It was a typical morning in the McGrath kitchen. I was busy – stirring scrambled eggs, toasting a bagel, then turning around to finish a PB&J. I finished buttering a bagel for my two-year-old and delivered it to her high chair. But, before I did, I did something unusual – Oh the horror! – I took a bite. I went on with my business, then glanced over to make sure she was eating. This was when the flurry of kitchen activity stopped. My sweet girl noticed the missing bite and soon scorned the bagel with complete disdain. I watched as she picked it up, her eyes fixed on me, extended her arm just beyond the end of the tray and opened her little fingers. The unworthy bagel was on the floor.
WOW. What a picture. As unbecoming as her attitude was, I could relate! How many times as a Mom do we feel that our time, our stuff – even our bagels – are not our own! I don’t know about you but I am often amazed by the sacrifices motherhood calls me to…invasion of my space, invasion of my stuff, invasion of me! Sometimes, like Mia, my selfishness overrides my best intentions. If life isn’t on my terms, I don’t want it!
There was a season of young motherhood when I especially wrestled with this. I struggled with how much my children asked of me. I had things to do, big plans to make! What did these cute little people want now? Hungry again? Sticky fingers again? Needing my arms, my eyes, my heart – again? On one hand, I was drawn to love and give to my children. On the other hand, I wanted some space!
I knew in my heart that I was called to surrender to the needs of my children. But to be honest, I think I was afraid – afraid of what that meant for me. I was afraid that if I put my needs on a shelf, that I would somehow lose myself in the process. I needed God’s help most desperately during this season. I distinctly remember the battle. I cried out to Him and wrote in my journal a lot. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was I cut out for all that motherhood asked of me. I remember thinking, “Wasn’t I meant for grander things than doing laundry, picking up legos and getting excited about the newest happy meal toy?”
As I wrestled, I came across a study called “A Biblical Portrait of Womanhood” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. In it, she paints of portrait of what it means to be God’s kind of woman. I was completely inspired. What a beautiful portrait to behold! Among other things, she is a joyful responder, a devoted wife, a wise and careful planner and a kind servant. She is a woman who nurtures, prays, loves and lives generously. What a woman! When I captured this vision of a godly woman, I realized God had more than enough for me to strive for, right in my own sphere of influence. Rather than focusing on achievement from the world’s perspective, I turned my attention to developing the character of a godly wife and mother. This new focus gave me an overwhelming sense of joy and purpose that changed my perspective of mothering – and my life – forever. (Gen. 2:18, 1 Peter 3:3-5, Proverbs 31, Ephesians 5:22-33)
The battle was finally OVER. I surrendered. I realized my life was not my own and that God had something far more worthy for me to pursue. My days were His days. My time was His time. My children were His children. As the Bible says, “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
When I finally chose to walk through this door of sacrifice, laying down my rights and my expectations about the agenda for each new day, I discovered a whole new world – a world of challenge and creativity, a world of joy and beauty, a world of liberating selflessness! As I gave over my self-protecting ways and stopped to tune into God’s perspective on my life, I had this overwhelming sense that what I was doing as a mother was WORTHY. I realized God was smiling on every single sacrifice. Every tender hug, every bubble bath, every Hello Kitty bandaid, every meal, especially every lesson from the Bible – was noticed by Him. God was pleased with the offering – and that was more than enough. For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13)
So, Mom, as you pour into your children today – unto Him – know that God is pleased with your investment. May He fill you with the joy of this day. May He show you how to faithfully teach your children about Him and His love. May He bless you with perspective and a strong sense of calling, as you do something with your life that is truly grand.
– Julie McGrath
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. – Proverbs 31:10-31
1. Have you truly considered that how you mother can bring God pleasure?
2. Do you have friends or family in your life that spur you on in your calling as a wife and mother? How are you an encouragement to other moms?
3. When you are feeling discouraged, tune into God’s heart for your children and His perspective of your investment in their lives. Truly, there is no higher calling!