The Joyful Discomfort of Motherhood

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 Discomfort of Motherhood

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, and sleeplessness. It’ is not easy consistently training up our children in the way they should go through fights over food and school work, tantrums and unwise choices. It’s humbling to tell our young ones about the mighty deeds of God and then display gospel-kindness when faced with their rebellion. Yet we pray, forbear, and 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, and 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 and the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12).

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This sometimes-uncomfortable work of mothering draws our attention to our need for the great shepherd’s comfort. Only his rod and staff can give us a lasting sense of safety in hard places.[1] 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.[2]

However, have you considered that the presence of God-given discomfort in motherhood demonstrates God’s grace in your life? Scripture says God will comfort his people, and those who receive such comfort in Christ will grow increasingly comfortable with life’s discomforts.

As a Christian, I’ve grown in comfortable seasons. But I’ve grown even more from the uncomfortable ones as I’ve rested in Christ. As we receive comfort from the gospel, our desire for joyful self-sacrificial living grows as well. It’s a life directed towards God, imaging Christ as we are stretched for the sake of God’s glory. It’s costly and tiring, which is what makes it seem so uncomfortable. But in the end, we receive more than we ever gave up.

When we lived in the Middle East, we saw this cruciform living displayed among Christian mothers from all over the world. Women faithfully cared for children with special needs in a place without much support and resources, staying to be a blessing to the nations. Women joyfully persevering through 50-hour work weeks to provide for their families back home, comforted because God is their true employer. Women following Jesus, even while it cost them their relationships with Hindi and Muslim family members.

In scripture, we also see examples of those living uncomfortably. Moses chose to be mistreated with the people of God rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. The reproach of Christ was of greater value to him than the treasures of Egypt.[3] Ruth stayed with her mother-in-law after her husband died to live with people who were not her own. Paul suffered imprisonment, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, and rejection for the sake of spreading the gospel to all nations.  Moreover, Jesus joyfully humbled himself and was clothed in the very dust of the earth created through him.[4] The one who breathed life into all men became a man who needed breath. In his perfect obedience, he endured temptation, hunger, exhaustion, loss, betrayal, torture, death, the wrath of God, and separation from the Father. It doesn’t get more uncomfortable than that.

God’s people are comfortable with uncomfortable living because we seek a better country, a heavenly one God prepared for us.[5]

Dear sisters, when tempted to begrudge the costly and uncomfortable work of Christian mothering, let’s remember Jesus went before us. His joyful obedience in hard things accomplished our redemption and adoption and will result in our resurrection one glorious day. Our God-honoring, self-sacrificial lives are a badge displaying who we belong to. It brings God glory! We’re uncomfortably tired because our arms and hearts are graciously filled with good things God asks us to carry. On hard days, when we feel tempted to eradicate all God-given discomfort that comes with the Christian life, plead the help of the comforter, seek true comfort by communing with Jesus, remember we’re not made for this world, consider that discomfort comes from living a life filled with good, and remember 1 John 5:3, “his commandments are not burdensome,” because we love him.


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Beverly Chao Berrus was born and raised by Chinese parents in Southern California, where her family came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ from out of idol worshipping traditions. She met and married Jason at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. where she later served on staff. Jason and Bev recently moved from Dubai, UAE, to Los Angeles, where Jason serves as a pastor. They’re the proud parents of three adorable third culture kids, Samantha, Jack, and Jude. Her writing has been featured on various websites including The Gospel Coalition and CBMW. Find her on Instagram or Facebook.

[1] Ps. 23:4

[2] 2 Cor. 1:5

[3] Heb. 11: 25-26

[4] Phil. 2:7-8; Col. 3:16-17

[5] Heb. 11:16