Hey Mama

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, so I thought it would be most appropriate to write a little something for moms. I personally have three moms; my biological mom, my step-mom, and now my mother-in-law as well. Not only that, but I hope to be a mom someday, possibly of many; depending on our financial situation, my husband and I are thinking of adopting a fairly large family in the future, as well as having one or two children biologically. So, I thought I would take some time to ask myself what it means to be a mother— particularly, what it means to be a good mother.

I love my moms. They all offer something a little bit different, but very valuable. My birth-mom gave me life, took care of me as a child, and now provides much-needed support, encouragement, and friendship. My step-mom particularly helped me get through my teenage years, and has provided many years of great advice, guidance, and companionship. My mother-in-law did me the priceless service of raising my husband, including nurturing him through a long and difficult childhood illness and always making sure he was taken care of. She and my father-in-law continue to provide support for us while we are getting on our feet as a young family, which we deeply appreciate. There is simply no doubt about it; I need my moms!

I think that providing for the needs of a child is probably the most obvious and basic aspects of being a mother. Any mother worth her salt must be willing to do anything and everything in her power to make sure that her children have what they need. That often means self-sacrifice, something that every good mother experiences at some point. Whether it’s waking up at 4:00 in the morning to feed your crying baby, giving up your dream job so that you can provide for your children, or driving a mini-van, all good moms make personal sacrifices to do what is best for their children.

Other important aspects of a mother’s job are providing guidance, teaching, disciplining, and acting as a role-model.

A Godly mother teaches her children about God and the Bible. The family is the most important teacher for a child, and the best way to ensure that a child will grow up to love God is to make sure that they learn about Him early on. That means making God the center of your family and showing children what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.

A mother also must provide guidance and discipline, helping her children make good decisions and learn to be independent. When her children grow up, the mother’s job is to provide loving guidance and support; she no longer tries to control her children’s decisions, but instead encourages them to make good ones and offers help when they’re in need.

Finally, a mother is to be a role-model. Godly moms know that everything they do influences what their children will do, and they act in a way that honors God so that their children might do the same.

Clearly, the job of being a mom is no small task! It is hard work, involves a lot of discipline and sacrifice, and it almost always is a life-long job. It is because of this that I want to say thank you to my moms, and for all of the other good moms out there. Here’s to you and everything you do! The world would be a mess without you.

Before I end, I want to clarify two things. First of all, a mother does not have to be the woman who gave birth to you. A mother does not need to be a woman who gave birth at all! Childbearing isn’t what makes women mothers; it’s everything afterwards. Any women who nurtures, cares for, provides for, loves, and supports a child is a mother.

Second of all, no mom is perfect. Although I have described some of the key characteristics of what I feel to be the ideal mom, in no way do I expect any mom to fully live up to that. On the other hand, I passionately believe that a mom who follows Christ is empowered to do amazing things. God gives us the power to be the best people that we can be, not because we work harder but because He sends His Spirit to guide us. Through Christ, we can do all things, and that includes being amazing mothers. And when we make mistakes, which we certainly will, we can be comforted by the fact that God makes us new each day and it is never too late to be a good mom.

I am fairly certain that one day I will be a mother. I hope that when I do, I can take everything that my mothers have taught me— the wonderful, the good, the bad, and the ugly— and use that knowledge to be the best mother I can be. I know that with God as my guide, I will be a great mother. And until then, I will continue to watch in awe as women around me take on and embody the crucial job of being a mother.

Happy Mother’s Day!  



Are We There Yet?

Lately, I’ve been grappling with the idea of spending a large portion of my life working. The fact is that most people work 40 hours per week for about 45 years of their lives. That adds up to almost 11 years out of your life spent working. Now in the grand scheme of things, if you live to be 100 then that’s only 11% of your life, which doesn’t sound so bad. But when you’re in the middle of your working stage of life (from about age 20 to 65, or much later in some cases), you’re spending about 24% of your time every week working. If you sleep 8 hours every night, then that’s another 33% of your time. Already, half of your life is spent doing things that you have to do just to survive! That doesn’t even count things like eating, taking care of yourself, and chores. If you’re like me, then you may look at these numbers and feel like you’re wasting your life away merely surviving; when does the real living begin?

