By LIBBO CROSSWHITE
How my son shows me childlike faith
“Children, obey your parents.”
“All things were made by Him.”
These are the two phrases I woke up to recently one Saturday morning as my son, Russell, was lying next to me whispering each phrase over and over. (And yes, we are still working on sleeping through the night at 4 years old — 2020 is OUR year!) It was maybe one of my most satisfying moments as a mom because 1) it was Saturday and 2) God’s Word was being etched on my son’s heart by the words he was whispering.
I have to acknowledge that his teachers, Ms. Brown and Ms. Bagwell, have helped him grow tremendously. And his Bible teacher, Mrs. Webster, has captivated his heart with all of the stories he is learning. I also feel like it’s important to mention that his third-favorite verse is Jack 17:7 which, according to him, reads, “Parents, obey your children,” so we don’t have a full-time saint on our hands.
As Russell has grown and matured in the last year and as we’ve celebrated his fourth birthday, I can’t help but be reminded of the gift of raising a son. I now have been a mother for six Christmases, and each year as a mother I am drawn to the Christmas story in a different way.
When I was pregnant with my oldest, Mary Thomas, it was the realization that Jesus’ Mary rode a donkey while nine months pregnant and delivered in a barn. When I was in the thick of survival mode with two babies, it was that one of the most famous songs of Christmas talks about a silent night that never seemed to exist for us. And most recently, it’s been that God thought enough of motherhood to allow that to be the entryway for our Savior and King.
Have you ever thought about that? Jesus could have entered any way He desired. It could have been a ginormous lightning bolt, a chariot of fire, a natural disaster to show His mighty power and authority, but God used motherhood as His entry point into the world that desperately needed saving. Jesus’ human form meant He relied on a mother to care for His basic needs.
Regardless of whether you’re raising a son or daughter, we have an immense responsibility to preach the gospel to them, not when they’re old and “ready” but as they grow and learn. We model kindness, we model grace and we model what it looks like to love others. It’s a daunting task but a worthy one. It’s perhaps the greatest gift a mother has ever been given: the ability to supply physical and spiritual needs for her children, with the help of a village of support.
Don’t get me wrong, Joseph’s role was vital in Jesus’ development. But I can’t help but be reminded of the intimate moments that Mary and Jesus shared because of her care for Him as a baby and toddler. And as Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, it was time for Mary to watch her baby grow into a Man who would transform the way you and I live and create a way for us to enter eternity. That had to be a pretty proud “mom moment” for her.
My nights are a little more silent these days as I raise kids, rather than babies or toddlers. I’m watching them grow more independent, and a part of me is dreading the night that Russell finally sleeps through. But I am reminded that the sweetest part of my motherhood begins now. As my kids learn and grow, I have the privilege of helping them learn and grow in the ways of the Lord, that they may begin to understand what it means to have God in their heart and in their life.
God used Paul to communicate the beauty of the gospel in Galatians by saying we are no longer slaves, but children of God. That means we can find joy in Him; that we can whisper His words as we wake up each morning; that we can laugh at silly things He’s given us; that this world doesn’t have to be so serious all the time.
Maybe my favorite vision of our call to motherhood is the joy that is found on Christmas morning for our children. My prayer is that our children would see the gospel as the greatest gift each and every year.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Madison and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 5 years old and a son, Russell, who is 3 years old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison- Ridgeland Academy and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.