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May 6, 2022 7:00 am
As many of you know I am married to an incredible woman named Brenda, but what you may not know is that Brenda had a younger sister named Sandy who died in 1985 at the age of 27 Sandy contracted breast cancer when she was carrying her first child, and she left her husband Lance with a 13 month old toddler when she died. For the last several months of Sandy's life and for almost a year after that Lance's mother moved in with that family. She slept in the corner of the living room in their one-bedroom apartment and she would see her own husband on the weekends when he would drive up to New York from Delaware.
Lance's mom got up at night with the baby. She change the baby walk the baby fed the babies to fix all the meals she did the laundry to clean the house. She tried to encourage and comfort her son spiritually and then she would collapse into bed every night. Exhausted to rest up for another day just like the one that had ended and I remember once when I was up in New York visiting Lance and I watching what his mom was doing every day that I said to her I said the I'm just curious how you feel about being here and doing all that. And I'll never forget what she said to me she said one day long. Lance is going to remarry and I'll be able to go back home.
She said when that day comes, I want to have no regrets. Now I'm 61 years old you say what you look like you will.
God bless you and God bless you of their I am. And you know I have to tell you I have some regrets in my life. I bet you have some regrets in your life to it wouldn't be a wonderful thing to think how different the world would be if God gave everyone of us five instant replays a year when Debbie wonderful were we could go back and we could change something we said or change something we did or change something we wish we would've gone that we didn't do that way that I is is a great idea but you know we all realize that life happens in real time, and there are no instant replay. They settled on this is all very interesting but what does this have to do with Mother's Day. Well, a lot because friends just like life mothering happens in real time. Also, we can't go back and re-raise our children.
We can't revisit the years gone by, or recapture lost opportunities in time and so today what I want to talk to us about is about mothering without regrets or at least mothering with as few regrets as possible and I want to talk to you. I want to use. Actually, of the great woman of God. Hannah from the Old Testament as our example and I want to distill out of her life. Three cardinal principles that lie at the heart of how to do mothering with no regrets.
Now let me just say that this is not just for moms and grandmom's and future moms but guys as dad's and granddad's and future dads is a lot in here for us as well. So pay attention to Rego number one want to be a mom that does her mothering with few regrets.
Then number one let's follow Hannah's example in that Hannah saw her children as a direct gift from God before we dig in the first Samuel chapter 1 will give you just a little bit of background we need in this chapter, a gentleman named O'Connell who had two wives, Benigno, his first wife have lots of children and Hannah's second wife had not and she was devastated by this fact and we pick up the story as Elcon and his wives and family, all are on their way to Shiloh to worship the Lord at the tabernacle there. Remember the temple in Jerusalem is not built yet. Will people go to the tabernacle to worship in Shiloh here we go. First Samuel chapter 1 verse 10 in bitterness of soul there at the tabernacle. The Bible says Hannah Webb, and prayed before the Lord and she made a vow and said, oh Lord, if you will look upon my anguish and remember me and gives me a sauna, then I will give him back to you all the days of his life very interesting to me the word that Hannah uses here to describe her heart her feelings. She uses the word anguish and as every woman knows that's because the pain of childlessness is a deep and gripping pain, but being a godly woman.
Hannah knew where to take that pain. She took that pain directly to the Lord and I know that there are some of us here today that are in the very same situation as Hannah. We've tried to have children and so far we haven't been able to and I would like to say to you as your pastor that I have no idea why God has chosen to put you through that paints but I can tell you where to take it. I can tell you what to do with it what you do with it is you take it directly to the Lord Jesus just like Hannah did and you trust God to do what he knows is best for you ladies, this is what faith is all about faith means trusting God's choices for our lives even when we don't understand them, and even when we don't agree with them or even like them and my prayer is that if you are in Hanna's situation today that you will be able to walk by faith, just like she did well, it's gone and see what happened. Verse 19 first Samuel chapter 1 then they went back home and Elcon had relations with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered Hannah and she conceived and bore a son and Hannah named him Samuel in Hebrew, smooth whale, which literally means asked her of the Lord, because she said I asked him of the Lord. Now this is the important point that I want us to see here and that is that Hannah did not see her son Samuel as a product of biology or as a byproduct of sex or as a product of good family planning, nor did she see him as just a lucky coincidence.
She to the contrary, saw her son Samuel. As a direct gift from God to her as a sacred trust that the Lord had given to her. I want to share some very disturbing statistics with you here in the United States of America. Number one, more than 200,000 children are physically abused by their parents every year.
That's just the ones we know about here in America.
Number two of those same children have are also sexually abused by their parents.
Number three in the United States of America. The number one killer of children under the age of five is not poison or car accidents its child abuse and this doesn't even cover the horrors of verbal abuse which may not land a child in the emergency room but that abuse will do as much damage to a child as any. This can do.
