we have freedom in?
And I think that that can be hard because what what we do as moms is we begin to make these tertiary issues, gospel issues, and we start to labor over them in ways that they were never meant to be labored over. And so if you can get under your skin, more To love what God loves into hate what he hates and know what those are, then I think you can go forward and say, okay, is this a? Is this a decision that I’m making here? Where I have some freedom in? Or is this a decision like, you know, being a part of a local body of believers?
Well, that’s not an abortion of not negotiable. As a mom, we want to get our children involved in the church. And so once you can separate that, then I think we have to remember that decisions are always an overflow of what’s already in our hearts. And what are we feeding our hearts first and foremost? Is it God’s Word? Is he the loudest voice in our hearts? are we searching the scriptures? Are we talking with friends and godly counselors, who are putting ideas and thoughts and advice into our minds that aligns with God’s word and seems to relate to the fruit of the Spirit or to other biblical principles? And so really discerning, like, are you listening to an influencer online, who, you know, they seem pretty cool.
They seem like they’re really good at motherhood. And so they recommend this and it feels almost salvific in a way, we’re, we’re kind of saying, oh, if I just, you know, buy this hair tie, then like, I am going to be a good mom. And feel that way, right. And he said, the way that they’re presenting, well, if you do if you train slick train your baby like this, or if you add home educate like that. Or if you bake bread in this way, or if you shop like that, or feed your kid, the advice is, is crazy how much there is, and you can find, you can find an expert who will tell you what to do on anything. And so that’s where I would just encourage any mom to say, okay, who were the loudest voices and listen to your husband, if you if you have a husband, I think a lot of times, I’ll be like, my husband doesn’t have a ton of opinions, he really lets me make a lot of choices. And I, I would sometimes get frustrated.
So I feel like, but when you don’t understand the risk here, if I make the wrong choice, like, you know, they may never love Jesus and take us so far. But God has given me to him to me, as such a gift of somebody who can kind of cut through a lot of the clutter. He’s not listening to all the mom influences, reading all the How to books, and he’s kind of like, do this. And I’m like, you know, listen to that voice. He probably knows, I feel like the Lord has given us men that often can cut through that stuff, and help make a decision a lot more clear, because we want something that we’re all torn up in and really don’t need to be. And the last thing I would just say, is, is trust in the Gospel when you’re making decisions.
I feel like I want everyone to say this out loud, I will not do it. All right, I will not make all the right decisions, you will get them wrong, you will say you know what I shouldn’t have bought, you know, I don’t know, those jeans, because I get holes in them next time I’ll make a better decision. Or maybe you know, this year of schooling, I made kind of a decision that I want to make differently next year. What a great truth that we have in the Gospel that we are not identified by the decisions that we make we are identified because we are imago dei we are made the image of God in our valuables fast as mom’s in that it does not rest in the decision that you made, you can course correct, because Jesus paid for every wrong and bad decision ever.
He made all the perfect decisions, he went before us. And so I rest in that a lot as a mom, because I know I’m gonna fail. But that doesn’t determine my value. Christ determines my value. And so if we can walk in that these decisions will have a lot more clarity and which ones deserve our time and deserve a lot of thought. And which ones we can say okay, I’m gonna, I’m gonna go buy those fruit snacks, and they’re gonna be fine. They’re gonna be fine. Yeah, anyway,
I love that. There’s just so it’s so true. We can mole over and worry about so many things. But gospel hope this that I don’t know. I’m encouraged. So thank you so much, Laura. Irene, you just gave us a little bit of your background. So you’ve had a lot of transition. Tell us how do you mother? And how would you encourage other mothers from what you’ve experienced to mother during transition and uncertainty, which a lot of us experience even if it were not a pandemic? I mean, there’s always transitions. How would you encourage us?
You know, the first thing that I thought about when I read your question is that uncertainty, and transition means a lot of waiting. And the Bible speaks very clearly about how to wait. Well, yeah. And so as I was, so one of the things that I do, whenever I get stressed out is, if I’m thinking about waiting, then I would search survival I just typed Wait, like, all of the results will pop up. But in Hebrew, the word wait is cover and that occurs 47 times. But this word is really special because it can be translated into the word weight, or to look or to hope. And that’s exactly what this panel is called, which is why I really love the title of our panel. No, because we we wait, because we’re confessing that we are unable, which is why I love how you ended that like we will make mistakes, we are unable, we don’t have the means to save our children, we just don’t.
