Motherhood. It’s something I’ve wanted my whole life. Ever since I can remember I’ve loved babies and children. I held babies whenever the opportunity arose. I started babysitting at the age of eight. I dreamed of being a midwife or a neonatal nurse and told everyone I wanted twelve kids. Now, here I am at the age of 27 with four small children and one on the way, and motherhood is everything… and nothing…I ever imagined.
I’m not sure what I dreamed motherhood would be. Probably caring for children who I would love with all my heart, seeing to it that they were happy and healthy and just all-around loving life together. It would be all the best parts of my childhood and I would make none of the mistakes my mother did.
Just days after my oldest daughter was born I began to see how wrong I was in being critical of my own mother. Motherhood is hard. Harder than I ever imagined.
The work of motherhood is simultaneously hard and unending. It is hard to spend the days wiping noses, listening to toddler stories, changing diapers, and being touched All.The.Time by sticky little hands. During the early years it seems like each day is a year unto itself, yet you never want a stage to end.
I didn’t know the weight of having little children completely depend on you for their every need, nor the weight which comes with the desire to raise them to fear and love God as their Father. I didn’t know the way I would have to fight the laziness of my flesh to be consistent in teaching them to fight their sin through the everyday, constant training and discipline. Nor did I know that I would fail many times each day and need faith to trust God to work through my failures. The list could go on and on. I haven’t even mentioned the physical wear and tear pregnancy has on your body, the sacrifice of time for yourself, or the pursuit of your dreams.
However while motherhood is hard, it is a good and noble calling. God has entrusted us with eternal beings to guide, teach, train, and love. Stay the course, trusting that Jesus is working through us. As mothers we must learn humility and sacrifice. Romans 2:6 says, “He [God] will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life”
Is that not the ultimate goal? Eternity with God. Not just for ourselves, but for our children as well. At times this promise is most difficult to believe when it comes to disciplining our children. God often acts through our work of disciplining our children to discipline and sanctify us. In those times, we can remind our children and ourselves what is said in Hebrews 12:11, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
So in the days where bedtime can’t seem to come quickly enough and the fight against sin never seems to end, teach your children this song:
Be valiant, be strong, resist the powers of sin!
The fight is long, the foe is strong, but we shall win;
For through the power of Christ - the stronger than the strong -
We shall be more than conquerors,
Be valiant, be strong!
And remember the promise of Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
You can read more about joyful mothering from guest author Elizabeth Rethorn here.