Motherhood is Sanctifying

It’s true what they say: Nothing can fully prepare you for motherhood. Regardless of how many books you read and mothers you watch, it’s a learn-on-the-journey lifelong experience. I am constantly studying my boys and seeking to learn them well, but I’ve been surprised at just how much I’ve learned about myself through this whole mothering gig. The simultaneously beautiful and painful reality is that motherhood exposes hidden sin lurking around in the deep crevices of my heart.

It’s easy to feel put together {holy, even} when life is going according to my well-laid plans. But when the “heat” is turned up, what’s really in my heart bubbles forth.

I didn’t come into motherhood with the idealized preconception that there would be no challenges. What I wasn’t prepared for was the struggle I would face in responding to those challenges in ways that are pleasing to the Lord.

I once thought I had fairly large measures of patience, but periods of incessant whining or crying from one of my children often reveal that I’m running low. Very. low.

I never thought anger was an issue for me, but episodes of repeated disobedience just flat make me mad because I feel entitled. Surely I deserve to have obedient children after all I do for them!

Long, exhausting days of caregiving sometimes lead to bitter outbursts: “I’m so tired! I don’t have enough ‘me’ time.”

I’m trying to teach my children that self-control is important, but too often I find myself pitching an internal {and sometimes external} temper tantrum.

Motherhood has revealed to me how self-protective I am of myself and my time. It has shown me how much I long to be praised for my hard work. My responses to the challenges of motherhood have shown me in poignant ways that I am a self-centered glory thief—seeking to steal glory that belongs to God alone. Mothering has highlighted my tendency to seek joy and peace in my children and my circumstances rather than in Christ.

These revelations are painful. It’s never pleasant to see the wickedness of my heart as it really is. But these revelations are also beautiful in that they are God’s grace to me.

Thomas Watson said, “Until sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet.” 

Unless I see my sin for all the rotten filthiness that it is, I will never understand my desperate need for grace. Unless my sin is made plain before the eyes of my heart, I will never treasure Christ supremely and rest in the gospel. Without a growing awareness and hatred for sin, I will never repent, flee to Jesus, and be changed.

How kind God is to use the seemingly mundane of motherhood to sanctify me—-to make me more like His Son!

The good news of Christ’s substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection is not just for the convicted murderer on death row, the reprobate teenager, or the alcoholic. No, the good news of what God has done for sinners in Christ is just as necessary {and just as good} for the redeemed mother, struggling with remaining sin in her heart.

The sins of my heart revealed through parenting shortcomings remind me that I can’t do it on my own. The gospel reminds me that Jesus is my anchor. He did what I could never do by fulfilling God’s righteous requirements and taking the wrath I deserved on the cross. As I turn from sin and turn to Him, the Spirit produces change in my heart and enables me to love my children sacrificially, pointing them to the hope and life found in Christ Jesus—all for the glory of His great name.  And in that process, the pain is made beautiful.

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*”Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full” by Gloria Furman has been a valuable and solid resource in reminding me to stay gospel-focused in my mothering.*

 

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