Mothering, Identity and Putting Our Family First

My family loves one another, for love is from God; He who loves is begotten of God and is coming to know and understand God. 1 John 4:7

I used to think that I wanted to do something big for God. I kept telling Him that I would do anything, and with that, I expected that He would ask me to do something crazy hard like sell all my stuff and move to Africa to become a missionary. For many years I thought that to do something big for God meant that I would work at a church or start up a non-profit or a ministry of some sort, or preach the gospel to the masses. I wasn’t quite sure what it was that He’d want me to do but I was sure it had to be something grandiose. A lavish way to say thank you to Him for all that He has already done for me. It would be something that I could be proud of.

But the thing is, giving your life to Jesus doesn’t always mean that He will ask you to do hard things. Yes, sometimes it does. But His plan for you and me can be trusted. It is far better than anything we could ever dream up on our own. And He genuinely wants and knows whats best for us.

For me, his plan has been much more simple and a lot less glamorous than having some big ministry. His plan for me has been to simply be- a mother.

Although, to be a mother isn’t as simple as it sounds. It comes with a roller-coaster of emotions. It has it’s definite ups and downs. For some women, to be a mother is a dream come true; it’s all they ever wanted. Their dream was to get married and have kids and nothing more. Motherhood is rewarding and fulfilling to them in and of itself. And there is nothing wrong with that.

But for me, to stay home has been riddled with sacrifice. Yes, I always wanted to be a wife and mother. But I also wanted to do other things: like go to the mission field, help women trapped in sex slavery be set free, preach the gospel and serve the church. For me, to stay home never felt like I was doing enough. It’s like I was in a tug-of-war game with my ambition to do great things on one side and my simple life, staying home raising kids on the other side and when it comes right down to it, my kids have always won.

And I’m glad that they’ve won. They always have, and they always will.

Here’s why…

Mothering matters. And mothering is ministry. It may not be what I thought of as a ministry but it is something that is very close to the heart of God.

What I’ve come to realize is, that I don’t have to do anything big for God. If He asks me to, I’m ready and willing. I may want to at times but I am learning to let that need go.

I’m learning that my walk with God has less to do with what I am doing and more to do with what He has already done for me.

And there is beauty and power in the simplicity of putting our family first. We moms are training little people who will one day run the world. We have influence on them, we are leading them, teaching them, shaping the way they think and view life. Our generation is here for but a moment and before we know it the time will come when we will pass the baton to our kids. And we can significantly underestimate the power that we parents have over them and their well-being.

When I think about motherhood I think of my mom. She may not have done anything big with her life. She never worked outside the home, didn’t go to college. She led a simple life. But she was faithful to my dad and us kids. She stayed home with us and made sure every single one of our needs were met. She put herself last. She was a natural mother. Mothering was intuitive to her. She was home every day when I got home from school. We had stability and routine. We were nurtured and loved. We were read to and prayed for. She baked cookies and cooked dinner. She made our house a home. She put my hair in pigtails and then in braids and twisted them around to make buns because I wanted to look like princess Leia. She volunteered in my class when she could. She was always on my side.

It may not sound like much to the rest of the world, but it meant everything to me and still does.

My mom was a really good mom.

And because of her example, I now can be a good mom to my kids. Because I was loved well I can give love away freely.

It’s the gospel lived out. I love because He first loved me. We can’t give away what we don’t have. To be loved is to give love.

We moms are making a difference in the world. It may not look like much to the masses. But to the ones we raise, it means everything.

And one day your kids will grow up and change the world for their children too. All because of the example that you showed them.

We are creating a legacy that is more powerful than we even realize. And we don’t give ourselves enough credit for it.

I no longer need a position or title to feel a sense of worth or accomplishment. I don’t need to start something big or get a bunch of degrees or do anything else to earn Gods love or the love of anybody else.

I’m just me and I’m okay with that. I’m not going to try to change the world. But I am going to try to change my children’s world. To make their world safe, happy, healthy and filled with love. Because I know, that if we moms change our children’s world, collectively together we are raising a generation that will make the world a better, stronger, healthier place to live. And were doing it, one family at a time.

 

 

 

Published by Jennifer Jivan

Writer, speaker, Jesus follower, wife, mom and lover of a good cup of coffee.

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