In the days of pregnancy and early weeks of motherhood, my heart struggled to reconcile two ideas—my love for my child and trusting God with him.
Being a mom is a constant striving to trust God with my fragile child, and it is a twofold lesson: Motherhood is a tandem walk with trust and obedience.
The Worries We Cannot Control
Worry is a desperate grasping for control. I can say this because I’ve battled anxiety most of my life and it comes from a heart seeking to control.
In motherhood, there are many things I want control of. I want to control my child’s health and safety. I want to control their future happiness. I want to control their behavior. I want to control their salvation and ensure that they become believers. These are a few of the many things I vainly grapple to control.
Notice I said vainly. I can control none of these aspects of my child’s life. I can’t guarantee a healthy, happy life of good behavior and conversion to Christianity. I don’t have that kind of power or sovereignty. But God does. With these aspects of my child’s life, I need to stop exhausting myself with vain grappling. I can reach and grab for control of these things, but I will never succeed. And often times it’s this vain endeavor that keeps me from the obedience God calls me to instead.
As believing mothers, we need to lay these concerns at the feet of God’s throne. Rather than fighting for control, we need to fall to our knees in humble submission, praying for God’s hand in each of these areas, and that our hearts would trust whatever he wills.
As mothers, we need to remember that though our children came from our wombs, it was God who created them. He knew about our babies before we decided we wanted them, and he knit them together inside us. And as he did, he knew each of our children’s days. Just as he knew David, Jeremiah, and Paul before they were born and knew how their life would unravel, so he does our children’s as well. And he is trustworthy—his ways are higher and his ways are best.
We’ve entrusted our salvation to God. When God softened our hearts to the gospel, we believed and repented of our sins, and we committed our entire lives to him—both earthly and heavenly. If he can be trusted with our eternal destination, with the state of our souls, with our lives and heartbeats, how much more can he be trusted with our children?
Sometimes it will be hard. We will cry out to him in lament. We will long for different circumstances, but we can also trust. We can trust the Great Physician to care for our child’s health—the God who heals the sick and allows ailments is righteous. God, the source of all joy, knows the trials needed to refine and teach our children. Our God, the Potter who makes both vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy, will not lose our children if they are to be saved. We can trust him. He’s a better caretaker of our children than we could ever be.
What is our role then? As mothers, we’re called to disciple and raise our children according to the Word of God.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV
Though God gave this command to the Israelites, we can still find value in it today for believing parents. It’s a repeated theme in the New Testament and in Proverbs. We also see the results of it in the life of Timothy, who was taught by his mother and grandmother.
As parents, we need to be diligent to teach our children the gospel. They will not absorb it simply by watching us and being dragged to church each Sunday. Rather, our faith should be such an integrated part of our lives that it’s repeatedly taught throughout our days with our children.
But notice first God calls the parents to have these words on their hearts. The gospel must first penetrate and change our lives and fuel our faith before we can teach it to our children. If the gospel isn’t changing us, we can’t expect to be able to rightly teach it to them. Our role is to know scripture for ourselves, to have it as an integral part of our own lives, so much so it bleeds into our lives with our children and we’re able to teach it to them.
For each mother this will look different based on each child’s personality, style of learning, age, and season of life. And that’s okay. Rather than comparing to one another, let’s encourage one another to grow in the knowledge of the gospel and diligently teach it to our children.
As we raise our children in the way and fear of the Lord, let us be persistently on our knees in prayer for these sweet children we love, entrusting them to the Lord—not letting our worries and fears distract us from our duty to train them according to his truth.
Lara d’Entremont is a biblical counselor in training, and her desire in writing is to teach women to turn to God’s Word in the midst of their daily life and suffering to find the answers they need. She wants to teach women to love God with both their minds and hearts. Lara is married to Daniel and they live in Nova Scotia, Canada. You can find more of her writing at laradentremont.com.
Jer. 1:5, Gal. 1:15
Is. 55:9, Rom. 8:28
1 Pet. 1:6-7
Rom. 9:14-24, John 6:39
Eph. 6:4, Prov. 22:6
2 Tim. 1:5, 3:15