Christians have been given the message of reconciliation in Christ. In honor of MLK Jr. Day, we’re asking what it looks like to be caught up in the story of God reconciling his people to himself and to one another.
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.
Your view of God will determine what type of parent you are.
For those who view God as an angry tyrant & judge visiting wrathful vengeance on all who cross him, you will mirror that image. Your parenting will be demanding & unmerciful. You will be self-righteous because you believe yourself to measure up to God’s laws...
On the days that you’re a “good parent” (i.e. you make a delicious breakfast with fruit, organic cage-free eggs, whole grain sprouted wheat toast, send them joyfully to school, do their laundry with a song in your heart, help them with homework without once raising your voice, & send them to bed after a full 30 minutes of family worship), you’ll find confidence & wonder why your kids are not doing what they should. Your impatience for their sin will smother them. You’ll think about how you do what you are supposed to do, so why can’t they? You’ll expect God to save your kids. You’ll operate under a covenant of works…
...On the days that you don’t measure up & you’re a “bad parent” (i.e. you yell at them to eat cereal, you make them walk home because you don’t want to drive the 5 minutes to get them, & when you try to do homework, you end up yelling at them & sending them to bed early), you’ll be depressed & think God made a mistake in even giving you kids. You’ll feel guilty for your sin & you’ll make your kids feel guilty for theirs. Depression & pessimism will characterize your relationship with your kids.
...If you believe God to be merciful, patient & steadfast you’ll enjoy a peace.
You’ll be aware that you & your children are sinners, but that Jesus is a friend of sinners. You’ll be able to freely confess your sin to your children, you won’t feel like you’re letting them win because you had to admit to wrong. You’ll see, with hope, how God is strong enough to even use your sin to make his grace look glorious. You’ll know that his unconditional love is for you on the days that you’re a bad parent & the days that you’re a good parent. You’ll not be surprised at your children’s sin because you’ll believe the truth that Paul proclaimed, ‘Christ came for sinners, which I am the worst.
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 don’t think it was postpartum depression—not quite, anyway. But does the ‘diagnosis’ matter in the midst of the fog?
All of life seemed bleak. Doing simple household tasks required robot-like determination. I cried every time my husband left for work. I dreaded nights. I was sleep-deprived, as every new mom is, and yet, night-time seemed like my enemy. The darkness was oppressive.
Even when I could point to nothing in particular, I felt a heaviness in my spirit. What discouraged me most was the effect this cloud had on my relationship with God. I felt numb. Reading scripture was a chore, and prayer only highlighted how distant I felt from God. I wondered if I’d ever recover my joy in Christ.
As believers, we all face times when faith is no more than getting up one more time, taking one more step, resisting the urge to give up in this moment. We can’t see God working behind the cloud of despair, depression, or doubt. It’s in these times we need an anchor.
An anchor is valuable is because it stays firm continuously.
The book of Hebrews presents Christ as our anchor. We have a High Priest who fully understands us. Draw near to him because he understands your pain and offers you mercy and grace in your time of need. He can relate to your struggles. He’s also praying for us without pause, and his prayers flow from his heart of understanding.
Our perfect, eternal High Priest is the anchor which will never fail. He is totally reliable, eternally trustworthy, and perfectly strong.
Are you currently in a storm? In the midst of postpartum depression, morning sickness, a scary medical diagnosis, or shepherding a rebellious child, you have an anchor. Even if you feel you can do nothing else, cling to Jesus. And believe that he is clinging to you. His grip will not fail.
The storms on the sea of life will come. Now is the time to anchor our hearts to these truths.”