Yesterday on Twitter I wrote, “Motherhood is the Shadow. Christians discipling others in Christ is the substance.”
Today I spent the morning chasing shadows.
All the Hallmark ideas about being a mom were a no go at my house today. Fifteen years of raising sons in a hard, “even if” marriage have taught me not to expect Hallmark on Mother’s Day. They have also shown me that I tend to chase shadows when it comes to being a wife and mom.
I can tell when I’m chasing shadows, I feel the disappointment of reaching for a substance that slips through my fingers like air.
The message of the Bible is that God is making all things new through his Son. Motherhood included. Radical statements like, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,” shake our grip on shadows. Like a person lost in the desert, desperate for water, we tend to look to the nuclear family like an oasis that will quench our thirst for belonging and love, only to find our mouths all of the empty promises of the ideal and the gritty sand of each others sin.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Matthew 10:37 ESV
C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
There is a desire in being a mom that motherhood in this world will never satisfy. Christ’s death and resurrection has brought the other world motherhood in this fallen world makes me long for. His kingdom. His people. In Christ’s Kingdom, the beauty of motherhood is made tangible. It won’t slip through your fingers. People like Paul being gentle among new believers, like a nursing mom with her children, are very real and eternal relationships.
The satisfaction of motherhood is not Hallmark moments. The satisfaction of motherhood is giving your life to another to see them complete in Christ.
‘But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. ‘
1 Thessalonians 2:7-8
“…my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” Galatians 4:19 ESV
The glory of motherhood is Christ in motherhood. The weightiness of motherhood is found not in having the ideal nuclear family, but in laying down your life for your children to know Christ, for the new believers in your church to grow up in Christ, for the single-mom in your neighborhood to be discipled in Christ. In Christ, motherhood is redeemed and made eternally significant. And it isn’t limited to being a biological or adoptive mother. In Christ, the fulfillment of motherhood isn’t Hallmark moments or Pinteresitc images. In Christ, motherhood isn’t having a lovely child who does lovely things. In Christ, motherhood is self-sacrificially loving a child, or any person, who isn’t lovely and doesn’t do lovely things, so that they may know the love of Christ and follow him.