While thinking through these things this week, I had two revelations. The first one was the down-to-earth side of me reminding myself that I still have a lot of time to do whatever I want. First of all, there are the weekends. Although I do have a few regularly scheduled things to do on Saturdays and Sundays, the majority of my weekends are usually free. Even on the weekdays, I have at least three to four hours every day to relax at home with my husband or spend time with my friends or family. The truth is, I’m not exactly living a tortured existence here. Quite the opposite— I have everything I need and many of the things that I want, plus enough time to enjoy them. By the rest of the world’s standards, I am incredibly spoiled. Keeping that in mind does help to put things in perspective.

The second thing I realized is the most important. It’s the fact that we are not home yet! The reality is that in the entire length of our existence, which will be all of eternity, our lives here on earth are not even a tiny blimp on the map. When compared with forever, 100 years or so is literally nothing. What should really matter to us is the way that we’re going to be spending the next quadrillion (and everything after that, too). We are all eternal creatures, and we all must decide whether or not we want to spend that eternity with God, the source of everything good, or without him. Everything else in this life seems kind of teeny compared to that, don’t you think?

Of course, while we’re in the middle of it, this life seems like the biggest thing on the planet. It is the only thing that matters to us. We want to spend it as best as we can and I don’t think that that is wrong by any means. I believe that life is a gift, and we absolutely should use it in the best way possible! So I totally understand the desire to enjoy oneself as much as possible, make wonderful achievements, and soak up every moment one has with one’s family and friends. It’s only natural to want those things. However, the reality is that we can never be fully and completely satisfied with our lives here. Even if we try to do all of those things (and even if we succeed!), we will never reach our goals of perfection. There will always be something missing, something that we want more or less off. That certainly applies to people who don’t know or love God, but it also applies to those of us who do. Because even though we are His, we are still here.

In the beginning of the Bible, the hard facts of life are laid out for us. After Adam and Eve brought the first sin into the world, God explained to them the consequences. His perfect world had been broken, and that meant that there would be suffering on earth. Genesis 3 explains these consequences, which include: the end of harmony between animals and humans, nature and humans, and among humans themselves; physical pain, including during one of the happiest times of life (childbirth); work and the hard fight to survive; and inevitable death. These are all the awful things that make us wonder why this world is such a mess. We look at things like death and war and we wonder why things are so bad. The answer is that the world is broken, and it’s broken because of us. Worst of all, we can never fix it.

We are beyond lucky to have a God who loves us enough to pull us out of the mess that we made. Because of His love, He made a way out for us (which He had already planned, and also mentioned in Genesis 3).  Because of His love, we don’t have to stay this way forever. We can choose to accept His forgiveness through the death of Jesus, which satisfied his perfect justice. We can choose to love Him back, and one day we will be freed of this imperfect life and brought into a perfect life with Him forever. That’s totally amazing!

But… it still leaves us here. And in the middle of our lives on earth, it is not always easy to take our suffering with a grain of salt. We long for so much more, and we want it now. Which honestly, I think is the whole point. The brokenness that we feel in our lives is a constant reminder of what we lack without God. Everybody feels this, from the most Godly people to the least. The difference is that when you live life with God by your side, you have hope. Not only that, but you also have help! Once you accept Jesus into your life, He doesn’t leave you stranded and waiting to get to heaven. He helps you with the rest of your life here as well. He gives you a purpose, a family, and joy, just to name a few of his gifts! Don’t get me wrong; life is not instantly better, and it’s also not ever going to be perfect. But perhaps that’s not the worst thing in the world after all. If we had heaven on earth, then why would we ever want to leave? And if we never left, then we’d be missing out on something much, much greater.