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Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. Moms, you know those proud moments when you see your kids excel or hear them say something sweet and you just can hardly contain yourself.  It’s so precious when you hear your own words come out of their mouths like when the time a mother took her young son shopping. After a day in the stores, a clerk handed the little boy a lollipop, and the mother said to the boy, “What do you say?” to which he replied, “Charge it!”  So precious.

I know firsthand that motherhood is both demanding and rewarding.  It is a huge responsibility.  I wasn’t sure if I was up to the task.  Would I know what to do with these new precious lives?  Would I know how to interpret their cries?  Would I be able to soothe them?  Could I learn what I needed to fast enough to stay maybe two steps ahead of them?  Could I keep up with all of the changes they would go through at what seemed like warp speed?  Thinking about all that comes your way in a hurry when you are a new mom can be overwhelming for sure.

As I thought about motherhood and reflected back, now that my kids are grown, I think a mother would do well to focus on three main things.  Oh, the laundry can’t be forgotten.  The lunches still have to be packed.  Diapers will still have to be changed.  The carpool will still have to run.  The check-ups have to be scheduled.  The list of “have to’s” for a mom is endless, but perhaps the most important things a mother can do for her children can be boiled down to three things.  The three focuses of motherhood that I am going to suggest to you are three focuses for anyone, male or female, who wants to impact a child’s life.  If you are a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, a mentor, a coach, a teacher, I want to suggest three things I think we need to focus on in order to impact the next generation for Christ. 

  1. We need to protect the children of the emerging generation.

There was an amazing mother in the Bible who did what was necessary to protect her infant boy when his life was being threatened.  The Egyptian Pharaoh had enslaved the Israelites and when he realized how quickly their population was growing, he feared they would outnumber their captors and be able to overthrow them.  So, he ordered the baby boys to be drowned in the Nile River.

Moses’s mother courageously hid him for three months and when she couldn’t hide him any longer, she placed him in a floating basket on the Nile River.  Moses’ sister stood watch to see what would become of him.  The Pharaoh’s daughter happened upon the baby and took him to be her son.  His own mother, according to God’s Sovereign plan, was called upon to nurse him until he was weaned. 

Moses’s mother did whatever was necessary to protect him from execution.  God raised him up to be the great deliverer of the Israelite nation as he led them out of slavery, out of Egypt.

Sadly, children today need protection even before they take their first breath.  They need protection in the womb. In order for a child to become a deliverer, to become a teacher, to become an engineer, to become a doctor, to become an IT specialist, a pastor, or whatever their potential would indicate, they need the opportunity to be born. As we all know, the discussion about life and the value of life that is being held right now in the United States Supreme court is a weighty matter.  I didn’t think I would see it even be considered in my lifetime. I am encouraged by the discussion.  In many instances, we have elevated choice over life, leaving children in the womb unprotected and in danger.

A few years back, on Right to Life Sunday, you heard from a courageous mom in our congregation who chose life even when medical professionals and others encouraged her to terminate her pregnancy.  I have invited her again today to share what she shared on her Facebook page just this week.  Please welcome Megan DeReuiter and her daughter, Anna.

Megan DeRuiter shares her recent Facebook post:  Today is TFMR Awareness day. TFMR stands for “Termination For Medical Reasons,” which usually involves aborting an unborn baby with a prenatal diagnosis. A few months back, people were sharing a viral Facebook post written by a local pregnant woman who was being all but congratulated for choosing to end the life of her baby who had Trisomy 18. I started to comment on the post multiple times but ultimately decided to keep my mouth shut.  I didn’t feel like being shouted down and mocked as pro-lifers often are on social media, and unfortunately it appeared that this woman had already made up her mind. It’s hard to not take personally the fact that our society doesn’t value the lives of disabled people to the point where we consider it “compassionate” and “brave” to ensure that disabled babies are never even born. At the same time, I have a lot of empathy for that woman and others who are facing a prenatal diagnosis because I learned the hard way how some of the medical community treat us. In my entire life, I have never been so disrespected, discouraged, and beaten down as I was 3 years ago. It’s no wonder that some mothers believe that TFMR is the only option, but I’m here to tell you that it isn’t.  Throughout my pregnancy with Anna, I did quite a bit of talking to God that mostly involved me screaming and swearing, sometimes in my head and sometimes out loud. One day when I was in the 3rd trimester, God finally responded. It went like this:  Me (yelling, as I did quite often back then): “I DIDN’T ASK FOR THIS!”  A calm but authoritative voice responded: “Neither did she.”  Neither. Did. She. With those 3 words, God stopped me in my tracks, put me in my place, and set me on the path toward choosing life and being the best mother and caregiver for my daughter, come what may. Sometimes I try to imagine a world in which Anna didn’t exist because I deliberately chose to not allow her to exist, and I have to stop myself because a life like that is too painful to even comprehend. I’m glad that’s not my world. I’m glad I chose life. I’m glad she’s here. Thank you, God.

Thank you, Megan for sharing your testimony.  Thank you for choosing life for sweet Anna.  I imagine she has changed your life in ways that are truly a blessing. 

We need to protect our children by advocating for a culture of life!  There is an assassin who is out for your child’s heart, soul, and mind.  This assassin wants your child’s potential and future.  This assassin wants to confuse your child and create strongholds of anxiety, worry, fear and doubt in your child’s mind. He doesn’t want your child to live with confidence.  He doesn’t want your child to fulfill their God-given purpose.  His name is Satan.  He is always on the prowl, I Peter 5:8. Make sure your child knows they have an enemy, and make sure they know he is already defeated in Jesus’ name. Make sure they understand that they don’t have to cave to his bullying and fall for his traps.

