Parenting: Identifying Selfish Love

Michelle Duggar (mother of 19 children)..... A selfless mom that I admire.

Have you ever considered how we can possess and demonstrate “selfish love” in our roles of parenting? How is this portrayed to others and how does it affect them? I have recently been challenged with the many ways that I have loved because of selfish motives instead of sacrificially loving my children as God would want me to.

I have four different friends that I would like for you to meet. These are women who symbolize many various individuals whom we meet on a daily basis. You may be surprised by how many of these women exist. I had no idea until I became one of them.

I would like for you to meet Jamie. She is a friend who has always deeply longed for a child of her own but has never been able to experience this world of “motherhood.” She wonders what it would be like to hear that she is, indeed, pregnant. She hears you talking about how your children are driving you crazy with their insistent chatter and all the demands that they bring to you. She can only imagine how motherhood is a tough challenge and how difficult it is to make the sacrifices to share your whole life with these little ones who need so much attention. She doesn’t condemn you but she secretly wonders if you realize the special gifts that have been given to you. Do you know how amazing it is to hear a little innocent toddler throw her arms around your neck and call you, “Mommy?” She cringes when she sees you choosing not to have any more children because you are concerned about what others would say. Your reputation is very important to you. Jamie sees that many times parents decide to have children for their own pleasure. Then when parenting gets more demanding or takes more energy than anticipated, they decide to jump ship and say, “One child is definitely enough!”

Next, I would like for you to meet my friend named, Grace. Grace has been able to bring two children safely into the world. She is so thankful for this privilege but there is a loss that she feels for the babies that she was never able to hold in her arms. Her dream has always been to have a large family but she has had multiple miscarriages and realizes that her dream will never cross paths with reality. She sees you deciding that you are done having children after you see the financial strain that it puts on you. When you are in your final weeks of pregnancy, Grace hears you complaining about your swollen ankles and how difficult it is for you to sleep at night. She wonders what it would be like to carry a baby for so long with no fear of whether the baby will be healthy enough to survive outside of the womb. She knows it isn’t always easy to be positive but she wonders if you truly know how much that you have been blessed. She longs for her womb to again be able to produce life instead of it ending in death. Grace is aware that many parents choose to have children because of the security it brings them. When they are old and need someone to care for them, they are hoping that their children will then be available to assist them. She is saddened by this fact because she has seen how this brings no true security as a life can be taken in a moments notice.

Eileen is a mom who has been blessed with this great calling of motherhood. As you express frustration about your children’s indoor wrestling matches, another pair of good pants that are ruined with grass stains and one of your tea cups broken because of an energetic toddler jumping on the couch, she wonders what that would be like. She almost feels envious of  minor bumps and bruises that you have to tend to because that means your children are healthy and active like children should be. Do you know how lovely the sound would be to her ears to hear her children running through her house. She doesn’t think you shouldn’t train your children but she just wonders if you know how incredibly blessed you are because you never had to hear the heartbreaking diagnosis that she received. Her children will never be mobile or be able to run and play or dribble a basketball. Eileen will never have her children’s assistance with household responsibilities like the majority of other moms experience but this doesn’t stop her from finding true joy in caring for the special needs of her dear children.

Cathy hears you complain about your rebellious teenagers and all the demands that they bring. You have to spend so much money in paying for auto insurance, clothes and college. In spite of all that, they never seem to appreciate or respect you! You talk about their dating experiences and then help them plan their weddings. Cathy wonders what it would be like if her son would have been able to live for a few more years. What career would he have chosen? What would her “angel” look like today? She would give up everything just to be able to buy him some new clothes again or pay for his auto insurance! She wonders if you are talking to your children in the same way that you would if you knew that it was their last day with you. Cathy knows that deep within her heart, she will always carry the raw pain of missing her son and not being able to watch him grow up, to her grave.

Whether you have felt that pain of loss from infertility, miscarriage, premature birth, a disabling disease or the death of a child, you are keenly aware of the miracle of life and how very precious each child is. I know that we are all very human and we experience many emotions and frustrations. I am not trying to bring condemnation but my desire is for you to understand that you have been given the most difficult but also the most rewarding task (if it’s done God’s way!) for a woman. You are raising a child…a precious soul who is created in the likeness of God. Ask your Heavenly Father to teach you how to parent His’ way.

Let’s hug our children a bit closer, talk a little kinder and love a bit more unselfishly!

Cindy Mullett

Our two "miracle girls"!

P.S. For those of you who are wondering…I have experienced 8-10 years of infertility and my doctors informed me that I would never be able to become pregnant again. God intervened but I was heart broken when I experienced 3 miscarriages. We have experienced the disheartening news of a life changing diagnosis for 2 of our babies and 2 different encounters of very aggressive cancers in our oldest child. Currently, we are walking the journey of grief as we continue to miss our son, Austin, who went to be with the Lord on Oct. 31, 2010.

