Missional Motherhood

This is a piece I wrote a few years ago. A gentleman in my church asked a group of mothers to contribute to his booklet on the spiritual role a mother has to her children. 

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Becoming a mom is not what I thought it would be. Before I actually had a child of my own, I was sure I already knew how I would parent. I started babysitting when I was 12 and even though the job was tiring, it didn’t demand superhuman strength either. I prided myself on my ‘Mary Poppins’ persona.

Then after Jason and I had been married for over a year, God gave us our son Jesse. This sweet boy has been the hardest and greatest adventure yet. Even the pregnancy was filled with plot twists and turns, as Jesse’s state of health became more of a question instead of a certainty. Later on we were faced with his genetic abnormality and developmental delays. Broken sleep, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, neurology appointments, geneticist appointments, and can you please walk by your 2nd birthday little boy?

I used to think missionary service required traveling overseas to share the Gospel. However, the longer I’m a parent it is clear that right where I am is my missional work. It’s not the romanticized version I imagined. But it is just as important and humbling.

The job of every Christian mom is physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually draining. God is using motherhood as a means for my sanctification. It isn’t glamorous, but this can be eternal work when done in faith. Who is it I’m representing to my son? Christ? or myself?

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Parenting well requires dying to self daily, viewing our jobs as service to the Lord. The times I struggle are the days when I see my son’s sin nature more clearly and my own as well. That’s why Jesus gives us Himself, the Holy Spirit to help and guide when I have no clue what I’m doing, or come to the end of myself.

Our children, especially when they’re young, are our mission field. We train and make disciples right in our homes. Don’t underestimate the work you do. Can it be monotonous? Yep. But that can also be called faithfulness. Day in, day out, you’re showing up.

I don’t think I’m overstating how essential the role of parents are to our children. We raise them in faith instilling Biblical truth, a love for Christ, so that one day Lord willing, they grow up and multiply the fruit we’ve labored over for years.

A mother’s work is kingdom work.

God gives your ordinary tasks purpose.

Jesus humbled Himself to the most demeaning job in His culture, right before He went to the cross for us. During the Passover meal the Lord washed the disciples’ mud-caked, dirty, dusty feet. This job was always reserved for a Gentile slave, because not even a Jew would stoop so low. But Jesus’ act of service was a demonstration of His sacrificial love for them. You could say it foreshadowed what was to come on Calvary.

Christ was teaching His disciples that to become great one must be brought low. Even when it requires performing a mundane task or something beneath your skill level. He was implementing the upside kingdom effect.

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As we view our lives in light of His, let us remember that our humble work isn’t overlooked by Jesus. In fact, I think it pleases Him. We may not have a platform for thousands to see and applaud us, but all that really matters anyway is our audience to One.

Am I using my gifts, time, and abilities to mother well? Do I rely on His strength and not my own? Make no mistake that the eternal rewards for every faithful mother will far outweigh the lack of praise and attention here on earth. A woman who understands this knows her worth is in Christ. He goes before us, allowing us to carry out the call of missional motherhood.

Grace upon grace,

April

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