“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17, NLT
“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” – Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a mom. You don’t have to have read my previous mommin’ blogs to know that it. is. HARD. Really hard. Admitting that it’s hard doesn’t take away from the greatness and the privilege of it, and being blessed to be mothers doesn’t make it awesome all the time. There’s no way around it and there’s no shame in admitting it: being a mother is just really freaking hard sometimes.
Days, weeks go by without me getting any time at all to myself. I start to groan when the kids ask me to play with them. I begin to even grow resentful towards all the things I have to do for them, things they almost certainly won’t appreciate or remember. I scroll through Instagram and Pinterest and dream of all the things I can’t do “because of” my kids. I grow weary. I grow annoyed. I count down the days until school and the hours until pickup. I want a break. And to be honest, there’s really nothing wrong with needing a break. Breaks are healthy, refreshing, self-care necessities. But momming for the breaks is as defeating as working for the weekend – you view your situation as an obstacle instead of an opportunity. And, I’ll admit, I sometimes feel like the kids’ needs are hurdles. I sometimes view motherhood as an inconvenience, something that holds me back from what I’d rather be doing (probably napping), as opposed to what it really is: worship.
Each of us has a purpose. We have gifts, abilities, callings. We are uniquely formed to fulfill unique destinies on this earth, and each step we take within God’s will is an act of worship. By following the plan He has for our life, we are praising Him, glorifying Him. If God has made you a mother – be it through biology, adoption, fostering, or a caring heart – you are part of His plan, both for yourself and your child. Being in His will, then, we can do what He has called us to do with a heart of worship, as an act of worship. Every shoe we tie, every bad dream we snuggle away, every lunch we pack or pay for is an act of worshipping our God because we are doing what He intended us to do as mothers.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all women are called to be mothers, and I’m not saying mothers are called or capable only to parent. We are magnificently created women with multiple gifts and callings, we can do so very much, each act with a heart of worship. Whatever we do as we walk in God’s plan, we can approach just as we would worship – “Here I am, Father – broken, imperfect, tired. I don’t know it all and I doubt myself, but I know You are good and have placed me here. Do what You will and what You can with whatever is left of me.”
Worship is sometimes hard for me, at least fully. I can sing the songs and clap the hands and do a mean church sway, but it’s difficult at times to completely turn off my brain and praise my Savior. I’m tired. I’m distracted. I don’t always feel well. I notice a missed note. I can think of 100 other things I could be doing and 100 other things that await me when I get home. It doesn’t lessen my love for my Creator, but sometimes it’s just hard for me to give all of me. If this isn’t parallel to motherhood, I don’t know what is. I love you, I can go through the motions, but sometimes I’m so distracted and tired that I just don’t put my heart into it. Both motherhood and worship ask me to give of myself, to reach from what is left of me and offer it to another. That’s hard. But when it hits, when I think of how GOOD God is to me, how GOOD He is on His own, oh how I praise Him. When I think about what He’s saved me from and what He’s led me to, I can’t help but worship Him. And what an honor to use my life to worship Him beyond the Sunday service times. What a loving God to look upon my life, full of fumbles, and say, “I can use that.” How often must our offerings of praise to Him be like the macaroni crafts we receive from our own children – imperfect, falling apart in places, but offered with love and awe and received with gratitude and affection. God is SO GOOD, ya’ll, and He has chosen YOU. Remember the next time that you are distracted, depleted, that He hand-made and hand-picked YOU. How much easier the brokenness is to bear when you’re reminded that you can be made whole by the One who made you to begin with.
Momming is hard. It can be frustrating. It can lead to the most tremendous self-doubt and the most stifling isolation. I find myself sitting here with dried tears on my cheeks, equal parts frustration with my kids and mourning the idea of “normal”. It just rarely looks like we thought it would, this parenting gig. I can list what I’ve given up and long for what I’ve yet to get, but at the end of the very long day, curled into a ball of brokenness, touched-out, talked-out, doubting it all, I see a stuffed animal I sewed back together and realize: it’s not all about me. It never will be. Whatever my frustrations and sacrifices, however real and valid, they will never overwhelm the need my children have for me. The will of God for me to influence them as people will not shrink back because I haven’t had a Snickers in months. Again, self care is incredibly necessary, and the needs we have are very real. I’m not dismissing them. I’m just reminding us, reminding myself, that motherhood by nature is about someone else. I am very much looking forward to Heaven someday, when I can freely worship my God all day, for eternity. So for now I can prepare myself by worshipping Him with my life, with my actions. I can view motherhood as His will and not an inconvenience. I can prepare for Heaven tomorrow by worshiping through my actions today.
If I will allow motherhood to become an act of worship, I am inviting God to be instrumental in my walk as a mother. No pun intended. I can acknowledge my shortcomings and imperfections, both as a Christ-follower and a mother, and say, “Here I am, Father. Use what you can of what’s left of me.” I can end each night in tears, knowing that while my offering may not have been perfect, it was done in worship. Jesus’ walk to Golgotha was painful, bumpy. He needed help to get there. And while I wouldn’t necessarily compare motherhood to crucifixion, I will say that both are journeys of sacrifice and completion. Both are the will of God asking very much of us in the name of love for our children. Jesus felt such stress that He sweat blood, He asked God if there was any other way. Not once did His love or commitment to us waiver just because he felt the weight of it all. Not once do we stop loving our children because it is hard to care for them. Jesus stumbling never meant He couldn’t do it, and the same is true for you, mama. And at the end, be it on a cross or waving your child off at their wedding reception, when we cry out that it is finished, we know that the sacrifice, the pain was worth it. That God was glorified, His will was done, and our children are better for it. Jesus’ story didn’t end on the cross and yours doesn’t end at graduation.
Every set of sheets you change in the night, every tear that you wipe, every correction you give, every meal you feed them, every ride to school, every doctor appointment, every ride from practice, every load of laundry, every dish you clean, every video game you research, every Pokémon story you listen to, every teacher you meet with, every book you listen to them slowly stumble through, every pile of crumbs you sweep, every backpack you check, every jacket you hang, every carseat you buckle, every cough medicine you give, every little, thankless, tiring job you do and every huge, significant, exhausting obstacle you tackle, they’re all acts of worship. They all honor God as you walk in His will. The Virgin Mary is mostly noted as having given birth to Jesus, but between the manger and the cross she performed untold amounts of tasks to care for Him. Mary, the mother of God, bathed her infant, taught Him things, cleaned up after Him, fed Him. Motherhood was necessary to the will of God. You, mama, you who is tired, discouraged, drained – you are necessary to the will of God. You are worshipping God in your faithfulness, in your tasks. You aren’t dressed in your Sunday best and you aren’t harmonizing to beautiful music, but you are worshiping Him. “Here I am, God. I can’t do this without You and I’m offering to do it for You. Do what You will with what’s left of me.”