When you just need to hear you matter

Sally Clarkson has followed the beat of God’s heart for moms during more than three decades of personal ministry. Her books and messages, born out of her own family life, are woven into the fabric of my own life tapestry, bringing color and beauty wherever her thread runs. She has given her whole heart to helping parents raise wholehearted children for Christ with faith, grace, love, and joy.  No one has mentored me quite like Sally Clarkson, who has poured tea for me—and poured life into me—from a deep well of wisdom and a well-lived life. She has raised four children, now grown, who are walking the path of life with God, already leaving the marks of His image on their worlds. It is a delight to invite her to the farm’s front porch today . . .

guest post by Sally Clarkson

One early morning years ago, I found myself almost unable to get out of bed.

The exhaustion of three weeks of sleepless nights followed by a constant stream of demands by three little human beings under five years old were the unintentional culprits of my weariness.

The only thing that allured me at that moment was a very strong cup of English tea.

Just as I took my first sip, my four-year-old happily padded into the room and smiled to see that I was awake. I must admit, my stomach turned just a bit, knowing my alone time was about to disappear.

“Mama, can I sit next to you before the boys wake up?”

I made room, and she squished beside me. This little blonde-haired, blueberry-eyed delight had won her way deep inside my heart the moment she was born.

“Mama, I was thinking in bed this morning that probably when I was inside your tummy, I always wished when I came out to the world that I would have a mama like you who would kiss me, read to me, make cheesy eggs, and make me feel happy inside. I think you are the best mama!”

This little angel, in the form of a wiggly four-year-old, transformed my heart.

Somehow her words made me feel, for a moment, that all my giving of myself and my time and my body really mattered.

Joy Prouty

Joy Prouty

Now, as a grandmother who raised my four children to adulthood, I still remember her words.

And I feel more than ever that a mother’s love is a power that truly shapes, transforms, and changes our world.

But sometimes we just need to hear the words of appreciation and believe once again that our lives and our giving truly matter for a higher purpose than we see in the mundane moments.

A mother can shape the way her child perceives the love of God by embodying unconditional love through her caresses, kisses, nurturing, and singing.

A mother can shape the spiritual formation of a child by being fully alive in her own faith in front of her child.

A mother can shape a child’s whole understanding of the world by teaching and modeling her ideals while walking life side by side, holding her little one’s hand in work and play, and whispering the secrets of life into his or her little receptive heart.

A child’s view of human beings, family, marriage, church, and education is shaped through the mundane and sublime moments of life shared over years.

But motherhood is also hard.

The day in, day out, relentless needs of children can spin us into a tornado of demands that tax us mamas to our toenails.

The sleepless nights, the making of meals, the settling of fusses, the bedtime and breakfast routines conducted over and over again without the seeming notice or appreciation of anyone drain us every day.

As I was writing this, I had to take stop because my own daughter needed a break from two weeks of sleepless nights with her first child, who is just over a year old.

I sat on crumpled bedsheets, intertwined with a soft, pink blanket and a half-drunk bottle of milk. After holding my tiny grandchild and soothing her demanding wails, I felt her small, fragile body finally begin to relax into the deep, sound sleep she so desperately needed.

She—and her mama and I—were all sorely in need of rest.

After succumbing to the terrible respiratory infection our whole family had shared with her, she had cried for a full half hour as she gasped and wheezed to clear her congested lungs. Now, as she slept with little rattles emerging from her open mouth, she looked like a little angel to me—so very precious and dear to my heart.

As I sat in the growing darkness, I actually thought of you mamas who are hidden in your acts of worship to God every day as you care for the little ones He has trusted into your hands.

I know that every day your life is challenging, demanding, and perhaps isolated as you fulfill this important role.

But you are my heroes. You are shaping the history of the next generation by choosing to be a lifegiving mother.

As I look back on the years of mothering my own four children to adulthood, I am more convinced than ever that God specially designed us to be lovers, teachers, spiritual directors, friends, and so much more to our children. Mamas civilize the world through the legacy of their children.

When we become God’s agents in passing on lifegiving messages to our children, we are serving Him and His Kingdom purposes in meaningful ways.

We sacrifice our lives so they can go into the world spiritually strong, emotionally healthy, and with virtuous character intact.

Yet because we only have so much energy, we can become empty and exhausted as we spend our mom-coins and pour out our lives every day. And if you are like me, no one prepared you for this task.

You had no idea what a marathon life as a mom would be—the years on end of giving, loving, feeding, correcting, clothing, and serving—with seemingly no end in sight.

The reality is that each of us needs to fill up on a regular basis to create a sustainable and fruitful life for ourselves.

I dreamed of giving little bits of truth, encouragement, and inspiration in bite-size pieces to mamas to help them keep going. Hearing the whispers of God’s wisdom every day is something that will keep us walking this road of faithfulness.

You are not alone. God sees you and is with you. 

I am praying for you and count you as a woman of great worth because you are giving your life to bring His life to your precious children.

May He give wind to your sails and guide you through your journey with His generous grace and unfailing love.

It is my hope that my new book will give you a bit of His love, wisdom, and hope every day to encourage you in your journey of faithfulness.

And that most of all, in each moment, you will know His presence and love every step of the way.

 

Sally Clarkson has been giving parents help and hope for more than three decades, mostly through Whole Heart Ministries, the Christian home and parenting ministry that began in 1994. Sally’s extensive ministry has influenced countless mothers through 22 years of conferences, Mom Heart groups, her blog and her podcast (At Home with Sally—more than 6 million downloads), and now her LifewithSally.com membership site. Her nearly 20 books, including Mom Heart MomentsDesperate, and The Lifegiving Home, encourage mothers around the world.

In Mom Heart Moments: Daily Devotions for Lifegiving Motherhood, Sally provides 365 days of inspiration—one devotion for each day of the year—to give mamas wisdom for each day through biblical insight, personal family stories, and a verse of Scripture each day. Sally provides understanding, wisdom, and tools to equip mothers to find strength and heart motivation every day to understand that their faithfulness in this profound role will last for all eternity.

[ Our humble thanks to Tyndale House for their partnership in today’s devotion ]