Motherhood is a piece of evidence of God's triumphant agenda to give life despite the curse of death. It is a gift that points us to Jesus. As life marches on to the praise of God's glory, we see a riveting display of the grace of our Father, who will fulfill His promise to give His Son an inheritance of nations to the praise of His glory. There's no greater goal than that.
Motherhood is about the adoration and enjoyment of our great God.
There are superfluous ideas circulating in the world that try to explain the goal of motherhood. Many of these ideas have a spiritual bend to them, describing motherhood as an expression of "the human spirit" or a metaphor for "Mother Earth."
Motherhood Is a Mercy
As Christians, we understand that any spiritual guidance for motherhood that attempts to connect a woman to God apart from the substitutionary atoning death of Jesus cannot ultimately succeed. Jesus's claim to be "the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6) has implications for the way we view our role as mothers. The lens of the profound reality of the gospel is where we see motherhood for what it is—a mercy.
With Adam and Eve's sin in the garden, all their progeny along with them were justly indicted and condemned to death. Despite their grievous sin, God not only allowed life but facilitated it and sustains it still today. The mercy shown to us at the cross of Jesus Christ is the pinnacle of God's lavish grace. Herman Bavinck wrote,
Based on that sacrifice [Christ], God can wrench the world and humanity out of the grip of sin, expand His kingdom, gather up all things under Christ as its head, and one day be all in all. No one, not even Satan, can say a word against this.
Even while we steal God's glory and insist that motherhood exists to serve our egos and our reputations, God gives us more mercy still. Even while we wring our hands anxiously over God's timing for our family, God graciously continues to fulfill His eternal purposes in creating each and every member of our family. Relieved of our self-oriented passions, we can rejoice in the reconciliation we receive through Jesus, embrace God's purposes in our motherhood, and smile at the future as we look forward to the future grace that is ours in Christ Jesus.
God designed motherhood to highlight His great mercy and point us to who we (and our children) were made for: the eternally satisfying risen Christ (John 17:24).
Motherhood Is About God's Glory
The joys of today's motherhood are true joys, but they are like shadowy reflections in a mirror. At the end of every day—chaotic and mundane alike—motherhood is about the adoration and enjoyment of our great God. The seraphim in heaven continually cry out, "And one called to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!' (Isa. 6:3).
Even while we go about the exhausting work of motherhood that oftentimes feels so futile, we can be about what we're going to be about forever. In Revelation 5 John sees a vision of the risen Christ, glorified and reigning. In verse 13 John tells us how everyone responds to Jesus:
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, "To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!"
Forever in eternity we will be praising the Lord, and even now we can praise Him as we know Jesus Christ and Him crucified for us.
Allow motherhood to incline your heart to worship, and bless the Lord who fills your hands with blessings.
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable (Ps. 145:1–3).
Praising our great and merciful God is a mother's anthem—the song she'll be singing forever and ever!
How would looking at motherhood this way change the way you go about your daily routine?
Editor's Note: Gloria Furman, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014) Excerpt adapted from Chapter 11: The Metanarrative of Motherhood
1 Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Sin and Salvation in Christ (Grand Rapids:Baker Academic, 2006), 455.