Who Do You Follow?
What is carnal mothering? I think it is when we focus more on the teachings of so-called parenting experts than God. It looks something like this: “I am of William Sears; I am of James Dobson; I am of Gary Ezzo; and I am of [insert favorite parenting teacher here]” etc.
Remember what Paul wrote to the Corinthians? “For ye are yet carnal; for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” (1 Corinthians 3:3-9)
This is exactly where I was until recently. I have bounced around nearly every parenting philosophy in my quest to learn how to be a Godly mother. I started off in the Attachment Parenting (AP) group. In fact, I still would be considered an AP Mother since I practice a lot of AP principles. I checked out non-punitive discipline (aka Grace Based Discipline/Positive Discipline). When that didn’t work, I checked out others.
However, when I found myself with the varying situations a mother finds herself in each day, I realized there was a problem when I started to think what the parenting gurus would do, rather than turning to God and asking Him what I should do. Sometimes I’d just rather deal with a Moses than hear from God direct.
Fortunately, God stepped in and brought me to a place, both spiritually and physically, where I had to rely solely on Him. God moved our family to a more remote location, which greatly reduced my online time. I am no longer within walking distance to the local library where I access the internet.
I started to pray for vision in my mothering. Not only did God give me a vision, but showed me how to implement it. Early on in my mothering I was led astray by teaching which focused on “ages and stages” (e.g. “terrible two’s” etc). I became apathetic in prayer for my children thinking everything was “just a phase”. Now I pray about everything and I’m seeing beautiful fruit as a result.
The ideas keep coming, as God pours them into my mind, for keeping house, toilet training, homeschooling and child training, etc.
God still continues to use others in mothering/parenting ministries to encourage, teach, and inspire me. The Above Rubies magazine is a main one. I often find the articles in each issue deal with exactly what is happening in my life at the time.
However, I used to use Titus 2 as an excuse to continue in my carnal mothering. Now I use it as my measuring stick. When I hear/read mothering advice, I check it against the qualities in Titus 2 and ask myself, does it make me love my husband and children? Does it make me want to be sober, discreet, chaste, a keeper at home, good, and obedient to my husband? If it doesn’t measure up, I disregard it.
Since the Lord has freed me from trying to measure up to the parenting gurus, I no longer feel overwhelmed, or in a constant state of “What do I do”. As a result, I am calmer, less grumpy, and more joyful. And the best thing is I am really starting to enjoy my children.
Lihue, Hawaii, USA