Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mother's Day, 2006

2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15
A Mother’s Solution

Today’s world has left women in dire straits. Divorce rates continue to rise, leaving an unprecedented number of women and children in poverty. Violence against women seems to be rocketing out of control. Women are being reduced to objects due to pornography and the sex industry. Evidence is surfacing that an alarming number of women are being trafficked as slaves around the world.

Even the church seems to be caught in this pandemonium. It is said that the divorce rate inside the church is as high as it is outside the church. Recent studies have shown this is not the fact. These studies are showing a remarkable utopia for women who live outside the garbage dump of sin. Socially it can be proven that God’s ways are the best ways.

(Ill.) Susannah Wesley is said to have prayed one hour every day for her children. She was strict. But she was unselfishly faithful. She had six rules for teaching her children the priority of the Savior:
1. Subdue self-will in a child.2. Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak.3. Give him nothing he cries for, and only what is good for him when he asks politely.4. Punish no fault confessed, but let no sinful act to go unnoticed.5. Reward good behavior.6. Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.

Yet in the free-fall of sin, women face many pressures and fears. This morning lets look a few of them.

I. The fear that the children will not grow up right.

A. Men tend to take credit while women take blame.

1. Proverbs 10:1 “A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother.”

(Ill.) Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Well, on one Mother’s Day, Calvin is pictured standing by his mother’s bed. "Hey, Mom! Wake up. I made you a Mother’s Day card." "My, how sweet of you." she says. "I did it all by myself. Go ahead and read it."

She begins to read: "I was going to buy a card with hearts of pink and red. But then I thought I’d rather spend the money on me instead. It’s awfully hard to buy things when one’s allowance is so small. So I guess you’re pretty lucky I got you anything at all. Happy Mother’s Day. There, I’ve said it. Now I’m done. So how about getting out of bed and fixing breakfast for your son." Signed, "Calvin."

"I’m deeply moved." said his mother.

"Did you notice the part about my allowance?" He asks.

a. Ever hear, “that’s my child...”? It is generally in the context of taking credit, being rightfully proud.

b. Ever hear, “your child...”? It is generally in the context of assigning blame when the child does something unacceptable.

2. Somehow the foolishness of a child effects Mom deeply, while Dad seems to continue without much regrets.

a. It seems that women are “hard-wired” to emotionally attach themselves personally to their children.

b. It may be a nurturing instinct. When the child acts foolishly the Mom accepts blame while the Dad figures that the child made their own decision.

3. Accept credit and blame CAREFULLY!

a. You are not the only influence. In fact your good influence may be the only one the child has. (Spoken like a man...)

b. The love of a Mother is extremely powerful but there may be some things it can not overcome.

B. Matthew 15:21 – 28 tells this story:

Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. [22] A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession." [23] Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, "Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us." [24] He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel." [25] The woman came and knelt before him. "Lord, help me!" she said. [26] He replied, "It is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs." [27] "Yes, Lord," she said, "but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." [28] Then Jesus answered, "Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted." And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

1. The daughter was suffering from an outside influence: “My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.”

a. This shattered the loving heart of a Mom.

b. It drove her to desperation...

2. Faith is easier when there are no alternatives.

a. “Beggars can’t be choosy.” Crumbs would be enough!

b. Yet this woman is rewarded with two things:

1.) Her daughter is healed.

2.) Jesus sums up her character in four words, “you have great faith!” (As opposed to the disciples who had “little faith.”)

II. The fear of being a single Mom.

A. With the climbing divorce rate, more women are becoming single Moms.

1. Some think that being a single Mom is better than the alternative.

a. Then they must be coming out of very bad situations.

b. Possibly this may be an excuse (self-justification) for making the choice.

c. Fact is that many times the situation is forced on the woman. Society allows women to become the victim again... of our “no fault” divorce laws.

2. Married women can be “single” Moms too... It’s called an emotionally distant father. [the following is from the 2006 May/June issue of Light and Life, pp 15 – 17]

a. Father’s don’t necessarily connect with children.

b. Father’s just want to have fun... (Ever see a man with children? He becomes one himself! It’s cute for a baby sitter but useless for a father.)

(Ill.) By the time a child reaches 18, a mother has had to handle some extra 18,000 hours of child-generated work. In fact, women who never have children enjoy the equivalent of an extra three months a year in leisure time!

c. Father’s can suffer from domestic life burnout. (Men do not place as high a value on family as women do... generally speaking.)

