Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Grace in Motherhood

Grace in motherhood is often talked about. "We have grace. It's ok if you have a bad day, give yourself grace. It's ok if you yell at your kids, there's grace for your mistakes. It's ok if you neglect your husband, there is grace for your marriage." All of that is true to an extent. There is grace for our sin and our mistakes. But it doesn't make it right. It certainly doesn't mean we shouldn't try to do better. We serve because of God's love not to earn God's love.  

My favorite definitions of grace is that grace is "the desire and ability to do God's will." I often need the desire to do God's will. Sometimes I just don't feel like doing whatever it is I'm supposed to be doing. I don't feel like getting up with the baby or changing another diaper or cooking dinner or scrubbing the toilets. Often I don't feel like doing the real hard work in raising my babies. I don't want to consistently discipline. I don't want to interrupt myself to deal appropriately with the issue so instead I yell. Is there grace to forgive that? Of course. Does it make it right? Does it mean I shouldn't learn to do better? Of course not. 

There's an adjective in Psalms (113:9) that's used to describe mothers. It's "joyful." I haven't found another adjective in the Bible for mothers. God never intended mothers to drag through life barely making it (although we all have our days!). Are you a joyful mother? If God gives us the desire for His work and the ability to do it, we can be joyful. We just can't do it on our own. I don't want to show motherhood to the world as a drudgery. Of course it's exhausting but so are most things worth doing. I want to be doing a work worth doing- and doing it well. 

How can we find this grace for motherhood? 

1. Pray for the desire to be a godly mother. It starts there. You have to want it. If you don't even want to be a godly mother you have a heart problem. Ask God to give you the right desires. 

2. Ask for God's help. It's foolish to think we can do this by ourselves. And if we've been a mom for more than about five minutes we realize we can't do it by ourselves. I don't know anybody deluded enough to think that they can. 

3. Learn. Ask older moms. Read books on motherhood. Try, try again. 

4. Pick one thing to work on a time. Maybe you want to stop yelling. Then work on speaking in a calm voice. But more than that work on the irritation and the anger in your heart toward your children. Of course they sin. They disobey. They make messes. That's why God gave them you. You are His gift to them to help them. 

5. Do the work. God does the work but we must do our part too. Pray for a rescue but row to shore just the same. Get up today and feed, bathe, and love the children. Do the next thing in front of you. 

Grace is what we need. We need to desire to do God's will. And then we need God's help to actually do it. 

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