Today we’ll dive into chapter one of Sally Clarkson’s book, The Mission of Motherhood. If you’ve not yet bought or borrowed the book, we’re moving through it at only two chapters a week, so there’s still time! You will not be disappointed by this book!
The book is divided into five sections. The first section, “A Mother’s Calling” includes three chapters exploring this subject. In chapter one, we discover the mission of motherhood as Sally offers wisdom the Bible and her own experience as a mom.
Ms. Clarkson begins by describing her days of taking care of her youngest daughter, Joy. She had asthma and there were many middle of the night sessions spent caring for her, with similar rituals including sitting on a stool under a hot shower holding her daughter. She would tell stories until the hot water ran out. She shares the story from one of these evenings after the hard part of waiting for her symptoms to subside:
One such evening, at the end of our little ritual, Joy stood shivering outside of the shower with sopping wet hair and glassy brown eyes that looked like saucers in her sallow little face. She smiled at me with a thoughtful expression as I wrapped her in a large towel.
“Mommy! You know what? When I was growing inside your tummy, I always hoped and hoped that when I came out, I would have a mommy just like you who would take care of me when I was sick and tell me Joy stories!”
Call me weepy, but that story really resonated with me. I want to be like that. What stood out to me was not that her daughter said something sweet about her, but what caused her to say it. She didn’t mention the time line, but she does say in her book that “each morning within five minutes of 1:30″, her daughter would wake up and she’d care for her. Each morning. Selfless. Servant. Joyful. I’m sure that she had some days in which she was grumpy the next day. But in the moment, it was obvious that her daughter did not perceive her mother being this way. This was humbling.
And we’re only in paragraph three of chapter one.
Sally describes what she believes every child needs: “to be loved, cherished, cared for, and protected by her very own mother…it’s not just a need but an important part of God’s design for shaping human beings according to His will.”
I can confirm wholeheartedly that God’s design for the family is indeed very good. I have also come to believe that motherhood, while demanding, is one of the most fulfilling and meaningful roles a woman can fill.
This is important. This is also were controversy might arise if there is not sound Biblical footing to under gird our understanding of motherhood. Sally shares of women she’s met in her travels and how all of them have hearts for their children, both Christian and non-Christian, at home with their kids or working. They all long to be with their children. They find it more fulfilling than any job they’ve had or currently have. She shared her own story of working before having kids and the inner conflict she had at the thought of having to “give up” her freedom and interests. I dare say that God’s design for every woman is to be a mother. Because of sin, it doesn’t always happen the way we hope and plan, but Biblically speaking, it is part of God’s beautiful design.
You see, motherhood is God’s design, and it is a noble and respectable role. Our culture today does not value it in the way it has in the past. If we are not careful, we can easily buy into what the world esteems instead of embracing what God esteems, which is far more important.
We mothers have the opportunity to influence eternity by building a spiritual legacy in the lives of our children…the real ability of a mother to secure such a spiritual legacy is based on the strength of her relationship with her child. As we tenderly care for our children, meeting their needs, teaching them and guiding them, praying for them, and modeling our faith, we are also anchoring their hearts to our home, our values, and our beliefs. These ties are built over a period of many years, through the small ways we spend the minutes of our days and the large ways in which we celebrate the momentous events of our lives.
She goes on to make several great points:
-the early years of a child’s life in which we feel we are not accomplishing anything, have huge, lasting effects on their lives. This is a great reminder for those of us with toddlers!
-”A mother’s relationship with her child is one that will encompass a lifetime.” So true, and therefore, so crucial to have a Biblical understanding of our role from the beginning!
-Our children should not be the center of our lives…it is idolatry. The Lord should be the center of our lives, and just as we are first to help our husbands, our tender care for our children should be an aspect of our life before the Lord. Albeit very demanding and time consuming, we must guard our hearts against it.
-Motherhood is our ministry. After serving our husbands, and probably in the biggest way that we help our husbands, our family should come before any other “ministry.”
She ends with this great summary sentence which offers us a vision and strong mission statement:
The mission of motherhood is strategic in providing the next generation with wholehearted, emotionally healthy, and spiritually alive adults. It is not simply a lifestyle choice. It is a diving calling that will indeed affect eternity.
In your reading of this chapter what were you most encouraged and challenged by? Come back tomorrow for chapter 2!