A Reflection On Motherhood
Did I do enough today? Did I comfort them well? Make them feel loved? Safe? Did I read to them? Pray with them? Pray for them? Could they see I was stressed? Frustrated? My girls are just nine months old. There is much I still do not know of motherhood. But I do know the weight of these questions. I know the weight of the responsibility and fear. I know the soul aching joy and love. And I know very well my heart’s deep desire to be “enough.”
The problem is that my heart and its whispers are not a good source of truth. Jeremiah 17:9 says this about the heart: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” When my heart begins to whisper to me that I must be sufficient for my children, that they must find their rest and peace and joy in me, the Spirit is gracious enough to remind me that I must recognize that as the deceit it is. Though we should, as parents, love and care for our children, recognizing the sacred work that raising them is, we must strive to simply reflect to them the character of their Father, the only one who is enough for them today, tomorrow, and forever. I will fail them in a myriad of ways as they grow, but Christ never will. I can never truly be “enough” for them. And while my heart is tempted to wish that I could be, truth tells me that my own failings and inadequacy are a grace to me as they point me straight to the perfect sufficiency of Jesus. As I have stepped into this season of motherhood, I have been reminded often of 2 Corinthians 12:9. In it, Paul writes, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” I am learning to praise God for my imperfections and thank him for all the ways I am not enough, recognizing these things as a reminder to myself and my children that our hope and our rest is in him alone, even as I ask him to forgive me for those things and shape my heart to look more like his.
I remember when I got married, a wise couple telling me that marriage is sanctifying work. Not because the marriage itself makes you more like Jesus, but because through it, a deeper understanding of your own sinfulness, and one of the heart of Christ for his bride, the church, is born. That understanding beckons you closer to him as you know him more and more. Motherhood (or parenthood in general) I have found to be another such sanctifying work. Through this journey the Spirit is kind to reveal to me more than ever before how deeply I need the Savior, and simultaneously, how deep and unchanging is the love of the Father for his children.
And so, when I am burdened because of my sin, my lack of a prayerful heart, my impatience with my circumstances or my children, and the many ways my actions do not glorify Christ, I rest in this truth from Romans 5:20 - “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” I am so humbled and grateful that God in his grace is so much more than all my brokenness. I am so thankful that even as I sin against him, he uses my weakness to point me to himself. And I am grateful for his grace to teach me that my lack of perfection is something I can use to teach my daughters about the one who loves them best. Sweet grace. He is enough. For all of us. As parents we cannot be enough, cannot give them all they need, no. Because he already is and has. In him, we, and these precious ones we raise, will always have everything we need.
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