In my last post, I mentioned that I wanted to tell you about how God is changing my thoughts and perspective toward motherhood. After reading this blog post by Rachel Jankovic, I was so challenged to embrace this season of motherhood more fully, ultimately by laying down and dying to some of my own desires. Let me explain….
A Little History About Me
I have never been the kind of girl who had big career ambitions. The idea of getting dressed up and going in to an office from 9 to 5 was never really appealing to me. In high school, I felt God calling me to ministry, though I had no idea what that would practically look like. I just knew I had a heart for God and wanted to serve Him. I went off to a private Baptist college with hopes of one day marrying a minister, doing ministry by his side and at some point probably becoming a stay-at-home mom. So, fast forward 12 years from my college graduation, and here I am, living my dream… wife to a minister and a stay-at-home mommy. I should be the happiest girl in the world, right? This is what I wanted!
Reality Sets In
So, now I am 2.5 years in of being Mommy to Jude and 7 weeks away from the arrival of my second son. That’s 2.5 years of experiencing the highs and lows of motherhood. In the beginning, it was all such a high for me. I fell in love with Jude from the moment I first held him. I loved caring for this tiny baby who was so dependent on us for his every need, and meeting those needs brought me pure joy.
Then, somewhere along the way I think I got tired. (Granted, I felt terrible for the first 15 months of Jude’s life because I was off of all my rheumatoid arthritis medications). But it was more than just physical. I began to grow weary in meeting this little guy’s necessities… and my big guy’s, too, for that matter. My day in, day out seemed to become nothing more than laundry, dishes, diapers and dinner. I began to grow a bit resentful that my husband got to leave the demands of a toddler every morning and a house that needed cleaning for a job that included interacting with other adults, enjoying lunch meetings out, and mainly finding significance in making a dent out there in the world for Christ. Hmm, my dream wasn’t as great as I’d hoped it would be, I was realizing.
How I Responded
As I trudged on in my duties, my heart began to grow discontent and a little bitter. My thoughts turned inward: “Am I not made for more than just doing the dishes? I have a Master’s degree, for crying out loud.” Or, I would think, as I’d wake up groggily making my way to the coffee pot, “Ugh. I have to make breakfast again? Why can’t Brent be in charge of this once in a while?” And I’d go about my duties, disliking the fact that taking care of my child and household were the main things in my life.
My heart grew more restless, unhappy and even a bit apathetic to the things of God. I had put my hope in Him for a life of joy, fruitful ministry with my husband, and basically happiness. Yet here I was, disappointed in the way some of life had turned out for me. (Sounds so ungrateful, doesn’t it? I hate to admit this was my heart… so ugly.)
A Turning Point
It was at this low point I began looking for some hope. And because of God’s grace, He brought me to Rachel Jankovic’s post.
I can’t say it better than she did, but what she wrote made me realize that the main reason I am discontent is because things aren’t the way I thought they’d be. I’m basically angry that I have hoped in God and He didn’t come through for me like I thought He should. I had certain dreams that I thought He would fulfill, and yet, nope… here I am stuck with the dishes day in and day out. Not what I wanted.
Learning that Life Begins at Death
From Rachel’s blog post, I was reminded that our culture is typically afraid of death…. Dying in the physical sense, yes, but she even mentions how the abortion industry is itself fueled by this fear: fear that the would-be mother will loose her dreams, her freedom, her future. But as Christians, we should not be afraid of death. Instead, as Rachel says,
We should run to the cross. To death. So lay down your hopes. Lay down your future. Lay down your petty annoyances. Lay down your desire to be recognized…. Death to yourself is not the end of the story. We, of all people, ought to know what follows death. The Christian life is resurrection life, life that cannot be contained by death, the kind of life that is only possible when you have been to the cross and back.
Here I was hating the dishes, and basically hating that I had to lay down what I thought life would be like to serve my family. It seemed like everything I was doing was death… death with no hope of joy. My heart was definitely not in the right place. You see, I had forgotten that LIFE comes after death for the believer who willingly dies to themself with a heart of trust in God.
Jesus is THE example of this. He obeyed God to the point of dying on the cross, which He was not excited about doing, yet He surrendered Himself to the Father’s plan. Remember just before He went to the cross He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” He willingly surrendered His will to the Father’s by literally laying down His life. When He did this, and not until He did this, did the Father raise Him back up to life, and give Him the name above every other name (Phil 2:7-10).
How I’m Viewing Motherhood Now
As I began to process how Jesus surrendered His will to the Father’s and accepted that He must go to the cross, I began to realize that I must do the same. I needed to stop fighting against what God has obviously brought into my life for this time.
God is sovereignly in control of every detail of my life. He has either ordained it all, or He has allowed it. I can’t get around that. I realized that I must stop resisting His will for me and rather embrace it. If I die to my own way and surrender myself to Him, He will bring me life. Jesus tells His disciples (and us) in Matthew 16:
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
If I try to hold on to my dreams and my way and my pleasure, strangely I will not find the life I am looking for. In fact, if I gain those things in a way that is in disobedience to God, I may just forfeit my soul. I will be choosing my will over experiencing the resurrection life that He promises to bring if I simply trust Him and lay it all down.
Since accepting this season of motherhood (and realizing I may be in it for another decade or so & being ok with that), I can’t tell you the peace that God has brought me. I have experienced more joy in doing the dishes and laundry and serving my family as I do it willingly instead of fighting against it. I can trust God. If this is what He has for me now, it’s good. I want to walk in resurrection life and experience the power of the Holy Spirit in helping me carry out my daily tasks.
Practically, I have made some plans to be more intentional in training Jude to know more of who God is. And my thought life has made some radical changes too, which is what Romans 12 talks about when it says we must renew our minds.
Hope for You
I know this is a long post, and if you’re still reading, God bless you! It’s just that these truths have really transformed me in the last 3 weeks, and I pray they will do the same for you. Maybe you aren’t a mother yet, but you are in some difficult circumstance right now that you just can’t seem to accept. Trust the Father’s heart for you. He is for you and will bring you resurrection life as you come under His will and lay down your own wants. I pray you will find the peace that I have!