In honour of mother’s day I’ve been reflecting on how being a mother has changed my life. There aren’t really any words, of course, to sum up how it has changed me, but I do know that it has shaped my faith and helped me understand God more deeply in many ways. Here are a few of them…
1. Choosing gratitude over fear
In any given moment there are so many things to fear in life, and particularly as a parent. We worry about all kinds of things with our children. We worry about big things about their futures, their safety, their health, their social and academic development… and about the small day to day things about where their shoes are or whether they’ve eaten enough or if they’ve had too much screen time. We worry about the myriad of threats and dangers that they could face in a very unpredictable and uncertain world and we can drive ourselves totally crazy if we allow ourselves to get sucked into worrying about all the things that could go wrong. One of the incredible gifts of children, however, is that they invite us into the present… into this moment, now, where they are experiencing the world as it is, and not as it could be or might be. I have learnt that in any given moment, I can either be afraid of what could be and worry about tomorrow, or I can be thankful for what is right now. I have learnt to continually try to choose gratitude over fear.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God…” – Philippians 4:6
Since becoming a mom, I have a greater understanding of the patience and grace God has for us. Raising a child requires a great deal more patience and persistence and grace than any human being possesses, and I’m reminded in those times that I lose the plot and get frustrated – in those moments when I don’t react with us much love and understanding as I should – of how gracious God is that He always responds with perfect love and grace. He certainly is “slow to anger and abounding in love” no matter how many times we wilfully disobey Him or casually ignore Him. I pray continually that He’ll make me more and more like Him in that way. Parenthood certainly is a great classroom for developing those character traits!
“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” – Psalm 145:8
3. Sacrificial love
I definitely understand the sacrificial love of God better since becoming a mom. I remember when I had my first child how certain things were difficult for me to give up. It was a big adjustment to give up my dancing when I became too heavily pregnant, and adjusting to the concept that my life, including my body, my time, my resources were not just mine anymore. It’s been much easier this time around as I expect my second child with hardly a thought about those things, I think simply because I’ve become used to being more sacrificial. It is easy for me to make sacrifices – big ones and small ones – for my children because I love them. Knowing this has helped me understand the ultimately sacrificial love of God better – a love that would go to any lengths to be in relationship with us, to rescue to us, to see us become who God intended for us to be. It is comforting for me to know that the kind of fierce, sacrificial love I have for my children is just a shadow of the limitless and perfectly sacrificial love God has for me.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38