How the Bible Points to Motherhood as an Opportunity For Renewal

I sat at a picnic table overlooking our small lot of land. To the right, the goats chewed their cud while the chickens foraged, and the ducks splashed in their pool. In the background, my five daughters pretended to be horses as they ran wild and barefoot across the dew-dampened grass in the early sunshine, with a dog close at their heels.

A smile played upon my lips as I wondered, how did I get here? How did I become this woman? I had never heard of people drinking raw milk before I had children. The word “homeschooling” had been entirely foreign to me. I wasn’t interested in linen aprons, heritage-breed chickens, or bone broth. I had been a cheerleader, for heaven’s sake.

Over the years of my motherhood, I had slowly been becoming. People talk of mothers losing themselves or even finding themselves again as their children become independent, but I didn’t see it that way. My role as a mother had created the woman I now was, and I rather liked the changes. Oh, I didn’t love the thinning hair or the gray I saw there. I didn’t love the tiredness or the wrinkles. I loved the passions and interests, the maturity and wisdom, the knowledge, and the freedom I felt to simply do what I wanted without fear of the opinions of others. Motherhood had freed me to become myself.

This becoming was part of God’s grand plan for motherhood all along. He always intended to use the shaping of our bodies around a human child or the shaping of our hearts around an adopted one as a means for shaping us. Motherhood, then, is not a setting aside of ourselves for some lesser version of the woman we once were.  Instead, it is a time of renewal, a time to grow and become something new and something better.

Motherhood Shapes Us

Elisabeth Elliot said in her book, The Shaping of a Christian Family, “The process of shaping the child… shapes also the mother herself. Reverence for her sacred burden calls her to all that is pure and good that she may teach primarily by her own humble, daily example.”

Scripture shows us numerous examples of women whose motherhood began a new era of regeneration in their lives.

  • Hannah poured out her heart in prayer, asking for a child. Her strong faith led to a son and the spiritual strength to give that child to the Lord. (1 Samuel 1:10-11, ESV).
  • Mary became introspective after Jesus’ birth and pondered over the truths it proclaimed. (Luke 2:19, ESV).
  • Jochebed became brave in her faith as she entrusted her child to God when she laid him in the river. (Exodus 2:1-10, ESV).

There is one scripture in the Bible that shouts loudly of the spiritual impact that our mothering moments have on our souls: “She will be saved through childbearing…” (1 Timothy 2:15, ESV).

This verse does not speak to me merely of my salvation, which is given by grace alone and through faith alone. It speaks to me of my sanctification. Motherhood has revealed to me my sin, weakness, and inabilities. Those struggles have pushed me into the arms of Jesus and have led me to weep before Him, plead with Him, search the scriptures for answers, seek wisdom from other followers and grow.

As our children grow, the challenges change. So, we are continually growing alongside them, not in body but in heart, mind, and soul.

We should not view our mothering struggles and sacrifices as detracting from our true selves but as the means to forge a new path. If we can embrace this journey, we will be blessed as we trek forward in our spiritual development. Keeping our old hobbies and bodies is only as valuable as being shaped into the image of Christ.

Motherhood is Worship

Sally Clarkson says, We embrace motherhood with our whole heart because it is an abundantly beautiful way we get to worship and serve Him.” Motherhood can be our daily worship or moment-by-moment worship if we let it.

Daily moments such as spilled milk, tantrums, pre-teen hormone outbursts, and so much laundry or making another snack can send us to scripture.

We can practice the fruit of the spirit through our patience with the milk, our self-control during the tantrum, our gentleness with the hormonal child, and our faithfulness with the laundry and cooking.

Consider all the warnings for how to live that we find in the scriptures, and you will discover that motherhood creates a habitat where they can all be practiced and lived out.

When your child asks for that snack you can remember Christ saying, “I was hungry and you gave me food…” (Matthew 25:35, ESV).

When they spill the milk, you can recite, “It is to His glory to overlook an offense”(Proverbs 19:11, ESV).

You will not remain stagnant if you allow these moments to pull you closer to Christ. You are the clay, He is the potter, and motherhood is the wheel. Allow yourself to be shaped into a vessel that can be filled with His truth and goodness.

Motherhood is Renewal

As mothers, we will mess up. We will struggle. We will break. The breaking, however, is what allows for the remaking. This is where renewal happens. Our daily mothering moments lead us to a deeper understanding of our fallen nature and our need for a savior.

Edith Schaeffer stated that “life is a journey, and every experience has the ability to shape and mold us.”

Most journeys are focused on going forward rather than backward. Focus on something other than what you may have lost or who you once were. Instead, run forward on this path of motherhood, looking with hope and excitement to the future you, the becoming you. Open your arms wide to the lessons of motherhood and seek the wisdom they impart.

During the years that I carried in my body, birthed, and then carried in my arms our five daughters, I got tendonitis in my wrist. It hurt—a lot. I tried to ignore the pain. I tried to push through without making any changes or talking to anyone about it. Finally, the pain became too intense. I went to an oncologist and eventually received an injection in my wrist to correct the damage and eradicate the pain.

My motherhood had literally caused my tendons to grow and swell, and I had to do something about it. I needed my wrist to be renewed.

We need our souls renewed as well. Daily. Instead of a shot, we need God’s Word. Instead of a consultation with a doctor, we need prayer and mentorship. We need to submit to the shaping. When we do, we will find that we have become someone new, but in all the best ways.

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