Welcome back! I’m excited to dive into the introduction of The Mission of Motherhood today. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, there’s still time! I mentioned the time line for going through the book yesterday.
Sally begins the introduction with a lovely picture describing what she remembers of her mother when she was young. I don’t think I even made it to paragraph three before there were tears dripping from my face. Listen to her tender recollection of her mother caring for her as a child:
“As I look back to the memories of my childhood, a strong image that comes to my mind is that of my mother’s loving hands. I thought they were the most beautiful in the world. In many ways, I still feel that way. Because I had been a premature baby, I was often sick with a variety of respiratory illnesses…My memories of these illnesses, however, are mostly pleasant, because my mother would gently stroke my brow as she talked softly or told me stories and gave me her full attention. I remember feeling very loved from such focused attention…”
She goes on to share more of how her mother tenderly, selflessly cared for her throughout her childhood and how she still often wishes that her mother “were with me to stroke my brow in the midst of illness and exhaustion, to massage away the frustration and boredom of tedious days, top open windows to the world while reading to me in a big old chair, and to take my hand in prayer and cast away all the fears of my life…”
Part of my emotional response to reading this intro comes out of a hurting heart. Everyone I believe, no matter how good or how bad your relationship is with your mother, loves her. We wish for similar things at times that Sally described above, even in our adult years. I am no different. However, I do not currently have, nor have I had in the past, a tender relationship with my mom. I will spare details, but it’sbeen a hurtful relationship for a long time and I see effects of it come out in my own mothering of Tara, and it grieves me. This is a tender area for me. Yet, I’m so thankful because I want to grow as a mother and am daily aware of my need for grace! I want Tara (and all of our children) to remember tender, loving, sweet care from me.
Sally goes on to communicate what children need:
“…not only the gentle touch of a mother’s hands, but her focus and attention on a daily basis. They need a champion and cheerleader, someone who has the time and energy to give encouragement along life’s way and comfort in dark times. They need a directive voice to show them how to live. These needs are not frivolous demands. They’re part of the way God designed children. And meeting these needs is not an option or a sideline for mothers, but part of his design as well.” (emphasis mine)
I don’t know about you, but I tend to be a “Martha” kind of woman. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in tasks and chores around the house that sometimes, I really have to work at sitting down to play with my kids. (Thankfully, He’s helping me with this and it’s getting easier!)
She went on to describe the many mothers she’s met in her travels to speaking engagements and their lack of vision for motherhood. Her description about the fundamental mission of motherhood is excellent:
“…to nurture, protect, and intrsuct children, to create a home environment that enables them to learn and grow, to help them develop a heart for God and his purposes, and to send them out in the world prepared to live both fully and meaningfully.”
I appreciate that as she expresses her desires to encourage every mother who reads her book by affirming her role in her children’s lives, she also expresses that she doesn’t consider herself a perfect mother. Her commentary about herself:
“My aspirations and what I can idealize oftentimes far exceed my ability to live up to them in reality. Yet it is in being able to visualize the dreams of my heart and beauty of God’s design that I have found a standard of maturity to move forward.” (emphasis and underline mine)
I don’t know about you, but that is so helpful to me. Even though I may realistically fall short of what I want to be, when I set my sights on what God intends for me to look like, I have a standard to work toward. And isn’t all of life with Jesus about continually moving forward in growth and hope? I find great hope in those sentences.
As I wrap up today’s review, I want to encourage you to seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal to you any ways of thinking about your role as a mother that have been influenced by culture. I believe that many Christian women are so influenced by our culture, that they miss out in the beauty of God’s design for the family and her kids are short-changed in the meantime. She is not ultimately fulfilled because she is selfishly working things to fit into her “kingdom,” if you will. Sally communicates beautifully:
“No matter what our culture tells us, I’ve discovered, and no matter what directions our own desire may push us, the only way to true joy and peace is God’s way.”