Motherhood can be overwhelming. As a mom of four children, ages 5 and under, it is easy to drown in the to-do list that never ends. On top of the perennial to-do list a mom has to handle whining, fighting, sitting on infant brothers (yes, it happens here), and making messes of things that they ought not to get into. It is difficult to get any single project done! I know right now, some of you are saying, “Why on earth are you on the computer then, child?” – No comment. To tell you the absolute truth, I have been “drowning” lately in my responsibilities.
When we are sincerely desiring to follow the Savior, He will show us exactly what we need, though. A few weeks ago I took Natalie to church to practice piano. After practice, something prompted me to go to the church library, which I never do, to see if there was anything I might like to read. Sure enough, two books popped right off the shelf to me. And let me tell you, they were exactly what I needed.
The book Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson has been such a rebuke to me. It is as if she has watched as I rear my children, but in actuality, she has been through the exact same things. She is a mother of four, who put a career of public speaking aside to raise her kids. Much of what she says are things that I have thought about, but never vocalized because I thought they might seem outlandish. I was glad to be confirmed in my beliefs. As in any book I would ever recommend on living life, she bases everything on the Bible. While it all seems simplistic, it is such a needful reminder as I try to raise a godly heritage.
Here are some lessons I have gleaned so far:
Children are a reward to us, from God.
We always read the verse, “Children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” but do we ever stop and tear the verse apart? Our reward here on earth is children. They are to be treated as a reward. They are to be cherished and treasured, as a gift directly from God. WOW. I know I fall short here everyday. It is so easy for me to forget that they are a gift amidst the whining, fighting and mess making. It is easier to think “Why? Why do I have to deal with these little heathens?” When we view our kids as a reward from God, it is easier to handle the problems that they may create.
The desire of motherhood is God-given.
God gives women with children instinct. I cannot describe it. I do not know the point at which it happens. But it is there, this motherly instinct. If each of us is honest, we do not desire to be away from our kids. Sometimes we have to. Sometimes we do need and desire a break. But, when children grow up and move on, it is difficult on us. It is not something we ought to be ashamed or embarrassed at. The feminist movement has morphed even the Christian idea of motherhood as something of less importance than an outside career. I think it is time for a revolution of our own. If you are a stay-at-home mom who has ever felt sheepish when explaining your full time job, or made to feel inferior because you have chosen to dedicate your gifts and energies into raising children for the Lord, STOP. Let’s be proud (in a good way) and unashamed in fulfilling our God-given role. There are many single working moms who would give anything to be able to be at home with their kids instead of having to send them off for a large portion of the day. There are a lot of discontented moms who can’t put their finger on why they are not happy. They may have a promising career, but they are longing for a stronger bond with their kids and just can’t figure it out. We have an important job with our children. We can use those “on the job” skills and qualities we have right in our own home.*
A Mother is a Servant
It seems so simple, yet I forget so easily. Life is not about me. If I want my kids to be selfless individuals, I need to not only teach it to them through words, but through actions. Do I serve my kids as I ought? Do I get annoyed when they need something or do I treat it all as important and put my own desires aside? Mrs. Clarkson gives the example of Jesus washing His disciples feet before being crucified. I am sure He knew that He would not be getting any rest. Surely He knew the suffering He was about to go through. Instead of calling together a pity party, He served His followers. We may be sleep deprived-I know I am. The house may not look like the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. Our social life may not be super exciting. But it isn’t about me or my comforts – it is about showing Christ to my children. As we walk in the Spirit and not in our own selfish ways, we will be able to better cultivate this area of life. As we portray it to our children, they will catch on and pass it on to their children, etc.
I am not even halfway through the book, but I am learning so much. The temporal things of this world – a broken glass, a marker-scribbled wall, a cracker crushed carpet – hold nothing to our kids in the light of eternity. And the legacy I leave them will go forward after I am long gone. What’s it going to be?
*I am not against working outside the home, especially when it is needed. I am just saying that those of us who work at home ought not be ashamed at the job that we have either.