Full. Always full. The arms of a mother are full of sippy cups, dish rags, toys, laundry, shoes, books, mystery gunk, blankies, sports equipment, groceries, or the kids themselves. Full at any given moment and at any given time.
The rare moments when our arms are free, our minds are full. To do lists run through our heads along with questions like “How can I magically transform a pound of hamburger into a decent supper?”, “Will a few minutes in front of the TV screw up my child?” and “How long until nap time?” Oh the crazy times of mothering!
So during these years when your time (and energy) is being taken over by young ones with their demands and needs, are we allowed to take a hiatus from growing in God and being useful for his Kingdom? You know my answer of course… no! For you Moms who find yourself in this season of life, I want to give you three areas of encouragement to hold on to today.
1.) God is with you. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Psalms 1:2
You may feel many days that “quiet time” with God is impossible. You can’t get away from the demands of your day and those around you to spend 30 minutes in the Word like you feel you should. Good news! God is not only present in quiet times but also in the wild, noisy, and even chaotic times (see Hebrews 13:5)! He is not frightened off by crying babies, grumpy toddlers or moody teens. Praise God for that! God is never far away. When you belong to God, his Holy Spirit dwells within you and will never leave you (read John 14:1-17). Learn to appreciate his presence even when times are wild.
Need suggestions? Pray out loud, worship and praise God with singing, grab your Bible in the morning and memorize one line, think on it throughout your day, or listen to the Bible or a sermon online. Susanna Wesley (mother of John and Charles Wesley) was a mother of 10 children yet she spent two hours a day in prayer. How? By flipping her apron up over her head. She told the children that when they saw her apron up she was in prayer and not to be bothered. She could not remove herself from her duties but she could still focus on God.
2.) God is growing you. “He is like a tree planted by streams of water…” Psalms 1:3a
Trees are one of God’s amazing creations. You can’t see them growing but they are. Over time, if they get all the water and nutrients they need, they become tall, full and beautiful. That is what God does in your heart during the years of motherhood if you are his. He grows you little bits at a time over many years (“from one degree of glory to another” 2 Cor. 3:18). You won’t realize all he has done until you look back and see the changes yourself. God is amazingly gracious to us and he values us far more than trees.
Too many moms make the mistake of thinking that their purpose in motherhood is to produce godly children. That is a great goal, but only God produces anything godly. God’s purpose for you in motherhood is to produce a godly woman. He allows you to experience so much during motherhood to mature you in him. Does this mean that God allows sickness, disabilities, and defiance in our children to grow us toward him? Absolutely! Is God behind the sleepless nights, skinned knees, and picky eaters? If you believe in the sovereignty of God he is! Things we often see as “interruptions” in our days (or nights) are often God taking the time to teach us and asking us to grow our roots deeper in him (our source of living water).
3.) God is what it’s all about. “…that yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither.” Psalms 1:3b
We are creations of the Master Gardener, made to magnify his greatness. It is to this end we live, breath and raise others to do the same. Make no mistake; this life is not about you. Rejoice in that fact, if it was, we would be sorely disappointed. God has filled your arms to overflowing so that your hearts could also be filled to overflowing with all his goodness, mercies and love. He continues to prune and fashion you into the masterpiece he desires you to be and one that will reflect him beautifully. Trust God in this.
Mothers, today whether you find your arms full of sweet cuddles or a battle of wills, know that God has great purpose for each of these moments. After all…he has you in his arms.