So I asked myself the question what's responsible for this upswing in violence towards children by their very own parents, and I am solemnly convinced it is my solemn belief that the answer is the fact that in our culture, we simply don't see our children the way Hannah saw her children here in America we see children as the byproduct of biology or the byproduct of technology.
We see them as little people who often come in and interrupt our plans for life and people that we have to put up with and put up with the burdens they bring on us until they reach 18 and we can get them to leave home and then they still only come back to 22 so you still don't get rid of them. This is how our culture portrays children but friends.
This is not at all.
The view of the Bible when it comes to children's Psalm 127 verse three. The Bible says children are a gift from the Lord. How blessed is the person whose quiver is full of them and I love what Jacob said after he and his brother Esau had been separated for 20 years and they need up and Esau said who are all these people you have with you and Jacob said these are the children that the Lord has graciously given me. Listen here mom. If you are mother here today. The Bible is crystal clear about the fact that your child whether that child is tall or short, whether that child is strong or weak, whether that child is a normally developing child or child loaded down with disabilities. It doesn't matter.
The Bible is clear that God designed that child for you and he designed you as a mom for that child. That child was a direct, specific gift from Almighty God to you. A sacred trust that God gave to you and as such our children should be treated softly and gently and with tender loving care. You know, a few years after my dad died, my mother remarried a gentleman named Harry and they did the wedding up here in Northern Virginia. They came up to our house and we did the wedding in my house and on the screen you see a picture my mom and Harry along with the two children we had at the time.
My oldest son Jamie and my McDowell middle son Justin and I bought some sparkling cider. You know for toast. After the ceremony so the ceremony was John. Justin was about four at the time said daddy I'll go get the glasses for the toast and I said sure. Okay fine so we just kinda kept on talking and off he went. A few minutes later, we heard him coming up the steps and we heard this clanging sound as he was coming up the steps and all of a sudden we all looked at each other and we immediately knew what it just happen just in the gone downstairs into the China cupboard attended he had gotten out our fine crystal that we been given for our wedding and he was bringing these crystal goblets up the steps for the toast, but the way he was carrying them good in his hands is. He had the stems all between his fingers and the goblets hanging down and as he was carrying them a goblets are all banging together coming up the steps we all scream.
Justin stop and we all read it wants to rescue the crystal now. Can you imagine us having that kind of a response if Justin had been carrying Tupperware up the stairs. Of course not. Why will the difference is Tupperware is designed for rough treatment.
Crystal isn't in friends what the Bible is trying to say to us here in principle number one about mothering with no regrets is that we need to see our children as fine crystal not as Tupperware and this is an area where parents often have severe regrets because our children can so easily exasperate us, our children can so easily push us right to the edge where we are tempted to do something or say something harsh to them and so I have a little mantra to suggest to you to use at that moment it was one I used often when I was raising our children. I used to often stop right at that moment and say Lord crystal not Tupperware Lord crystal not Tupperware help me, Jesus crystal not Tupperware number two want to do mothering with no regrets. Not only do I recommend that we see our children a sacred trust from God, and treat them like crystal but number two.
We need to follow Hannah's example in that Hannah second of all, put her children squarely in the past of God first Samuel chapter 1 verse 24 says now when she had weaned it here, she took Samuel with her as young as he watches it will.
How old was he well a good according to our best calculations. Samuel, at this point was probably somewhere between two and three years old as young as he was an Hannah brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. Then she brought the boy to Eli the high priest and she said I prayed for this child in the Lord is granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord as long as he lives. He is given to the Lord and Samuel remained there and worship the Lord. We all understand what just happened here. Hannah takes her three-year-old child brings him to Eli the high priest there at the tabernacle and leaves in their and goes back home you salon that makes no sense to me why the world would a woman leave a three-year-old child like that. Why would she turn loose of a little child like that. Well, it's very simple. My friends Hannah wanted her son to know God, to understand God, to walk with God. So she put him in the place where his spiritual life had the greatest opportunity to be cultivated, she putting right there at the tabernacle were the worship of God was carried on under the tutelage of Eli the high priest, the godly man were all the Israelites came to worship. That's where she putting even though it cost her something to give them up, ladies. This is what godly mothers do godly mothers cultivate the spiritual life of their children, they do it deliberately, and they do it intentionally, and they do it aggressively.
You say wait a minute long way away to wait. Wait a minute don't you believe the fathers ought to be involved in the cultivation of their children spiritual life to absolutely I do absolutely and I was when our children were growing up, but friends whether a dad is involved or not godly mothers still are fanatical about cultivating the spiritual life of their children, so I long to what is this really look like if I wanted to be a godly mother cultivating the spiritualize my children what is that mean does that mean that I should bring my three-year-old child and dropping here at church with you. Is that what that means, don't you dare do that known all know I did my duty to God my country. No, no, you keep your three-year-old with you know, don't let me tell you what it does mean it means you do some of the kinds of things I'm going to suggest to you number one.
