Godmothers. What comes to mind when you think of one? Perhaps you immediately thought of fairies or the mafia . . . but did you consider the fact that you could be one? Godmothers are not a new idea, but I believe it’s time they become a renewed one!
Once upon a time, godmothers were way makers, creating pathways for successive generations to follow. They wanted more for their godchildren than they had experienced themselves. And as they journeyed together, sharing stories of both triumph and trial, both generations grew in faith and strength. We need these types of connections again. The gaps we have in our faith, relationships, careers, marriages, and even parenting were designed to be filled by each other.
Recently, I opened up my social media to field questions from young moms. There were so many honest, vulnerable questions from so many wanting to know that this crazy season they are in will count for something. (I promise it will!)
I would like to tackle some of the questions I’ve received from precious goddaughters on marriage, ministry, and motherhood — so I hope this helps.
How do you keep your marriage strong?
Think of the answer in terms of the way you keep your body strong. We eat healthy and build our strength with exercise. In a marriage, this means you guard what you consume and don’t shy away from having hard conversations.
Having said this, there was a season when all John and I had were hard conversations . . . and that was hard! Make sure there is laughter and love in your home. Don’t allow comparison to rob you. If you see another couple enjoying aspects of their marriage that you haven’t developed yet, learn from them.
Steer clear of entertainment that even hints of porn, adultery, fornication, or the occult. John and I are both super passionate, so we have learned to fight for our marriage rather than just fight in it. This means attacking problems that arise rather than attacking one another.
We also make quarterly contact with a counselor who helps us have the right tools. Another thing that is important is to talk about what you hope your marriage will look like a year from now. Dream together and write it down.
How do you stay connected to your spouse when you have young kids, and everything is so busy?
Set a bedtime for your children and stick to it. Growing children need more sleep than adults, and adult couples need to set aside time together to grow their relationship. If the goal is to have your children in bed by 8:00 p.m., I’m guessing the process needs to begin no later than 7:00 p.m.
Our bedtime ritual included baths, reading a book, singing songs, saying prayers, then going to bed. Try have dinner early enough so that your family has plenty of quality time together around the table, with time to spare for games or homework, without having to borrow it from your time together as a couple.
How do you balance your marriage, ministry, and family?
This is easier to do if you don’t try to separate them. I am always a wife, always a mother, and always a minister. That’s who I am at the grocery store, on an airplane, or on a platform. Our identity is first and foremost God’s daughter; this is the relationship that lends strength to everything we do.
Everything I do outside my home flows from the strength of the relationships inside it. I don’t do well with boxes, but I do believe boundaries are incredibly necessary to maintaining balance. Be careful about allowing ministry to become the most prevalent point in this triangle. Your marriage is your ministry — just ask any minister (husband or wife) who neglected theirs only to realize later their grave error.
Your children are your ministry. I hate that I hear far too often that many “ministry” children felt like their parents had time for everyone but them. When this happens, resentment builds up. Have conversations and find creative ways to connect with one another and with your children. Family nights filled with laughter, playing games, and eating together is a great start.
These are just three of the many questions I’ve received (I cover more in my book, Godmothers). If only I’d had someone as a young mother to share with me what I’ve shared with you. A lot of these lessons were learned the hard way, with far more tears than I can count.
This is why I wrote godmothers! Sadly, a generation of women seems unaware that they are surrounded by mature women who’d love to open their lives and share with them what they’ve learned. I fear they think they’re disinterested or oblivious. On the other hand, older women are under the mistaken impression that no one wants what they have to offer, so they withdraw and become distant or combative.
It’s so important that women in different seasons gather so we don’t risk losing the richness that happens when the generations connect and share their hopes and challenges. So before we part ways, take a moment to answer these questions: If you’re young, who is an older woman you can connect with? If you’re older, who is a younger woman you can reach out to?
Lisa Bevere has spent nearly three decades empowering women to find their identity and purpose. She is a cancer survivor and a New York Times bestselling author. Her books include Godmothers, Without Rival, Adamant, Lioness Arising, and Girls with Swords. Lisa and her husband, John, cofounded Messenger International to develop uncompromising followers of Christ who transform their world. To this end, Messenger has given away more than 40 million resources in over 100 languages.