Children! They take away from your free time, your “me” time, your money, your hobbies, your passions. Children hinder your ability to travel, to be spontaneous, and generally do whatever you want to do. They interrupt your conversations, your reading time, your TV time and your dinner time and even your sleeping time. This is the general view of children in our culture.
Have you heard of McDain’s restaurant in Monroeville, PA.? This restaurant banned children under six. Seriously, they banned children from eating in their restaurant. Guess what? The restaurant is doing great. Business is better than ever! This is a pretty clear picture of selfishness combined with a general disdain for little ones.
Here’s some truth: even christian mothers are not immune to struggling with wrong attitudes toward their children.
It is important for us to recognize the root of these attitudes, and to learn how we can effectively push back against them while relying on God’s grace to change our hearts.
At the center of a mother’s struggle with her attitude toward her children is selfishness. Selfishness is easy, selflessness is hard. And being a parent, a good parent, is an act of self-denial. Until we see the connection between following Jesus, denying self, and the honor of motherhood and raising the children entrusted to us, we will struggle with seeing children as something better than a burden.
Let’s be honest: children do take away from our “me time” (whatever that may be). It’s not just tips on motherhood that we need (and we do need tips, advice, help in very practical ways), but we need to be able to address our hearts and minds as mothers.
We need to be reminded of the glory of being a mom.
So what is so glorious about being a mom?
1. Our Influence
As mothers we hold a lot of power. We can turn our children into messed up blights on society or we have the power to raise kind, respectful, helpful, considerate, and hardworking people who hopefully will love Jesus and in turn have healthy marriages and raise respectful loving, kind children of their own. We not only hold power that, to some extent, leads to how our children turn out, but also how our grandchildren are raised and the kind of home life they may have. You, as mother, have the ability to work toward the “making disciples of all nations.” You, as a mother, help to build a counter-cultural, gospel-driven community of faith. We need to take a much bigger view of mothering. God has entrusted you with this power. Do not waste it.
The greatest influence on earth whether for good or for evil, is possessed by women… Every woman, whether rich or poor, married or single, has a circle of influence, within which, according to her character she is exerting a certain amount of power for good or harm. — John A. James 1852
2. Our Calling
I want my daughter to think to herself, “I can’t wait to be a mom!” I want it to be her ambition, her longing, her prayer — to be a great mother. This must be taught theologically, but also caught through our example. I want my daughter to believe that God has made her to fulfill a divine calling.
He that created you is best qualified to declare the intention of his own acts, and you may safely, as you should humbly, allow him to fix your position, and make known your duties. — John A. James 1852
3. Our Sanctification
Children (as well as marriage) will bring out sins that you didn’t know you struggled with because you were never really tested in that area. I had always considered myself to be a very patient person. Then I had kids. I was shocked to see how impatient I could be. It took me a while to realize that my patience had never really been tested until I became a mom, and that I really wasn’t as patient as I had always prided myself in being.
God uses people (especially our children) in our lives to help us become more like Jesus. This is sometimes a very painful process, especially when these people are used to reveal hidden (and not so hidden) sins in our hearts. But we should be thankful for the opportunity to repent and grow, to cry out to God for change and to see him work his transforming power in our lives. What grace, and what glory… that God would bless us with children, and then use our relationship with them to bring us farther along in our walk with our Savior.
4. God’s Glory
If you are a mom you have the opportunity to glorify God in the way you raise your children. To bring glory to God in the things that you teach them, the way you interact with them, and in the way you love them. As a Christian there is no task that is not “spiritual” since we are called to do all things for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). You see, the real glory of motherhood is that in it, we reflect the glory of God.
Being a parent is hard. There is no rest, no break, and sometimes very little sleep. We will be stretched in ways that we may not like at the time but we must fight against the bad attitude that can rise to the surface of our hearts. We must repent and ask Christ to change our bad attitude to joy and gratitude while we refocus on the glory of motherhood.