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15 Responses

  1. Sue Esh says:

    Cindy I do luv how you share from your heart!! May God bless you in many ways this week as you continue to be a wonderful mother while still reaching out to many others!! You are truely a blessing!!!

  2. Marian King says:

    Cindy, I really enjoyed that entry. thank you for sharing in that way. The good Lord just blessed us with another baby. Its a girl! We are thrilled but with it comes many adjustments! Thanks for your reminder in being mothers God is calling us to! Don’t know if you remember who I am. We were at the Shady Maple banquet and my son was the one who wanted to clean your bag out!!!! God bless you in many ways as you care for your family. I am praying for another pregnancy for you,a miracle son!!!!!!!!!

  3. Marilyn (sis) says:

    Very touching and oh so true….We often do not realize what we have or maybe how much we focus on ourselves in stead of our children and God’s gifts to us!!! I was inspired and challenged.

  4. Pam says:

    Cindy, my brother told me about your son dying last year. I know your hearts are broken, even as your tried to brace for such a thing. I prayed for your comfort from the Holy Spirit, then and now.
    This is so well written! God has not only blessed you with children, but with a writing talent! Keep glorifying Him with your writing. He is pleased.

  5. Lena says:

    Cindy, thanks so much for posting this! It is such a good reminder for me too! As you know, we also experienced infertility for 13 years! So I well remember those aches & longings for children & how hard it was to hear Moms complain about their children! Now we have been blessed with 2 very dear children ages 2 & 4! We are so thankful to God for these two miracles! But it’s amazing how quickly I can forget that at times & complain about a messy house or whatever! So this has been a great reminder for me to cherish these blessings! I truly want to mommy “HIS” way also! Bless you for sharing your heart!

  6. Duane says:

    Thanks Sue! God bless you as you serve Him in your role as mother.~Cindy

  7. Duane says:

    Hi, Sweet Sis! Thanks for the encouragement! I love you! Cindy

  8. Duane says:

    Pam, Thank you so much for praying for our family. We feel very blessed to be on the receiving end of those prayers. We have felt them in an amazing way. Thank you for the words of blessing that you have spoken to me as well. God bless you and yours. ~Cindy

  9. Duane says:

    Hi Lena! It was great to hear from you again. I know that you are very grateful for your little miracles. Yes, I know that we are all still very human and find ourselves complaining and forgetting to focus on our blessings. How well I know this! We all need to be reminded and encourage each other until we are able to experience perfect relationships in our home in Heaven. Thanks for your comment. ~Cindy

  10. Janelle Burkholder says:

    Thank you, Cindy, for the poignant reminder of what Godly Motherhood looks like. I can relate to what Lena said, how after experiencing pain (Chelsea’s cancer and death) you think you will forever be ecstatically grateful for your children, yet as time moves along Satan attempts to steal our hearts wherever he can. And all too soon we can become self absorbed and resent the sacrifice of motherhood. I needed this reminder today! 🙂

    Blessings, Janelle

  11. Twila says:

    Thanks for the reminders to cherish the children I DO have. I always dreamed of a big family, since I grew up with 8 siblings and loved it. But after 2 children, God did not bless us with any more. I am so thankful for the two He did give us. I try to remember to enjoy every moment with them and I am realizing how quickly they are growing up!
    Yes, human nature creeps in from time to time and we take the life, the health, we have, for granted.
    Thanks again for taking time to remind me of the blessing I have TODAY!

  12. Duane says:

    Janelle, This is so very true! I think the most critical thing to remember is…it’s not so important how many times we fall but how quickly we recover from the fall. When we fail, we need to be very intentional in making things right as soon as possible. Our children know when we have a wrong attitude whether we acknowledge it or not. God bless you as you continue to serve Him with your high calling of Motherhood. ~Cindy

  13. Duane says:

    God bless you, Twila, for your encouragement and for your heart that yearns to embrace all that God has for you. Even though your life doesn’t look exactly like you would have envisioned, it brings Him so much glory when you continue to trust and focus on the many blessings He has given you. Thank you for making this choice! ~Cindy

  14. Fransene Miller says:

    Cindy, I remember being embarrassed when I found I was PG again when Victoria was only 8 months old. I was shy about telling people for fear of what they would think. Then, of course, I miscarried. I repented!!! Then I had more miscarriages and years of not conceiving. I was cured permanently of complaining about anything to do with having children! Now I am so grateful with the six God has given me, special needs and all!

    Thank you for sharing this. I think it is a big blind spot for many…at least it was for me.

  15. Duane says:

    Wow, Fransene! That is quite a testimony. Thank you so much for sharing it. It is hard when God allows us to learn the hard way but we need to remind ourselves that He chastens those whom He loves. I am so glad for his forgiveness to me during the many, many times when I fail in my role of mothering. ~Cindy

    PS. It was so good to be able to share our hearts with you on Sunday!

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