How To Prevent Hardness of Heart
In order for our homes to thrive and flourish we must guard with all diligence against hardness of heart toward our kids. It has no place in motherhood and can destroy that happiness, yet in big ways and in small ways we let it creep in. This hardness often begins so subtly, with the smallest acts of selfishness…but left unchecked can grow to become a raging fire of wrath, anger, distance, slander, hatred and bitterness.
We’ve all heard that being a parent is work. And now that I have five kids I can say I absolutely agree. But that work is far different than I ever imagined and far more challenging than I thought it might become when I was in those blissful, sleepy, fresh out of the hospital, cuddly, baby-smell, newborn days.
When I write that motherhood is tough I’m not talking about the never ending demands that come as often as the waves of the ocean. I’m not referring to sleepless nights taking care of sick kids, the piles and piles of laundry that will never ever ever be complete. I’m not talking about the dirty dishes that have been in the sink since last Sunday, the dishwasher you’ve unloaded for the third time today, figuring out where to put the shoes (good lord why are there so many shoes???), mastering the meal plans, figuring out the discipline strategies, or organizing bedrooms, calendars, sock drawers, garages, seasonal bins, closets, toys, and fitness plans.
I’m talking about grueling, gut wrenching, goes-against-everything-you-feel work.
To flourish as a mother, we need to be:
- choosing to daily lay down your life for your family
- looking for ways to love, to pursue, and being relentless to leave no room for distance between you and your children
- constantly thinking past what your kids mouths are saying and what your kids bodies are doing, to seek out what it is their heart is craving and what they’re souls are needing
- loving when your kids are unlovable, and respecting them when they are not respectable, and pressing on with all joy and compassion when not a single one thinks of what it is you need in return
- making time to be present, to connect, to see, to listen, to care and to be a friend.
- engaging with the hearts of your kids, to unceasingly pursue peace and unity within the walls of your home and to refuse to allow your heart to become discontent or allow your mouth to grumble
- seeing your children as a gift and to be diligent to treat them like one…even when, or should I say, especially when, they don’t deserve it
- finding new mercy, new strength and new joy every morning
- celebrating the mundane, the messy and the monotonous
It’s work to defer your own preferences, your own agendas and your own feelings in order to pursue unity, love and compassion. It’s work to constantly, continually and unreservedly lay down what you want for the good of those around you, considering others as more important than yourself.
God wants us to cultivate what we have been given so as not to destroy it. But in motherhood the reality of what we have been given is often far more challenging than we ever would have anticipated.