One of the things I love most about being a mom is how it’s opened up my heart to caring for others in ways I hadn’t thought of before.
Before I had children, I was sort of stuck in my own little self-obsessed world because I only had myself to worry about (and my husband, of course, but we both worked a lot and didn’t really see each other all that much back then).
Sad, I know.
As a mom, I had to learn to selflessly care for another person. The kind of love that kids require.
I’m glad I am called to do this, and I’ve found my children’s activities expose me to all sorts of needs in the community.
For instance, now that my oldest is in school, I’ve learned that there are kids out there who really don’t have food to eat at home. They come to school hungry & cranky on Monday because either they are homeless without a consistent supply of food or their parents are unwilling or unable to provide the sustenance they need for one reason or another.
I also know that there are kids who were never read to as toddlers or enriched at home; they’re the ones who come to Kindergarten without a basic understanding of letters and colors.
This knowledge has driven me to become passionate for food insecurity causes. I now volunteer quite a bit with my local Backpack Buddies program, a program that sends food home on the weekend with needy children.
I’m also getting interested in early childhood literacy efforts now that I’m aware of the issues out there.
My Kids Make Me a Better Person, Which Helps Me Teach Them to Be Better Citizens
It’s not that I didn’t care about these types of things before I had kids. I’m certainly not saying other people without kids don’t care.
However, I can say in my case, being forced out into the community by the things I do with my kids has helped me become a better person.
It’s helping me learn lessons that I can pass onto my children. My oldest two have already started helping with Backpack Buddies packing sessions and I couldn’t be happier.
Before we arrive, I always explain what we’re going to do and why we do it. They’ve seen me shop for the food, and they helped me unload it into the storage room at church.
Now they’re seeing the food go into bags.
In a year or two I plan on taking them on delivery runs so they can see the next step in the process. It’s been a great family experience.
Faith & Kids
Last, but not least, another way my kids have helped me is that we started attending church regularly again.
When I was a little more self-absorbed pre-kids, I didn’t feel the need to go to church regularly. My husband and I grew up going to church (him more so than me). We still believed, but kind of fell away because we thought we were OK without focusing on the Lord, just keeping Him in our peripherals.
My husband and I believe it’s important for kids to have a strong spiritual background, so we set an arbitrary deadline of resuming church attendance by our oldest’s 3rd birthday.
We slowly got back into the church groove and found a wonderful church family.
Because of this, our kids understand Jesus and are beginning to learn Christian principles. In their own way, they know that believing in Jesus, that He died for our sins, and turning their lives over to Him are the way to Heaven. And it’s amazing how this opens their hearts to others even at such a young age. In fact, my oldest has started purposely inviting friends to church because she realizes just how important it is!
Since we’ve been consistent with our church attendance now for several years, I’ve begun attending a Bible study at a local church with a few of my friends. At this Bible study of about 400 women all in my community, I’ve begun to learn what it really means to apply the principles of the Bible to my everyday actions.
I’ve learned more than just the basic principles and can now begin to turn to Scripture to think through the right action in any situation. It’s been very liberating to know that there is a right answer for any sticky question. I just have to be willing to look for it and apply it in my life. It’s not easy because sometimes what I find out isn’t what I want to do. But I know it’s what I should do if I’m living life as a true believer.
My most recent favorite verses, and ones that help me with my volunteer efforts are:
Luke 6:38 – “Give, and it will be given to you…For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
I’ve learned from my in-depth study of Luke that Jesus expects us to give all that we have to others who need it and ask for it, even if they take it ungratefully. That’s been a hard lesson to learn, but it’s an important one because I realize ultimately my riches are not on earth but in Heaven.
I love Luke 6:38 because it shows us that how we treat others is how we will be treated in the end. So that makes it kind of easy to make the right decisions in all areas of my life, whether it’s how much money to donate or how much of myself to give to a friend in need.
Learning to Love My Enemies
Luke 6: 28-30 – Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.…”
This one lesson has made me come to terms with a few acts of robbery that have happened to me in the last few years. Although I’m not fine with being burglarized, I realize that I shouldn’t dwell on these incidents because ultimately it doesn’t do me any good. I now know the expanded meaning behind the common saying, “Turn the other cheek.” It’s not an easy pill to swallow by any means. I mean, who wants to just let someone steal from them?
I realize now that my focus should be on helping people like the ones who took from me to find Jesus so they will eventually learn why what they did was wrong. I know that’s almost an impossible task, but I’m willing to take on the Great Commission. Starting with one kid and one family in need at a time.
So I wrote this whole long post to say I owe it to my kids for turning me on this path, which has ultimately led to a much stronger sense of Christian beliefs in my life and a sense of inner peace in this chaotic world. I am a better person for it and look at the “bad” things in my life in a whole new light.