When my oldest children were younger, I used to think, “All I have to do is wait until they’re past this little kid stage, and then I’ll be able to really live my life, without all these annoying distractions (diaper changing, nursing, messy feeding, toys scattered all over the house, crying, temper tantrums, waking up in the middle of the night, wetting the bed, staining clothes, making noise, running around, banging things, not knowing how to do anything useful … ).” Since then, my outlook has changed.
Motherhood isn’t about getting past the “yucky” phase of having little ones, to the “older, more responsible” phase. Motherhood isn’t about looking forward to when I’m no longer getting pregnant and having to “deal” with babies and toddlers. That view of being a mother is selfish and hollow. You might summarize some people’s feelings about having children with the phrase, “Motherhood is such a drag.” But is it? Our culture pressures us into adopting that perspective (everyone else you know may be complaining about their kids and their “detention” to the house–you know, “this is my last one, and then, no more–thank goodness!”) but motherhood deserves to be elevated to a much higher level than we’ve been accustomed to giving it.
What does the Bible say about what a godly woman should look like? Here’s one verse (out of many):
“Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. ”
1 Timothy 5:9-10
Let’s break this down-
“Well reported of for good works”
What are those good works that are the prerequisite for being supported by the church as a widow and the mark of a godly woman who deserves honor?
- If she have brought up children
- If she have lodged strangers
- If she have washed the saints’ feet
- If she have relieved the afflicted
- If she have diligently followed every good work
Notice that bringing up children comes first in the list of works which identify her as a godly woman! It is a task set before us women that deserves just as much recognition as that of lodging strangers and relieving the afflicted. Not only that, but it is one of the most important jobs a woman could have!
“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
This passage of God’s word is so counter cultural! Our Maker exalts having children as a blessing and a reward FROM HIM! According to these verses, raising children could be compared to training warriors! We need to stop viewing child-bearing as only a natural process that we have “control” over, without acknowledging God’s sovereignty over conception. We need to stop thinking like an evolutionist. Thinking like an evolutionist involves not only seeing the physical world as slowly advancing through natural selection, but society as a whole evolving to an ever-improved state. The ways of our forefathers (and foremothers) are seen as impractical for our modern times; we’ve outgrown them. Having lots of children and not using birth control is looked upon as old-fashioned. Out with the old and in with the new. But what if there never was a problem with the old? Women today don’t have enough reverence for childbearing and rearing. God says that the man who has a house full of children is HAPPY! and not ashamed!
Our views on children need to be drastically re-fashioned. My views have definitely changed. Now, instead of seeing my children as a nuisance that keeps me from doing what I really want to be doing, I see each day spent nurturing my children as a gift from the Lord. I plan on mothering even into old age. I won’t be “going back to work” when my youngest one is finally out of the nest (or old enough to go to school). No. My role as full-time wife and mother was given to me by God, and was meant to be LIFELONG. My children will grow up, but that doesn’t mean they won’t need me anymore. I look forward to being a grandmother, and to having more time to fully support my husband in whatever it is that God calls HIM to do.
I’ve come to accept the “tides” of motherhood, like the ebb and flow of the ocean. Just a few months ago, I probably wouldn’t have had the chance to be writing much on this blog. Babies don’t sleep well when mommy is not with them. But now that my baby is close to a year old, she sleeps for longer periods on her own, without my having to be constantly with her. She now takes naps in her crib, when I used to have to lay down with her for naps. At night, she sleeps for hours at a time, giving me a chance to do a little late-night writing, sometimes. In the morning, I can spend some time reading the Scriptures before the rest of my children wake up. Certain things that just a short time ago I wasn’t able to do very well, I am now able to enjoy. This may all change if I become pregnant again (which I will accept as a beautiful blessing from God). But that’s up to God. I trust in His timing. I have full confidence in His plan for my life. I may not understand it, and it may not be (most likely will not be!) easy, but I know that I can trust in my Maker! I have come to embrace motherhood as a journey involving different seasons, and am learning to be flexible with all the ups and downs of daily life. Now, instead of looking forward to when I can “really live my life,” I cherish my life the way it is right now. I treasure each day with my children.
How about you? What have you found to be most challenging as a mother? Have your views changed any since you first started having children? Do you have anything else you would like to share from God’s word about being a parent?
I look forward to getting your comments, and thanks for reading!