“Your daughter is rather wild and free, isn’t she?” folks would say to my mother with raised eyebrows. Yes, that was me! As a young girl, I would finish my jobs around the house and leap and bound over the fields, waving my arms in the air and yelling at the top of my lungs, “I’m free! I’m free!” No one could be within two feet of me or I would feel confined! Why did people make cars when you could sit on the back of a truck with the wind blowing through your hair? Extra clothes? Hindrances! There was a time when only one garment hung in my wardrobe!
I had an overdeveloped urge to be free. Nobody in their right mind could imagine me married, let alone having children! My father always said that if I ever said “Yes” to a man, there would be a major earthquake or war would break out! Well, - I was living in Israel when I eventually said “Yes” and the Gulf War broke out the next day! Guess what else? I am now happily married with 10 beautiful children - and what’s more, I am mothering free!
But I am not the only one with a drive to be set free! Creation itself groans and labors with birth pangs. It yearns to be set free from the slavery of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.1
That’s not all. I too have heard groaning. It’s the cry of mothers, grooooaaaaning like the groans that rise from fields of slavery. But this slavery is not due to color, tribe, religion or race. It’s from bad attitudes that enslave the heart. For as a women thinks, so she is! We need to leave the negative fields of slavery behind and revolt in the name of Jesus! The status quo crowd can yell all they like, “You’re a little wifey without any lifey!”
The truth is…
1. You are not a member of the status quo crowd!
2. You are a nurturer! If we try to become or do what we are not, we are going against natural rules and we enter into anarchy or bondage mothering! Freedom Mothering is releasing and freeing, for it follows God’s divine decree. God counsels us to love our husband and children, to be obedient to our husband, to be keepers of our homes and be good and kind.2 Not that hard. But oh how many emotional hours are spent wishing away what we are told to do. In Job 38:2 God cries out, “Who is this who darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” We must not allow our puny humanistic attitude to darken God’s counsel.
3. You are born for the job! You are distinctively individual, yet woven and created from birth to bear and nurture children of promise, whose individual destinies can impact the world.
Before you can step into freedom, you have to stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop talking to your friends about how hard your life is. Stop having pity parties. The Bible says that the truth will set you free!3
Are you ready for the truth? Are you ready to take the chains off?
Freedom mothering is not getting out of mothering – it’s getting into it!
It’s getting free from the bondages that hinder motherhood.
“What should mothers be free from?” I asked unsuspecting mothers, fathers and children who walked along my path over the last several weeks. As you read their responses, your hand too might pop up in agreement too.
Free from Chaos
The collective plea from all was to be free from chaos! Chaos is the opposite of order. I believe we cannot be truly free, unless we have our lives in order!
Free from Whining Children
Mothers want freedom from whining, crying, bratty children! Let’s all raise our hands for this one! We cannot have order unless we have order with our children! I love to let my children play hard. They blow off billows of steam outside playing knights, cowboys, daredevils and cooking in the mud etc. but when they come in around suppertime, they come into “Twilight Time” - dim lights, candles, soft music and a peaceful atmosphere. This really helps to melt and mellow the wild ones and cut down on bratty behavior. Try it! Of course, any fighting or excessive yelling needs discipline. Just do it with love.
Free from Toy Box Blues
Is there any order to this mess? ‘Stuff’ does not have order! It clutters our life. We can’t see, think straight, or even make decisions because we have too much ‘stuff’! Luke 9.25 says “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul.” Ladies, we might not be losing our souls, but we are losing our minds trying to gain stuff and then keep it somewhere!
My sisters and I have recently coined another motto for our lives: “We are running after children – not stuff!” A lot of us run after things that do not make for peace and freedom mothering. It is better to concentrate on keeping our children in order rather than stuff. Let it go and be free! Things do not make you rich! Children do! Children do not need another toy - they need you! Excess toys create fights, chaos and mess. I hate them!
My children gave all their extra toys and stuff away. I then procured a dining room cabinet and gave each child their own drawer in which to keep their toys and precious possessions. They each look after their drawer and love to give the extra away when it overflows. And I don’t have to look at an ugly toy box!
