How Motherhood Comes About as Close to Christlikeness as You Can Get

by | May 5, 2022 | Family & Parenting

For all mothers everywhere — we celebrate you this Sunday.

It seems relatively common these days for mothers to publicly share their “birth” stories, often complete with photos and even videos. Yet in the not-so-distant past, birth happened privately, and the focus really was not on the birth process but on the person who had just been born. I think this shift in focus is telling.

We concern ourselves with loss rather than gain. Motherhood is filled with both.

Consider this. As a mother navigates through each of the phases of life, there are subsequent losses and gains. When she loses the baby on her lap, she gains the curious toddler. Years go by and the simplistic rhythm of early childhood is lost to the blurred activities of the school-aged years.

Yet the opportunities for mentoring and teaching her children through the mundane busyness may be counted as gains of eternal weight as the mother pours out herself and fills into their lives. Later, when her children leave her home to create their own families, she loses her nuclear family but gains an extended family of children, spouses and grandchildren. Herein lie abundant opportunities for continued sacrificial giving, laying down of self, and pouring out her love on those entrusted to her.

Looking back on my childhood, it’s easy to see all that I gained, all the ways my mother poured out herself for me. My mother taught me to be a respectful and thoughtful human being, which included (but is not limited to) how to be polite in the presence of elders, how to set a table, how to walk with good posture (yes, I practiced walking while balancing a book on my head), how to pose for a pretty picture and how to take care of myself. I learned how to sew, cook and knit from my mother, who showed me the basics, taught me to follow the instructions, and then let me experiment on my own. I have a strong innate sense of order that I attribute to my mom, who is a meticulous record keeper and maker of lists. Even today, when I sit down to work, I place a spiral notebook next to my computer to make the day’s list and jot notes.

Her nurse’s training coupled with a deep concern for others evidenced itself every time I was sick or injured. From watching her tend to others’ needs, I learned how to provide care for people too. Once when I asked her, she showed me how — and then allowed me — to give her an injection. Years later as a wife and mother myself, that experience enabled me to nurse my husband back to health from an incident involving a ladder, a two-story roof and many broken bones. When the doctor told me I had to give my husband blood-thinner injections, I knew exactly what to do, thanks to my mom. In fact, the list could go on detailing the practical life skills I have gained from her.

However, more important than these is the spiritual training I received from my mother at a young age. That training was often prefaced with a reference to her mother, my grandmother, whom I have never met this side of eternity. Mom always said she wanted us both to have a strong faith as her mother did. This evidenced itself in the Bible story read to us every night and the memorized prayer I said at supper for “grace.”

And before bedtime, with Mom kneeling alongside me at my bed, we recited, “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. … God bless Mommy and Daddy and …” The list would go for quite some time.

In my early years, we attended Sunday school and church with my grandparents. Afterward, Sunday dinner was often at our house.

It was the ritual of the seemingly mundane yet consistent sharing of faith that bent my heart toward the gospel, and later, when God sovereignly called me to Him, these and many other memories washed over me.

Now, as a mother, grandmother and “spiritual mother,” more than ever I see the importance of training and teaching our children, grandchildren and “children in the faith” through the activities of the mundane, the consistent living out of truth every day. When we pour ourselves out so that others may gain, there is a necessary loss to self. This truth, so expressly manifested in my childhood memories, demonstrates the sacrificial nature of motherhood.

Yet this sacrifice of service isn’t meant to be showcased. The losses of motherhood are made sweeter when humbly offered as worship to our Savior — the One who knows sacrifice more intimately than we can imagine. It is in grieving our losses quietly in personal devotion to our Savior that He can redeem them, bringing joy and directing us to see what it is that we gain from our loss.

I may rue my missed opportunities, my losses, but my focus must quickly turn to considering the gains I have because of the losses. While I am still on this side of heaven, the Father will use me if I empty myself of self and join Him wholeheartedly in His work, for His glory and my gain.

“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25, ESV).

More and more I am convinced that this mindful, redemptive calling of motherhood is more than just teaching our children necessary life skills, although it certainly encompasses that. Redemptive motherhood embraces all phases and circumstances as gifts, as gains, so that we may take the form of a servant and become Christ to those closest to us. (See Philippians 2:5-8.)

Emptying ourselves of self, we humbly change diapers, bandage scrapes, prepare meals, wash dirty clothes and provide necessary physical and spiritual care to those who need our help and who have been entrusted to us. I have been pondering motherhood from this juxtaposition of loss and gain — the loss of the person that I was, but now the gain of a redeemed life and the hope for a brighter future in my becoming more Christlike. I must keep my focus on what I am gaining rather than on what I am losing.

