Dane Skelton

    Dane Skelton is the Pastor of Faith Community Church and the author of Jungle Flight: Spiritual Adventures at the Ends of the Earth, a book of true stories from the ministry of JAARS (formerly Jungle Aviation and Radio Service). His second book, Papua Pilot: Flying the Bible to the Last Lost Peoples, co-authored with the late Paul Westlund, is now available on Amazon.com and Christianbook.com.
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    • May7Wed

      SLAYING THE DRAGONS OF MOTHERHOOD

      May 7, 2014
      Filed Under:
      Theology
      Some years ago I rendezvoused with motorcycling friends in Robbinsville, North Carolina to ‘slay the dragon that lives in Deals Gap. The Dragon is the road that runs across Deal’s Gap in the Appalachian Mountains into Tennessee. It’s called The Dragon because it has 318 turns in 11 miles. The idea is to ride the whole 11 miles without stopping – pull-offs are precious few – and without giving in to motion sickness at the end.  Around the 200th turn you start to feel like the needle on a sewing machine permanently set on zig/zag. You wonder if your life has ever been anything but a zig/zag. It can wear you down, disorient you, and test the limits of your endurance. (It’s Great!). When finished you put this little pin on your leather jacket that says, “I slew The Dragon.”

      I don’t know many moms who ride motorcycles. But I do know moms who fight with dragons. Their dragons aren’t twisty roads, but they can wear mom down, disorient her, and test the limits of her endurance.

      Mom’s do many things in a home. They set the emotional thermostat, they run the home economic system; these days they bring home the bacon almost as often as they fry it. They serve as head nurse, educator, disciplinarian, counselor, companion, cook, cleaner, and decorator. The list has as many tasks as The Dragon has turns.

      But there are also unseen dragons in a mother’s life that threaten to disable her. Today I want to give moms some weapons to fight these dragons.

      SLAYING THE DRAGON OF INADEQUACY
      One Mom told me, “Inadequacy is a huge issue for Moms. Kids don’t come with instruction manuals.”

      Most moms have very high expectations of themselves. They believe that they should be perfectly loving, perfectly calm, perfectly rational and stable in any situation. But when Johnny drops his milk for the 5th time and Sally is screaming in the bathroom and Suzanne asks the same question for the 45th time mom runs head long into The Dragon of Inadequacy.

      One mom told me, “You really begin to feel inadequate when you can’t fix things for them.”

      I said, “What do you mean?”
          
      “When they’re little you can fix pretty much everything with a Charlie Brown Band-Aid and a kiss. When they get older and their first boy-friend dumps them or they don’t make the soccer team or their best friend moves away or worse, you can’t fix it anymore and you feel inadequate.”

      Mom’s also feel inadequate when other women with full-time careers outside the home ask: “And where do you work? What do you do?”

      Author and preacher Tony Campolo has some advice for stay-at-home moms who get that kind of question. He said that when his wife, Peggy, was at home full-time with their children and someone would ask, "And what is it that you do, my dear?" she would respond, "I am socializing two Homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation."

      Then Peggy would ask the other person, "And what do you do?"

      Scripture Help for Inadequacy – See 2 Cor. 3:2-6. The Apostle Paul loved the church the way a mom loves her kids. The Corinthians had all kinds of problems he couldn’t be there to solve. Yet he said, ‘God makes me competent.’

      The point is that no matter how inadequate we feel, God is still God and we can trust him to take care of things we have no control over. So moms, when the Dragon of Inadequacy begins to roar in your ears remember, Jehovah is still God, he makes you competent.

      SLAYING THE DRAGON OF DISAPPOINTMENT
      Moms want and expect the best from and for their kids. (And we usually disappoint them!) Here’s how one mother put it.

      “Of course I wanted my children to be "perfect" and soon found out that wasn't possible. As soon as one says those fateful words, My child will never..... that's exactly what they do!”

      The Dragon of Disappointment lives in the cave of our expectations. The cave, for some parents, is hidden. (We have expectations that even we can’t see). The more secret it is the more deadly this dragon is. We hold deep expectations for our kids and when they aren’t met The Dragon rears his head and rains down disappointment.  

      Scripture Help: In his first letter the Apostle Peter encouraged all wives and mothers to put their hope in God and not give in to fear 1 Pet. 3:5-6.

