Sunday, August 19, 2012

Getting Territorial

It's easy to equate the phrase "taking care of Ellie is my job" to "taking care of Ellie is my territory."

Indeed, taking care of Ellie is my job, and I very much view it as such. In the same way that Chris has a responsibility to get up each weekday morning, drive to work and make money to support our family, I have a distinct responsibility to get up at whatever hour to nurse the baby, play with her during the day and generally keep her happy and healthy as she grows up. It's a worthwhile job - the best job ever, in my opinion - and the "pay" is the joy of raising up a child to delight in Christ and her life in Him.

Yesterday I noticed a dangerous slip in my thinking. When Chris made an innocent suggestion about something to do with Elayne, I took it amiss and told him that I felt he was "jumping into my territory." He was quick to point out that we must not become territorial over our child! Mothering may be my job, but parenting - that's a team effort. 

I think that it's easy for mothers to become possessive of their children, adopting an insidious pride in the fact that they're around their babies 24-7 and therefore know their tiniest quirks. As if that entitles them ( to take over the role that God has given to both parents! We quickly forget that just as we are merely stewards of our money and our talents, we are merely stewards of our children. Ellie belongs to God, first and foremost, for it was He who "knit her together in [my] womb" and who "wrote every one of the days ordained for her before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139). I did no knitting, or writing. I am simply privileged to be the one God chose as Ellie's mother.

Perhaps internalizing that truth is the surest way to combat the idea that Elayne is mine and mine alone to deal with. If I remember that she is God's, then I will strive to raise her in a Godward manner, which means that I will inevitably see parenting as something Chris and I must do together. For Chris and I are to Ellie, as to the rest of the world, a picture of Christ and His church in our marriage (Ephesians 5), and Ellie won't see that picture well if I keep trying to take over and do things by myself.

Something to chew on. Let me know what you think.


  1. Living overseas has really changed my perspective on what the enemy does to subtly change a proper perspective of family relationships to wreak long-term havoc to individuals. Before I came over, I heard token acknowledgment in sermons that family can become an idol in someone's life. Overseas, however, I have seen the devastating results of "possessiveness" or "territorial-ness" over someone in your family who in fact ultimately belongs to God. Thank you for this post! It further clarifies my thinking on the subject. If you don't object (and I'm assuming you don't since you posted it online), I might share this testimony with a few of my believing students. Thanks again!

  2. Praise God - I'm SO glad to hear that. Yes, by all means share this with your students if it will be helpful! My hope any time I post something is that God will use it in a meaningful way in someone else's life.


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