I’m pretty new at this mothering business. My daughter is just ten months old. Most of the time, I enjoy my role as a mom and all that goes along with it. But there are moments when I miss the freedom of life before parenting, like when my husband and I want to go out on a date but we can’t find a sitter, or when I want to sleep in on the weekends but my little girl wakes up at 7 and needs to be fed. I’ve written before about how our society views children as a burden rather than a blessing, and I don’t want to be guilty of that mentality, but the truth is that children are work. Good, beautiful work, but work, nonetheless. And sometimes, I find myself resenting that. “A choice is a limitation,” Elisabeth Elliot wrote in her book, Let Me Be a Woman. “When you make a choice, you accept the limitations of that choice. To accept limitation requires maturity. The child has not yet learned that it can't have everything. What it sees it wants. What it does not get it screams for. It has to grow up to realize that saying Yes to happiness often means saying No to yourself.”
Having a child reveals my own innate selfishness. Suddenly life is no longer just about me and my wants and needs, but it’s about someone else and her wants and her needs. For a sinner like me, that’s challenging.
We all have a choice to make when we accept the mantle of motherhood. We can choose to resent our role and its restrictions. We can groan and sigh about lost freedoms and pleasures. We can complain about our new identity or the loss of our old one. Or, we can choose to embrace it and the limitations that come with it, trusting that God is using them to bring to completion the work He has begun in us.
Choosing the former will lead to bitterness and disappointment. Wishing for our old life or someone else’s life won’t bring satisfaction in the one we possess now, and it will cause us to miss the beauty in what God has given us.
But choosing to embrace our job as mothers and trust in God’s grace to help us results in joy and spiritual growth. We begin to see the limitations of mothering as gifts from God’s hand, vessels of sanctification that each of us so desperately needs.
How do we choose to embrace our role?
Through prayer and self-control. We ask the Lord to give us the grace to accept the limitation of caring for our littles, and then, empowered by His Spirit, we refuse to give in to feelings of resentment and bitterness.
Worth it? Definitely.
I pray that today, each of us makes the right choice.
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