Motherhood and the Pinnacle of Christian Womanhood

Six years ago today at 8:38 PM, I entered the ranks of those who have gone by the beloved name of  ‘Mom’ for centuries before. I now had my own stories of the physical changes involved in pregnancy, the tipping scales, the unpleasant Dr. appointments, and my own labor and delivery drama. I also could understand the simultaneous joy and fear that grips the heart of a parent when she holds the precious and pathetic fruit of her labor in her arms for the very first time. In some sense, it felt like I had “arrived.” But had I really? And if so, to what had I “arrived”?

Following Stella’s birth, a dear friend asked me, “So, now do you feel like you’ve reached the pinnacle of Christian womanhood having given birth to a child?” I thought about the question and wasn’t really sure how to answer it. In some ways, it made sense there could be some type of progression upward from becoming a wife to becoming a mother. But on the other hand, I thought of other godly Christian women, like the one who asked me the question, who might never marry or become a mother. And what about those who become a mother by other means like adoption? Were they denied the privilege of this ‘pinnacle’?

Since then, I have read many articles and books (thank you Wendy Horger Alsup, girltalkers, and Russell Moore to name a few), listened to many sermons (thank you John Piper and Ken Brown) and have had many gospel discussions (thank you Matthew Owen) which have informed my thinking on the subject quite a bit more. So much so, I thought it only fitting to post some of these thoughts for Stella on her 6th birthday.

I have loved almost every second of the past 6 years. Of course, there was a learning curve and the sleep deprivation and the subsequent physical exhaustion that really is unique to a mom caring for young children. I have celebrated milestones to the hilt, cried my eyes out on the first day of school (and the second, and third, and….), studied toes like a podiatrist, received an honorary Doctor of Medicine for all my google searches of illnesses and webmd inquiries of symptoms and treatments, and cradled babies in my arms in the wee morning hours. I have loved it all.

But none of the jobs or duties, or even the roles, in and of themselves, of being a wife and mother, have made me become more of a godly woman than I was as a single 26-year-old Christian woman seeking to serve God where I worked and in my local church. What I mean by that is, the progression of my Christian womanhood didn’t occur on June 15, 2002, at Cambridge Bible Church when I got married, nor did I reach the pinnacle of it on July 28, 2005, at Oakwood Hospital when I became a mom. It occurred thirty some years ago in my grandparent’s bedroom when God gave me the gift of faith to believe that Jesus was my only hope. Sin’s ultimate power was broken in my life and I was freed to use my womanhood for the glory of Christ. Whatever that was to look like and however, in God’s good providence, He would manifest it in my life. 

There are lessons for you here, Stella girl. I don’t know if God will have you marry. I don’t know if you’ll be blessed with academic achievements and a brilliant career. I don’t know if you’ll ever have children. I don’t know what roles you may have, positions you may hold, and acts of service you might perform. But you must remember that your identity is not ultimately in a role or a position or in your abilities. If Christ saves you, His identity is yours.  

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:3, 4)

It can never be taken from you like a role can (husbands can leave, and sadly enough, tragedies can happen leaving some moms without children) or like a position (hello unemployment rate) or like talents and abilities can (arthritis, alzheimer’s, cancer, and the list goes on). 

Whom have I in heaven but you?
   And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 
My flesh and my heart may fail,
   but God is the strength of my heart
   and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25, 26)

The other lesson is one of joy. Your dad read me an excellent quote from Jonathan Edwards the other night on The Good Life. Basically, it is a reminder that we were created to find our ultimate joy in God Himself. So much so that we will be enjoying Him forever – from now through eternity. Our earthly jobs and positions are temporary. I won’t be a wife and mom in heaven. Those are wonderful and passing means to the ultimate end of glorifying Him. I don’t know what your means will be, but I know what your end should be. Don’t waste your time and joy on lesser things. Pursue Him and you won’t lack anything even if this world or sadly enough, the church, can make it seem like you’re missing out. Seek the Spring of Living Waters and your well will always be full.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
   blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. 
Fear the LORD, you his holy people,
   for those who fear him lack nothing. 
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
   but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:8-10)

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
   the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
   broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)

There is nothing better or more fulfilling than knowing Christ. Not even loving and raising you these past six years, my sweet girl. So follow and enjoy Him and you’ll reach the pinnacle of Christian womanhood.

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