I snapped this photo a couple weeks ago at the end of a busy day. In that moment my heart was weary from the mothering tasks of the day. When I came around the corner to this scene, my heart was so refreshed.
I stood at the corner and listened as Grant read to the kids, explaining to them about the Tower of Babel. He was asking them questions and telling them about the sin of those people, wanting a life lived for their own glory.
He was discipling our children.
In that moment, the weariness of the day seemed to wash away and I realized I had gotten caught up in the doing and lost sight of my true calling.
It can be easy for me at times to do that. To get caught up in the tasks I need to complete. And when I do that, I often find my heart weary because I have reduced my role as a mother to just caring for the physical needs of my children.
I don’t downplay that role at all. I consider it a great privilege and incredible honor that I get to be home with them and fold their laundry and fix their meals and help them get dressed and keep our home… I love that role! It’s my favorite in the world! I love growing in it and that my love for my family and for God is lived out in daily tasks.
But when I reduce motherhood to just that, I find myself worn down and not enjoying my days. Because that is not the fullness of what God has called me to as a mother.
And often, when the world looks in at motherhood, I think that is all they see. They see just the physical tasks that comes with mothering. Isn’t that tiring? All the unbuckling and buckling and the sweeping and the repetitious mundane? Couldn’t anyone do that for the kids?
And I think it’s good to even ask myself that question, why me? Why is my role so important?
Because godly motherhood (and fatherhood too) is so much more than caring for the physical needs of my children. I am not my children’s babysitter. I’m not the hired help. My role cannot be delegated. I am called to so much more than that.
I am called to disciple my children and to pass on my faith to them. To help my children understand the world and their place in it. To share the otherness and greatness of God with them. To listen to their questions in ways that others won’t and don’t have time for and answer the best that I can or try to find out the answers. To stop in our daily moments in the car and explain why bad things happen, what it looks like to trust God, and how faith in Christ changes everything.
That can’t be done in 15 min before bedtime or just on Sunday mornings. It’s a daily calling. It’s a lifelong calling. It’s a high calling. And it’s done in the everyday moments. And somehow the physical and the spiritual are intertwined (Duet 6:7).
When Paul commends his disciple Timothy for his faith in in 2 Timothy 1:5, he commends him for his “sincere faith” which first dwelt in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice.
Two things strike me to the heart about this passage. First, it was that Timothy’s faith was sincere. It was genuine. Real. Not just words. Not pretending. A real love for God. In a world of multicolored filters and flashy entertainment, how desperate is our world for something that is real.
It reminds me of the faith that Jesus commends one of his first disciples Nathanial for, “Behold an Israelite in whom there is no guile!” (John 1:47). Nathanial’s heart was laid bare before the Lord. A simple and believing faith. Not hiding anything. Just believing.
And the second thing that hits me from this passage is of course the women who passed on this faith ~ his grandmother and mother. This was a faith lived out. A gritty faith. A true faith “which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice…”
These two women who raised Timothy weren’t commended for caring for the physical needs of Timothy, though assuredly that is of vital importance. But I think that is just assumed. No, the commendation came for something more, a genuine faith.
One day, when it’s all said and done, I cannot imagine hearing greater words spoken of my children and in regards to my mothering than what Paul said to Timothy about his faith. That my children had a “genuine faith.” A faith that first dwelt in me and now dwells in them. A faith passed on. A faith lived out.
My children will not find a perfect faith in me, that is for sure. But I pray they will find a real one. A laid bare one. A genuine one. A faith that points not to how hard I am holding on, but Who is holding on to me.
So today, I’m going to care for the physical needs of my home and children, but I’m going to remember that many tasks can be left undone if they get in the way of my greatest task.
I’m not here today to just keep the house tidy. I am called to disciple my children. It’s not a complicated task, but I can often let myself get in the way of it and it takes time.
It’s not a task that follows a certain formula, but is one that is lived genuinely and dependently.
It won’t be seen in shiny floors or folded laundry today, and it for sure can’t be captured in a filtered square. It’a found on my knees and in humble dependence. It’s found in time with my children…laying on a blanket and looking up at the clouds and talking about the creator, going for an undistracted walk and holding their hand, laying down with them at night, cleaning the kitchen together, or picking up sticks in the yard. The physical and spiritual intertwined.
So I pray today, you won’t let any voice whisper in your ear that you are not important or this day is not important or that your role isn’t important. Because it SO is. It’s a high calling. Don’t let yourself believe that you’re just a housekeeper or a sandwich maker or a bedmaker, though I pray you value those things.
NO, by God’s grace, you are a disciple maker.
You are a mother.
And one day, may the greatest thing be said of your mothering, was that you passed on a genuine faith. Pass it on with all your heart and let God do the rest.
Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.