Mother’s Day is coming up in a few weeks. And while we may look forward to the day (or not), it can also be hard with expectations and a lot of emotions.
Maybe you will get a hand written card. Maybe you will get a half-hearted “Happy Mother’s Day” from your teen. Maybe your husband will do the dishes for you. Maybe it will be all you dreamed of and it will be amazing.
Maybe. Or maybe you will feel a little disappointed. Maybe you will feel hurt that your husband didn’t make a bigger deal out of the occasion. Maybe you resent the fact that you still had to do all the cooking and the cleaning over the weekend. Maybe you will wish that just for once, someone in your family would notice ALL that you do.
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I get it. I think all of us have been there at one moment or another. “Don’t they see ALL that I do for this family day in and day out?” “Wow, I sure wish I could just throw my clothes all over the room and hope that someone else will deal with it later.” “I don’t ever stop working, I wish that just for one second that someone would notice that and recognize it!”
I know it’s easy for these feelings to creep into our hearts. But at the end of the day, this is only going to lead us feeling frustration, overwhelmed, and with a lot less joy in our lives. These feelings and this line of thinking robs us of our contentment in the everyday.
When mother’s day is over and we are feeling under-appreciated and overwhelmed, how do we being again to find joy?
Finding our Joy in the Lord
It can be so discouraging when we feel like we are not appreciated for all we do. We want to be recognized or even just given a small thank you every once in a while. But when we don’t get these, or it doesn’t look like how we think it should look…we are quickly robbed of our joy.
The problem is: We are placing our hope, our trust, and our joy in the things of this world. We are placing our joy – or our lack there of – in the hands of our toddlers who might wake up on the wrong side of the bed and scream all day or in the very angsty hands of our teenagers.
We are turning to our family to fulfill us and meet our needs. I did this a lot in the early days of our marriage. I looked to my husband to fulfill all of my needs. I looked to him for encouragement, for security, for complete and perfect love…and of course, when he would inevitably fail…my joy would go along with it.
I’ve learned through too many mistakes throughout the years that ultimately, my joy needs to be in the Lord. These sinful humans that we live with day in and day out WILL fail us at one point or another. Or everyday.
Yes, our children and our husband can bring us an immense amount of joy. But if our ultimate joy, peace, and life rests in how our family all responds to us then we have turned our family or our kids into an idol and at the end of the day, we will be sorely disappointed.
“Idols aren’t just stone statues. No, idols are the thoughts, desires, longings, and expectations that we worship in the place of the true God. Idols cause us to ignore the true God in search of what we think we need.” – Idols of the Heart, page 23
Instead of placing our trust and our hope in our family, we need to place that trust and that hope in Christ. We need to turn to him when life hurts, when we feel disappointed, when we are overwhelmed.
When we tie our identity, the worth of our motherhood, to the thanks or gratitude we get on Mother’s Day, or our birthday, or any old day of the year, we will be sorely disappointed. We will become bitter, resentful, and our hearts will be lead farther and farther away from worshipping God in all things.
It’s so easy to make Mother’s Day all about us and we expect big grand thanks and accolades from our family. Even if by some miracle, Mother’s Day lives up to our own expectations, we are missing the larger point in our motherhood.
Living in Missional Motherhood
One step in finding more joy within our motherhood, is recognizing the true purpose of our motherhood. Our motherhood is not meant to fulfill our every need or whim. Yes, some days, motherhood is incredibly fulfilling. But God didn’t give us these children just to fill our own needs.
Our motherhood is a powerful form of ministry in God’s Kingdom and we have to keep that in the forefront of our minds in the ebb and flow of every day life. Motherhood is HARD work most days but we find our joy and peace within that knowing that we are serving the Lord as we serve our family.
“When we serve others – discipling, changing diapers, saving lives at a pregnancy center, stacking chairs after Sunday school – it is more than human dogoodery. It is hoy and acceptable worship done unto the Lord. All of it is possible because our High Priest, Jesus, went before us. His blood speaks for us in our atonement and in our priestly work done here in the outer court of the world. Your service unto God is holy.” – Missional Motherhood, page 43.
Do you ever think of the great commission in the scope of your mothering?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 29:18
Right now, in your home, you have a powerful opportunity to live this great command out. As Christians we are called to evangelize the lost, preach the Gospel, and make disciples in all the world. As mothers, your very first task in living this out is right in your very own home with these little people who can fill your heart with joy and bring you to tears through frustration all within 5 minutes.
Dear mother, Mother’s Day is not ultimately about us. It’s about Christ. It’s about recognizing that all we do is in His strength, that He will work through us for good things, that He will work through us to teach and disciple our children.
That all the glory ultimately needs to go to God, not us. Our goal should be that when our family starts to sing our praises on Mother’s Day, it’s not very long before they are sining God’s praises and lifting Him up. Our family should see Christ in and through us. And that’s the best Mother’s Day present we could ever hope for.
“Sister, we have died, and our lives are hidden with Christ in God. We are not our own. Our children are not our won. Our homes are not our own. Our stuff is not our own. Nothing is our own. It’s all his and for his glory. And that’s the incredible reality we get to make up to every day. Let’s help each other remember!”– Missional Motherhood, page 165.
Book of the Week:
I shouldn’t be surprised that I feel in love with this book. Everything that Gloria writes has such a way of turning my heart and my focus back to Christ. Missional Motherhood does not disappoint in this regard! All women, even if you don’t have biological children, should read this book. I was listening to the book as an audiobook, which always makes books longer and sag a little for me, so about halfway the book got a little slow for me. But I stuck with it and the last third or so of the book was incredible!! So stick with it if the middle sags a little bit.