And so we must wait upon the Lord during the time, especially during the time of uncertainty. And so I had just shared that there was a two year period when we were applying for jobs, and we were rejected again and again. And we had to disciple our children, like, Daddy is not waiting for a job, were waiting upon the Lord, we’re waiting upon the Lord, to to guide our family where we are to go. And another, more emotional time of waiting would be. During my miscarriage five years ago, the day after Easter, I started bleeding. And immediately, my husband brought our children together. And he said, Let’s pray for mommy and the baby in her tummy. And it was definitely a time of uncertainty.
We did not know whether this baby was going to be okay. And three days later, the baby died. And so we we waited. And God said, No. And we give thanks, we give thanks because the Lord loves us, the Lord knows us, and the Lord loves the baby. And so we the way that we wait well, is that we wait upon the Lord, not upon because if you think about it, motherhood is basically a lot of waiting. We, we first we wait for the line to appear on the stick, and then we wait for the pregnancy and then we wait for the birth and then we wait for the six months when they can eat. We wait for sleep tonight, and it’s really easy for us to put our hope in these little weightings. But all of these weightings are wrapped into one big weighting which is in the Lord for He is our salvation.
And it’s interesting because the first time the word waiting occurs is actually in Genesis, chapter 49. And Jacob is prophesying over his children. He’s like, Dude, are you gonna do this? And Sim, and you’re gonna do that? And then in the middle of these prophecies, it’s like he stepped out, because he’s almost afraid. And he prayed a quick prayer one line up, I wait upon you, oh, yeah, half way. And then he goes back to prophecy. It’s very strange. And so I think Jacob has that as an example. We we wait upon the Lord for His salvation.
Yeah. Well, I want to pause just to give anyone I imagine who’s watching on the live stream or in this audience has probably had a miscarriage, I have had four. And so I just want you to know that one, I will be praying for you after this panel, but to the Lord was near to the brokenhearted, and I’m so grateful for the book of Psalms and that you can cry out to the Lord who draws near in desires to comfort you. And so I just wanted to extend that encouragement out, just in case which someone who is mourning right now, you do not mourn alone, and you do not wait alone. So for most of us in here, well, not most of us, I think I could safely say all of us, we want our kids to know Jesus. We want them to know the Lord. So what are some ways Christina, I want to talk to start with you? What are ways that you have helped teach your kids about the Lord, salvation in particular, and how to love the church?
Well, I’d love to talk about the church because I think I mentioned my husband’s a pastor. So it’s always been a concern for me that my kids growing up as pastors, kids are going to love the Lord and His church. And so anytime I’m around anybody who like Irene, I’ve asked her before she’s a pastor’s kid and the pastor’s wife, tell me everything, tell me what to do and what not to do, because I want my kids to love the Lord in His church. And I think this especially became relevant for me when my oldest was starting high school and I noticed that he was starting to kind of pull away at the end of the service.
He would ask for my car keys and go out and sit in the car and, and that happened once. It was fine, but then it became a pattern and I was like, we’re losing him. We’re losing. He’s not engaged. You know, how, what are we going to do? And I realized we were moving in to a new stage with my kids becoming teenagers, and how are we going to help them engage the church? And I think that one of the things about teenagers is they can they’re, they’re growing in their individualism, and they’re growing in their independence.
And I think those are both really good things that we can harness and connect to the church and to their faith. And so one way and I kind of had to think through this when my son started doing that, and how can I help him? I don’t want to lose him, I want to help him engage the church, in this time. And so with individual, his individuals, and my and becoming this individual is what I mean that he’s, he’s a unique person that he’s when my kids were little, they followed like ducklings wherever I went, and they go wherever I go, and they do whatever I do. But now he’s his own person. He’s becoming his own person.
So how can I help him think through? How has God gifted him? And what does? What is he passionate about? And how can I help him connect that with opportunities within the church, so that he can find his place, it may not be something that I enjoy, or that I’m gifted at. But I want to help him find his place within the body that he can serve, and use his gifts. And I think the other part is the independence that I want to encourage them to develop relationships with people apart from me within the church. So one way we’ve done this is, when our kids, we, when they turn 13, once they’re old enough, they can go on a mission trip with a group from our church. That didn’t happen this past year.
