Oh, this series just keeps getting better and better!! I'm bursting at the seams to relay these sweet messages from God. I hope I can do it justice.
Going back to Numbers 24 and Balaam's prophetic words of blessing from God over the children of Israel. . . the second thing He likens their homes to is "gardens by the riverside", which are FRUITFUL and FLOURISHING. Gardens in the Bible usually had rivers beside them or running through them, starting with the description of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2. Just as a garden cannot survive without water, so a mother cannot survive and thrive without living by the water of God's Word and being continually filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus says in John 7, "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water!". . . and in John 15, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me." When Scripture says in Ephesians 5:18, "be filled with the Holy Spirit", the verb tense is continual. It literally means, "continue being filled again and again with the Holy Spirit." And in Isaiah 12, "Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation." God's well never runs dry! We are to continue drawing water from His everlasting well of life so that we will be well-watered gardens in the hearts of our homes. Nancy Campbell talks about not having much time to read and meditate on God's Word when her children were little, so she left her Bible open on the windowsill above her kitchen sink, where she was spending a lot of time. One day when she was overcome with self-pity about having "so much to put up with" from her 4 children under 4, she saw the Bible open to Psalm 103. . . "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits!" That changed her attitude from self-pity to praise in an instant and changed her whole perspective. She began thanking God for her home, and husband, and children. She recommended leaving an open Bible above your windowsill, on the back of the toilet, by the changing table, by the nursing rocker, etc.- wherever you will see it often and receive a fresh watering of God's Word throughout the day.
Proverbs 14:11 says that the tent of the upright will "flourish"- bloom, spread forth. Psalm 128 says "your wife shall be a fruitful vine within the very heart (or recesses) of your home." The heart of the home is where God says we are to be fruitful and flourishing. Nancy had seen a bumper sticker recently that read, "If a woman's place is in the home, why am I always in the car?" She said the temptation even as a stay at home, homeschool mother is to always be going and doing and taking the kids here and there. But the picture God gives us is not one of managing the home from the car. Of course, we will still be going places and be involved in things with church and other activities. A vine spreads out. But the place we will flourish and grow will be our homes. The vines that bear the most luscious, beautiful fruit are the ones that are constantly pruned. The ones that wander freely and wildly end up with shriveled up fruit. We are to be planted in the hearts of our homes!
One place we get deceived as wives and mothers, started out as a good thing. We were made in the image of God, and in that way we were given a drive to take dominion over something. From Genesis to Revelation, what God says about wives is not that they will take the place of their husband as ruler, but that under his covering, protection, and leadership they have a sphere of rulership- within their homes. Often women only have one or two children, whom they send off to school/dance/other activities during the day, and they are left wanting something else to take dominion of so they look for it in a job or even within the church. But if we embrace our roles as "mistresses of our homes" (our husbands as king, we as queen), we will find that fulfillment in managing our homes.
Feminists seek to belittle motherhood because Satan knows it is a powerful thing! He is afraid of godly mothers! So he sends lies into our society that tell us motherhood is only for those who don't have any other skill. That's not what God's Word says at all! Ezekiel 19:10-14 likens Israel to a mother. It says that she is "exalted within the multitude of her branches." The Bible exalts mothers who are "within the multitude of their branches" (in the heart of their home)- in fact, it says "she towers" or "she soars" above the others. God's Word says that motherhood is a highly exalted career!
Genesis 3:20 calls Eve "the mother of all living". She was the prototype of all women who were to come. Women were made to be nurturing life-givers. When you look to God's Word to find out who you really are, you can live in the fullness of all that God created you to be. God placed His maternal heart within the heart of women, who were also made in the image of God. Isaiah 66 is another place where God's maternal heart is shown, "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you." We were created to reveal God's heart to the world! Created to nurture! As we embrace children, the anointing of nurturing blossoms and grows within us.
What about people who are single or barren, or to whom God only grants one or two children? The same applies. All women were made like Eve, with a maternal heart. You can see a single woman fulfilling this by nurturing pets or plants. Mother Theresa, who is considered one of the most exalted "mothers", was single with no children. Yet she embraced her divine, innate maternalness and poured out her heart in self-sacrifice for others. You don't have to have children to embrace the maternalness within you.
What about people who say, "I choose quality over quantity, so I only have one or two children so that I can give them my very best and not have to spread it among so many children"? This is a common misunderstanding. God has enlarged a woman's maternal heart so that she has the capacity to nurture many children. And when there is almost always a baby in the house, the mother has a constant flow of natural nurturing hormones that keep her at home, nurturing, and the other children get to take advantage of it too. There are hormones prolactin and oxytocin that are given off when a woman nurses a baby that cause her to be protective and to relax. Prolactin, the protective hormone, was injected into roosters in a recent study, and the roosters started gathering up the baby chicks and acting like mother hens! HA! Oxytocin, the relaxing hormone, is released when a mother's milk lets down, and causes her to be relaxed and calm. Most women notice an increase in nervous tension when they wean their babies, so Nancy says "just keep nursing those babies and having more!":) Also, having siblings teaches children to deal with other personalities and not to be selfish. It's the best thing you can do for "socialization" of your children.
It's so exciting to see that we were created to be life-givers and nurturers and fruitful vines within the hearts of our homes. That's why it's so fulfililng!
Stay tuned for part 3. . .