Teach your kids to speak Jesus’ name in faith and to plead His blood when they are tempted or in trouble.  Monitor what they see, where they go, and who they are with.  Make sure they know the truth so that they can spot lies.  Oversee how much access they have to the internet.  There is more harm on the internet than most physical places they could have access to. In an online article from 2020, I read that there are over 42 million porn websites a person could visit. The porn industry’s annual revenue is more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined.  It is also more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS and NBC. Married people who view pornography are 300% more likely to have their marriage end in divorce.  Do you know what the average age that a child is first exposed to porn is?  11, and 94% of children will see porn by the age of 14. 94%! I don’t have time to detail the detrimental ways pornography warps and changes a person, harms their inability to think clearly, negatively impacts their relationships and decimates their self-esteem and productivity.   

There are many other dangerous snares we need to protect our kids from, but needless to say, one of our top priorities as parents should be to protect young people from the warped ways of the world and the selfish and destructive demands of the flesh. And young people who are here today, if you have parents who set boundaries for you, who ask questions about the people you are hanging out with, who have parental controls on the TV, computer and phones, who want you in at a reasonable hour, who say “no” to certain activities because they believe going to them could put you in harm’s way, thank God and thank your parents for loving you and for looking out for what is in your best interest.

Not only do we need to seek to pray for protection for our kids, but also,

  1. We need to pray for the children of the emerging generation.

The biblical mother that comes to mind when I think about praying for our kids is Hannah.  She prayed for Samuel before he was born in I Samuel 1. She prayed not only to be able to have a child, but she prayed that he would be used in the service of the Lord as he grew. What a strategic prayer to pray!  “Lord, use my child for your glory.”

I know two moms whose prayer lives were used by God to create a special love story. Two young married couples met in a discipleship class here at TVCOG.  The wives became fast friends.  One had two little girls and was pregnant.  She had her heart set on having a boy. The other lady had been struggling to conceive.  The second lady was asked to pray for the first lady, that she would have the desire of her heart and have a boy.  The first lady was invited to pray that the childless gal would conceive. God heard and answered both prayers.  The first gal got her boy.  The second had a beautiful baby girl.  Both moms continued to pray through the years for their children’s future mates.

And that boy and that girl both grew up loving and serving Jesus, and in their teen years, a spark, helped along by the prayers of their moms, started to date. Today they are married and are leaders in our children’s ministry as they have been for years.  Can we celebrate what God can do through two Christian moms who know how to pray?  How many kids are being impacted here at TVCOG because of Jacob and Brooklyn Stiltner? 

Parents of young children, grandparents who have young grandchildren, did you know you can pray now for someday godly spouses for your kids and grandkids.  What you pray now has power to help them find the love of their lives when God’s timing is right.  Pray for your children to be anchored to the Word of God and prayer.  Pray for them to stay on the righteous path. Pray they have boldness to say “No” to sin. Pray for them to know and follow God’s voice.  Pray for them to win their friends to Christ. Ask God to tenderize their hearts and to help them say “Yes” to Jesus from an early age.  Ask for God to give them godly mentors and godly friends.  Pray they will have a coachable, teachable spirit and be influenced by the right people. Pray they will excel in the development of their gifts and abilities, yes, but pray fervently for the development of their faith. They need daily prayer and as often during the day as possible.  They have more coming at them than any previous generation. 

We not only need to protect and pray for the emerging generation, but also

  1. We need to pass on the Christian faith to the children of the emerging generation.

The biblical mother who serves as an example here is Timothy’s mom.  Paul said of Timothy in II Timothy 1:5-“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is both caught and taught.  As we model what it means to be faithful to the Lord, as we are an example of what it is to have faith and to share Christ with others, as we demonstrate a commitment to Christ and the church, those following us will be positively impacted.  We need spiritual mothers and fathers to take a personal interest in the young people of this church. They need Christians who know their names and take time to encourage them. They need to hear your testimony of how God saved you, how He delivered you. They need committed children’s and youth volunteers who will teach them about God’s Word and plan for their lives.  They need adults they can count on and go to when they need support.

We have a new opportunity through Necco Foster Care to become friends with emerging young adults who have aged out of the Foster Care System.  There is a new program here in WV that provides these young adults who haven’t been adopted out with a place to live and brand-new furniture for their apartment.  Young adults in the program will have folks from Necco who help them gain access to the social services that are available to them.  The opportunity we have is to invite them to church, to sit with them, to extend ourselves in friendship, to answer questions they might have about next steps and to remember their birthday and other special occasions. You might think of it as a Big Brother or Big Sister program for people ages 18-25.  To be in the program they have to have been in foster care at some point and they have to be in college or working full-time or a combination of both.  There are some young adults in our area who are now part of this program.  Our staff met with the program coordinator, and he is excited about the positive influence our church members could have on these emerging adults.  If you are interested in becoming one of the folks who would befriend one of these young people, please mark your blue card!  What IF your Christian influence became the reason someone found Christ at this very strategic time in their life?

Each of us can take responsibility for protecting and praying for the next generation.  Each of us can purpose to pass on the faith to those coming behind us. It will take all of us, doing our part, to mother the next generation.  This morning, as we close in prayer, I want you to consider coming to pray specifically for a young person that needs God’s help.  If they are here this morning, I invite you to bring them with you. 

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