I’m sure you have seen (or even created) the Mother’s Day card that begins with M is for…. and continues all the way down the word MOTHER, spelling out the word with each letter standing for some attribute of what a mother is supposed to be : My one and only, One of a kind, Teacher, Helper, Ever present, Real MVP….etc. We all have an image of what the perfect mother is like, and for some, our mothers are the epitome of what a mother should be. In Malawi, motherhood is revered more than where I come from, or so it seems, as I have never lived in a country that celebrates Mother’s Day as a public holiday! And Malawi doesn’t even have a Father’s day. Clearly, motherhood is something important and honourable in Malawian society.
Growing up, I thought about one day having a family and being a mother. I wanted to be the cool mother who did all these wonderful things with her kids. In my mind, I thought I would be the best friend to my kids, and looking back, it was more about being loved than loving. I wanted to have kids who thought the world of me, and I was determined to be ‘super mom’. The Mary Poppins, Maria von Trapp kind of mother (thank you Julie Andrews). Yes, that’s my era. Movies and books presented more of a wholesome household compared to today’s sitcoms and movies that portray a less homogeneous household and mixed up gender roles. But that’s a whole other topic on it’s own. The image of motherhood was somewhat glorious to me. I also admired my mother so much and couldn’t wait to be a mother one day, God willing.
When the Lord brought me to Himself, and started to show me through His word, who I was, I began to think “ how can I even be a mother? me?” It was still exciting to think of, and I wanted to have as many children as the Lord would will. But as I grew in my knowledge of God and His will , He began to show me, through His word, what the role of woman , wife and mother is all about, and I knew that without Him, I couldn’t take on such a huge responsibility. He has the blueprint of life, womanhood and motherhood through His word.
Fast forward to marriage and 2 kids later. Diapers, sleepless nights, potty training, stubborn frowns, disobedience and the word “no”. When you realise that motherhood is the toughest job on the planet, because you are raising little ones for God’s glory and you feel like you are not the right person for the job. You realise that there is no such thing as a “super mom”, but only a super God “who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
The reality is, I don’t measure up. That “super mom” is what I attain to be, but really, I cannot. That check list that we create for ourselves, or even the checklist that we have made out of Proverbs 31:10-31, just shows me how sinful and imperfect we are. God has given me two precious little girls to raise, for His glory and I only have a short time to do it. They will grow up and take all that I have taught them, out of the home with them. Will they called me blessed ( Proverbs 31:28)? They watch what I do, they soak it all in. They learn from me whether I like it or not. How am I displaying the fruits of the Spirit to them? Am I loving and submitting to their father as unto the Lord? Am I modeling for them, what biblical womanhood is? Even if the Lord wills to bless us with boys one day, am I showing them what a godly woman looks like? These are questions that us mothers should all ask ourselves. If we aren’t in Christ, who are we raising our kids for?
What a joy and a privilege it is, to raise children, biological or not. From the moment each of my children were born, I loved them. Just when you think you can’t possibly have more love left, you have the same immeasurable amount for one, as for the other. And this is not even including the love you already have for your husband. It’s amazing that God gives us His unconditional love and we don’t understand how boundless it is until you experience the boundless love He has given you for your husband and children. And even that, doesn’t come close to the love God has for me. And if He loves me so much and has given me such a responsibility, surely He is with me and will guide me through the ups and downs of motherhood if my life is truly submitted to Him. He “will meet all my needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Phillipians 4:19)
I still admire my mom, and I know many women admire their mothers. We respect mothers in this society, but they are not perfect. I still think that the image of a wholesome, nurturing mother is one to be admired, but looking at that image without Christ and a biblical worldview, that woman is only an idol. Only Christ can make me the woman and mother He wants me to be. I need not look to the world to tell me what a mother should look like, because she may behave like the perfect mother, but without Christ it’s impossible and the facade is meaningless.
Let’s do away with the check lists and ideas of a “super mom” and turn to Christ who enables us to do these things, because on our own it’s impossible. Raising children for God’s glory means cleaving to Christ and looking to Him in order to do it. Raise them in the fear and admonition of Him who you serve, not your own “super mom” idol. The Lord calls us to Himself, to submit to Him, to teach our kids His ways ( Deuteronomy 6: 6-9) that they may not depart from it ( Proverbs 22:6). And they will honour you (Ephesians 6:2, Proverbs 31: 28), and it will go well with them as they live a long life ( Ephesians 6:3), serving the Lord, which is what the Lord commands us to train them for. He knows the joy of raising children for Him, and done His way, it always works. We cannot be godly mothers if we aren’t godly women, looking to Christ first.
This article was first published here