Sometimes motherhood seems mind-numbingly repetitive—clean up from lunch, make more food, clean up again. But the work we do is actually an assignment from God, giving meaning to the everyday realities of motherhood.
Those first few months when my son was a newborn were hard. I slept between feedings during the night. I followed the night time cycle mothers know all too well: feed, sleep an hour or two, and feed again. Repeat.
In the morning, I’d calculate in my mind how many total hours of sleep I got from the interrupted sleep I caught in between feedings. ‘Six. That’s not bad. You can make it on six,’ I’d tell myself. Despite my pep talk, I couldn’t make it. I was exhausted.
Over time, I became obsessed with sleep. It was an elusive thing that always moved farther out of my reach. I strategized ways to get more. But even when I did lie down to sleep, the slightest noise would awaken me. Sometimes no matter how tired I was, I couldn’t fall asleep. I told myself, ‘If only I got a solid eight hours. I’d be a happier person. I’d be a better mom.’
You could say I worshipped sleep.
What? Worship sleep? You might think it’s impossible to worship something we need, something that is good for us. In truth, even good things become idols when we turn to them to give us life and hope.
...For moms, the best way to determine if something is an idol is to look at how we handle the daily stresses and pressures of motherhood. Because, to be honest, motherhood is hard and filled with hard and challenging days. There are always interrupted plans, sick children, temper tantrums, overwhelming chaos, and bone-weary days.
...But our God is faithful. He promised to send a Savior and he did. We need to steep our hearts in the Word of God, reading and rereading what God did for us by sending his Son to redeem us from sin. If God rescued us from our worst fear—eternal separation from him—how can he not also deliver us from our current fears?
...Moms, we do need help and hope. Motherhood is challenging and sometimes downright hard. But our help and hope are not found in a change of circumstances, in a pint of ice cream, or in a new parenting method. Our hope is found in Christ, in who he is and what he has done for us. He is our help and our source of life.
“My good-natured and ravenous son rolls out of bed each morning chanting, ‘I want oatmeal!’ Within a minute or two, I have his bowl of morning oatmeal ready. He takes the bowl in his chubby hands and says, ‘Thank you, Mommy!’
This early morning interaction is both a sweet, steady gift and a jarring deviation from other elements of my life.
My husband and I began the adoption process when our oatmeal aficionado was barely one, when all he could shriek upon waking was ‘OHMA!’ Now his third birthday has come and gone. Now his sentences have a subject and a verb. Now he’s not a baby, nor is his older sister. There’s no baby in this house, just the distinct feeling that someone is missing.
Growing a family through adoption is not the stuff of microwaves and morning oatmeal. There are no buttons I can push, no clock that counts down the time, no quick satisfaction. Instead, there’s paperwork, and there’s waiting.
The waiting feels volatile and fruitless.
...Ultimately waiting is a crucial element for God-ordained growth. Waiting is not a forgotten, fruitless place but an intentional, ordered place to which God draws us, that we might remember him and practice our faith. It’s not a lifeless place but a place of life underground. In the waiting, below the surface, seeds are undone and roots are nourished. One day there will be fruit, but for now, there is vital work, work that cannot be microwaved.
In the seemly out-of-control waiting of the adoption process, though our hearts yearn for instant satisfaction, we must remember that God isn’t a God of instant oatmeal but the Creator of precious fruit. We must take one faithful step after the other, keeping our eyes on him like the Israelites followed the pillar of fire in the dark wilderness nights. We must be patient, knowing the true work is done underground where we can’t see, soaking up every drop of the rains that come to nourish the dry soil. We must establish our hearts by resting in who God has shown himself to be in scripture: steadfast, kind, and in control.”
“I’m pretty good at imagining possible outcomes. If I could clock overtime for the number of hours I’ve laid awake at night thinking through plans, hopes, & concerns for the coming days, I’d be an incredibly wealthy woman! The waste of it, however, is tremendous.
It doesn’t matter how prepared I am. Something can always go wrong. It doesn’t matter how worried I am. A solution may come in the morning. It doesn’t matter how afraid I am. The bad news may never materialize. It doesn’t matter how excited I am. Plans can change in a heartbeat.
James warns his readers about wasting too much of today’s energy & opportunity on schemes to control the future. He writes, ‘Come now you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such & such a town & spend a year there & trade & make a profit’—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.’
As moms, we experience these shifts in plans all the time. Your plans to achieve a master’s degree are derailed when the pregnancy test shows a plus sign. You’re about to head out the door when a diaper explosion rocks the baby carrier. The birthday party guests are due to arrive any minute when your toddler spikes a high fever & pulls at both ears. All the kids are having great fun until your child breaks an arm.
