Children and Sanctification: Guest Blog by Liz Chasteen

I am a stay-at-home mom to four children ranging from age 7 to 1.  Some days I can’t believe that I’m a Mom and these four kiddos are mine!  It’s funny how God uses children to bring much humility to us as moms!  Just today I was scheduled to serve in the nursery at church so I was there 30 minutes early, which is saying a lot for me, and right when I walked into the room my daughter starts crying because she wet her pants!  Like my good friend says, “Children are a great humiliater!”

I remember a conversation with an older woman when my first child was about 10 months old.  We were talking about how motherhood really causes you to die to yourself and serve others.  I’ll never forget what she said next….”Yep, I died a long time ago.”  We laughed but that comment has come back to me time and time again over the years.  The reality is I didn’t fully know what she was talking about then but in God’s providence and kindness I too am dying daily through my mothering journey!

Of course the “dying” isn’t physical (although some days you think it is….or may even want it to be!) but it’s more so the very real battle against my flesh.  It’s the truth that we all deal with…the already/not yet reality of the Christian life.  In Christ we are fully forgiven and made a new creation and justified before God.  Yet we still have sin within and we still live in a fallen world.  So our redemption is not complete until we are with the Lord and know Him fully.  Until then He is faithful to use His Word, His Spirit, and the Church to conform us more and more into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.  And He is so kindly doing that in my life primarily through mothering my precious children.

With each child the Lord has added to our family I have seen more of my sin and depravity and my need for my Savior.  It makes me think of the sponge analogy.  When a sponge is filled with water nothing comes out until it is squeezed and whatever is inside the sponge is what spills out.  It’s the same with us.  Sin is within our hearts and as life circumstances “squeeze” us the sin spills out.  We often like to blame our circumstances and people for making us act a certain way.  But the truth is that it comes from within and the circumstances are just the agent of allowing these sins to be exposed.  It’s a lot easier to stay controlled and appear put together when you live alone for example.  No one is messing with your stuff and you can pretty much plan your schedule according to your own desires.  Children shatter this ideal.  Whether you want to or not, you spend your days serving others and the truth is, in my flesh, I don’t want to.  I am daily reminded of my selfishness and sin as I desire comfort and peace and order.  Daily I see impatience and am reminded that I cannot do this life, much less live in a way that is pleasing to the Lord, apart from His help and the power of the gospel every moment!

I consider it a great privilege to stay home with my four children and be the primary caregiver and influencer in their life (although sometimes I do wonder if I’m ruining them by the second!).  I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!  I’m so grateful the Lord has given me these children and I long to be faithful to this calling as their mother and I truly desire to live out the gospel before them.  They know better than anyone that Mommy fails and she needs a Savior.  There are many opportunities throughout the day with my kids to talk about Jesus and what he accomplished on the Cross for us.  I’m consistently asking their forgiveness and together reflecting back on the gospel.

Whether you are a mom or not, God is using life circumstances to squeeze you and show you your sin so that you will confess and repent and run to the cross of Christ over and over again.  I’m so thankful that He is allowing me to work out my salvation within the four walls of this home with these precious people.  Yes, children are a blessing from the Lord and they are such gifts.  But they are also hard work and show me my sin daily.  To God be the glory as we do life together with those who are closest to us.  May we as moms be faithful to live the gospel before our kids and point them to the Savior.

Liz is a proud pastor’s wife to Jeremy Chasteen and grateful mom to 4 young children, Carson (7), Bryn (5), Lydia (3), and Spencer (1).  She and her family live in Clemson, SC where they serve with Crosspoint Church primarily in college ministry.  She is a sinner saved by the shed blood of Jesus Christ and by His grace she desires to glorify God in and through her life.

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