But they they can do that. And they can go and serve with a group of people apart from us. And my, my husband and I both have gone on one of these trips, they haven’t gone totally alone. But when we go, they are serving in different areas in different ways. And we really treat them as more a brother, a brother in Christ that they can serve and that way, and so I think thinking of ways that we can connect our kids to people independent of us, and opportunities dependent independent of us.
As far as people, just one thing my husband and I do is we want to invite people in the church to come to be a part of what our kids are doing, come to their games, support them, get to know them as people, but also adoptive grandparents within the church that love them. We’re apart from our family really far away from our family. And so they can love them as family. And so my kids have connected with the church because they’ve connected with people.
And so once my son kind of started doing that he got involved with some men’s ministry opportunities, apart from me, and I’ve heard from my husband, and people started showing interest in him apart from us. And that was really the change for him to where we got him back. We got him back connected and engaged with the church as his own in his own faith.
That’s so important. It’s so encouraging for me to hear, as my teenager is kind of doing the same thing not pulling away. He’s engaging on his own and doing things apart from us. And it’s wild. So well, but I didn’t grow up in the church. Yeah, I and so it’s one of my prayers has been that they would have a faith of their own and that the Lord would draw near to them. Now, I’m going to switch gears Just a little. And this is not a question on your sheet.
But I believe both of you have mentioned that you have special needs children. Is that correct? Yes. Okay. I would just love some encouragement about mothering with gospel hope, with kids with special needs. And I’m sure it’s the same truth. But I imagined that there would be someone who would just be encouraged to hear about it even to go, I want to learn from you.
Further along, oh, well, I just don’t say that, as I’m not wanting to talk about I’m happy to talk about that I’m raising a child on the autism spectrum. And so that one of the hard parts about that is that it’s not a visible disability. And so it doesn’t define him in terms of sometimes a physical disability would. But it is a fear and always a fear of mine, that he’s going to be misunderstood by other people because it’s not a physical disability. He was diagnosed when he was three. And one of the things that God really challenged me on is to not define him, according to the label that was given him. The label was good because it got us the services that we needed for him. So it wasn’t that I didn’t want the label.
But I began to think about him according to that identity. And I remember, you know, right after that diagnosis came, he was taking a nap and I was I was weeping in my room, like, I don’t know what life is gonna look like, the dreams that I had for our family. That I don’t know if that’s even on the table any longer. I don’t know if he will ever be able to speak to me. I will have will we have a conversation? Will he be able to go to school? Will he have a friend I mean, all these questions go through your mind. And I remember God’s saying to me, as I was praying, he’s the same child, he was yesterday. He is mine. I created him. And it’s kind of funny because he was doing a wanna at the time.
And he’s, he was really good at memorizing kids on the spectrum often are. And so he was walking around the house saying his memory verse and his memory verse was, everything God made was very good. Everything God made was very good. And so as I’m weeping, and as I’m continuing to parent him, and I had already had another child, I, he God was speaking to me, through His Word through my child, saying everything God made is very good. And so that is his identity. And for any of you who have children, that you are raising, that are special needs kids, they are beloved children of God, God designed that he made and created and loves them. And I, I love to get to talk to other moms about this, because now that child he has grown up, and I wish sometimes he would stop talking, talking all the time. And he’s doing great.
And I it’s not that he doesn’t have challenges, but the hope that I wish I could go back and say to myself, when he was three, there is so much hope for this child, not because he started talking, and he was able to write and do all the things I worried about that because God is shepherding me as I raised him and care for him. And God has a plan for him. And it may be different than the agenda of plan that I had. And in fact, it has been. And I think that’s another thing that I would say to moms is there is an ongoing grief that comes with having a child with special needs. You love that child.
And in fact, I have learned more about the Lord through that child than anything else in my life. But there’s still grief, even as he’s grown, there’s still grief, that some of the milestones that other kids pass or some of the things that come naturally to them, it will never be for my child. And that still brings up sadness. But the hope that I have in Christ’s are far surpasses any grief that I have. And I think the verse I read earlier, the suffering that we’ve endured, in parenting has produced in me a hope that cannot be taken away. And I thought that I knew what hope was, before I had this, this child of mine, that he has taught me, Jesus has taught me through him, that the hope that I have is not is not based in who my child is, what he will do and accomplish is in Christ alone.
Encouraging Well, I mean, I was gonna just I was tearing up as you’re talking, I know. so deeply resonate, and I have a kiddo who is three, and she has a genetic difference. We have like a sheet of numbers. And so we don’t have a diagnosis, the doctor doesn’t know what her future would look like. And it’s looking really bright. But I think I would just encourage anyone who’s going through a grief.
