Feeding schedules, diaper changes, and runaway toddlers seem to consume a mother’s world for what seems like forever. It may seem like an eternal duty, but those days very quickly pass. What you learn in each new stage of your children’s development is that God gives you grace and strength to meet the challenges that accompany it. Sleepless nights, drained energy, and unfinished housework discourage you. Unappreciative, uncooperative children at times confront you. Unsympathetic, clueless husbands may (though surely only rarely) irritate you. But, you, ma’am, are doing important, indeed, eternal work! You hold more than a baby in your arms. You lead more than a toddler or small child by the hand. You mold and shape more than a child’s mind, social skills, and heart. You, dear lady, are influencing this world and eternity. As you rise to the challenges and succeed in keeping Christ in the center of your children’s hearts, you are partnering with God. He can help you cope with the temporary trauma, the short-lived chagrin, and fleeting frustrations of motherhood. God designed the home, and as such He designed it as a place where mother’s touch and influence would settle deep into the hearts and lives of those eternal souls you helped bring into existence. You can dedicate them to God like Hannah did Samuel (1 Sam. 2:28). You can sacrifice for them like Samson’s mother did for him (Jud. 13:13-14). You can treasure the things about your children in your heart as Mary did about Jesus (Lk. 2:19). In the meantime, while you are coping with the daily frustrations of motherhood, remember the words of Jan Dunlap:
Help me remember, when I feel it’s a chore,
The time will come when I’ll hold baby no more,
Asleep on my chest, the crib refused,
the blanket, the pacifier, gone unused.
What better place is there to lay baby’s head,
Than against my heart, my arms her bed?
For children grow up and leave us behind,
With only memories left to remind us
Of midnight walking and predawn rocking,
Of sweet, crying babies unable to sleep.
So, keep me patient and keep me awake,
While I cradle this dear child,
And don’t let me begrudge another long night,
With this baby, my darling, my joy, my delight.
The trials of motherhood are a relative moment. The lessons you leave them last beyond a lifetime. Thank you for willingly, lovingly, and righteously pursuing this important facet of God’s work on earth!