Motherhood is one of the hardest jobs in the world, but it’s also one of the greatest ways we can learn to throw ourselves completely at the feet of Jesus.
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.
“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.”
“‘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.
Infertility is painful for countless reasons, but one reason is women can feel isolated from or misunderstood by their loved ones.
I know this struggle all too well.
Now that I’m in my early 30’s, I’m the only woman in my circle of friends who does not have children. I respect and admire their commitment to their families, for that is a good, godly calling! However, the natural result tends to leave me, a childless woman, feeling removed or not properly cared for.
How, then, should you love your friend suffering through infertility?
There isn’t one ideal approach, and every woman is different but here’s what I’ve learned. By leaning into Christ, you can love and serve her well through these three Gospel-centered ways:
(1) Mourn with her.
(2) Remind of her of her identity in Christ.
(3) Speak truth, not fluff.
There is unending grace for you and your friend as you navigate this trial together. Be committed, be bound, be unshakable.
Literally. As in I’m physically, emotionally, & mentally reaching the end of my strength most days. At no other time in my life has opening my eyes in the morning been painful,—oh, how it hurts.
I’m not the polished, level headed, organized mom I aspire to be. In fact, I’m more aware of my inability than ever.
Yet somehow here, in the mere minutes of prayer before my kids wake, despite my sleep-deprivation & all the details that must be managed for the day, yes, in my weakness, God is meeting me.
He’s showing himself strong & keeping his promises.
In 1 Cor. 1:8-9, Paul writes, ‘For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.’
Do you see it? The trial Paul experienced exposed his weakness & forced his reliance on God. A few verses later, he writes:
‘For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory’ (v. 20).
Slowly but surely I’m learning to rejoice in the inadequacies that bind me to Jesus & release me to abide in him. I’m finding freedom—not guilt—in the fact that I bring absolutely nothing to the banquet table & yet his banner over me is love.
I’m learning to find joy in seeing Christ work through my weakness & in spite of me, for his own glory.
In this way, the hard work of motherhood is a gift, a sharp lens through which we clearly see our own weakness & our Savior’s all-encompassing strength. This was never about us or our motherhood journey. Our every life circumstance is orchestrated by his grace for his pleasure.
He knew motherhood, like life, would lead us here—to the end of ourselves, so he made a way for us to experience the joy of confessing our weakness, surrendering our strength, and resting in him.
This is gospel hope.