Free from Excess Laundry
Laundry! Frown no more. It is fun when you limit the amount of clothes you own. In our family, for the sake of peace, space and efficiency we have one tub per child. Anything that overflows the tub we give away, otherwise we end up standing on clothes. With nine people in our two-roomed cabin and living on the land with no sown grass, let me tell you, we have mud! But I do not exceed two loads of laundry a day. I do one load in the morning when I wake and turn on the knob for the second load as I jump into bed at night. The beautiful hum helps me go sleep. The washing machine is not my enemy but my friend.
Free from Fear of Others
Don’t take too much stock of what people think of you. Don’t be ruled by what the Joneses think. Be ruled by what Jesus thinks. It’s okay to enjoy mothering the way you want to! Climb out of the mold of what other mothers look like. Be yourself, for crying out loud, and God will be happy too! He does not want to love ‘dear Peggy Sue’ twice over. He loves ‘dear Peggy Sue’ and ‘weirdMary Lou’, just the way He made them!
Free from Discouragement
When we feel alone or blue, we too easily rush to the phone or nearest book, person or place - anywhere but God himself. It is much easier to look at a magazine than to take the time to find out what God wants for you and your children! Instead, cry out, “God, encourage me. Call forth the greatness in my children and me - everything you made us to become - the dreams, visions and soul yearnings.” His words will feed and fill you! Praise Him and watch your prison doors burst open!
Free from Yelling and Divorce
This was an answer that many of the children gave to me. We yell when we are out of control. Let’s bring our lives and homes into order and let’s have no more divorce. Divorce is rampant but we would be blind to think that it is just from husbands. Many women try to divorce themselves from spending time with their children, rather than embracing them. Where is the mother’s heart that cries out, “Give me children, or else I die?”4 Now we often hear, “Take them from me, anywhere, just take them else I die!” “Anywhere” could be - excess daycare, television, movies, other people, anything other than deal with our blessings in front of us!
Why do we have to sacrifice our children for our dreams? Who knows? Maybe they will carry them on! King David’s dream to build God a house extended to the next generation!5 We need to have long-sighted vision, rather than short-sighted vision where our dreams end with us. God thinks generationally, not only individually. Pass on your vision.
Psalm 45.16 says, “Your sons will take the place of your fathers, you will make them princes throughout the land. I will perpetuate your memory through all generations, therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.”
Wow! When a woman matures from having an ‘all about me, daddy’s daughter mentality’ into the place of mothering the next generation, she makes an impact on the world! She perpetuates her memory through the generations. Mothering becomes her greatness and glory! Live for something greater than yourself and find your feet on the way to freedom!
God threw me a whammy the other day while reading about one of the most wicked women in the Bible. There once lived a mother called Athaliah (Queen Jezebel’s daughter), who killed all the royal sons, including her own, so she could be the queen!6 For the next week, this story faced me everywhere I went or every time I opened the Bible. “What are you trying to tell me, God?” I cried. “I mean, what mother in her right mind would sacrifice her children, just to have the limelight?” Then it hit me – whammo! We sacrifice our children in order to fulfill our careers, our missions, our visions, and our limelight! It is rampant even in the Christian world. Do we have the same spirit as Athaliah? May God show us the areas where we have been needlessly sacrificing our children in order to take the stage! It is time to gird ourselves like Samuel, fill our horn with oil, break the bound vision where our dreams end with us, and anoint the new order, the new generation!7
Our true source of freedom is Christ! He calls us to jump on the freedom train and ride out our life in freedom! The whistle is blowing – who is riding with me?
Your friend, Vangi.
Primm Springs, Tennessee, USA
Howard and Evangeline are blessed with 10 children – 21 years to 4 year.
1) Romans 8:21-22
2) Titus 2:4-5
3) John 8:32
4) Genesis 30:1
5) Genesis Chapters 28 and 29; 2 Chronicles Chapters 6 and 7
6) 2 Chronicles 22:10-12; 23:1-15
7) 1 Samuel 16:1-15