It’s easy, as a mother, to let our circumstances steal our joy. But don’t miss the moments of goodness; keep your eyes on Jesus.
Christ didn’t suffer on the cross so we could just survive motherhood. Rather, he defeated death so we could live as righteous ones. As we choose to serve our families with joy and out of love for God, we are transformed by grace into Christ-likeness—yes, through car pick up lines, nighttime wake ups, and toothpaste spills.
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 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, & sleeplessness. It’s not easy consistently training up our children in the way they should go through fights over food & school work, tantrums & unwise choices. It’s humbling to tell our young ones about the mighty deeds of God & then display gospel-kindness when faced with their rebellion.
Yet we pray, forbear, & 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, & 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 & the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.’ (Eph. 6:12)
This sometimes-uncomfortable work of mothering draws our attention to our need for the great shepherd’s comfort. Only his rod & staff can give us a lasting sense of safety in hard places.
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.
Dear sisters, when tempted to begrudge the costly & uncomfortable work of mothering, let’s remember Jesus went before us. His joyful obedience in hard things accomplished our redemption & adoption & will result in our resurrection one glorious day.
“We’ve all been there. We’ve all given our children instructions, they’ve asked why, and we’ve responded with neither grace nor eloquence, ‘Because I said so!’
We’re tired, exasperated, and in search of a quick fix.
But if time paused and we were given a moment to really think about the answer to their question of why, what would we come up with? Why do we want them to do what we’ve asked them to do? What are the motives behind our commands? What’s driving us?
In the Bible, Paul answers the question why over and over. In every letter he wrote to the early churches, he didn’t merely give them instructions for godly living and say, “Because I said so!” He gave them—and us—a foundation, a motivation, a robust reason for doing what God asks us to do.
When we read Colossians, we can almost hear Paul’s words getting faster and faster, culminating in a crescendo of praise. And then he says, ‘Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.’
The praise comes first, then the pivot, and then the instruction for godly living. This order is crucial.
First, we understand the nature and character of our God. We remember his goodness and kindness to us. We recall how he gave himself over to us. We acknowledge that we were in darkness before him and he brought us into the kingdom of light. We say out loud that he’s a gift we do not deserve.
Then, after those rehearsals and proclamations, we set out to obey our good God. It’s from a heart full of remembrance and praise, which is how we received Christ Jesus the Lord, that we walk in him.
First we remember the gospel, and then we walk in it.
Christian parenting is discipleship. As Christian moms, we want our homes, our language, our actions, our thoughts to be distinctly Christian. So our answer to why must have the substance of our Savior.
May they bear the aroma of Christ.
It was his grace that saved us. May it also be his grace that propels us. God’s grace is the answer to why.”
‘Let’s go change your diaper,’ I chirped in my sing-songy ‘mom’ voice.
We headed toward the stairs. Stepping up, my slipper caught a rough joint in the wood, and the world flipped in slow motion. We tumbled toward the wooden landing with no possible way to prevent the fall.
‘Protect the baby at all costs.’
I’m not sure it was a cognizant thought, but instinctively I turned my body to take the brunt of the fall. It didn’t matter if I’d be battered and bruised, protecting him was more important.
As the adrenaline subsided and his safety was evident, my tears flowed. My baby could have been seriously injured. I cried and prayed, praising God for his protection over my newborn.
Of course, this scenario could have gone much differently, like a trip to the emergency room. But even so, God is still the protector.
Because God eternally protects his children at all costs.
Though it doesn’t always come in the form we want it to, the Lord protects. He may not spare us from grief or trials in this life, but his view is deeper, down to our very souls.
Jesus accomplished the ultimate protection on the cross. He turned his own body to take the brunt of the ‘fall.’ He was bruised and broken, but protecting his own was more important. And he protected even unto death, absorbing the full measure of wrath that should have been hurled at us.
Because Christ made God favorable toward us, all we receive is grace upon grace.
Therefore, I can rest. I might fear injury, sickness, or even death, but I can entrust those fears to the one who has ultimate control. I don’t have to be a perfect mom. I can’t be a perfect mom. Accidents will happen. I’ll make bad decisions. I’ll sin against him. But I can run to the God who perfectly parents me, recalling grace.
I’m still pretty new at this parenting thing, but it’s safe to say I’d die for my son. But I may not always be able to protect him.
So, I speak truth to my heart. God eternally protects his children at all costs.
“I looked at my husband across the couch and heard myself say, ‘I’m tired of blowing it, of sinning the same way over and over again with our kids. Can’t I trade this in for another sin or something?!’
Ever since I can remember, I’ve fallen into what some have called the ‘performance trap,’ setting standards for what it means to be a good friend, a good student, a good wife, a good mom, even a good Christian.
But having young kids exposed my sin again and again. It felt impossible to ‘perform’ in this role, to hit the benchmark I had in my head of what a good, Christian mom should look like. I’d hold it together for awhile, but eventually I’d totally blow it. Feeling terrible, I’d apologize profusely to the kids and try to make it up to them. Then, I’d pull up my proverbial bootstraps and determine to do better next time. But, inevitably, I’d blow it again. And the cycle of sin and shame and ‘trying harder’ would repeat.
Sometimes, when I felt really frustrated and defeated, I wanted to give up and declare: “This is just part of my personality, and parenting is so hard!”
But this is not the gospel!
In his mercy, God repeatedly brought me to a point of desperation. God helped me realize that no amount of staring at my sin, or beating myself up, or ‘trying harder; would ever help me hit that standard.
God taught me to fix my eyes on Christ, who already fixed his eyes on me in love.
In Christ, we meet God’s standard.
In Christ, we’re free from the condemning power of sin.
In Christ, we’re free from the enslaving power of sin.
In Christ, we still struggle with the presence of sin.
In Christ, we never outgrow the gospel.
Our journeys in motherhood aren’t over. Though we’re growing, we’ll still blow it. But we can ask our kids for forgiveness and point them not to a perfect mom, but to a perfect Savior.
We can walk in the good work of motherhood in an attitude of worship, resting, and rejoicing in the undeserved friendship of Jesus and point our children to the same.”
Maybe you grew up like me, running around the white-steepled church smack in center of your small-town.
Maybe you heard stories of a different Jesus, an imposter Jesus that sent you running from the church building as soon as you grabbed your diploma and your own set of keys.
Maybe you met Jesus in small doses, spread here and there.
But whatever your story, now we’re here, wanting to lead our children to the face and hands and words of the real and risen Savior, the greatest treasure we meet in scripture.
From beginning to end, the story of redemption has always been about God. The God who shot twirling planets across space by the words of his mouth chose the weak and broken things of this world to make himself known. Our God used mud to give sight to the blind, water to bring wine to the wedding, children to feed the multitudes. So, don’t sit there stressing Bible degrees and church pedigrees, unread book lists, and unlistened podcasts.
Instead, sit there celebrating a God who is enough.
This God who wrote the greatest story ever told in the pages of eternity, also wrote a new story, this gospel incarnate, inside of us. A story painted in sweeping brush strokes of Redeemer blood. A story that rewrote our past and redirected our future.
The Author of the greatest story is present in the pages of scripture, and he’s present in you as you tentatively whisper and confidently shout his words to your children.
The greatest gift we give our children isn’t handing them the all answers to life, wrapped in a sparkling red bow. It’s bringing them along with us as we live out the redemptive reality of Christ in us. When we come to God’s word with them, asking with utter confidence, ‘God, show us yourself today,’ we are modeling for them how to live this life on earth. This is what they need.
So become treasure hunters together.
Next time you open the Bible with your children, take a moment to pray your eyes will see the wonderful story of redemption on every page.