Everyone has an opinion of what it looks like to be a good mom. You’ve probably heard all sorts of different, maybe even contradictory, advice. You’ve read some parenting books and practically memorized “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “What to Expect the First Two Years.” (I might know this from experience) 😉
But as Christians, we have something in common that is very different than the rest of the world. We have Christ. We enjoy His salvation. We hope in His coming.
But how does this impact our mothering? How does is mark our motherhood?
I want to share with you four ways that I am learning to let Christ mark my motherhood and I hope it’s an encouragement to us all to be Mother’s Marked by Christ.
First and foremost, a mother marked by Christ fixes her mind on eternity.
Our Young Married’s group recently went through a book that confronted us with a question I will never forget: “Whose kingdom are you building?”
A mother marked by Christ doesn’t get caught up in building her own perfect kingdom – with the perfect décor, paint colors, cleanliness, the perfect vegetable garden, organically grown and locally sourced menu……. or the perfectly behaved children.
A mother marked by Christ has her hope fixed on God’s kingdom and uses her time and energy to witness to, disciple, teach, and encourage her children and those God has put around her. She loves God more than she loves this world and she urges others to do the same.
She knows, in the words of C.S. Lewis, that she has “never talked to a mere mortal.” We are all destined for eternity, it’s the type of eternity that we have the power, in Christ, to impact in the lives of our children and friends and acquaintances.
A mother marked by Christ heeds the Word of the Lord form Colossians 3 that says:
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Second, a mother marked by Christ firmly trusts in the Lord.
Because she loves God and his kingdom more than anything else, she trusts Him implicitly. That trust results in supernatural confidence when life is utterly uncertain and supernatural peace when circumstances are utterly chaotic. A mother marked by Christ entrusts her children to the Creator of us all and teaches them to trust Him more than they trust and rely on her.
A mother marked by Christ “Trusts in the LORD with all her heart and does not lean on her own understanding. In all her ways she acknowledges Him, And He make her paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
And since she knows the beauty and hope of trusting in God alone, she is compelled to teach her children to do the same.
Francis and Lisa Chan say this about teaching children to trust:
“We want them to trust Him more than us, to enjoy Him more than us, to find more security in Him than in us. And we are convinced that the best way to teach this is to demonstrate it. We have to make it clear to our children that we love God more than we love them.”
Thirdly, a mother marked by Christ dwells in grace, NOT in self-condemnation.
We all fail as mothers at times (well, maybe more like every day), and we will continue to experience failure until we are face to face with Christ. But, a mother marked by Christ doesn’t get stuck in failure; instead, she clings to God’s forgiveness and grace and relies upon His strength to carry her through her weakness.
In her book “Missional Motherhood,” Gloria Furman reminds us that, “motherhood isn’t an exercise in muscling up strength to do stuff for God. Missional motherhood is a walk of faith where the weak (that’s all of us) must keep before them the scenic view of the cross.” She goes on to say, “Distinctly Christian mothering is done from a posture of weakness and dependence. We nurture life in the face of death by grace through faith in Jesus.”
This is grace in motherhood – His strength in exchange for our weakness.
The apostle Paul concurs:
“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
A mother marked by Christ knows that she is insufficient in and of herself, so she throws herself into the arms of her gracious Savior and relies on His strength to empower her.
And in realizing that she is fully dependent on God’s grace, she is able to share that grace with her children.
Lastly, a mother marked by Christ finds true refreshment in her relationship with her Heavenly Father. (You can read more of my thoughts on this topic here.)
A mother marked by Christ gets tired, overwhelmed, and stressed-out – just like any other mom. But she knows the solution. She knows where to turn for true refreshment and peace and comfort. She sees through the world’s lies that a mani-pedi, massage, Netflix binge, chocolate, or coffee can offer the cure to a stressed-out day, week, or month. She knows self-love is perhaps the deadliest lie of all.
A mother marked by Christ knows and experiences the true refreshment and comfort that only comes from her intimate relationship with the Lord – dwelling in and enjoying His love for her.
A mother marked by Christ obeys His command to:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
She humbly learns from and leans on her gentle Savior.
As the rest of you moms know, this just scratches the surface of this beautiful and challenging, exhilarating and devastating thing we call motherhood.
But I hope this encourages us all to do motherhood, or any kind of nurturing, in light of our relationship to Christ.