The Sacred Call of Motherhood

The Sacred Call of Motherhood

A Heavenly Perspective on Raising Kids

by Leslie Ludy | January 1, 2011

I am a real mom. My days are filled with moments that are oh-so-real-life, not to mention raw, unglamorous, and unromantic. Like yesterday, when Avy threw up, like a volcano, all over her clothes and her car seat just as church was getting out. (She was not sick, but she’s recently discovered her gag reflex and likes to experiment with it. Do not ask me why.) So right there on the sidewalk, while everyone was walking past in their dress pants and high heels, I stripped off her smelly, sour, soaking clothes while Eric sopped up the car seat with baby wipes. We went about the tedious, disgusting, and rather embarrassing process of cleaning everything up as a nearly-naked Avy screamed at the top of her lungs and Hudson and Harper ran wildly around the parking lot. We made quite a spectacle. We were an hour late for our family outing. Our kids were whiny over missing lunch and complaining about the smell in the car. And everyone was just a little on edge, including Mommy. But once we finally got to our destination and everyone ate lunch and got outside into the crisp fresh air, it turned out to be a beautiful day. We ended up having a great time being together as a family. It just took a little bit of battling to get to the beauty.

That’s the way motherhood is for me – battling through the daily challenges of my life to discover the incredible beauty God has waiting for me on the other side. Not stopping short and accepting the chaos, or resigning myself to the attitude that says, “This is just the way it is.” By God’s grace, I have purposed not to settle for anything less than His pattern for motherhood; and His pattern is victorious, triumphant, and glorious.

I have been around countless moms who roll their eyes at the notion that motherhood can be glorious. They laugh at the idea that there can be peace, dignity, and beauty in raising children. They scoff at the suggestion that a mother of young children can be joyful, calm, well-dressed, and well-rested. They snicker at the idea that a home with children can be clean and orderly.

“Life with kids is chaos,” one mother of four told me. “Get used to it!”

“Most days, I would sell my children for a few dollars,” said a frazzled mother of three. “It’s been years since I’ve gotten a good night’s sleep, and I can’t even remember what my house looks like clean.”

Believe me, I understand these sentiments, and I know exactly why so many moms feel this way. I’ve had plenty of moments when I have felt the same way. By nature, the business of raising children is messy, loud, inconvenient, chaotic, and difficult. It can be intensely frustrating and often feels futile. It disrupts every aspect of your life. There is no “down time,” no vacation from raising children. You cannot take a break from your calling as a mother. It’s a job that requires you to be on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. There is very little private time at all (many mornings when I take a shower, my three and five year old stand outside the bathroom banging on the door and yelling for me to hurry up). And moms can’t just clean the house every few days and expect it to stay that way. Rather, you actually have a team of little rascals working to undo all of your hard work around the house. They take folded laundry and dump it out. They pull all your make-up out of a drawer you just organized. They spill juice on a freshly cleaned carpet. They draw with marker on newly painted walls. Alas, I know these scenarios all too well.

Whenever Eric and I are trying to leave the house with all four kids, inevitably, some kind of catastrophe strikes. It doesn’t matter how early we start getting ready; there always seems to be a huge diaper blowout, a throwing up episode, a temper tantrum or meltdown just as we are about to exit the house. The kids’ shoes have a way of disappearing whenever we are in a hurry, and I often find myself running around the house at the last minute frantically searching for Harper’s other purple Croc and Kip’s other brown tennis shoe. More than once Kip has arrived at a function wearing his big brother’s swim clogs that are two sizes too big, and Avy has gotten in the car with mismatched socks (which she then pulls off in the car and loses under her car seat), simply because I cannot find their shoes if my life depended on it. And almost always, we arrive fifteen minutes late to wherever we are going, despite our best efforts at being organized and leaving on time. Usually (as an added bonus) at least one of the kids spills water or juice all over their clothes on the way to our destination.

In moments such as these, the temptation toward becoming the classic frazzled mom is quite intense. Your life is so chaotic, the voice of despair whispers to your soul. You might as well give up on expecting anything more. Don’t even try. It’s always going to be this way.

Then the voice of self-pity chimes in with the message, Poor, poor you. No one understands how hard your life is. Raising four little kids is so stressful and difficult. Every- one else has it so easy, but you never get a break!

My response to these voices is what leads to either victory or defeat in my mothering. If I entertain these lies, even for a moment, they quickly take root in my soul and grow, blinding me to see anything beyond the temporary chaos and discouragement I feel. And soon the whole day becomes chaotic and discouraging. My role as a mother feels overwhelming, exhausting, and futile. I jump on the “motherhood is chaos” bandwagon. I no longer have the energy to battle for beauty, order, and peace in my child-raising. Rather, I resign myself to mediocrity.

But if I rise up in God’s strength and resist the temptation to throw my hands up in despair or wallow in self-pity, amazing things happen. When I cry out to God for victory, He comes instantly to my rescue. He redeems a day that might otherwise have ended in discouragement and fills it with peace and joy. He calms my tumultuous emotions. He quiets my screaming children. He helps me find their missing shoes. He gives me wisdom for how to organize our home so that leaving the house becomes smoother and easier. And He opens my eyes to see the amazing, sacred privilege He’s given me – being a mother to four precious little future world-changers.

Yes, I believe motherhood is meant to be glorious. That doesn’t mean that raw and real-life moments won’t happen, or that raising children will always feel like a scene right out of a Pottery Barn Kids catalog. But it does mean that when God is at the center of my child-raising and home-managing, there is beauty, order, peace, joy, honor, and dignity to be found. I don’t believe moms are destined to live in perpetually messy houses with peanut butter handprints all over the walls and piles of dirty laundry all over the floor. I don’t believe it is a mother’s lot to wear ratty sweats every day and never have time to put make-up on or dress with dignity. And I don’t believe that moms have to be slaves to their children’s emotional tirades and temper tantrums.

I believe that Proverbs 31 is more than just a poetic pie-in-the-sky dream. It is God’s pattern for glorious motherhood. It says,“Strength and dignity are her clothing” and that “she smiles at the days to come” and that “her children rise up and call her blessed.” This is the opposite of the frazzled, exhausted, stressed-out, frustrated motherhood of our day. God desires to take an ordinary mom and transform her into a radiant, set-apart, joyful mother of children.

Our job is not to try to become super-moms in our own strength. Rather, our job is lay our lives before Him without reserve and trust Him with every detail of our sacred calling. Remember, faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it (see 1 Thess. 5:24).*

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