I don’t know about you, but I am constantly wondering how I could be a better mom. I’ve read a lot of books and talked to a lot of experienced moms, searching for information that might help in my own child-raising struggles. Sometimes I’ll even manage to put a great idea into practice for about a week, and then I fall right back into the same pattern of begging, yelling and bribing in an effort to squeeze some small amount of obedience from my children. I start the day wanting to set a joyful tone for our home, but I find myself become discouraged and irritable, often by 9:00 a.m. (on good days). I feel like I have the pieces of the puzzle, but I can’t keep them together for more than a couple of hours at a time.
On my search for the answer to these dilemmas, I would hear people talk about spending time daily in God’s Word and in prayer. Honestly, I thought it was a little legalistic and regimented. I knew I should be spending more time with God, but it was so hard to set aside the time. (Strangely enough, I have no problem finding the time to play on Facebook and watch American Idol.)
Then came Bible Study Fellowship. I am finishing my first year in BSF, and I can now say that I have discovered the secret to being a better mom. Those “legalists” were right: the answer is spending time with God daily. (Or almost daily, in my case–just being honest!) I still fall short over and over again . . . take this morning, for example, when I was yelling at Christopher about 30 minutes before leaving for BSF. But I find myself less discouraged, less irritable, more joyful, and handling the rough spots in my life much better than I did a year ago. I know the reason for this is that God has been convicting me of my sin and teaching me about His character and truth through my study of His Word. I look forward to becoming even more wise, self-controlled and joyful in my parenting as He teaches me more.
At this point, you might be thinking, “This BSF has a parenting class?” That’s the crazy part about it. I’ve been studying the Gospel of Matthew this year. From the book of Matthew, I’ve learned huge lessons about materialism, obedience, forgiveness, relying on God’s strength, worship, contentment, being a better wife and mom, and so much more. God’s Word is always effective–when it goes out, it never returns void–so no matter what you are studying in God’s Word, He knows what you need and He will teach you through His Truth. It shouldn’t have taken me this long to figure out: Christ tells us in John 15:4-5 that we need to abide in Him. Jesus said that He is the Vine, we are the branches, and we cannot bear fruit apart from Him. It is only by being connected to the Vine that we can accomplish what He has called us to do.
So if you want to be a better mom (or wife, or daughter, or friend), let me encourage you to plug yourself into the only Vine that can provide what you need. If you do not have a Bible study that challenges you to daily study God’s Word and apply it to your life, check to see if there is a BSF group in your area. You can search for BSF classes near you by going to www.bsfinternational.org. It is very likely that your local BSF will be having an intro class during the week of May 12, when you could hear more about BSF and register to be in the class in the fall. If you are reading this after the week of May 12, you can attend intro classes in September and not be too far behind. Two things I love about BSF are the weekly lessons that hold me accountable to be in God’s Word throughout the week and the children’s program for children ages 2 and up. It is not just child care–the children study the same passage as we do, and the program is fabulous.
I’m amazed as I look back at my blog entries since September–almost all of them have been influence in some way by my BSF studies. If you are like me, struggling to keep the puzzle pieces together, please take the time to find a Bible study that will keep you daily connected to the Vine. If you would like more information about BSF, leave me a comment and I will get in touch with you.