We can imagine, plan, & scheme all we want to; nevertheless, tomorrow’s interruptions & delays will often override the best-laid plans.
...Even though it’s okay to think ahead & make plans, our worry shouldn’t outpace today’s circumstances. Jesus doesn’t encourage us by taking away our troubles. He doesn’t smooth out life’s journey so that we never experience any inconveniences or fears or struggles.
He reminds us that he already knows what’s around the corner: more trouble. Until this life ends, trouble will always spring up to greet us. We can’t control the struggles we will encounter, but we can rest in the one who carries us through the messes of life.
Our great King promises to walk with us and to help us.”
We all crave comfort. Comfort food, comfort zones, comfy clothes, comfortable jobs. Our decisions are often motivated by a desire to mitigate distress, discomfort, or inconvenience. Being comfortable isn’t always a bad thing. It can be one way God demonstrates his grace to people.
The privilege of Christian motherhood has challenged my notions of comfortable living in full force.
It’s uncomfortable as our bodies are broken for the sake of another’s welfare through pregnancy, delivery, feeding, & sleeplessness. It’s not easy consistently training up our children in the way they should go through fights over food & school work, tantrums & unwise choices. It’s humbling to tell our young ones about the mighty deeds of God & then display gospel-kindness when faced with their rebellion.
Yet we pray, forbear, & show mercy because God, in Christ, forgave us. There’s no ease on this battleground because it’s a 24/7 job.
...This role is rife with opportunities to image what God is like in his self-sacrificing, nurturing, & life-sustaining attributes. In God’s supreme design, mothers were made to image him in unique ways to our families, in our churches, at work, in the community, to ‘the authorities & the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.’ (Eph. 6:12)
This sometimes-uncomfortable work of mothering draws our attention to our need for the great shepherd’s comfort. Only his rod & staff can give us a lasting sense of safety in hard places.
Just like we wean our children from milk to solid food, the God of all comfort weans us from a taste for only physical comfort to delight in the divine comfort of his everlasting presence. Knowledge of his presence drives us to joyfully live an uncomfortable life for God’s glory. As we share abundantly in Christ’s suffering, we share in his comfort too.
Dear sisters, when tempted to begrudge the costly & uncomfortable work of mothering, let’s remember Jesus went before us. His joyful obedience in hard things accomplished our redemption & adoption & will result in our resurrection one glorious day.
Maybe it's crafting cute Thanksgiving turkeys with your kids, opening envelopes on your Advent calendar, or making pancakes for birthday mornings—all families have traditions. They range from the simple to the elaborate, the every-so-often to the every-year, the super meaningful to the silly.
Sometimes traditions bring us joy. They help us reorient our hearts toward what we value most, offer us pause in the midst of life's hustle and bustle, and provide consistent signposts to think of God's faithfulness. And sometimes, they're just plain fun.
Other times, traditions cause pressure and guilt. We’re upset when we abandon the Advent calendar, annoyed we forgot to pull out books on time, or frustrated there are now turkeys glued to our tables.
Thankfully, traditions don't earn our good standing before God, measure how well we "did" the holiday season, or guarantee our kids will love Jesus. Instead, traditions are another area the gospel gives us freedom to decide what's best (and most fruitful) for our families. We can light the weekly candle for Advent, or not. We can have an Easter party, or not. We can start a tradition, or stop one.
As long as we’re living by faith in the completed work of Christ, and striving to love others well, we each have freedom for how traditions play out in our own homes.
At R|M, we want to equip you to apply the gospel to every aspect of life by being “gospel thinkers.” Because the gospel changes everything—even our traditions.
So to help you kick off this holiday season with biblical understanding, @emschumacher is explaining how to take what scripture teaches about traditions and apply it to our lives. Think of it as a tool for filtering what traditions you might want to start (or stop) in your own home. Wondering what to do with Santa? How you should engage in Halloween? If the “tooth fairy” should visit? We hope this resource helps you consider how to engage in these (and many other) traditions.
We even added discussion questions so you can talk with your spouse, podcast club, or friends at the playground. (And it has a handy printable!)
“We’ve all been there. We’ve all given our children instructions, they’ve asked why, and we’ve responded with neither grace nor eloquence, ‘Because I said so!’
We’re tired, exasperated, and in search of a quick fix.
But if time paused and we were given a moment to really think about the answer to their question of why, what would we come up with? Why do we want them to do what we’ve asked them to do? What are the motives behind our commands? What’s driving us?