What is it look like to spiritually cultivate our children number one it means when their babies when they're up to the middle of the night when were rocking them to sleep that we sing to them songs about Jesus and not roll, roll, row your boat number two when our children are toddlers. It means that we read to them at night Bible stories not curious George and not Mike Mulligan in the steam shovel, read to them the word of God and teach them how to pray and we get down on our knees with them and we pray with them.
Number three. It means having Christian music playing throughout our house all day long so our children are taking it in and they don't even know they're taking it in a means number four putting Scripture on our walls and on our mirrors and are not refrigerators, so everywhere that child looks they see the word of God in our house number five. It means making sure that our children are in kids quest every single weekend that we are in town and that their healthy numbers. Number six. It means that we get our children into a one-off and we help them memorize the word of God and implant the word of God into their souls.
Number seven, it means when our children disobey. We discipline them friends godly discipline that is done correctly, is an enormous opportunity to teach our children about God to teach them about the justice of God and the mercy of God and the forgiveness of God and the unconditional love of God and if you're not sure how to do godly discipline correctly. I'd like to recommend you go get a book in our bookstore. The finest book I've ever read on the subject is written by Dr. James Dobson and it's called Dare to discipline Brendan. I read it when we were young we followed it and I want to urge you to read it and to do what he says I'm telling you. Great opportunity is lost when people don't discipline their children biblically number eight when we have teenagers making an impact on their life for Christ means that we make sure junior and senior high group are nonnegotiable. Sunday morning, Wednesday night, weekend activities missions trips summercamp winter camp.
You know God gave Brenda me the privilege of raising three boys Jamie, our oldest just in our middle son and John our youngest son and they're all walking with the Lord today, for which I'm incredibly grateful to God and I give him the glory for that.
But when our youngest son John was 16.
We had an argument one day about the fact that Brenda and I made him go to every senior high event that McLean Bible Church And is part of the argument.
He said he said don't I get any say in this and I said no you don't. Every time the senior high group has an activity. Every teenager named the Solomon is there.
He said well I don't really think that's very fair and I don't really think that's taking me in the consideration and blah blah blah. And I said John I'm sorry but let me tell you something. This is exactly what I said to him I said John as it was when Jamie and as it was with Justin, so it will be with John, world without end. The amen yes sir now. He was real thrilled about that. I thought it was hysterical. Myself, I still think it's funny. I and that's what we did there were there was no discussion about this. Number nine.
If you want to cultivate the spiritual life of your children. Here's another suggestion. Reward your teenagers for having the quiet time we used to double our children's allowance. Any week that they had five nights of quiet time out of the seven nights. Why, because we wanted to encourage them to be in the word of God and let me say finally number 10 moms don't forget it's not just about what we make our children do. It's also about what we model for them to our children see us reading and studying the word of God to our children see us submitting to the authority of God's word over every part of our life to our children see us praying about the everyday issues of life lost keys, parking spaces, what ever to our children see us as mom living authentic Christian lives now. To do this ladies takes a lot of energy. It takes a lot of output but I need to tell you in 30 years of pastoral counseling. The number one lament that I hear from parents whose children are grown, is that they regret that they did not spend more time intentionally cultivating that child's life when they were younger don't have that regret mom do it. Number three. And finally mothering with no regrets, means number three that we follow Hannah's example. In the third panel sacrificed for her children.
First Samuel chapter 2 verse 18 says now Samuel was ministering before the Lord in Shiloh and each year, his mother would make him a new road and bring it up to him. When she came with her husband to offer their annual sacrificed now in these verses do you see personal sacrifice on the part of Hannah because I do think about it now Hannah took time that she could have been spending on herself and instead she spent it making robes for her son Hannah took effort that she could have been spending on herself. She took money that she could have been spending on herself and instead she spent it on her son, Samuel, and this is not even mentioning the mental energy and the spiritual energy and the emotional energy that she certainly spent thinking about Samuel worrying about Samuel writing Samuel praying for Samuel no one.
Brenda and I were very young parents dear godly lady one time said something to us that really formed of the warp and the wolf of much of how we did our parenting. This lady said and I quote she said you either sacrifice for your children or you sacrifice your children and you know we live in a world today where moms are told that raising children doesn't mean that they have to sacrifice their career or that they have to sacrifice their achievements or their fame or their personal fitness or their clothing or the kind of car they want to drive and look, I'm all for mom living a well-balanced life. Don't get me wrong, but when push comes to shove, we all know this lady something has got to be priority number one. And if we want to be mothers who have the fewest regrets possible later in life.
