Mothering in Light of the Gospel

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
JAMES 1:5-6

Before our firstborn greeted us, all rosy and regal that Autumn morning, I was convinced I knew more about mothering than I do this morning. My dreams for our days together had gestated for nine months and as my belly blossomed, so did my confidence in my own ability to parent. After all, I’m a planner. If there was a book, I read it. If there was a class, I went.

I was prepared.

Fast forward 48 hours to our first night at home. I will never forget the moment I realized that this curious little creature had not read the books. I was following the script. She had her own agenda and boosting mommy’s confidence was not it. I’ll spare you the details, but we summoned reinforcements as soon as the sun came up. (Thank you, Jesus, for grandmothers.)

As it turns out, there are things that all those “What to Expect” books, never mention. In all of my planning and preparing for this little person, I forgot to factor in two things.

The first was sin. And I don’t mean just a little selfishness in each of us.
I’m talking total depravity.
A daughter of Eve, giving birth to a daughter of Eve.

How had I had not planned for this – two willful souls in a dizzying dance for control? My perfect pink princess was born twisted like her momma. Why was I surprised?

On a subconscious level, I knew the ramifications well, but when the beast roared for the first time, I was dumbfounded. I’ve heard it said that marriage is like putting yourself under a magnifying glass. All the blights and blemishes glare back. As it turns out, parenting does too. And sometimes the ugly truth is almost too much to bear. Her selfishness unveils my own. Her impatience brings mine quickly to the surface. Face this day in and day out and it’s enough to drive a Momma to despair. And what about all the times when I don’t know what is best for my children. It happens. A lot.
But I’m their Momma. I’m supposed to know!

At the end of myself, I’m finding Him,
and gaining a deeper understanding of another truth.
A beautiful one.

God WITH us…
the Holy Spirit living in me.

A deposit guaranteeing my inheritance.

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior…
TITUS 3:4-6

Ever so slowly, as my books and outlines have failed me, God the Father, by his Holy Spirit, has whispered wisdom to this momma’s weary heart. Sometimes a morsel so obvious I blush at my blindness. Other times a plan so counter-intuitive and contrary to my own wisdom that I cannot doubt His voice. I am not alone.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
ROMANS 8:26-27

As it turns out, this wee wonder-woman, intent on sabotaging my self-sufficiency, has been an instrument of sanctification in His hand unlike any other. In fact, it seems that she was custom-calibrated to make the needed adjustments to my own heart. And as it turns out, His plan to bless me with children did not include increasing my confidence in my own ability to parent, but in ensuring my utter inadequacy and total dependence on His wisdom and strength.

And if that were not enough, the light of the Gospel shines brighter still.
Because as much as I want to do it all perfectly,
I fail.


Before breakfast.

And that’s ok too because if Mommy was perfect, why would I need Jesus?
And if our children had perfect earthly parents, how would they see their need for a heavenly One?

Because of Jesus, I can trade
impatience for forbearance,
harshness for kindness,
worry for thanksgiving,
self-reliance for simple trust.

So if today finds you worn and weary, before you consult your library, dial-a- grandma, or hide in the bathroom with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, move your nest nearer. Before you wash sticky hands or another load of laundry, wash your soul with the beauty of the Gospel. His grace runs deeper than your need. His provision is more perfect than your best-laid plans.

Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
PSALM 84:3

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
HEBREWS 4:14-16

Image Map