So it doesn’t matter if you have a child with special needs, or there is something else that you are grieving right now, something that’s been so hopeful for me is I kind of call it like my second life. And we know that as Christians, when we trust in Jesus, that we will live eternally with Christ. And so so often what I find is that a lot of my grief comes from either mourning something that I’ve not been asked to grieve yet.
Right? I’m preemptively thinking, that’s gonna be so hard. And then I’m mourning that and I’m jumping ahead when I don’t, I don’t know what the future holds. And then the other piece is clinging so tightly to my dreams here on this earth, that I don’t realize that someday and eternity, if that’s what the Lord has for me, then I’m gonna be able to do that. And what I mean by that is that it’s going to be so great and so wonderful and so awesome and eternity, that whatever the Lord has for me here, I can just say Yes, Lord, whatever you will, and, and for me that has been so helpful, especially because I grieve. I think one of my bigger things is feeling like I’m, I’m never gonna be an empty nester. I’m never getting my husband, I love to travel.
And it was like, oddly, just there was something that was hard for me. Everyone has kind of their thing, right? And I kept thinking, but if, if it’s as great as I think it’s going to be, then the Lord will have that for me there because in heaven, we’re going to get the best and it’s going to be worshiping God. And I know that that whatever dreams I don’t accomplish here, they’re going to be so much better and so much more. Wonderful there. And that’ll also be a time when, you know, every tear is dried, and there’s no more sorrows and no more crying.
And that’s just the day we can look forward to. And so I think like, if we’re gonna live, I don’t know, 50 6080 100 years if we’re really lucky here, like, that’s not a super long time, in light of eternity and what awaits us there. So that’s sometimes how I think about my griefs and things that I mourn and I’m sad about, it’s like, you remember the beauty of eternity, and what is coming ahead. And it’s kind of like, okay, Lord, I can endure whatever you have, because you sustained me. And because I know that there is a great, wonderful, amazing future ahead for me.
Amen. Amen. I almost want to just, we have three minutes. So I do want to that was just really encouraging it really, yeah, built my faith. And hope. I do want to just talk about identity real quick, because I mean, what we’re talking about a lot of this is a lot of kids kind of wrestling with identity and kind of find, who am I What? And in this day and age, that’s a bigger question. And so how have you instilled identity in the Lord in your kids?
And you know, what, as I was thinking about this question, it applies to me as well as Yes, yes. It’s like, Oh, wait, that’s what I’m supposed to do. And the phrase that I hang on to his behold, not behave, because as moms, as as well as children, I think we’re so tempted to think if we just behave the right way, we will make it we will have identity, whether it is eating healthy food, or playing tennis, or, you know, getting into a good university, there’s so many 1000s of ways we want to behave, in order to make it our identity, but the Lord is calling us to be hold to be hold him for he is coming, he is coming for us, this world is not our home.
And so for younger children, what this looks like is it is to tell them, like look, look at the Bible taste and see that God is good. He is a kind guy, he’s a merciful God, behold the Lord. And for older children, what this looks like is to teach them help them see that whom you behold determines how you behave. And you can unpack that in different ways for different age groups, but just help our teenagers and I just have one last week, to teach him how to be hold God because that will determine how you behave in this world.
That’s so good. And it really relates to what we’ve been talking about it steadfast at this conference, really James, like, we want to behold the Lord and that leads towards obedience to Him. Alright, guys, we are going to wrap up, I’m going to pray for us. And so if you will join me in praying, and then I want to give you one quick message. So stay here. God, thank you so much, Lord, that You are a holy, just an awesome God, but you are also our father, and you parents, us, Lord, and we can draw near to you near to your throne of grace because of Jesus, Jesus, thank you that you’re interceding for your own right now.
Or do you know every sorrow, every pain, every desire, every grief, you know, these women and you know them intimately. You know, their children, you know, their family lives, their husbands? God, I pray that you would bless them, cover them, keep them, Lord, as your Word says you will. So Lord, we submit all of our families, our kids to you, God help us to parent and to parent well, Lord, but help us to rest. Rest in this gospel, rest in our gospel, hope. We need you. We can do nothing apart from you, Lord, and we submit all of our lives in all of this to Lord, we love you, we worship you. We delight in you and you sing over us, which is amazing. Thank you for who you are, and it’s in your name. We pray a man