      The women Peter referred to recognized that they had no control whatsoever over how their husbands would respond.  Their hopes and expectations were deposited with God.  

      In the same way our kids are individual souls before God. We cannot ultimately control where they will go or what they will do with their lives. Better to put our hopes in God now, better to submit our expectations to Him and trust Him to accomplish His purpose in their lives.

      Slay the Dragon of Disappointment by putting your hope in God alone.  

      SLAYING THE DRAGON OF FEAR
      Each of the Moms I talked to had different things to say about the expectations and stresses of Motherhood. But all of them agreed on this one point: THE BIGGEST DRAGON OF ALL IS THE FEAR OF LETTING GO.

      One mom said “What's most stressful? Potty training was VERY hard, but no harder than giving them up as they leave home. And it's so important to do.”

      Potty training was right up there with letting go in her list of biggest problems! Both are areas where we as parents have no control.

      Another mom said, “I need to begin letting go from the moment they are born--this means allowing them to suffer the consequences of their choices at an early age.”

      But contrast that with another thing they all agreed on.

      “I could not believe how completely protective I became overnight. I don’t just mean that I would fight for my child’s safety. I mean that I would sacrifice anything for her comfort and well-being. I would go without food for her happiness.”

      Mom’s have a fiercely protective instinct that can override the knowledge that in order to learn the child has to experience the consequences of his choices. It can override the knowledge that God may have a different calling than what we hope for our kids. It can become a Dragon of Fear that frightens us into over controlling.  

      FEAR CAN BE A MOM’S GREATEST ENEMY AND OVER CONTROL IS ITS MOST OBVIOUS SYMPTOM.  

      Scripture Help – One of the best stories about a Mom Slaying the Dragon of fear is also one of the earliest in scripture, the story of Moses’ Mom. See Exodus 1:22 – 2:4.

      Moses’ mom was acquainted with a technology she could use to help her son – her pitch covered basket was a model of ancient papyrus boats. She was knowledgeable about opportunities and took advantage of them. She knew where the princess bathed and must have had some inkling of her compassion. Then she took a big risk with no guarantees. Snakes, crocodiles, drowning, and rejection by the princess were all possible outcomes. Then she did it again when she weaned him.  

      Moses mom slew the dragon of fear with faith. She let her son go.

      Moms, you aren’t facing Pharaoh. But sometimes you are afraid of losing control of your kids. Author Thom Black has something helpful to say on the difference between parental control and parental authority:

      "Do you want a 16 year old who never drinks pop without asking you first, or do you want a 17 year old who never gets herself pregnant in high school?" he asks rhetorically. When we "control," we're telling our kids what to do. True authority comes from keeping the lines of communication open, being there for our kids, and seeing our growing children as they really are—not as "helpless, dependent youngsters, but as individuals growing toward healthy independence."  

      Psychologists tell us that one of the primary motivators of adolescents is the need to distinguish themselves from their parents.  He has to be his own man. She has to discover what her true core beliefs and priorities are in the context of the larger world.

      The sooner we stop trying to correct their semi-adult thinking and behavior the sooner they will be free to consider the true consequences of their ideas and stop focusing on differentiating themselves from us.

      Moms, here is a dragon slaying prayer you might find helpful:
      LORD, PLEASE SHOW ME THE NILE IN MY CHILD’S LIFE. Show me where I need to let them go.
      ----------
      One evening I helped my neighbor install a new part on his car. It was obvious he was getting it ready for a trip.

      “Where you going?” I asked.

      “My daughter’s graduation from college,” he replied.

      “Man that happened quick!” said I.

      And looking at me with all seriousness he said, “It all goes by in a flash. Enjoy it while you can.”

      Moms, it all goes by in a flash. Don’t let the Dragons of Guilt, Disappointment and Fear destroy it for you. Take the sword of truth, and slay those monsters, and enjoy your kids while you have them.

      Comment

      On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, Greg said:

      Man that was awesome. I am sure you are aware that we Dad's have the same battles. I know I have been through this as my daughter now lives 1000 miles away now. Man was that hard!

      Greg,
      Thanks for the encouragement. It's good to watch them grow up, but tough to watch them leave!
      Dane

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