In the Bible, Paul answers the question why over and over. In every letter he wrote to the early churches, he didn’t merely give them instructions for godly living and say, “Because I said so!” He gave them—and us—a foundation, a motivation, a robust reason for doing what God asks us to do.
When we read Colossians, we can almost hear Paul’s words getting faster and faster, culminating in a crescendo of praise. And then he says, ‘Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.’
The praise comes first, then the pivot, and then the instruction for godly living. This order is crucial.
First, we understand the nature and character of our God. We remember his goodness and kindness to us. We recall how he gave himself over to us. We acknowledge that we were in darkness before him and he brought us into the kingdom of light. We say out loud that he’s a gift we do not deserve.
Then, after those rehearsals and proclamations, we set out to obey our good God. It’s from a heart full of remembrance and praise, which is how we received Christ Jesus the Lord, that we walk in him.
First we remember the gospel, and then we walk in it.
Christian parenting is discipleship. As Christian moms, we want our homes, our language, our actions, our thoughts to be distinctly Christian. So our answer to why must have the substance of our Savior.
May they bear the aroma of Christ.
It was his grace that saved us. May it also be his grace that propels us. God’s grace is the answer to why.”
Motherhood puts my people-pleasing-talents to the test. It’s hard to be a people-pleaser who can’t keep up the pace.
For one thing, I have two little children who’ve taken to heart the words of the old song: ‘Make all my wants and wishes known.’ There’s no way one tired mama can (or should) fulfill all their wants and wishes. And yet, I end each day feeling the weight of not being enough for them.
But now a new guilt steals over me. God gets my leftovers again, and my spiritual life feels like one more demand I can’t satisfy, one more person wanting a piece of me. I’m not sure how to find the desire and the joy of spending time with him.
In tears I express my frustrations to my husband. He reminds me that while the kids and the house and bills and unreturned phone calls all feel like they’re screaming for a piece of me, God is different. God has no void in himself he needs me to fill. God loves me and is my strong support and help.
In John 13, on the evening of his betrayal, Jesus’ disciples winced as Jesus gathered the supplies of the lowliest slave and began washing grown men’s feet.
And just like Peter, I too balk at the idea that I would sit still at a low, wooden table and let Jesus serve me food and drink, and then wash my feet.
The truth that God is ‘not served by human hands’ is a hard pill for this approval-craving-junkie to swallow.
And yet, relief floods my soul. This gospel is really true: there’s a place I can go to drink, to eat, to lean, to rest. There’s a strong, able, saving God who is not needy. He shows his strength to any needy mother who leans, trusts, and rests in him for help.
It’s a glorious thing to curl up on the couch at night and lean into the bosom of one who doesn’t demand a piece of me, doesn’t have a void that he needs for me to fill, doesn’t have a need for me to supply.
It’s upside-down. It’s revolutionary. This isn’t a God with lack who needs me to give my life for him. This is a God who gave his life for me.
‘Mom, I was calling for you very quietly. It was hard to wait, so I prayed.’
Are the endless repetitions of prayers and practicing and talking really registering with her? Many times we’ve prayed with her to ask Jesus to help her obey, be kind, calm down. In this one instance, she took the initiative to do this on her own.
And my daughter’s childlike faith encouraged my own heart as well. It caused me to ask myself, ‘When I get frustrated or angry or impatient, do I invite him to help me and do I believe he will? Do I believe that when things are hard, he really does love to help me?’
Jesus told his disciples he would send the Holy Spirit to be their “Helper.” Jesus knows life is difficult, and he doesn’t intend for us to do it alone. The Holy Spirit can be present with, minister to, and help every believer as they have need.
In the flurry of life, we often go about our own ways, thinking we’re doing things for Jesus when really he wants to do things with us. It’s his pleasure and desire to counsel, advise, and walk with us step-by-step, even in the things that feel mundane or insignificant.
This is a precious, treasured reminder that the seeds we sow in our children matter, and Jesus desires to help us in every moment.
So this morning, I sat with my journal and listed all the things bearing down on me. The anxiety didn’t fully disappear, but there’s comfort knowing Jesus is with me in it.
This whole experience feels full circle.
We model the practice of seeking Jesus and asking him for his help to our little ones, over and over again. Then, when they do it on their own, we’re encouraged and our faith takes the example to heart. When we model relationship with Jesus for our little ones, there is truly power, for them and for us.
He is our helper, he is near, and he desires to walk with us every step of the way, every moment of the day.
