Guest Post: Kathy Schwanke of Free to Fly | Sticky Faith

Goooooood morning! Grab your coffee and join me for some encouragement on Motherhood from my mom, Kathy Schwanke from kathyschwanke.com

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I surrendered my life to Jesus when I was pregnant with our first baby in January 1989.

I had an insatiable desire to read the Bible. I was raised in a Church-going home, but had traded in the tabernacle for the tavern in the years in between my teens and getting pregnant.

As I dove into scripture, I remember several passages that made me take my faith and my calling as a mother to teach it to my children seriously over the course of the next several years.

During those days, as is the case today, there was much talk about end-times and all that the “scary” prophecies within the book of Revelation might mean. [Who is the Anti-Christ? What is the mark of the beast?]

After living this life as a Christian for the past 25 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that since the day Jesus went up in the clouds Christians have been anticipating his return.

It’s biblical:

…in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8

As I read through the book of Revelation, several passages would settle into my heart and ‘haunt’ me. [I mean that in a good way] Enough to stay with me and motivate me:

“If anyone is to go into captivity,

   into captivity they will go.

If anyone is to be killed with the sword,

   with the sword they will be killed.”

This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.

Revelation 13:10 NASB

And again I read:

This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. Revelation 14:12 NIV

I also became acquainted with the reality of the persecution of Christians in Romania, China, and North Korea. I wanted my children to have a faith so strong that they would not deny Christ ever. Even if their lives were threatened.

We would read from the Voice of the Martyr magazine and they had a program where you would buy a Scripture balloon to float into North Korea and we brought that little beauty to church to raise money to buy some!

My brother Ethan and myself: We would read from the Voice of the Martyr magazine and they had a program where you would buy a Scripture balloon to float into North Korea and we brought that little beauty to church to raise money to buy some!

There were many other passages which also fed my passion to train my children in the ways of the Lord, and enable them to love being set-apart as His own children, and honoring Him.

I parented with several burning desires: (I wonder what yours are?)

  1. That they would stay the course. They’d never leave their faith like I did.
  2. That they would not have sex before marriage like I did.
  3. That they would not use alcohol like I did, and especially since there was alcoholism on both my mom’s and my dad’s side of our family.

Today, after running the mothering-marathon, I turn and look back and I see my efforts as somewhat feeble. But I see clearly, the faithfulness of the Lord, as He has blessed my meager offerings.

And I am thankful for the fear of the Lord that kept me “on my knees in prayer, and on my toes alert and attentive” as a mother.

This passage from Deuteronomy was also a mighty motivator for me,

Deuteronomy 6: 2-9

2 so that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life. 3 Hear, Israel, and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, just as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, promised you.

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Highlights mine)

I memorized scripture with them, but I could have done so much more. Many Sundays we memorized last minute on the way to church. [Thankfully children are quick to retain!]

We had morning devotions and prayer at breakfast -almost daily- unless we were running late, but we could have done so much more.

When “everyone was doing a thing”  that I felt it would not be pleasing to the Lord, I kept them home or they stayed back at the Library at school. (I had other mothers with the same convictions and so they weren’t alone) They learned to be set apart unto the Lord. And the important thing is we talked about ‘why’ – they didn’t resent being set apart because it was in their hearts to honor God with their lives.

It is proven that rules without relationship equals rebellion. That doesn’t mean we nix rules. Rather, we uphold them ourselves as we hold reasonable, God-honoring standards for our children.

And always communicate with them, making sure they understand the love and grace of Jesus, and His desire for our welfare. Then, as they grow, we  can gradually give them freedom to make their own choices, so they will be able to test and develop their own convictions before they leave the nest, equipping them to stay the course with the Lord.

What about you? I’d love to hear what kinds of things you do as a mom or what passions push you to being the best mom you can.

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