Saying No to My Kids

5 days series

By Trillia Newbell

There isn’t much I find more delight in than caring for my children. They are a joy to be with. I could listen to my daughter’s belly laugh and my sons deep, yet still child-like, voice chatter about Superheroes all day long.  I have had four miscarriages and I do wonder if that loss has helped me to see just what a gift from God my children are to me. But even still, when I think about my home and being a homemaker I don’t define myself as a mom first. My central role as a homemaker is to be a follower of Jesus first and a wife to my husband second. And that is why I’m saying NO to my kids and YES to time with Jesus and my husband.

My Identity- In Christ

I am a new creation. The old is gone and with this comes a new identity (Col. 3:10). John Piper explains it like this: “In conversion, our old self died and was laid aside with its impulses and drives and values and loves and convictions. And a new self was created by God. This is called in other places ‘the new birth’ or being born again (John 3:13; 1 Peter 1:3).”

With this new birth comes a new identity. I no longer live for myself. Paul wrote about this new creation in Galatians: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2: 19b-20).  Being identified with Christ means full and free acceptance by God, ability to approach a Holy God, no condemnation, complete forgiveness, righteousness before God, and presentation to God one day as blameless and perfect. Now that’s amazing grace!

One of the most caring and loving things I can do as a homemaker for my children is to acknowledge and live as this new creation. I want to be an example to my children not of a perfect person, I’m not—I make mistakes and my children see them—but as a desperate person. I want to be calling out to God, spending time in His Word and learning all I can about Jesus. I trust that as I live out my identity and pour myself into Christ, my kids will reap the benefits. I may never learn to sew extremely well, I may not have the cleanest home, and I probably won’t be organized enough to pull off the soccer mom role, but by the grace of God they’ll know me as a mom who loved Jesus first and who found my identity in him.

My Role- As Wife

I’m not talking about as a complementarian vs. egalitarian. I’m not talking about being submissive—I already addressed that. What I want my kids to really know is that I loved their father through the thick and thin, and again only by the grace of God, until death do us part.

And when I feel like I don’t love him, I want to love him anyways. Timothy Keller in The Meaning of Marriage writes:

“In any relationship, there will be frightening spells in which your feelings of love dry up. And when that happens you must remember that the essence of marriage is that it is a covenant, a commitment, a promise of future love. So what do you do? You do the acts of love, despite your lack of feeling. You may not feel tender, sympathetic, and eager to please, but in your actions you must BE tender, understanding, forgiving and helpful. And, if you do that, as time goes on you will not only get through the dry spells, but they will become less frequent and deep, and you will become more constant in your feelings. This is what can happen if you decide to love” (Excerpt via Goodreads).

My sweet and loving husband and I will have (have had) times of dryness. I don’t want to pretend they don’t exist. I want to fight- fight by loving him. I want my children to look at my marriage and know that mommy and daddy fought the good fight of faith together and we fought for each other and we fought for their sake and the sake of the gospel. I want them to know that Mommy loves them but that she had to at times say “No” to them to tend to her marriage and to their father.

Practically speaking in the coming weeks my husband and I are going to spend an extended period of time pouring into each other. He has some exciting surprises in-store for him! I can hardly wait. The children won’t be with us which means undivided attention to each other! I’m eager for this refreshing time because I’m certain,  besides pouring my life into all God is, the second most important thing I can do for my children is to say no to them and yes to my husband.

What do you think? Is it easier to identify as a mom first when you are home? Do you see your role as a wife (or a husband if you are reading this) as secondary to your role as a mom?

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4 Comments to “Saying No to My Kids”

  1. Jeri Lynn says:

    We, as Christian wives and moms, do tend to wear lots of hats. And, no matter what “hat” we have on at the time, hopefully Our Father will be seen shining through. When we do prioritize marriage, our children learn by our example. They see first hand that our marriage is a priority and it’s worth applying effort to keep a strong relationship. Those are very valuable lessons!

  2. admin says:

    So true! Thanks for adding your voice. Blessings, Trillia

  3. p says:

    i am not married but when i think of it, God has always shown me i focus too much on kids. i was a teacher and my natural tendency has been to place them first, which is NOT biblical. I think unless a husband is abusive you should always put your husband first b/c you guys are supposed to b one. if you are spending too much time with the kids apart from your husband its defeating the whole point. but im not married so…

  4. admin says:

    Yes, even as a single momma God must be central. So glad you commented and thanks for reading!! Blessings, Trillia