Parenting with Zeal

Zealous Mom

Nehemiah 3:20 (NIV), “Next to him, Baruch son of Zabbai zealously repaired another section, from the angle to the entrance of the house of Eliashib the high priest.”

I have a confession to make. I spend a lot of time reading the popular blog Scary Mommy. If you’re not familiar with the blog, it takes an honest look at motherhood and contains sentiments many moms think, but dare not say. It’s not a Christian blog so it contains some profanity and taboo topics. However, despite what it lacks in Christian couth, it makes up for with honesty.

One of my indulgences on this particular blog is its confessional section. This is where moms make confessions in anonymity without fear of judgment and receive encouragement from other moms through “likes”, “me toos” and virtual hugs. I read this confessional section pretty regularly. However, as I was reading through some of the confessionals last night, I thought to myself, “This does not make me feel encouraged.” In fact, it made me feel pretty negative about being a mom. The material was not edifying. And, I’m not judging these moms because some of the confessionals I can relate to.

“I let my kids watch more TV than I thought I would.”

“I didn’t think motherhood was this hard.”

“I’m scared about having baby #2.”

“I fed my children chicken nuggets from McDonald’s and I feel guilty.”

All of these things I can relate to as a mother. However, there are some sentiments expressed that are downright discouraging. Many mothers talk about regretting getting married, having kids and talk about drinking excessively and running away from it all.

I believe mothers need a place where we can let our hair down and be honest, but we also need a place where we can go for encouragement and edification!

So, I am going to attempt to encourage you today. In Nehemiah chapter 3, we see the children of Israel rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem. They were in captivity and the wall was destroyed, but Nehemiah found favor with the king and was given permission to rebuild it. In chapter 3, he lists all the workers on the wall. We see everyone from priests to Levites, perfume makers, women, goldsmiths and rulers working on this major project. Verse 20 lists Baruch as one of the workers, but what distinguishes him from the others is the Bible says he worked zealously (in most versions). Now, I’m sure rebuilding the wall was a very arduous and time-consuming task. They also faced harsh opposition. Remember Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod threatened them regularly about the project (Neh. 4:7). But Baruch doesn’t approach the task begrudgingly. He builds with zeal.

The Hebrew word for “zealously” used in verse 20 is heherah. It means to have a deep concern and eager desire. As mothers (and fathers), we should approach parenting with zeal. God entrusted us with the lives of these little people and he expects us to show them the same love, compassion and patience that he gives to us. It is hard at times. It can be frustrating when you don’t know what to do or if you need time for yourself. However, we shouldn’t approach the job begrudgingly. I believe Baruch was so excited and zealous about his work on the wall because he was just glad to be included on such an important job. That’s how we should approach parenting. God allowed us to participate in the miracle of raising and influencing the next generation. If you feel weary, ask for help. Ask for help from friends and family. There is no shame in reaching out for help. Also, pray that God gives you wisdom and insight on how to minister to the needs of your children. I believe God will give you what you need to meet their individual needs. God will also give you strength to take care of your responsibilities.

It may be rough now, but do not grow weary in well doing. You will reap the reward if you do not faint. God has his eyes and hands on you!

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