I have been thinking about Christian Motherhood a lot lately and not just because it is Mother’s Day tomorrow. It’s on my mind quite a bit as I’ve been intentionally spending time to myself getting healthy. I think one of the hardest things about going for a run is that it forces you to reflect and think about what is going on. The past six weeks, God has used this time of me running to show me things about death, pain, perseverance, the Church, life as a Believer in Christ, and mother/parenthood. I won’t lie, there are times when you want Him (yes, God) to shut off because you are doing the ugly cry in the middle of a run and your sons are thinking an EMS call is in order. However, it is necessary pruning. The cuts are deep as He reveals our flesh issues, the cutting hurts, but He is faithful in pouring out His grace. He’s pointed me to passages in His Word, and I have caught myself (again) crying over His Words.
Which leads me back to the Christian Motherhood thinking, and I pray I have give the thoughts clarity and justice. I have the joy of being a mom to four boys, and there is nothing lacking. I’ve had strangers pity me because 1) I have ALL boys. 2) There is FOUR of them. Reson and I learned after the third to share with those same people: that God has given us four opportunities to raise strong godly men that will possibly be wonderful husbands and fathers one day. Men that will stand up and love God, His Word (truth), and people. I’ve had people ask if we will try for a girl, and the answer has always been “No.” We have always simply wanted children. I’ve had people tell me I NEED a girl. On the flip side of the pity, I’ve had people tell me I am “lucky” because I only have boys because girls are harder (funny as I’ve heard the opposite from others). I think it safe to say that raising children, whether a boy or girl, is HARD! Sinful humans that require our love, nurturing, attention, counsel, money, food, and well everything.
You will never hear me say that boys are harder than girls, or girls are harder than boys. The reality is another mom of four boys may find it turbulent while another finds it relaxing. Each child brings about their own ease or hardship. Here’s what I know, God gave me four boys, and when I read Scripture, I have an uphill battle. The world is pushing that men are: glorified babysitters, believe they are superior to women, incapable of doing the hards things, and “boys being boys.” In certain areas, people will treat my boys differently due to being men and due to “white privilege” (this is not a debate, so no comments in regards to this).
When I read Scripture, I see how this is contrary to what God says. As their mom, I must teach them without shame or regard to what others say that they do have a different role than women, that this role doesn’t make them superior to women, but it gives them a responsibility to uphold how God views women and fight for women. I am grateful that they have a wonderful example in their dad.
Many children lack this example, but my boys will not be able to use their dad as an excuse for mistreating a woman (or another human being for that matter). They’ve seen us harshly disagree and more than not joyfully agree; they’ve seen me begrudgingly and joyfully submit to Reson’s leadership; they’ve seen that it didn’t happen because Reson bullied me into it; they have seen the open discussion between the two of us and that we were both heard; they have seen that though Reson is head of our home, he values and cherishes my option(s). They are still men doing dishes, sweeping, mopping, playing with dolls, painting finger nails, cooking, laundry and doing “women jobs” because they are simply “people jobs”. I must teach them without regret that we are to speak TRUTH with a great amount of LOVE. I love how Paul tells Timothy in his first letter to him that he needs to beware of false teachers as they teach different doctrines and gives him the charge to teach the truth of the gospel. Then Paul says this, “The AIM of our charge [sharing the gospel] is LOVE that issues from a PURE heart and a GOOD conscience and a SINCERE faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5 [emphasis by me]. I must teach them that people will disagree and not like them because of this, but they must always LOVE. Just as Jesus did, they must meet people where they are, share the joy of their life in Christ, and LOVE the heck out of them. No matter their gender, race, religion, ethnicity, life situation, clothes, whatever LOVE THE HECK OUT OF THEM. My sons, anyone reading, you can greatly disagree and LOVE others. Jesus did not on the cross. I must teach them that just as God states that their wife submits to their headship, God commands that they MUST submit to Him. If they don’t submit to God their life will be in shambles. Jesus taught perfectly what submission looks like as He submitted to the will of the Father. Submission is not weakness or inferiority, but reveals in our lives the obedience, self-control, trust, and love we have for the Father, for the Son, and the Spirit. I must teach them to fight their flesh every second of everyday because their desires can lie to them about what they need or want. They have to know that praying to know God’s heart and desires will lead them to a life of true joy. They need to understand that the enemy wants them happy and comfortable in the world. I pray that they feel uncomfortable on this earth because IT IS NOT THEIR HOME. I pray that for me when I feel entitled to things that I have no entitlement to. I must teach them that even in life’s hardships God is their sole Comforter and Provider. He will sustain them and keep them.
I could write more about what I need to teach them, but what I love is that though I don’t have a daughter I know that after reading Scripture it is an uphill battle, too. Parents to girls have to fight a world that is telling their daughters to constantly fight, degrade men, claim “my body my rights”, and “if you got it flaunt it”. I am grateful that my parents raised me to be strong but submissive, fight but know the right battles, loud but quiet, beautiful but modest, capable to do things that is a “man’s job”, and be selfless. I know that I would have to teach a daughter what proper submission to her husband is when a world says it’s bad, that her body is a treasure for her husband and not the world (that’s not being forced to wear only turtle necks, skirts, etc), that she should be treated as a strong capable woman that can make intelligent and valuable decisions, and no can take away her voice when she is being mistreated, hurt, or devalued. She would learn how to take care of a home, but know how to change a tire, check the oil, mow, build a house/tree fort/whatever. All things that I was taught how to do, but have no problem doing alongside my husband or letting him do. Things that don’t change my role as woman, but taught me that many “man jobs” are simply “people jobs”. Just like teaching my boys, she would have to be taught all of the above and more.
Simply point motherhood/parenthood is HARD. Sin entered the world and families are broken because we are broken people in desperate need of a Savior. Motherhood stretching us thin, making us feel inadequate, and realizing we don’t and never had it all put together or figured out. Motherhood through God’s grace teaching us that we are not good moms, but that God (Christ’s death and resurrection) is the only thing that makes us good. Motherhood, when we fully embrace what God teaches us in it is JOY. It is a gift. One of my favorite parts in a recent movie was when two girls made wishes, and one turned to her mom asking what her wish was. She thought and said (I paraphrase), “I wish happiness for you, you, and for your father.” My son Logan immediately says, “She wishes happiness for everyone but for herself.” Being in the car at the time I looked at the rear view mirror making eye contact with him and said, “That’s because she is already happy, and she has everything she has ever wanted. I would have to agree with her.” To which Logan said, “Ohhh… wow!” Only God. Only God uses a secular film to help you realize that as a mom because of HIM, I have everything I want. I have joy. Moms everywhere only seeking to make their children and those around them happy. Even if the mom in the film wasn’t happy in her life, I think she still would have said that because that’s a mom. A true mom (woman) loving those around her so much that all her wants and desires fall to the wayside and finding out that what she really wants and desires is right in front her. Finding to true joy righting front of us is truly a gift from God. It isn’t karma, our doing, or luck. Only God.
I pray that this Mother’s Day brings you a joy in what you have right in front of you. In the pain, loss, hardship, disappointments, and grief, I pray you find the joy of the Lord in every ounce of it. I pray for a renewal in strength to keep God in the forefront of your parenting. I pray that as weariness sets in that you would turn to God for help and support. I pray that you have other Christian women that can pour into your life in some way. I pray that you get rest. I pray that you know that you are loved and cherished not just by God but your family in Christ.