This is a guest post by Karen Hodge.
When I was a young, first-time mom, I found myself crying outside the door of my daughter’s room. As she cried inside the room, trying to figure out her nights from her days, I was crying from the pressures of trying to control everything – simply so I would be seen by others as a “good mom.”
Today, that little girl has grown up into a beautiful young bride, yet at times, I still feel the pressure to be the world’s version of a “good mom.” If only I could have seen into the future to know her sleep schedule wouldn’t define who she would become. But what I didn’t realize at the time was that my expectations and hopes to be a “good mom” were defining me.
Wouldn’t you love a sneak peek of who your kids will be when they grow up? Or how about you? Who do you want to be when you grow up? What are your hopes, desires, and passions? What voices shape the trajectory of your life?
While people, experiences, and circumstances shape our journey, like my time spent crying outside the door of the nursery – at the most fundamental level, you are shaped by your doxology and your theology.
Let me explain what I mean.
Women are Products of their Doxology
I thought the Doxology was a song you sang at the end of a church service. But actually, its root comes from the Latin “dox” meaning “glory” or “worship” and “ology” meaning “word” or “thought.” So, doxology is “a word or thought about worship.” There is a misperception that worship is something we attend once a week at a church service, rather than a rhythm that should characterize every breath of our life.
Worship is the shape of what we hold worthy.
God tells us in the Ten Commandments that we should have no other gods before Him. Worshiping another god or idol is giving that person or thing value and worth that should only be attributed to God.
As moms, we can often view children, resources, and relationships as good gifts, but when we elevate them as an ultimate gift our doxology is misdirected because Christ is the ultimate gift.
So, the question is: What is captivating your attention, mama? Who do you prize or value more than anything? Whatever that is, that is what you worship.
Paul extols the greatness and worthiness of God in Romans 11:33-36:
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
We become what we behold. If you ascribe little worth to God, then your life will be small and trivial. But if you worship the God that Paul describes, then life and its potential are immense … exceedingly more than you can ask or think! (Eph. 3:20-21)
So how is your life a product of your doxology? God’s wisdom and knowledge are so rich and deep that your greatest counsel as a mom will never reach the bottom of these truths. God’s judgments and plans are so wonderful, your best ideas pale in comparison. God knows everything that has ever happened and ever will happen, which means you cannot even begin to advise God about what is best for you and your children.
When you wonder where the resources you need for the day will come from, remember he is a well that never runs dry. When you question if you will have enough strength to make it through the day, realize your strength comes from him. And when your kids do something incredible and you want to take credit, remember that all glory belongs to him.
What you worship or hold as praiseworthy profoundly shapes your actions and attitudes. It impacts how you invest your time and resources. And even more weighty, what you prioritize as valuable instructs your children in what to value.
All Women are Products of their Theology
Women are also products of their theology. I know, I know, a lot of big words!
“Theo” is Latin for “God” and we already know about “ology” – a “word” or “thought.” So, our theology is what we think about God. Our theology and doxology can never be separated. Tradition, religious experiences, and people form our thinking about God.
Have you ever heard someone say, “My God would never do that?” This person is saying, “I am shaping God after my image rather than seeing myself shaped in His image.” If we have a narrow view of God where he fits nicely in a box of what he will and won’t do, then our life will be limited. If we take the parts we like about God, subtract the parts we don’t and add worldly wisdom, our theology is fragmented.
The result is a life that looks like scattered puzzle pieces where the box top has been thrown away – we just can’t figure out how life is supposed to fit together because we don’t have a proper view of God. But if we think about God as he is revealed in scripture, it changes everything. Fear is replaced by faith. Cynicism is replaced by awe and wonder. Anger over the brokenness of this world is replaced by his justice. Our shame and guilt are replaced by the redeeming love of the gospel.
We become what we behold and we are continually becoming what we will be
The good news is that God is not finished with us yet. Our doxology and theology are changing us. They compel us to surrender, holding nothing back. God wants it all. Our hands, feet, heart, and mind belong to Him. Our lives reflect what we value and think about him. Doxology and theology shape the most mundane tasks and most glorious moments. He is there in the midst of it all.
Paul goes on to say in Romans 12:1-2:
“I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Like anyone, moms are susceptible to the conforming pressures of the world. The world tries to squeeze us into its mold like the play dough in our playrooms. Conformity comes from the word for “masquerade” – “to wear a mask” or “play a part.” I bet most of us have those in our playrooms too. When our doxology and theology is conformed to the world, it gives the outward appearance of substance without an inward reality.
Transformation is the power of a greater force, outside of you, that brings about a glorious difference. It is the word for “metamorphosis.” The caterpillar to the butterfly kind of difference. The unimpressive caterpillar becomes glorious by passively lying still in a cocoon. And this is just like us.
As we yield our minds to be renewed in the truth, our doxology and theology are transformed. The word reorients and realigns everything we think and do. Transformation is radical, and sometimes messy, but in the end, glorious! The goal of transformation is to look like Jesus. The word of God (theology) reveals the glory of God (doxology) and the Spirit of God transforms us to be like the Son of God (2 Corinthians 3:17-18). We are continually becoming what we will be – and what we are becoming is what we behold.
Karen Hodge serves as the Coordinator for PCA Women’s Ministry, where she seeks to connect women and churches to one another and to sound resources. She is also having the time of her life serving alongside her husband Chris, Senior Pastor at Naperville Presbyterian Church in Naperville, IL. Chris and Karen have two children Anna Grace Botka and Haddon Hodge that round out “Team Hodge”. It is from the perspective of a wife, mother, leader and fellow pilgrim that she hopes to offer insights from God’s Word concerning how she and they can most effectively learn to enjoy and extend God’s glory.