The Mind of Christ in Motherhood

The Mind of Christ in Motherhood

by Heather Cofer | November 17, 2013

From the moment my little son Jude was placed in my arms, my heart was filled with deep, maternal love for him. I had been waiting for that day for nine months, to meet the precious child God had blessed us with. I felt so ready to be a mom. I couldn’t wait to have a tiny person to love, train, care for, and cuddle. Yet, as I began the wonderful journey into motherhood, I began to realize the Lord had plans to use this child to teach me what true, selfless love is to look like. 

The last few weeks of pregnancy aren’t exactly conducive to restful, sound sleep. The week before Jude arrived, I was woken up throughout the night by contractions, wondering if “this could be it.” As the week wore on, I became increasingly weary. I hoped that my labor would begin in the morning and end in the evening so I wouldn’t miss a night of what little sleep I could procure, and would be as rested as possible to welcome my baby into the world. Well, my body had other plans. I went into labor at 11:00 pm, and Jude was born at 8:54 the next morning. Although I was exhausted, I couldn’t bring myself to take a nap that day. I was just too thrilled with my new son. “And,” I thought, “I’ll be able to sleep well tonight now that he is born...” Boy, was I ever mistaken! I knew that newborns didn’t sleep through the night, but somehow in all the excitement, I had forgotten that detail. That night we got somewhere between 3-5 hours of sleep. The next day was the same routine; this continued for several weeks. I had never been so thoroughly fatigued in my life. That wasn’t the only thing that threw me for a loop; Jude, being a baby who much prefers to be held, would cry every time we put him down when he wasn’t sleeping. There were some days I couldn’t get dressed until the afternoon if at all, let alone do my hair or put on makeup. Regular eating times went out the window. I usually had to forfeit family game times and outings. I no longer had extended amounts of time on my own to read the Word and pray. I struggled against unexpected waves of self-pity and emotional meltdowns. I loved my new little child dearly, but just hadn’t realized how different life would become with an infant to care for. It was also incredibly humbling to realize I could no longer accomplish the most basic of tasks without the help of others. As my parents can attest, one of my favorite phrases from the time I began to talk was, “I do it.” Whether it was putting on my shoes or adding brown sugar to my oatmeal, I wanted to figure out how to do everything myself. Now, suddenly, I was very dependent upon others to do almost anything.

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During the course of those days, I began to realize there was a deep-seated selfishness that pervaded many areas of my life that I had never been aware of. I held on to my agenda of sleeping, eating, dressing, even when I read the Bible and prayed, with an iron-like grip. And suddenly, a little person enters into my life who is completely unaware of this routine. He has no idea that his little tummy demands food when mommy would normally be sleeping. He is oblivious to the fact that there is anything else for me to do besides hold him, feed him, change him, and comfort him. So, I had a choice to make. I could either give in to feelings of inadequacy and stress, or I could see this as an incredible opportunity to allow the Lord to teach me what it means to lay down my life daily to see another thrive. I remember one night, in the midst of pondering these things, waking up to the sound of Jude’s cries. As I picked him up, his wails began to subside and I heard the relief so clearly in his voice. In that moment, any feelings of exasperation over lack of sleep evaporated, and were replaced by feelings of joy and thankfulness for the gift of being the mother to this child. I had the privilege of being the one to wake in the night to comfort him, of waiting on my own meals so he could be fed, of making sure I met his most basic needs before I met my own.

I began to understand Philippians 2:3-6 in a greater way; “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus.” These verses are not optional for the Christian - they are of greatest importance. Living this way is the evidence of Christ’s life in us. I knew I couldn’t live this way on my own, but just as the passage says, this mind is mine in Christ Jesus. Not only has He given me everything I need to lay down my life for this child, but to care for him as Jesus would. 

Although life has changed dramatically with a little one, it has never been filled with so much delight. The Lord has used him as a powerful, precious tool of sanctification in my life. As I have taken Jesus at His word and counted Jude “more significant than [myself],” I have tasted the sweetness of extending unconditional, selfless love to another. I am gaining a greater understanding of Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf, laying down His life that I might live. As I keep my eyes focused upon Him, caring for Jude is only a joy, never a burden. As we choose to live in and by His empowering grace in every sphere, it truly is the most precious of lives!