Oh, the days of young motherhood. If I had to choose words to describe it a few would be: smiles, messes, sleep-deprived, fat rolls, sticky and joyful. I’m sure you can think of many of your own. Oh yeah, one more: hard. Being the mother of young children (newborn to pre-school) is hard work. The demands of your time and energy are overwhelming. Add to this the fact that mothering young children usually coincides with young marriages. This makes the perfect, intense and pressurized medium for great growth or explosive combustion. Often both.
The picture I am familiar with is a young woman desiring to have a happy marriage, raise children well, and honor God at the same time. You have worked hard and looked forward to this stage of life and are finally there, married with children. Things appear to be on track and working out as planned. So why is it so difficult? Why aren’t you happy more often? Why isn’t this easier and more enjoyable?
Excellent questions and ones I have lived through myself and have counseled others on. Many are struggling along, trying to keep their heads above water. Being more successful at it at times and taking a dunking the next. Welcome to motherhood, trial by fire…but not fire without purpose. Being a mother is a beautiful role designed and assigned by God. That alone should be humbling, but beauty doesn’t equal ease. Internal and forever soul-beauty is hard work, keep reading.
Here is what is very important to remember: you are learning valuable lessons that will stay with you for eternity during these specific years. The two utmost lessons are these: 1.) Trust God in all things and 2.) All things are about God, not about you. You may think you know these facts already, but Momma, you don’t until you have been through the paces of motherhood.
I call the early years of motherhood the “Crucible of Young Motherhood”. A crucible is a container that holds metals that are melted or subjected to very high temperatures for a purpose. It is a good mental picture for those in this stage of womanhood. The intensity of having young children and a young marriage causes the “heat of life” to turn up. But again, not without purpose. Just like melting metal in a crucible is so that the impurities can be drawn off and then the pure metal can be poured into a mold, so is young motherhood a crucible for burning away the sin of the old self and a time of shaping and perfecting the new creation that you are called to be in Christ. It is prime time for heart-work to be done.
“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts.” Proverbs 17:3
You may not see wiping noses, faces and bottoms as work toward spiritual growth, but it is. It is some of the best spiritual work that can be done! This is where trusting God is a must. You have to trust that he has called you to this work and that he is using this work to produce lasting fruit in your life (patience, love, kindness, peace, joy, self-control, faithfulness). It can feel like slow, tedious and even trivial progress, but the results are none of these things. The godly shaping of a woman through motherhood is one of the most fantastic processes ever to be ordained by God. If you doubt this, talk to some women who have lived it. Trust that God is doing work in you even when you don’t feel it.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.” Psalm 56:3-4a
You also must remember on a daily basis (often an hourly basis) that everything is about God and not you. Keep your focus Godward. You wipe the sticky counters off for the hundredth time today because you are serving God through serving your family. You rock a screaming baby with ear infections because God has placed this baby in your hands and told you to raise them for him. You hug and serve a grumpy husband who is being unkind because God calls you to be like his son Jesus who submitted to the Father and died for sinners. It is all about God, the sooner you get this, the more spiritual growth you can experience.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things.” Romans 11:36
A final yet vital word of advice: be in the Bible daily. Even if it is a single verse that you read in the morning and think on all day. Understand you can’t live without it. Staying in the Word during this time of your life is essential and will set the tone for years to come for spiritual discipline.
Ladies, the beauty of motherhood comes in the midst of the messes, sleepless nights and fat rolls. You will get glimpses of it now and then while in the crucible, but the true witness of the blooming comes when you are more removed from the heat. You will begin to see yourself take shape as you more closely reflect the beauty of your Savior. Trust him in all things, knowing all things are about him, even young motherhood.