Brynn Buchanan Reflects on Motherhood and Service
Every time my kids pray they start with, “Thank you God for this full full day…”
I know they don’t mean much by it, but I love it. I really do give God the credit for the abundance of our lives. And in this small way my kids are learning it too.
How does a mother participate in service? For me, it starts by serving my kids. Worship them? No. Serve them? Yes.
How do I serve them? Paul says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others,” (Phil 2:3-4). My children are others. Their interests are not mine. It takes humility for me to serve them above myself. This doesn’t mean I do whatever they want, giving in to their every felt need (which is typically related to consuming fruit snacks), I think about their real needs and how I can meet them, needs like security and safety, love and comfort, education and direction, the need to be extended kindness and patience (perhaps the hardest ones for me).
I also consider it my responsibility to help shape their interests. Not only are they among these ‘others’ whose interests need considered. They’re going to need to consider the interests of still others. How do I help shape their interests now so they’re not just interested in themselves, but also the interests of others? How do I teach my children to be selfless? I think it starts with being selfless myself, my own denial of self, in humility regarding others. Again, this causes me to consider them, how what I say and do helps them experience a moment.
How does this play out? When a friend is sick, we pray for them. When another mom’s husband goes out of the country, we make their family dinner. When auntie Corey goes to India, we pray for her safety every day, and talk about how she’s teaching kids and serving the poor. When we’re all stressed out and yelling at each other, we remind each other we need a reset, take a couple deep breaths, and pray. We turn to God to reorient and order us.
We do not get this right every time, but the more times we do, the better it is for everyone, especially them. They’re very impressionable, and without my care, very vulnerable. I believe actively pointing them to God and doing the same myself in as many situations as possible will keep them from being swallowed by the thieving world. If I don’t teach them, culture will, and me, my husband, and our family of faith armed with God’s Word are far better teachers.
Sometimes I think about what they’ll say if someone asks them how their childhood was when they’re grown. I imagine my son, in typical male fashion, saying something like, “it was good.” All these moments and days and years culminating in that simple phrase, it was good. They won’t remember all the things I will. But the lives they live will forever be marked by the ways I went about serving, teaching, challenging, and encouraging them all these moments and days and years.
After Jesus, I want to be their best teacher. I can’t divorce my service to God from my responsibility as their mother. My service isn’t limited to what I do as a mother, but it most definitely includes that. I can’t serve God without thinking about them and all the next generation of servants. God needs me to help ensure they’ll serve Him above all else as they become adults.
My kids are 4, 3 and 1. So I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but if I don’t think about these things now, the time will pass some other way and we’ll miss it--the chance to raise God-fearing human beings who love Him with everything. So today we sing “Every Move I Make” and shout the Shema and thank God for our full full days. For this life in Christ is so very abundant.