I can’t pretend that I haven’t felt a bit frustrated in the journey of motherhood. I haven’t found it as fulfilling or stimulating as I thought I might have and, quite frankly, it took a lot for me to admit that to all of you. I feel ungrateful. I chide myself for wishing my precious and very limited time with my beautiful daughters away. A mother is all I’ve ever wanted to be and yet I find more stimulation doing many other things. I can’t play games or read books for any length of time because I get bored and fidgety. I love my girls so much! But I also find myself wanting to do more and be more. Not in a career, climb-the-corporate-ladder kind of way. Just in a desire to be able to mentor, encourage and help out kind of way. I want to be able to offer my time and resources and open my warm, welcoming haven of a home to others. Yet I find myself with a mom-bun and hoodie, standing in a kitchen strewn with an odd assortment of containers, sponge toys and semi-precious stones staring at counters full of breadcrumbs and burnt pots – a far cry from a welcoming haven!
There are so many things that I want to throw myself into or projects I want to undertake, especially in the blogging community or helping promote Break Free. But yet it’s a feat to get the dishes washed, dinner cooked and the floor cleared up enough to walk across. I get angry when my time spent on anything other than the house and my children is interrupted. Even resentful if anyone wants to see me when in that time.
This can’t be it. This can’t be what God intended for motherhood. Sure, I’m not expecting He meant an immaculate home and children wearing pretty white dresses. But nor do I think He intended moms to be crying in frustration over the mess, the chaos and the spilt milk! There must be a happy medium; a way to have happy, solidly grounded children who can have fun in their home and a semi-decent house that feels friendly and warm to outsiders. There must be a way to be a fully engaged mom and a friend to others.
I came across something this week that I knew subconsciously but because it was actually in black and white in hard copy, it seemed to hit home this time.
I guess I feel like I could be doing so much more for the greater good and the Kingdom than what I am now. I could be witnessing to others, investing in non-Christian friends, investing in relationships, promoting my husband’s organisation, throwing myself more deliberately into blogging but actually, that might not be what God wants me to do during this season. Maybe my ministry, my investment and gospel work is closer to home. Maybe the kingdom work God requires of me right now is the raising of my children.
I don’t mean a casual reading of Bible stories. I don’t mean a “Climb in the car, we’re going to church.” I mean actually purposely investing the principles of godliness in our children. I mean choosing, actively choosing, to show them Jesus and teach them who He is and who He could be in their lives. I mean training them how to live out our faith. Teaching our children to mean “sorry” not just say it; help others willingly and not because they are told; forgiving others genuinely; loving others regardless and empathising on a deep level.
Because this, mommy, is kingdom work! This is equipping our children to be missionaries to the friends they make. It’s training them to be the counselors to their peers. It’s equipping them to show the love of Jesus in a tangible way. And it’s shaping them to be adults to carry on the kingdom work they were taught.
And it starts in our hearts! Convicting, much? We cannot fake it. If we are not in a good space with the Lord, we need to sort that out. We also can’t talk the talk without walking the walk. I find myself the worst. I sometimes semi-shout Bible verses at my eldest (“Do everything without complaining or arguing!”) rather than taking a deep breath and speaking to her calmly and with control. I lose my temper. I shout when I shouldn’t. I punish harshly when it wasn’t necessary. I don’t exercise the same patience I expect her to have. Nor do I speak nicely to her and yet I tell her to “think about the way she is speaking to her sister.” Not only do I not treat my children in the way I tell them to behave but I also speak disrespectfully to my husband and criticise him. I don’t praise him. I don’t look him in the eye when I speak to him. I get cross with him and lose my temper. I don’t forgive others as I should but hold grudges. And I’ve even stomped my feet and screamed like a two-year-old enough to make my three-year-old cry because she was so horrified. So I should consistently throughout each day pray for patience, encouragement, love and endurance to be the order of the day.
That said, motherhood is without a doubt a refining process. Hopefully the Lord will help me to become more godly through motherhood.
We have a few short years before our children stop wanting our opinion; before it will be their friends that influence their choices; before they make their own decisions. We have a few short years when we are their all and they accept what we say. We need to use these years while we have them and instill the faith by being active in not just teaching them but showing them who Christ is.
Maybe we need to look at motherhood as possibly the most important Kingdom-work we’ll ever do. Maybe shaping our children to become more Christlike is our higher calling. Maybe we need to stop seeing motherhood as survival and start seeing it as the glorious work with eternal benefits.
Photo Credit: Flora Westbrook
Tags: calling, children, faith, frustration, Jesus, kids, kingdom, kingdom work, mommy, mother, motherhood, parenthood