Struggles With Mothering

I received the following as part of a long letter from a very perceptive young woman a few years ago.  She asked so many great thought-provoking questions but the one I am sharing today is one I have been asked countless times over the years. Below is her question as she penned it.  My reply follows.

"Do you honestly feel as though every woman will LOVE mothering?  My sister struggles.   She loves her children, she loves her family, but she doesn't love the job of mothering.  I know older ladies that gave their children their all, but they are glad that season is over with.  They don't miss the diapers, the dirty dishes, or constant laundry....but they were diligent and committed during that season."

First of all, the issue is not whether all women will LOVE mothering.    Although most women possess an instinctive love for their children and will mother them, God tells us in His Word that the kind of love women are to have for their children must be taught.  Secondly,  if I had some time with your sister,  I would ask her why she struggles.  And I would listen to her answer.  Then I would ask if there is a misplaced longing to be somewhere other than where God has placed her.

See, I really believe that one of the reasons so many young women struggle with "wifing" and mothering is because we want so many other things.  Husband and baby get in the way.  Women want it all.  Please understand, there is nothing wrong with pursuing interests - seriously - there isn't. BUT,  interests can be set aside - they can wait or they can be done/pursued in a woman's spare time.     A mother has to remember that her family can't be managed in her spare time, nor is mothering an interest or a hobby.  If we invest too much of our time in our interests - our families will suffer.  

Here’s the thing - if you have a husband and children, they are your ministry - they are your fulltime job - and a fulltime job cannot be done properly in a woman's spare time.  Mothering is not a hobby - it is a calling.  If God has given children to you, then you are called to be a mother.  Period.

And if we struggle with the calling, we have to ask God to give us the heart for His calling in our lives.  We have to ask Him to give us undivided hearts.

Yes, there are struggles with any calling and/or job.  I immediately think of Jonah whom God called to go to Ninevah but he did not want to go.  His struggle with his calling didn't relieve him of his responsibility or his obedience to God.  God said go.  God put that calling on His life.  And we know from his story, that Jonah didn't love preaching or calling the people to repentance. Yet that's the very assignment God gave to him.

Most moms, I believe, just need a fresh perspective about this high and holy calling.  God never promised us that being a wife or mother or homemaker would be easy.  What job is?  I mean, really?  In fact, God's curse on women was in these very areas. God didn't change His plan because Eve sinned - she'd still be a helper to her husband and mother to children - yet now these areas in her life would bring struggle.  This is the reason God says that young women must be taught even to love their husbands and children.  This is the reason older women are supposed to know doctrine as it relates to home and family.  Temperaments have nothing to do with it.  I constantly have to bring my feelings, attitudes, and selfishness under the scrutiny of God's Word.  He is the One Who gave this calling to mothers - not me.

I am a sinful fallen woman who wants what I want - yet God hasn't given up on me.  Satan is always there tempting women to place everything and anything above His calling - even good, spiritual things.  He hates EVERYTHING God loves.  He wants to ruin EVERYTHING God planned.  We have to decide if we want to cooperate with God or the evil one.

If you have children, mothering them God's way is your calling.  

For those of us who are parents, He wants us, as His people, to raise a godly heritage and once again this job, this responsibility cannot be done in our spare time.  A husband and wife work together, each in their primary spheres of influence, to get the job done.

And please understand,  just because a woman is past the diapering, dirty dishes, constant laundry stage in her own life (though frankly, I don't know if that ever ends unless you isolate yourself from people or remove yourself from the presence of young mothers and children), doesn't mean that any of those tasks are demeaning or beneath her.  Those very things are humble service - ways to demonstrate to our families and others what Jesus taught when He poured water into the basin, washed the disciples' dirty feet, and then wiped them with the towel with which He was girded. He took off his own towel to take care of His men.  We, too, have to take off our towels and wipe our children's feet.

Women have far too long wanted the place of honor rather than the place of humble service. Yet,  it is in the home where we learn to be like Jesus.  Any woman can be super-spiritual with her Christian girlfriends at a women's retreat or at church or in some outside ministry somewhere.  But the rubber meets the road in the home. The home is where life is really messy, where sin natures rise to the most ugliest of clouds, tempers and growls and nastiness sometimes reign, and where nerves are tested to their limits.  Yet, it is also the place where, if we will allow Him, God will conform us to the image of His Son. Home and all the selfish, sinful people who live there, including our children,  become the tools God uses to make us useable for His Kingdom.  All this mothering is kingdom work.  But when we humble ourselves, embracing God's good design, and let Him do His work through us,  sin natures are subdued, ugly is replaced with pretty, tempers are washed out to sea, and nerves are calmed.

Do we struggle with it?  Of course.  But God calls us to it AND He wants us to lay any struggle we face at His feet.  His feet are clean.  He wants to make ours the same way.  How great He is to use all of it to make us more like  Him.  Let Him.

I could teach on this the rest of my life and still not even scratch the surface.

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