Before I had children, my days were fairly predictable. I knew what to expect. I woke up at the same time each day, got ready for work, and left the house at the same time each morning. And though my work was challenging, my evenings and weekends gave me opportunity for rest and relaxation before I returned to work again.
Life with children is different. It can be demanding and exhausting, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There’s no end to the work that needs to be done. There’s no punch card to stamp at the end the of day. There are no shifts and no fifteen-minute breaks. There’s no down time or vacations. A mom is always on duty.
Not only that, but a mom’s work keeps her on her toes with the constant juggling of demands, the unexpected curve-balls children swing at her left and right, and the behavioral and discipline issues that pop up when she least expects it. She often tries to anticipate what will happen next so she can be prepared—exploding diaper at a restaurant, anyone? From discipline and training issues to caring for sick children, from answering countless questions to cleaning up another spill, from managing family life to rescuing a child who somehow climbed up on top of the cabinet, a mom’s job would challenge and exhaust the finest brain surgeon.
Moms Need Rest
No doubt about it, motherhood leaves us weary. We know it. We feel it deep in our bones. We tell ourselves it’ll be better once the baby sleeps through the night or once the toddler gets used to sleeping in a “big kid bed” or once everyone’s immune system matures so they don’t all catch the same bug all at once... You get the picture. Sure, we’ll likely sleep through the night once we no longer have babies to feed every three hours. But it doesn’t mean there won’t be bone-wearying days. In fact, as they get older, we’ll find ourselves staying up late so we know they’ve returned home safely from an evening out with friends.
As moms, we are prone to take on every burden ourselves and think that everything depends on us. We have high expectations for ourselves and try to stay on top of everything, whether it’s having a spotless house and well-dressed children or keeping up with our volunteer duties at school or on the ball field. We follow behind everyone else to pick up the pieces and manage what was left undone. In addition to our motherhood duties, we have other responsibilities to manage, whether in the home or at the office. All too often, we live as though we are supermoms, impervious to the boundaries and limits of human frailty.
Moms, we need rest. We certainly need physical rest, for the stress of our labors wears on our bodies and takes its toll. But we also need spiritual rest, the rest that’s found in Christ.
A Mom’s Rest in Jesus
Jesus came to give us the ultimate rest we need. He came to relieve us from striving to do life on our own—of trying to be the goddesses of our own kingdoms. He came to remove our burden of living as though life depends on us. He came to free us from trying to prove ourselves worthy to others and to God. He came to release us from trying to please him with our works and efforts. He came to relieve us from trying to save ourselves. He came to redeem us from sin, to free us from our burdens, and to take on all our sorrows. He did this in his perfect life lived for us and his sacrificial death, paid on our behalf.
While we may know that Christ came to give us spiritual rest, it can be hard to imagine experiencing it. With all the duties, responsibilities, and cares we bear, it’s hard to imagine having a single moment to ourselves. When we can’t even find physical rest, how can we expect to find spiritual rest as moms?
We may think life is too chaotic to find quiet time in our day to rest and focus on who Jesus is and what he has done for us. But seeking such rest is not merely a matter of devoting an hour to Bible reading and prayer. It’s not about having absolute quiet and focus on God, without a child in sight. It’s not about developing a strict schedule where we wake up at 5 a.m. to make sure we have our devotions before the kids wake up—though that’s a good idea and a worthy goal.
Rather, seeking rest in Christ is a posture of the heart. It’s an all-the-time, 24/7 kind of thing. It’s a constant state of the heart where we’re always leaning on the Lord, trusting in him to be our life and salvation. In truth, we can dwell on the gospel and what Christ has done for us even in the midst of the most chaotic day. We can turn to Christ for hope and strength, no matter where we are and what we’re doing. We can rehearse the gospel, and feast on morsels of scripture hidden in our heart, even when we can’t get to our Bibles. We can pray in our hearts to our Savior all throughout the day.
Taking hold of the rest we have in Christ releases our burden of trying to carry the load of motherhood on our own. Remembering we have a great Savior who bore all our sins and sorrows on the cross helps us know he cares about every moment of our motherhood. Even letting some things go and yielding our super mom expectations into God’s hands means we trust the Lord will structure our day and determine what’s accomplished and what’s not. When he becomes our focus, rather than a to-do list, we can find joy in the busiest and most tiring of days.
Yes, we will be tired and weary during the season of motherhood, some days more so than others. But spiritual rest is always available to us. We don’t have to live life as though it all depends on us. We don’t have to be on top of everything, anticipating every need, and solving every problem. We already have a Savior, we don’t have to be one too.
Moms, let’s find rest in who Jesus is for us today.
Note: this post is a modified excerpt from Christina’s new book: Sufficient Hope: Gospel Meditations and Prayers for Moms.
Christina Fox is a speaker, writer, editor, and blogger. She is the author of Sufficient Hope: Gospel Meditations and Prayers for Moms, Idols of a Mother’s Heart, A Heart Set Free: A Journey to Hope Through the Psalms of Lament, and Closer Than a Sister: How Union with Christ Helps Friendships to Flourish. She is a homeschooling mom to two boys, loves her coffee black, and enjoys browsing antique shops. Christina shares her faith journey at www.christinafox.com.