As of late I have found myself wrestling with being just a mom. Amidst the spit up stains on my clothes and the never ceasing piles of laundry, you would probably never guess that I have a bachelor’s degree. I actually used to work full time and then part time and then I quit “working” so I could fulfill my dream of staying home with my sweet Addie Rose. Long nights have led to heavy eyelids and a weary heart. The dream I thought would swell my heart with joy often leaves me longing for more – more sleep, more time, more patience, more energy. . . and the list goes one. Day in and day out, I battle for joy seeking to take my thoughts captive so I may think on what is true and know wholeheartedly that my identity isn’t in my academic status, my career or lack thereof. Don’t misunderstand me – being a mom is the hardest job I have ever had. It is work and important work at that but it isn’t my identity.
I must constantly comfort my heart with the truth that I am fulfilling the command of Christ to make disciples in a way that is losing value in our culture. I often think that my work as a mom will be valuable if I am raising a future preacher’s wife or future doctor but what I fail to realize is that my work is no less important if I raise an “ordinary” girl who will do extraordinary things for Christ – like forsaking a career outside the home to work in the home and raise children.
Don’t hear what I’m not saying – that it’s wrong for a mama to work outside the home. We know that as women we are to work with willing hands and to consider a field and buy it. However, this doesn’t mean that if we choose to work solely at home, even if just for a season, that our work has less value. We may not be receiving a pay check, but what we are doing is invaluable economically and spiritually. (I love this recent blog post a man wrote explaining why he can’t afford his wife.)
Becoming a wife and mama within a year, amongst many other changes in my life, has been one of the biggest joys I have ever experienced and it has also been one of God’s greatest tools for my personal sanctification. As I battle to be a wife and a mother unto Him for His glory, I have learned that I will never be able to do so if I am seeking my identity in those roles. Yes, Eve was created to be Adam’s helper, but her identity was first found in bearing God’s image – something I must remind myself of daily as I seek to honor the Lord in my priorities. I tend to get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent which these days, consists of a dishwasher that needs to be unloaded and an infant who needs her diaper changed. In these moments, I often forsake my first identity for fear that I won’t be able to accomplish as much as I set out to when my day started. It is when I seek the Lord through reading His word, which is to me a joy, and the delight of my heart, and through prayer, that I am reminded of who I truly am. I am valuable, not because of my work, but because of the identity I have as an image bearer of God which is displayed in my work. This is true for us women in every season of life whether married or not, whether a mother or not.
I would typically say that marriage and motherhood are hard, but after reading this, I know that it is my sin that makes them so. As we are in various seasons, fighting our sin may cause us to grow weary and lose heart but may we consider the words of King Hezekiah in 2 Chronicles 32:8, “. . . but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” These were the words Hezekiah spoke to his army when Sennacherib, the king of Assyria was threatening Hezekiah and his people. Although you are most likely not engaging in a physical war today, know that the God who helped Hezekiah is the same God who sent His son to die on behalf of His children to not only remove their record of sin but to accredit to them His perfect life. This is the same God who through Jesus helps us today by the power of His Holy Spirit. Be encouraged today as you remember your identity and work in whatever capacity to bring Him glory, “for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.'”