Motherhood

Here I am again. At the end of the day. At the end of myself.

Motherhood has to be the hardest and most beautiful job on earth.

Yes, messy and hard and beautiful and precious.

It’s hard because people are hard. It’s messy because people are messy. And it’s beautiful and precious because people are beautiful and precious as image-bearers of God. We’re all hopelessly broken. We love ourselves more than we love each other. We worship our comfort, our success, our hopes and plans, and our tidy houses. We want to fit our children neatly into our little boxes. We want them to be compliant and smiley and to get with the program for heaven’s sake!

But children aren’t our show prizes. They’re not our cute little family trophies in their monogrammed outfits with neatly combed hair. They’re not our consolation or comfort or fulfillment. And they’re certainly not our projects.

They’re people. Teeny, tiny little people created in the image of God but born broken into a fallen world. People who so naturally image the selfishness and pride of their parents. People who so desperately need to be studied, learned, and nurtured according to their individual personalities. Little people who need to be truly loved—sacrificially and unconditionally even in times when they are completely unlovable. People who need to see first hand what it means to rightly image the beauty of God in a dark world.

No one told me just how hard motherhood would be and just how much it would humble me. I realize every day how inept I am at rightly imaging God’s holiness and beauty before my children. At the end of the day, I mourn my continual impatience when my kids are inconveniencing me. I hate the selfishness and perfectionism that still try to rule in my heart and make it all about me.  I feel discouraged by the lack of “important” tasks accomplished and wonder how laundry, dirty diapers, correcting disobedience, and refereeing sharing wars could possibly take up so much time and leave me so utterly exhausted.  I wonder if I have the endurance to do it all over again tomorrow. And sometimes I question if it really matters.

The logical conclusion that I reach as I put my head on the pillow every night is I need help. BIG HELP. 

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” 

The Creator of heaven and earth sent his Son to be my help. His Son took the ugliness of my selfish pride, impatience, and all other mothering failures and bore God’s wrath against them in His own body on the cross. God not only pours out his forgiving grace on me through Jesus, but also His transforming grace. In Christ, I have power over the sins that still fight for control in my life. In Christ, I have endurance for motherhood through the little years and beyond. In Christ, I learn how to think rightly about myself and my children.

The gospel enables me to see my children for what God says they really are: Blessings {Psalm 127:3}. Blessings when they’re sweet and blessings when they’re not. Blessings when they obey and blessings when they disobey. Blessings when my heart is exploding with love and blessings when it’s overcome with frustration.  The gospel teaches me how to think rightly about motherhood.

God has given women the beautiful gift of bearing and nurturing life in a world still under the curse of death. Pain will be intricately intertwined in this gift because of our sin and theirs. Motherhood will never be easy {so we should stop expecting it to be}, but it is always a gift. Children are gifts. As mothers, we have the awesome privilege and responsibility to faithfully care for “the least of these”–those who cannot care for themselves. We have the opportunity to show them what Jesus is really like by loving them, even {and especially} when they act unlovable. We image our Savior when we serve them through thankless, exhausting work that no one else sees or acknowledges. But God sees. And, praise Him, we have a Helper who covers our mothering failures with His blood and transforms us from the inside out.

Our greatest job and privilege as mothers is to show our children that they need this Helper as much as we do. Only through Him will they reflect God’s beauty accurately and spread His glory throughout our dark world. It’s the glorious task they were created to do. And it’s the glorious task we were created to do. So, mamas? Let’s think rightly about motherhood. Let’s see it for the significant thing it is. And by His grace, let’s seek and pray to raise up faithful little image-bearers in Christ who will spread his glory all over the world.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Ann Ever Ainsworth says:

    Thanks for the encouragement , Sarah! Love following your posts especially since you are a stage ahead of us.

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