Somebody, somewhere breathed life into a few dreadful rumors and they’ve worked an insidious hole through the hearts of mothers everywhere. To further complicate the matter, we perpetrate the lies by not only allowing ourselves to be poisoned by them, but by infecting others in our path. It’s time we took a stand, dispelling myths while throwing light on a few elements of truth.
Motherhood is not about you. Take just a moment to let that sink in and then go back and read it again. Because it’s not about what you like or don’t like. It has nothing to do with what you feel like doing or what you wish you could be doing instead. It’s not even about whether you want to be a mother or not. If you’ve been so blessed, then it is your calling. Embrace it because He’s asking you to. Period.
Motherhood is not a role assigned for your pleasure. You will not enjoy every aspect of it, nor are you expected to. We are called to do hard things and being a mother just happens to be among the hardest. If you should find you do not get excited by laundry or dishes or housework, you are called to do them anyway. If you shrink back from training your toddlers to obedience and would prefer to let them grow as their carnal natures would have them, you are called to train them anyway. It’s a calling, not a hobby.
Motherhood is not for the faint of heart but the faint of heart can certainly be mothers. God uses us in our imperfection, not asking that we first arrive at some quintessential place of consistently superior performance. He uses our weakness to strengthen His weakest. He tends to shine brightest when we’re a bit dull because it becomes impossibly clear that it’s Him and not us. If you feel like fainting, go right ahead. Just first give yourself a little nudge in His direction so He can be the one who catches you. He’ll get you going again.
Motherhood is messy. Whoever told you it was supposed to be filled with Kodak moments and tender memories spattered you with lies. Oh, you’ll find those moments peppered among the scary ones–but only if you’re looking. Don’t let yourself be swallowed up by the false perception that mothering is supposed to be an exercise in beautiful. Because honestly, it gets downright ugly at times and only grace and abundant mercy will bring forth that sought-after beauty. Even so, those beautiful moments drown out the ugly ones.
Motherhood is just as much about shaping your own character as it is about shaping theirs. The consistent and continual surrender of self to the job at hand is like sand paper on a freshly hewn log. Your rough edges slowly soften as you set aside your own agenda to meet His. Day after day, week in and week out, He is using your children to draw you to Himself even as He uses you to bring forth your little children.
Motherhood is not just for “mothers”. Sometimes the Lord chooses not to bless the womb of a woman but still calls her heart to the task of shepherding His floundering lambs. It may be through foster care, adoption or simply investing in the children around her. And she may not even want to do it. But a heart willing to turn from the closed door and enter through the open one is a heart God can and will use for mighty things. If this is you, brace yourself…your reward is beyond measure.
Somewhere between conception and those first signs of rebellion we start to emotionally check out. We allow ourselves to think on things like–This job is harder than I expected! and What happened to that sweet cuddly baby and how did she suddenly turn into this terrifying and opinionated imposter? and Where’s the receipt? Because clearly there was a mix-up and I got the wrong child!
Suck it up, MamaBear. Stop rehearsing all the things that should be different and put your hand to the plow. He’ll meet you right where you are but you’ve got to be willing to move. You’ve got to be willing to get your hands dirty and do hard things. You’ve got to be willing to love when it hurts and hurt when you love.
And you’ve got to be willing to be emptied so he can fill you up!