“My beautiful daughter was born almost a year ago. When I look at her, I feel the immense joy that comes from parenting a little one so dependent on me, a reminder of my dependence on Jesus alone. However, my joy in parenting did not come quickly or easily.
Within a few days of my daughter’s birth, I knew something was very wrong with me. I felt far away from everyone around me, even the baby I nursed and rocked gently in my arms. Postpartum depression, anxiety, and panic attacks struck me hard and fast.
I felt lost in a lonely world without warmth or joy.
During a Bible study on the book of Romans, a friend reminded me sin affects every area of our lives. My brain went haywire not because of personal weakness, but because we’re fallen people living in a fallen world in desperate need of a Savior.
God faithfully reminded me the world can’t and won’t be perfect. But God makes his presence known in the darkest places because he is the God of light, and his salvation through Jesus shines brighter than any dark place our bodies and minds bring us.
We serve a great God who sees time from the very beginning to the very end. Even the most hidden thoughts of my heart—those scary, terrifying, anxious thoughts—are under God’s mighty and compassionate care. God can still the racing thoughts of our hearts, and heal every recess of our broken minds. We know Jesus will return and establish his kingdom over all the earth, and the world will be beautiful, whole, and perfect forever.
No matter how motherhood challenges you, Jesus will shine light into your darkness and pull you out of the pit in which you are faltering—with strength, power, and the tender care of a mom holding her baby in her arms for the first time.”
Today’s article from Hannah Abrahamson discusses PPD. While we believe the gospel provides hope to women suffering from PPD, this topic requires sensitivity. We encourage anyone who is experiencing PPD to seek additional counsel from a trusted pastor, licensed counselor, or medical doctor.
“‘So, when can I see you and the kids?’
This conversation has been looming over me for months, heavy with dread & anticipation. But I made the phone call. ‘Mom, I really don’t think that’s a good idea. Maybe once I can see some real change, we can start spending more time together.’
My relationship with my mother is anything but typical. Growing up, it wasn’t something that I could articulate well. It wasn’t until college, sitting in a psychology course & learning about emotional abuse, that I started to be able to name my experience.
Now that I’m a mother, I worry about how my experience as a child will affect my two, small children. How can I possibly mother when my very frame of reference is broken?
By adopting a new one.
The Bible tells us that everything in God’s original creation was good. As sin entered the world, everything changed. Like a drop of dye in a glass of water, sin quickly spread throughout God’s good creation, until nothing was untouched—human relationships were poisoned.
Fortunately, God didn’t not abandon humanity in its broken state. Almost in the same breath he used to pronounce judgment upon us for our sin, he gave us hope.
By his perfect life & death upon the cross, Jesus paid the penalty necessary for our redemption. In doing so, he secured for us an imperishable, undefiled, & unfading inheritance which waits for us, even in the thick of our suffering.
When our hearts ache because our earthly parents failed us, it’s this hope that we cling to. We now look to God as the example of the perfect parent, rather than looking to the broken, earthly one we experienced.
Though we still feel the painful effects of our fallen world, we have reason to rejoice. The God who says, ‘Behold, I am making all things new,’ is working in us as well.”
Today’s article from @alissamgriffin addresses child abuse. While we believe the gospel breathes new life into all relationships, this topic requires sensitivity. We encourage anyone who has experienced abuse to seek counsel from your pastor, an older woman in your church, or a trained biblical counselor.
Vulnerable moms are all around us—the park, the library, the local school, the store. They might have different concerns, worries, and privileges, but the value of their personhood and need for the gospel are the same. But how do we care for these neighbors? What does God’s word say to the mom in the midst of diapers, school pick-ups, and busy schedules?
“The Bible is full of examples of caring for the vulnerable who have been ‘cast off’ from society.
In the Old Testament, there were laws about caring for the poor, the widows, and the orphans. The lineage of Christ includes the names of vulnerable, imperfect women like, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary.
In the New Testament, we see that Jesus left his place in heaven, at the right hand of God, to be born into a lineage that included men and women who were unable to follow God’s law, were cast out from society, and were foreigners among God’s covenant people. Jesus was born to a vulnerable woman who was pregnant out of wedlock. He humbled himself to dwell among strangers to show them God’s love by dying in their place, so they could be in relationship with a holy God who cannot look upon sin.
The scriptures tell a story of God bringing vulnerable strangers and foreigners into his family through redemption in Christ. Throughout the narrative of God’s word, it’s clear that we’re not brought into God’s family based on our own merit or lineage but by the saving grace of Jesus. We’re called to extend the same grace to the strangers and vulnerable people in our midst, wherever God has placed us.”