It means that the number one priority in life right behind the Lord Jesus Christ and right behind the health of our marriage cannot be our car are closing our career, our achievements, or anything else.
It has to be our children and so mom when you come home exhausted from a long day at work, or you come in. Exhausted from a long day of running the carpool and you're unable to drive yet teenager says to you hey mom can you take me to the rock tonight. Well, you either sacrifice for your children. Ladies are you sacrifice your children when you're five-year-old on Sunday afternoon says hey mom can you run me back into a wanted tonight and you just got home from church two hours ago hey we either sacrifice for our children. We sacrifice our children when your teenager asks you to go to winter camp using the money that you would already set aside for something else.
When your teenager asks you to use up some of your vacation time so that you can go with him or her on a missions trip to South America or Africa or someplace else. When it's time to have devotions with your child at night or to help them with their memory verses and you're so exhausted that all you want to do is collapse in the bed or when it's time for you to have your own quiet time where you pray for those children and where you recharge yourself spiritually so you can be the kind of mother that they need, but all you really want to do is go to sleep, etc. etc. etc. friends. We either sacrifice for our children. We sacrifice our children. I ran into a little. I guess the word for it is a story very short story called laughter in the walls that speaks to this spot Bob Benson and he really meant a lot to me. I hope it will to you. Here's how it goes and I quote I passed a lot of houses on my way home some pretty some expensive, some inviting but my heart always skips a beat when I turned down the road and see my house.
I guess I'm especially proud of it in the way it looks, because I drew the plans myself. It started out plenty large for us.
I even had a study to teenage boys reside there now and it had a guestroom. My girl and nine Gauls or the permanent residence there now and it had a small room.
Peg had hoped would be her sewing room but two boys swinging on the Dutch door have claimed this room as their own. So it really doesn't look right now.
Like much of an architect, but it will get larger later.
Again, one by one they will go away to work to college to the service to their own houses and then there will be plenty of room for just the two of us, but it won't be empty every corner every room, every Nick in the coffee table will be crowded with memories.
Memories of picnics and parties and Christmases and bedside visuals and winters and summers and leaving for vacation memories of cats and dogs and black eyes and proms and graduations and ballgames and bicycles and meals and a thousand other things that fill the lives of those who would raise five children and Peg and I will sit quietly by the fire and listen to the laughter in the walls and have no regrets" moms grandmom's future moms. This is our goal. No regrets or at least as few as possible and how do we do this well at summarize, we do it number one by seeing our children as a sacred trust from God, and by treating them like fine crystal number two we do it by deliberately and intentionally cultivating the spiritual life of our children and number three we do it by sacrificing for our children instead of sacrificing our children a moms look here.
Look here, I want to say one more thing to before we close and that's this. I don't care how you've done up to this point, or what you've done up to this point is never too late to make a change. Ladies never too late.
If you need to go back and apologize to your children for how you've done it. Up to this point are urge you to do that children don't expect us to be perfect mom. They just expect us to be honest if you made some mistakes. Be honest with them even if they're grown but it's never too late to start mothering like this with the help of the Lord Jesus Christ, you can make a change now and I encourage you to do it. Don't worry about the past, Jesus will redeem the past was just worried about what's the present is and asking the Lord to use this in the present to be a mother like him was pretty with our heads bowed and her eyes closed. I would like right now to pray especially for you moms and you grandmom's a special prayer of dedication. So I wonder what I had gotten eyes close.
If your mom here or grandmom would you stand so that I can pray for you. Please up.
Go ladies, God bless you. Let's pray heavenly father, I want to lift up the women who are standing right now to you moms grandmom's soon to be moms and Lord, I want to ask for your special grace and mercy on their lives. Father, you know that being a mom is hard being a godly mom is really hard being a godly mom who raises children with few regrets is the toughest job in the world and so father, I want to pray for these dear ladies that when they are perplexed that you will give them wisdom, Lord, when they are tired that you will give them strength. Father I pray that when they are discouraged that you will give them encouragement when they are unsure what to do that you will give them discernment and father when they feel like they're making no difference at all is moms often feel. I pray that you would give them hope. Hope that flows out of the word of God which promises them that if they train up their child in the way that child should go when that child gets old, he or she will not depart from it.
Lord, give them a long-range view of their job, not a short range view.pray that you would flood each of these women's lives with the resiliency and the tenacity in the bull dogged determination to do mothering with no regrets.
Lord, we commit these moms and these grandmom's to you.
Bless their lives. Lord, let them understand today how deeply, not only we treasure them. But how deeply you treasure them. We pray these things in Jesus name, all the rest of us said a man ladies happy Mother's Day God bless you legs