Motherhood is Not Just About Dying to Self

posted in: mothering, parenting | 3

Motherhood & Dying to Self

Motherhood, a joy, a calling, and a privilege – is also TOUGH!  And I’m in the midst of it.  New area (with relatively new friends), two under two – both boys, and a husband who works long hours – but is such a trooper at home and to take my many frustrated phone calls and texts and pray and encourage me throughout the day.

My boys are the most cutest (superlatives, I know) boys in the whole world.  Their blond hair, big blue eyes, super long eyelashes – and their laughs, and smiles, and hugs, and giggles.  Doesn’t that make all the disciplining, nights where there are 3 feedings, and saying no 100 times a day, worth it?  Hmmm – of course, but it doesn’t make those days easier.

I was enjoying some hours of quiet courtesy of sleeping boys and a gracious husband and I wrote these next words.  When I went to read it to my Mister I was hesitant too – not because I thought he would laugh at me, but because I don’t live this out – and he, more than anyone, knows it.  But, it is the cry of my heart.  And I need the Gospel every day and pushed harder and harder in on my life and my parenting  – to look more like Christ in front of these littles that I call Lijah Bean and Bubba.  I hope the next words are encouraging to you. Pray for the Moms you know.  It’s a tough job.

The point of motherhood is not death to self.

If it was, we could be justified in our mopey days, our impatient attitudes, our temper tantrums.  We could justify our need to be everywhere and do everything so we could earn the title of Super Mom.

It’s not about finding your life in your children.  If so, we could warrant involving our children in everything so they could be good at what we weren’t.  If so, we could boast in our children’s smiles, vocabulary, batting average, or report card.

It’s not about finding your life in all the things you multitask in – or the things you don’t.  We could brag about our recipes, our photographs, or our pre-baby jeans.  We could post pictures of our well-designed Anthro house that never looks like children live there.

It’s not about never doing anything you want to.  We don’t have to live a slain and mopey woe-is-me life.

Instead, something I need to be daily pray for myself is that I would boast in the Gospel and die to sin so that I might life in and for and through Christ.  On the days when I burn dinner, or feed my children all chocolate and junk food  – I need Jesus.  The days our son bites other kids in the gym child care – Jesus still died for me and loves me.  On the day when I feel fat and don’t want to work out, but longingly look at the woman three treadmills away – desiring to look like her – Jesus still wants my heart.

I’ve read so many posts about you just have to die to self as a Mommy.  In a way that is true – but not in its morbid-sounding worldly outlook.  You can still ask for time for yourself – to feed your soul, to grab a cup of coffee, to grocery shop without toddlers eating the bananas before you pay for them, to take a walk, to exercise – to do things that refresh you – even if it is just to take a bath or have a date with your husband.  These aren’t bad things.

If Motherhood isn’t just about dying to self – it must have a better end.  We don’t die to self just for the sake of dying to self.  We die to self and sin and flesh to live to Christ.  Paul, in his letters, constantly wrote about not being the man he was but constantly fighting that battle and waging war with his flesh, but pressing on in Christ.

Motherhood – living to Christ – looks like:

Admitting when you are failing at motherhood and seeking help from other moms who have been there and done that.  Not trying to put on an act like you have it all together and your kids are the poster children for all church kids.

Admitting when you need some “time off”.  My Mister knows that some time off during the week does me a world of good.  Writing, reading, praying, journaling, doing errands by myself, drinking unsweet tea, eating a macaron – whatever it is – as the saying goes “If momma ain’t happy”.  He knows that me being refreshed is good for the whole family!

Crying out to God instead of yelling at your children.  Even though I hate raised voices and I hate being yelled at myself – I find myself raising my voice at my boys – as if that’s going to do any good.  I need instead to breath, pause, pray, and then speak in a manner to my boys that will glorify God.

Read the Bible in light of Motherhood.  How does the Bible address teaching your children, being anxious or prideful in your spirit?  The Bible has the final word on everything you could be struggling with.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds you have been healed – 1 Peter 2.24 (This verse was suggested by my Mister for this blog – and so fitting.  If we try to do motherhood, or dying to ourselves, in our own strength – that is sin and it is futile.  We will fail.  It we seek the Gospel and the strength of Him who died for our weak, selfish selves – than He has promised He will ever be close to us in every moment of every tempter tantrum and birthday party and first date and bicycle riding lesson.

Motherhood in light of the Gospel – is still the toughest job, the best job, the most demanding job – and only with the strength of Christ will we survive.

3 Responses

  1. Sydney Powell

    Honestly, I think it is hard as a mom to rely on Christ. After all, He was not a mom or an earthly father. He was not a woman either. Christ is not my heavenly “girlfriend,” but because He deeply loved his mom and had faithful and dear female followers, I trust that He has a depth of knowing and understanding “my mom challenges” far beyond that of the single men I know. In some ways, it would be easier to be Catholic and to rely more heavily on Jesus’ mother, Mary. But Christ’s model of love transcends gender, and it transcends the fact that he was not an earthly parent. My daughter has had one major health problem after another for over a year now. Today, she is home from school on heavy medications for pain, and we are waiting on an MRI analysis to determine what to do next. Being a mom is so hard and so glorious and so tender and so painful, but that is why we need not only Christ, but also other Christians to support us on our journey. But in the end, I thank God for the blessing of being a mom.