Before I ever considered the world of motherhood, I knew and believed the above title to be true: that being a mother was hard work, but a very noble and godly one. But as I near the end of pregnancy, I’ve had my doubts – here’s why:
Before you even have the baby, you’re pregnant – and pregnancy is hard. I’ve been a university student. I’ve worked full time. I’ve pulled ‘all nighters’ and worked hard shifts that involved 10 hours of constant physical labour such as walking or the like. I’ve had late nights and early mornings. I’ve gone days without seeing a vegetable because of busyness. But pregnancy is a whole new level of hard work; incomparable to anything else.
Creating a human being with your body affects everything about you – not only physically, but very much emotionally and spiritually as well. The constant onslaught of 20 different symptoms at once, the raging hormones that seem to melt your brain function, and the constant fatigue that makes you feel like someone is drugging you with 3 kg of codeine every night – all adds up to feeling not-so-godly in your baby-making work after all.
And then, there’s the baby. There’s the stress. There’s more hormones. There’s now no sleep at all. There’s the crying, feeding, changing, bonding, visiting, cleaning – everything else to worry about. And it’s terrifying.
But even in those exhausting moments that feel so unknown to the rest of the world – there is hope. Being a mother may seem like an endless, monotonous routine of feed, burp, change, sleep, play, repeat, with no genuine understanding or support around you – but there is glory in our work. I truly believe that our contentedness and belief in the following 5 truths is proportionate to how much we trust God at His Word:
1. Children are God’s reward
It’s a common, even cliche, saying among Christians that “children are a blessing from the Lord!”; but do we believe it?
“Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from Him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.“
2. Children have exceptional faith
When speaking on faith, Jesus remarked to His disciples:
“And he said: “Truly I tell you,
unless you change and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.“Matthew 18:3
Unbound by the influence and effects of society and the world, children are capable of having remarkable faith in God. They are quick to believe, trusting, and steadfast – and these are the marks of faith the godly are called to possess. For a mother, a child’s nature (though they may be born in sin and behave out of that), when influenced by the grace of God, is a great example to behold, and a refreshing encouragement of what our faith should produce in our lives.
3. Children are under God’s special care
Our work as mums is important to God because children are important to God. This is made apparent by Jesus’ response to His disciples, when they tried to prevent any children coming near Him (in that culture and in that time, children were seen as a bit of an inconvenience – not unlike how our society feels about kids now):
“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Jesus chastised His disciples for their refusal to the children, and invited them to His presence. And in Mark 10:16 we see an encounter in which Jesus not only invites children into His presence, but blesses them. This action – blessing those who are not His own, and may not have been believers – is seen nowhere else in Scripture. The special attention and blessing of our Lord Jesus is indicative of a special care God has towards children.
4. Children are used by God for Sanctification
I couldn’t think of a Scripture for this one, but it’s probably not necessary – I’m sure we can all agree that kids tend to bring out behaviours and frustrations in ways that force us to humble ourselves to God, in total desparation and dependence, relying on Him and His grace; being sanctified and conformed to the image of Christ as we navigate through the adventurous waters of childrearing. In the words of Paul, even though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day (2 Corinthians 4:16).
5. Children bring Glory to God
God sustains us through everything: in the moments of weakness. The moments of frustration. In the moments of overwhelming fear and desperation and grief and exhaustion – God is glorified because He sustains us!
Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live;
do not let my hopes be dashed.” Psalm 119:116
“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22
Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven,
“I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
Seeking God’s glory and grace, day by day, is the life-long challenge we have ahead of us. And though we will never achieve perfection here on this earth, if we humble ourselves to God, we can trust that He will bring about radical transformation in our lives – a transformation that conforms us more and more to the image of His perfect Son!
“It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith,
we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus
from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:13-18