Today’s article is something special. It’s an interview with Tamra Call on gospel-hope for the vulnerable mom. She shares common misconceptions, what God’s word says for caring for the vulnerable, and how we moms—even in the little years—can love our neighbors well.
Yesterday, my husband said, ‘You’re going to be a good mom.’
I was making up bunk beds with the new bedding I’d agonized over for weeks. ‘Can dots be gender-neutral?’ ‘What if they’re scared of jungle animals?’ ‘Do girls like blue?’ He knew I needed to hear it.
I’m a soon-to-be foster mom who’s admittedly unfit for the task. I can count the number of diaper changes I’ve completed on one hand. I’m too young to parent a teenager. I’m not good at pretending or diffusing tantrums. I know nothing about the trauma. I don’t usually say the right thing.
I’m unprepared and unqualified, but the Lord called me anyway.
God called Jeremiah to be one of the great prophets, faithfully serving for forty years in the face of great persecution in a society that lived in complete moral failure. Jeremiah almost said, ‘No.’
He really was just a boy with no resume to support this appointment to prophet. He faced a nation overcome by apostasy—a calling that included great physical abuse and imprisonment. Jeremiah was a boy unprepared and unqualified for the task, but the Lord called him anyway.
God promised that he would give Jeremiah the words to speak, and he would be with him as his deliverer when the nation of Israel turned against him. He was a man who spoke with the words of God.
We sometimes forget we’re living every day with the power of the Holy Spirit inside of us. While the rest of the world tries to face marriage, careers, social injustice, and motherhood on their own, believers are filled with the spirit of the living God. We’re not enough, but our God is more than enough.
Motherhood is a huge calling, in whatever way you face it. Whether you’re navigating the teenage years, struggling in pregnancy, filling out state-mandated paperwork, or in the weeds of waiting, the Lord goes before you to help you accomplish the tasks to which he appoints you.
Even when you feel unprepared and unfit, even when you are unprepared and unfit, the Spirit of God can use you to accomplish his good plans.
‘Let’s go change your diaper,’ I chirped in my sing-songy ‘mom’ voice.
We headed toward the stairs. Stepping up, my slipper caught a rough joint in the wood, and the world flipped in slow motion. We tumbled toward the wooden landing with no possible way to prevent the fall.
‘Protect the baby at all costs.’
I’m not sure it was a cognizant thought, but instinctively I turned my body to take the brunt of the fall. It didn’t matter if I’d be battered and bruised, protecting him was more important.
As the adrenaline subsided and his safety was evident, my tears flowed. My baby could have been seriously injured. I cried and prayed, praising God for his protection over my newborn.
Of course, this scenario could have gone much differently, like a trip to the emergency room. But even so, God is still the protector.
Because God eternally protects his children at all costs.
Though it doesn’t always come in the form we want it to, the Lord protects. He may not spare us from grief or trials in this life, but his view is deeper, down to our very souls.
Jesus accomplished the ultimate protection on the cross. He turned his own body to take the brunt of the ‘fall.’ He was bruised and broken, but protecting his own was more important. And he protected even unto death, absorbing the full measure of wrath that should have been hurled at us.
Because Christ made God favorable toward us, all we receive is grace upon grace.
Therefore, I can rest. I might fear injury, sickness, or even death, but I can entrust those fears to the one who has ultimate control. I don’t have to be a perfect mom. I can’t be a perfect mom. Accidents will happen. I’ll make bad decisions. I’ll sin against him. But I can run to the God who perfectly parents me, recalling grace.
I’m still pretty new at this parenting thing, but it’s safe to say I’d die for my son. But I may not always be able to protect him.
So, I speak truth to my heart. God eternally protects his children at all costs.
Not too long ago, a missionary mom emailed to share a story with us. She told us she was using the podcast as a means to meet new moms in a foreign country. Many of the moms she met wanted to learn English, so she shared the show with them and quickly gospel conversations began. Another mom told us she was struggling in her faith after the birth of her second child, but after interacting with the ministry on social media, she decided to get back to reading her Bible and spending time with God. A third mom messaged us about an unbelieving friend she was praying for and witnessing to for two years. One day the friend finally showed interest in the gospel—she wanted to talk about what she heard on the R|M podcast. A husband recently messaged us to say he’d noticed a change in his wife. He felt it was due, in part, to God using the ministry in her life.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Each week messages pour into our inbox, telling powerful stories about God’s work through R|M. While every person has a different story to share, there’s one common theme: God is on the move, he is changing hearts and lives, drawing mothers to himself.