(Ill.) Aparently, Billy Graham says his favorite story is of a husband who was not very attentive to his wife. But one day he started feeling guilty about that, and decided to change. So on his way home from work he bought a box of candy and some flowers to surprise his wife.He walks up to the door and rings the doorbell. She opens it, and there he stands, candy in one hand, flowers in the other, singing, "I love you truly, truly, Dear." Instantly she starts crying, big old tears just gushing out of her eyes. She sobs, "Oh, Harry! Everything went wrong today. We had a leak in the plumbing. The kids were terrible. The house is a wreck. And now you come home drunk!"

d. Ultimately it may be a problem with our theology of children... (that they are not fully human)

(Ill.) Mothers are the first to get up in the morning, and often the last to get to sleep due to restless children that won’t take bed time seriously….

Moms are the ones who wake the children, feed the children, clothe the children, keep the children occupied, run the children every place they need to go, feed the children again, try to get a least one task accomplished in spite of the children, bathe the children, settle down the children and try to get the children to fall asleep, only to start the process again the next day.

Mothers are the ones who are charged with making their children happy, their husband happy, (if they work outside the home) bosses happy, and if there’s any time left then and only then can they be happy…

Mothers are the ones who are excellent first aid givers. When dad says “you’ll live” mom grabs the Band-Aid for non-existent scrape, and with a simple hug and kiss is always able to make the pain go away….

Mothers are the ones put up with what seems like everyone telling them that they aren’t doing it right, that they should be doing something else, and that, even though their children are well-adjusted, content, and happy, if they don’t change today, their children will become juvenile hoodlums….

Mothers are the ones who, although they’ve completed high school and maybe some college, find their vocabulary slipping away from with short phrases like, “Let mommy fix the boo-boo.” and find themselves repeated phrases constantly like “Don’t do that!” “I said no.” “Get back here.” Get over here.” “Get out of there.” and the like…

Mothers also know a lovely arrangement of Barney, Bob the Builder, Sesame Street, and Clifford the Big Red Dog tunes replacing anything that had learnt previous to motherhood that may be more sophisticated. [Greg Buchner]

B. Genesis 21:14 – 19 tells the story of a single Mom:

Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the desert of Beersheba.

GE 21:15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. [16] Then she went off and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she thought, "I cannot watch the boy die." And as she sat there nearby, she began to sob.

GE 21:17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. [18] Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation."

GE 21:19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

1. This situation was forced on Hagar by “the other woman.” (From Hagar’s perspective.)

a. Sarah suggested the arrangement that Abraham take Hagar as a wife.

b. Hagar and Sarah did not get along prompting intense jealousy after Isaac was born.

c. “Irreconcilable differences.” [Good people can be in conflict that turns ugly... e.g. Paul and Barnabas.]

2. Even though Isaac is the child of the promise, God is still concerned about the life and welfare of Hagar and Ishmael.

a. God is still deeply concerned about the life and welfare of the single Mom and her children.

b. Does it seem like the church isn’t?

III. The fear of having to let go.

A. Reality: we are not “raising children” we are raising adults.

1. You do not want you child to age and remain a child.

a. Our society has correctly identified childish behavior in adults as being unacceptable (or ill).

b. The key issue to raising a health adult is the ability to recognize things from a view point that is not their own.

1.) Selfishness and self-centered behavior causes trouble and bring hurt.

2.) The ability to recognize and admit our mistakes is mature behavior.

3.) The key to all this is to train the child to understand they are not the center of the universe.

2. Other-centered adults are focused on service.

a. There is a balance where a certain amount of our time, energy, resources must be focused on others.

b. The most important other-centered focus is on God. [God asks for a tenth (tithe) of our resources and a seventh of our time (sabbath)].

3. The hardest thing maybe to let go and give the child to the Lord!

B. 1 Samuel 1:24 – 28 tells of a Mom who was able to let go...

After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh. [25] When they had slaughtered the bull, they brought the boy to Eli, [26] and she said to him, "As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. [27] I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. [28] So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD." And he worshiped the LORD there.

1. At one point (before Samuel’s birth) she made a promise.

a. She was still involved in Samuel’s life...

b. BUT there was a critical point where she had to let go.

2. At one point almost every Christian Mom (and Dad) has promised their child to the Lord (baptism or dedication).

a. There is only one way to do this: SET AN EXAMPLE!

(Ill.) A California mother of 10 with the 11th child on the way. One day her 3 year old son was making even the simplest chores difficult to accomplish as she said, "Len . . . was on my heals no matter where I went. Whenever I stopped to do something and turned back around, I would trip over him." Several times she patiently suggested he find fun things to do until he said, "Oh, that’s alright Mommy, I’d rather be in here with you." After several other frustrating incidents she asked him why he was acting this way. She said, ". . . he looked up at me with green eyes and said, ‘Well, Mommy, in Primary my teacher told me to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. But I can’t see Him, so I’m walking in yours.’" [Unknown]

b. Trust God.

3. At some point it is time to for the child to pack up and make a life of their own.

IV. So how should women face these fears and pressures? [2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15]

A. Point your children to Jesus.

B. Teach your children Scripture.

C. Encourage you children to service.

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