The revealed mind of God needs to inform how we think, act toward, and value our children — and all children!
It also needs to be what shapes our ideas about mothering.
Being a Jesus-loving mom in current western culture isn’t easy. On one side, we’ve got boos and hisses from a post-feminism world that degrades mothers as a waste and sees children as the ultimate inconvenience. In that environment, being wiling to live boldly and find fulfillment in a life of sacrifice can be daunting.
But equally as dangerous is what we have on the other side: the current Mommyhood culture. In many places, it’s actually pretty popular to be a mom. It’s even hip to be a homemaker. Think mommy blogs. Decorating blogs. Pinterest. To the extent that homemaker and mom means trendy decor, fashionable kids, organic food, and broad educational choices, it’s popular. But it’s a ploy. It’s the old Good getting in the way of Best. Yes, make your home, dress your children in clean clothes, feed them healthy food, cultivate their hearts — but all in light of raising world changers, aliens in a foreign land, men and women who will live like this world is not their home!
We’re continually inundated with images and ideas of what being a good mom looks like. Maybe you know all too well what those images look like, and you fail miserably at toeing the line. I’ve got good news: His yoke is far easier and more gracious than the demands of our culture. Or maybe you’ve looked at all these women running ragged trying to get more spinach into our menus and thought, “Wow. LAME. This mom thing is just lame.” I’ve got good news for you, too: His call is far more demanding, inspiring, and impacting than any goals we could ever concoct.
Once again, there is the need to be constantly allowing the Word of God to be our compass and our vision.
But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us. –1 Thess 2:7-8
That is one of my favorite passages regarding motherhood, especially as I care for young children. It gets right to the heart of the matter: being a mother is about laying your life down for someone else! Here we see a picture painted of a woman who is gentle, who is tender in her care. (I think most of us have the capacity to give and do quite a bit, but do we give and do tenderly?) She is a mother who shows fond affection. Most of all, she is a mother who tells her children about Jesus and then gives them her life as an example of His love.
Now, as I nurture and care for and show affection for my children, I will often utilize gifts of homemaking and organization and cozy decorating. I will dress them in clean clothes that communicate my love. I will take my job as cook and family nutritionist seriously. I will be diligent to see their hearts and talents developed. But not because those things are the sum total of motherhood. And not for my own praise and sense of achievement (how quickly our efforts can turn to our own selfish ambitions!) As I continually allow Jesus to be my vision, those things simply become tools in my toolbox — and my ultimate goal becomes so much greater: To lay down my life for these children, that they may know and be strengthened in Christ.
My own dear Mama, who is continually being a nurturing mother, with no plans to ever stop.