I will never know how much my mom gave up for me, or all of the sacrifices she made, or her losses great and small, but I do know the influence she has had on my life. I know that I would not be the person I am today without her. She not only gave me physical life but also laid the foundation for a redeemed life with God forever. And in that knowledge rests my greatest hope, peace and comfort.

So, to my mom and to all redeemed mothers everywhere, on behalf of your children, I say, “Thank you.”

Visit our Medi-Share blog for more articles like this one.

Lynn B. McCool serves as an assistant professor of business communication at Drake University and an adjunct professor of communication at Faith Baptist Bible College & Theological Seminary. She writes and presents on topics ranging from faith, culture and education to social media. Lynn ministers alongside her husband, Dan, in the worship team at their church. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, reading, crafting, entertaining and DIY-ing her 100-year-old home. Connect with Lynn on LinkedIn.

Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How Would an Encounter in Heaven Transform Your Life?

How Would an Encounter in Heaven Transform Your Life?

Have you ever wondered what heaven was like? What does a person see and experience when they are in heaven? Is the arrival in immediate when a believer dies? These are great questions and ones that Rabbi Felix Halpern can answer. A mix-up in medicine brought about a...

Prophet: Learning to Listen With Discernment

Prophet: Learning to Listen With Discernment

Learning to listen with discernment means that you begin to recognize the voice of God so well that other voices sound unfamiliar. In John 10:5a, Jesus told his followers, "Yet they will never follow a stranger." This statement needs to become a reality in your life....

5 Stages of Building a Successful Team

5 Stages of Building a Successful Team

The definition and purpose of leadership are directly tied to organizational models and the five stages of building an organizational model. Let’s talk about those five stages. What we say here may sound somewhat like what you may have heard before about building a...

Mario Murillo Compares America Now to Israel on Mount Carmel

Mario Murillo Compares America Now to Israel on Mount Carmel

America stands in a crucial moment, much like the moment where Elijah made Israel choose between Baal and Jehovah. Elijah said to the people, "How long do you halt between two opinions? If Baal is God..." That's according to Evangelist Mario Murillo, whose ministry...

Spirit-Filled Pastor: Can I Ask God for Confirmation?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: Can I Ask God for Confirmation?

There are many incidents of God giving people a sign throughout the Bible. Although I believe God still does this, I also believe that we must be careful. Asking for a sign can be misleading if other factors are not taken into consideration. In Genesis, we find an...

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: Are You Ready To Meet Jesus?

Man Who Spent 23 Minutes in Hell: Are You Ready To Meet Jesus?

The last words Jesus spoke to me in my 23 Minutes In Hell vision were, “Tell them I am coming very, very soon.” Then He repeated Himself and said again, “Tell them I am coming very, very soon.” The Bible is clear that Jesus is coming back to rapture His believers,...

RECENT ARTICLES

The Best Way to Love Others and Yourself

I believe that other than the gospel regarding salvation through faith in Christ, learning to walk in love is the most important lesson in God’s Word. Jesus says that love is the most important...
10 Reasons the Apostolic Movement Is Essential to Gospel Expansion

10 Reasons the Apostolic Movement Is Essential to Gospel Expansion

The global apostolic movement is the most significant expression of Christianity today. This is the view expressed by historian Philip Jenkins. He talks about the rapid expansion of the church in the global south, much of which is reminiscent of the first-century...

Experience a Better Kind of Love in Your Relationships

Experience a Better Kind of Love in Your Relationships

Do you have any relationship struggles? Perhaps you want to learn how to love, for real. Too often today, people search for a fairytale love and are disappointed when the fairytale fizzles, which it will. Michael Gibson, author of Real Life Love, challenges folks to...

The Roaring Heart Podcast with Anthony Hart

The Roaring Heart Podcast with Anthony Hart

The Roaring Heart Podcast With Anthony Hart The Roaring Heart Podcast is a prophetic podcast reflecting the heart of the Holy Spirit in people. It’s a unique mix of interviews, prophetic declarations, prayers, heartfelt monologues, spoken word excerpts, and soaking...

The Power of Godly Words Over Another Life—and Yours

The Power of Godly Words Over Another Life—and Yours

Have the words that others have spoken over you ever significantly impacted you? Words can birth destinies on the inside of us and bring hope to our hearts for the future. They have the power to ignite our dreams and give life to our souls. At the same time, negative...

How You Can Foil the Plot Against Your Life

How You Can Foil the Plot Against Your Life

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus warned us that we have an enemy, and he is a thief. He steals our joy, purpose, peace and, if he can, our future. Jesus knew it was important to warn us...

Activating Introverts in Evangelism

Activating Introverts in Evangelism

 Many believers mistakenly think that evangelism is only for charismatic, extroverted personality types. If they aren’t called to be evangelists, they shrink back from sharing the gospel with the lost entirely. The scriptural reality is that fivefold ministers, and...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]