Chapter two of The Mission of Motherhood, entitled “Beautiful by Design,” discusses what God has laid out in Scripture as the design not only for motherhood, but for family. In the previous chapter she touched on the confusion that exists today over the roles of men and women. This chapter explores Scripture for a very clear explanation of God’s design for people. I have to confess that it is hard not to summarize every single paragraph, it is all so good! However, I’m trying to stick to the main points and share some of the best insights she has.The chapter begins with a very important verse:
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
It’s very important as we approach this book, that we prayerfully, earnestly ask the Lord to help us see, understand, and embrace what He has laid out in Scripture. Unfortunately, many Christian women have bought into cultural lies about what a woman should be and do. We must have a Biblical understanding of how God has designed us to function, glorify, and enjoy Him. Otherwise, we miss the whole point of life. God has created and designed everything for His glory and our good. It is our role to then understand, submit, and live out these roles in order to bring Him the most glory.
This chapter explores three main aspects of God’s design for relationships:
1. Family is the center of God’s design. “Moreover, it is a center of life from which God’s work and redemption will begin. Men and women were created in God’s image and were called together for a lifetime commitment. They were meant to live as partners and to rule over God’s earth together.” For the Biblical principles that undergird her statements, read Genesis 1-3.
2. “Children were an integral part of God’s plan from the beginning. A woman was to receive her ability to bear and nurture children as a gift, and biologically she would be the one through whom her children were made to receive nourishment and nurture from the beginning.” Genesis 1:28, Psalm 127:3-5, Psalm 128:1-4.
3. “Men and women were created with biological differences and corresponding roles within their overall calling. Central to a woman’s design–though not the whole of it–is the privilege of bearing children, caring for them, and overseeing her home and household.” Proverbs 31:10-31, Titus 2:4-5
“This is a beautiful picture–that God equipped a woman from the very beginning to bring life into the world from her own body and to nurture growing families…Not every woman, for instance, will marry. Not every woman will be able to have children. And yet all women have the God-given capacity to live in ways that beautifully and purposefully express their life-giving feminine design–the helper or cooperative approach to tasks, their ability to multitask, their nesting instincts and creative spirit. A woman’s body was made, in part, to bring life into the world, an that’s a good thing from God’s point of view. However, the common purpose for all women is to glorify God in whatever circumstances and boundaries of life we find ourselves, trusting him to show us how we can best use our gifts for him.”
As beautiful as God’s original design is, it has been tainted by sin. Genesis 3:1-6, Romans 1:18-21, Job 1:1-7, 1 Peter 5:8-9, Matthew 19:3-12 are all passages of Scripture which describe how sin entered the world, Satan’s attempts to destroy God and the goodness of what He has designed, and the hardness of heart that has caused selfishness and destruction of relationships. Sally describes the consequences of straying from His design and the fact that “when the biblical mission of motherhood is devalued and disappears from culture, the whole next generation suffers morally, emotionally, and spiritually.”
There are very real, lasting consequences for not following God’s design. Souls are at stake. It is not outrageous to believe that if we willingly choose (or even ignorantly) to violate God’s design, commands, instruction, our heart will be hardened and He will give us over to our sinful desires. Later, we may repent only to find that there are still lasting consequences (for example sexual immorality leading to STDs, infertility…) We see this demonstrated in Romans 1:18-31. We must know what Scripture says about all of life. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” Proverbs 1:7.
Ms. Clarkson is also quick to communicate that she did not write the book to tell us how to live our lives nor to make us feel guilty.
“The purpose of this book is to hold up God’s ideal for motherhood, to remind us of God’s design and how we can use our role to stitch together the pieces that will help make our families whole. We need to know where God wants us tog o in order to create a plan to get there. Each person must find where is in on the path of motherhood so that she many know how to travel forward from this point. No matter where you are on this road of discovering and living out the mission of motherhood, you can take steps forward.”
This chapter is so helpful in affirming God’s design for us. Each family will look different in that some will have fewer children while others have more. The point is not the number of children that we have, but that we understand God’s design for marriage is to include children, that we welcome children, and that we embrace the roles God has designed for us, even though it might go against the grain of culture, and even our own families.
Is there any aspect of God’s design that you have had a difficult time embracing? If so, I’d encourage you to confess it to the Lord and ask Him to help you embrace what He has described as good and beautiful in His Word.