I just celebrated my two-year anniversary of becoming a mother. As I watched my oldest daughter blow out her birthday candles, I felt a wave of gratitude for all God has taught me since I became a mom. Two is a big milestone for my little girl, but it is for me as well. Each year that goes by is another mile marker of God’s faithfulness to me as a young mom. The lessons I am learning through motherhood are many. Here are just a few I have been recently reflecting upon.
Motherhood grounds me, it simply does. I cannot travel the world now that I am a mother, at least if I am going to be a good one. I cannot head to a coffee shop for a leisurely latte’ mid-morning, run a lengthy errand at the drop of a hat, or head to the gym for a spontaneous workout. Evenings out must be planned, and even then, I am often thinking about my girls while I am away. There are many factors to consider each and every day; decisions that include car seats, baby carriers, which child to put in the car first, and so on. The grounding that motherhood brings, prompts me to consider what is really important in my life. It forces me moment-by-moment to lay my selfish desires aside and put little eyes, hands, and feet first. When I can’t run out the door whenever I want to, I am reminded that my primary calling as a wife and a mother is in my home, not somewhere else. When I embrace my calling in the home, I find myself fulfilled because I am doing exactly what God has called me to do (Titus 2:5). And as a young mother, I am discovering that nothing else comes close to producing the joy that walking in obedience to God’s design brings.
Motherhood teaches me to be a servant. Grant and I were married only 10 months when we found out we were expecting our oldest daughter. When I look back on the time in our marriage before she arrived, I have such fond memories. It was a wonderful and special time. However, it wasn’t until she arrived that some of the most meaningful growth in our relationship began to take place. Suddenly, we were both dependent on God to not merely take care of ourselves and love one another; we were responsible for a whole other person. As I lost sleep and struggled in all the ways new mothers do, I realized I am a very selfish person. I often do not want to serve my husband or my two little girls in the ways they need to be served. But what I am pondering anew every day, is what Nancy Leigh Demoss says so well in Lies Women Believe, “We are never more like Jesus than when we are serving Him or others,” and “There is no higher calling than to be a servant.” Matthew 20:28 says, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve…” I never thought cleaning a toilet or changing a diaper would leave a lasting impression in my life, but it has. There is great joy in the lowly tasks, because it is there that I learn what it means to be like my Savior.
Motherhood drives me to my knees. Just a few months ago, I crept into my daughter’s room after she had fallen asleep. I had struggled with her behavior that day. I felt discouraged. How could I get across to her the importance of obedience? I kneeled beside her crib and asked God to give me wisdom. How could such a little person cause me to feel so helpless? Day in and day out, motherhood prompts me to pray because there is so much I cannot handle in my own strength. Throughout the day I find myself calling out to God, “Lord, help me!” Motherhood causes me to realize that just like my daughters are dependent on me for everything, I desperately need the Lord in order to be the type of mother who points my children to Jesus.
Motherhood forces me to trust God. I read recently about a precious little girl named Daisy who died of cancer. I cannot fathom the pain her parents are experiencing right now. It literally tears my heart to pieces to imagine one of my girls being diagnosed with cancer. There are many fears I could dwell on each and every day. But I am learning that it doesn’t help to worry about the things I cannot control. I have a Heavenly Father who loves my daughters more than I do. I love the many ways God’s heart for children is revealed through Jesus in the Gospels. For instance, when Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter from the dead in Mark 5, He uses tender words to address her, “Talitha, arise.” Talitha means “little girl lamb.” As I read God’s Word, I see over and over again that Jesus has a tender care for children. I must trust that no matter what happens, He is a good and loving Shepherd who welcomes them into His arms.
Motherhood reminds me that every day is a gift. I think about this on days that are difficult. I am not guaranteed tomorrow with my girls. In light of that reality, how will I choose to mother? Will I be half-hearted about it? Will I brush off my children’s questions, sigh at their cries, or get frustrated that they need me constantly? I want to be like the Proverbs 31 woman who pours her whole self into God’s calling on her life in the management of her home. Because of her devotion to her family and her home-centered heart, her husband not only praises her, but her children rise up and bless her as well.
My husband, Grant, was two years old when his dad died in a tragic plane crash. Grant’s memories of his dad are few and faint, but I am amazed that he remembers anything at all. I believe this is because his dad was fully present as a father. Whenever I see an old photograph of Grant’s dad, it reminds me just how suddenly death can occur. I don’t want to take today for granted. I want to find joy in washing my girls’ hair, changing their dirty diapers, cleaning their spills, savoring their messy kisses, and soaking in each moment as if it were my last – because it just might be.
I am convinced that motherhood is one of the greatest teaching tools any woman can experience. I’m new at this, but I want to learn these lessons well so that I can be a mother who not only smiles at the future, but also at the well-worn path stretching behind me.
More lessons to come…