|Welcome back to our review of "The Mission of Motherhood" by Sally Clarkson. If you haven't purchased the book yet, it's not too late to join us! Click here here for a great deal from Amazon.|
“Greater love hath no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends,” John 15:13. “The servant mother” is the theme of chapter 4 and it is rich with wisdom from a seasoned mom who has learned that it is through the humdrum monotany of daily life, that motherhood exists.
“As I have grown through the past eighteen years of motherhood, however, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of the many thousands of routine moments in a mother’s life, for it is in these moments that real greatness tends to be taught and caught. It is certainly important to grasp the great calling of motherhood and respond to a vision for what a family can be. But it’s the way I respond to my children in everyday moments that gives me the best chance of winning their hearts. If I have integrity and patience in the small moments of life that are so important to my children, and if I approach them with a servant’s heart, then I have a far better chance of influencing them in the larger and more critical issues of life.”
I have been living in the truth of this paragraph very intentionally for the past several weeks. It is so easy for me to get caught up in what “needs” to be done around the house and for my family that it is easy for me to neglect the real needs of quality time investing in relationship. My relationship with Tara has been so sweet and I notice great progress in her life when I am intentionally seeking to die to my own selfish desires (reality is that Blane doesn’t see a sink full of dishes or dirty laundry spilling out of the hamper…nor does he care) and to meet her requests of “Mommy, will you play with me?” Seasoned with balance of maintaining our home to the degree that my husband is most satisfied, I notice great progress in my own heart as well.
Drawing from the verses in John 13:4-5, 12-17 and Matthew 20:25-28, Sally is instructing us to model Jesus’ behavior by dying to our own desires and to lay down our lives for our children. Also that if we want to be first in the kingdom, we must be last. Graciously overlooking mistakes and gently, thoughtfully responding to our children models to them the character of Jesus that we desire for them to be willing to forsake everything for themselves. She spends a lot of time discussing that we have the choice to give up our selfish desires and even expectations for ourselves and motherhood.
Choosing to be a servant-mother means willingly giving up myself, my expectations, and my time to the task of mothering–and choosing to believe that doing so is the best use of my time at that moment. It means that, by faith I have already made a decision to make myself available in the routine tasks and myriad interruptions of daily life because I believe it is God’s will for me to serve my family through them. Making this choice ahead of time means I will expect problems and needs arise and be ready to deal with them in peace instead of impatience and resentment.
Wow. Talk about a mature heart position. And one given by the grace of God, I believe. She returned to the verse mentioned at the beginning of the chapter, John 15:13. Jesus laid down his life for us for the greater purpose of our eternal life. When we lay down our lives for our children, we are seeking to further his work.
I appreciate her reminder to us in the next section about serving without resentment that children are supposed to take up our time. We are called to give up our rights to raise them and they shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for the sacrifices involved. Our time is not our own and especially with small children, it can me much more taxing and demanding of us than we would prefer. But, she does a wonderful service to us by reminding us that it is normal and that many memorable moments can be made in these times.
Ms. Clarkson’s final comments that we can only do these things through the power of the Holy Spirit served me. What a process it has been for me to get that through my thick skull. I am unable to be patient for long, joyfully give my time, and contentedly deal with constant interruptions to various tasks on my own. When I am walking in the Spirit, the fruit is amazing! I am so thankful for the help He lends to us. Thankfully, this is what helps build solid relationships with our children for the later years as she shared as she closed the chapter.
I have been so thankful for an older woman who has taken the time to put onto paper valuable Biblical lessons that I have needed instruction on. I want to lay down my life for my children, but I am still in process and don’t always succeed. How are you doing with this?