Why Motherhood is Only for the Faint of Heart
Are You a Weak Mother?
I’m in the unique and privileged position of receiving formal Mother’s Day thankfulness three times a year. Where we live the community recognizes Arabic Mother’s Day, British Mothering Sunday, and American Mother’s Day. Every spring I get buried in finger-painted cards and paper flowers from my kids. It’s glorious!
All over the world, people acknowledge that the work of mothering is demanding and difficult. We often hear that “motherhood is not for the faint of heart!” But in our hearts, we moms know that’s not entirely true—because motherhood is only for the faint of heart.
“How can that be?” you might wonder. “Moms are strong, competent, creative, and persevering!” And you would be right. Only the grace of God can explain the counterintuitive statement that motherhood is only for the faint of heart.
With the Help of the Lord
It was the grace of God that led Eve to declare, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord” (Gen. 4:10), when the first child was born. And it is God’s grace that has driven and enabled every mother since to nurture life in the face of death in the midst of our fallen world. When we acknowledge our inability to mother our children apart from the Lord’s provision and strength, we honor God.
I’ll be honest: my pride is insulted when I consider the reality of my absolute dependence on God for my motherhood. I’d rather dive headlong into self-sufficiency, ignore God, and counter Eve’s declaration, saying, “I have gotten along just fine without the help of anyone.” Even in the face of death in our fallen world, my wounded ego wants to hang onto shreds of self-righteous rags. To which I say to my soul—in a talk-to-yourself-don’t-listen-to-yourself-way—”Enough already!”
This world is too broken. We are too fragile. Life is too fleeting. And the horror of our sin is too much to bear.
Refocusing on Jesus
Every mother needs to look away from herself and to the Man who is seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father. Christ is our hope and peace, he is our sufficient strength, he is our Redeemer. Because of his atoning death on the cross, Jesus is gathering up the pieces of this broken world and making all things new in submission to him under his serpent-crushing feet.
When he brings our fragile lives to a close on this earth, he is going to raise us from the dead, never to die again. His love is from everlasting and he is preparing a place for us to live forever with him. And when he died in our place and rose again he broke the curse of our sin and defeated death. We look to Jesus with our eyes of faith wide open, repentant and hopeful, because the promise of his future grace is ours for the believing.
In the middle of it all, even as future grace is ever-hurtling toward us, all of our burdens threaten to overwhelm us like a tsunami of doubt, fear, anxiety, and pain. Do we really want to “fake it ‘til we make it” to the end of the day and hoist a “Mother of the Year” trophy and give Jesus a high five for being such a great cheerleader?
Of course not.
Take Heart, Weary Mom
Do you feel burdened, exhausted, and weak? Don’t resent your weariness, but take heart because of Christ! In your weakness you have an opportunity to exalt Christ in everything because he is exalted over all things. You can rest well through childlike faith in our loving Father, who ordains the good work we’re striving to walk in (Eph. 2:10), consciously give your burden to Jesus (Matt. 11:28), and walk by the Spirit as you resist the temptation to give up (Gal. 5:16, 6:9).
Grace turns a weary mom’s weakness into a blessing. That’s why motherhood is for the faint of heart. When our hearts are faint within us then we can say and believe, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).