All quotations are taken from copyright 2003; Waterbrook Press

As I journey through this study and ignite my heart to dwell and apply truth, I am going to highlight some key passages (not the only key passages by any stretch of the imagination!) and offer some personal reflections. Then, I will post a second entry that will respond to a section of ‘For Thought and Reflection’ as well as share a personal response from the Chapter’s Presenting Idea.

Chapter 1: A Journey Like No Other

The beautiful design of nature itself shows us that a child grows inside its mother’s body hearing the specific sound of her voice, comforted by the beat of her heart, intimately connected to her very being. Upon arrival into the world, the mother’s arms are her first cradle, and the mother supplies the first food and comfort and security. Because of the intimacy of that first relationship, the child’s heart is naturally open to the mother. Children automatically turn toward their mothers as their first source of protection, love, and spiritual, emotional, and mental support. This is all part of the design of mother, child, and family as unfolded for us in the Bible- a design, that, from the beginning God pronounced as very good.- Sally Clarkson, Chp 1 page 8 Mission of Motherhood.

I have found that it takes an intentional focus and effort to keep hearts turned toward one another. The closeness and connection inherently found in babe and Mother pulls away and I must choose to love first and to pursue. In this way, I am modeling Christ’s love for me… He who loves first and continually pursues me. A mother loves unconditionally. In this, God provides such an opportunity for closeness with Him. It is not always easy to love a child- especially during certain seasons and stretches of growth.

God designed motherhood to be a deeply spiritual role. We mother’s have the opportunity to influence eternity by building a spiritual legacy in the lives of our children. Through our teaching and influence, morality can be learned and , love and kindness are taught and received, purpose and vision are ignited and passed on.

The real ability of a mother to secure such a legacy is based on the strength of her relationship with her child. As we tenderly care for our children, meeting their needs, teaching them and guiding them, praying for them, and modeling our faith, we are also anchoring their hearts to our home, our values, and our beliefs. These ties are built over many years, through the small ways we spend the minutes of our days and the large ways in which we celebrate the momentous events of our lives. -Sally Clarkson, Chp 1 page 13,14 Mission of Motherhood

Have you considered how or if you should build a spiritual legacy in the lives of your children? For me, I think it is often the merciful grace of God that protects and propels this influence. I encourage myself- and you- to listen to your heart and the desires that quicken before the Lord. During very busy times, I often can’t even fully think as to why I am “supposed” to or even desire to do something like light a candle breakfast Mon-Friday. I just know I am supposed to and I seek to obey. I trust God that in each small obedience, He is building this legacy in all of our lives; mine and my children. It is never too late to start new traditions, revamp old ones, or begin something entirely fresh.

Building a solid, loving, and strong relationship with each child is an important key in discipleship. It is not about a rigid framework of rules and outward behaviors. It is about words of life spoken to living hearts. I have to continually remember to seek the hearts of my children.

As I have thought about these issues for years, I have to come to picture the heart of a each child as a treasure chest. Each chest is empty and needs to be filled with the riches of unconditional love, spiritual nurture, and the emotional heritage of family and traditions; with the mental stimulation that comes from excellent sources of truth, morality, and inspiration; with a sense of physical and emotional security; and with guidelines for all of life , including purpose, relationships, and proper behavior. – Sally Clarkson Chp 1 page 14 Mission of Motherhood.

This image of the treasure chest has stayed with me in various ways over the years (since I first read this chapter.) It is a powerful visual that inspires a purposeful approach to investing good in the hearts and lives of our children. This visual serves as a good reminder for me to organize my efforts in specific categories. Unconditional love. Spiritual Nurture. Emotional Heritage. Excellent Intellect. Security. Manners. Strong Relationships. Life Purpose.

Onward and Upward and Held,

Rebecca