What an encouragement this last chapter of The Mission of Motherhood was to this mom who often feels weary from days of near-constant correction and needs that tempt to drain me emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Encouragement to press on and perspective have been of the most helpful blessings to me from the older women in my life. I appreciate that Ms. Clarkson offers both as well as a picture of what we can look forward to if I do my job. The thought of my children being some of my closest friends blesses me. I hope and pray that this will be a desire realized!
“How blessed I was to see that the kind of family I had dreamed of was indeed, by God’s grace, standing before me. Yet it had been years in the making, and the process had been fraught with challenges every step of the way. Like my children who faithfully prayed and waited for their dream trip, I had spent years praying and faithfully working to live out the dream that was in my heart. Like them, too, I had wondered if my dream would ever come to reality.”
“There had been hours of constantly settling fusses over petty isues, continually straightening our home, only to have it messy within a short time. There had been a myriad books read, lessons supervised—and still feeling inadequate to do it all. Inadequacy, in fact, had been my familiar constant companion, overcome only by “His strength is perfected in my weakness” choices of faith.”
It was also an encouragement to me to hear of her own struggles in her mothering. At times, it’s been easy for me to feel that I’m alone in my feelings of inadequacy and failure. What a wonderful reminder of how to get through these times that she has offered– holding tightly to the vision we have for motherhood, maintaining an eternal perspective, and persevering.
I think it’s important to note that Ms. Clarkson is bold (and right, I believe) in saying that while the influence of other Godly people in our children’s lives is valuable and good, God intended a child’s parents to be the primary means of grace in their lives. I’ve had women say to me, “I could never be a stay-at-home-mom” because of the difficulty of it. In so many respects, motherhood has been the hardest job I’ve ever had and has served as the primary means of sanctification in my life (as far as the hard parts of sanctification go… Marriage has certainly been a means of sanctification for me but it’s looked very different…primarily a means of grace through healing.). The requirement to die to my own selfishishness has perhaps been the most difficult aspect.I’ve heard it said many a time, “Mothering is not for the faint of heart.” So true! Whether due to the repetitious, mundane, or all-around demands or the process of letting go (that begins at conception!)…being a mom is hard! Can I get an amen?
“There have been times in my life as a mother when I didn’t feel like I could bear one more day of messes, fusses, and all the needs that threatened to engulf me. There would be times when I was dealing with a habit or sin or an attitude of one of my children, and I would feel like a total failure…I would be overcome by my feelings of inadequacy, failure, fear of failure and what it holds for my children…My only choice in these times when I reached the bottom of my heart was to do again what I had practiced so many times—to keep trusting the Master and Lord of my life. And as I poured out my heart—my fears, inadequacies, my wearniness, my concerns about my children, and my own lack of love for my own family members—I found solace for my soul and strength for my heart.”
Perhaps one reason I appreciated this chapter so much is because I’m only a little over three years into this journey as a mom. I, Lord willing, have many more to go. I’ve had moments when sheer perseverance and trust in God’s word have been what got me through, but I expect there will be many more of these along the way. I saw this chapter as fuel for my journey. Something I can draw on when times get hard and I doubt myself, what I’m doing, and even why I’m doing it.
Lastly, the need for a mother to meet her own basic needs is important, and something that is touched on in this chapter. I have struggled with guilt at times when I have felt like I need time alone—even just 20 minutes of it, to regroup, be refreshed and renewed. My husband reminds me that all I need to do is ask and he doesn’t mind at all to give me more time than that. I hate to admit it, but in our home the saying, “When mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” is true. So, I’m thankful for times to get away because I find it helps me to be a better mother.
When we lived in KY and I didn’t have family nearby to help with the kids, my runs were longer than they are now. Not only because I was training for a half-marathon, but because I am able to release so much to the Lord and to worship Him with more clarity of mind as I pour my heart out to the Lord.
If getting away is difficult because of life circumstances, I’d encourage you to find a way to create time even in your own home. There is certainly nothing wrong with gently telling your toddler to sit quietly in his room to read or play while mommy has a time of quiet, too.
Have you been encouraged as you’ve read this book? It is one I will (and have) referred back to many times in my journey. It has served as a great encouragement, resource, and help to me already. If you have been reading these chapter reviews, but haven’t ordered the book yet, I’d encourage you to do so today!